24
Aug
2004

Depleted Uranium for Australia ?

As I write this, US AC-130 gunships are raking insurgent strongholds within the city of Najif with cannon and howitzer fire. More than likely the ammunition is Depleted Uranium (DU) which is now a conventional weapon according to the Pentagon. If so, who will decontaminate the city before the kids start to play with the stuff?

A long away from Australia and the media reports nothing on the DU poisoning of Iraq. Perhaps however it will get closer to home, especially for the residents of Shoalwater Bay in Queensland. The Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area was created in bushland north-east of Rockhampton in 1965. It covers 270,000 hectares on land and 180,000 hectares at sea, it is where the Australian navy, army and air force has long engaged in joint military exercises, including with international forces. It is regarded as one of only a few air weapons ranges in the world able to accommodate training with all conventional weapons. Now it is to become a joint training base with the US military, an organisation that considers DU as a 'conventional' weapon.

Some weeks ago I was listening to the parliamentary broadcast when Shoalwater was mentioned. Many questions were asked, including whether or not the Americans would be using DU ammunition while training at the base. This was one question that was NOT answered by the government and I can assume that is because that possibility is still open. In other words 450,000 hectares of Australia territory faces becoming radioactive waste land if DU is used.

Will DU be used at Shoalwater Bay? That is the question that needs to be answered before the shells start falling.

Funny thing - If the Fed. government even hinted at making a nuclear waste dump at Shoalwater there would be an almighty cry of protest from Queenslanders. However nuclear waste dumps are strictly controlled to ensure no radioactivity gets into the environment (at least fore a few thousand years or so). Not so with a DU testing range - it will be blowing in the wind tomorrow...

The following article has a bit of conspiracy theory about it but with the US Bush administration and its shadowy neo-conservative backers who knows?

Don Maisch


Depleted Uranium : Dirty Bombs, Dirty Missiles, Dirty Bullets
//omega.twoday.net/stories/309579/
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