New United Nations depleted uranium resolution calls for states to help with clean-up A fifth United Nations resolution has been tabled which calls for states to provide assistance to countries affected by contamination and for research into DU’s health and environmental effects. 17 October 2014 – ICBUW
The Non-Aligned Movement has submitted a fifth resolution on depleted uranium weapons (DU) at the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. As with previous years, new language has been added to the resolution. This year the wording includes a call for states to assist countries affected by the weapons…….http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/new-un-depleted-uranium-resolution-calls-for-clean
Miscarriages and Congenital Conditions in Offspring of Veterans of the British Nuclear Atmospheric Test Programme Miscarriages and Congenital Conditions in Offspring of Veterans of the British Nuclear Atmospheric Test Programme.pdf – Google ドライブ Christopher Busby1* and Mireille 1 Escande de Messieres2 Environmental Research SIA, Riga, Latvia 2Green Audit, SY231 1DZ, Aberystwyth, Wales
*Corresponding author: Christopher Busby, 1117 Latvian Academy of Sciences, Academy Square, LV-1050 Riga, Latvia, Tel: +44 7989 428833; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Received date: Apr 18, 2014, Accepted date: Sep 22, 2014, Published date: Sep 29, 2014 This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Abstract A postal questionnaire case-control study examined miscarriage in wives and congenital conditions in offspring of the 2007 membership of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association, a group of ex-servicemen who were stationed at atmospheric nuclear weapon test sites between 1952-67. Results were compared with a veteran- selected control group and also with national data. Based on 605 veteran children and 749 grandchildren compared with 311 control children and 408 control grandchildren there were significant excess levels of miscarriages,
stillbirths, infant mortality and congenital illnesses in the veterans’ children relative both to control children and expected numbers. 105 miscarriages in veteran’s wives compared with 18 in controls OR=2.75 (1.56, 4.91; p=. 00016). There were 16 stillbirths; 3 in controls (OR=2.70 (0.73, 11.72; p=0.13). Perinatal mortality OR was 4.3 (1.22, 17.9; p=.01) on 25 deaths in veteran children. 57 veteran children had congenital conditions vs. 3 control children (OR=9.77 (2.92, 39.3); p=0.000003) these rates being also about 8 times those expected on the basis of UK
EUROCAT data for 1980-2000. For grandchildren, similar levels of congenital illness were reported with 46 veteran grandchildren compared with 3 controls OR=8.35 (2.48, 33.8) p=0.000025. There was significantly more cancer in the veteran grandchildren than controls.
Whilst caution must be exercised due to structural problems inherent in this study we conclude that the veterans’ offspring qualitatively exhibit a prevalence of congenital conditions significantly greater than that of controls and also that of the general population in England. The effect remains highly statistically significant even assuming a high selection bias in the responses and credibility is strengthened by the high rates of miscarriage reported by the veterans compared with controls, a result which could hardly have been due selection effects……….Miscarriages and Congenital Conditions in Offspring of Veterans of the British Nuclear Atmospheric Test Programme.pdf – Google ドライブ
Iraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide” TruthOut 14 October 2014 By Dahr Jamail, | Report Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.
Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.
There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.
It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation. Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the first Gulf War in 1991, the country’s rate of cancer cases was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the trend continuing.
The actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research and reporting of cases. Continue reading
US-Russia Nuclear War Could Wipe Out Humanity – Nuclear Physician Warnshttp://au.ibtimes.com/articles/569300/20141013/nuclear-war-russia-over-ukraine-vladimir-putin.htm#.VD7HmWddUnk By Athena Yenko | October 13, 2014
A nuclear war that will deplete the ozone layer, emit radioactive pollution, form massive fire storms, and a nuclear winter could ignite between the United States and Russia over theUkraine crisis. Helen Caldicott, an Australian physician, an advocate of citizen action to address nuclear and environmental crises, the founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and a 1985 Nobel Prize nominee warns that the Cold War has returned and could escalate into a nuclear war between Russia and the United States. “It’s an incredibly dangerous situation. … If there’s a nuclear war tonight, that’s the Northern Hemisphere (of the entire world) gone,” she said at the National Press Club Newsmaker press conference.
She highlighted that the advances made by NATO to Russia’s border is perilous. She implied that NATO’s strategy was a provocation. She said that the only war that the two countries could engage is a nuclear one. The United States and Russia, she said, owns gigantic stockpiles of nuclear armaments. In fact, these two nations hold the 94 percent of the total 16,300 nuclear weapons around the world. “Do they really want a nuclear war with Russia? The only war that you can have with Russia is a nuclear war. … You don’t provoke paranoid countriesarmed to the teeth with nuclear weapons,” she stressed, according to The National Press Club.
Caldicott called attention to the fact that the impending nuclear war is a medical issue that “will create the final epidemic of the human race.” Ukraine has 15 large nuclear power plants in its possession. Any attack on these plants, whether with the most conventional of weapons, would result to a meltdown comparable to the Chernobyl in 1986. She underlined that the Chernobyl meltdown took the lives of more than a million people.
She lauds President Barack Obama for his support of nuclear disarmament. However, with the threats of the ISIS and the Ebola outbreak on his plate, other agencies have overwhelmed his decision. On the other hand, she thinks highly of Russian president Vladimir Putin saying that he is “very restrained at the moment.”
Caldicott underscored that the centenary of the start of the World War 1 had just passed but it the conflicts that spark it stand still. “You know how the First World War started 100 years ago: One person shot an archduke. The pride of the leaders and generals of the great nations did the rest: They went to war. Human fallibility was a major cause then. It is just as common today,” she said.
Australia–India nuclear treaty: a non-proliferation disaster, The Strategist, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Blog 14Oct 2014 By Crispin Rovere “…….Nuclear suppliers do have a responsibility, however, for ensuring their nuclear material isn’t used to build nuclear weapons, and must maintain strict mechanisms for that purpose. If countries can access nuclear supply without the attendant responsibilities, then support for longstanding non-proliferation regimes will be undermined, countries will see less value in treaties such as the NPT, and a key pillar of the nuclear arms control regime as a whole will be weakened.
The text of the proposed Australian export deal fails that basic test. In addition to a range of other flaws, for the first time in 40 years Australia won’t be able to guarantee how the nuclear material it supplies is being used. Specifically, the agreement allows India to reprocess uranium supplied by Australia to create plutonium, potentially at weapons grade, with no direct accounting by India to Australia for that material, and unusually, no provision for the return of the material in the event of it being misused. As former Director-General of ASNO, John Carlson, explains, Australia currently allows reprocessing only by two export partners, the EU and Japan, each with direct reporting requirements and specific permission being given by Australia as to how the reprocessed material is to be used.
Accordingly, the deal with India isn’t comparable to Australia’s other nuclear export agreements. Australia is privileging India by excluding key provisions normally included to ensure a recipient of nuclear material is accountable to the supplier. Australia’s other nuclear export partners might demand similar concessions, undermining the integrity of the non-proliferation regime as a whole.
Moreover, the concessions made by Australia are unnecessary. ………Not only does this agreement undermine long established non-proliferation regimes and Australia’s credibility as a nuclear supplier, it represents a missed opportunity to strengthen it. Given that what matters most to India is being treated on a par with China and the United States, India should be expected to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) after the US Senate does, just as China has already agreed to do……..
The agreement marks a significant departure from Australia’s longstanding practice. By excluding the normal provisions that ensure a nuclear recipient is directly accountable to the supplier, Australia is abrogating the principle that nuclear suppliers are accountable for how their exported nuclear material is used……..Crispin Rovere is a former PhD student at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU and co-author of Non-strategic nuclear weapons: the next step in multilateral arms control. Image courtesy of Flickr user Indiawaterportal.org. http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/australia-india-nuclear-treaty-a-non-proliferation-disaster/
Iraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide” TruthOut 14 October 2014 By Dahr Jamail,
“………..Basra Iraq’s southern city of Basra was heavily bombarded with DU munitions by US warplanes during the 1991 war.
Al-Ali, an expert oncologist at the Basra Cancer Treatment Center, was heavily involved in working on two birth defect studies carried out in the wake of that war.
“The types of birth defects were hydrocephaly [an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles of the brain], anencephaly [the absence of a large part of the brain and the skull], cleft lip and phacomelia [loss of limbs],” al-Ali told Truthout. “Other consequences are the cancers which increased three-fold during the last two decades.”
He said that clusters of cancers occurring at higher incidence within the same family were another new phenomenon seen in Iraq only after the 1991 and 2003 wars.
“Other diseases related to effects of DU were the kidney failure of unknown cause and stone formation,” he added. “Respiratory problems like asthma and also myopathy and neuropathy are now very common as well.”
In Babil Province in southern Iraq, cancer rates have been escalating at alarming rates since 2003. Dr. Sharif al-Alwachi, the head of the Babil Cancer Center, blames the use of depleted uranium weapons by US forces during and following the 2003 invasion.
“The environment could be contaminated by chemical weapons and depleted uranium from the aftermath of the war on Iraq,” Alwachi told Truthout. “The air, soil and water are all polluted by these weapons, and as they come into contact with human beings they become poisonous. This is new to our region, and people are suffering here.”
According to a study published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, there was a sevenfold increase in the number of birth defects in Basra between 1994 and 2003.
In addition, never before has such a high rate of neural tube defects (“open back”) been recorded in babies as in Basra, and the rate continues to rise. According to the study, the number of hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) cases among newborns is six times as high in Basra as it is in the United States.
Childhood cancer also appears to be unusually prevalent in Basra.
“We have noticed bouts of malignant tumors affecting children’s limbs,” an Iraqi doctor who has worked in various parts of the country for 20 years told Truthout. He requested anonymity for security reasons. “These malignancies are usually of very aggressive types and in the view of the shortage of facilities we are running in our hospitals they usually have a fatal outcome.”
His prognosis was grim.
“The only help we can provide to those children is amputation, which sometimes does nothing but prolonging their suffering, in addition to the great psychological impact on both the child and the parents,” he said. “We know that it is possible to save most of these children in specialized oncology centers by advanced salvage surgery, with the attendant chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Unfortunately, this seems to be a kind fantasy for our government and health administrations, which are currently busy with the large amount of trauma overwhelming our hospitals’ resources.”…….http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26703-iraqi-doctors-call-depleted-uranium-use-genocide
Panetta Sparks Debate Over U.S. Nuclear Strike on North Korea NewsWeek, By Lauren Walker and Jeff Stein 14 Oct 14, The specter of nuclear mushroom clouds rising over northeast Asia has long been a staple of nightmare scenarios in the event of another war between North and South Korea. It’s a prospect so apocalyptic that American officials have rarely articulated exactly what would trigger their use of weapons that could instantly kill millions and make the entire peninsula uninhabitable for decades.
In a memoir published last week, however, former CIA chief and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reopened the prickly issue, recalling a chilling, 2010 briefing in Seoul by General Walter L. “Skip” Sharp, the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, who told him just such a nightmare could come true should communist forces pour across the DMZ as they did in 1950.
“If North Korea moved across the border, our war plans called for the senior American general on the peninsula to take command of all U.S. and South Korea forces and defend South Korea— including by the use of nuclear weapons, if necessary,” Panetta writes in “Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace.”………
Richard Fisher, a senior fellow at the non-partisan International Assessment and Strategy Center in Washington, D.C., said American officials have “likely” discussed the first use of nuclear weapons privately with South Korea and Japan through the years. But he was surprised to see Panetta’s remarks, telling Newsweek, “it is rare to have this recounted publicly by such a recently serving former senior official.”
Washington’s policy on using nuclear weapons to deter a North Korean invasion could be likened to Israel’s position of “studied ambiguity” on its atomic stockpiles – or just official confusion, judging from the reaction to Panetta’s remarks. Although the U.S. first deployed tactical nukes to the peninsula in 1958, American officials shied from affirming their presence until the mid-1970s, when U.S. forces were routed in Vietnam and Seoul threatened to develop its own deterrent should U.S. troops depart. Even though President George H.W. Bush began withdrawing nuclear weapons from South Korean soil and U.S. ships off the peninsula in 1991 – a process continued in 2010 when President Barack Obama retired them from submarines as well – U.S.-South Korean communiques over the years have cited “extended [nuclear] deterrence” from afar as policy.
But arms control specialist Jeffrey Lewis dismissed the prospect of the U.S. ever resorting to nuclear weapons to obliterate North Korea. “We [are] simply telling the South Koreans what they want to hear,” said Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, of Panetta’s tale. “But the reality is that the United States wouldn’t use nuclear weapons against North Korea any more than it did against Iraq.”
South Korea knows this, Lewis maintains. ”The problem with placing a misleading emphasis on nuclear weapons [that] we never plan to use is the rhetoric comes back to haunt us when South Korean politicians argue that Seoul should build a bomb,” he told Newsweek.
Constantly framing the issue in terms of a potential North Korean invasion is also misleading, says Roehrig, director of the Naval War College’s Asia-Pacific Studies Group…….. http://www.newsweek.com/panetta-sparks-debate-over-us-nuclear-strike-north-korea-277432
U.S., Russia, Go On Hair-Trigger Alert http://www.opednews.com/articles/U-S–Russia-Go-On-Hair-T-by-Sherwood-Ross-Conflict_Military_Peace-141010-709.html By Sherwood Ros 10 Oct 14,
China Launches Test Missile Capable of Carrying Nuclear Warheads to Europe and US New missile system places London and US east coast under the crosshairs of China’s military .International Business Times By Mark Piggott October 5, 2014 China has successfully launched a test missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead 10,000km – meaning the whole of Europe and parts of the US is within its range.
“We continue to monitor China’smilitary modernization, including its missile tests”
– Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia O Smith
The Dongfeng missile can be fired from mobile launchers capable of traversing rough terrain, meaning they can be easily moved and hidden from detection by spy satellites.
China launched the missile on 26 September. The Pentagon confirmed the launch it took place.
Although refusing to provide details, Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia O Smith told the Washington Free Beacon: “We continue to monitor China’s military modernization, including its missile tests.”…..
It is estimated that China only has around 250 nuclear warheads, compared with the 2,104 operational warheads operated by the US.
Major General Yao Yunzhu, China’s director of the Center of America-China Defense Relations for the Academy of Military Science, said in a letter to the Pacific Forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, that China still lags behind the US in terms of nuclear weapons.
“The Ballistic Missile Defense systems that the US and its allies have deployed, or are planning to deploy, are capable of intercepting Chinese nuclear weapons launched for retaliation after it has already been attacked, thus potentially negating the deterrence effect of the Chinese nuclear arsenal,” said Yunzhu.
Retired Peoples’ Liberation Army general Xu Guangyu told the South China Morning Post: “Beijing just wants to increase China’s military might and its nuclear strategic threat. It’s not really targeting the US or other countries.
“China needs to conduct intensive weapons tests and military drills because the (US-led build-up) now in the Asia-Pacific area is not good for Beijing………,.”http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/china-launches-test-missile-capable-carrying-nuclear-warheads-europe-us-1468574
US is Hoarding Nuclear Weapons for a Real ‘Armageddon’, Nature World News By Brian Stallard, 2 Oct 14 Government auditors were recently looking into why exactly the United States is falling behind in disarming itself of its old nuclear weapon surplus, and they stumbled upon an unusual excuse: asteroid defense.
According to a report detailing an audit of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) conducted earlier this year, US officials are hoarding some of its enriched uranium components – canned subassemblies (CSAs) – just in case they need to pull a real-world recreation of scenes straight out of the movieArmageddon.
NNSA officials told us that CSAs associated with a certain warhead indicated as excess in the 2012 Production and Planning Directive and being retained in an indeterminate state pending senior-level government evaluation of their use in planetary defense against earthbound asteroids,” the report reads.
And while the NNSA had initially scheduled these same “excess” CSAs to be dissembled by 2015, they have since been identified as an “irreplaceable national asset.”
If there’s anything Hollywood ever put on the silver screen that could actually happen, Armageddon certainly wouldn’t be on the top of the list. However, NASA has confirmed in past studies that if a dangerous asteroid were safely broken into smaller pieces, it could be rendered harmless, as these smaller bits would just burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. …….
critics of this nuclear defense idea are saying its fantastical and potentially just a facade.
Jay Melos, a planetary studies expert at Purdue University, recently told The Wall Street Journal that this all may just be “an excuse for keeping the nuclear arsenal together.”…http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/9298/20141002/hoarding-nuclear-weapons-real-armageddon.htm
AF approves special pay for nuclear career fields, US AirForce, October 02, 2014 WASHINGTON (AFNS) –
Assignment incentive pay and special duty assignment pay for select total force nuclear career fields became effective Oct. 1, following Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James’ recent announcement.
“The purpose of these special pays is to incentivize Airmen to volunteer for and perform duties in a particular career field, location and/or special assignment where the scope of responsibility and required skills exceed those of other Airmen in the same career field and rank,” said Brig. Gen. Brian Kelly, director of force management policy.
Select officers and enlisted members serving in eleven nuclear career fields and assignment areas will receive between $75 and $300 per month. Nuclear careers fields selected for these special pays include enlisted service members assigned to command post, nuclear aircraft maintenance, security forces, missile maintenance, aircraft armament systems, nuclear weapons and support personnel who deploy to the ICBM complex. Missile launch, security forces and missile maintenance officers will be eligible to receive special pays as well……..http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/503220/af-approves-special-pay-for-nuclear-career-fields.aspx
Hypocrisy of U.S. Congress increasing nuclear warheads despite accidents at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)
Congress pushes nuclear expansion despite accidents at weapons lab Caty Enders in New York theguardian.com, Tuesday 30 September 2014
Weapons watchdog says government’s position ‘increasingly hypocritical’ as US prepares to increase production of warheads in spite of safety and environmental concerns
This month, the Department of Energy released its initial findings into one of the worst American nuclear accidents since the end of the cold war. On February 14, a 52-gallon drum containing radioactive waste from nuclear weapons production exploded at a storage facility near Carlsbad, New Mexico, exposing 22 workers to radioactivity and leading to the closure of the facility. In its preliminary briefing, the DOE recommended a 7,000-point checklist that must be met in order to reopen the facility and indicated that congressional support for the plan was strong, despite a price tag that would likely run into the billions of dollars.
The closing of the facility, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the nation’s only such repository, has caused a storage backup of radioactive materials at a time when Congress and the Department of Defense, together with New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), are gearing up to dramatically increase production of nuclear weapons cores to numbers not seen since the cold war. In a report to Congress last month, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) outlined specific recommendations for a nuclear production plan under which as many as 80 explosive plutonium cores – 3.5in spheres that trigger an atomic bomb – would be created per year by 2030.
The Los Alamos proposal, which aims to increase plutonium core production at the nuclear facility thirtyfold from 2013 levels, leaves various environmental, fiscal, and political questions unanswered.
Los Alamos, which the CRS report cites as the only plausible place for the slated nuclear expansion, happens to have a staggeringly poor history of safeguarding war-grade nuclear materials. A federal study last month found the nuclear facility unprepared to respond to emergencies; environmental violations abound; and a former employee was recentlysentenced to a year in federal prison for trying to sell nuclear secrets to the Venezuelan government.
The plan, which has already been quietly adopted in broad terms by the House and Senate armed services committees as part of the 2015Defense Authorization Act, is expected to contribute an estimated $355bn for nuclear weapons development over the next decade. The spending would seem to stand in stark contrast to President Obama’s stated position on nuclear weapons…….http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/29/congress-nuclear-weapons-new-mexico-radioactivity
Japan had a dual use nuclear program. The public program was to develop and provide unlimited energy for the country. But there was also a secret component, an undeclared nuclear weapons program that would allow Japan to amass enough nuclear material and technology to become a major nuclear power on short notice.
That secret effort was hidden in a nuclear power program that by March 11, 2011– the day the earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant – had amassed 70 metric tons of plutonium. Like its use of civilian nuclear power to hide a secret bomb program, Japan used peaceful space exploration as a cover for developing sophisticated nuclear weapons delivery systems.
The United States deliberately allowed Japan access to the United States’ most secret nuclear weapons facilities while it transferred tens of billions of dollars worth of American tax paid research that has allowed Japan to amass 70 tons of weapons grade plutonium since the 1980s, a National Security News Service investigation reveals. These activities repeatedly violated U.S. laws regarding controls of sensitive nuclear materials that could be diverted to weapons programs in Japan. The NSNS investigation found that the United States has known about a secret nuclear weapons program in Japan since the 1960s, according to CIA reports. Continue reading
As the US launches new military actions in the Middle East, the groups say getting information about the military’s use of DU in weaponry and its long-term effects is as urgent as ever. According to “In a State of Uncertainty,” a report by the Netherlands-based organization PAX, Iraq has been subject to the largest use of DU munitions of all areas of conflict and test sites, conservatively estimated to be at least 440 metric tons, though the United Nations Environment Programme has estimated an amount up to five times that based on satellite imagery. Iraqi civilians thought to have been exposed to DU and remaining debris have suffered high rates of cancer and birth defects and U.S. veterans report unexplained illnesses.
US urged to clarify depleted uranium policy as A-10 gunships deploy to the Middle East http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/us-to-deploy-a-10-gunships-to-the-middle-east 23 Sept 14
The Pentagon has announced plans to send 12 A-10 gunships from the 122nd Fighter Wing to an unspecified location in the Middle East as part of its wider campaign against Islamic State (IS) fighters. The aircraft, which can fire 30mm DU cannon rounds, are designed for use in close air support of grounds troops. However President Obama has given assurances that US troops will not be involved in ground combat operations during the conflict.
In June, Iraq called for a global treaty ban on DU, highlighting the need for technical assistance for clearance and urging the UN and member states to act with more urgency on the issue. The renewed use of DU on its territory when contamination from 1991 and 2003 remains unresolved would be politically problematic. ICBUW strongly urges the US not to use DU and to state publicly that it will not do so. The arrival of the A-10s in the Middle East will coincide with debate over a fifth UN General Assembly resolution expressing concern over DU weapons.
With the aircraft not due in the Middle East until mid-October, there is an opportunity for US campaigners to seek clarification on whether DU will be used. Those in countries forming part of the new coalition, such as France and the UK, should ask their governments whether they endorse any use of DU by US forces in the conflict.
US DU usage policy unclear
The deployment may provide a new test for US policy on DU use – namely when does it view its use acceptable or unacceptable. Following the short-lived use of A-10s in Libya in 2011, the US claimed that no DU had been used – although reserved the right to use it in future. Concern over the potential use of DU in Libya had been raised by parliamentarians in a number of NATO countries, including the UK and Belgium. Analysts expressed surprise at the US decision, as tackling Libya’s armoured vehicles seemed like a logical use for the A-10, a role for which the US claims DU ammunition is critically important. This remains the political line although information revealed earlier this year demonstrated that DU was also used against non-armoured targets, unmounted troops and buildings in Iraq in 2003.
A-10 aircraft fire 30mm PGU-14 armour piercing incendiary DU ammunition from a cannon fitted beneath the cockpit. The GAU-8 cannon normally fires a standard combat mixture of PGU-14 and PGU-13 high explosive rounds, which are pre-loaded on an ammunition belt before the plane takes off. The A-10 has been responsible for more DU contamination than any other platform. In the case of Libya, and if the US statement was correct, then it was the first public acknowledgement by the US that A-10s were being loaded only with the high explosive PGU-13 rounds during combat of this type, although the practice has previously been identified in photographs of A-10 units in Afghanistan.
At issue is therefore whether the US has set itself a voluntary code of conduct that determines whether DU use is acceptable or not in any given conflict. Perhaps it is cost/benefit analysis of perceived military necessity versus impact on public relations? The calculation underlines the continuing global stigmatisation of the weapons, which is also reflected in the increasingly large majorities voting in favour of DU resolutions at the UN General Assembly. It is highly likely that, given the level of concern about the weapons in the region, any use of DU by the US would be a propaganda victory for IS.
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