I usually don't rant of how good or mediocre the AC360 editions are sometimes, I think Eliza does an extraordinary job tearing up and dissecting each show, if you haven't seen the blog and you are into serious in depth critical discussions, I really think you should visit it; it’s the place to go. But tonight, I just can keep my fingers from typing...
In the last edition of Anderson Cooper 360, they had a story about the medical conditions that the soldiers and veterans are facing due to exposure of Depleted Uranium (DU). The consequences are simply horrible. And most of the researches, a mere 16 papers, were cited on the subject from 1994 to 2005; and only half these papers addressed the medical problems of soldiers exposed to DU in the Gulf War.
Articles about the health dangers of DU rarely, if ever, appear in the major media. In a January 2001 press release FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) accused the media of "depleted coverage of depleted uranium weapons." Nevertheless, a great deal of information on DU can be found on the Internet from independent researchers.
But what is Depleted Uranium?
DU is a byproduct of the enriching of natural uranium for use in nuclear reactors. As nuclear waste it is only mildly radioactive, but when it pulverizes in an explosion or fire, its dust is considered potentially hazardous if ingested or inhaled. DU is costly to keep but relatively inexpensive to obtain. Due to their tank armor-piercing capabilities, DU weapons are extremely effective and the reason why the military is so enthralled with them.
On impact, DU produces uranium oxide dust and pieces of uranium explode they produce a firestorm inside any vehicle or structure, resulting in devastating burns and injuries to those who escape immediate death and incineration. On humans, once inside the body, the tiny nanoparticles enter the lungs and blood stream and are carried throughout the body. Veterans from the Gulf War that were assigned to "clean up" the DU after the first Gulf War, all got ill within 72 hours with respiratory problems, rashes, bleeding, and open sores.
Leuren Moret is an independent American scientist who works on radiation and health issues with communities around the world. She is the leading activist against the use of DU, having worked in two nuclear weapons labs, including the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in
"The use of DU weaponry by the
DU travels. DU radioactive particles are picked up by the atmosphere and are transferred by wind storms and air currents. They permanently contaminate vast regions and slowly destroy the genetic future of populations living in those areas. As the Trojan Horse of nuclear war, Moret calls DU "the weapon that keeps on killing." There is no way to turn it off - and no way to clean it up. It meets the
DU weapons were developed by the US Navy in 1968, and were first given to
DU was first used by the
Vieques, which is 20 miles long by four miles wide (32km by 6.4km), is situated off the East Coast of the US commonwealth island of Puerto Rico. Two thirds of the island was owned by the US Navy, which has used it for military practice for the past 60 years. The islands' 33,000 acres are divided into three; an eastern portion used for bombing practice and a western segment, which is used mainly as an ammunition depot. The islanders live in between these two strips. The continuous bombing largely destroyed the fishing industry upon which most islanders relied – with an average per capita yearly income of only $6,562 - forcing them to live mostly of welfare.
Actually, over a third of the island's populations of 9,000 are now suffering from a range of cancers and other serious illnesses. By official figures, the cases of cancer of the breast, cervix and uterus have risen by 300 percent over the last 20 years. Child cancer rates have soared 250% above the national average in the last thirty years.
One of the cases, which is sadly all too typical, is that of Rolando Garcia. Garcia is a father of two young children. He is only 32 years of age, but looks much older. All his body hair has fallen out and he walks with the slow shuffling movements of an old and infirm man. It is a tremendous effort just to cross his living room floor.
Garcia used to work on the bombing range, maintaining military buildings and believes this is when he was exposed to DU. His test results confirm that he is contaminated by a long list of toxic materials including titanium, but the most worrying is uranium. “I had never heard of uranium before this,” he said “but now it looks like it might kill me.”
Many islanders who have never been on the bombing range itself are nonetheless showing high levels of uranium in medical tests. It is believed that they have picked up metals blown off the bombing range by the strong easterly winds that regularly blow across the island.
Military scientist Doug Rokke, one of the world's leading authorities on DU, senses a pattern of environmental racism in the Pentagon's decision to test DU in Vieques and in the Japanese
Unfortunately it is not the first time the Federal Government have reenacted the role of Joseph Mengele with minorities, occupied territories or citizens, while the ones with the right to vote for the political leadership of the United States are more interested in Anna Nicole Smith’s death and Paris Hilton’s herpes outbreak. Do they understand the difference between Saddam’s chemical weapons and the
I hope the next time Anderson Cooper wants to make a tear jearking story about Katyusha rockets, and children playing with its shells, he takes time to explore the other side of the story, the children that are exposed by Depleted Uranium, cluster bombs and chemical burns – an editorial staple at CNNI and Jim Clancy, so there are no excuse! -. As I mentioned to some of you, I’m really bothered, annoyed by the laziness and the lack of vision of the producers of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. They spend millions in advertising to attract new audiences, just to disappoint them by presenting a mediocre newscast. Watching American Morning, the CNN morning show, I’m surprised of how well it is produced. Balanced, diverse, and using all the resources CNN has available worldwide. Like Anderson Cooper 360, it is a long show, but they don’t overuse and abuse with the repetition tool.
So much for a 360 view of the news…