In a new book named “Deadly Dust – Made in the USA: Uranium Weapons Contaminating the World” German author Frieder Wagner gives a detailed account of how the US has contaminated vast territories using depleted uranium (DU) ammunition and the cover-up strategy of the military, industry and governments, as well as those in the media and politics.
Sputnik: Mr Wagner, in your book “Deadly Dust — Made in the USA: Uranium Weapons Contaminating the World” you talk about the use of uranium ammunition. What is especially dangerous about these weapons?
Frieder Wagner: Weapons containing uranium are produced from nuclear industry’s waste (byproducts of uranium enrichment). If, for example, you want to produce a ton of natural uranium fuel rods for nuclear power plants, you get about eight tons of depleted uranium. It is a source of alpha radiation — radioactive and, moreover, very poisonous. It needs to be stored somewhere, and it is not very cheap.
Sputnik: How can it be used in weapons?
Frieder Wagner: About 30-40 years ago, military scientists made a discovery: uranium is almost twice as dense as lead. If you turn depleted uranium into a projectile and give it proper acceleration, then within a fraction of a second it will pierce through tank armor, concrete or cement.
This, of course, was an important discovery. Furthermore, when a shell hits an armored tank the impact produces dust caused by the detonation and the subsequent release of heat energy causes it to ignite and it explodes at a temperature of 3000 to 5000 degrees — incinerating the tank’s interior and destroying it.
Sputnik: But what happens afterwards is also a problem — after the use of DU ammunition, isn’t it?
Frieder Wagner: Yes! After its use depleted uranium, which, as I have already said, is a source of alpha radiation (that is, a radioactive and very toxic substance), burns down to nano-particles that are a hundred times smaller than a red blood cell.
This way, I would say, a sort of metallic gas forms that people can inhale, and which is released in the atmosphere and can be carried anywhere by wind. People who inhale it are at risk for developing cancer.
These nano-particles can also penetrate the body of a pregnant woman, overcoming the barrier between a child and a mother, and affect the health of an unborn baby, can infiltrate the brain and by travelling through the bloodstream end up in any human or animal organ. Everything that goes around the planet, sooner or later settles and, of course, contaminates, in particular, drinking water and everything else.
Sputnik: In what wars have DU weapons been used so far?
Frieder Wagner: It was actively used during the first Gulf war in 1991 against Iraq. The military has admitted that about 320 tons were used. Then in the second war in Iraq in 2003 over 2,000 tons were used. In between, it was used during the war in Kosovo, in Yugoslavia (1999), and in Bosnia in 1995, and after 2001 in Afghanistan, where it still used today.
Sputnik: Your book title says Made in the USA, were these weapons only used by the United States?
Frieder Wagner: They were being developed in several countries at the same time. In Germany, they were also working on these weapons, as, of course, in Russia. However, it was used and on such a large scale, only by the US. They were reckless and they did not pay attention to any possible side effects — just as it was back when the first atomic bombs were used. That’s why I called the book: “Deadly Dust — Made in the USA”.
Sputnik: How did you manage to prove the use of these ammunitions in the course of your research?
Frieder Wagner: For example, the Serbs gave us maps where they showed the locations where depleted uranium was used. When we were in Iraq, we talked to the locals. We traveled to places where large tank battles took place and took soil samples there, as well as dust samples from tanks. Looking at the tank, you can see whether it was hit by an ordinary projectile or a uranium munition.
Uranium munition leaves dust that burns everything around the hole made by the projectile. So you can determine the use of uranium ammunition. In all soil samples, we found depleted uranium. Unfortunately, uranium-236 was also found in most of the soil and dust samples — it is even more intense and poisonous. Its radiation is even stronger and does not occur in nature. It can only be produced artificially during reprocessing of fuel rods. This means that we were able to prove that the military, the United States and its coalition allies used uranium munitions made from spent uranium fuel rods.
Sputnik: Your book is based on the films The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children of Basra (Der Arzt und die verstrahlten Kinder von Basra, 2004) and Deadly Dust (Todesstaub, 2007). What did you see in Basra during your work on the documentary?
Frieder Wagner: It was horrific and still sometimes haunts me in my dreams. These were children with deformities, which we saw in orphanages in Basra and Baghdad. Some of them had such deformities that they had almost nothing human anymore.
There were children without a head or a nose, either with one eye or without eyes at all, with internal organs in a kind of “sack” outside their body. These ‘creatures’ can live only for a few hours, experiencing terrible pain, and then die.
Sputnik: The film “Deadly Dust” is linked to the book, but it is no longer distributed. WDR channel after this film did not make any more orders? Why is that?
Frieder Wagner: My exposes which I sent to WDR, as well as to the ZDF channels were rejected. Then I contacted an editor at WDR, for which I always made good films and with which I always had good relations with, because these films had doubled or trippled their ratings, and asked him: “What’s going on here?”” And after some hesitation he said: “Yes, Frieder Wagner, someone must tell you this. WDR considers you a ‘difficult’ person. And most importantly, the topics you suggest are especially hard. Right now I’ve got nothing more to tell you.” And that when I understood everything. It was in 2005.
I can also tell you the story of how, for example, a female editor at ZDF offered the TV channel a story on the use of these weapons during the war in Yugoslavia and also in Croatia. She wanted to talk about it with me prior so I could share my experiences. But when her boss found out that she wanted to talk to Frieder Wagner, he refused to pay for her trip — without any further explanation.
Sputnik: The so-called “deadly dust” is, as you have already described it, is spread by the wind. So should the use of uranium ammunition, in fact, be considered a war crime and banned?
Frieder Wagner: This is definitely a war crime. The dust from southern Iraq is carried to the north by the constant storms, the so-called desert storms — for example, to Erbil, where it meets the mountains and can’t travel further as the mountains make it difficult for it to go past towards Turkey. So this huge mass of dust settles in Erbil.
We, for example, took samples of beef from around Erbil, and this is what we found out: depleted uranium used in ammunition has a characteristic atomic “fingerprint”. In northern Iraq we found the same “uranium fingerprint” as in the south. This means that the uranium dust that had originally settled in the south of Iraq is now also in the north, and children are now getting sick there and are born with deformities. It is now spreading all over the world.
Sputnik: Have the victims of uranium munition use in Kosovo or, for example, in Iraq, tried to go to court?
Frieder Wagner: So far no such attempts have been made in Kosovo or Iraq. Now in Kosovo, a whole group of lawyers are working on a lawsuit against NATO, because after the war they unleashed, people were injured, fell ill and died. The morbidity rate has increased by 20 to 30 percent, and there are more effected each year. So there will be an attempt to file a lawsuit.
Out of the approximately two thousand Italian soldiers stationed in Iraq and Kosovo, 109 have later developed cancer and died — this is proven information. 16 families, out of the 109 dead, filed lawsuits and won their cases. The courts ordered the Italian state or the country’s Ministry of Defence to pay them compensation. Since each cancer was of a different type, the payout amounts differed. But they ranged between 200,000 and 1,4 million euros.
Sputnik: How are things in Germany? Have there been lawsuits filed by the soldiers of the Bundeswehr?
Frieder Wagner: The German Ministry of Defense constantly denies any connection to this. Our soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan and Kosovo. About 100,000 soldiers served in Afghanistan, and we found out that about 30% of those who returned got sick, although at first, of course, they do not notice this. If they subsequently marry and have children, then there’s a great risk that their children will have disabilities.
These children will have the same toxic substances in their DNA as their parents. And this will be passed on for several generations — from children to grandchildren and to great-grandchildren.
Sputnik: But none of these people ever filed a lawsuit?
Frieder Wagner: In Germany there were no such precedents. About 600 servicemen went to court in the United States who could not appeal on their own behalf, but they filed lawsuits on behalf of their children who were born with developmental disabilities. And we’re not talking about a mere 90 or even 900 million pay out, but about billions of dollars now. The United States, of course, will try to delay the adoption of a ruling as much as it is possible and hope for a “biological” resolution of the situation — that is, that the plaintiffs will simply die.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
33ft ‘frozen dragon’ pterosaur found in Canada
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 PaleoEquii
Cryodrakon was absolutely enormous.
Palaeontologists have identified one of the largest flying creatures ever to live on planet Earth.
This gargantuan creature, which soared through the Cretaceous skies over 76 million years ago, has been named Cryodrakon boreas, which means ‘frozen dragon of the north.’
Originally discovered in Dinosaur Provincial Park in southern Alberta 30 years ago, the partial skeleton had been mistaken for another genus of pterosaur until very recently when a new analysis enabled experts to finally recognize it as a new species.
Thought to stand 9ft tall and with a weight of 250kg, this enormous flying reptile would have likely feasted on just about anything, including small dinosaurs.
Its 33ft wingspan – which would have made it similar in size to a small plane – is almost three times that of the wandering albatross which has the largest known wingspan of any living bird.
“These are among the most popular and charismatic of all fossil animals,” said Michael Habib from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. “They have been inspiration for countless movie monsters, they were critical parts of global ecosystems worldwide during the age of dinosaurs, so they are key to understanding the ecology and extinctions of that time.”
“Just like flying animals today, [they] could carry important clues about how animals at the time responded to major changes in climate.”
Meteor Fireball Streaking Across the North Carolina Sky Captured by Dashcam
A car dashcam recorded a fireball streaking across the night sky in North Carolina.
An ABC11 viewer recorded the video Thursday night while driving on Raleigh Road in Wilson toward Airport Boulevard.
In the top right of the screen, a bright light can be seen entering the frame and streaking toward the horizon for about three seconds.
According to the American Meteor Society, as many as 20 witnesses from South Carolina to Virginia reported seeing something similar around 8:07 p.m.
With all of the reports are taken into consideration, AMS projects the fireball’s trajectory happened off the coast of Morehead City.
Defending the Amazon, Indigenous Rights & Planetary Integrity
As the Amazon Rainforest crisis persists, our inability to protect our planet poses an existential threat to all of Earth’s inhabitants. As the sky recently turned black over Sao Paulo, Brazil because of smoke (thousands of kilometers away) from the fires that is so thick it can be viewed by NASA space satellites, the world’s leaders were assembled at the G-7 summit in Europe, seemingly more interested in exchanging sophomoric insults than solving the world’s most pressing and urgent problems. According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, almost 73,000 forest fires have been documented this year alone. That’s an alarming 84% increase from what was observed in 2018.
As Indigenous groups and conservationists scramble to defend the lungs of our planet, Brazil’ President Jair Bolsonaro audaciously shrugged off the news and blamed NGO’s and Indigenous groups for the glaring uptick in fires in the Amazon. Since taking office in January, Bolsonaro has promised to roll back environmental protections and indigenous rights in order to exploit the Amazon for increased farming and mining, and he has made good on that promise.
Invasion of indigenous territories are on the rise in Brazil, and indigenous groups are increasingly under threat as titans of industry within mining, logging, and animal farming continue to encroach upon indigenous land and destroy precious parcels of the Amazon for commercial exploitation. Bolsonaro has emboldened these invasions. Recently, a group of heavily armed miners invaded indigenous land in Northern Brazil and assassinated one of the community’s indigenous leaders.
Indigenous peoples in Brazil are once again on the front lines today of one of the most brutal attacks on their rights and on the forest in recent history. We’re now seeing the drastic rollback of 30 years of progress on human rights and environmental protection in Brazil under Bolsonaro’s regime, which romanticizes Brazil’s past when military dictatorship took helm and presided over wanton destruction of the forest. The Munduruku people have been resisting encroachment and destruction of their land for centuries, and their fight (along with other indigenous groups and the very spirit of the Amazon jungle itself) is more urgent than ever as Brazil’s government and commercial industries continue to violate with impunity.
The tragedy currently taking place in the Amazon is indicative of a broader cultural problem in regards to our relationship with our planet. 1/5th of all the world’s plants and birds and about 1/10th of all mammal species are found in the Amazon. Earth has lost half its wildlife in the past four decades. Based on an analysis of thousands of vertebrate species by the wildlife group WWF and the Zoological Society of London, our way of life has presided over the destruction of 60% of our animal populations since 1970. The report calculates a global “ecological footprint,” which measures the area required to supply the ecological goods and services humans use. It concludes that humanity currently needs the regenerative capacity of 1.5 Earths to supply these goods and services each year.
With the planet’s population expected to grow by 2.4 billion people by 2050, the challenge of providing enough food, water and energy (while sustaining planetary health) will be difficult. This should be the real “RED ALERT” placated all over the media, as the shocking and rapid decline of planetary biodiversity poses an imminent catastrophe that plagues all of us, requiring urgent and bold alterations to our way of life.
That being said, we have more than enough resources to profit food and shelter to billions of people. Solutions done seem to be the problem, it’s human consciousness, greed and ego.
Outrage is an understandable response to the Amazon crisis, but not sufficient to redress the problem. We need to take individual action in our daily lives by altering our lifestyles. One of the most under-reported aspects of Amazonian deforestation is our addiction to consuming meat. Beef, soy, palm oil and wood drive the majority of tropical deforestation.
Animal agriculture is devastating for the Earth. Raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk uses about 70% of agricultural land, and is a primary factor in the proliferation of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.
“1.2 billion farmed animals are slaughtered globally every week for human consumption. In one week, more farmed animals are killed than the total number of people killed in all wars throughout history. Although these animals are treated as commodity, they are — in fact — sentient beings — like your pet cat or dog. We tend to assume that only vegans and vegetarians follow a belief system — but when eating animals is not a necessity (which is the case in much of the world today) — then it is a choice, and choices stem from beliefs. “Carnism” is a dominant philosophy — as eating animals is just the way things are — yet it runs contrary to core human values such as compassion, justice, and authenticity. And so — they need to use defense mechanisms that distort our thoughts and numb our feelings so that we act against our core values without fully realizing what we are even doing.” ~Dr. Melanie Joy
The challenges that face our planet, our indigenous family, and our own imminent future are immense. It is easy to feel discouraged, angry, and hopeless about the state of the world, but the ability to harness humanity’s intelligence, creativity and compassion to steer the planet in a new direction is with us right now. We can take individual responsibility today, which can resonate immediately and create waves of influence that can lead to a collective change in behavior and attitudinal shift towards our relationship with nature and with ourselves. This change starts from within, and this work begins with each of us making the choice to defend and protect this wondrous planet which has so graciously hosted our livelihood.
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