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October 3, 1996

Demand for an Investigation into Pentagon's Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons and Gulf War Syndrome

The International Action Center, founded by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, demands that a full investigation be launched into the Pentagon's use of Depleted Uranium weapons during the Gulf War to reveal its connection to Gulf War Syndrome. The US Army Environmental Policy Institute Report of 1994 shows that the military is well aware of the drastic health and environmental risks associated with the use of DU weapons which are highly toxic and radioactive.

The recent press reports on the use of untested vaccines on GI's, the unprotected destruction of weapons facilities, and the ensuing cover-up by the Pentagon demonstrate the callous criminal negligence of the military in its handling of the entire situation surrounding Gulf War Syndrome (GFS). The only reason these reports are now surfacing is because of the sheer number of GI's requesting medical attention.

Of the 697,000 US troops who served in the Gulf, 90,000 have reported medical problems ranging from respiratory, liver & kidney dysfunction, memory loss, headaches, fever, low blood pressure, and birth defects among their newborn children. However, none of these reports have addressed the use of DU weapons, which could potentially be the greatest health and environmental risk of the entire war. Given the number of GI's seeking medical attention for the effects of GFS, the media has a responsibility to investigate this connection.

During the Gulf War, munitions and armor made with Depleted Uranium were used for the first time in combat history. Over 940,000 30-millimeter uranium tipped bullets and "more than 14,000 large caliber DU rounds were consumed during Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield." (U.S. AEPI Report 1994) These largely untested weapons were used indiscriminately throughout the siege of Iraq with no concern for the health and environmental consequences of their use. Between 300 and 800 tons of DU bullets are now scattered on the ground in Iraq and Kuwait. Up to 70% of the depleted uranium within these weapons aerosolizes on impact and as radioactive dust it is easily ingested. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people, both victims of war and combat soldiers, have suffered the effects of exposure to these highly toxic, radioactive weapons.

The Pentagon fears a full investigation into the effects of these weapons. "When DU is indicted as a causative agent for Desert Storm illness, the Army must have sufficient data to separate fiction from reality. Without forethought and data, financial implications of long-term disability payments and health-care costs would be excessive." (U.S. AEPI Report 1994) The use of these radioactive weapons does not represent a one-time accident, they are now a conventional weapon in place throughout the world. The shrapnel has a half-life of 4.4 billion years.

The International Action Center is currently working with organizations across the country to prepare a book exposing the Pentagon's cover-up of DU weapons and is organizing an international campaign to ban the use of Depleted Uranium weapons.

International Action Center; 39 W. 14th St., #206; New York, N.Y. 10011.

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