Depleted Uranium changing the earth as we know it
Rahab S Hawa
governments and concerned groups worry about increased industrial emissions of
greenhouse gases and its effects on the planet, the role of the military in
climate change has been ignored.
crises occur, it is usually only the civilian economy that is called upon to
rectify the balance, while military programmes are rarely taken to task,' says
Dr Rosalie Bertell, renowned scientist and nuclear activist.
According to her, the
military has got away scot-free from responsibility for polluting the
environment and ecological disasters.
In her path-breaking
book titled 'Planet Earth: The Latest Weapon of War' (2000), she cited
examples from the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the NATO bombing in Kosovo.
These wars have not
only destroyed lives and property, they have contaminated large areas of land
for years to come.
According to Dr.
Bertell, the hundreds of burning oil fires during the Gulf War was the 'worst
man-made pollution event in history'. It led to environmental and climatic
predicted fiercer monsoons due to greater warming, acid rain, forceful storms
and severe flooding all over the globe.
'In time...a huge
typhoon struck Bangladesh on 1 May, killing more than 100,000 people...Soviet
scientists reported very high levels of acid rain in Southern Russia.
Satellite images showed smoke and darkened snow in Pakistan and northern
India,' she said.
'Astronauts [on] the
space shuttle Atlantis reported so much haze shrouding the Earth.
...Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences claimed that dense clouds
from the Gulf War were also responsible for the disastrous floods which took
place in their country,' Dr. Bertell recalls in her book.
Heavy storms were
reported over Eastern Europe. 'There was severe flooding from Bavaria to
Czechoslovakia with several deaths, destruction of farmlands, and bridges
washed away. Rail lines throughout Austria were submerged and the Danube River
reached record heights,' she added.
In both the Gulf War
and in Kosovo, depleted uranium ordnance was used by the US and NATO forces on
a large scale. This has led to contamination of land, air and water with
long-term effects on human health: just as in Vietnam, where the US military
deliberately targeted the environment and destroyed and contaminated millions
of acres of land with 'Agent Orange' and other toxic chemicals.
But this devastation
pales in comparison to the havoc that the military is now capable of wreaking
on planet earth.
The vast experiments
that the military, especially the US, have been conducting over the decades
involving experiments with the ozone layer, manipulation of the weather and
use of wave technology to probe inside earth itself, is in preparation for
wars that will be launched in the 21st century.
experiments and research 'are not just about exciting scientific exploration.
Space is the next battlefield', meaning that the military is taking war into
space. They are 'going to fight in space,' she quotes.
'Because of the
secrecy shielding military research, it is not always easy for the public to
understand the possible consequences', Dr Bertell says.
Beginning in 1946 in
the Pacific, nuclear atmospheric testing by the US and later, the Soviet Union
and the UK, have seriously damaged the environment.
According to Dr.
Bertell, 'the 300 megatons of nuclear explosions between 1945 and 1963 had
depleted the ozone layer by about 4%'.
Although the first
ozone hole had begun to heal in the 1980s, in 1986, civilian scientists
established the existence of a second ozone hole in the Antarctic.
estimated that a 1% loss of ozone would result in 1-3% more ultra-violet
radiation reaching the Earth,' she writes. 'This would increase the skin
cancer rate and affect all life forms,' she added.
In the 1990s, US
military experiments with nuclear-powered rockets increased and the launching
of plutonium into space became a routine activity.
space missions were highly dangerous as plutonium could be dispersed over
large areas of the earth in an accident.
According to Dr.
Bertell, the first major space accident seriously affecting Earth took place
in April 1964 when the US rocket SNAP-9A was aborted and the 17,000 curies of
plutonium it was carrying scattered over the globe. The plutonium is still
detectable in soil and the bones of people and animals.
'In 1997, there were
two SNAP-9A rockets in orbit - each carrying 17,000 curies of plutonium and
each planning on [the] completion of their mission to disperse the plutonium
as the 1964 rocket had done,' she warns.
Because of the secrecy
surrounding these space plans, the public are not aware of the dangers
involved in these projects especially when 'the history of the space programme
is littered with disasters'.
The weapons of war in
the new millennium would involve the use of planet earth itself as a weapon,
harnessing the power of natural processes for war.
At the Peoples' Health
Assembly in December 2000 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Dr. Bertell revealed to a
shocked and incredulous audience that 'the latest weapons in the arsenal of
the US military is Planet Earth itself ... and weather will be one of the
worst destructive weapons by the year 2025'.
Dr. Bertell was
referring to how engineered earthquakes and tornadoes could wreak havoc on
populations and nations.
According to her book,
electromagnetic weapons 'have the ability to transmit explosive and other
effects such as earthquake induction across intercontinental distances to any
selected target site on the globe with force levels equivalent to major
For the past 40 years,
the US military has conducted experiments on the earth's atmosphere using
waves and chemicals.
Attempts to gain
control of the weather, through environmental engineering with experiments
involving laser and chemicals to ascertain whether they could damage the ozone
layer over an enemy; cause damage to crops and human health through exposure
to the sun's ultraviolet rays, have been carried out by the military.
Chemicals like barium
and lithium have been released above the ozone layer creating spectacular
light displays and glowing artificial clouds, which were seen in North America
during the 1980s and early 1990s.
These compounds are
most destructive of the 'ozone layer' and cause further chemical changes to
the earth's atmosphere.
According to Dr.
Bertell, 'changes in the earth's atmosphere bring about corresponding changes
in the Earth's weather and climate'.
Another method is the
use of very low frequency electromagnetic waves in weather modification
experiments. These waves can pass through solid earth and oceans and have been
used by the military to probe the upper atmosphere and the inner structure of
extremely low frequency (ELF) waves, for instance, can be used to convey
mechanical effects and vibrations at great distances through the Earth. They
can manipulate the weather, creating storms and torrential rains over an area.
These waves have the
potential to generate earth movements. 'It has the capability to cause
disturbance of volcanoes and tectonic plates, which in turn, have an effect on
the weather,' she states.
earthquakes are known to interact with the ionosphere (the atmosphere 50-373
miles above the earth's surface). In fact, many of the earthquakes that
occurred in recent years were preceded by certain unexplained phenomena, says
Some of the examples
in her book include the Tang Shan earthquake in China, which occurred on 28
July 1976, and left 650,000 people dead. The catastrophic event was preceded
by an airglow, said to have been caused by Soviet ELF wave experiments to heat
The other was the San
Francisco earthquake. According to Dr. Bertell, unusual ultra low frequency
waves were detected in California on 12 September 1989. These waves grew in
intensity and finally subsided on 5 October. On 17 October, they appeared
again with signals so strong that they went off the scale. Three hours later,
the earthquake took place.
In fact, a Washington
Times report in March 1992 said, satellites and ground sensors detected
mysterious radio waves or related electrical and magnetic activity before
major earthquakes in Southern California, Armenia, Japan and Northern
California between 1986 and 1989.
The earthquake that
hit Los Angeles on 17 January 1994 was also preceded by unusual radio waves
and two sonic booms.
coincidences have never been explained ... it seems highly probable that some
of these earthquakes have been a result of human activity, not natural
forces,' said Dr. Bertell.
Tellingly, the US
Secretary of Defence, in 1997, commented on new threats posed by terrorist
organizations 'engaging in eco-type terrorism whereby they can alter the
climate, set off earthquakes, and volcanoes remotely through the use of
'The military has a
habit of accusing others of having capabilities they already hold,' said Dr.
Bertell in response.
These experiments by
the military on the earth's atmosphere have seen an increase in freak weather
throughout the globe, says Dr. Bertell.
'Between the 1960s and
the 1990s, major natural disaster rates have increased by a factor of 10,' she
According to her, the
EL Nino in 1997-98, which was blamed for abnormal weather conditions
worldwide, was actually preceded by violent disruptions and climatic
destabilisation a year earlier.
In 1996, Dr. Bertell
described the severe flooding that occurred in the Indian subcontinent
affecting Nepal, India and Bangladesh in which millions were left homeless. In
China, floods killed hundreds while tens of thousands had their homes and
At the same time,
Canada was hit by torrential rains, flooding, tornadoes, hail and
thunderstorms - all very abnormal climatic conditions destroying property,
livestock and lives.
Heavy snowfall, not
seen in decades, appeared in South Africa, cutting off food supplies and
taking lives due to the extreme cold.
During the week ending
19th July, earthquakes rocked the French Alps, Austria, Southern Italy,
Northeast India, Japan, Indonesia, the Kamchatka peninsular, and Southern
Mexico. In New Zealand, a volcano erupted.
Tremors were reported
in Kenya, Germany, the Greek Islands, Turkey, northern Sumatra, Bali, the
central Philippines, New Zealand's North Island, eastern Japan, central Chile,
El Salvador and the Alentian Islands, all within the week ending 26 July, she
According to her,
'While some of the events of 1996 may have been 'acts of God', certainly, the
overall volume and ferocity was anything but normal'.
'Because of the
intimate connection between the Earth's atmosphere and its weather, it is not
surprising to find that military activities have had an impact on local and
regional weather patterns,' she writes.
The fact that military
activities can cause freak weather by accident as well as deliberately as part
of geophysical warfare, is indeed a frightening prospect for the planet.
More so, when we know
so little about 'the natural cycles of Earth and the impact of human
activities on it to make good predictions of what will happen when human
activities interfere with them,' she says.
predictions are based on the natural history of our planet and are meaningless
in the face of random experimentation on major Earth systems in the upper
atmosphere and the bowels of the planet,' she adds.
Clearly, 'the military is
also contributing to some of the most intractable survival problems of the
twenty-first century,' she notes.