October 10, 2007
Doug Rokke, Ph.D., Major (ret.) USAR, was the inside whistle blower on the US use of radiological weapons against the people of Iraq and - by their being exposed to these weapons - US soldiers and their families. Now, the AP reports on US plans to develop and use radioactive weapons for assassination and contamination of "populated or otherwise critical areas for long periods of time." Following the report, Rokke comments on continued use of radioactive weapons by the US and notably by Israel against Palestinians and the people of Lebanon. (See the link below to the photo of an Israeli army soldier loading his tank with a US-supplied uranium weapon during Israel's war against Hezbollah in July, 2006.) -
U.S. Considered Radiological Weapon
By ROBERT BURNS
WASHINGTON (AP) — In one of the longest-held secrets of the Cold War, the U.S. Army explored the potential for using radioactive poisons to assassinate "important individuals" such as military or civilian leaders, according to newly declassified documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Approved at the highest levels of the Army in 1948, the effort was a well-hidden part of the military's pursuit of a "new concept of warfare" using radioactive materials from atomic bombmaking to contaminate swaths of enemy land or to target military bases, factories or troop formations.
Military historians who have researched the broader radiological warfare program said in interviews that they had never before seen evidence that it included pursuit of an assassination weapon. Targeting public figures in such attacks is not unheard of; just last year an unknown assailant used a tiny amount of radioactive polonium-210 to kill Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London.
No targeted individuals are mentioned in references to the assassination weapon in the government documents declassified in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the AP in 1995.
The decades-old records were released recently to the AP, heavily censored by the government to remove specifics about radiological warfare agents and other details. The censorship reflects concern that the potential for using radioactive poisons as a weapon is more than a historic footnote; it is believed to be sought by present-day terrorists bent on attacking U.S. targets.
The documents give no indication whether a radiological weapon for targeting high-ranking individuals was ever used or even developed by the United States. They leave unclear how far the Army project went. One memo from December 1948 outlined the project and another memo that month indicated it was under way. The main sections of several subsequent progress reports in 1949 were removed by censors before release to the AP.
The broader effort on offensive uses of radiological warfare apparently died by about 1954, at least in part because of the Defense Department's conviction that nuclear weapons were a better bet.
Whether the work migrated to another agency such as the CIA is unclear. The project was given final approval in November 1948 and began the following month, just one year after the CIA's creation in 1947.
It was a turbulent time on the international scene. In August 1949, the Soviet Union successfully tested its first atomic bomb, and two months later Mao Zedong's communists triumphed in China's civil war.
As U.S. scientists developed the atomic bomb during World War II, it was recognized that radioactive agents used or created in the manufacturing process had lethal potential. The government's first public report on the bomb project, published in 1945, noted that radioactive fission products from a uranium-fueled reactor could be extracted and used "like a particularly vicious form of poison gas."
Among the documents released to the AP — an Army memo dated Dec. 16, 1948, and labeled secret — described a crash program to develop a variety of military uses for radioactive materials. Work on a "subversive weapon for attack of individuals or small groups" was listed as a secondary priority, to be confined to feasibility studies and experiments.
The top priorities listed were:
_ 1 — Weapons to contaminate "populated or otherwise critical areas for long periods of time."
_ 2 — Munitions combining high explosives with radioactive material "to accomplish physical damage and radioactive contamination simultaneously."
_ 3 — Air and-or surface weapons that would spread contamination across an area to be evacuated, thereby rendering it unusable by enemy forces.
The stated goal was to produce a prototype for the No. 1 and No. 2 priority weapons by Dec. 31, 1950.
The 4th ranked priority was "munitions for attack on individuals" using radioactive agents for which there is "no means of therapy."
"This class of munitions is proposed for use by secret agents or subversive units for lethal attacks against small groups of important individuals, e.g., during meetings of civilian or military leaders," it said.
Assassination of foreign figures by agents of the U.S. government was not explicitly outlawed until President Gerald R. Ford signed an executive order in 1976 in response to revelations that the CIA had plotted in the 1960s to kill Cuban President Fidel Castro, including by poisoning.
The Dec. 16, 1948, memo said a lethal attack against individuals using radiological material should be done in a way that makes it impossible to trace the U.S. government's involvement, a concept known as "plausible deniability" that is central to U.S. covert actions.
"The source of the munition, the fact that an attack has been made, and the kind of attack should not be determinable, if possible," it said. "The munition should be inconspicuous and readily transportable."
Radioactive agents were thought to be ideal for this use, the document said, because of their high toxicity and the fact that the targeted individuals could not smell, taste or otherwise sense the attack.
"It should be possible, for example, to develop a very small munition which could function unnoticeably and which would set up an invisible, yet highly lethal concentration in a room, with the effects noticeable only well after the time of attack," it said.
"The time for lethal effects could, it is believed, be controlled within limits by the amount of radioactive agent dispersed. The toxicities are such that should relatively high concentrations be required for early lethal effects, on a weight basis, even such concentrations may be found practicable."
Tom Bielefeld, a Harvard physicist who has studied radiological weapons issues, said that while he had never heard of this project, its technical aims sounded feasible.
Bielefeld noted that polonium, the radioactive agent used to kill Litvinenko in November 2006, has just the kind of features that would be suitable for the lethal mission described in the Dec. 16 memo.
Barton Bernstein, a Stanford history professor who has done extensive research on the U.S. military's radiological warfare efforts, said he did not believe this aspect had previously come to light.
"This is one of those items that surprises us but should not shock us, because in the Cold War all kinds of ways of killing people, in all kinds of manners — inhumane, barbaric and even worse — were periodically contemplated at high levels in the American government in what was seen as a just war against a hated and hateful enemy," Bernstein said.
The project was run by the Army Chemical Corps, commanded by Maj. Gen. Alden H. Waitt, and supervised by a now-defunct agency called the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project. The project's first chief was Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves, the Army's head of the Manhattan Project that built the first atomic bombs. The radiological project was approved by Groves' successor, Maj. Gen. Kenneth D. Nichols.
The released documents were in files of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project held by the National Archives.
Among the officials copied in on the Dec. 16 memo were Herbert Scoville, Jr., then the technical director of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project and later the CIA's deputy director for research, and Samuel T. Cohen, a physicist with RAND Corp. who had worked on the Manhattan Project.
The initial go-ahead for the Army to pursue its radiological weapons project was given in May 1948, a point in U.S. history, following the successful use of two atomic bombs against Japan to end World War II, when the military was eager to explore the implications of atomic science for the future of warfare.
In a July 1948 memo outlining the program's intent, before specifics had received final approval, a key focus was on long-lasting contamination of large land areas where residents would be told that unless the areas were abandoned they probably would die from radiation within one to 10 years.
"It is thought that this is a new concept of warfare, with results that cannot be predicted," it said.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Depleted Uranium Situation Worsens Requiring Immediate Action
By President Bush, Prime Minister Blair, and Prime Minister Olmert
Dr. Doug Rokke, PhD.
Major, retired, U.S. Army
former Director, U.S. Army Depleted Uranium project
July 23, 2007
I have served our nation in the military since 1967 during Vietnam, during Desert Storm, during planning for OEF / OIF, and during many other operations. As an Army officer I was tasked by name by General Schwartzkopf to clean up the friendly fire mess caused by uranium munitions during Desert Storm. Consequently, based on my-our team reports I was recalled to active duty as the U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Project director to develop congressionally and Pentagon mandated but currently ignored Depleted uranium munitions operations training, currently ignored U.S. Army Regulation 700-48 specifying environmental remediation procedures, and currently ignored soldier common task training - Task number: 031-503-1017 "RESPOND TO DEPLETED URANIUM/LOW LEVEL RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS (DULLRAM) HAZARDS", STP 21-1-SMCT: Soldiers Manual of Common Tasks, Headquarters Department of the Army, Washington, D.C.. Consequently I became exposed, ill, and now fight along with over 400,000 other ill, wounded, and injured veterans - http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/GWVIS_May2007.pdf - to obtain prompt and effective medical care from the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs. Therefore I must provide this call for action "my story" to ensure that all military personnel and their families know of the adverse health risks, environmental problems, and mandatory but ignored actions associated with the use of uranium weapons. What I have learned, observed, and recommend to be completed follows:
The delivery of at least 100 GBU 28 bunker busters bombs containing depleted uranium warheads by the United States and their use by Israel against Lebanese targets has resulted in additional radioactive and chemical toxic contamination with consequent adverse health and environmental effects throughout the middle east. Israeli tank gunners are also using depleted uranium tank rounds as photographs verify. [see photo link below]
Today, U.S., British, and now Israeli military personnel are using illegal uranium munitions- America's and England's own "dirty bombs" while U.S. Army, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Defense, and British Ministry of Defence officials deny that there are any adverse health and environmental effects as a consequence of the manufacture, testing, and/or use of uranium munitions to avoid liability for the willful and illegal dispersal of a radioactive toxic material - depleted uranium.
The use of uranium weapons is absolutely unacceptable, and a crime against humanity. Consequently the citizens of the world and all governments must force cessation of uranium weapons use. I must demand that Israel now provide medical care to all DU casualties in Lebanon and clean up all DU contamination.
U.S. and British officials have arrogantly refused to comply with their own regulations, orders, and directives that require United States Department of Defense officials to provide prompt and effective medical care to "all" exposed individuals. Reference: Medical Management of Unusual Depleted Uranium Casualties, DOD, Pentagon, 10/14/93, Medical Management of Army personnel Exposed to Depleted Uranium (DU) Headquarters, U.S. Army Medical Command 29 April 2004, and section 2-5 of U.S. Army Regulation 700-48. Israeli officials must not do so now.
They also refuse to clean up dispersed radioactive Contamination as required by Army Regulation- AR 700-48: "Management of Equipment Contaminated With Depleted Uranium or Radioactive Commodities" (Headquarters, Department Of The Army, Washington, D.C., September 2002) and U.S. Army Technical Bulletin- TB 9-1300-278: "Guidelines For Safe Response To Handling, Storage, And Transportation Accidents Involving Army Tank Munitions Or Armor Which Contain Depleted Uranium" (Headquarters, Department Of The Army, Washington, D.C., JULY 1996). Specifically section 2-4 of United States Army Regulation-AR 700-48 dated September 16, 2002 requires that:
(1) "Military personnel "identify, segregate, isolate, secure, and label all RCE" (radiologically contaminated equipment).
(2) "Procedures to minimize the spread of radioactivity will be implemented as soon as possible."
(3) "Radioactive material and waste will not be locally disposed of through burial, submersion, incineration, destruction in place, or abandonment" and
(4) "All equipment, to include captured or combat RCE, will be surveyed, packaged, retrograded, decontaminated and released IAW Technical Bulletin 9-1300-278, DA PAM 700-48" (Note: Maximum exposure limits are specified in Appendix F).
DOD leaders are not showing the DU training tapes to military personnel. These three video tapes: (1) "Depleted Uranium Hazard Awareness", (2) "Contaminated and Damaged Equipment Management", and (3) "Operation of the AN/PDR 77 Radiac Set" are essential to understanding the hazards from the use of uranium weapons and management of uranium weapons contamination. DOD leaders must show these tapes to all military personnel involved in the use of uranium weapons and the consequent management of uranium contamination.
The previous and current use of uranium weapons, the release of radioactive components in destroyed U.S. and foreign military equipment, and releases of industrial, medical, research facility radioactive materials have resulted in unacceptable exposures. Therefore, decontamination must be completed as required by U.S. Army Regulation 700-48 and should include releases of all radioactive materials resulting from military operations.
The extent of adverse health and environmental effects of uranium weapons contamination is not limited to combat zones in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan but includes facilities and sites where uranium weapons were manufactured or tested including Vieques; Puerto Rico; Colonie, New York; Concord, MA; Jefferson Proving Grounds, Indiana; and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Therefore medical care must be provided by the United States Department of Defense officials to all individuals affected by the manufacturing, testing, and/or use of uranium munitions. Thorough environmental remediation also must be completed without further delay.
I am amazed that fifteen years after was I asked to clean up the initial DU mess from Gulf War 1 and over ten years since I finished the depleted uranium project that United States Department of Defense officials and others still attempt to justify uranium munitions use while ignoring mandatory requirements. I am dismayed that Department of Defense and Department of Energy officials and representatives continue personal attacks aimed to silence or discredit those of us who are demanding that medical care be provided to all DU casualties and that environmental remediation is completed in compliance with U.S. Army Regulation 700-48. But beyond the ignored mandatory actions the willful dispersal of tons of solid radioactive and chemically toxic waste in the form of uranium munitions is illegal - http://www.traprockpeace.org/karen_parker_du_illegality.pdf - and just does not even pass the common sense test and according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, DHS, is a dirty bomb. DHS issued "dirty bomb" response guidelines, http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/fr-cont.html
, on January 3, 2006 for incidents within the United States but ignore DOD use of uranium weapons and existing DOD regulations. These guidelines specifically state that: "Characteristics of RDD and IND Incidents: A radiological incident is defined as an event or series of events, deliberate or accidental, leading to the release, or potential release, into the environment of radioactive material in sufficient quantity to warrant consideration of protective actions. Use of an RDD or IND is an act of terror that produces a radiological incident." Thus the use of uranium munitions is "an act or terror" as defined by DHS. Finally continued compliance with the infamous March 1991 Los Alamos Memorandum that was issued to ensure continued use of uranium munitions can not be justified.
In conclusion: the President of the United States- George W. Bush, the Prime Minister of Great Britain-Tony Blair, and the Prime Minister of Israel Olmert must acknowledge and accept responsibility for willful use of illegal uranium munitions- their own "dirty bombs"- resulting in adverse health and environmental effects.
President Bush, Prime Minister Blair, and Prime Minister Olmert should order:
1. medical care for all casualties,
2. thorough environmental remediation,
3. immediate cessation of retaliation against all of us who demand compliance with medical care and environmental remediation requirements,
4. and stop the already illegal the use (UN finding) of depleted uranium munitions.
References- these references are copies the actual regulations and orders and other pertinent official documents:
Photo by David Silverman (Getty Images ) Image 71440735 http://editorial.gettyimages.com
See also http://www.traprockpeace.org/keith_baverstock_23june05.htm
and generally for resources on DU: