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Tuesday, May 30, 2000 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | NEXT: Colombia
2000-05-30

Former US Army Depleted Uranium Expert Alleges Campaign of Harassment Against Him for Speaking Out

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For years, the Pentagon has attempted to keep discussion of depleted uranium weapons out of the public eye. These are the radioactive munitions the US has used in Iraq, Bosnia, Vieques and, most recently, Yugoslavia. During the Gulf war, US and British warplanes fired off more than a million rounds of DU-coated bullets, and in Kosovo the Pentagon admits to using 31,000. [includes rush transcript]

With thousands of veterans getting sick, particularly Gulf War vets, as well as increased cancer rates in areas where so-called DU has been used, there is an increasing global movement to ban its use and to hold Washington accountable for using it in the first place. One of the key figures in this movement is Dr. Doug Rokke. He headed up the DU cleanup program for the US Army in Iraq and was fired from that job for speaking out about the health effects of its use. He himself is now sick — he believes from his contact with the radioactive weapon — and has dedicated his life to getting out the truth about DU and fighting for it to be banned.

After repeated warnings from military officials and others to stop his activities speaking out about the effects of DU, someone shot through a bedroom window of Dr. Rokke’s home on April 30. Just this past Tuesday, his locked house in Jacksonville, Alabama was ransacked.

Guests:

  • Dr. Doug Rokke, a former US Army Depleted Uranium Project Director.
  • Patricia Axelrod, a military scientist who specializes in weapons systems analysis. She has studied the use of Depleted Uranium in Iraq and Yugoslavia.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN:

Memorial Day in Puerto Rico was marked by protest. About thirty US veterans from the island of Vieques have turned in their medals. They’re showing their anger over the use of the island for a US Navy bombing range. The veterans placed their ribbons and their discharge papers in a wooden box during a ceremony in San Juan. They plan to send the box to President Clinton along with a letter demanding the Navy stop exercises on Vieques.

Earlier this month, US Marshals arrested more than 200 demonstrators who blocked exercises at the site for nearly a year. Last year, a Navy jet dropped two bombs off-target, killing a civilian security guard in the bombing range. Among other weapons used against the island have been the dropping of napalm, as well as depleted uranium. And depleted uranium is what we’re going to talk about today.

For years, the Pentagon has attempted to keep discussion of DU weapons out of the public eye, DU standing for “depleted uranium.” These are the radioactive munitions the US has used in Iraq, in Bosnia, in Vieques, and most recently in Yugoslavia. During the Gulf War, US and British warplanes fired off more than a million rounds of DU-coated bullets, and in Kosovo the Pentagon admits to using 31,000 rounds.

With thousands of veterans getting sick, particularly Gulf War vets, as well as increased cancer rates in areas where so-called DU has been used, there is an increasing global movement to ban its use and to hold Washington accountable for using it in the first place.

One of the key figures in this movement is Dr. Doug Rokke. He heads up the depleted uranium cleanup program for the US Army in Iraq and was fired from that job for speaking out about the health effects of its use. He himself is now sick — he believes from his contact with the radioactive weapon — and has dedicated his life to getting the truth about depleted uranium out and fighting for it to be banned.

Well, after repeated warnings from military officials and others to stop his activities speaking out, someone shot through a bedroom window of Dr. Rokke’s home on April 30th. And last Tuesday, his locked house in Jacksonville, Alabama was ransacked.

We are going to continue our conversation with him today — we began it on Friday — as well as another guest who will be joining us in a minute, Patricia Axelrod, a military scientist who specializes in weapons systems analysis. We’ll talk about her own story, as well, of harassment, as she tries to get information out.

But Dr. Rokke, we’ll begin with you. Tell us what has happened, as you continue to speak out.

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

Yes, we’ve been working trying to get environmental remediation of all areas affected by depleted uranium. That includes Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Kosovo, Okinawa, Panama, Vieques in Puerto Rico, and then throughout the United States. And that’s because of the deliberate actions by the US Department of Defense to use uranium munitions both in war and in training.

The other thing we’ve been attempting to do is obtain medical care for all the effected individuals. This includes approximately over 120 — about 120 friendly-fire casualties, another 250 or so individuals charged with the recovery of damaged or destroyed US equipment that was contaminated with uranium munitions. And then also we’ve been working on trying to get medical care for all the individuals, Iraq, Kosovo, Serbia, Vieques, all over the place.

The pressure has been coming on very strong to cease and desist. I’ve had active-duty military personnel come up to me pointblank in the face and say, “You must stop.” I’ve had emails that have come in from individuals all the way up to the Pentagon, some that are friends, some that are not, saying, “You must stop.” And all of this stuff. It’s been an ongoing thing.

What has happened is, and it seems as we get closer and closer and more and more of the world is listening, the US Department of Defense and the government is trying to absolve themselves of all responsibility for the use of uranium munitions and the consequent health and environmental effects.

AMY GOODMAN:

Dr. Rokke, let’s talk specifically about what has happened to you in the last few weeks, on April 30th and then again this past Tuesday.

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

Previously, right before April 30th and the week preceding is when I’d had direct warnings from active-duty military personnel that I must cease and desist my activities to obtain medical care and environmental remediation. Those warnings were coming in not only verbally, direct, face-to-face, but then — and again, there was individuals who were saying this is what’s coming down, what you need to do. Emails were also coming in on warnings.

On April 30th, a Sunday night, about 9:30, a round was fired through an upstairs bedroom window of my house. This is 9:30 Sunday night in a professional residential neighborhood all full of university professors, ministers, postmasters, stuff like that. And that just missed my youngest son.

I was on the phone, working on another environmental issue at that time. The issue we were working on is the PCB contamination caused by Monsanto, the health and environmental effects in Anniston, Alabama, Calhoun County, which were up in northeast Alabama.

Family started yelling and screaming, “What’s happening?” I kind of put the phone down, and then, you know, didn’t pay a whole lot attention. Then they started yelling and screaming again. Then I realized that a round had been fired through an upstairs bedroom window and just missed my son.

So that was kind of there. Cops got right here right away, you know, investigating, trying to find out what was happening. The only thing we heard was dogs barking down at the end of the street. But, you know, you’re not going to find anything.

[inaudible] has been coming in to cease and desist the activities. We’ve been speaking out, doing radio programs and all different kinds of radio programs, trying to get television documentaries, stuff in the newspapers. And then, again, on this Tuesday — that would be the 23rd. Today’s what? Thursday.

AMY GOODMAN:

I’m just interrupting for one second. Who did — what did you say about cease and desist?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

Well, that I’m supposed to cease and desist, and I’m supposed to stop all of my activities to obtain medical care—forced medical care for all of the DU casualties and stop all of my activities to force environmental remediation for all DU-contaminated areas.

AMY GOODMAN:

I’m confused here. Who has issued a cease-and-desist order against you?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

The—when I got the one in April, that came down through Army chain. Active-duty Army personnel came up to me, face-to-face, pointblank, and said, “This is what the message is, and do it.” [inaudible] this has do with, the United States Navy had deliberately contaminated Vieques, Puerto Rico with uranium munitions, and we’ve been trying to get accountability down there. They did that in preparation of going to battle in Kosovo to use uranium munitions in Kosovo last spring. And that’s a violation of federal law, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission license and all kinds of directives.

AMY GOODMAN:

Do you have any indication of who’s behind this?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

The individuals that have been trying to stop all of this stuff are all the way up into this—what’s called OSAGWI, Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses. That would be Dr. Bernard Rostker, who was Assistant Secretary of the Army and now has just been appointed as Deputy Secretary of Defense. But he’s been one of the individuals that all the work we do, when we did the 60 Minutes piece on December 26th, within twenty-four hours, they were coming back and retaliating verbally and other stuff. I mean, how fast can you get an IRS audit? Do a 60 Minutes piece. Instantaneously.

But the whole thing, and then they came back with their people saying there’s no health effects, no problems, no nothing. And we’re going, wait a minute, I myself am sick. My guys are sick. We have people dead all over the country. We have deliberate use and ignoring all kinds of laws and regulations. So, I mean, you know, it’s been an ongoing thing.

The original memo during—during the Gulf War, I was tasked to, by Headquarters Department of the Army down through General Schwarzkopf, down to D.G. Tsoulos, who was the Third Medical Commander for the US Army, the whole thing over there—and that message from Headquarters Department of the Army assigned me to take responsibility to clean up the depleted uranium mess. In March of 1991, a memo, a thing called the famed Los Alamos Memorandum—and you can pull this up on a whole a bunch of websites—and it was a memorandum that came to us in Saudi Arabia, written by a Colonel Ziehm, Z-I-E-H-M, out of Los Alamos. And it was very clear that no matter what we found, no matter what report we wrote, that we were to lie through our teeth to make sure they could always use depleted uranium munitions for eternity.

So the Department of Defense, you know, they tasked me to clean it up, and Saudi tasked me as project director to develop all the training materials, all the environmental remediation procedures, which we had done and completed by Thanksgiving—no, Christmas in 1995. And then, as the United States Government Accounting Office report that was just released a few weeks confirmed, they ain’t doing it. They’re beyond the law.

AMY GOODMAN:

What was your first indication that the US government, that the Pentagon, was not pleased with what you were saying publicly?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

When I got fired from my job as director of the Bradley Radiological Laboratories, a senior civilian position in charge of all radiological safety training and education for the US Department of Defense.

AMY GOODMAN:

When was that?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

That happened in the December of 1996.

AMY GOODMAN:

On what grounds were you fired?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

Basically, not doing my job. I had raised the questions on why training and education was not provided, why medical care had not been provided, why all of the written orders had been issued by the commanding general for the training and doctrine command has not been complied with. And those orders are all over the websites. On military toxics and those websites, you can pull those orders up in what’s called the DU link.

AMY GOODMAN:

We’ll give out those websites at the end of the program. We’re talking to Dr. Doug Rokke, who is a former US Army Depleted Uranium Project director. I understand you also just lost your job as a professor at Jackson State University.

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

That’s correct. I was a professor of—assistant professor—visiting assistant professor of environmental science and engineering at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. They had a search committee that went through the process to fill the position permanently. The search committee, the department heads, the deans, made a unanimous recommendation that I be kept here, because all the work that we’re doing, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs said, “You’re not qualified,” and said, “Bye”.

AMY GOODMAN:

Dr. Doug Rokke, we’re also joined by Patricia Axelrod, who won a MacArthur grant to do her research on depleted uranium in Iraq and Yugoslavia. She’s a military scientist who specializes in weapons system analysis. Can you talk about your findings and what has happened to you?

PATRICIA AXELROD:

Essentially, I have examined the effects of all America’s weaponry, including those involving what I would prefer to call uranium-238. I think when we call this material “depleted uranium,” we do a disservice to the public and the people and the soldiers at large, because that’s an oxymoron, which is a very, very convenient way for the Department of Defense to marginalize the toxic effect of this. I would really urge everyone to begin to think of this as uranium-238. It is really not depleted of its toxicity and its impact on the citizens and the civilians and the soldiers, in general.

AMY GOODMAN:

Well, can you tell us what you found in your research in both Yugoslavia and Iraq, when it comes to U-238.

PATRICIA AXELROD:

Uranium-238. Well, I found—I went to postwar Iraq. It took me eighteen months to get in, I might add. And eighteen months after the war, I was and traveled to Iraq to conduct an independent bomb damage assessment of the impacts and consequences of what had been termed a clean war. And I found at that time, already, that in 1992 there were beginning to be civilian effects in Iraq. There were increased cancers. And I might add that, already by that time in 1992, veterans were coming home ill. And it was all a great mystery in those days.

We didn’t really understand all the secrets that had been kept from us in the course of that war, including myself, I might add. I learned a great deal in Iraq. And I learned that this was certainly not a clean war, that it was a filthy war, that as many as 300,000 civilians had died in the course of the bombing, and that there were already a great number of sickened civilians and veterans returning home. So I was able to correspond that on-site inspection with interviews, countless interviews, with veterans returning home. And by 1993, I had conducted—at the behest of the National Institute of Health, I had conducted a literature review of the factors contributing to what we then called Desert Storm Syndrome. And I was able to do that via a review of the literature databases available to not only the National Institute of Health, but to the larger medical profession and defense departments as a whole. So as early as 1993, I cited uranium-238 as a possible factor contributing to Persian Gulf War illness.

AMY GOODMAN:

Patricia Axelrod, we have to break for stations to identify themselves. When we come back, I want to ask you about what you found in Yugoslavia in your soil samples there when it comes to depleted uranium. And I also want find about what happened to you personally, as you and Doug Rokke investigate depleted uranium. In the last segment of the program, we’ll be talking about a massacre that took place in Colombia by a US-trained Colombian military unit. You’re listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN:

You’re listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now!, the Exception to the Rulers. I’m Amy Goodman. As we continue our conversation with Dr. Doug Rokke, former US Army Depleted Uranium Project director, and Patricia Axelrod, military scientist who specializes in weapon systems analysis.

Patricia Axelrod, you talked, just before the break, about your work in Iraq. You also took soil samples in Yugoslavia after the bombing. What did you find?

PATRICIA AXELROD:

I was in—actually, by August 1st of last year, I traveled to Yugoslavia. The firing had just barely ended, as I think your own correspondent knows. You courageously had some people over there, I understand.

AMY GOODMAN:

Our producer, Jeremy Scahill.

PATRICIA AXELROD:

Yeah. I conducted an independent bomb damage assessment. I went from site to site, from bomb site to bomb site. And I brought with me a Geiger counter. And I didn’t have the best—and certainly, I surely didn’t have the best technology available to me, but I did have a Geiger counter that was suitable for detecting Alpha, which is a primary emission of uranium-238. And in doing so, I gathered soil samplings. That’s correct. I brought back soil samplings and water samplings, as well. And I might add, I would love the opportunity to have them tested. I don’t have the funds available to me.

I did find—what I found were spikes over there. As I went from bomb site to bomb site, in and out of the buildings that had been bombed, and as I interviewed people in the surrounding neighborhoods, and as I crawled around on my hands and knees through the wreckage of those buildings with a Geiger counter—and Doug knows this is the correct procedure with the technology I had. I crawled around on my hands and knees and tried to find what might have been evidence where there were missiles used, and I found spikes. What I would do is I’d find, you know, I’d get a spike on the Geiger counter, and then I’d do my best to get a soil sampling or a dirt sampling or a piece of whatever it might be from a site, and I brought it home with me. That’s correct.

AMY GOODMAN:

And those spikes, let me ask you, Doug Rokke, do they indicate that uranium is present?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

Yes. Yes, from the information that Patricia and I have talked about before, it does indicate that, yeah, uranium-238 was probably present in those locations. Back when all this was starting — again, we were meeting with Department of Defense officials up at the Pentagon and had gone up to Washington — they had specifically told us that they would absolutely under no circumstances use uranium munitions in Kosovo, because all the warnings we had. And then we come to find out, lo and behold, that they had not only lied to us, but they had used them, and then they claimed here just recently, where the United Nations, Kofi Annan forced them to admit that they sent 31,000 rounds.

Uranium munitions were fired from the A10 aircraft at a rate of 1,000 rounds per minute. And that’s the acknowledged rate from the Department of Defense and my own personal firsthand experience, have been involved in this now for ten years.

AMY GOODMAN:

Patricia Axelrod, can you say what has personally happened to you since you’ve been doing this research?

PATRICIA AXELROD:

Yeah, I’d like to clarify something, though. I went through greater Yugoslavia. I went to places where there were missiles used, and my findings, as I went from missile crater to missile crater, were that there was certainly the suggestion of uranium-238 used in the missile ordinance.
I’m not talking about that which — the thirty-millimeter rounds fired by the A10s. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about throughout greater Yugoslavia, I believe that uranium-238 was incorporated in the missiles, either in the warhead or in the fins, for the purpose of effecting bunker busting and for digging down to the buried assets of the Yugoslavian military.

You know, part of the Yugoslavian strategy, war strategy, and an essential part of their strategy is to bury their assets. So I — and what I mean by that is they take their tanks, they take their munitions, they take everything and their soldiers, as well, if they can, they quarter their soldiers out amongst the civilian population, and they take their assets and they bury them underground, in keeping with Soviet tradition. And if you want to hit those assets, if you want to effect a harm, you have to use something more than conventional weaponry. I am saying to you that I have evidence, I believe, that substantiates the fact that America incorporated uranium-238 into the missiles that were used through greater Yugoslavia.

AMY GOODMAN:

And this is very significant, because the military has not admitted that any U-238 was used in these missiles, only in the depleted uranium rounds that were fired into Kosovo.

PATRICIA AXELROD:

Well, don’t — may I just qualify this one more time now? Depleted uranium is, in fact — let’s call it what it is: it’s uranium-238. Don’t call it “depleted uranium” if you’re referring to the Gatling gun rounds, the thirty-millimeter rounds, or if you’re talking about, as I may be talking about here, or as I am talking about, missile rounds. Call it what it is. It’s uranium-238. There’s nothing depleted about it. It may be depleted of uranium-235, but if we are going to allow semantics to confuse the issue to such a point that the Department of Defense successfully spreads its disinformation about the effects and impacts of uranium-238 on human beings and the environment at large, if we do this, if I do this, I’m doing you a disservice. So let me correct you here, if you don’t mind, as I tell you that we should in the future, everyone, we should speak of this for what it is: uranium-238. And I will say that Doug Rokke, and his conversations with me over the years has bludgeoned that fact into me. Am I correct, Doug?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

Yes.

PATRICIA AXELROD:

Yes.

AMY GOODMAN:

So, Patricia Axelrod, can you get to what happened to you, and then we’ll go back to Doug Rokke with the further story of what has happened to him?

PATRICIA AXELROD:

Sure. Well, all I know is this. May I be — in the best tradition of “I’ll be frank, if you’ll be earnest,” I believe that what went on was a subtle campaign of psychological warfare. You know, we who are in the — you know, who have been in this business, we all say in kind of a jaundiced fashion that Big Brother is watching. It’s hard to prove these facts; however, what I would tell you is this. I believe that I have, at a time when I was most vulnerable, most recently, when my mother was dying, the phone, which has probably been tapped for some time, became more problematic than usual. And in the course of life-and-death conversations with the doctors as they concerned my mother’s health, who was at a distance from me, the lines would shut down. The doctors would be cut off, and then they wouldn’t be able to ring me back, so that this kind of a tactic, for instance, which went on for some period of time during also which time it would seem as though I was black-bagged, so to speak — my portable computer, which I dearly loved and carried with me for years and had years and years of my work on it, disappeared out of my house and then reappeared, which was even stranger yet, after some time, after I had already, I might add, already reported it to the police.

I felt as though I was being driven to madness. I’m serious. I was not able to — calls were not able to come in. I was not able to get calls out. The house had — it seemed when I left the house, when I came back, something would be missing. A key document would be missing.

I took to finally going so far as to taping the closet door shut so that I could tell when someone came in. And I’d come back, and the tape would be disrupted. Now, this all sounds — there’s an old saying that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be. Other things happened, which I don’t choose to discuss, I’m going to say to you.

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

Very serious.

PATRICIA AXELROD:

Very serious things. And I would say to you that this was a campaign that was conducted for the express purpose of silencing me at a time when I was most vulnerable. Now, I’m a tough broad, I want you to know this. I went to Iraq by myself, and I went to Yugoslavia by myself, and I felt safer in Yugoslavia, not in Iraq, but I felt safer in Yugoslavia than I did in my own home.

I’m not prone to make these statements. I understand how this makes us sound. So I don’t wish to belabor it, but I would tell you that I do believe that I was a victim of a calculated campaign.

AMY GOODMAN:

And when did it start happening?

PATRICIA AXELROD:

It happened for about a month. It happened in March.

AMY GOODMAN:

And in terms of releasing your work, when did it happen?

PATRICIA AXELROD:

What do you mean, in terms of releasing my work?

AMY GOODMAN:

In terms of, did you go public with any of your findings?

PATRICIA AXELROD:

I always go public with my findings in every way, in any way that I can. I am working — I am a committee person on the State of California’s Reserve Officers Association Committee on Persian Gulf War Illness. And I always welcome the opportunities to go public. And most recently, I’ve been looking at the radiological hazards at the McCullen Air Force Base, and I’ve been very public in my expressions of concern for the radioactive waste at McCullen Air Force Base, which I believe is being handled haphazardly at best. So, yes, I’m always public.

AMY GOODMAN:

Doug Rokke, you said you’ve only told half your story.

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

Yes, this last week has turned into rather a nightmare. On Tuesday of this week, we returned home to find that the house had been broken — gotten into. I mean, no forced entry or anything. Everything had been gone through. They opened file cabinets, drawers, dresser drawers, storage cabinets, everything. Absolutely — literally the whole house had been gone through completely. And that, we found very disturbing. It’s not necessarily we didn’t find anything missing.

PATRICIA AXELROD:

Did you file a police report, Doug?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

Yeah, the police came here in force to start looking. They had a retired United States Army senior CID agent. That’s Criminal Investigation Division agent, one of the foremost senior ones they’ve ever had, came here and looked. And what they said, it was totally professional, and it was intimidation. The same thing that happened, that happened on Tuesday of this week, and again, you know, police came and everything. So we’re having verbal and written warnings, shot through the window, house invaded, totally gone through from top to bottom.

And then this morning, we had a television producer — we were filming another television documentary, and I went to pick the individual up at his hotel and come back to the house, and we pulled in his car and my truck, and we were making a lot of noise, pulled in the front, and we got into the house. The patio door was — everything that had been locked was wide open. It looked like somebody had ran out through. They stepped in the dog doo, which was out right behind the door. And then you could see where they traced it right on down across the patio porch and then went over the fence. So that’s twice in one week.

AMY GOODMAN:

Is your family willing to pay this price, Dr. Rokke?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

Well, it’s been going on now — we made a commitment to help everybody, because I was assigned to do the job. It’s frightening, it’s scary. I’ve lost multiple jobs because of this work. You know, we were moved down here to Alabama from the University of Illinois specifically to head up this work, and then once started asking questions every which way, it was kind of like how fast can you get out of here?

One of the things that we’re finding all over the world, once this happened to me, and I talked to congressional staffers, senior, senior congressional staffers out in the House, congressional House Oversight — Governmental Oversight and Reform Committee. And they had had multiple reports of individuals also experiencing this same thing. So it’s not here. We’ve had reports in England. Again, I got another report here in the last twenty-four hours where a very similar thing happened to individuals in England that are working on the DU issues.

The most unique thing about this entire thing, especially in Kosovo, is we’ve had direct correspondence with individuals in the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. They have informed us, we got this in writing that has been published, and I know it was published in the San Francisco Examiner newspaper. Kathleen Sullivan did the story, just again was bylined just a few weeks ago, where the United Nations people and the Geneva people working in there have acknowledged that the contamination in and around Kosovo and Serbia is far greater than acknowledged and that the order to squash the reports came from the US Department of Defense and NATO headquarters. It’s totally astonishing.

And what this is all about is total accountability. Vieques is a perfect issue. The United States Navy, we know for a fact, went down there and fired uranium munitions — again, these are solid as uranium-238 munitions — into Vieques, in preparation for battle in Kosovo, in violation of all kinds of laws and regulations. The Navy has admitted in writing. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, we’re working with those individuals, and there’s no accountability. Zero.

The crazy thing about uranium munitions — and everybody needs to understand this — and Patricia, you know, the two of us are firsthand, on-the-ground investigators and clean-up-the-mess-type people that have been into Iraq, and over there, you know, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, doing this firsthand.

AMY GOODMAN:

Why is this so threatening to the military, the information you’re putting out? And maybe we can link this to Phil Berrigan. I also understand that you were stopped from giving expert testimony in his case. He’s serving time in jail now with other Ploughshares activists for hammering on A10 Warthog planes that fired depleted uranium into Yugoslavia, into Kosovo.

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

That’s correct. They called me as an expert witness, and other individuals from all over the country, to come in and testify at that trial. Again, right before we left, the warnings were coming down: do not participate, do not help them. OK? And the Berrigans, what had happened with the A10, the A10 is the primary contributor.

What everybody needs to know, the uranium munitions is totally astonishing. Each individual thirty-millimeter round, which is uranium-238 munitions fired from an A10, each individual round is 300 grams, about a three-quarters of a pound, of solid uranium-238. We fired over 900,000 of those in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. We have acknowledged firing — you know, they have acknowledged firing over 31,000 rounds in Kosovo alone.

PATRICIA AXELROD:

Don’t forget tanks. Don’t forget tank firepower.

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

And then we don’t know what the full number was fired in Okinawa for sure, nor down in Vieques in Puerto Rico. Now, the A10, which is even more important — and again, this one of those little hidden things that didn’t come out — the pilots flying the A10 out of Japan just hurt seven individuals and blew up 170 houses in South Korea last week from an A10.

PATRICIA AXELROD:

I think what you need to remember about —

AMY GOODMAN:

I just want to interrupt for one second, because that’s unbelievable information that almost no one has heard before. Can you repeat that, Dr. Rokke?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

The United States military, military operations, taken off from Osan Air Force Base in Japan, flew into a range in South Korea, and they fired off range, and they basically destroyed, blew up, wrecked 170 houses and injured seven people.

This is the second time that’s happened over in Okinawa. In Okinawa in '95 and ’96, the US Marines fired uranium munitions, again, on — and I can't pronounce this correct — [Torishima] island, and again I was asked at that time by the government to figure out how to clean this up. They never told the Japanese for over a year they did it.

AMY GOODMAN:

How do you know this happened in Korea?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

I was — requested assistance came to me here at the University from non-governmental organizations throughout Europe and also a direct request for help from the Koreans.

AMY GOODMAN:

If people want to get more information, Dr. Rokke, you were just mentioning some websites?

DR. DOUG ROKKE:

Yes, the military toxics project website. They can go to that, and then link into the DU link site that’s located. One of the things that they can pull this stuff up on is www.ngwrc.org, and then click on DU link.

AMY GOODMAN:

Dr. Doug Rokke, I want to thank you very much for being with us, former US Army Depleted Uranium Project director, as well as Patricia Axelrod, military scientist who specializes in weapon systems analysis, studied the use of depleted uranium in Iraq and Yugoslavia. And in the case of the May 8th attack on the Korean village, we’re going to investigate this and hopefully being our listeners a report on this tomorrow.

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