WATCH: CN Live! — ‘Depleted Ukranium’

John Pilger and Declassified UK’s Phil Miller join CN Live! to discuss depleted uranium shells for an offensive Ukraine and the West knows will fail. Will DU be used just to poison ethnic Russians in Donbass?

Guests: John Pilger and Phil Miller. Hosts: Elizabeth Vos and Joe Lauria. Producer: Cathy Vogan.

Depleted uranium shells have been sent to Ukraine, as confirmed by U.K. Armed Forces Minister James Heappey last week. Britain announced last month that it would send the munitions for use with Challenger 2 tanks in Ukraine, a move that immediately escalated nuclear tensions with Russia, with President Vladimir Putin threatening to place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus just days later.

The U.K. move comes amid indications that Kiev is increasingly desperate, to the point of being willing to risk scorching the earth it is fighting for.

Over the last few months documents emerging as part of the Pentagon leak have shown Ukrainian forces are faring far worse than previously reported by corporate media. As reported by Consortium News, the leaked documents “show the long-planned Ukrainian offensive will fail miserably.”

Britain’s decision to send depleted uranium rounds to Ukraine represents more than a dangerous escalation in the West’s proxy war with a nuclear-armed power. It is an example of Ukraine’s willingness to target the ethnic Russian population in eastern Ukraine and poison the land it is attempting to retain, but knows it won’t be able to. Depleted uranium will have effects not only on Russian fighters but also on the civilian population for years to come.

Russia intervened in Ukraine after eight years of war by Kiev against the ethnic Russians in the east who declared independence from Ukraine after the U.S.-backed 2014 coup.

The U.S. and British corporate media appear to dismiss concerns of Russian nuclear escalation in response to the use of depleted uranium rounds, and the official line in the West is that such weapons represent a low environmental risk.

However, there are compelling reasons to question the official stance. Depleted uranium rounds were used by U.S. forces in both Iraq wars, as well as in the Balkans in the 1990s. Depleted uranium munitions are heavier than lead and are typically used to pierce the armor of tanks. On impact the metal shears, burns and vaporizes. This process produces toxic radioactive dust.

A 1999 report by The Guardian related the sentiments of scientists speaking in regards to bombing Kosovo with depleted uranium: “One single particle of depleted uranium lodged in the lymph node can devastate the entire immune system.”

In John Pilger’s film documenting Iraq after the first Gulf War, Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq, he spoke with doctors in Basra where they reported a 10-fold increase in cancer deaths. Pilger also spoke with an Iraqi pediatrician who described an influx of congenital deformities never seen before the war.

In the case of the second Iraq War, the most striking reported effects of depleted uranium and other toxic substances were seen in Fallujah, where U.S. forces bombed mercilessly in 2004.

The rise in birth defects in Iraq have been called “catastrophic,” and The Guardian went so far as to publish a piece in 2014 that accused the World Health Organization of covering up the “nuclear nightmare” left behind in Fallujah by the U.S. and U.K. Others have compared the city’s health crisis with that following the U.S. nuclear attack on Hiroshima.

Is this the future faced by generations of ethnic Russians in Ukraine?

With Ukraine set to lose, if slowly, on the battlefield, what is to be gained by taking out a few more Russian tanks if it permanently renders the land a danger to its inhabitants, permeated with toxic dust particles of radioactive heavy metal? How can this decision be viewed as anything but a spiteful admission that that land is being lost, and that “salting” it is a final act of malice against ethnic Russians in Donbass?

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8 comments for “WATCH: CN Live! — ‘Depleted Ukranium’

  1. Ian Perkins
    May 12, 2023 at 12:12

    There’s a significant difference between white phosphorus munitions and those using depleted uranium. The former are extremely nasty when they go off, but if they do, they leave relatively harmless chemicals behind. DU shells, on the other hand, are relatively safe before being fired, but when they go off produce clouds of toxic uranium particles which don’t disappear or become less harmful with time. WP shells in Kenya pose a danger if they don’t go off (the WP can leach into water or soil), and to anyone near enough to get hit by burning globs of it when they do. DU poses a threat when it does go off, and a threat of contamination that will last and last.

  2. Valerie
    May 12, 2023 at 03:16

    Mr. Pilger mentioned Ben Wallace, defence secretary for UK. Following is a statement made by him recently in an article about UK sending long-range missiles to Ukraine:

    “In his speech, the defence secretary laid out some of the ways Russia had been attacking Ukraine – including allegations it had used white phosphorous.

    He said that using such weapons – “which burn at 800C” – is in contravention of “protocol three of the Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons”.”

    Whether this phosphorus allegation is true or not, is immaterial to my point. The fact that Wallace deems it OK to use depleted uranium is consistent with the hypocrisy of the west. As a military personnel, i am sure Wallace is aware of the controversy surrounding DU, and the “jounalistic/eyewitness/Italian judgments” evidence of its danger to all living things.

    • Dianne Foster
      May 12, 2023 at 19:18

      We need to figure out how to stop this genocide.

      • Valerie
        May 13, 2023 at 13:50

        That’s a bit like trying to stop climate breakdown in my opinion, Dianne.

  3. onwards
    May 12, 2023 at 02:35

    A much needed program about this horrific material that causes generations of death and destruction. Not just the killing of the war but death to innocent populations, the soldiers and people not yet born, horrific.
    There has to be absolute urgency in banning this stuff.
    The chain of command in the UK that allowed this to happen must be made public, their photographs posted far and wide through out the internet, and periodically.
    High command is apparently impervious to the human consequences. There must be pushback to prevent these crimes to the living and not yet born.

  4. Tobin Sterritt
    May 12, 2023 at 02:31

    I appreciated this. It was a relatively brief presentation with very pertinent information. A heavier load on my mind, given the ramifications I was not as aware of. This needs to stop. We’re living in a bubble in the U.S., and bubbles should not be tough to burst. Shifting consciousness on the other hand, well…that’s a tougher nut.

  5. Steve
    May 11, 2023 at 15:27

    It’s hard to acknowledge just how evil your own country’s government/rulers actually are. In my case, it is the UK, and I am ashamed of its murderous actions around the world.

    • CaseyG
      May 12, 2023 at 14:15

      Hello Steve:

      sigh—–Evilness in one’s own country?
      It’s never ending. It’s like that ancient poem when nations lie—-

      “Won’t you step into my parlor ,” said the spider to the fly.”

      Both America and the UK seem to have a very horrific “parlor. “

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