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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