- If you lived in the northern Strait of Georgia
in the area of Texada, Lasqueti, Hornby, Denman, Comox, Quadra, and Cortes
Islands in the late 1980s and early 1990s, you or your family may
have witnessed or been affected by this activity. The Merchant Legal
Group, lawyers for the Agent Orange class action suit at Camp Gagetown,
would like to hear from you.
- Saturday morning, April 15, 2006, I was listening to
a favourite radio station, Malaspina College radio CHLY-FM, from Nanaimo.
They were interviewing Leuren Moret, a geophysicist from Berkeley CA,
who had worked at US nuclear labs.
- She went on for 40 minutes about the horrors of depleted
uranium (DU) in munitions, which releases radiation into the atmosphere
and its medical effects on, for instance, the first Gulf War veterans,
where it was first used in quantity. Over 500,000 out of 700,000 vets
are now on disability for something called "Gulf War Syndrome,"
a 'disease' with many symptoms identical to radiation sickness. Or the
test range off Vieques, Puerto Rica, where the residents are suing the
US Navy for all the cancer, etc. That test range was finally moved to
Rockhampton, Australia, where birth defects are starting to show up. Part
way through the interview, she said, "The US navy used to test fire
these munitions in Puget Sound until the local residents complained. They
then moved north across the border to Nanoose Bay and now test in Canadian
- Nanoose Bay means the Whiskey Gulf test range which is
only 30 miles southeast of where I was sitting.
- I had just been told I was 30 miles downwind of a nuclear
- I went into a bit of an anxiety attack with all the attendant
brain chemicals associated with "fight or flight," where the
risk is usually assessed fairly quickly. But the risk assessment of when
and how much DU was only partially answered 11 days later, (and for that
period some friends thought I was a bit off.) I was certainly running
- I started on the internet where googling 'du Nanoose
Bay' brought up 16 sites but nothing conclusive. (There are now more than
ten times the sites!) Googling 'du' confirmed the horrors of its use,
the quantities used in the first Gulf War, the Bosnian carpet bombing
(where Rumanian and Bulgarian atmospheric testing detected dirty radioactive
isotopes found only in spent nuclear fuel rods, what's called RU), the
Afghanistan and Tora Bora bombings, and the second Gulf War, where the
US admits to using 2.5 million kg.
- And its definition: when uranium is 'enriched,' what
is left of the original uranium is 'depleted' to 70% of its original
radioactivity. There is a lot more of the depleted stuff than the enriched
stuff, and its storage had always been a problem.
- It was first used by the Germans in l943 when their tungsten
supply was blockaded, according to A. Speer. Tungsten is used in armour
piercing munitions. Replacing it with DU was more effective, DU being
more dense, and had the added 'benefit' of being a gas weapon!
- Yes, it is an excellent armour piercing weapon, but what
is rarely mentioned is DU's pyrophoric qualities. As a metal, it ignites
and burns like magnesium at an intense 2-to-3000OC. Water does not put
it out. It ignites at only 170OC, meaning it's on fire as it comes out
of the barrel of the gun, or, if used as a bomb, it ignites on impact,
burning, vapourizing almost entirely, and condensing to tiny, hollow spheres
with a density less than water that then float on the wind and water,
and are just the right size to lodge in lungs. Essentially that 70% radiation
is released to the atmosphere just as an atomic bomb releases its radiation
to the atmosphere but in smaller doses.
- DU tips, coats, and is solid in munitions from handgun
caliber to 5000 pound bombs. Considering the quantities used (conservatively
3 million kg.), those small doses apparently add up to the radiation
released by 400,000 Nagasaki A-bombs (500,000 by another source). I don't
know how to judge those numbers. There are 67 million kg. DU munitions
'prepositioned' in South Korea on three US bases!
- The DU storage problem was solved and in fact DU is given
free to the munitions manufacturers.
- All this information wasn't helping my anxiety and I
still had nothing solid about Whiskey Gulf. I phoned a UBC professor who
has been working on nuclear issues, asking whether he knew anything about
DU testing in Whiskey Gulf. For 20 minutes we had the strangest conversation
where, in a loud voice, he would say that the range is only used for torpedo
testing, loudly that DU is safe, while in between, in a quiet voice, he
would say that DU is 'highly chemically and biologically reactive' and
that the Navy were using an anti-cruise missile gun, the Phalanx, that
shot bursts of 60-120 rounds of 20 mm cannonfire at a time, up to 2000
per minute an enormous quantity of DU vapourizing into the atmosphere.
At the end he was saying, in the loud voice, that he believed that the
15 hijackers took out the World Trade Centre with nobody else aware.
Loudly I agreed. Quietly he told me if I came on information to contact
him by mail, not to phone, not to e-mail. The implication that I was talking
on a monitored phone, and his anxiety, did not help me with my anxiety.
- I started noticing clicking on my line.
- I still didn't know my risk from exposure and it seemed
the only definitive way would be to scientifically measure the radiation
in the environment around me. Not knowing how best to test for this I
called the Provincial Public Health Officer on the morning of April 25.
She was not interested, couldn't help me and put me on to the Ministry
of the Environment where a bureaucrat was interested, suggesting looking
at disease statistics, but couldn't help me on how to measure radiation.
He put me on to the Ministry of Health Radiation Protection Branch, adding,
"though they might have shut it down." (Slight rise in anxiety:
- Other phone calls to government offices, ending up at
the Ministry of Health Radiation Protection Branch, were less informative
- Wednesday April 26th, I was talking to an unnamed source
who used to be in the Canadian military and who was on board a Canadian
naval ship when not only was the US navy test firing DU munitions in
Whiskey Gulf but so was the Canadian navy and at least three other NATO
navies, not only the Phalanx but every gun! This was in the late l980s,
early l990, prior to their use in the l99l Gulf War. This source could
face military justice for divulging this and therefore insists on anonymity.
This information has since been confirmed by another ex-military person.
- Finally, some sense of time and quantity though I don't
know about prior to this period (the Phalanx was being installed at this
time). From then to now is also vague though the Phalanx has to be test
fired twice a month to maintain correct calibration, 400-700 rounds each
time. Presumably Canadian and US warships in these waters with this gun
are test firing them still.
- There is a concerned group in the Puget Sound that tries
to keep track of this activity. There is no Canadian counterpart. In other
test ranges it has taken years to get them to stop or move. The Brits
tested in the Scottish Firth of Forth and it was the same procedure of
secrecy, deny, deny and move finally. Here we have testing that has been
secret for close to 20 years in which at least five countries are complicit.
- Given this information my local MP did nothing more than
open a file.
- I am not a political animal and, feeling against a wall,
I came back to my original concern about my health and started researching
uranium detoxification. DU in the body acts as a toxin like other heavy
metals such as mercury and lead, plus it is radioactive, doing DNA damage
wherever it is. DU stays in the body much longer than other forms of uranium,
according to H.D.Sharma.
- Detox research consistently referred to the Japanese
experience after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The people that were irradiated
but lived had a particular diet miso, shitake and kombu [kelp].
The miso and shitake boosted health while the kelp detoxed. After Chernobyl,
the Russians did a lot of research using this knowledge to test various
algae and seaweeds, finally fixing on the brown kelp laminaria japonica
and making a 40:1 extract that is sold in the US under the trade name
Modifilan and in Canada as brown seaweed extract. I've been through the
six month detox and feel much better.
- After following the news of the CFB Gagetown NB Agent
Orange class action suit and noting the similarities to Whiskey Gulf,
I contacted the law firm about a possible suit here. After some correspondence,
the prinicpal of the firm, Tony Merchant, agreed to pursue the action,
stating that he thinks the case "ought to move forward." He
will need more input than just mine.
- I lost a father and a number of then-young friends to
diseases associated with uranium exposure (thyroid, brain, stomach cancers,
etc.) in the early l990s, only over three years after DU was tested heavily
in Whiskey Gulf.
- Does that sound familiar to anyone living in the area
of Texada, Lasqueti, Hornby, Denman, Comox, Quadra and Cortes Islands,
or have you witnessed this activity?
- If so you could write your concerns to:
- Re: File Number 402540, Merchant Law Group
- #100-2401 Saskatchewan Drive
- Regina SA Canada S4P 4H8
- My interest in a litigious, rather than a political approach,
is first to publicize this criminal activity and then possibly to seek
justice. Feeling relatively fit for 60, I probably do not qualify for
compensation, but some of you may.
- G. Turnbull is an ordinary Canadian citizen concerned
about some particular activities of his government.
- More Information
- Globalresearch.ca, wise-uranium.org, mindfully.org and
stop-du.org all have good information and links about DU. Look for the
2001 report to the World Health Organization, Radiological Toxicity of
DU. The Moret interview is archived at radio4all.net. You may wish to
use public access internet to avoid being on a list.
- Air Force Environmental Assessment
- "Target 63-10 is the only air-to-ground gunnery
range in the United States cleared to employ 30mm depleted uranium rounds
from A-10 aircraft. The target area is restricted and is more than 10
miles from any community, facility, or home.
- "A single depleted uranium penetrator, about the
size of an adult's little finger, is capable of penetrating the armor
of a tank. As the round penetrates the armor, it burns at extremely high
temperatures and sprays hot metal in the interior of the armored target.
- "Depleted uranium is the by-product of converting
natural uranium into enriched uranium. Depleted uranium is 40 percent
less radioactive than natural uranium and is twice as dense as lead. The
small depleted uranium penetrator weighs 1.7 pounds.
- Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, http://www.nellis.af.mil/news/