And “Depleted Uranium – A Hidden Looming Worldwide Calamity”

Two articles by Stephen Lendman excerpted below. The complete articles can be found at his blog site: Blog Site

byVenezuela’s Bolivarian Movement January 04, 2006

Venezuela today, under its democratically elected President, Hugo Chavez Frias, is imbued with the spirit of Bolivarianism and his Bolivarian Revolution. It’s based on the vision of Simon Bolivar, the Caracas born 17th and 18th century general who defeated the Spanish, liberated half of South America and believed in the redistributive policies that characterize the Chavez government. It also hopes to overcome what Bolivar perceptively characterized as the imperial curse “to plague Latin America with misery in the name of liberty.”

Chavez and his Movement for the Fifth Republic Party (MVR) have created the beginnings of a mass social and political revolution based on participatory democracy and social justice. In a nation in which 80% of the people are poor by any measure, Chavez is a populist hero with mass public support outside the minority middle and upper classes and business interests. He openly proclaims his desire and intent to transform Venezuela into a nation based on democratic socialism as an alternative to its capitalist past. In fact, however, his policies are more gradualist and closer to the European style social democracy than a textbook type socialist state. And since he took office, the private sector is a larger percent of the total economy than before his election, although Venezuela’s oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) and backbone of the economy, is state owned. Nonetheless, instead of previous governments’ policy of recycling the nation’s petrodollars to the U.S., Chavez is using them to grow the Venezuelan economy and fund his social programs. It’s little wonder he engenders the great displeasure of the Bush administration intent on stopping him. It’s already tried to do it 3 times and failed.

Chavez was first elected in December, 1998 with 56% of the vote and began his presidency in February, 1999. >From the start, he began working to implement his vision by fulfilling one of his campaign promises to hold a nationwide referendum. This was done to let the people decide whether to convene a new National Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution that reflected Chavez’s political ideology. It passed overwhelmingly and was followed 3 months later by elections to the Assembly to which members of Chavez’s MVR and selected allied parties formed the Polo Patriotico or Patriotic Axis. It won 95% of the seats enabling Chavez and his allies to draft the new 1999 constitution that changed the country’s official name from Venezuela to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and set the nation on its new and revolutionary course.

The new constitution was put to a nationwide vote in December, 1999 and overwhelmingly approved. It took effect one year later and established the foundation and legal basis for President Chavez to move ahead with his desired structural changes for political, economic and social justice. A key provision of the new constitution (in Articles 83 – 85) mandated quality health care as a “fundamental social right and…responsibility of the state…to guarantee it…to improve the quality of life and common welfare.” It proposed doing it by establishing and administering a national public health system proscribed from being privitized. The constitution also banned discrimination, established the principle of participatory democracy for all Venezuelans, guaranteed free speech and the rights of the indigenous population, and mandated that the government make quality education available to all as well as housing and an improved social security pension system for seniors.

Chavez gained traction to begin implementing his policies in the elections held in July, 2000 for the new constitutionally mandated and less powerful unicameral National Assembly in which the Chavez coalition won a two-thirds majority. Chavez himself ran for a new 6 year term (instead of the 4 year one under the former constitution) and was reelected with 60% of the vote. This victory gave Chavez and his government a mandate to move ahead with his plan to transform the nation in the ways explained below.


Democracy literally means government by the people. It’s the rule by and for common, ordinary people to insure the rights of the majority. In Venezuela, Bolivarian Circles reflect that spirit through direct volunteer public participation in the democratic process. Articles 166 and 192 of the new constitution establish citizen assemblies as a constitutional right to let people to fight for their rights. They allow ordinary people the right to participate in governing along with their elected officials. Founded as a result of a presidential call for them, these Circles in 2003 had over 2 million members. Many Circle activities are currently taken up by the various Misiones (Missions) that now comprise the heart of the government’s social programs. The Circles though play an important part in administering Mision programs in the communities and neighborhoods. They’re autonomous and function independently of political parties with government support but no direct government funding. Their purpose is to defend the Bolivarian Revolution and its constitution primarily on a local level. They also encourage and support people with common interests to organize through cooperatives, associations, committees, neighborhood groups and other formations to be partners with their elected officials in the political process and help form the policies that directly affect their lives and well-being.

Bolivarian Circles have included community and labor leaders working cooperatively with the usual disenfranchised people on local issues of providing health care, education, feeding the hungry, helping small business and much more. In addition, President Chavez implemented Plan Bolivar 2000 to allow the President authority to mobilize the Venezuelan Armed Forces to be used in poor areas of the country to provide health care, food, construction equipment, school tutoring and other services to those most in need.

The Chavez government is also promoting the spirit of cooperation further by encouraging privately owned companies to allow employees more direct say in and control over company operations in return for the government providing added working capital. Under the Chavez plan, companies agreeing would include workers on their boards and share profits with employee cooperatives. So far, almost 200 mostly small companies in need of financial help have voluntarily agreed to adopt this co-management plan, and the government hopes to attract many more…

Full article: Z-Net

Depleted Uranium – A Threat to Venezuela and the
World – January 20, 2006

This essay is a review and expose of the threat posed
by depleted uranium (DU) to all countries as a result
of the U.S. use of it since 1991 in 4 wars and
continues using it every day in Iraq. The health
affects on the U.S. military now serving in Iraq will
likely prove devastating based on the already known
severe affects it’s had on those forces that served in
the Gulf war. That data will be explained later in
this essay.

How can events in Iraq possibly affect Venezuela? It
can do it several ways. As will later be explained in
some detail, thousands of tons of DU weapons have been
used over the past 15 years in Iraq, Afghanistan and
Yugoslavia/Kosovo. All these weapons are “bombs”,
including DU bullets, because when they strike a
target they penetrate deeply and explode. The
explosion causes aerosolization into a fine spray
which then contaminates the air and soil around the
target area. It’s then swept into the air and carried
by winds around the earth as a radioactive component
of atmospheric dust falling indiscriminately
everywhere, affecting every living thing and cannot be

That’s already happening from wars fought far from
Venezuela. But the U.S. military now stores millions
of DU bombs at an unknown number of bases around the
world for possible future use. It’s very likely large
numbers of them are on bases in Latin America and may
be close to the Venezuelan border. Should the U.S. be
bold enough to take an aggressive action again Hugo
Chavez in a fourth attempt to unseat him, it’s almost
certain they’ll use DU weapons in large numbers on
Venezuelan soil and targets causing widespread
radiation fallout and the lethal effects from it.
Potentially millions of Venezuelans could be affected
who would suffer severe future health consequences of
virtually every imaginable type.

I wrote this essay to sound an alarm and alert the
world hoping that if people everywhere know the danger
now and demand a halt to the use of these illegal
weapons it will give the U.S. military pause. I’ve
written this special version of it to the people of
Venezuela, and those supportive of the Bolivarian
Revolution as I am, to make them aware that what’s now
happening in Iraq may also happen on their soil with
the potential devastating consequences that may follow
that cannot be undone.

Each day’s headlines often misinform or divert our
attention from real issues of concern. Prominent in
them now is the threat of a new pandemic caused by
Avian (bird) flu. Ignore them. The threat of so-called
bird flu becoming a pandemic is more a political scare
tactic and potential bonanza for drug company profits
and its major shareholders’ net worth (including
Gilead Sciences, the developer of the Tamiflu drug and
its former Chairman and major shareholder Donald
Rumsfeld) than a likely public health crisis – unless
you live around infected chickens or take an unproven
safe immunization shot. There are much more other
likely killer bacterial and viral threats than Avian
that get little attention. Don’t worry about possible
or unlikely threats. Worry about real ones. Bacteria
and viruses untreatable by anti-biotics are good
examples. So is global warming and many others. But,
there’s possibly one threat that tops all others both
in gravity and because it’s been deliberately
concealed from the public – never discussed, explained
or had any action taken to remediate it. It’s the
global threat from the toxic effects of depleted
uranium (DU), and like global warming, DU has the
potential to destroy all planetary life. How can
something so potentially destructive be hidden and
ignored and why?…


I’m very indebted to Leuren Moret for the data
discussed throughout this article and below. Leuren
is an independent scientist and internationally
recognized expert on radiation, DU and public health.
She’s done extensive research on the environmental and
public health effects of low level radiation from
atmospheric testing fallout, nuclear power plants and
DU weapons radiation in 42 countries, has written
detailed reports and articles on her important
findings, given testimony on the harmful affects of DU
poisoning and is an outspoken critic of DU use. In an
article she authored in July, 2004 she wrote: “The use
of depleted uranium weaponry by the United States,
defying all international treaties, will slowly
annihilate all species on earth including the human
species, and yet this country continues to do so with
full knowledge of its destructive potential.”

Leuren’s work has revealed some shocking facts. Since
the U.S. military first used DU weapons in the 1991
Gulf War, it has released the radioactive atomicity
equivalent of 400,000 Nagasaki nuclear bombs into the
global atmosphere (that’s no misprint) causing
permanent contamination with a half-life of 4.5
billion years. Furthermore, that DU radiation is 10
times the amount released by all atmospheric testing
which in total equaled 40,000 Hiroshima bombs (again,
no misprint). The 2 atom bombs used against the
Japanese killed a likely 300,000 or more people from
the initial blasts and subsequent radiation and
chemical poisoning deaths. To this day, there are
still reported deaths attributed to the bombings. Now
imagine the potential threat to all planetary life
from all the DU weapons used since 1991 and their
continued use in Iraq and Afghanistan – the equivalent
of 400,000 Nagasaki bombings and increasing daily as
U.S. forces now are conducting 4 to 6 daily bombings
of target sites in Iraq alone using DU bombs.

Leuren calls DU “The Trojan Horse of nuclear war – it
keeps giving and keeps killing. There’s no way to
clean it up, and no way to turn it off because it
continues to decay into other radioactive isotopes…”
As it decays, it continues to release more radiation.
DU when used as a weapon in war, as the U.S. has now
done 4 times and continues to do so in Iraq and
Afghanistan and intends to continue using, is Stanley
Kubrick’s fictional Doomsday Machine for real (from
his 1964 film Dr. Strangelove). DU may be the
ultimate weapon of mass annihilation. Unless there’s
a mass worldwide public awakening to this threat to
demand an immediate end to its use for any purpose,
we’re left with little more than the message from the
subtitle of the Kubrick film – stop worrying and love
the bomb–and likely prepare to die.

The greatest damage from DU comes from the radiation
residue after its use. When a DU weapon strikes a
target, it penetrates deeply and aerosolizes into a
fine spray which then contaminates the air and soil
around the target area. The residue is permanent, and
its microscopic and submicroscopic particles remain
suspended in air or are swept into the air from the
tainted soil and are carried by winds around the earth
as a radioactive component of atmospheric dust. That
dust falls to earth indiscriminately everywhere
causing radiation contamination that affects every
living thing and cannot be remediated. The
contamination causes virtually every known illness and
disease from severe headaches, muscle pain and general
fatigue, to major birth defects, infection,
depression, cardiovascular disease, many types of
cancer and brain tumors. It also causes permanent
disability and death. In June, 2003, the World Health
Organization (WHO), without specific reference to DU,
announced in a press release that global cancer rates
will increase by 50% by 2020. WHO is usually
conservative in its estimates. Might they believe
things are potentially far worse? And are they
closely examining the effects of DU to those in combat
areas where these weapons are and have been used?

Those individuals (military and civilian) at or near
target areas are most immediately affected by DU
contamination, especially if they remain there for an
extended time. During the 6 week 1991 Gulf war only
467 U.S. personnel were wounded and about 150 killed.
Out of the 580,000 military personnel who served in
that war, 325,000 were reported to be on permanent
medical disability by the year 2000. It was also
reported then the number was increasing by 43,000 each
year. In fact, the annual increases were even
greater, and by 2004 the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs (the VA) reported over 518,000 Gulf-era
veterans to be on medical disability. It also
reported over 500,000 veterans were homeless. Studies
were also done on veterans whose wives had normal
babies before the war. It reported two-thirds of
post-war births of those studied had severe birth
defects, such as missing brains, eyes, legs and arms
and blood diseases.

There are already scattered early reports of DU caused
health problems from the current Iraq conflict (and
probably Afghanistan) as well as an above normal rate
of still active duty military and veteran suicide and
family violence. As deployments in the current
conflict are much longer than the short Gulf war and
most serving go back for a second or even third tour
of duty, it’s easy to imagine a literal holocaust that
will eventually devastate all military and other
personnel who have or are now serving or will serve in
Iraq and the region. And it likely will have a
similar effect on the wives and husbands of veterans
and their post-service offspring. Once again it must
be emphasized. The U.S. government prior to 1991 had
full knowledge of the devastating effects DU would
cause and still used it, still does and still intends
to keep using it…

Full article: Global Research

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at