My wife and I have included a concern about depleted uranium in our writings now going back almost five years. Recently - as members of a Google group that focuses on Veteran Health issues in Washington State - we received an email from another military veteran group member which included the following:
Since you are a former AF brat, wife of a Viet Vet and mother to soldiers still serving, I would appreciate it if you would contact me. You have been gravely mislead by a bunch of frauds about DU.
What made you even go looking for them (or did they come to you) -- you are the perfect person for them to make a dupe as they have made Congressman McDermott who was sent a forged document that is purported to be from 1943.
Feedback from DailyKos and VFP 109 in Olympia have made me aware that the individual who generated my response-turned-article is a known internet troll who has made it his mission to propagate anti-anti-DU information.
He is LTC. Roger Helbig, USAF (ret). and is not and has not been an on-going member of our Washington Veteran's Google group. Rather, Helbig seems to have made it his practice to insert himself into every anti-DU rally, debate, symposium and forum including and primarily those on line.
For those interested in the use of Depleted Uranium in military weapons, I make no apology for this lengthy update.
In the spirit of Fair Use, I'm posting the entirety of the following piece from the Axis of Logic Site
"April 11, 2005 -- (Oklahoma City) "Individuals on web sites throughout the United States have complained over a period of months about the abusive and aggressive actions of an Air Force Lieut. Colonel named Roger Helbig," stated Project Censored Award Winning writer Bob Nichols.
"Col. Helbig has consistently misrepresented himself and his participation, voluntarily or on a paid basis, as a "minder" or enforcer for the DOD lie about Uranium Munitions in direct contravention of US Army Regulations and Orders," Nichols stated.
"Col. Helbig apparently is fervently following the Secret Los Alamos Memo about Uranium Weapons (UW), aka so-called "Depleted Uranium," instructing personnel to lie about Uranium Weapons to maintain the political viability of continued use of the Genocidal Weapons: "weaponized radioactive and poisonous ceramic uranium oxide gas and dust" in Iraq and throughout Central Asia," added Nichols.
[Ed Note: They are not kidding. A copy of the actual memo encouraging lies and misinformation is online. AR]
Nichols stated "Dr. Doug Rokke, Ph.D., is the former Army Officer in charge of the Pentagon's Depleted Uranium Project. Dr Rokke is a career officer, loyal to the Constitution of the United States of America, not to any political party. He is the man the people of the United States can turn to for "on the level information" about the true nature of Uranium Weapons (UW.)
Dr. Rokke commented, "LTC Roger Helbig, United States Air Force: I would suggest that since you claim to be so knowledgeable about DU and my specific activities during Gulf War 1 and while I was the Director of the U.S. Army Depleted Uranium that you produce the actual official documents, not some comments by Bob Cherry or Ed Battle or Mike Kilpatrick, your bosses up the line, verifying your comments."
Rokke added "Unless you can do so, please cease and go away. But before you go away you still have not answered; why you, as an United States Air Force officer, refuse to support my / our actions to ensure that United States Department of Defense officials provide medical care to all DU casualties and clean up all environmental contamination as required by AR 700-48 and TB 9-1300-278; and, that medical care is provided to all DU casualties as required by Lt General Ron Peake's April 29, 2004 order."
"Will you provide us a public endorsement supporting full compliance of these mandatory actions?"
"Yes" or "No"?
Dr. Rokke concluded "It is time for you to decide. The question is not about me, but whether or not United States Department of Defense personnel comply with their own requirements to provide medical care and clean up all environmental contamination as specified in AR 700-48, TB 9-1300-278, and all of the orders mandating medical care for DU casualties."
Copyright 2005 by AxisofLogic.com
The text of what Lt Col (ret) Helbig sent to Lietta via email follows:
Since you are a former AF brat, wife of a Viet Vet and mother to soldiers still serving, I would appreciate it if you would contact me.
You have been gravely mislead by a bunch of frauds about DU. What made you even go looking for them (or did they come to you) -- you are the perfect person for them to make a dupe as they have made Congressman McDermott who was sent a forged document that is purported to be from 1943.
Roger Helbig Vietnam Era vet Retired USAF (5 years active; 20 Guard/Reserve)
DoD Civilian (ret)
grew up with the Army Reserve (my Dad was both reserve officer and civilian employee
- I helped him run preenlistment tests when he got over run by applicants in 1965)
Geologist - that makes me a Geoscientist too --
Trained to recognize and protect against nuclear fallout Contracts Director, Navy Nuclear Shipyard - got to befriend nuclear engineers and technicians, people who know their stuff, not frauds who pretend that they do
Tireless researcher (that's the real me, not the Axis of Evil variant perpetrated by Rokke and Nichols
-- they made me so mad, I FOIAed Rokke's records and have been on his tail and the entire anti-DU crusade's tail ever since -
lying about me was a big mistake on their part)
Part of Helbig's actual post on the group site included the following:
There is one major flaw in this study ..
Uranyl Acetate does not exist in nature and thus is unlikely to ever contaminate a soldier or civilian bystander's lungs.
Another major flaw is that the material that was used in the study contains natural, not depleted uranium. If anyone wants to write me or come to DUStory in Yahoo Groups, I will put you in touch with chemists who have analyzed this.
I am surprised that it was funded by a grant and intend to ask questions of the granting organization about why they funded this flawed study which seems made to order for the anti-depleted uranium crusade that wants to convince you that your soldiers are in danger, that you are in danger and that your children are in danger when their real goal is convicting your soldier of a non-existent war crime for intentionally poisoning the Middle East.
So, aroused from my aging veteran reverie, I knocked over my coffee, forgot to feed that cat and pounded on my keyboard.
On major flaws ...
(1) Uranyl Acetate - whether or not it exists in nature - "is unlikely to ever contaminate a soldier or civilians bystander's lungs."
Chemists have analyzed this you say?
So what is it we are discussing, the legitimate danger of depleted uranium or why the hell we are using it or need to use it in the first place?
And why would you say that any weapon - possessed of DU or not - is safe for civilian bystanders? What kind of doofus statement is that?
(2) Unless someone with an impressive educational and vocational pedigree (such as yours) can justify/defend America's need to involve nuclear crap in our weaponry as vital to the defense of the nation, what's the problem with crusading against the use of DU?
Are you trying to say that without DU our military is somehow emasculated and insufficiently potent to get the job done?
Do we need to go around shooting field mice with elephant guns because our generals and defense contractors need the viagra effect of DU to effectively rattle sabers?
(3) I'm not aware of any accusations of war crimes against soldiers for being in a war zone where their own government has authorized the use of depleted uranium. Who is doing the accusing of our troops? I'll help you smack them.
Actually, it sounds like you're on your own narrow and biased justify-the-use-of-depleted-uranium crusade.
Bottom line is that you can call everyone else's opinion flawed as hell, but in all honesty should you not state and clarify your own particular bias?
As a Veteran with a big mouth and an opinion I'm entitled to, I'll admit to the following biases of concern:
- I am the patriarch of our particular military family with it's own tradition going back decades. My deceased WWII father's flag sits on the wall in my study. My own medals and uniform fruit salad ribbons are in the special box I put them upon receipt of an honorable discharge thirty two years ago.
- I don't wear a silly little flag on my lapel nor stick cheap metal ribbons on my vehicle to prove how patriotic I am. I leave that to gullibles who think Fox News is honest broadcasting.
- I was against Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq from the get-go.
- I still am. Bush is the one most guilty of war crimes. More innocent civilian "bystanders" have been killed on Bush's orders than those killed by the dictator Bush lied about to justify an invasion that included the DU viagra.
- My family is not anti-war nor part of that political crowd. But we are also nobody's gullible puppets and nobody's pretend patriots conforming to false logic.
- Invading Iraq was never justified, necessary and is a false prop for Bush & Company's flawed definition of what a "war on terror" is or should look like.
- In that context, using depleted uranium - serious as that may be in terms of risk - is secondary to blowing up our soldier family members and innocent by-standing civilians based on what does or does not naturally occur in nature.
As a Veteran with a big mouth, you owe us clarification, not rhetoric.
- Your position regarding the invasion and occupation of Iraq is what?
- your position regarding the reality of a "war on terror" and whose definition of that "war" is drinkable bathwater is what?
- you absolutely promise that depleted uranium has no lethal side effects based on nuclear radiation - being essentially then harmless except for the traditional lethal intent of those weapons with or without DU inclusion? You do acknowledge that original intent don't you? Blowing up people and things?
- You guarantee that my family and I and all who read here can absolutely sleep at night without concern about DU cause you've done our homework for us? We have absolutely no reason to worry about DU as the cause of any potential "agent orange" kind of illness or sterilization in our military sons and daughters? DU absolutely will not be the reason if our soldier families become parents of grandchildren with birth defects?
- You can guarantee that any increased incidence of sterilization and birth defects in the innocent by-standing Iraqi civilian population is not going to be a consequence of DU and that America should have no guilty conscience about DU's inclusion among the rotten eggs we've laid and left laying around in the Middle East?
If you can't make that guarantee then perhaps you should go do more homework before calling anyone or anything flawed.