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Twelve Essential Facts Americans Should Know About Depleted Uranium

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helderheid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 09:13 AM
Original message
Twelve Essential Facts Americans Should Know About Depleted Uranium
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Twelve Essential Facts Americans Should Know About Depleted Uranium
by Barbara Bellows-TerraNova, www.oneperson-knowmore@blogspot.com , Updated 11/06/07, 05:30 AM.


1. Depleted Uranium is not "depleted" of radiation; 99.3% of it is Uranium238, which emits radioactive alpha particles at the rate 12,400/second.

2. Depleted Uranium is in the penetrators, bunker busters, missiles, tanks and much more which the United States and the United Kingdom both use and sell to other countries and political factions.

3. When Depleted Uranium strikes, it sharpens in an explosion of flames, throwing off the excess in vaporized particles that hang in the air.

4. Some of the Depleted Uranium particles are picked up by air currents, and can even move across national boundaries, while some move into the water and soil.

5. The vaporized Depleted Uranium particles easily enter the human body: by breathing them in, by ingesting them from contaminated hands, food and water, and through open wounds.

6. Depleted Uraniums so-called "low-level" radiation actually only means that its range is short, making it an extremely effective carcinogen, as the larger particles move slowly through the body, attacking the DNA of cells at close range, often causing multiple cancers. Other effects have included damage to sexual partners and birth defects.

7. The Depleted Uraniums radioactive emissions, activated in our environment by its use in weapons, will continue to bombard whatever is nearby forever, essentially. It has a half-life of 4.5 billion years.

8. Depleted Uranium weaponry was first used in the U.S. bombing of Iraq in 1991, under President George H.W. Bush and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

9. Depleted Uranium was later used by President Bill Clinton in the NATO "peace-keeping" missions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. By January 2001, as the 2nd President Bush and Dick Cheney were moving in to the White House, there was a furor in Europe about the alarming increase in leukemia and other cancers amongst the multinational NATO troops.

10. The United Nations then sent the World Health Organization to investigate Depleted Uranium and its effects in the Balkans in 2001, but when the team of scientists and doctors led by Dr. Keith Baverstock, the top expert on radiation and health at the World Health Organization, came back with a report detailing the Depleted Uraniums toxicity, the report was suppressed and not published until 2004 when Baverstock, no longer at the WHO, gave the report to Rob Edwards at Scotlands Sunday Herald.

11. The current Bush/Cheney administration has used the lack of findings in 2001 by the World Health Organization connecting Depleted Uranium to health problems as their rationalization for continuing the use of Depleted Uranium weapons as the literal core of their never-ending Shock and Awe campaigns.

12. In spite of Rep. Jim McDermotts (D-WA) amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2007, signed in October 2006, which calls for a study of the health effects of Depleted Uranium on returning soldiers, due now, there remains no federal program for all members of the U.S. military and National Guard returning from the Middle East to be tested and treated for the presence of depleted uranium in their bodies. There is, of course, a signing statement by Bush which includes the right to withhold information "which could impair foreign relations."


Still, there is hope.

Last week, on October 31st, the United Nations First Committee passed the "Effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium" Resolution, requesting that states and international bodies submit a report on depleted uranium to the UN General Assembly by next years session. The vote was 122 to 6, with 35 abstentions. The countries voting against it were the United States, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Israel.


Now, what we still need to know is:

Where do the Presidential candidates stand on this issue?

Who is willing to be the leader who will stop this?


*****

There are articles and documents that span decades which shed light on Depleted Uranium and the deceptions that surround it. The evidence is plentiful, often overwhelming, but one should be aware that there is also much out there that is designed to confuse the public and discredit the scientists and activists, and that has its effects on those who are trying to inform us.

That is why I've tried to be concise, and provide some links.

To verify or learn more, you might try your own Google search, and you'll see what the rest of the world knows.

Meanwhile, for starters I suggest:

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium. http://www.cadu.org.uk / Founded by one of the great long-time scientist/activists, Dr. Rosalie Bertell.

International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) is probably the best of the best all-in-one place http://www.bandepleteduranium.org / . I particularly like their FAQs list at http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/a/8.html#4 . This is a site well worth looking around.

Dr. Keith Baverstocks November 2001 report, suppressed by the World Health Organization is here: http://www.mindfully.org/Nucs/DU-Radiological-Toxicity-... .

Rob Edwards' article on Baverstock can be found here: http://www.robedwards.com/2004/02/who_suppressed_.html

For insight into International Law and DU, I recommend Karen Parker, a Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Lawyer: http://www.webcom.com/hrin/parker.html Scroll down on the page and youll find her documents on DU.

Representative Jim McDermott is here: http://www.house.gov/mcdermott/pr061020.shtml

The October 17, 2006 Presidential signing statement is at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/200 61017-9.html .
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helderheid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
1. PS - I'm sure the author didn't meant to refer to Democratic Underground as Depleted Uranium.
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PDJane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
2. All this boils down to:
You can't clean it up. There is nothing that you can do to retrieve the particles and make things safe, and the stuff will be floating around when the earth is engulfed by the sun.

If you can't clean it up, there is a point when war becomes a crime against humanity.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. There is a clean up
There are plants that will sequester uranium and plutonium from the environment. Jimson weed, a poisonous and hallucinogenic member of the nightshade family, has been shown to concentrate these metals in its tissues. However, to do any good removing DU contamination from the environment, it would have to be cut, collected, and buried deep, like a low-level radioactive waste. Also, it would take multiple crops over several years, depending on the amount of initial contamination, to reduce the contamination to the former, uncontaminated level.

It is saddening to think that after the US leaves Iraq, the cradle of civilization will only be suitable for weeds to grow for at least a generation. :cry: :cry:

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helderheid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. never heard of this!
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #9
19. Discovered by Los Alamos
There are some canyons between Los Alamos and White Rock where waste was carelessly dumped in the years after the Manhattan project. Years later, when trying to assess the environmental damage, plant samples in the area were taken to be analyzed. Jimson weed is common in the area and it turned out to have the biggest uptake of radioactivity of the native plants.
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. I think that speaks well for the plant, also commonly called Datura.
It's a North American native species, which makes it far more desirable than an invasive, non-native. It's attractive, smells nice, and it soaks up radioactivity, too.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Important to indigenous cultures too
If you've read any Carlos Castaneda, it's one of the three 'power plants'.
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-10-07 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #21
27. I did not know that.
Carlos Castaneda was obviously a brave man. Many people have died from ingesting it.
I am a garden fanatic, so I appreciate all this new info.
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helderheid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. thanks!
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #6
15. The big problem is, is that when material containing Du is impacted by an explosion
Edited on Fri Nov-09-07 11:37 AM by truedelphi
Then the explosive material is quickly caught up in normal air currents.

Some of the material that is attached to heavier components of dust and debris will immediately sink to the ground. And after the tank or whatever has been blown up, its larger pieces will lie on the ground, contaminated, and the children of whatever war zone it is in will play on these parts.

The radioactivity will be washed out by rain (For decades, of course!) and contaminate the ground table.

The fragments that are smaller and more aerosilzied will go upwards into the current.
Leuren Mouret says that if you take an amount of any substance and put it into the air currents, within a mere five days it will be distributed evenly across the earth. (Moret worked for Lawrence Livermore Labs in California until she started to put two and two together on the radioactivity issue - and was fired for her concerns.)

And she also notes that the radioactive smog encircling our planet in the region just below the stratosphere is five times more radioactive since 1945.

Do we even need to wonder why cancer rates are what they are??
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #6
18. That is news to me! "Devil's Trumpets" are lovely flowers, though.
I don't consider them weeds. They have huge, fragrant flowers throughout mid to late summer.
They were originally named after Jamestown. Settlers cooked a soup out of the giant seed pods, and suffered severe hallucinations, dehydration, and depressed bodily functions. Many who ate the soup died.

Deadly, but pretty flowers.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 09:45 AM
Response to Original message
3. I should point out that a long half life is indicitave of a stable element.
Its the short-life ones that sizzle.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #3
11. exactly that its radioactivity is used as a fear factor
The primary danger seems to be metal poisoning, which would be more devastating if we were using leaded gasoline.

The first "fact" is given without context. 12,400 alpha particle per second. Is that from a kilogram of DU or from an ounce? Is 12,400 alot? It sounds like alot, but maybe normal background radiation is something like 50,000 particles per second.
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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #3
13. I still don't want to suck any into my lungs, thank you very much.
Eeven though Depleted Uranium has a long half life and emits relatively low levels of radioactivity compared to other uranium isotopes, the problem is that in a military situation when it explodes and burns it transforms into very tiny particles of uranium oxide which can be sucked deep into the lungs where they can remain and/or cross the lung/blood barrier into the bloodstream and from there get deposited in bone marrow, and organs. Once inside the body the (mainly) alpha radiation from DU is much more harmful to the unprotected interior body cells than it would be if it were bombarding the outside of the body where clothing and a layer of dead skin cells on the outside of the skin is enough to absorb the relatively low energy alpha radiation before it can do much harm to the living cells.

In addition to whatever harm might be caused by radiation, recent scientific work has also shown that depleted uranium is a hazard on account of its toxic properties as a heavy metal.


Depleted Uranium an Introduction

By Thomas Fasy MD PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology, Mt Sinai Medical School, New York.

SNIP

By the early 1900s, uranium was well recognized to be a kidney toxin. By the mid-1940s, uranium was known to be a neurotoxin. By the early 1970s, uranium was recognized to be a carcinogen based on mortality studies of uranium workers and on experiments with dogs and monkeys. The first evidence that uranyl ions bind to DNA was reported in 1949 and by the early 1990s, uranium was shown to be a mutagen. Also, in the early 1990s, uranium was shown to be a teratogen, that is, an inducer of birth defects. The toxic effects of uranium on the kidney and on the nervous system typically occur within days of exposure and radiation probably plays little or no role in mediating these effects. In contrast, the carcinogenic effects of uranium have a delayed onset. The teratogenic effects of uranium might be due to exposure of one parent prior to conception as well as to exposure of the mother to uranium early in pregnancy.

Now let us briefly consider the routes of exposure to uranium. In the context of the dust particles derived from depleted uranium weapons, this means exposure to uranium oxides. By far the most dangerous route of exposure to uranium oxides is the inhalational or respiratory route. Absorption of uranium oxides through the gastrointestinal tract, the skin and the conjunctivae is possible but quite limited.

Following impact with hard targets, uranium metal undergoes combustion releasing large quantities of very small uranium oxide dust particles into the environment.

These dust particles derived from depleted uranium weapons are drastically different from the natural uranium that is normally present in rocks and soil.

Soil particles contain uranium at very low concentrations, typically less than 5 parts per million; the vast majority of these soil particles, however, are too large to be inhaled deep into the lungs. In contrast, the dust particles derived from depleted uranium weapons contain very high concentrations of uranium, typically more than 500.000 parts per million; moreover, most of the D.U. dust particles are sufficiently small to be inhaled deep into the lungs. Thus, compared to the uranium naturally present in the environment, D.U. dust contains uranium in a form that is vastly more bio-available and more readily internalized.

Uranyl ions bind to DNA; they bind in the minor groove of DNA. While bound to DNA, uranyl ions are chemically reactive and can give rise to free radicals which may damage DNA. Chemically mediated DNA damage of this type may contribute to the ability of uranium to induce cancers.

I would now like to present some epidemiologic data from the Basra governate in the south of Iraq. In February 1991, more than 300 tons (possibly much more than 300 tons) of D.U. weapons were used in South of Iraq. After 5-6 year latent periods, increases in childhood cancers and birth defects were documented in the Basra governate. The most recent data indicate a four fold increase in pediatric malignancies and a seven fold increase in congenital malformations compared to 1990, the year preceeding the war.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...



Uraniums Effect On DNA Established

The use of depleted uranium in munitions and weaponry is likely to come under intense scrutiny now that new research that found that uranium can bind to human DNA. The finding will likely have far-reaching implications for returned soldiers, civilians living in what were once war-zones and people who might live near uranium mines or processing facilities.

Uranium - when manifested as a radioactive metal - has profound and debilitating effects on human DNA. These radioactive effects have been well understood for decades, but there has been considerable debate and little agreement concerning the possible health risks associated with low-grade uranium ore (yellowcake) and depleted uranium.

Now however, Northern Arizona University biochemist Diane Stearns has established that when cells are exposed to uranium, the uranium binds to DNA and the cells acquire mutations, triggering a whole slew of protein replication errors, some of which can lead to various cancers. Stearns' research, published in the journals Mutagenesis and Molecular Carcinogenesis, confirms what many have suspected for some time - that uranium can damage DNA as a heavy metal, independently of its radioactive properties. "Essentially, if you get a heavy metal stuck on DNA, you can get a mutation," Stearns explained. While other heavy metals are known to bind to DNA, Stearns and her team were the first to identify this characteristic with uranium.

http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20060307010324data_tru...




Uranium and Weapons
Modern warfare since the Gulf War in 1991 has employed weapons which make use of DU for its properties:

1. It is cheap and available to arms manufacturers free of charge.
2. It has a very high-density which makes it a superior armour piercing material.
3. It burns upon impact producing intense heat and easily cuts through steel.
4. It acts as a self-sharpening penetrator.

The danger posed by DU in weapons:

1. When DU weapons hit a target, a fine aerosol of uranium oxides is formed. The majority of particles (46 - 70%) are less than 10 microns.
2. The aerosol-like particles (dust) are easily inhaled into the lungs.
3. These fine particles can be spread by the wind and are readily re-suspended by modest breezes or vehicle and personnel movements. There is no existing study measuring the distance traveled by such particles. However, there is a documented instance were particles were physically captured 42 km from a test site. (Dietz 1999).
4. This only proves migration beyond the specific site but does not preclude the possibility that particles can travel a great many times more kilometers. Fluid dynamic studies report that particles fewer than 5 microns can remain almost permanently suspended in the atmosphere.
5. While some of the DU is soluble, the majority (in the form of other oxides) is insoluble and remains in the body for years. Once in the body, DU slowly spreads from the lungs, mainly into the lymph nodes and bone. Excretion from the body is very slow.
6. The uncontrolled use and spread of uranium goes against the scientifically established conventions for handling radioactive substances and contravenes international laws. See the case made by Karen Parker at the UN that DU weaponry is illegal under existing human rights and humanitarian (armed conflict) law
7. It is estimated that 300 - 800 metric tons of DU were deposited in the battlefield in Iraq and Kuwait in 1991. Dr. Doug Rokke (DU expert and former US army physicist) estimated that 120 to 480 million grams of DU would be aerosolized if 40% of the DU were burnt up.
8. These airborne and respirable sized particles will be radioactive for billions of years into the future.

http://www.umrc.net/uranium_and_weapons.aspx
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 09:52 AM
Response to Original message
4. I'll have to look for the link, but there was a report stating that 67% of Gulf War I
soldiers and their families are showing signs of genetics problems, thought to be caused by Depleted Uranium. That's a HUGE amount of people effected! :wow:
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donsu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
5. all true - special attention should be made to #6 by women


this will be a huge problem for americans.

the death rate for Gulf war one vets is tremendous! Cancers, cancers, cancers.
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RethugAssKicker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
7. Thanks for this very informative post !!!
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WGS Donating Member (116 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
8. Thanks
for the great info. It is beyond me why anyone would want to use this stuff. I understand that it is effective for munitions but the aftermath of using the stuff is devastating. This crap must be spread all over Iraq, they will never be rid of it.
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whopis01 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
10. Few minor corrections and some additional info
1. The alpha particle rate of 12,400/s is actually per gram of uranium 238.

8. Depleted uranium munitions were used in the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1973



And perhaps most insane of all, depleted uranium is (or has been) used in a variety of non-military applications. It has been used as counterbalance weights in civilian aircraft (Boeing 747 for example). 150kg was missing after the 1992 crash of El Al flight 1862. At the time all Boeing 747 contained about 248kg of depleted uranium.

It has also been used in sailboat keels and other counterbalance applications.

Insane.



http://www.rivm.nl/bibliotheek/digitaaldepot/risico_ura...
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Greyskye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
12. Fat chance.
I agree with everything posted about the dangers and horrors of DU.

Given DU's entanglement into so much of the military industrials complex (armor, weapons, etc) I don't foresee any reversals of US policy. I'm afraid it's going to take a world-wide moratorium on DU usage to even get the ball rolling, and you can bet that any US administration (other than perhaps Kucinich) will drag their feet on this.

I hate being this cynical. I don't want to discourage any work being done to stop the use of DU. On the contrary, I encourage it. I just think it's going to be a long, hard struggle; and won't come close to being realized until the catastrophic effects are commonly acknowledged. And from personal experience in heated discussions regarding DU with people right here on this board, I think that it will take decades at a minimum before we see any sort of traction on this issue. :(
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kineneb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. and meanwhile... how many will be exposed and not know it?
if the particles do indeed stay suspended, they could be inhaled by anyone "downwind." I keep thinking about how wide the fallout from Chernobyl reached, and how many people/crops/animals have been/will be affected. What goes up, must come down, just not always in the same place...
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T.Ruth2power Donating Member (371 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
16. Ethics of The Silver Bullet

Here is a quite extensive photograph showing a wide range of DU ammo, from 25 mm heavy machine gun rounds to 120 mm tank shells

CASE 2: THE BALKANS (BOSNIA AND THE KOSOVO CONFLICT)
A more recent case of DU ammunition use was during the conflicts in Kosovo and Bosnia. An interesting thing to note is that no major chemical or biological weaponry was used or numerous NBC sites bombed during both conflicts. Even though Yugoslavia has done extensive research into chemical weaponry, no significant amount was used in both conflicts. Hence, the only potentially hazardous device used was DU ammunition. At first, NATO claimed that DU ammunition was not being used at all. No mention was made until a small group of NATO soldiers started dying from blood/renal/rectal related cancers in a very short period of time and the term Balkan War Syndrome came into full force.14f New Tomahawk cruise missiles armed with a 3kg DU warhead core were first used in Bosnia and later in Kosovo.14f Over 31,000 A-10 30mm rounds were fired and over 1,500 cruise missiles (armed with DU) were used. Some regions in Bosnia and especially Kosovo (a region that NATO HEAVILY bombed for 3 months) are so contaminated with DU that the soil there is permanently destroyed. NATO soldiers are constantly told not to eat local foods or drink from local water supplies (since ingestion of DU dust is very common by eating foods or drinking water contaminated with DU dust).17 Soldiers were also told to stay away from military sites hit by DU and not to pick up any possible DU fragments.17 This concludes the basic facts of DU ammunition and the specific conflicts in which DU ammo was used.


A-10 Thunderbolt II Aircraft is a tank-busting/anti-personnel attack jet fully loaded with numerous 30mm DU rounds.


A-10 Thunderbolt II Aircraft is a tank-busting/anti-personnel attack jet fully loaded with numerous 30mm DU rounds

http://cseserv.engr.scu.edu/StudentWebPages/IPesic/Rese...
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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. When I was a teenager,
I loved nothing more than going to air shows to ooh and aah over the flying death machines like the A10 and others too numerous to mention. Now they fucking make want to puke.
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Greyskye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
22. How ironic
I'm not used to seeing these, but my member star expired recently and I haven't been able to renew it yet. But that let me see this ad which Google inserted at the bottom of this particular discussion page:



Just because the Pentagon is denying the dangers, doesn't mean that some Internet shyster can't try to scam a buck off of desperate and scared people. :grr:
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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 08:23 PM
Response to Original message
23. kick!
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FourScore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-09-07 08:30 PM
Response to Original message
24. Just curious...what does General Clark have to say about DU?
Depleted uranium, that is...not our favorite political site. B-)
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helderheid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-10-07 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. I'd be curious about that too
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