grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

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War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
Books of the Month

The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal

See Press Release on 3 State tour, below.

Gulf War Casualties, Defective Equipment & 'Depleted' Uranium
(Ban DU Tour Goes to PA, OH, NY)

Press Coverage of Doug Rokke Talk at St. Bonaventure
January 30, 2003

1) Editorial by Jim Eckstrom, Ecitor of The Time Herald
2) Story on January 30, 2003 Talk at St. Bonaventure


02/02/2003

Jim Eckstrom
Editor of The Times Herald

My early reaction was to look for holes in his story, to somehow discern a
way to discount the claims of Dr. Doug Rokke as an anti-war quack enlisted by
the mobilizing peace movement in the country.

But as the lecture at St. Bonaventure University Thursday night went on it
was hard not to take note of what he was saying and, while the information
wasn’t totally new, to really listen for the first time.

Dr. Rokke was discussing the U.S. military’s use of depleted-uranium
ammunition — tank-busting ordnance that pierces armor and then detonates in
searing explosions — an issue which has barely registered in the U.S. while a
small group of scientists swears it is the cause of thousands of illnesses in
Gulf War veterans, not to mention civilians where the weapons have been used.
Dr. Rokke, a nuclear physicist and major in the Army Reserves, was a
hand-picked Army expert on cleanup of radioactive debris when he was exposed
to depleted uranium on a Persian Gulf War battlefield. Looking more like a
rumpled professor (actually, that’s exactly what he is) than a Reserve
officer who still speaks with reverence of the “American warrior,” he stakes
his career and reputation on the claims while warning that the Pentagon fully
intends to use a greater concentration of DU weapons if (when?) military
action against Iraq commences.

Dr. Rokke talked about his own health problems, which he is convinced are the
result of DU exposure, and he almost quivers with frustration when discussing
the neglect American soldiers have been subjected to when seeking treatment
for their illnesses. He said DU caused many of the more than 206,000 cases of
Gulf War Syndrome reported by veterans of the Gulf War; 8,000 veterans have
died. Two members of his Gulf War team, good friends, are dead from cancer.

Dr. Rokke said it’s a travesty that, despite the increased use of
depleted-uranium ordnance expected in the almost-imminent conflict, U.S.
military gas masks and protective clothing are useless in keeping out DU
particles. He said he expects DU to permeate battlefield sites.

The Pentagon denounces Dr. Rokke as a liar and insists soldiers are safe from
DU exposure. Gulf War Syndrome? That’s discounted as a mass case of
goldbricking, soldiers seeking disability benefits.

Perhaps.

Perhaps the professor, Army officer and veteran of two wars (Vietnam being
the other) with rapidly developed cataracts and kidney problems is lying
while the Pentagon, which over the decades has covered up, lied about or
ignored exposing soldiers to radiation, syphilis and Agent Orange is telling
the truth this time.

Why hasn’t the effects of DU and it alleged connection to Gulf War Syndrome
been more widely reported?

John Hanchette, the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for Gannett who covered
the story and now a professor at St. Bonaventure, participated in the program
and his explanation was simple. With the Pentagon unwilling to discuss the
matter there are few credible sources, so the story dries up. Meanwhile,
calls might be made to editors in an effort to discredit reporters attempting
to pursue the story and, for some journalists, it becomes easier to turn to
something else, like politics.

One wonders how U.S. troops feel about the potential exposure to DU. Dr.
Rokke said if they are aware of the dangers, being young and having the sense
of invincibility, he doubts they give it much thought. He also noted the
military doesn’t give much thought to the long-term effects DU can have on a
battlefield, contamination that can effect civilians for years to come.

After Vietnam, morale and the overall quality of our military sank low. By
the late ’70s, according to the military’s own assessments, effectiveness
was alarmingly sub par. An overhaul of our armed forces was adopted and, with
a new commitment to improvement, the pendulum swung the other way.
Modest successes in Grenada and Panama lent even more momentum to the new
high tide of our military. With the Persian Gulf War, in all its
made-for-prime-time-TV glory, our armed forces reached a new apex of
excellence that, by all appearances, has remained through today.

The military isn’t doing itself any favors if it’s beginning to see troops
as expendable parts that are secondary to newer and better ways to kill the
enemy.

(Jim Eckstrom is managing editor of The Times Herald.)

©The Times Herald, Olean, N.Y. 2003


The Times Herald (Olean, N.Y.)
January 31, 2003
Unsafe for friend and foe?
By JOHN T. EBERTH

-Maj. Rokke blames depleted-uranium ammunition with
causing many of the 206,861 cases of Gulf War Syndrome
reported by Persian Gulf War veterans. He said more
than 8,000 veterans have died from causes related to
the ammunition.
-
It’s a crime against God and humanity” to continue to
use the ammunition....
- Maj. Rokke said since the Persian Gulf War, the
military has developed new, lighter weapons to fire
the ammunition, including machine guns used by ground
forces. As a result, depleted-uranium ammunition will
be everywhere on the battlefield.
- Maj. Rokke said when fired in gun barrels, the
ammunition sheds radioactive dust, filling the air and
infecting troops. The effect is worse when the
ammunition strikes a metal target. The round melts,
shooting geysers of radioactive flame and smoke into
the air, saturating the battlefield.
- Tests have found that one round of depleted uranium
ammunition can spread radioactive material over a
437-yard radius.

ST. BONAVENTURE — Maj. Douglas Rokke loves his
country, but he hates its use of armor-piercing
depleted-uranium ammunition.

The ammunition cuts through tank armor as easily as
you can push a pencil through paper. Maj. Rokke said
it does a great job killing the enemy.

“Depleted uranium is without a doubt an exceptional
weapon,” he said.

The problem is, it also kills U.S. troops who use it
and civilians living near battlefields peppered with
the rounds, he said.

Maj. Rokke spoke out against the use of
depleted-uranium ammunition Thursday at St.
Bonaventure University. A crowd of more than 130
people gathered for his lecture in the John J. Murphy
Professional Building.

Depleted uranium is a dense, hard metal. It also
catches fire and turns molten when it strikes other
metals at high speed. Those qualities make it ideal
for busting tanks and armored vehicles. According to
the Pentagon, the ammunition is safe in its solid
state.

Maj. Rokke said the Pentagon is ignoring and even
covering up evidence of the danger to soldiers and
civilians because the weapon has proven so effective.
A Vietnam veteran, he’s been in and out of uniform
since 1967 and now serves with the U.S. Army Reserves.

Maj. Rokke is also a nuclear health physicist and the
Army’s expert on the health effects of
depleted-uranium ammunition. He wrote the Army’s field
manual for responding to chemical and biological
warfare and has trained U.S. soldiers in radiation
safety techniques.

Maj. Rokke blames depleted-uranium ammunition with
causing many of the 206,861 cases of Gulf War Syndrome
reported by Persian Gulf War veterans. He said more
than 8,000 veterans have died from causes related to
the ammunition.

The Pentagon denies the ammunition is harmful to those
who use it. Maj. Rokke said that denial has cost
veterans medical care.

He charged the Pentagon of “willful neglect and
dereliction of duty” toward U.S. troops, breaking a
sacred covenant between soldiers and the country they
volunteered to protect.

“It’s a crime against God and humanity” to continue to
use the ammunition and deny the danger it poses to
troops, he said.

Maj. Rokke said since the Persian Gulf War, the
military has developed new, lighter weapons to fire
the ammunition, including machine guns used by ground
forces. As a result, depleted-uranium ammunition will
be everywhere on the battlefield.

The ammunition was first used in combat during the
Gulf War. Maj. Rokke was theater senior health
physicist with the 330th Army Medical Brigade during
the war. He was part of a team directed to clean up
U.S. tanks and armored personnel carriers struck by
friendly fire with depleted-uranium ammunition during
the war.

“I took us three months to clean up 24 vehicles for
shipment back to the United States,” he said.
The team had to decontaminate the vehicles and recover
the remains of U.S. soldiers inside them.

“There was only one thing I could say when I saw the
depleted uranium mess, ‘Oh my God,’” Maj. Rooke said.
“We started finding stuff and it scared us
completely.”

The team had to bury three Bradley Fighting Vehicles
because they couldn’t be decontaminated enough to be
sent back to the United States, he said.

The ammunition is used in rapid-fire cannons mounted
on jets, such as the A-10 Warthog, helicopters and
armored vehicles. Maj. Rokke said when fired in gun
barrels, the ammunition sheds radioactive dust,
filling the air and infecting troops. The effect is
worse when the ammunition strikes a metal target. The
round melts, shooting geysers of radioactive flame and
smoke into the air, saturating the battlefield.

Tests have found that one round of depleted uranium
ammunition can spread radioactive material over a
437-yard radius. Maj. Rokke said most vehicles hit
with the ammunition were struck three and four times.
He said Gulf War soldiers, including himself, weren’t
warned the ammunition posed a danger.

“Nobody told them that when you blow up a tank with
this stuff, you have a toxicological nightmare,” he
said.

Maj. Rokke said tests have proven that the radioactive
particles emitted by the ammunition are so small, they
pass through the gas mask filters issued to U.S.
troops.

After the Gulf War, he conducted live-fire studies on
the ammunition for the Army and the General Accounting
Office, Congress’ investigative arm.

According to a 1993 report compiled by the General
Accounting Office, “the Army was not adequately
prepared to deal with depleted-uranium contamination”
prior to using it during the Gulf War.

Maj. Rokke asked everyone in the audience to speak out
against use of depleted-uranium ammunition by writing
local newspapers and contacting their Congressional
representatives.

“I must recommend that the world ban DU ammunition
forever,” he said.

Maj. Rokke’s lecture was sponsored by the St.
Bonaventure University Visiting Scholars Program, the
department of political science, the Center for
Nonviolence and the Olean Area Coalition for Peace and
Justice. His appearance was part of a 3 state, 4 college tour
organized by Traprock Peace Center, Deerfield, MA.

His lecture will appear on BOCE’s Cable Channel 6, at
a time to be announced.


Ban DU Tour to PA, OH, NY

For Immediate Release ...
Contact: Sunny Miller, Traprock Peace Center, 413 773-7427

Who and What:
Major Doug Rokke, (Rock'-ee)
Gulf War Veteran Speaks on "Gulf War Casualties, Defective Equipment & 'Depleted Uranium'

When & Where:
Sat. Jan. 25, 6 pm Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA, University Center,
500 Forbes Ave. film with Q&A

Sunday, Jan. 26, 10 am, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA, Porter Hall, Room 125
Sunday, Jan. 26, 3:30 pm, West Shore Unitarian Church, 3:30-7pm, Rocky River, OH

Monday, (Teach-In begins at noon) University of Akron, Shrank Hall, Room 145. Workshop follows.

Tuesday, Jan 28, 6 pm, University of Buffalo
Thursday, Jan. 30, at St. Bonaventure

In Pittsburgh, PA, contact Sualeh Waziruddin, 412 654-6047.
In Akron, contact Greg Coleridge, 330 253-7151.
In Buffalo, NY contact Jim Whitlock of the Buffalo Peace People Coalition.
At St. Bonaventure, contact Chris Stanley, 716 372-4232.

Link here for reference materials, radio interview and prior comments.

Major Doug Rokke has served with honor and distinction in the U.S. Army and
U.S. Army Reserves from 1980 to the present. He is a veteran of both
Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War. In 1991 Rokke was assigned as an Army
health physicist on a team of roughly 100 primary members cleaning up
Depleted Uranium (DU) in Kuwait, Iraq, & Saudi Arabia. As of May of 2002 the
Veterans Administration has determined that 159,238 Gulf War veterans have
service-connected injuries and illnesses.

Traprock Peace Center, in Deerfield Massachusetts, is coordinating mid-west
tour which includes stops in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Akron, and
Corning-Elmira. For Doug Rokke's bio, detailed vitae, a report on Gulf War
casualties and defective equipment not adequate for protection from depleted
uranium exposures, see www.grassrootspeace.org/depleteduranium.html.

Scientific training and first-hand experience with DU contamination leads
Doug Rokke to speak out regarding the cover-up of "Gulf War Casualties and
Depleted Uranium". Dr. Rokke earned his Ph.D. from the University of
Illinois in 1992. He served as a health physicist for the U.S. Army Depleted
Uranium Assessment team during the Gulf War, then as U.S. Army Depleted
Uranium Project director from 1994 - '95.

As a member of Bauer's Raiders, the 3rd U.S. Army Medical Command's Nuclear,
Biological, &Chemical (NBC) Warfare special operations and teaching team,
he developed and taught the Operation Desert Storm combat lifesaver short
course; the medical management of chemical, and biological casualties course
(a modified Aberdeen Proving Grounds course); and the Operation Desert Storm
NBC defense/ 54B refresher course. This team developed standard operating
procedures for decontamination and treatment of NBC casualties and provided
operations assistance for the echelons above corps, corps, and coalition
forces.

Rokke directed the development, instruction, and assessment of radiation
safety education and field procedures for the U.S. Army at the Bradley
Radiological Laboratories, Fort McClellan, AL from 1996-1997.

Following a meeting at the Center for Disease Control in Feb-March, 1999,
Rokke and three other specialists told the Presidential Oversight Board,
appointed by then President Bill Clinton, that depleted uranium munitions
should not be used in the Balkans or in any future conflict. He has appeared
or served as a consultant for numerous documentaries and radio interviews.
Rokke regularly advocates for appropriate care for Gulf War veterans.

For advance or follow-up interviews or information to schedule appearances,
call Sunny Miller, 413 773-7427.

Page created January 22, 2003 by Sunny Miller and Charlie Jenks