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Archive | Environment

Iraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide”

Published on Truthout, 14 October 2014.

Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.

Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.

There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.

It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.

Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the first Gulf War in 1991, the country’s rate of cancer cases was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the trend continuing.

The actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research and reporting of cases.

“Cancer statistics are hard to come by, since only 50 percent of the health care in Iraq is public,” Dr. Salah Haddad of the Iraqi Society for Health Administration and Promotion told Truthout. “The other half of our health care is provided by the private sector, and that sector is deficient in their reporting of statistics. Hence, all of our statistics in Iraq must be multiplied by two. Any official numbers are likely only half of the real number.”

“Genocide”

“The world should know that Iraqi people were the victims of the aggression inflicted by the use of DU munitions by the American and British troops during these wars, and this is genocide,” Dr. Jawad al-Ali, a consultant physician and oncologist, told Truthout.

Continue reading the full story at Truthout.

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Climate Disruption’s “Confederacy of Dunces”

Published on Truthout, 1 October 2014.

Given that over 97 percent of climate scientists agree on the matter, the fact that anyone is questioning the reality of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) remains an amazing phenomenon.

If your child were sick, and 97 percent of doctors recommended one treatment for them, which treatment would you use?

Yet this kind of reasoning need not apply, apparently, to vast sectors of the media, political apparatus and general public in the United States. Instead of an informed public and rational elected leaders, we are left with what author John Kennedy Toole so perfectly described in the title of his most famous work, A Confederacy of Dunces.

Some very special ACD denial quotes from the confederacy:

“Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide.” John Boehner, Speaker of the House (R-Ohio).

“It could just be a shift on the axis.” Bill Cassidy, Congressman (R-Louisiana).

“The new fad thing that’s going through America and around the world. It’s called global warming.” Steve Stockman, Congressman (R-Texas).

“All voodoo, nonsense . . . a hoax.” Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman (R-Minnesota).

” . . . The idea that manmade gases, CO2, are causing catastrophic global warming is the greatest hoax every perpetrated on the American people.” James Inhofe, Senator (R-Oklahoma), former chair of the US Senate Committee on the Environment and Public.

“[ACD] led to the Vikings dominating Europe for several hundred years.” Morgan Griffith, Congressman (R-Virginia).

“It is not proven, it’s not science. It’s more of a religion than a science.” Steve King, Congressman (R-Iowa).

And one of my current favorites:

“The ice caps are melting, which we see over and over again. Yeah, they’re melting on Mars, too!” Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman (R-California).

The reason for this lunacy is simple, and the evidence lies not far below the surface.

Read the full story at Truthout.

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UN Report: Human-Caused Climate Disruption Is “Severe, Pervasive, Irreversible”

“Why is it . . . that in this world there are men [and women] whose hearts have been so numbed, whose sentiments of honor and delicacy have been so deadened, that one sees them pleased and amused by what degrades and soils them?” – Marquis de Sade

A recently released draft of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Synthesis Report concluded that anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is fully upon us, will dramatically worsen unless something is done immediately – and that something is on the level of a wartime response. The report noted that ACD is “severe … pervasive … irreversible.”

The authors of the draft report used the word “risk” 351 times, “vulnerable” or “vulnerability” 61 times, and “irreversible” 48 times, and added: “The report found that companies and governments had identified reserves of these [fossil] fuels at least four times larger than could safely be burned if global warming is to be kept to a tolerable level.”

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From Pine Beetles to Disappearing Glaciers, NASA Scientists Tell of ‘Dramatic’ Planetary Changes

Trees turning red in forests that have been attacked by the mountain pine beetle near a wildfire site in Montana, July 7, 2011. Some scientists are increasingly worried that as the warming accelerates, trees themselves could become climate-change victims on a massive scale. (Photo: Josh Haner / The New York Times)

Trees turning red in forests that have been attacked by the mountain pine beetle near a wildfire site in Montana, July 7, 2011. Some scientists are increasingly worried that as the warming accelerates, trees themselves could become climate-change victims on a massive scale. (Photo: Josh Haner / The New York Times)

Until very recently, popular thinking assumed that anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) was in a “slow” period. However, last year, a study published in Geophysical Research Letters showed that the planet had experienced more overall warming in the 15 years leading up to March 2013 than it had in the 15 years before that. In case there was any doubt that the planet is warming more quickly than previously thought, a study published in the August 22, 2014 issue of Science has verified this.

Another study from July addressed how regional climate systems were synchronizing, after which “the researchers detected wild variability that amplified the changes and accelerated into an abrupt warming event of several degrees within a few decades.” Shortly thereafter, yet another study showed that rapid warming of the Atlantic waters, most likely due to ACD, has “turbocharged” the Pacific Equatorial trade winds. Whenever that phenomenon stops, it is highly likely we will witness very rapid changes across the globe, including a sudden acceleration of the average surface temperature of the planet.

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