Canada’s role in DU weapons worldwide


Richard Moore

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Canada¹s role in depleted uranium weapons worldwide

Alfred Lambremont Webre, JD, MEd

The Government of Canada is in non-compliance with the statutes and regulations 
of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), prohibiting the use of 
Canadian uranium in depleted uranium (DU) weapons. Moreover, Canada has a 
bilateral nuclear co-operation agreement with the US, under which uranium 
exports to the US may only be used for peaceful purposes, and not in weapons. 
This includes ³control over the high enrichment of Canadian uranium and 
subsequent storage and use of the highly enriched uranium,² a Foreign Affairs 
document states. The same rules that apply to uranium apply to depleted uranium,
according to the CNSC.

DU weapons are considered weapons of mass destruction under international law. 
Thus Canada may be complicit in the US use of weapons of mass destruction in the
1991 Iraq war I, the 1998 Balkans war, the 2001 war in Afghanistan, and the 2003
Iraq war II, where the British medical journal Lancet estimates that one million
civilians have died. In each of these wars, it is likely that depleted uranium 
in the DU weapons used by the U.S. and the UK comes from Canadian uranium 
exported to the US and processed in US enrichment plants into depleted uranium 
and subsequently manufactured into DU weapons.

Depleted uranium is the uranium by-product that remains after the removal of the
isotope U-235 during the enrichment process. For every ton of enriched U-235 
uranium for the nuclear weapons and nuclear power industries, seven tons of 
depleted uranium containing the U-238 isotope are made for the munitions, DU 
weapons, and military armor industries. ³Depleted uranium² is a marketing term 
of the nuclear industry. U-238 depleted uranium was originally discovered as a 
poison gas weapon of mass destruction during World War II by the Manhattan 
Project, at the same time as the atomic bomb and Agent Orange. Because DU is 
pyrophoric, it bursts into high-temperature decomposition upon impact with 
military armour, releasing nanoparticles of ionizing radiation that contaminate 
all living things and the environment with deadly radiation with a half-life of 
4.5 billion years. The public military excuse for the use of DU munitions, bombs
and kinetic penetrators is that DU is heavy and easily penetrates military 
armour and other targets. The covert strategic military use of DU munitions, 
smart bombs, and cruise missiles is radiation contamination of terrain, and low 
level nuclear war against enemy troops, civilian populations, and all 
unprotected military troops, for purposes of depopulation.

DU weapons & war crimes

After 3 years of investigation by 60 expert witnesses and jurists at a cost of 
$1 million raised by Japanese citizens, the International Criminal Tribunal For 
Afghanistan at Tokyo on March 10, 2004 found President George W. Bush guilty of 
the war crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for the use 
of depleted uranium (DU) weapons by US forces in the 2001 war against 

Experts agree that a substantial portion of the depleted uranium in the DU 
weapons used by the US in Afghanistan came from Canadian uranium. Had the Tokyo 
Tribunal been diligent, it could have found Canadian Prime Minister Jean 
Chrétien, who resigned as Prime Minister on December 12, 2003, guilty as an 
accessory to genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, for failing to 
enforce Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulations, and the Canada-US 
Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, both of which prohibit Canadian uranium from 
being used in DU weapons.

Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of the Montreal-based Canadian Coalition for 
Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR) says, ³Canada may have the policy, but it¹s not 
enforced. The Canadian government is taking directions and orders from the 
nuclear industryŠ ³The uranium industry has a vested interest in ensuring its 
depleted uranium waste makes a profit and is not just left in storage. That¹s 
why some of Canada¹s depleted uranium is ending up in weapons, Edwards says. 
³The Canadian government can¹t even think for themselves.²

Depleted uranium in Hawaii

The depleted uranium that has contaminated the Hawaiian Islands with deadly 
radiation most probably has a Canadian uranium source. It is highly probably 
that the depleted uranium in DU munitions fired at bases on the Big Island and 
at military bases on Oahu, and in the nuclear weapons stored at Pearl Harbour is
derived from Canadian uranium, exported to the US and processed into enriched 
uranium and DU.

Public health effects of DU weapons

The public health and environmental effects of the use of depleted uranium (DU) 
weapons can be considered per se violations of the war crime of genocide, crimes
against humanity, and war crimes under the Statute of the International Criminal
Court. The demonstrated public health effects of depleted uranium (DU) weapons 
include: diabetes, cancer, birth defects, chronic diseases caused by 
neurological and neuromuscular radiation damage, mitochondrial diseases (chronic
fatigue syndrome, Lou Gehrig¹s, Parkinson¹s and Alzheimer¹s disease, heart and 
brain disorders), global DNA damage in men¹s sperm, infertility in women, 
learning disabilities (such as autism and dyslexia), mental illness, infant 
mortality and low birth weights, increase in death rates and decrease in birth 

The Prime Minister stonewalls

So far, the Conservative government and the Liberal opposition have failed to 
take a public position on Canada¹s failure to stop the illegal use of its 
uranium in DU weapons. Stephen Harper refused to allow any Conservative MPs to 
appear on a June 13, 2007 North American radio special programme on the Canadian
DU issue. Despite repeated conversations with Stephane Dion¹s personal press 
attaché and attempts to reach Liberal MP and Foreign Affairs critic Ujjal 
Dosanjh, the Liberal Party chose not to send a representative to the Canadian DU
radio programme. Liberal MP Dr. Keith Martin, MD, a physician and former 
Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Defence in the Paul Martin 
Government, appeared on a radio programme on the Canadian DU issue and stated 
that in his opinion, there were no adverse public health consequences to the use
of DU weapons.

By contrast, at a May 12, 2007 Uranium-free BC Forum at the Brilliant Centre in 
Castlegar, BC, NDP MP Alex Atamanenko (Southern Interior) publicly stated he was
opposed to the use of Canadian uranium in DU weapons. Atamanenko seeks Canadian 
legislation banning DU weapons, as Belgium has passed. On the June 13, 2007 
Canadian DU radio programme, Atamanenko publicly committed to question the Prime
Minister in the House of Commons on why Canada was not enforcing its regulations
and treaty obligations against the use of its uranium in DU weapons. Connie 
Fogal, Leader of the Canadian Action Party, which passed a resolution in support
of Canadian legislation outlawing DU weapons, committed to work against the use 
of Canadian DU in American weapons. Adriane Carr, Deputy Leader of the Green 
Party of Canada likewise committed to demand enforcement of Canada¹s 
prohibitions against use of its uranium in DU weapons.

;What path is Canada taking?

Unbeknownst to the public, the Government of Canada seems to have strayed into 
aiding and abetting the serious war crimes of DU-induced genocide and crimes 
against humanity. By contrast, British Columbia has maintained a moratorium on 
uranium mining since the 1970s. There is substantial community support for a 
permanent ban on uranium exploration and mining in BC, as the recent 
Uranium-free BC Forum in Castlegar suggested. The detrimental impacts of uranium
exploration and mining on public health and the environment is the driving force
behind the ban.

Under the guise of combating climate change, the nuclear industry, led by the 
Bush Administration, is now promoting nuclear power plants to the tiger 
economies of India, China, Japan, and South Korea. Because of ionizing radiation
and the nuclear waste issue, this amounts to a low level nuclear war against 
these populations. NASA recently reported vast uranium deposits in Khazakhstan 
and Afghanistan. Khazakhstan is expected to out-produce Canada (now the world¹s 
top producer) in uranium production within 12 years.

One might rationally ask: Why not ban uranium exploration and mining in BC, and 
organize collectively to secure a uranium exploration and mining ban in 
Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec? The public policy reasons for the ban on 
uranium exploration and mining in the rest of Canada ­ public heath and 
environment ­ are equally valid throughout Canada, as they are in BC.

Let¹s sunset our Canadian uranium industry. That is a practical way to save the 
health of Canadians, the environment, and innocent victims worldwide.

Alfred Lambremont Webre, JD, MEd is the International Director of the Institute 
for Cooperation in Space (ICIS), and a Judge on the Kuala Lumpur International 
War Crimes Tribunal. Alfred can be reached at •••@••.•••

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