Armi all'uranio impoverito: in 80.000 protestano a Porto Rico (22 febbraio)

Subject:  Environmental ethics and DOD
    Date:  Mon, 21 Feb 2000 18:56:06 -0600
   From:  Doug Rokke <>

        AMC gary motsek <>, bill cawood <cawoodw.nsiad@GAO.GOV>,
        bernie rostker <>,
        "Berthold, Debra D. LTC" <>, chuck kelsey <>,
        DAVID WILDER <>, dian lawhon <>,
        eric daxon <>,
        "Fortuin, Nancy A LTC" <>,
        "Hawkins, Walter L COL PAED" <Walter.Hawkins@HQDA.Army.Mil>,
        "Heller, Jack" <>,
        jerry davis <>,
        JOHN COBURN <>,
        "Kilpatrick, Michael" <>,
        MARK MELANSON <>,
        "Cumpiano, Flavio" <cumpiano@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM>, "Dr. Falk" <>,
        Drue Barrett <>, lisa spahr <LSpahr@Legion.Org>,
        national gulf war resource center <>, Senator Byrd <>,
        Senator Specter <>, steve fox <foxs.noro@GAO.GOV>,
        The American Legion <tal@Legion.Org>

If DOD officials had been honest,  provided medical care for exposures and adverse health effects,  had not deliberately sunk ships in 10'-15' of water with unknown contaminants, had complied with NRC DU use requirements,  completed mandatory DU education and training, had not used Vieques to prepare pilots to use DU during in Kosovo, and had cleaned up the environment then DOD would not be in the mess it is  in with protests growing all the time.  It is time to do what is right for GOD AND THE CITIZENS OF THE WORLD:

1.  Provide medical care for all individuals exposed to depleted uranium and other hazardous materials as a  consequence of military operations and training,

2. Complete environmental remediation of all affected areas, and

3.  Plan and conduct military operations to minimize adverse health and environmental effects.

It does not matter which branch of the U.S. military is involved: "Environmental Stewardship" should be the objective. During 1991-1992 The Department of the Army was found to be in violation with NEPA. Consequently we  developed guidelines and procedures to enable continuation of military operations while protecting and enhancing the environment. (reference TC 5-400).  Although, written for the Army it was applicable to all branches of the service and yet it seems today that "protecting health and the environment"  has been discarded.

It is time to restore the sancity of life and the environment and do what is right.

doug rokke, Ph.D.

80,000 Protest Navy in Puerto Rico

Filed at 5:14 p.m. EST
By The Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Summoned by Puerto Rico's top religious leaders, more than 80,000 people staged one of the biggest demonstrations in years here Monday to protest the planned resumption of U.S. Navy training on the island of Vieques.

Carrying banners bearing the portrait of Jesus and reading, ``We Want Peace,'' along with red, white and blue Puerto Rican flags, the protesters staged a silent march along a one-mile stretch of San Juan's Las Americas Expressway, cordoned off by hundreds of police officers.

Called by top religious leaders, including the heads of Puerto Rico's Catholic and Methodist churches, the ``Peace for Vieques'' march repudiated an agreement between Gov. Pedro Rossello and President Clinton to resume limited training on Vieques, the Navy's prize Atlantic fleet bombing range. Police Chief Pedro Toledo estimated the crowd at 85,000.

``We are showing the consensus in Puerto Rico's heart in favor of peace and justice,'' said San Juan Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves. ``It is a signal of hope and confidence.''

Organizers depicted the protest as nonpolitical, though many members of this U.S. territory's tiny Independence Party participated.

Church leaders' increasing involvement in anti-Navy protests has angered many pro-statehood politicians here. They fear the protests could harm efforts to make Puerto Rico -- recipient of $11 billion in federal funds annually -- the 51st U.S. state.

``It is anti-American, anti-Navy and does not contribute to the serious work that Gov. Rossello has done to obtain the Navy's exit,'' said House speaker Edison Misla Aldarondo.

Clinton and Rossello agreed last month to allow the Navy to resume limited training using inert bombs. The pact calls for a referendum, likely to be held in 2001, that will give Vieques residents two choices:

-- Allowing the Navy to resume use of the range on its own terms -- including the use of live bombs.

-- Requiring the Navy to cease all training by May 1, 2003. Until then, however, the Navy could use the dummy bombs.

Rossello's opponents -- joined by an unusually united front of religious leaders -- attacked him for abandoning a pledge to stop all bombings.

Carlos Romero Barcelo, Puerto Rico's nonvoting delegate to Congress, last week called religious leaders ``separatists.'' Gonzalez Nieves last year blessed a protest camp erected by Catholic activists inside the bombing range.

Many marchers Monday bristled at the politicians' criticism.

``I'm here because it's important to keep the peace in Vieques, and there doesn't have to be any other reason,'' insisted 52-year-old Marta Figueroa, of the southern town of Juncos.

``Even though we're veterans and have done our service, I want to tell the president of the United States that we want peace for Vieques,'' said Modesto Santiago Alvarado, 72, a U.S. Army veteran of Korea and Vietnam.

For 60 years, the Navy has used Vieques, with the island's 9,400 residents sandwiched between an ammunition storage zone and the bombing range.

After an errant bomb killed a civilian security guard last April, protesters moved in. Military exercises were suspended, and Puerto Rico demanded the range be shut down.

Adm. Kevin Green said Friday that the USS George Washington battle carrier group would not carry out training on Vieques in March, as scheduled, but in the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. Until last April, carrier groups routinely carried out live-fire training in Vieques, which the Navy argues is essential to its battle readiness.