Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Brad Friedman of wrote that he was most grateful "That it's our last legitimate opportunity to use the following photos" and invited caption suggestions.

I wrote:

BUSH: "I appreciate your efforts. See, I'm putting effort into the war, too --- this tray is the heaviest thing I've ever carried! Now, can you direct me to a table --- this height, open space --- wait, no, instead --- quick! Bring me a table!"

AGENT BACK AT THE REMOTE WATCHING THE TURKEY SPY-CAM VIDEO: "It's true. Nothing. The old man DID get Koop to lop it off in the 80's! No wonder Billy Graham didn't remember the walk on the beach!"
2ND AGENT: "...and what a price the world has paid."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wordle for Article Below

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Honor Vets by Learning About Depleted Uranium

The rest of the world knows about the health effects of the Depleted Uranium weaponry we use. Only Americans are kept in the dark.


As Europe mourns in Verdun today for those lost in "The War to End All Wars", World War I, we could look to another moment in European history to shed light on the most aggressively silenced story of the Bush administration.

In late 2000 and January 2001, reports were exploding across Europe about the rise in cancer amongst NATO soldiers who had served in the "peacekeeping missions" in Bosnia and Kosovo. The effects of the depleted uranium in the U.S. and U.K. weapons could not be ignored.

But history shows that the United Nations and the World Health Organization could be intimidated. The report from the WHO – that detailed how the DU vaporized upon impact into tiny particles that were breathed in, or consumed through the mouth or entered through open wounds, where the irradiating bits attacked cells all the way through the body, causing mutations along the way – was shelved under pressure from the U.S.

Even now, the major U.S. news organizations do not touch the subject, though the international press cannot ignore it. Even last month, a Middle Eastern Reuters reporter discussed the health damages because of the contaminated environment with Iraqi Environment Minister Nermeen Othman,
"When we talk about it, people may think we are overreacting. But in fact the environmental catastrophe that we inherited in Iraq is even worse than it sounds."

And The Tehran Times further endangers their country by continuing to report on the problem, calling it a war crime.

And across the internet, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Roger Helbig seeks to intimidate anyone who dares to bring up the subject.

But we evolve, and the United Nations First Committee has overwhelmingly passed a resolution , on October 31st, calling for "relevant UN agencies, in this case the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update and complete their research into the possible health and environmental impact of the use of uranium weapons by 2010." The only countries that voted against it were the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and France.

Meanwhile, to help the reader get to the point, I've put together the following. Although the facts, for the most part, do not contain links, there is a list of the references at the end.

Ten Essential Facts:

1. Depleted uranium, the nuclear waste of uranium enrichment, is not actually "depleted" of radiation; 99.3% of it is Uranium238, which still emits radioactive alpha particles at the rate 12,400/second, with an estimated half life of 4.5 billion years.

2. Depleted uranium is plentiful - there are 7 pounds remaining for every pound of enriched uranium - and requires expensive and often politically-contentious hazardous waste storage.

3. Depleted uranium is less of a problem for the nuclear industry when it is cheaply passed on to U.S. weapons manufacturers for warheads, penetrators, bunker-busters, missiles, armor and other ammunition used by the U.S. military in the Middle East and elsewhere, and sold to other countries and political factions.

4. Depleted uranium is "pyrophoric", which makes it uniquely effective at piercing hard targets, because upon impact, it immediately burns, vaporizing the majority of its bulk and leaving a hard, thin, sharpened tip - and large amounts of radioactive particles suspended in the atmosphere.

5. 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.

6. Depleted uranium weaponry was later used by President Bill Clinton in the NATO "peace-keeping" bombing 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 over the news of an alarming increase in leukemia and other cancers amongst the NATO troops who'd served in the Balkans.

7. The World Health Organization suppressed a November 2001 report on the health hazards of depleted uranium by Dr. Keith Baverstock, Head of the WHO's Radiation Protection Division and his team, commissioned by the United Nations. Baverstock's report, "Radiological Toxicity of Depleted Uranium", detailed the significant danger of airborne vaporized depleted uranium particles, already considerably more prevalent in Iraq than the Balkans due to the difference in military tactics, because they are taken into the body by inhaling and ingesting, and then their size and solubility determines how quickly they move through the respiratory, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems, attacking and poisoning from within as they travel, and where the damages occur. In addition, the report warns that the particles tend to settle in the soft tissue of the testes, and may cause mutations in sperm. In 2004 Dr. Baverstock, no longer at the WHO, released the report through Rob Edwards at Scotland's Sunday Herald.

8. The George W. Bush/Dick Cheney administration twisted the meaning of the failure of the World Health Organization to produce evidence of depleted uranium's health hazards, turning it into evidence that there was no link between exposure to depleted uranium and the increases in cancer in Europe and Iraq; instead, as presented in the January 20, 2003 report by the new Office of Global Communications, ironically titled Apparatus of Lies: Saddam's Disinformation and Propaganda 1990 - 2003, the depleted uranium uproar was only an exploitation of fear and suffering. Two months later, Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Rice began to "Shock and Awe" Baghdad by again dropping tons of depleted uranium bombs on densely populated areas.

9. On March 27, 2003, significant increases in depleted uranium particles in the atmosphere were detected by the air sampler filter systems of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at 8 different sites near Aldermaston Berkshire, Great Britain, and continued at 4-5 times the previous norm until the end of April 2003, after the Coalition forces declared the war over. This information only came to light in a report on January 6, 2006 by Dr. Chris Busby, due to his diligent fight for access to the data through Britain's Freedom of Information law.

10. We have a new, intelligent President, who is willing to listen. It is up to us to bring this to his attention. THIS IS HOW WE CAN HONOR VETERANS.



Campaign Against Depleted Uranium. 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

Department of Defense description of self-sharpening depleted uranium: click here

Dr. Keith Baverstock's November 2001 report, suppressed by the World Health Organization:

Rob Edwards article on Baverstock:

Karen Parker, a Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Lawyer: Scroll down on the page and you'll find her documents on DU.

January 2003 White House Report - Apparatus of Lies:

January 2006 Chris Busby report: click here


From "editnetwork":

"Traces of uranium" found at bombed Syrian plant
My first thought at seeing that headline was: "depleted uranium."

It's truly a crime that our outgoing administration somehow is escaping all accountability as it waltzes out the door. They are getting away with this horror of irradiating a population in Iraq that posed no threat to us and had been systematically weakened by ten years of sanctions, supposedly directed against their leaders. Now the displaced truly have no home to which to return, no water to safely drink, etc., because of lingering radiation. (Of course our civilian contractors supply safe water, etc., to the occupying "warfighters.")

All this lasting destruction thanks to us. Some legacy. I have no reason to doubt that the arms we give or "sell" to Israel are just as "advanced" and were used against the Syrian installation they destroyed and probably stand ready for use anywhere else in the region they decide to strike. Hence the "traces of uranium" which scientists will no doubt find a way to construe as evidence that the Syrian plant was bent on nefarious (nuclear) ends.

I may be proud to live in a free country, but I am not repeat not proud of the mark the U.S. is making on this planet and the ruin we are wreaking in the lives of countless humans and uncounted ecosystems.


From "editnetwork":

Note to Barbara -- requesting clarification

In your first listed point of information:

'Depleted uranium, the nuclear waste of uranium enrichment, is not actually "depleted" of radiation; 99.3% of it is Uranium238, which still emits radioactive alpha particles at the rate 12,400/second, with an estimated half life of 4.5 billion years.'

For "12,400/second" to be meaningful, it should be per given unit of mass (weight): for example, alpha particles 12,400/second/kg or whatever. I am unable to find the factor and hope your research will turn it up.

In fact, that "per weight" factor will turn out to be rather high, because with such a long half-life the radiation is fairly low-level. This in NO way diminishes the hazard of exposure to this material or the criminality of its continued use in weapons, whether against civilian or military populations.

Thank you -- the editor person


From Me (BBT):

Dr. Rosalie Bertell

Here is the article full of excellent information by Dr. Rosalie Bertell written for the May 1999 Hague Peace Conference, entitled "Gulf War Veterans and Depleted Uranium" from which I got those specific statistics:

The point is that the public is fooled by the term "depleted", which generally means "empty", which seems to indicate that it is harmless.

Similarly, the term "low-level radiation" results in another misconception. I am not a scientist, but I do understand that 12,400 emissions per second indicates a great deal of blasting. It turns out that the term "low-level" refers to the size of the distance the emission travels, not the power of the blast.

While I may be able to stand a few feet away from a chunk of depleted uranium and not be affected by it, because the emissions don't reach me, if instead there is a particle of it in my body, the cells that are next to that particle that is working its way through the gastrointestinal or respiratory system, for example, are being constantly bombarded, and change as a result.

For the universe of my body, there is nothing low-level about the experience.

Thank you for asking for more clarification. I hope this helps.


From "editnetwork":

Thank you for clarifying

The article for which you posted a link helped enormously, and I hope everyone reads it.

The portion that clarified the statistic for me is this paragraph:

"Natural uranium in soil is about 1 to 3 parts per million, whereas in uranium ore it is about 1,000 times more concentrated, reaching about 0.05 to 0.2 percent of the total weight. Depleted uranium concentrate is almost 100 percent uranium. More than 99 percent of both natural and depleted uranium consists of the isotope U-238. One gram of pure U-238 has a specific activity of 12.4 kBq, which means there are 12,400 atomic transformations every second, each of which releases an energetic alpha particle. Uranium 238 has a half life of 4.51 E+9 (or 4.51 times 10 to the 9th power, equivalent to 4,510,000,000 years)."

So the emission rate is 12,400 per second per gram of U-238, much more than I realized. And even though they are low-energy (velocity) alpha particles (helium nuclei, two protons with two neutrons), they are massive and do considerable subatomic damage when they do strike -- as do ingested particles of this material, no matter how small.

Especially enlightening was the section a bit later in the article was the treatment of decay products, one kind after another decaying into further radioactive isotopes. The final resting stage of this process is atoms of lead, which noboty wants in their system.

Thanks again for raising this terribly important issue.


From Me (BBT):

My Thanks for Your Follow Through

It is that concern to really know what's being said, so you, too, can consider its meaning and what you can do about it, that encourages me.

More important, it creates the public dialogue which is so profoundly called for, so we can put an end to the use of depleted uranium in weaponry.

Thank you.


From Me (BBT):

Writing about DU

I should mention that I first learned about depleted uranium on Memorial Day 2005. It took me more than a year and a half to dare to post anything anywhere about it, but during that time I gathered a ton of articles and reports, so when I did finally say something, I could back it up.

Some people who write about Depleted Uranium are so frustrated (understandably) that they let their need to be heard outshine the facts, and those who want this embarrassing and potentially expensive liability silenced are ready and willing to jump on that weakness.

I've been pleased that my presentation of the essentials has been reviewed and confirmed by two of the top experts in the field. Phew.

It is a sad tale, but it must be faced.


From Me (BBT):


I noticed that this article has been picked up and posted on a blog.

When I visited the blog, there he was, that retired Lt. Col. Roger Helbig I mentioned in the article, to criticize the blogger for posting "lies about depleted uranium", saying that no one ever reads the referenced reports.

So, I wonder, did Helbig actually read the article? Does he actually criticize an article that points out that he may show up to criticize it?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

November 4, 2008 (created at

November 4, 2008, 8:45 PM MDT

Diebold TSx not responding to Touch a "Human Problem"

At the Sprague Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. . .

Hi. I followed up on an email by Heather Bennett, a local candidate, forwarded to me explaining that one of her constituents contacted her about voting at the Sprague Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Diebold TSx was having a problem with recording votes on the lower left of the screen. When I saw that there was nothing with the key words on Google News, I reported it to CNN, which then forwards you to your local county officials.

At the office of the Salt Lake County Elections, I spoke to a young lady (at 2:51 pm MDT) who left the phone for a few minutes then came back to tell me that "The machines are working fine." She got this from someone she called Scott K, a technician regularly employed by the Salt Lake County Elections office, who had been sent to the Sprague Library and he told this young lady that the machines were working fine. She also said I could call him at his phone number, 801-468-3470.

So I did. Scott told me that he'd heard that a voter was having difficulty voting, so he stopped by to see if there was an issue, but that it turned out to be a human problem, not a machine problem.

I asked if the pollworkers had been aware of the problem, and at this point Scott wanted to know if I was calling as a citizen or was I part of a group. I said I was a citizen who will post what I find out online because activist organizations across the country were asking individual citizens to get involved in reporting. We continued.

Scott said that according to the pollworkers, when the voter's vote had not registered, one of them had tried, and failed, but that they solved the problem before the voter actually finally "cast" the vote.

Scott observed a demonstration of what had happened, and he told me that for the vote attempts that did not register, they were touching the screen in a way that he wouldn't expect the screen to be responsive. They were pressing it with a wide surface of their finger, then pressing very hard.

When he heard my typing, Scott asked about it, then said he should have been told that I was doing so, but I simply asked if there was a problem with it, and continued.

Scott reiterated that this was a human problem rather than a mechanical one, that people touch things differently, and that some machines are more responsive than others.

When I interrupted to question that, he said, "Let me rephrase that." Some touches, he tried to explain, "The way people touch the screen has something to do with a machine's responsiveness."

I questioned whether this was information that the voters knew or that the pollworkers knew? Scott's response was to point out the three "feedback mechanisms" in the system that give the voters a chance to check to see if their vote was properly recorded before voting. He insisted that this was a voter problem and not a pollworker training issue. He said that a voter is usually persistent enough to handle this.

Finally, he said that he had told the pollworker that if this should happen again, the voter should be given a pencil, because an eraser head is more precise than a digit.

Then, why don't the machines have a stylus? No response.

Scott's full name is Scott Konopasek, and his phone at the Salt Lake County Elections office is 801-468-3470.

Barbara Bellows-TerraNova

[Click title to go to thread at where you can comment.]

His Last Win, 2004 (A Preview for This Evening)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Gore Vidal et al to Obama: DO NOT CONCEDE!

An Open Letter to Senator Obama and the Democratic Leadership:

On Election Night, DO NOT CONCEDE!

"Eight years is too much" is how Barack Obama explained why we must win the coming election and begin to restore America. But, even if we receive the most votes, will we win the election?


Both of the last two elections were conceded by the Democratic presidential candidate. The 2004 election was handed to George Bush while votes were still being counted in closely-fought Ohio. While the 2000 election was contested to the Supreme Court, it too was ultimately conceded to Bush "for the good of the country."

Some good.

Numerous politicians, investigators and authors, including Robert Kennedy, Jr., agree the 2004 election was stolen, not only in Ohio but in several other battleground states. Tactics included purging of legitimate voters and the use of nefarious voting software--but when even these actions did not yield the required numbers, Republican election officials simply changed the vote tallies in several states, all without a peep from the Democratic Party.


In the time since the last general election the public has learned much about these scandals, which have led some states to reject electronic touchscreen voting (and which caused the infamous Diebold voting machines corporation to hide behind a new corporate name,) yet the Democratic Party seems to have learned nothing.


If we cannot afford another Republican administration, we cannot afford a third concession in the face of election fraud. Already there is evidence of massive fraud such as voter purging and caging of Democratic voters, and "flipping" of votes in early voting on electronic touchscreen machines. It is reasonable to once again expect further manipulation on election night by some Republican operatives and election officials, as was seen in 2004; should we also expect our Democratic Party leaders and candidates to repeat history, by once again conceding in the face of such blatant fraud?

Senator Obama, we need you, our Party and all candidates to stand firm, come what may on election night. You ask us to work for you, contribute to you--and to have your back; we ask that you promise to have our back: We ask that you PLEDGE TO STAND FIRM, AND NOT CONCEDE THE COMING ELECTION in the face of election irregularities, no matter how long it takes to contest such fraud, while there remains any doubt as to any part of the process. Be assured, Democratic voters will be more--not less--energized if we see you promise to stand firm.

Senator Obama, if there is any reason to contest the election, DO NOT CONCEDE!
Signed: (Titles for identification purposes only)
Gore Vidal, Author
Bob Fitrakis, Professor of Political Science, Columbus State Community College, Attorney; Editor of The Free Press (
Harvey Wasserman, Senior Editor,, Author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth
Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, Author of Fooled Again, How the Right Stole the 2004 Election
Tim Carpenter, Director, Progressive Democrats of America
Mimi Kennedy, Chair, National Advisory Board, Progressive Democrats of America
David Swanson, Co-Founder, After Downing Street
Eric Bauman, Chair, Los Angeles County Democratic Party
Garry S. Shay, Member, Democratic National Committee (CA) Lead Chair, Rules Committee, California Democratic Party
Jo Olson, MD, Co-Chair, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party
Mal Burnstein, Co-Chair, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party
Marcy Winograd, Executive Board representative, California Democratic Party, 41st AD, Former Chair, Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles
David Earnhardt, Filmmaker, "Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections"
Don Goldmacher, Chair, Election Integrity, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party
Michael Jay, Progressive Democrats of America, Special Projects, Former Delegate, California Democratic Party, 42nd AD
Sheri Myers, Director, "Wake Up and Save Your Country"
Robert A. Feuer, Former Chairman, Stockbridge, MA Town Democratic Committee
Thomas Patrick O'Shaughnessy, Region 3 Vice Chair, Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair, Irish American Caucus, California Democratic Party
Howard Jennings, PDA-Virginia, State Co-Coordinator
Sarah Stott, Chapter Chair, PDA-Virginia
Lisa Pease, Co-editor, "The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X"
Cindy Asner, Former Delegate, California Democratic Party, Member, National Advisory Board, Progressive Democrats of America
Julie Lopez Dad, President, Santa Monica Democratic Club, Chair, 41st AD Committee, Los Angeles County Democratic Party
Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA California State Coordinator and Orange County
Chapter Leader, Delegate, California Democratic Party, 73rd AD
Linda Milazzo, Senior Editor,, Blogger, Huffington PostRady Ananda, Senior Editor,
Jan Baumgartner, Managing Editor,
Cheryl Biren-Wright, Managing Editor,
Sherry Healy, Co-Founder California Election Protection Network, Coordinator, Election Defense Alliance
Laura Bonham, Summit County, UT Democratic Party Chairperson
Albert E. Fairchild, Retired Foreign Service Officer
Dorathea Peters, Precinct Captain, Alexandria, VA Democratic Committee

The Passing of a Wise Man

In my 2006 Christmas Card, following Dennis Kucinich's announcement that he would again run for the U.S. Presidency, and having recently sponsored a bill that would create a Cabinet-level Department of Peace, I cast Studs Terkel as the Wise Man on the left.

On October 31, on the very day he received his absentee ballot in the mail, Studs Terkel died, at the age of 96.

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! had a wonderful hour with Studs on his 95th birthday on May 16, 2007 that she called "Studs Terkel at 95: 'Ordinary People Are Capable of Doing Extraordinary Things, and That's What It's All About. They Must Count!'"

Then she brought him back on November 13, 2007 for an hour she called "Legendary Radio Broadcaster and Oral Historian Studs Terkel on the Iraq War, NSA Domestic Spy Program, Mahalia Jackson, James Baldwin, the Labor Movement and His New Memoir Touch and Go".

These are absolute treasures to hear. Such energy, determination and insight from years of listening.

P.S. More on the Christmas Card -- The Notes that accompanied the card:

Christmas Card 2006 Cast
Original Card by Avanti Press, Photo Elements by David Langley, 1999 - The 12 Dogs of Christmas

Cast by BBT as follows:

Babe: Dennis Kucinich, author of the bill creating the Department of Peace, 2008 Presidential Candidate

Mary: Cindy Sheehan, Mother of Casey Sheehan (killed in Iraq), Peace Activist

Joseph: Senator Jim Webb, who told Mr. Bush, "I’d like to get them out of Iraq" and wouldn’t accept Presidential patronizing.

Wise Men:
( L ) Studs Terkel, Radio interviewer and author. Hope Dies Last includes chapter on Kucinich’s courageous stand against power industry.

( LC ) Congressman John Conyers, Jr., recently known for What Went Wrong in Ohio presented to Congress on January 6, 2005, and George W. Bush versus the Constitution: The Downing Street Memos and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, Coverups in the Iraq War and Illegal Domestic Spying.

( R ) George McGovern, former Congressman and Senator, and 1972 Democratic Presidential Candidate.

Happy Animals:
( L ) Bill Moyers, public broadcasting journalist and former Press Secretary to Lyndon Johnson

( C ) Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, who courageously stood up to VP Cheney with Conyers above report on January 6, 2005 (backed up by Senator Barbara Boxer).

( R ) Pete Seeger, longtime Peace, Justice, and Environmental activist.

Angel: The Late and much missed Senator Paul Wellstone, Peace Activist.