[du-list] Seattle demonstration against U.S. Navy DU munitions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Glen Milner (206) 365-7865
Mary Gleysteen (360) 297-3894
Peace activists call for a Nuclear-free Port of Seattle. No nuclear
warships. No nuclear or depleted uranium munitions.
Local activists will stage a water-based nonviolent protest against the
glorification of weapons of war at the Seattle SEAFAIR festival and the deployment of radioactive depleted uranium munitions on U.S. Navy vessels.
Ø Peace activists will meet the U.S. Navy fleet in Puget Sound and enter
Ø Elliott Bay with the fleet.
When: Thursday, August 5, 2004. SEAFAIR fleet arrives around noon
Where: Elliott Bay in downtown Seattle.
The fleet arrival at SEAFAIR is a public relations and recruiting event
for the U.S. Navy. Previous years have brought Trident nuclear submarines and Navy warships used to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles in the first War on Iraq and the War on Afghanistan.
The fleet is on display in downtown Seattle at tremendous cost to taxpayers at a time when crucial socialservices in education, health care and transportation are being cut for lack of funds. The fleet will stay in Seattle for four days.
The Close-In Weapons System, a gun system on almost every Navy surface vessel, and on all five Navy vessels arriving at SEAFAIR this year, is capable of firing radioactive depleted uranium rounds.
This will be the third year peace vessels have nonviolently engaged the U.S. Navy fleet arrival at SEAFAIR.
In 2000, the U.S. Coast Guard stopped a protest boat with banner proclaiming “Choose Life”, and ordered it out of Elliott Bay. In 2003, four peace boats traveled with the U.S. Navy fleet in Elliott Bay. Both times U.S. Navy and Coast Guard personnel brandished large automatic weapons on vessels off downtown Seattle.
Peace vessels and all other vessels are required to stay 500 yards from Navy surface ships. On July 22, 2004, Commander Sellers of Navy Region Northwest warned that if peace vessels came within 100 yards of Navy vessels, crew members could be shot and/or arrested.
The next scheduled Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action event will be on August 8, 2004 at the Trident submarine base at Bangor, Washington.
Please see attached fact sheet
Fact Sheet–Local Peace Activists to meet the U.S. Navy Fleet arrival at SEAFAIR on August 5 in Elliott Bay
Almost every surface vessel in the U.S. Navy has the CIWS or Close-In Weapons System, which is capable of firing up to 4,500 20mm rounds per minute as a final ship defense against missiles and fighter planes.
This is the gun system, according to Navy documents released in December 2002, used to fire radioactive depleted uranium rounds into prime fishing waters off the Washington State coast.
The gun must be fired twice each month for testing and calibration purposes. Each test fires approximately 400 to 600 rounds.
The U.S. Navy 25mm Mk 38 machine gun has also been fired with depleted uranium rounds. The Mk 38 is capable of firing 175 rounds per minute with a range of approximately 2,700 yards.
Navy vessel types arriving at SEAFAIR this year, and the gun system capable of firing depleted uranium rounds, are the following:
(1) Amphibious Assault Ship (LHD) two 20mm CIWS, four 25mm Mk 38 machine guns
(1) Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD)?two 20mm CIWS, two 25mm Mk 38 machine guns
(1) Dock Landing Ship (LSD)?two 20mm CIWS, two 25mm Mk 38 machine guns
(2) Guided Missile Cruiser (CG)?two 20mm CIWS, two 25mm Mk 38 machine
Depleted uranium, U-238, is a waste product of the process to enrich uranium for use in nuclear power plants and weapons production. Depleted uranium is 1.7 times as dense as lead and has a half-life of 4.5 billion years.
In a 1995 study, the Army Environmental Policy Institute concluded, “If depleted uranium enters the body, it has a potential to generate significant medical consequences. The risks associated with depleted uranium are both chemical and radiological.”
In 2000, the U.S. Department of Energy admitted that depleted uranium used in Kosovo was contaminated with “transuranic” (heavier than uranium) fission wastes from inside nuclear reactors. Munitions used were spiked with plutonium, neptunium and americium.
Documents released through the Freedom of Information Act show gross negligence by the U.S. Navy in handling depleted uranium rounds. In August 2001, the Navy mistakenly shipped 20mm depleted uranium rounds instead of tungsten rounds to the U.S. Coast Guard in Seattle.
The Coast Guard received and stored 1,700 radioactive rounds at Pier 36 in downtown Seattle and loaded it on the cutter Mellon. When Coast Guard personnel realized they had depleted uranium on their vessel, they turned it over to the Navy?s weapons storage depot at Indian Island, near Port Hadlock.
The Coast Guard is not licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to handle
depleted uranium munitions. The Navy is not licensed by the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command to ship depleted uranium munitions.
This year members of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action will be mindful of friend and colleague, Jackie Hudson, who on July 25, 2003 was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in Colorado for a demonstration at a nuclear missile silo. Jackie?s actions serve as our inspiration.