Heavy Metal

       What is plutonium, what is uranium and WHAT'S THAT SMELL???

"Keep pulling Uranium out of the ground and you will throw off the thunder and lightning and wind." "Tornados, where tornados don't belong. People will die at the hands and feet of their addiction to technology." --Two people at a conference at an Arizona college. [ref]=[http://www.etext.org/Zines/ASCII/ATI/ati142.txt]

Hi, My name is ___ ______. And I'm a songwriter. And a poet. I'm a journalist and an ex-soldier and an ex-husband and the father of some children - unborn and unnamed. Three of them to be exact. I'm also a human being. But that's less what I'd like to tell you about tonite than that a few years ago I was herding sheep for Navajo families on Hopi lands. One of those days, a young boy named ______(sorry)______ was helping me tend his great-grandmother's flock. Oh, the usual things. You know, walk 4 miles follow the sun all morning, 4 miles home follow the sheep back to the Hogans. Run around them like a soccer half-back keeping them in line, and yourself in shape. Four miles out is where it happened, the sheep started acting really weird. Some were butting each other, some were running around like chaos, some were on the ground on their sides holding a front leg over their face as if they're trying to comfort a migraine headache, some were screaming. Do sheep cry tears? After that day I have to say I think so. "The uranium," ____________ exclaimed, he was excited to show me it. "My grampa used to bring me to it whenever we got near. Sometimes it's here, sometimes it's over there a ways. Always near the washes." "You mean it moves?" I asked him. He didn't know what the heck I meant. He tried explaining to me, sometimes the uranium moves, sometimes the dirt covering it moves. Depends entirely upon the weather. But there it was driving the sheep completely insane. This is not uranium tailings I'm telling you about tonite. That's a whole other sick, twisted inhumane story for another time. This is uranium ore. In its natural state. And soon enough the insanity travelled to us too! The headache, the buzz, the voices, the wind, the temperature drop around my skin, up and down my back. We walked toward the wash. He showed me which veins were coal, which ones were iron, which were uranium and which were, [looks left] [looks right] Which were gold. Yes, I've waited more than 11 years to write this anywhere so I could make damned sure I would have completely forgotten how to ever get back there. No one should abuse this moment, and you'd have to kill me and I still wouldn't show you exactly where that was. Suffice it to say it was somewhere in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona or Utah. Yeah, the cereal box states. So he told me to touch the vein of uranium, we'd already blackened and reddened our hands on the steel and coal dust. "No way, you first," I said after about five no ways, first. He described what would happen to me that it would be no big thing. A layer of skin would burn off right away, you'd smell it as if horse hair had been tossed into a bonfire. Then that hand would feel nice and toasty for a couple days but it wouldn't hurt. "You've done this before?" I asked him as he rubbed his hand across it. I could smell the horse hair. "Yup," he said, millions of times. He told me his grampa showed him it. Who, by the way lived until his 70s or so. "My grampa also told me [I should say here that by "grampa" he meant his great grandfather. Mother's grandfather I believe.] that if you Walk In Beauty your whole life, Creator will not let you die one second too early or too late. Wow. That moment in time reminded me of something I'd seen in a movie about Arch Bishop Romero. Walking out of a Church with about 40 young El Salvadoran soldiers pointing their Made In Rhode Island M-16A1 rifles right into the small of his back while he passed them. Many looked like they were trying to kill him but they just couldn't. Am I protected? Maybe. 3/4's of me believes it and remains relaxed, confident, upright. The other quarter doesn't know what to feel, or feels queezy. Often. You ever watch Jacob's Ladder? That's all I can say for now.

But that's really no big thing, is it? Well, not compared to what I did a couple years before that, because when I was stationed at Fort Carson Colorado with the US Army Signal Corps I often went with Bravo Co. to support cavalry units. Many times they would have me helping the sig soldiers in the cav unit who were giving the fire commands in M-1 tanks. Now these tanks needed to be very careful to make sure their bombs fell just short enough so not to kill our forward observers. Yupper, I've sat in forward observers huts too. They look a lot like things that Habitat For Humanity builds. Only with more shrapnel chipping the beams away. But that's not all they had to be careful of because among all the other 101-millimeter bullets in each of these tanks there was always one with orange and white rings around it. Velcro straps would seal it to the inside corner of the tank's wall so even an "idiot" would know you aren't to touch it. Occasionally you would see someone about to feed one in the tube. The first person to notice was required to scream loud rude invectives, beat on them and grab the thing out of their arms and help them put it back in the velcro. You see, this round was a suicide bomb really. My superior officers used to tell me it was the tank version of white phosphorus grenades. Very heavy, man. Like the phozz grenade, you can "throw" a uranium bomb what, a mile and a half? 3/4's mile sometimes? The radious of death will be 2 1/2 to 5 miles. Unless you're throwing a phozz grenade or a uranium bullet down a huge cliff where only the people down there will get shrapnelled and then dusted, and you run away fast as you possibly can, (in the tank's case we're talking about 45-miles per hour max) this is a huge run-on-on-on-on-on-on-on-on sentence, but unless you can do that, well, let's just say you're dead meat, too. And if you live? Well, your kids are dead meat probably, my superiors used to say. They treated it like something/or someone nobody wants to ever have around, ever use, ever need, but it's just good to know it's there in case someone higher than you says you're going to have to use it. Did any of us know? Did we? Did we really know? Did we know anything? Not really. Were we aware of all this stuff people are just now beginning to publish in newspapers, magazines and international war crime trial position papers? "Not only no, but hells no," I remember as another catch phrase in the army. There were lots of them. The only one I guess I can leave you with here on this page is: FTA
OK, I'm writing this because, who knows, right? I may find out someday I'm dying of Uranium poisoning. Or someone out there may find a link between mad cow disease and anthrax being incinerated in Long Island Sound, or George W Bush may decide cocaine is much more important than Ecuadoran peasants. And what about a recession? Or someone may decide that the Untied States of the Americas deserves to be bombed in retaliation for all the wonderful things it does to women and children and sometimes males all over the globe. And I may not be one of the lucky ones who gets to live on and try to run for the borders with, well, maybe one sneaker, maybe my guitar, maybe a white pickup truck, maybe someone's screaming, snotting wiggling little child who can't find his or her parents. I don't sound very happy right this moment, do I? Hmm. Let's see, that's probably because I'M REALLY FRIGGING PISSED OFF THAT THE NATION I GREW UP TO LOVE, HONOR, CHERISH, JOIN THE ARMY FOR, AND BRAG ABOUT EVERYWHERE I GO HAS TURNED OUT TO BE MAYBE 2/3'S AS BAD AS 1930'S ADOLF-HITLER-LAND!!! There, I feel much better. Just in time for things to get worse around here, I'm sure. I think I'll listen to some beautiful music and hunt down some nice links to go along with my rant here. No creo que venceremos a veces, marco ] Please read an indymedia org [ ] story about Depleted Uranium? [ Got Links?
You ever heard of Voices in the Wilderness? Have now. (Click it, you know you wanna.) Federation of American Scientists has a lot of DU info. If you'd like to sign a petition about Depleted Uranium, please click here. Who remembers Pledge Of Resistance? Still active!

School of Americas Watch Web Page

A feb2001 news story about depleted uranium. Please bother me if this link dies, I'll find it somewhere else.

Ten sites that show up when I search for "depleted uranium:"

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ati zine is often about PU/DU/U238/P239.


Heavy Metal
journal pome #23
 by marc frucht


Does anger have taste?
Car's down 'til roads clear.
December the freezin' season.
2-8 a.m. only good times to drive;
Least bit of thaw slides you 
Big Mountain, thrown off a horse;
Hauling water & hay for the elders.
Fixing hay shack, chopping wood.
VW microbus' 1st gear freezes stuck.
'Til 10am or so. (so cold & dry.)
Jan. 7, 1992. 9am. Lamb born to
The sheep who looks like Don King.
Denny makes coffee for wider eyes;
And 85th monkey follows the wind
Pondering the 4 directions. Red, 
White, yellow and black; Nevada,
Mexico City, Washington, or Spain.
James buys Edensoy in Winslow's 
Art Colony Fish Hatchery Homeless
Veterans Shelter. Vanilla's good;
Original's not. Run cooperatively
Sells bikes and skateboards too.

Please sign the petition

Customary cleaning woodstove each
Sunrise. Ash is for the outhouses
Always keep hot water on in case
Company comes. And the door key 
Hangs from lower branch of a tree. 
What's yellow, black and white?
Headache and much noise. "Don't herd
The sheep near the uranium wash," 
Auntie says, "makes them act wild."
Well, you would too if you had those
Told my guardian angels are spiders,
Whales, porcupines, buffalo, crows,
Badgers, turtles, bats & dolphins.
Roasted pinons; like chestnuts the
Size of roasted coffee beans.
"Nova" means food in Hopi.
"O" is yes in Navajo. "Ba" is bread.
        Go figure.
So what's red, white, yellow and black?
        Pomegranite in a wash full of

Groups join to study effects of old uranium mines

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. | Jan. 30, 2003

The long-neglected question of the impacts abandoned uranium mines may have on people is now the subject of several studies.

Virgil Maseyesva, former Hopi tribal chairman and director for the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals at Northern Arizona University, said historically there's been no studies on Navajo abandoned uranium mines and effects on nearby communities.

"Now that's completely changed," Masayesva said.

Masayesva, who gave a welcome address to members of the Navajo Abandoned Uranium Collaboration Jan. 23 said the collaboration effort includes Navajo communities.

Including community members is crucial because their personal knowledge, history and observations add to the studies of abandoned uranium mines, he said, their contributions help scientists and the community to "find some commonalties and knowledge."

"We have a really good cadre of people to deal with issues like uranium issues," he said. "We have a really good mix of scientists and the grassroots people."

Masayesva said scientists and technicians studying the issue represent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, and ITEP at NAU.

Other entities represented include the Southwest Research and Information Center from Albuquerque; the Tuba City Uranium Mills Tailing Remediation Act site; Tribal Air Monitoring Support Center based in Las Vegas, Nev.; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District; and the Eastern Navajo Health Board.

Masayesva said he is more excited about the involvement of NAU students Shania Gamble, an undergraduate chemistry major, and Monica Yazzie, a chemistry graduate student.

Gamble and Yazzie discussed the impacts on DNA from uranium exposure during a noontime brown-bag speaker event.

Benjamin B. Jones, a political science doctoral student, discussed the political aspects of the Navajo abandoned mine issue during the speaker event.

During the two-day collaboration meeting, members discussed outreach efforts and reports to communities such as Leupp, Ariz. and Crownpoint, N.M., according to Mansel A. Nelson, ITEP program coordinator, and an organizer of the collaboration.

Chapters such as Oljato, Utah and Cane Valley and Coal Mine Canyon, Ariz. are in the outreach planning stages, according to Nelson.

He said a significant amount of community outreach has taken place during the past six months to 30 Navajo chapters.

Research and data was shared and discussed as well as cleanup activities in Red Valley and Cove by Glynn Alsup, Native American Special Emphasis program manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Randy Richardson, site supervisor at the Tuba City UMTRA site, gave a clean-up update.

During the second day of the collaboration, the community of Church Rock, N.M. was discussed in the areas of environmental monitoring.

Initially, the collaboration gathering began as an ad-hoc committee, according to Mansel A. Nelson, ITEP program coordinator.

Nelson, whose interest is in science education, said Alsup really began with a lot of data collecting on the uranium issue in 1997.

Alsup had collected a lot of information ranging from aerial surveys to water studies, Nelson said.
Currently, there is data on identified water contamination, home and hogan contamination, and the abandoned mines.

Nelson added that scientists like Dr. Johnnye Lewis of the University of New Mexico benefit from the collaboration.

Lewis studies epidemiological issues and the collaboration's information sharing helps her research, Nelson said.

"It's a very loose organization of different people interested in the issue," Nelson said. "We get together to share data and discussion."

Additionally, Nelson said although collaboration members want to help communities with the uranium issue, grassroots people should get involved and educate themselves.

"We want to help, but we don't have control of the money," Nelson said. "People need to encourage their leaders, politicians - the Navajo Nation and the U.S. need to apply more money to this issue."

Nelson noted that one of the goals of the collaboration is community outreach and education.

Masayesva added that the institute focuses on other environmental issues such as water quality, wastewater facilities, helping tribes with environmental codes and regulations, and tribal environmental enforcement.

The institute is also about education and training, Masayesva said, adding that the institute began in 1992 with an agreement between NAU and the U.S. EPA.

ITEP was established to help Native American tribes in the management of their environmental resources through training and education programs, according to Masayesva.

ITEP began by offering culturally appropriate training to tribal environmental professionals in the area of air quality management and technology. Then an environmental education and outreach component was developed.

For more information about uranium education call Nelson at 928-523-1275 or send e-mail to Mansel.Nelson@nau.edu.

Please, please please sign the petition against DU.