March 21, 2004


Australia’s largest Indymedia franchise reports:

Govt lauds war as Australians rally for peace

Thousands of people across the nation have joined in anti-war protests to mark 12 months since the start of the invasion of Iraq.

In Sydney, former intelligence analyst turned Greens political candidate Andrew Wilkie addressed a rally of about 2,000 people.

That’s 0.047% of Sydney’s population. Australians rally for peace! Meanwhile, 71,800 turned up in Adelaide to watch a motor race.

Journalist John Pilger told the rally thousands of American soldiers are sick or dying due to uranium-tipped bombs dropped on Iraqi cities.

"By every meaning of the word terrorism the invasion of Iraq was a massive act of terrorism," Mr Pilger said.

By any meaning of the word, how can Pilger be described as a journalist?

UPDATE. Too bad this guy wasn’t in town for the weekend. (Via EvilPundit.) Oh, and here’s more Pilger in The Age.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 21, 2004 12:57 PM

That's a lie. What Pilger said is a big lie. Uranium-tipped bombs? Give me a fucking break.


Posted by: goldsmith at March 21, 2004 at 01:06 PM

Yes, it's a lie alright. It's not just thousands of American soldiers who are dying - its millions, maybe even billions if I miss my meds for a day. And those bombs aren't just uranium tipped, no sir, they are 100% uranium through and through. The USA is secretly nuking the entire middle east every day. But do you ever hear the mainstream media report it??? It just goes to show how powerful the US-Zionist conspiracy is.

Posted by: Bob Bunnett at March 21, 2004 at 01:15 PM

Uranium-tipped bombs... unhuh, yeahright. Of course, the kind of folks who think Pilger is cool will forgive him this because he MEANS well...

Posted by: Dave P. at March 21, 2004 at 01:19 PM

But, you *know* the 71,800 at the race were really feeling guilty that they didn't go to the peace rally!

Posted by: rinardman at March 21, 2004 at 01:21 PM

He says Iraq is on the cusp of a civil war,

Am I the only person who thinks that every time the mass media mentions the threat of civil war, the chances of it happening increase?

with dozens of civilian deaths for every reported death of a soldier.

I wouldn't be surprised if the numbers of Iraqis killed by the "resistance" is greater than the number of foreigners killed. But maybe he should talk about this with John Pilger.

In Melbourne, 2,000 people have heard from the father of Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks

Real peace-loving family, that is.

Dr Lawrence says the rallies around the country show people are becoming increasingly suspicious of the decision to invade Iraq.

Not exactly reflected in turn-out figures though.

Posted by: Andjam at March 21, 2004 at 01:31 PM

YOu'd think the odious Pilger would be back in London organising BBC Guardian and Independant demos instead of polluting our own backyard with his lies and pilgerisms.
Are the invitations by SBS and the ABC irresistable?
Is he touting for more film business from these publically funded organisations ? have the BBC stopped the funding for obvious reasons ?
After the dismal 500,000 dollar David Hicks apoloy film, they must surely be looking for new "Documentary" film makers to distibute their Views.

Posted by: davo at March 21, 2004 at 01:37 PM

No, no, no. The anti-war cause isn't any less popular. It's appeal is simply becoming more...selective.

*nods to Spinal Tap*

Posted by: Richard at March 21, 2004 at 01:40 PM

From Websters:
terrorist(ter'er ist),n. 2.a person who terrorizes or frightens others.

John Pilger must be a terrorist....he frightens the hell out of me!

Posted by: rinardman at March 21, 2004 at 01:43 PM

Iraqi's protest against protesters.

I found this quote on Yahoo news, needless to say hidden at the very bottom of the page -

Many of the demonstrations were accompanied by smaller gatherings of Bush supporters. Iraqi-American Kaise Urfali, 46, was among 10 people gathered at the Atlanta rally to oppose the protesters.

"These people have no clue, they have no idea about the meaning of terrorism and the meaning of freedom," said Urfali, who said his family has lived in exile from Iraq since 1958. "These protesters talk in the name of Iraq and none of them are from Iraq, none of them lived in the terror."

Sad that there was only 10 of them. Probably because pro-war people have more important things to do with their time.

Posted by: Oktober at March 21, 2004 at 01:47 PM

Pilger. I wonder if that name will some day have the inference as Quisling.

Posted by: George at March 21, 2004 at 01:55 PM

Goldsmith said
That's a lie. What Pilger said is a big lie. Uranium-tipped bombs? Give me a fucking break.

and Dave P.
Uranium-tipped bombs... unhuh, yeahright. Of course, the kind of folks who think Pilger is cool will forgive him this because he MEANS well...

The US military are using uranium tipped weapons

Ignorance is bliss

Posted by: William at March 21, 2004 at 01:58 PM

DOES anyone still describe Pilger as a journalist? I only ever see him called a "man of cats".

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at March 21, 2004 at 02:02 PM

William, you are obviously enjoying yours. Depleted uranium is used in penetration weapons because of its density, and it is technically radioactive because it emits enough alpha particles to detect in a shielded laboratory, but there is no credible evidence that it is a greater danger to those who work with it than any other metal.

Posted by: triticale at March 21, 2004 at 02:06 PM

first site talks about uranium in Iraq, but "Page last updated: January 31, 2003."

second site: "Updated Thursday, April 29, 1999 1:18:18 PM."

how about next time you find something updated during or after the Iraqi war?

Posted by: samkit at March 21, 2004 at 02:08 PM

Hey, you must be all "blissed out" then, William!

DU tipped artillery shells are used by the US forces in some anti-armour/anti-tank weapons. That is well-known, as is the fact that DU poses no significant radiological hazard. If it's low level of radioactivity could possibly be harmful, variations in natural background radiation from place to place would pose even more of a risk.

It is possible that the US also uses DU in highly specialised "bunker-busting" bombs. I am not aware of any but it is a possible use.

However, Pilger is claiming that there were "uranium-tipped bombs dropped on Iraqi cities" and implying that this was a routine practice. That is an outright lie. He is also claiming that "thousands" of American soldiers are sick and dying as a result. That is another outright lie.

Posted by: Bob Bunnett at March 21, 2004 at 02:29 PM

for those people how cant be bothered to cut and paste here are the links for Uranium tipped weapons here and here or just use google to find more references

Posted by: William at March 21, 2004 at 02:30 PM

Before I tease you for failing to properly copy and paste your links, William, what is your opinion of Pilger's claim? ;)

Posted by: Sortelli at March 21, 2004 at 02:40 PM

"By any meaning of the word, how can Pilger be described as a journalist?"

Simple, Tim, Pilger is a Depleted Journalist. You remove the useful stuff, like honesty and rationality, from a real journalist and you are left with a DJ like Pilger.

Posted by: Lynxx Pherrett at March 21, 2004 at 02:57 PM

I did read the links William - and here's what I found out:

"Natural uranium is a slightly/ radioactive metal that is present in most rocks and soils as well as in many rivers and sea water./ Natural uranium consists primarily of a mixture of two isotopes (forms) of uranium, Uranium-235 (U235) and Uranium-238 (U238), in the proportion of about 0.7 and 99.3 percent, respectively. Nuclear reactors require U235 to produce energy, therefore, the natural uranium has to be enriched to obtain the isotope U235 by removing a large part of the U238. Uranium-238 becomes DU, which is 0.7 times as radioactive as natural uranium./

If natural uranium can be found in most rocks and soils as well as many rivers and seawaters, and depleted uranium is only 0.7 times more radioactive than natural uranium, what are the statistical chances its going to make me or anyone else severly ill with radiation poisining?

Posted by: PatrickM at March 21, 2004 at 03:03 PM

It is possible that the US also uses DU in highly specialised "bunker-busting" bombs. I am not aware of any but it is a possible use.

I intially parsed 'DU' as 'Democratic Underground'. Nearly sprayed my coffee...

Posted by: rosignol at March 21, 2004 at 03:24 PM

For what it's worth, I am a calibrations technitian, AT3, in the United States Navy. Depleted uranium is less radioactive than the hot pocket you microwaved a while ago-- and about as dangerous, unless it's shot at you.

Our bunker busters were concrete. Cheaper, and the US isn't making weapons with DU anymore. (It's for the same reason that some fishing shops don't sell lead weights any more-- DU _is_ a heavy metal)

Posted by: Sailorette at March 21, 2004 at 03:26 PM

I don't know about nutty John,but I think it's
a fair fight.

Depleted Uranium versus Judy Davis' undepleted

Posted by: fred at March 21, 2004 at 03:35 PM

Depleted uranium is natural uranium minus its much more radioactive U-235 content, basically nearly pure U-238. This DU is 0.7 times as radioactive as natural uranium, i.e. about 30% less so.

However, uranium remains a very heavy, chemically toxic substance that you wouldn't want to have too much of in your environment.

Posted by: Charles P at March 21, 2004 at 03:37 PM

Specially if your environment is the inside of
an enemy tank turret.

Won't be the toxins that getcha.

Posted by: fred at March 21, 2004 at 03:56 PM

As New Scientist notes, "The most obvious health hazard from any of these things is being hit by one."

Posted by: J F Beck at March 21, 2004 at 04:14 PM

Saddam was looking for uranium before Gulf War 2. The least we can do is put a nice big pile of it in his cell now, can't we?

Posted by: Andjam at March 21, 2004 at 04:16 PM

I am totally against uranium tipped bongs. Who knows what heating of uranium will do combined with substances placed into said bong. The health risk alone are worth considering until we conviene a panel to study the.... what?... what?...bombs?....uranium tipped bombs?.....ohh.

Uhh! Nevermind.

Posted by: IXLNXS at March 21, 2004 at 04:33 PM

Who knows what heating of uranium will do combined with substances placed into said bong.

Finally. The truth behind your posts. Thank you.

Posted by: Quentin George at March 21, 2004 at 04:45 PM

By any meaning of the word, how can Pilger be described as a journalist?

That ain't no journalist, it's a pilgerer.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at March 21, 2004 at 04:47 PM

I'm starting to like IXLINJCKASS. That was actually kinda funny.

Posted by: Screamapiller at March 21, 2004 at 05:06 PM

"uranium remains a very heavy, chemically toxic substance"

But the likes of Pilger are trying to convinve everyone that its the radioactivity that's making people sick and killing gazillions of others.

Posted by: Jacob at March 21, 2004 at 05:30 PM

OT: Left-wing bias at ABC?

On today's Einstein Factor, a person taking as his speciality The Simpsons (and did fairly well) was asked (to the best of my recollection) "When Groundskeeper Willie acted as substitute teacher for French, he said 'Bounjour, Cheese-eating' what?", and the person was unable to complete the phrase.

Posted by: Andjam at March 21, 2004 at 06:28 PM

I'd say Depleted Uranium can kill you, sure

If you get hit with one.

Posted by: mateo_g at March 21, 2004 at 06:38 PM

Well, from the FAS page,

Which basically says, DU is not a health problem.

Of course, it was done by actual doctors and scientists, not aging ex-hippies or crank journalists...

Posted by: Jeremy at March 21, 2004 at 06:57 PM

Anyway, one fun fact about radiation, is that just living on Earth you soak up a fair amount of it. Not a problem as we tend to die when we hit 100, but things like vampires and such would come down with radiation poisoning after 200-300 years...

Posted by: Jeremy at March 21, 2004 at 07:00 PM

I liked DenBeste's post which explained how depleted uranium can be used as a shield to protect you from much more dangerous everyday natural radiation.

Posted by: aaron at March 21, 2004 at 07:43 PM

Andjam, to answer your question: you are not alone. I think there is a genuine effort on the part of the anti-US left/pro islamofascist right to create a self-fulfilling prophecy in Iraq. I imagine the thrill that rises through their bodies each and every time they hear of a bomb going off. For them Bush and the US is the ultimate evil and therefore MUST fail or be perceived to have failed in Iraq. Shame on them.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at March 21, 2004 at 07:53 PM

DU : you know it's used as ballast in certain cargo aeroplanes ? Remember when that plane wnet down in the Netherlands a few years ago and we got Greenpeace screaming about planes carrying " highly radioactive uranium " ? Is also sometimes used in helicopter rotor blades, as weights on the end. There's even a company in the US that makes golf club heads from it.
A buddy who's a tanker in the Califionia NG tells me that they are advised not to inhale the dust from a round : because U is indeed a toxic heavy metal, but this has nothing to do with the radioactivity, which as many have noted DU has little of. It is also true that some of the claimed symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome ( leaving aside whether such syndrome exists or not ) are consitent with heavy metals poisoning : notably the renal failue. And there are 98 other possible causes of such renal failure as well.
I think it was Auberon Waugh, many years ago who introduced the verb to " pilger " and this looks like a classic definition of the verb.
DU was used in tank busting rounds, inhalation of the dust from such could be a health concern, it would be nothing to do with radiation, those who were around to inhale the dust would probably already be dead from the impact and anyway, there is no evidence whatsoever of mass heavy metal poisoning.
As has been noted in the Spectator a few months ago, the series of diseases which have been noted in Iraqis following GWI, some of which have similar symptoms to heavy metal poisoning, are also consistent with exposure to chemical weapons . And we do know that Saddam used such on Iraqis in the years leading up to GWI.
So, no evidence that DU has harmed anyone other than those it was shot at, no scientific possibility of DU causing radiation related injuries, and clear evidence of chemical weapons use which we know could cause similar diseases.
Yup, " to pilger " is a useful addition to hte language.

Posted by: Tim Worstall at March 21, 2004 at 07:54 PM

When the lefties in Fremantle began screaming about Depleated Uranium a couple of years ago I asked some leading scientists about it.

Same answers as posted here: It can be chemically toxic but not radiologically toxic, and to be effected by the chemical toxin you'd need fragments of it in your body so you'd probably be dead anyway.

The Depleted Uranium scare is just another lefty lie.

Incidentally, we had Pilger at the University of Western Australia Summer School as a guest speaker this year, courtesy of the Australian tax-payer. Another guest at our literature festival was well known-literary figure Gerry Adams.

And what a flopperoo the pro-terrorist - sorry, I mean anti-war - demonstrations were!

Posted by: Sue at March 21, 2004 at 08:31 PM

Humbert Wolfe:

You cannot hope to bribe
or twist (thank God!)
the British journalist.
But, seeing what
the man will do
unbribed, there’s
no occasion to.

Seems to work for Pilger, too.

Posted by: Fred Boness at March 21, 2004 at 09:46 PM

Pilger is a liar and a traitor, who gives aid and comfort to the enemy. Even the Left can barely stomach his smarminess. Answer: package up Pilger like Hann(i)bal Lecter, and fly him to Gitmo. Swap him for Hicks, and everyone's happy.

Posted by: Byron_the_Aussie at March 21, 2004 at 09:55 PM

A _typical_ Radio Japan interview concerning the hopeless hopeless situation in Iraq wrought by the dastardly USA. Radio Japan (13 min.) . Dying children are involved, particularly because of Depleted Uranium, which makes Japanese very nervous. The Japanese government is supporting the US, an odd reversal, but maybe not so unusual. The media sell hooks into vast soap opera dramas. This is a fine episode. As the World Turns.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at March 21, 2004 at 10:37 PM

Its obvious that some evil CIA agent has swapped Pilgers tin foil hat with one that is uranium tipped. So really its not Pilgers fault anyway.

Posted by: Dead Ed at March 21, 2004 at 10:49 PM

One more point that makes Pilger's statement a lie: DU is not dropped in bombs as he claims, but fired from guns.

Posted by: EvilPundit at March 21, 2004 at 11:53 PM

Yes EP, and that's the point William is (deliberately?) obscuring by insisting the US uses DU in weapons, which is true, when Pilger refers to the "bombs" the US has "dropped on Iraqi cities" -- plainly a reference to something dropped from planes, not fired from tanks.

Posted by: Teenage Diplomat at March 22, 2004 at 12:36 AM

Yes but all the race fans are naive dupes of the zionist/American-led patriartical conspiracy to dumb-down the populace. The smart ones are at the anti-war rally...even though the war is already over.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at March 22, 2004 at 01:28 AM

Odd thing. Look at the headlines and look at the accompanying photos. Reading the signs I see:

A Palestine flag

Defend Immigrant Rights

End the Occupation - Iraq

End the Occupation - Palestine

End the Occupation - Iraq, Palestine, Haiti, and everywhere

U.S. Hands off the Philipines

Dennis Kucinich for President

Posted by: Fred Boness at March 22, 2004 at 01:50 AM

I and many others took to the streets yesterday in Georgetown. We marched along, only stopping to look at the cute Easter plates in Pottery Barn, then we marched, stopping again to get makeovers from the most delightful young earring-wearing men at MAC, then marching again only to stop and pet the tiny puppies outside LUSH. There were hundreds of us, maybe thousands, all out on the streets, um, protesting something or other by spending money and getting the most darling haircuts at Christianne's and new jeans and sweet little t-shirts from the Gap...

Posted by: ushie at March 22, 2004 at 02:15 AM

Participating on the Norwegian skeptic list, which also has a number of well-renowed scientists, I picked up a lot of solid debubking of the leftist claims about Depleted Uranium.

I wrote a summary of a number of the DU scare story debunkings here. The result was that the blog-neighbours started to hate me. Oh well, that is what I get for finding a blog.home on Salon...

Posted by: Jan Haugland at March 22, 2004 at 02:57 AM

Sue - Gerry Adams? Gerry Adams? GERRY FUCKING ADAMS? Are we talking about the Irish 'politician' here?

Posted by: Liz at March 22, 2004 at 03:13 AM

You guys are missing (but maybe not) Pilger's clever rhetorical trick.

He knows his crap is going to get translate across the world.

How many times in this modern version of "telephone" will "uranium-tipped bombs" get magically transformed into "nuclear weapons"? Because, obviously, uranium=nuclear.

And presto! Now you have given a rather large consituency a rationale for trying to set off a suitcase nuke, as retribution and stuff.

And Pilger can pull a Howard Dean and say "Who, me? I was just sayint it was an interesting theory."

Posted by: Steve in Houston at March 22, 2004 at 04:46 AM

I like the comment that another blogger made: that the easiest way to be killed by DU is to catch it in your chest at 3000 feet per second.
William, you raging genius, there IS NO SUCH THING as a "uranium-tipped bomb". We use DU penetrators in several varieties of CANNON PROJECTILES, but the only BOMBS we have with any kind of uranium are in the strategic inventory... and it isn't the same kind of uranium. DU is indeed nasty stuff: if you breathe the vapor or the dust you can get lung cancer. So how is this different from, say, every OTHER metal much above the midpoint of the Periodic Table? In fact, tungsten - touted as a "green" substitute for DU- is actually MORE TOXIC than DU is (and less effective as a projectile). But hey, what do I know, William? All I've done is study military tech and history for close to twenty years... and you are an elite science expert who has mastered the art of looking up unsupported facts on the internet.

Posted by: Dave P. at March 22, 2004 at 04:51 AM

By any meaning of the word, how can Pilger be described as a journalist?

As an example of a particularly bad one?

Posted by: Patrick Chester at March 22, 2004 at 05:39 AM

I don't get the Bilge-Pillager's bonnet-bee here. He wants American soldiers in Iraq killed, right? Whether it's by brave Iraqi/ Islamicist maquis or by their own Military-Industrial COmplex should be a secondary issue for him, no?

Posted by: Uncle Milk at March 22, 2004 at 07:24 AM

A simple question: I thought John Pilger was a traitor (he wanted Australia to lose a war and Australian soldiers to die)?

If he is here and we know where he is...why isn't he under arrest?

Posted by: Allan at March 22, 2004 at 10:17 AM

Another thought, perhaps random: rallies and protests seem to do better in Sydney when it is picnis weather! Poor weather and nobody turns up. Is this just a coincidence?

Posted by: Allan at March 22, 2004 at 10:19 AM

Sheesh. The technically incompetent and ignorant once again try to scare normally eductated people. Or perhaps I shouldn't say "normal" -- science education is going downhill.

William, you are dead wrong. A lot of folks have already replied to your ignorant replies. All that you are doing here is demonstrating how liberal pinheads go into brain lock and stop processing reality whenever they hear the words "radiation", "uranium", "nuclear", etc.

Two suggestions for you and your friends. First, stop being terrified of things that you don't understand. Second, learn about the things that you don't understand -- you will at least realize what the problem might actually be. As a rule of thumb, don't listen to people who use buzz words to influence you emotionally; they don't know what they are talking about, and are probably manipulating you.

Conversely, if someone takes the time to explain matters to you with a "this is how it works" approach, you are probably dealing with someone who does understand what they are saying. But check their references.

I'll betcha your use of tranquilizers will decrease dramatically.

Posted by: JeffS at March 22, 2004 at 01:19 PM


you bet your ass we are! Perhaps you'd like to contact the Uinversity of WA authorities with a note of congratulation.

Posted by: Sue at March 23, 2004 at 12:32 AM