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Washington has Long Engaged in Information Warfare, Including Fake News and Trolling

I've been a target of US government propaganda attacks

The Pentagon has expanded DU beyond tank and A-10 shells, for use in bunker-busting bombs, which can spew out more than half a ton of DU in one explosion, in anti-personnel bomblets, and even in M-16 and pistol shells. The military loves DU for its unique penetration capability–it cuts through steel or concrete like they’re butter.

In later years, I've done more reporting on the US military's use of depleted uranium, which the Pentagon loves because of its unique ability to penetrate even thick solid steel tank armor and reinforced concrete bunkers with ease, bursting into intense flame on impact and spreading super toxic uranium oxide dust in the aftermath. There is no dispute about the use of these weapons by US forces. But in 2005, the Pentagon was fighting a brutal rear-guard battle to claim the stuff is safe and at the same time that it was not being used in populated urban areas. Both claims were official lies.

Particularly active and voluble in this letter-writing campaign to ITT targeting my article, all of which correspondence was posted on the ITT website, were people like Jack Cohen-Joppe, retired Air Force Col. Roger Helbig, and US Army Col. Rick Thomas.

I could never figure out what Cohen-Joppe's motivation was, or who if anyone is behind him. A self-described opponent of nuclear weapons and especially nuclear power, Cohen-Joppe, from Tucson AZ, has for some reason had what I have described as an "Ahab-like obsession" with attempting to debunk claims of US depleted-uranium weapons, although such use has been admitted by the Pentagon. Meanwhile Helbig and Thomas appear to have more sinister connections to the Pentagon. Both show up in troll campaigns whenever articles about depleted uranium weapons appear. They also have had a years long campaign to smear and discredit one of the main whistleblowers about DU, Dr. Doug Rocke, a former Army Captain who conducted a Pentagon study on the safety (lack of safety) of DU weapons, and who also ran a campaign to decontaminate sites in Kuwait where DU weapons had been used, scattering toxic uranium oxide dust. For example, Helbig has claimed Rocke was never ranked higher than Lieutenant, and that he never ran a DU study or worked on decontamination after the Gulf War. Yet I was shown documents by Rocke showing his recommendation for promotion to Captain, and commending him for his study and his work in Kuwait.

Their attack on my ITT article was a success, in large part because of the cowardice and lack of principle of ITT's editor, Joel Bleifus. As I wrote in my Counterpunch article, Bleifus ran Cohen-Joppe's letter criticizing my article in a subsequent issue of the magazine without warning me and giving me an opportunity to respond to his fact-free criticism. This despite it being standard policy at ITT for its writers to get a chance to respond to any such published letters in the same issue. When I complained, I was eventually allowed to write a letter of response, but Bleifus cut it and added a note of his own saying he didn't agree with my response. It was shabby behavior of the worst sort, and also in retrospect a huge embarrassment to Bleifus and In These Times, as more and more evidence has come out of the dreadful multi-generational impact of the US military's use of DU weapons all over Iraq, including in its cities.

story | by Dr. Radut