ecological catastrophe & some hope


Jan Slakov

Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 17:39:46 +0000
To: •••@••.•••
From: Paul Swann <•••@••.•••>

Two very disturbing reports...and some hope for united action.


Nuclear war, courtesy of Nato

Kosovo, like Vietnam, has liberal support. But what of our weapons?
By John Pilger

The Guardian, London
Tuesday May 4, 1999

The 'just and noble liberal war', in which Nato bombs have now
incinerated people on a bus, having already killed passengers on a
train, refugees on tractors, the elderly in a hostel, workers in
factories and children in their homes, is not the first. Vietnam was a
liberals' war, described as a 'righteous crusade' by Bill Clinton's
hero, John Kennedy, and a 'noble cause' by Ronald Reagan, a
conservative. The labels are important only as illusion, now that
Clinton is Reagan and Blair is Thatcher.

Nato's 'new vision' is to seek justification for American-led attacks
all over the world. When communism retired from the cold war game, the
'war on drugs' was used to justify renewed American military
intervention in Latin America. After that, the pursuit of demons took
over. Demons are dictators of no further use to Washington. There was
General Noriega in Panama, where the US invasion cost 2,000 lives, and
Saddam Hussein in Iraq (200,000 lives) and various warlords in Somalia
(7,000 lives). Now it is the turn of Milosevic, with whom Clinton and
Blair share responsibility for emptying most of Kosovo.

Demons as a justification for attacking countries have since been
reinforced by Weapons of Mass Destruction, or WMD. These are chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons, the possession of which, says Nato
literature, 'may require pre-emptive retaliation'. The ferocity of the
continuing military and economic assault on Iraq is justified in this
way - when the real reason has to do with the policing of an expanded
American protectorate from the Gulf to the Caspian Sea.

The hypocrisy is on a grand scale. Only one nation on earth has used all
three WMDs: the United States. Smallpox was used to ethnically cleanse
Native Americans and to spread plague in Cuba. Chemicals were used in
Vietnam: between 1961 and 1971, American planes dropped on South Vietnam
a defoliant, Agent Orange, which contained dioxin, a poison that causes
foetal death, congenital defects and cancer (this was code-named
Operation Hades).

When a Congressional inquiry revealed that the equivalent of six pounds
of dioxin had been dumped on every man, woman and child in South
Vietnam, Operation Hades was changed to the friendlier Operation Ranch
Hand, and the spraying continued. A pattern of deformities began to
emerge: babies born without eyes, with deformed hearts and small brains
and stumps instead of legs. I glimpsed these children in contaminated
villages in the Mekong Delta; and whenever I asked about them, people
pointed to the sky; one man scratched in the dust a good likeness of a
bulbous C-130 aircraft, spraying. In the towns and cities, it was not
unusual to see deformed children begging. They were known as 'Agent
Orange babies'.

Recently, at the Tu Do hospital in Saigon, I was shown a group of
newborn babies, all of whom had Agent Orange deformities. The war that
officially ended in 1975 goes on; contaminated soil and water are
poisoning a third generation. Unlike American and Australian veterans of
the war, who have been finally compensated by the manufacturers of
dioxin, the Vietnamese have received nothing. Now a five-year Canadian
study has discovered that dioxin runs right through Vietnam's food chain
and has called for international help in decontaminating agricultural
land, forests and waterways. The cost of one F-16 bomber would pay for

'Can you imagine pilots from a democratic country doing such a thing
deliberately?' said Jamie, the Nato spin doctor, following the craven
killing of refugees by an F-16 pilot. Today, the same pilots are
spreading over Serbia and Kosovo a poison potentially as cataclysmic as
Agent Orange. It is carried in depleted uranium, which makes missiles
and shells more destructive. This is how Rosalie Bertell, a Canadian
specialist, describes the effects on humans: 'Depleted uranium comes
from radioactive waste produced for nuclear weapons and the nuclear
industry. It can pierce tanks and release a deadly radioactive aerosol
of uranium, unlike anything seen before. This lies in the dust or is
suspended in the air, or carried in the wind. It penetrates the lung
tissue and enters the blood stream, storing in the liver, kidney and
bone and irradiating all the delicate tissues. It can initiate cancer or
promote cancer.'

The truth is that the US and Britain are engaged in a form of nuclear
warfare in the Balkans. In 1996, the United Nations Human Rights
Tribunal called depleted uranium a WMD. Like the Agent Orange babies of
Vietnam, the deformed and cancer-stricken children of southern Iraq,
where depleted uranium was tested by British and American forces during
the 1991 Gulf war, bear witness to the true nature of righteous Western
crusades. Civilised people should speak out urgently before the latest
noble cause claims more expendable victims and beckons a world war. No
amount of specious moralising will conceal the scale of the crime.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 1999

Delivered-To: pswann
From: "Janet M. Eaton" <•••@••.•••>
To:            •••@••.•••
Date:          Thu, 6 May 1999 12:52:25 +0000
Subject:       Balkan Ecologists Sign Joint Declaration vs NATO Bombing & Pollu
Cc:            •••@••.•••

MAY 5, 1999
Ecologists Across the Balkans Sign Joint

                            By Natasa Dokovska

                            SKOPJE, Macedonia, May 5, 1999 (ENS) - All
                            the ecological groups of the warring
                            Balkan countries have joined in signing a
                            Declaration against NATO bombing and
                            pollution in the region. At the initiative
                            of the Macedonian environmental movement,
                            the document was sent around for everyone
                            to sign. It has now been signed by
                            Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and
                            the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

                            The Declaration asks that NATO stop the
                            bombing immediately for the safety of the
                            world. If the bombing is not stopped,
                            environmentalists from across the Balkans
                            intend to organize a massive demonstration
                            of solidarity that transcends the

                            In the Declaration the
                            environmental movements say
                            that depleted uranium, which
                            NATO forces are using in the
                            attack on Yugoslavia, is being
                            dispersed with intensive clouds
                            of flame and scattering
                            radioactive particles across
                            the region.

                            Depleted uranium is a waste product of the
                            uranium enrichment process used for making
                            atomic bombs and nuclear fuel. It is used
                            in the creation of shell casings because
                            its extreme density increases the shells'
                            armor-piercing capability. Depleted
                            uranium is categorized as a low-level
                            radiation hazard.

                            In a United States Defense Department
                            briefing on May 3, Major General Wald
                            confirmed that A-10 Warthog jets have been
                            firing shells with casings made of
                            depleted uranium. These low-flying slow
                            planes can carry numerous armaments and
                            are used against tanks.

                            NATO admits it is using depleted uranium
                            in shells, but says the amounts of
                            radioactivity released are too low to
                            affect human health.

                            Major General Wald downplayed the risk
                            from depleted uranium. "I know that I see
                            the munitions handlers put these bullets
                            in the aircraft, holding on to them for 20
                            years, so they've done a lot of scientific
                            studies on these things, and there doesn't
                            seem to be a problem," he said Monday.

                            But many people across the Balkans do not
                            believe these assertions. In their joint
                            Declaration, the ecologists say depleted
                            uranium has a serious effect on the health
                            of military personnel, and on that of the
                            ordinary people.

                            The Balkan environmentalists have support
                            in the United States for their campaign
                            against depleted uranium (DU). Sara
                            Flounders, a contributing author of the
                            book "Metal of Dishonor: Depleted Uranium"
                            and co-director of the New York based
                            International Action Center, said, "The
                            use of Warthogs with DU shells threatens
                            to make a nuclear wasteland of Kosovo. The
                            Pentagon is laying waste to the very
                            people, along with their children, they
                            claim to be saving. This is another reason
                            for fighting to end NATO's attack on

                            Balkan ecologists believe that NATO has
                            taken up arms against the Serbs without
                            thought for the environment and the
                            effects on human health.

                  <remainder of article snipped>

                            c Environment News Service (ENS) 1999. All
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