Dear RN list, July 23 Just lately I have seen two postings which are very damning of the UN: one from Zapatista Subcommander Marcos and another about wells drilled by UNICEF and the Bangladeshi government which are poisoning Bangladeshis (arsenic). But I hate to give up on the UN and all its affiliates too easily. (I'm quite sure it was Kurt Waldheim who said, "The UN has survived liars and astrologers as Secretaries General. It's taken the rap for dirty deeds that the Super Powers have wished on it... but if it didn't exist, then we'd have to invent something like it.") Anyhow, I am hopeful that the UN investigation into the ecological disaster caused by the bombing of Yugoslavia will help de-legitimize war. And I want to thank Janet Eaton for putting together the 6 postings of articles dealing with the ecological consequences of the bombings. I suspect her work has been crucial in getting this UN team into action. Sometimes I get quite despondent about the value of all our e-mail work. But a talk with Janet, who is doing more than most of us can imagine doing, is always encouraging. I feel so lucky that she lives not that far from here! all the best, Jan ****************************************************************** From: "Janet M Eaton" <•••@••.•••> Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 17:49:22 +0000 Subject: UN Balkans Task Team Begins Work - 2 Items + DU Commen First posted July 20th on several listservs: Two news releases on the UN Balkans Task Force as it begins its environmental assessment work: [complete articles below commentary] 1] http://www.unfoundation.org/unwire/unwire.cfm#11?ID=48127 UN WIRE, Tuesday, 20 July, 1999 BALKANS: UN Team Begins Environmental Assessment 2] http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_398000/398781.stm BBC Online News Monday, July 19, 1999 Published at 22:17 GMT 23:17 UK Green team investigates Nato campaign Oil refineries were a regular target of Nato bombs By Belgrade Correspondent Jackie Rowland According to the above sources the UN Balkans Task Force begins work at the Pancevo industrial complex tomorrow, before moving on to the oil refinery in Novi Sad and other major factories. They will carry out tests on the soil, air and water as part of the first objective assessment of the environmental consequences of the conflict. . completing this phase of the assessment on July 28th. Another mission will be sent in August to conduct a full study of the impact of the bombing on the River Danube and on health in the region. It is very encouraging, given the devastating and manifest human health and ecological consequences, that a thorough assessment is taking place. The need for such assessment has been called for in reports of the UN Inter-agaency Needs Assessment Mission released June 29th , by the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe reporting around the same time, and in press releases by Mikhail Gorbachev and Green Cross International and by the World Wildlife Fund among others. One possible limitation of and concern with the UN team's approach is that it apppears they will not be sampling for depleted uranium [DU]. Whether this is related to lack of equipment or lack of adequate information is not clear. But subsequent to my posting of ADVISORY: Request DU Maps & Info for Balkans By Joan McQueeney Mitric, •••@••.••• Independent medical reporter based in Washington, DC July 15, 1999, Washington, D.C. http://www.flora.org/flora.mai-not/12606 the following dialogue emerged suggesting that whatever the reason for the omission of DU testing - the fact may remain that the UN team may not have been adequately informed on the subject of DU and its possible hazards in the Balkans at this time!! Catherine Euler, •••@••.••• who is part of a network of activists in the UK and US who are pressuring the US DOD to provide full maps of where DU was used said in a recent e-mail which she cc'ed to me: " I understand that UNEP is basing its evaluation of the environmental consequences of DU use in the war on this RAND corporation report. A number of us are extremely concerned about this. " She noted that the RAND corporation report on DU did not include an adequate analysis of this aspect of U238. In fact, she said it was based solely on a review of the secondary literature. Another of the person's cced in her e-mail was Dan Fahey, "Daniel Fahey" <•••@••.•••> Research Director with the National Gulf War Resource Center who responded as follows: "Also, if UNEP is using the RAND report as its guide, they will no doubt conclude depleted uranium is not an issue of concern. There are some major problems with the RAND report, including that it ignores a large body of literature. Further, it bases its conclusions on faulty exposure estimates provided by the DOD. I have written a critique (DoD Anaylsys II), which should by now be posted on Chris Kornkven's web site: http://www.globaldialog.org/~kornkven Dan Fahey Further to Dan Fahey's critique I have downloaded the following from Chris Kornkven's "Gulf War Veterans Resource Links Website" DU Link page. DOD Analysis II An Analysis of the RAND report on Depleted Uranium by Dan Fahey This report, in PDF format, is a very good review of the recently released RAND report on Depleted Uranium. This report by Dan Fahey, shows just how much information RAND ignored when they conducted their supposedly thorough review of the available medical literature. Mr. Fahey lists more than 173 reports that have been cited in other reports on Depleted Uranium, that RAND failed to review. http://www.globaldialog.com/~kornkven/du_link.htm Scroll about 1 / 3 of the way down the lengthy file to find links to this 23 page report subtitled "The Good, the Bad and The Ugly" !! all the best, janet eaton Dr. Janet M. Eaton, PhD Biologist, Educator, Researcher, Public Policy Consultant, Research Fellow, International Systems Institute, Wolfville, N.S., CANADA •••@••.••• ============================================ http://www.unfoundation.org/unwire/unwire.cfm#11?ID=48127 UN WIRE An Independent News Briefing about the United Nations ------------------------------------------------------- Tuesday, 20 July, 1999 WORLD SNAPSHOT: UN WIRE TOP STORIES 3. BALKANS: UN Team Begins Environmental Assessment -------------------------------------------------------------- BALKANS: UN Team Begins Environmental Assessment A team of UN-sponsored environmental experts are in Pancevo, Yugoslavia today, beginning an assessment of damage done during the recent conflict over Kosovo. Repeated NATO airstrikes destroyed the city's petrochemical plant, fertilizer factory and oil refinery, "spewing thousands of tons" of ammonia, ethylene dichloride, hydrochloric acid, liquid chlorine, mercury and dioxin into the environment. NATO officials have defended the attack, saying the complex produced fuel used by the Yugoslav army. The number of miscarriages in Pancevo has doubled within the last month, and some doctors are advising pregnant women to get abortions. The city's health clinic "is packed with people vomiting in the waiting room, fighting to breathe and covered in full body rashes." Doctors are not certain the pollution is to blame, "but everything seems to point in that direction." Local lawyer Curcin Dusan is considering filing a lawsuit against the United States on behalf of Pancevo's citizens (Jack Kelley, USA Today, 20 Jul). The team's itinerary also includes sites in Rakovica, Novi Sad, Baric, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Nis and Pristina. The experts expect to finish the current round of studies by 28 July and send another mission in August (Alex Kirby, BBC Online, 17 Jul). 2] http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_398000/398781.stm BBC Online News Monday, July 19, 1999 Published at 22:17 GMT 23:17 UK Green team investigates Nato campaign Oil refineries were a regular target of Nato bombs By Belgrade Correspondent Jackie Rowland A UN team has arrived in Yugoslavia to investigate the extent of the environmental damage caused by the Nato bombing campaign. The scientists will take soil samples and carry out other tests around oil refineries and factories which were targeted by allied attacks. Nato's strategy of bombing industrial sites led to widespread panic about toxic fumes and poisoned rivers. In some towns, people used homemade gas masks to protect themselves from air pollution. Black clouds of smoke rising above oil refineries are some of the most enduring images of the war in Serbia. Scare stories Now that the war is over, experts are trying to separate scientific fact from scare stories. The UN Balkans Task Force in Belgrade will carry out tests on the soil, air and water as part of the first objective assessment of the environmental consequences of the conflict. They will begin their work on Tuesday at the Pancevo industrial complex, on the outskirts of Belgrade, before moving on to the oil refinery in Novi Sad and other major factories. Sensitive mission A full study of the impact of the bombing on the River Danube and on health in the region will take place in August. The task force is taking a regional approach to environmental problems with experts travelling to Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania. UN officials stress that their work is only at the assessment stage and no recommendations can be expected before September. The UN team currently in Serbia is aware of the political sensitivity of its mission. Western governments are making a firm distinction between humanitarian aid to Serbia, which they support, and reconstruction aid which they are ruling out as long as President Slobodan Milosevic is in power. In response UN officials are stressing the humanitarian nature of the environmental mission. They say their experts are equipped and ready to deal with any ecological emergencies they may encounter during their assessment work.