More on the UN & ecological catastrophe in the Balkans


Jan Slakov

From: "Janet M Eaton" <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 02:39:01 +0000
Subject: (Fwd) Re: rn: commentary on yesterday's posting re: UN

Dear Jan, Ib and all:

I think that Ib makes very good points- 
about the chances of the UN team finding anything significant- 

In a press release from the team today they quoted measurements 
taken of chemical contaminants along the Romanian border as being 
within normal ranges- which may be expectred- However in the meantime 
citizens in Pancevo and other industiral sites where the oil and 
petrochemcial plants were  mercilessly bombed releasing tons of 
toxic contanimants into the atmosphere   -  people are sitting in  
offices with  rahses all over their bodies and vomiting and some are 
still being told they can 't say for sure it is the pollution.  And 
even if the levels have begun to drop it does not exucse the fact 
that after the bombing and burning of Pancevo - levels of the 
highly carcinogenic vinyl chloride monimer were 8600 times higher 
than normal and that is just one of many chemcial to which people 
were exposed.  and that a huge toxic black cloud hovered over the 
region for days. 

I consider that NATO  actually created its own gas chambers in 
these cities- where poisonous gases will take their untold toll 
over the years in both the short and longer trem.

They have violated international treaties and law,  the Geneva 
Convention on civilian bombing, and a colleague tells me more than  7 
environmental conventions

There is no justice in a world where renegade cowboys make the rules 
up as they go without reference to guiding principles and 
precedents  !!  . 

Re Ib's do you want to bet? 
  We shall see if the UN team are simply the manservants and 
handmaidens of the global economy -the MAI and the NATO  globocops--  
a team that simply  white washes and sanitizes and makes it all 
alright or whether they dare to report the truth- I was told by a 
colleague close to the source that they plan to take three 
measurements one done on site, one sent to Germany and one done in 
local labs- so they will have three mesurements to compare one of 
which comes from within Yugoslavia which makes it seem credible from 
this vantage point.  That is encouraging !!
But I am not holding my breath with regard to seeing DU sampling 
although the genie may just be out of the bottle this time having 
learned the lessons of Iraq one-!! 

 all the best,

P.S. The following just arrived and is illustrative of the kind of 
massive contamination we are talking about in Pancevo - How obscence 
that NATO can just chalk it all up to a necessary and strategic 
decision as one official was quoted as saying in an interview 

3. Chemical Warfare: NATO Missiles Leave Permanent  Legacy in Serb

PANCEVO, July 23 - In one of the reports this writer filed from  his
late-April trip to Serbia, at the height of NATO's bombing, we told
you about an ecologically devastating hit which the Serb town of
Pancevo took (just northeast of Belgrade, across the Danube - see "A
Huge Toxic Cloud Unleashed by NATO Bombs, S99-45, Day 26, Item 1, Apr.

Now, three months later, the aftermath of that, and other NATO attacks
on the Serb chemical factories, is slowly starting to trickle out. 
Here's an excerpt from a July 23 Associated Press report from Pancevo:

"The grass is bleached to a scary pale gray, and little Ana has
trouble breathing when she plays in the park, weeks after NATO wreaked
environmental havoc by bombing key industrial sites. 

Pancevo, an industrial town five miles northeast of Belgrade, was the
town worst hit during the air raids, and doctors and environmental
experts say the aftereffects of the bombing will be felt for years --
and maybe generations -- to come. 

Huge amounts of chemicals and poisonous fumes have polluted the air,
the ground and the water in and around Pancevo. 

The damage dates back to April when NATO missiles struck Pancevo's
three major industrial sites -- an oil refinery, a nitrogen fertilizer
factory and a chemical plant, releasing hundreds of tons of toxic
materials which spread over the entire region. 

Weeks after the bombing ended, a visit to the fertilizer factory still
produced a stinging sensation in the nose and throat. A sticky,
yellowish fluid, apparently a leaked chemical, stank and slowly
solidified under the blazing summer sun near the front gate. 

"I am afraid to even think what we breathed in, what chemicals got
into our bodies," said Tamara Radjenovic, a 32-year-old teacher, as
she watched her five-year old daughter Ana play in a park. Every few
minutes the girl came to her mother to rest, gasping for air. 

"She gets tired so easily, she has dark circles around her eyes. ...
It wasn't like that before the bombs. She is not the child she used to
be," Mrs. Radjenovic said of her daughter with a deep, sorrowful sigh.

Local doctors who examined the girl said the symptoms were caused by
the chemicals and that there was nothing they could do now. 

Pancevo's municipal authorities have compiled a day-by-day list of
dangerous leaks, fires and explosions since March 24 when the air
raids began. The town of 70,000 was targeted from the beginning.  At
least 25,000 tons of fuel, mostly from the bombed refinery, burned
into the atmosphere, blanketing a wide area with a layer of tar. 

More than 1,400 tons of poisonous vinyl chloride burned and spread
noxious fumes when NATO bombs hit a storage tank at Pancevo's
Petrohemija factory. The substance, normally used to produce plastics,
is carcinogenic, and 2 percent of it turns into even more dangerous
phosgene when burned. 

A hundred tons of mercury, almost as much sodium hydroxide and tons of
other chemicals, including nitric acid, burned up or leaked into the
Danube River. Those substances almost invariably cause respiratory
problems, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, skin rashes and blisters when
inhaled in even the smallest quantities. 

In one of the worst nights of bombing, instruments measuring pollution
in Pancevo showed a vinyl chloride concentration of 0.43 milligrams
per cubic meter, or 8,600 times more than recommended maximum levels. 

Doctors in Pancevo said there were about a hundred cases of acute
intoxication, mostly among nightshift workers, security and firemen
who were at the sites during the nighttime raids. Three of them have

"I had a patient who was treated for infertility last year. She wanted
a baby so much, she was two months pregnant when the bombing began,"
said a local gynecologist, insisting on anonymity. "She got so
terrified of possible birth defects that she had an abortion last
month." The woman made her decision after a surge of miscarriages in
the town in late April, he said. 

Milan Borna, head of the environmental protection department in
Pancevo, said, "The full extent of the damage will show in coming
years.... We fear that the worst effects may be degenerative changes
in future generations."

Meanwhile, a 17-member expert team, assembled by the U.N. Environment
Program, arrived in Yugoslavia this week and immediately headed to
Pancevo to take samples of water and soil for analysis in two mobile
laboratories. A mission member, speaking on condition of anonymity,
said a chief motive for the U.N. visit was the health of the Danube
River which flows through Yugoslavia and into neighboring Romania and
Bulgaria, carrying a share of the toxic chemicals downstream." --- TiM
Ed.: In other words, never mind about the little Serb Ana's.  The U.N.
is more concerned about the Danube carrying the ecological disaster
unleashed by NATO's bombs to the NATO vassal countries east of Serbia
(Romania and Bulgaria). -----------

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