Depleted Uranium -- January 9th, 2000

To: NKS subscribers, etc:
Re: Depleted Uranium -- a hot topic indeed Date: January 9th, 2000
From: Russell Hoffman

Dear Subscribers,

Below is an excellent article by Robert Fisk on Depleted Uranium.

I have been fighting the use of D.U. for many years (some URLs appear below this note). It seems that the alternative press has stepped up the battle recently, publishing a number of articles and discussing the issue on the airwaves, and perhaps we are at a crossroads. Perhaps the epidemiological studies that should have been done in Iraq will now be done in Kosovo and among the allied troops who fought there. Perhaps, but more likely the full truth will be denied again somehow. Another culprit will be found -- perhaps the authorities will blame radon gas build-up in the (leaky) tents of the soldiers for any increases in cancers and leukemias among them, or birth defects among their children! Anything but D.U., the darling toxic chemical weapon of America's high-tech war machine.

-- Russell Hoffman

STOP CASSINI newsletter articles about Depleted Uranium:

Cancer rates expected to rise among vets exposed to D.U.:
D.U. Update: US says they "lost count" of Uranium shells:
Dr. Rosalie Bertell on Depleted Uranium dangers:
Depleted Uranium: A philosophical reply to New Scientist:
The effects of Depleted Uranium are mentioned also in this newsletter:
Hans Karow deplores D. U. as well, in this newsletter:
BBC NEWS report: Further confirmation of D.U. use in Balkans:
Depleted Uranium use in Yugoslavia confirmed (again):
NATO bombs Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia:
BBC - Pentagon confirms depleted uranium use:
1994 article on Depleted Uranium available online:
Here's the article that one links to:
How much D. U. is being used in Yugoslavia?
Radioactivity in the Balkans; US confirmation of DU use:
"I am ashamed of what my country is doing in Yugoslavia" (this entire issue is basically about Depleted Uranium):
U.S. DoD "solves" a burning problem regarding its use of Depleted Uranium:
A STOP CASSINI Special Report: Depleted Uranium (from October, 1997):

And here's a major D.U. article published by WISE: Radioactive Battlefields of the 1990s (by the Military Toxics Project's Depleted Uranium Citizens' Network):


Published on Monday, January 8, 2001 in the Independent / UK
The Truth About Depleted Uranium
by Robert Fisk

Just fourteen months ago, on a bleak, frosty afternoon, I stopped
my car beside an old Ottoman bridge in southern Kosovo. It was
here, scarcely half a year earlier, that Nato jets had bombed a
convoy of Albanian refugees, ripping scores of them to pieces in
the surrounding fields. Their jets, I knew, had been firing
depleted uranium rounds. And now, on the very spot east of
Djakovica where a bomb had torn apart an entire refugee family in
a tractor, five Italian Kfor soldiers had built a little
checkpoint. Indeed, their armoured vehicle was actually standing
on part of the crater in the road.

I tried to warn them that I thought the crater might be
contaminated. I told them about depleted uranium and the cancers
that had blossomed among the children of Iraq who had - or whose
parents had - been close to DU explosions. One of the young
soldiers laughed at me. He'd heard the stories, he said. But Nato
had assured its troops that there was no danger from depleted
uranium. I begged to differ. "Don't worry about us," the soldier

They should have known better. Only a few weeks earlier, a team of UN scientists - sent to Kosovo under the set of UN resolutions that brought Kfor into the province - had demanded to know from Nato the location of DU bombings in Kosovo. Nato refused to tell them. Nor was I surprised. From the very start of the alliance bombing campaign against Serbia, Nato had lied about depleted uranium. Just as the American and British governments still lie about its effects in southern Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War. US and British tanks had fired hundreds of rounds - thousands in the case of the Americans - at Iraqi vehicles, using shells whose depleted uranium punches through heavy armour and then releases an irradiated aerosol spray. In the aftermath of that war, I revisited the old battlefields
around the Iraqi city of Basra. Each time, I came across terrifying new cancers among those who lived there. Babies were being born with no arms or no noses or no eyes. Children were bleeding internally or suddenly developing grotesque tumours. UN sanctions, needless
to say, were delaying medicines
from reaching these poor wretches. Then I found Iraqi soldiers who
seemed to be dying of the same "Gulf War syndrome" that was
already being identified among thousands of US and British troops.

[Kosovo Barracks] Background
on Depleted
For much
check out:
of American
has a
page. And
Project has
a campaign

(left) US

At the time, The Independent was alone in publicising this
sinister new weapon and its apparent effects. Government ministers
laughed the reports off. One replied to Independent readers who
drew the Ministry of Defence's attention to my articles that,
despite my investigations, he had seen no "epidemiological data"
proving them true. And of course there was none. Because the World
Health Organisation, invited by Iraq to start research into the
cancers, was dissuaded from doing so even though it had sent an
initial team to Baghdad to start work. And because a group of
Royal Society scientists told by the British authorities to
investigate the effects of DU declined to visit Iraq.

Documents that proved the contrary were dismissed as "anecdotal".
A US military report detailing the health risks of DU and urging
suppression of this information was dutifully ignored. When two
years ago I wrote about a British government report detailing the
extraordinary lengths to which the authorities went at DU shell
test-firing ranges in the UK - the shells are fired into a tunnel
in Cumbria and the resulting dust sealed into concrete containers
which are buried - I know for a fact that the first reaction from
one civil servant was to ask whether I might be prosecuted for
revealing this.

One ex-serviceman, sick since the Gulf War, actually had his house
raided by the British police in an attempt to track down "secret"
documents. More honourable policemen might have searched for
papers that proved DU's dangers - and which might form the basis
of manslaughter charges against senior officers. But of course the
police were trying to find the source of the leak, not the source
of dying men's cancers.

During the Kosovo war, I travelled from Belgrade to Brussels to
ask about Nato's use of depleted uranium. Luftwaffe General Jerz
informed me that it was "harmless" and was found in trees, earth
and mountains. It was a lie. Only uranium - not the depleted
variety that comes from nuclear waste - is found in the earth.
James Shea, Nato's spokesman, quoted a Rand Corporation report
that supposedly proved DU was not harmful, knowing full well -
since Mr Shea is a careful reader and not a stupid man - that the
Rand report deals with dust in uranium mines, not the irradiated
spray from DU weapons.

And so it went on. Back in Kosovo, I was told privately by British
officers that the Americans had used so much DU in the war against
Serbia that they had no idea how many locations were contaminated.
When I tracked down the survivors of the Albanian refugee convoy,
one of them was suffering kidney pains. Despite a promise by Shea
that the attack would be fully investigated, not a single Nato
officer had bothered to talk to a survivor. Nor have they since. A
year ago, I noted in The Independent that foreign secretary Robin
Cook had admitted in the House of Commons that Nato was refusing
to give DU locations to the UN. "Why?" I asked in the paper. "Why
cannot we be told where these rounds were fired?"

During the war, defence correspondents - the BBC's Mark Laity
prominent among them - bought the Nato line that DU was harmless.
Laity was still peddling the same nonsense at an Edinburgh
Festival journalists' conference some months later. Laity - who is
now, of course, an official spokesman for Nato - was last week
reduced to saying that "the overwhelming consensus of medical
information" is that health risks from DU are "very low". But the
growing consensus of medical information is quite the opposite.
Which is why a British report to the UK embassy in Kuwait referred
to the "sensitivity" of DU because of its health risks.

And still the Americans and the British try to fool us. The
Americans are now brazenly announcing that their troops in Kosovo
have suffered no resultant leukemias - failing to mention that
most of their soldiers are cooped up in a massive base (Fort
Bondsteel) near the Macedonian border where no DU rounds were
fired by Nato. Needless to say, there was also no mention of the
tens of thousands of US troops - women as well as men - who
believe they were contaminated by DU in the Gulf.

So it goes on. British veterans are dying of unexplained cancers
from the Gulf. So are US veterans. Nato troops from Bosnia and now
Kosovo - especially Italians - are dying from unexplained cancers.
So are the children in the Basra hospitals, along with their
parents and uncles and aunts. Cancers have now been found among
Iraqi refugees in Iran who were caught in Allied fire on the roads
north of Kuwait. Bosnian authorities investigating an increase in
cancers can get no information from Nato. This is not a scandal.
It is an outrage.

Had we but known. On those very same Iraqi roads, I too prowled
through the contaminated wreckage of Iraqi armour in 1991. And - I
recall with growing unease - back in Kosovo in 1999, only a day
after the original attack, I collected pieces of the air-fired
rounds that hit the Albanian refugee convoy. Their computer codes
proved Nato had bombed the convoy - not the Serbs, as Nato tried
to claim. I also remember that I carried those bits of munition
back to Belgrade - in my pocket. There are times, I must admit,
when I would like to believe Nato's lies.

2001 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd.


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