Radioactive weapons used by U.S./NATO in Kosovo

Per Rasmussen (
Sat, 3 Apr 1999 02:09:54 +0200

Præstø den 3. april 1999
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Radioactive weapons used by U.S./NATO in Kosovo
International Action Center
39 West 14th Street, #206,
New York, NY 10011
fax: 212-633-2889
web site:

Press Contact: Sara Flounders or John Catalinotto, 212-633-6646
April 1, 1999

The International Action Center, a group that opposes the use of
depleted-uranium weapons, called the Pentagon's decision to use the A-10
"Warthog" jets against targets in Kosovo "a danger to the people and
environment of the entire Balkans."
The A-10s were the anti-tank weapon of choice in the 1991 war against Iraq.
It carries a GAU-8/A Avenger 30 millimeter seven-barrel cannon capable of
firing 4,200 rounds per minute. During that war it fired 30 mm rounds
reinforced with depleted uranium, a radioactive weapon.
There is solid scientific evidence that the depleted uranium residue left
in Iraq is responsible for a large increase in stillbirths, children born
with defects, and childhood leukemia and other cancers in the area of
southern Iraq near Basra, where most of these shells were fired. Many U.S.
veterans groups also say that DU residues contributed to the condition
called "Gulf War Syndrome" that has affected close to 100,000 service
people in the U.S. and Britain with chronic sickness.
John Catalinotto, a spokesperson from the Depleted Uranium Education
Project of the International Action Center and an editor of the 1997 book
Metal of Dishonor: Depleted Uranium, said the use of DU weapons in
Yugoslavia "adds a new dimension to the crime NATO is perpetrating against
the Yugoslav people-including those in Kosovo."
Catalinotto explained that the Pentagon uses DU, a waste product of the
uranium enrichment process used for making atomic bombs and nuclear fuel,
because it is extremely dense--1.7 times as dense as lead. "DU is used in
alloy form in shells to make them penetrate targets better. As the shell
hits its target, it burns and releases uranium oxide into the air. The
poisonous and radioactive uranium is most dangerous when inhaled into the
body, where it will release radiation during the life of the person who
inhaled it," said Catalinotto.
Sara Flounders, a contributing author of Metal of Dishonor: Depleted
Uranium and the Co-Director of the International Action Center, said,
"Warthogs fired roughly 940,000 rounds of DU shells during the Gulf War.
More than 600,000 pounds of radioactive waste was left in the Gulf Region
after the war. And DU weapons in smaller number were already used by NATO
troops during the bombing of Serbian areas of Bosnia in 1995.
"The use of Warthogs with DU shells threatens to make a nuclear wasteland
of Kosovo," Flounders said. " 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 Yugoslavia.
"Worldwide protests against these bombings are growing. The U.S. use of
radioactive weapons must be linked to all the protests and opposition that
is taking place internationally to the bombing. These protests must be
joined by environmental activists, veterans groups, anti-nuclear groups,
and all those who know the long-term destruction to the environment and to
whole civilian populations that this type of warfare will cause."
Flounders said that Metal of Dishonor: Depleted Uranium, which has been
translated and published in Arabic and Japanese, will be coming out soon
with a second edition.

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Per Rasmussen
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