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

Magne Haagen Flatval (magne@kvalito.no)
Tue, 6 Apr 1999 08:02:56 +0200

> International Action Center
> 39 West 14th Street, #206, New York, NY 10011
> 212-633-6646 fax: 212-633-2889
> web site: http://www.iacenter.org
> email: iacenter@iacenter.org
> Attention: Assignment Editor Press Contact: Sara Flounders or
> For Immediate Release John Catalinotto,
> 212-633-6646
> April 1, 1999
> Radioactive weapons used by U.S. and NATO in Kosovo
> 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.