cj#953> IAC: NATO bombing unleashes environmental catastrophe on Europe


Richard Moore

From: "viviane lerner" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Richard K Moore" <•••@••.•••>,
        "Jan Slakov" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: NATO bombing unleashes environmental catastrophe on Europe
Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 23:02:14 -0700

>From the International Action Center

NATO bombing unleashes environmental catastrophe on Europe

May 14, 1999

Spokespeople for the International Action Center announced in New York
today that their group was taking actions to document NATO's bombing as a
war crime against the environment of the Balkans and Europe especially in
light of the Pentagon's recent admission it was using depleted uranium
weapons against Yugoslavia.

The Pentagon and other NATO armed forces use the extremely dense
depleted-uranium to reinforce large-caliber bullets and shells. This
element increases the shells' ability to penetrate armor, but it leaves
toxic and radioactive particles of uranium oxide that endanger humans and
pollute the environment.

IAC co-director Sara Flounders was heading to Yugoslavia May 14 to
investigate and bring back first-hand evidence and documentation involving
NATO's use of DU weapons and its attacks on chemical and pharmaceutical
plants, plastics factories, refineries and other targets. This bombing
creates environmental devastation that will impact on millions of people
and for generations to come.

The delegation will be led by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark,
who traveled to Yugoslavia in the first week of the bombing with
videographer Gloria La Riva, whose videos on Iraq have won international
awards. La Riva is currently working on a video on NATO's war on
Yugoslavia. Jeremy Scahill of Pacifica Radio's national program Democracy
Now, also part of the delegation, will provide daily news coverage on NATO
bombing targets. His coverage will particularly focus on the long-term
environmental disaster that is unfolding.

Flounders is a co-editor of Metal of Dishonor: Depleted Uranium, a 1997
book exposing the dangers of DU-reinforced shells and its link with Gulf
War Syndrome. Metal of Dishonor's other co-editor, John Catalinotto, will
be speaking at forums on Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands on May 15,
and Bonn, Germany, on May 17 about these environmental issues and their
link to NATO's war against Yugoslavia.

These issues have gained importance due to the turmoil within the European
Green parties whose leadership has abandoned its traditional pacifism and
defense of the environment to support NATO's war. This is especially seen
in the German Greens, which form part of the current government. On May 13
in Bielefeld, Germany, rank-and-file Greens at a party congress were
accusing their leader—current German Foreign Minister Joshka Fischer—of
betrayal and demanding an immediate end to NATO bombing.

Flounders discussed the NATO strikes that did the most damage to the
environment. "NATO planes bombed the pharmaceutical complex in Galenika,
the largest medicine factory in Yugoslavia. This attack on a vital civilian
target released dangerous, highly toxic fumes immediately, and will
undermine the ability to provide medicine in the future.

"On April 15, NATO forces bombed plants of the petrochemical complex in
Pancevo, directly hitting installations and equipment of the Vinyl Chloride
Monomer plant and Ethylene plant and damaging others. According to a report
from the plant's director, Dr. Slobodan Tresac, fire broke out and huge
quantities of chlorine, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride monomer
flowed out. Workers at Pancevo, fearing further bombing attacks that would
blow up dangerous materials, released tons of ethylene dichloride, a
carcinogen, into the Danube.

"That same night, NATO also hit the Ammonia and Power Supply divisions of
HIP-AZOTARA Fertilizer Company and completely destroyed them, also in

"In a May 7 news release, the Worldwide Fund for Nature warned that an
environmental crisis is looming in the lower Danube river and the Black Sea
due mainly to oil slicks. The river is a source of drinking water for 10
million people.

"Of course NATO bombing is also the cause of immediate human suffering in
Yugoslavia," said Flounders, "but we don't want to neglect its long-term
criminal impact on the environment.

"In an open letter from Belgrade, the Yugoslav minister of agriculture,
Nedelijko Sipovac, wrote in early May that these bombings have caused
ecological catastrophe - not only on the territory of the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia but on the territories of all Balkan, Danube basin,
Mediterranean and European countries as well.  Sipovac noted an increase in
radioactivity which he attributed to the use of depleted uranium bullets."

Catalinotto said Pentagon spokesperson Major-General Chuck Wald finally
admitted to BBC news on May 7 that its A-10 "Warthog" planes were firing
depleted uranium ammunition. "These planes fired almost a million 30
millimeter DU rounds during the 1991 war against Iraq," he said.

"DU is one important aspect of a looming environmental disaster for the
region," Catalinotto added, "that will harm all the different nationalities
of the former Yugoslavia and could spill over into Greece, Bulgaria,
Romania, Hungary, and the Czech and Slovak republics.

"The environmental arrogance of the NATO generals exposes their original
`humanitarian' excuse for starting to bomb Yugoslavia as a fraud," he said.
"They are making the whole region unfit for human habitation. And they will
wind up poisoning their own soldiers as they did with Agent Orange in
Vietnam and with DU in Iraq.

"We in the International Action Center will spread this message far and
wide in Europe and North America and expose anyone who defends NATO's war
as a killer of the environment. We hope this will bring the Greens where
they belong, side by side with anti-war forces that demand NATO end the
bombing and get out."

The IAC is part of a coalition of anti-war organizations in the United
States who are organizing a national demonstration expected to bring tens
of thousands of people to the Pentagon in Wshington DC to protest the war
on Saturday, June 5.

The second edition of Metal of Dishonor was just released. Since the first
edition came out in 1997, this issue has gained international attention and
the book has been translated into Arabic and Japanese editions. --30--

International Action Center
39 West 14 Street, Room 206
New York, NY 10011
email: •••@••.•••
phone: (212) 633-6646
fax: (212) 633-2889



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