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Jovanka Jaric
Depleted Uranium: we must stop this!!!!!!]

Dear friends,

I was absolutely shocked at the news I received regarding the use of
Depleted Uranium (DU) in combat over Yugoslavia.  I urge you and beg you to
pass this information around and to do everything in your power to stop
this environmental and humanitarian catastrophe.  Please contact your
Greenpeace organisations in your corresponding countries and any other
environmental organisation you may be lucky to have.  Contact as many
embassies as you can warning them of the danger of contamination to the
surrounding countries of Yugoslavia.  If they don't care very much for us I
am very certain they will care about their backyards.  The people of Europe
and the world have a right to know how sick the Americans really are.  I
cant stress enough how urgent this is.  For those who may have missed the
notice here it is so that you may fax it to the above mentioned places:
 

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER
FRONT PAGE

Uranium bullets on NATO holsters

Thur, April 1, 1999

By Kathleen Sullivan
OF THE EXAMINER STAFF

As the war against Yugoslavia escalates, NATO is expected to send U.S. Air
Force attack jets to blast Yugoslav tanks with depleted uranium a
radioactive ammunition prized as a "tank killer" and deplored as a
long-term threat to human health.

The use of depleted uranium in combat is a troubling prospect to some
veterans groups, which worry that the Pentagon will fail once again to
issue warnings about the danger posed by its hazardous dust and debris.

"With its behavior during the Gulf War, the United States has established a
precedent: Don't protect your own troops from depleted uranium, don't warn
civilian populations about it, and don't take any responsibility for
cleanup or restoring the environment when you're done," said Dan Fahey, a
staff member at Swords to Plowshares, a veterans' rights group in San
Francisco.

"I would hope that wouldn't happen again," said Fahey, author of "Case
Narrative: Depleted Uranium Exposures," a 1998 report on Gulf War health
hazards.

According to Fahey's report, the Air Force fired depleted uranium
ammunition in combat in Bosnia in 1994-95.

Depleted uranium ammunition is made from a radioactive and toxic metal that
is twice as dense as lead. It rips through tanks, the Pentagon says, "like
a hot knife through butter."

NATO officials have said that during the second phase of the war, planes
would target Yugoslav tanks and armored vehicles. The Air Force A-10,
nicknamed "Warthog," is a low-flying, slow-moving plane, often referred to
as a "tank buster."

During the first phase of the attack on Yugoslavia, bombers hit targets
with cruise missiles fired from a great distance.

"Unless there is a cease-fire in the immediate future, the likelihood of
the imminent use of depleted uranium ammunition is high," said Paul
Sullivan, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center, a
Washington, D.C., advocacy group for veterans.

NATO officials say Air Force A-10s have flown recently from Aviano Air Base
in northern Italy, but have returned without attacking targets because of
thick clouds and rain. They could not fly below the clouds because of the
risk of exposure to anti-aircraft missiles.

In addition to depleted uranium bullets, which are fired from the plane's
Gatling guns, Warthogs can also fire Maverick missiles at Yugoslav armored
vehicles.

Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon declined Wednesday to answer questions
about when or how A-10s will be used in Yugoslavia, saying such operational
details were "verboten from this podium."

"Planes' assignments secret"

Piers Wood, a senior fellow at the Center for Defense Information, an
independent think tank in Washington, said the movement of A-10s is an
important tactical secret that must be guarded to protect pilots from enemy
fire.  Wood, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, dismissed concerns about the
health and environmental effects of depleted uranium, saying everything in
life is a trade-off.

For a U.S. soldier facing a tank attack on the ground, an A-10 is a welcome
sight, he said.

"Ask me whether I'd like to have an A-10 overhead with depleted uranium
when tanks are going to kill me, or if I'd rather preserve the environment
and have that pilot carry heavy explosives, and I'd say: I want them
carrying depleted uranium," Wood said.

"I wouldn't say no, use the heavy explosives, because I'm worried about
dying of cancer 30 years from now. I would risk the consequences of
inhaling depleted uranium dust before I would consider facing tanks.
Depleted uranium is wonderful stuff. It turns tanks into Swiss cheese."

However, radiation expert Rosalie Bertell said depleted uranium is highly
toxic to humans. Bertell, president of the International Institute of
Concern for Public Health, called its use in Yugoslavia radiation and toxic
chemical warfare that must be denounced.

"Troops not told of dangers"

The ammunition was used for the first time in combat in the gulf, but
soldiers were not warned that inhaling, ingesting or absorbing its
hazardous residue could cause cancer, or respiratory, kidney and skin
disorders.

By the end of the Gulf War, 630,000 pounds of depleted uranium dust,
fragments and penetrators the ammunition's spear-shaped projectile were
scattered in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq, the Pentagon has said.

In 1998, the Pentagon said exposure to depleted uranium was not the cause
of Gulf War illnesses, the undiagnosed ailments afflicting 100,000
veterans. However, in 1999, the Pentagon corrected that statement, saying
its conclusion was premature.

Under a 1998 federal law, the National Academy of Sciences will investigate
the causes of veterans' illnesses to determine if they are linked to
battlefield exposure to depleted uranium and other toxic substances used in
the gulf.

Sullivan, of the National Gulf War Resource Center, said he hopes the
Pentagon will provide medical screenings to U.S. soldiers who may be
exposed to Yugoslavian battlefields contaminated with depleted uranium if
it is used.

Army regulations required medical screenings for soldiers exposed to
radioactive substances, but the military failed to provide them.

Sullivan also warned of the environmental hazards posed by depleted
uranium, which has a half-life of 4.5 billion years.

"In Yugoslavia, it's expected that depleted uranium will be fired in
agricultural areas, places where livestock graze and where crops are grown,
thereby introducing the spectre of possible contamination of the food
chain," he said.

Last year, Iraqi doctors said they feared a disturbing rise in leukemia and
stomach cancer among civilians who live near the war zone may be linked to
depleted uranium contamination of Iraqi farmland.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please pass this around to everyone.

CCCC
Jovanka Jaric

University of Western Sydney, Nepean
School of Civic Engineering and Environment
Westmead North Campus
Hawkesbury Road
Westmead  NSW  2145
Australia

phone:(02) 9685 9883
Fax:  (02) 9685 9893

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