Pravda.Ru presents a document issued by the Portuguese Defence Ministry which exposes a massive cover-up by NATO regarding the use of Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons in Kosovo. The world’s press follows Pravda.Ru’s lead in attacking DU weapons in Kosovo, months after Pravda.Ru exposed the scandal. The question of the legitimacy of NATO’s bombing of Kosovo has long been surpassed by the more serious point, namely the extent to which the use of DU weapons was necessary, expedient, legal…or illegal, criminal and meriting an international enquiry, demanding the arrest of those responsible by the International Penal Court at The Hague, Netherlands, until they can be tried and punished. The alert was raised when Italian, Spanish and Belgian troops stationed in Kosovo started dying, suffering from symptoms which resembled radiation sickness. The link was then made with the “Gulf War Sickness”, which affected American and British troops stationed in the Persian Gulf during the war with Iraq in 1991…where DU weapons were also used. NATO reacted, saying that there was no connection whatever between the melanomas and leukaemia suffered by the troops stationed in areas where DU had been used and the use of the weapons. The official position can be summed up by the Commander of the Portuguese Forces in Kosovo, Athaide Banazol, who states that levels of radiation in the area where the Portuguese forces are stationed “are extraordinarily low”. So low, in fact, that now, a Portuguese soldier has died, another statistic to add to NATO’s list of death and destruction in foreign fields but this time, not a civilian woman or child, but another NATO soldier to add to the list of tens of others. So “extraordinarily low” are these radiation levels, that a Yugoslav team has measured them and has discovered that they are more than 1000 times above the accepted level. So low are they that the Portuguese authorities are to start a programme of tests on the soldiers stationed in Kosovo…to see how “extraordinarily low” they are. As NATO furiously tries to cover up the disastrous result of a criminal action against a sovereign state, this time with consequences which have gone tragically out of control, the official position is to deny that any wrong was done. Such a position is becoming more and more difficult to maintain. Roger Coghill, a British biologist, quoted in “The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist” stated that : “We think that regarding the use of DU by NATO forces (in Kosovo) around ten thousand people will die of cancer”. Happy New Year. It was only due to the actions of the world’s press, Pravda.Ru being a frontrunner in this campaign, that NATO ever admitted at all that DU weapons had been used in Kosovo. While Belgian, Dutch and Italian troops had been warned about the dangers of working in the areas in which they were stationed, and consequently started using protective equipment, the Portuguese were not warned about any risk from radiation in Kosovo. The fact that certain forces were warned about the dangers of radiation and were issued with protective equipment would point to an undeniable admission that radioactive materials had been used, a flagrant case of violation of international agreements, already exposed in these pages in Pravda.Ru. Yet again, NATO tries to mount another cover-up over the death of Portuguese soldier, Corporal Hugo Paulino. Evidence points to a series of attempts to hide the truth. Firstly, the date of the death of this soldier was wrongly entered. He died on 9th March, 2000 and not on 8th March, which is reported in the official autopsy. Secondly, the official report states that there is no connection between the cause of death (“probably” viral encephalitis) and active service in Kosovo. However, Pravda.Ru prints the official letter sent from the Portuguese Defence Ministry to the father of the soldier who died, which claims otherwise: “ From the Ministry of National Defence – Portuguese Army – Aerotransported Troop Command (CTAT) – Justice section To : General Army Archive, Lancers Regiment 2 and Mr. Luis Paulino (father of deceased soldier) ………… 2. To the General Army Archive, the RL 2 and Mr. Luis Paulino, we send the photo-copy of the dispatch of 14Nov00 from MGen Cmdt of CTAT/BAI which states that the illness which affected 1st Corporal Hugo Paulino was one acquired while on duty and due to his function in service”. These facts have caused a reaction by the Portuguese authorities, which have sent a team to Kosovo and will publish their results in the next weeks. Part of the evidence will certainly be the telephone conversations between Corporal Paulino and his father, from Kosovo, in which the young corporal complained of “headaches and nausea”. The autopsy presented by the Portuguese Military Hospital indeed presented “leptomeningeal congestion” as being one of the causes of death…but also blood on the liver and an anomalous inflammation of the spleen…all classic symptoms of radiation sickness. If indeed Corporal Paulino died of “probably viral encephalitis”, why did the Military Hospital autopsy not present the viral agent which caused his infection, as would be normal procedure in such circumstances, to prove that it was indeed a viral and not a bacterial agent? Finally, under Portuguese Decree Law Nr.11/98, 24th January, such autopsy examinations must be carried out in the Institute of Legal Medicine, not the Military Hospital, a situation which was flagrantly disobeyed in this case. To finish this article, a quote from Francisco Lousa, leader of the Left Block in the Portuguese Parliament: “Portugal should never have sent soldiers there. This was a military operation which left a trail of destruction. They used bombs which will sow death for future years to come” The International penal Court of the Hague should bring to justice the criminals who are responsible for this act. NATO is responsible, knowingly responsible and this time it is NATO that should be brought before the “International Courts” that they love to invoke.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey Pravda.Ru Lisbon

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