As the United States Navy and the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy begin to phase out Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons, amid the furore in the international press which claims that DU is dangerously toxic, Professor Jose Antonio Salcedo, Professor of Engineering at the University of Oporto, Portugal, confirms the evidence presented by Pravda.Ru in recent weeks against the use of DU. Professor Salcedo stated that 75% of depleted uranium finds its way into various chains, such as water supply, soil and food chains and continues to act for thousands of millions of years, due to its radioactive half-life. He pointed out that in Kosovo, the 31,000 rounds of DU ammunition and the 1,500 cluster bombs dropped, together produced something in the region of five million fragments of DU. The only reason that led NATO to admit that DU weapons had been used in Kosovo was the campaign in the international press, in which Pravda.Ru was and continues to be, a leading player. After finally admitting the use of DU, NATO hastened to add that there was no danger. However, reports from NATO soldiers themselves who were exposed to these weapons in the Gulf War indicate otherwise. Now that tens of soldiers who were present in the Balkans have started to die and fall ill through leukaemia and other mystery illnesses, the international press has assumed the responsibility to alert the world – soldiers and civilians alike, whether from NATO countries or not – that DU is dangerous, given that NATO continues to hide behind a wall of secrecy. However, we continue to provide documentary evidence that NATO knew of the dangers: In May, 2000, the US Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (USACHPPM) published a manual called “The Medical NBC Handbook”. Prefaced by General Norman Schwarzkopf, this 303-page manual states in point 3.24 that inhalation of DU micro-particles in the atmosphere is the main form of contamination. Professor Salcedo stated that some of these micro-particles are absorbed by the lung fluids – and others are not. These find their way to the kidneys and start a process of heavy metal poisoning of the body. This confirms Pravda.Ru’s claims in recent weeks that the danger of DU is toxic and not radioactive, so the results of radioactivity tests prove nothing. However, Professor Salcedo added that there is still a danger from radioactivity in the particles absorbed by the lungs. These can lead to lung cancer or cancer of the lymph glands. These two sources explain the reasons for the causes of all the symptoms presented by soldiers who have fought in the Gulf War and in the Balkans. Among the hundreds of documents produced as the medical community clashed with the military, who continued (and continue) to claim that DU is not dangerous, is the document written by Dr. David McClain, leader of the Depleted Uranium Team of the US Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI), presented to the US National Academy of Sciences on 14th June, 1999. This document claims: DU redistributes itself over time in diverse tissues, especially in the bone marrow and the kidneys, but also in the brain, lymph glands and testicles; It is discovered that DU produces oncogenes, which are known to produce the development of cancer; DU creates genetic instability. As far back as 1990, there is a document dated 20th December, a memorandum for Logistics Assistance Representatives (LAR) in the Persian Gulf. This document states on page 74 that the personnel which is involved in equipment recovery operations should be reduced to the minimum and should wear protective equipment, with gloves, rubber boots, M25 or M17A2 masks with M13A2 filters. Why all this protective gear if there is no danger from contamination? The British Atomic Energy Agency report which warned of 500,000 potential deaths in the Gulf War has already been quoted by Pravda.Ru. This report is backed up by an American document, from the Department of Defence of the USA, which forecast that Gulf War veterans and civilians exposed to DU would suffer from toxic and radiation sicknesses through inhaling it, causing cancers and kidney disease. How much more evidence does one have to produce for NATO to admit that DU is unsafe? The fact that the US and Royal Navies are phasing it out is significant. However, for an organisation whose arrogance has earned the hatred of most of Europe – west and east alike – and which insists on illegally humiliating and crushing sovereign states, for whom the International Penal Court of the Hague is their Knight in Shining Armour, and which proclaims human rights and civic liberties, the contamination of large areas of the world with illegal weapons is totally unacceptable. More than this, it is criminal. The use of DU is dangerous and goes against the Geneva Convention and UNO Security Council directives. In the words of professor Salcena: “It is a crime against Humanity, because these are weapons of mass destruction which condemn future generations to a miserable life, if not certain death” The Geneva Convention and UNO directives state that when a war finishes, the effects of the war must finish. This is not going to happen in Kosovo. This is no accident. NATO knew what it was doing and proceeded due to the arrogance and crass stupidity of its military leadership. Precisely because of this arrogance, NATO should be brought before its own court – the International Penal Court of the Hague and should be tried for War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY Pravda.Ru Lisbon

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