The quest to arrive at the truth behind the Balkans Syndrome is as lengthy as the US elections process, the difference being that soldiers and civilians are dying. Pure coincidence, claims NATO, while the Pentagon admits that plutonium is indeed present in the Balkans. And so it continues, with documented hard facts of evidence being unearthed every day and NATO sticking its head deeper and deeper into the sand, like an ostrich. Yesterday, the US Department of Defence admitted that depleted uranium weapons used in the Balkans indeed had traces of Uranium 236 (Plutonium). The Pentagon confirms that this is true and is due to the machinery used to make these weapons during the cold war. This machinery, in the factories of Oak Ridge (Tennessee), Piketon (Ohio) and Paducah (Kentucky) was found to have traces of Neptunium, Plutonium and Tecnium-99 by the US Department of Energy. These factories were contaminated because it was there that weapons-grade nuclear bars were produced. An inspection on DU stocks made in 1999 was also found to have traces of plutonium, according to the Pentagon, which went on to say that the readings of radioactivity levels were so small that they did not present any danger to the health. If Plutonium is not dangerous to the health, what is? However, declarations made by the American investigator Asaph Durakovic in “Le Nouvel Observateur”, claimed that significant levels of plutonium were found in urine and tissue samples taken from 16 Gulf War veterans in 2000…nine years after the end of the conflict. Bruno Barrilot, of the Observatory of French Nuclear Arms, claims that because depleted uranium is a recycled metal, this means very high health risks. After the political furore caused by deployment of these weapons, the Council of Europe has called for an end to the use of depleted uranium weapons. According to the Ukranian Serhiy Kourikine, member of the Parliamentary Assembly, DU is “probably responsible” for Gulf War Syndrome, which since 1991 has claimed 3,000 victims. Kourikine bases his claims on documents provided by NATO and by non-governmental organizations. He stated that deaths from cancer and malformations had risen substantially in Iraq and in Bosnia since the weapons were deployed. Kourikine went on to say that all of south-east Europe, from Greece to Ukraine, had been contaminated by microparticles of toxic or radioactive material in the air which by now has entered the water supply and the soil. The British Member of Parliament, Paul Flynn, said that “The war in Yugoslavia is over but it continues to kill”. The 291 Members of the Council of Europe requested its Executive Committee – the Committee of Ministers – to demand that NATO ceases to use DU and starts a rigid programme of health checks in the Balkans. And what is NATO’s reaction to this ? Let us read the words of its Secretary-General, Lord Robertson : “I am absolutely convinced that there is no definitive proof which connects the use of DU in the Balkans to the illnesses which have been contracted by some who served there…There is no such thing as Balkans Syndrome. There is no evidence of a universal illness contracted by soldiers who were there…Soldiers can become ill like anyone else”. Such arrogance, such total disregard for the facts which are being unearthed all round the world, have brought to NATO the image of common bandits, little removed from vandals, thieves or delinquents but with the aggravated charge that NATO is responsible for murder, causing a public health risk, criminal neglect, at least and at most, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
JOHN ASHTEAD PRAVDA.RU LONDON
Europe has recognised the need for negotiations with Russia to discuss the security system on the continent. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is going to Macedonia for meetings with colleagues within the OSCE