SECOND GERMAN SOLDIER WITH LEUKAEMIA

At the beginning of this month, the German defence Ministry announced that a soldier who had served in Bosnia had contracted leukaemia. The German Defence Minister, Rudolf Scharping, was quick to reiterate NATO’s line that there was no connection between the soldier having served in the Balkans, where depleted uranium weapons were used by NATO, and his disease. Now a second case has appeared in an officer from Bavaria, two years after having served in Kfor in Bosnia. It is reported that he is too ill to make a public appearance. Criticism has been levelled at the German Defence Ministry performing screening tests by military doctors and sending them to military hospitals for analysis, without external, neutral observers having any access to information. Rudolf Scharping has stated that a commission will be set up to inform the public about Balkans Syndrome but, somewhat incorrectly, it would seem, immediately accuses NATO’s critics of taking advantage of any doubts about the organization’s legitimacy of action. “They invoke risks which do not exist only with the aim of questioning the legitimacy of (NATO’s) military action. However, they do not refer to the thousands of deaths and deportations which were avoided with this very action”. What is in question here is not whether NATO saved lives or not. What is in question is also not a hate campaign against NATO. What is very much in question is the right of the non-tabloid press to express itself, based on firm evidence. What is in question is that countries which call themselves civilised are obliged to follow a set of rules. Certainly, such countries oblige others to do so. The point we are trying to make, as Herr Scharping and others in NATO twist and writhe in ever-more spectacular contortions, is that there is a considerable possibility that NATO acted illegally and as such, under the conditions and in the spirit of the new “world order”, imposed by NATO itself, should this be the case, then the appropriate legal measures should be taken.

TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON

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