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An opinion on the use of DU ammunition in Yugoslavia

7 January 2001

Andreas Toupadakis Ph.D
(former atomic scientist at Livermore) in response to the AP news article below.

1. Most of the uranium dioxide that was formed during the bombing has not just stayed there, but has moved all around the area, around the tragic places. Uranium dioxide forms in a colloidal form under the conditions of impact, which means it becomes like a cloud in the sky. I have worked with uranium dioxide. The colloidal particles are able to fly away so easily, just like the water particles in clouds or the solid particles in smoke. A strong wind is not necessary to transport them, not only just to Greece or Italy, but also around the whole earth within a year. Geologists have concluded that a complete mix of the atmosphere takes place within a year. The colloidal particles are of different sizes but all of them within the size range of allowing them to fly. The heavier particles can fly only for a short distance finally depositing themselves near the impact area. The lighter move further, and the even lighter mix with the air and move in all directions. Eventually they find themselves all around the earth. Some of them will stay in the atmosphere forever. Most will precipitate on the land, rivers, the seas, and the lakes during rainstorms. Why don't the scientists speak out concerning these facts? Perhaps it is because they are under a government salary. These facts need to be made public immediately. Any release of nuclear material on earth, especially in the way that it was released in Kosovo and Iraq, sooner or later will kill millions of people around the globe. A large number of our relatives and friends, who have died from cancer it was not just from other chemicals, it was also from global nuclear tests. Things that can not be proved do not necessarily mean that are not true.

2. No one can clean a place like Kosovo or Iraq from radioactive materials. He will simply take an extremely small portion of it and bring to some poor people's backyard. Eventually it will find its way into the bodies of poor and rich, humble and arrogant, white and black, Christians and Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus, Americans and Russians, Israelis and Palestinians alike. Radiation does not discriminate. It is just like the rays of the sun in that they fall all over, but these rays will kill the body sooner or later.

3. Instead of only asking the governments to clean these places, we should protest on the streets, even risking our comforts for the complete stop of making or using any nuclear materials wherever they might be, in bombs, nuclear reactors, or any other place.

4. If we do not protest, we are heading toward the total annihilation of life on this planet.

5. If anyone wants to see numbers and references, he can easily find them. However, I am of the opinion that most of those who work with numbers and references are the ones who have brought death on the earth. Their science is immoral and it is now surely fulfilling the predictions of the wise thousands of years ago. What I have written is common sense and most scientists know that it is true but how many will back it up? Only those who work for truth, not for salaries.

6. A number of European nations have begun screening Balkan veterans. For what? To see if they are sick or if radioactive materials have contaminated them? Which news reporter will dare to raise his/her voice to report that this is a gigantic fallacy? Why? Because you do not need to detect radiation in somebody's body to figure out he has been hurt. One tiny particle can start cancer in the body. This is known in the scientific community, but the largest part of the scientific community does not work for the welfare of humanity. It works for its destruction in the name of peace and health. Any instrument cannot detect that particle; it can start the cancer and later be eliminated from the body anyway, without ever being detected. Tragically, the most accurate detection of this inhumane treatment of the people of the earth will be by counting the increasing number of deaths, and the weeping that will result in the very near future.

7. Indeed we have lost our sanity. At the same time that we are burying our children and parents and friends and neighbors by the millions worldwide from cancer, we at the same time are searching for data to prove why and if and when and how.

8. The solution? Come out people, come out before the great storm hits. Stop collaborating with secrecy and evil, and do not be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot touch your souls. Do not be afraid for tomorrow. If you come out you will be protected. But you must disengage from all practices whatever they might be that promote the exploitation of the weak and poor.

Yugoslav Uranium Said Dangerous

by Katarina Kratovac, Associated Press Writer

VINCA, Yugoslavia (AP) -- Snezana Pavlovic's gloved hand opens a jar filled with a soil sample from just outside of Kosovo. Immediately, the Geiger counter in her other hand bleeps, throbbing faster and faster.

Pavlovic is among the top Yugoslav scientists convinced that the dirt offers proof that NATO contaminated Kosovo with toxic levels of depleted uranium during its bombing campaign in 1999 -- no matter what the Pentagon may say. ''Just because people can't see it and it's difficult to detect doesn't mean the depleted uranium is not a killer,'' Pavlovic said.

Yugoslav authorities have charged that the NATO alliance contaminated large swaths of southwestern Kosovo during the 78-day bombing campaign. Their data was widely dismissed, however, because it was seen as part of a concerted propaganda effort by former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's regime.

Now a new, pro-democracy government is in place, and state scientists and Yugoslav army experts are eager to present their data once more. Hoping to show legitimate science backs their claims, they opened the country's sole nuclear laboratory for a rare tour Friday.

NATO admits it targeted Yugoslav army positions in the bombing campaign last year using ammunition containing depleted uranium, an extremely dense metal used against armored vehicles because of its high penetrating power. But the United States, which used the ammunition in the Gulf War as well, has denied any link between illnesses and exposure to depleted uranium.

Depleted uranium, the spent fuel of nuclear reactors, is 40 percent less radioactive than uranium in its natural state. Its use came under renewed scrutiny in recent days, after Italy noted about 30 cases of serious illness involving soldiers who served in missions in Kosovo or Bosnia. Twelve of them developed cancer, and five have died. Four French soldiers who served in the Balkans are being treated for leukemia. A number of European nations have begun screening Balkan veterans.

Scientists at the Vinca nuclear laboratory, five miles from Belgrade, say the examination is long overdue. Since the first days of NATO's 1999 bombing, Pavlovic's team has been busy testing samples at the institute, a sealed-off and guarded compound of a dozen buildings spread over several acres.

Many medical experts are skeptical that the depleted uranium caused cancer and other illnesses reported by veterans. They say depleted uranium vaporizes instantly and a person would have to be very close to an explosion and be there within seconds to be affected. But others argue that not all the depleted uranium vaporizes immediately and radioactive derivatives can linger in the air for months.

The head of a U.N. environmental task force said Friday that remnants of ordnance containing depleted uranium are littering the ground in Kosovo. ''It was surprising to find remnants of DU (depleted uranium) ammunition just lying on the ground,'' nearly 1½ years after NATO's bombing campaign, said Pekka Haavisto, head of the U.N. Environment Program's depleted uranium assessment team.

In November, the team of U.N. scientists toured 11 sites in Kosovo targeted by ammunition containing depleted uranium. They collected hundreds of water, soil and vegetation samples. At eight of those sites, team members found slightly higher levels of radiation, or pieces of ammunition, Haavisto said. Five of the sites visited were in the Italian-patrolled sector of the province, while six were in the German-patrolled sector. The uranium now is concentrated along a belt of land stretching from just outside of Kosovo's southwestern city of Prizren, along a route connecting the towns of Djakovica and Decani to the north.

The metal will filter into ground water and ultimately move into the food chain, said Col. Milan Zaric, a Yugoslav military expert on radioactivity. Zaric points out that while withdrawing from Kosovo, Yugoslav troops left behind tanks and armored vehicles destroyed by NATO ammunition containing depleted uranium. Ethnic Albanian children posed for cameras amid leftover ordnance.

''Because NATO used this ammunition, it has a moral duty to clean up the sites in the peace mission that followed the war, however costly such a procedure is,'' Pavlovic says.

*** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. ***

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