Iraq and Kosovo may be thousands of miles apart, but they share the dubious distinction of contamination with radioactive residue from depleted uranium (DU) bullets used in American air strikes. After several years of silence, US officials finally admitted that 340 tons of DU were fired during the Gulf war. In Kosovo, American delays in providing details of quantities and target points have frustrated international efforts to assess health risks. Despite repeated requests, NATO waited almost a full year after the start of bombing in March 1999 to say that 31,000 DU bullets–a fraction of the number fired in Iraq–were fired by A-10 “tankbuster” aircraft over Kosovo. A Belgrade report published this April estimates that about 50,000 DU bullets had been used in parts of Serbia and Montenegro as well as Kosovo. Evidence is plentiful on the ground that DU was used in heavily populated areas, and that civilians and returning refugees were never warned of the danger.
The high-density bullet is made of low-level radioactive waste left over from manufacturing nuclear fuel and bombs. DU bullets were designed in the 1970s to defeat top-line Soviet tanks. Some 20 nations now keep the world’s best armor-piercing rounds in their arsenals. First used in combat during the Gulf war, they proved to be unmatched tank slayers. (A Pentagon official points to one other benefit: the US can give away its 1.2 billion pound stockpile of radioactive waste to weapons manufacturers.) When DU smashes into a hard target, it pulverizes into breathable dust that remains radioactive for 4.5 billion years. American nuclear scientists have found that DU dust can travel at least 26 miles. Scientists of the National Institute for Health Protection in Macedonia detected eight times higher than normal levels of alpha radiation–the primary type emitted by DU–in the air during the air war. Yugoslav soldiers have found DU rounds in Bujanovic in the south, and a Swiss-led international team found “serious radioactivity” when it dug up many rounds at a radio tower near Vranje.
Despite predicting that “every future battlefield will be contaminated” with DU, the Pentagon asserts that DU risk is minimal. But training materials developed in the 1990s require full protective gear and masks in contaminated areas, in line with Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rules. The US military requires an NRC license to handle the smallest amount of the restricted material. A US Army-commissioned health report issued just days before the Gulf war noted that radiation is linked with cancer and said that “no dose [of DU] is so low that the probability of effect is zero.” Still, the Pentagon argues that “residual DU from battlefields in Kosovo does not pose a significant risk to human health.”
US soldiers partly ascribe Gulf war syndrome to DU exposure. British troops deployed in Kosovo are suing their defense ministry for ailments they attribute to DU. The UN refugee agency in Kosovo now includes papers in personnel files to note work in potentially DU-contaminated areas. In Kosovo, Western de-mining groups were told by NATO to “exercise caution” and not to climb on destroyed armored vehicles. Last October Col. Eric Daxon, the US Army’s top radiological expert, said: “The best thing I can tell anybody about entering a contaminated vehicle or damaged vehicle is: ‘Don’t do it. It is a dangerous place to be.’”
But that message never got through to hundreds of thousands of Kosovar Albanians, in whose name the Kosovo campaign was fought, and whose DU exposure could be highest. Rexh Himaj, a mechanic who lost most of his tools during the conflict, didn’t think twice about salvaging parts from destroyed Serbian vehicles. Like thousands of returning refugees, he was just glad to get back to work.
But the concrete surface of a Serbian military base on the west side of Djakovica where I found him working was pockmarked with DU hits, as was the nearby road. The ground was littered with spent aluminum shell casings that are unique to 30 mm DU bullets. A boy climbed on a burned-out armored vehicle, then jumped off and kicked at a shell casing.
“Now I know it’s dangerous, but that is a risk I’ve got to take,” said Himaj, when the telltale casings are explained. His hands were greasy-black with work. “If [the Americans] didn’t use this stuff, then we might still have Serbs here. On the other hand…I hope they clean it up.” But cleanup is virtually impossible. One US Defense Department report lists eight soil decontamination techniques, including multiple nitric acid washes, but “in no case did the achieved separation suffice to allow unrestricted disposal.”
A confidential preliminary UN report leaked in May 1999, as the bombing continued, did not mince words: “This type of ammunition is nuclear waste, and its use is very dangerous and harmful,” it said. After NATO released its figures, the UN recommended that “measures should be taken to prevent access.” For Kosovars, like Iraqis, such warnings may be too late.
About the author:
Scott Peterson covers the Middle East for the Christian Science Monitor.
For comprehensive coverage of depleted uranium, visit <http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/1999/04/29/p1.htm>
The Jewish woman stood in the office of Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic. She was distraught. She placed a handful of broken tiles on the desk in front of her and told the president's adviser, "It's a crime, a crime against culture. They are destroying a holy place, a place that is of incalculable value to Sarajevo."
"There's nothing we can do," the adviser replied sorrowfully. "They have the money and they are going to do what they want."
The most interesting aspect of this incident, which took place after the end of the Bosnian war in 1995, is that the temple the ...
The most useful parable about progressives is that offered by Bernard Sanders, self-styled “socialist-progressive-independent” rep from Vermont. Sanders owes his political career to rage against the Vietnam War among radicals, many of whom moved into the state in the early 1970s. They forthwith planned a long-term, carefully organized, assault on Vermont’s two-party structure. Sanders linked his political ambitions to this effort to organize a third force, the Progressive Alliance. He became mayor of Burlington and, later, congressman.
At a rapid clip the emphasis moved from party-building to Sanders-building. By 1994, it was apparent that the only movement B. Sanders was interested in ...
One sharp and interesting analysis of situation in Serbian province of Kosovo Metohija came last week from Andrew Korybko, program host at Radio Sputnik.
Mr. Korybko speaks on how the whirlwind of geopolitics, military interests and global giants of business, as well as the change of US administration, could impact the fragile peace in Balkans and what’s behind the latest tensions:”Serbia’s NATO-occupied province of Kosovo has been up to its old tricks lately in trying to provoke Belgrade into another military confrontation conveniently timed to coincide with Trump’s inauguration.
The former so-called “Prime Minister” of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, was detained in France ...
In this Talking Point Dr Marcus Papadopoulos says that ordinary people in the West were not told that after Serbia lost control of Kosovo, following the Nato bombing campaign against Belgrade and other Serbian cities in 1999, the region became a centre-point in Europe for the trafficking of people, drugs and organs. When Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, Western politicians hailed the event.
The United States, which engineered the disputed act of independence, led the way in recognising the new Balkan state, with its allies quickly following suit.
Many of the leading figures in today’s Kosovan government are ...
Monday, August 17th, 2015
(EurActiv) — The Serbian press has speculated that one of the conditions that Greece must fulfill to receive financial assistance from the West includes recognizing Kosovo, a former Serbian province which Belgrade refuses to recognize as an independent state.
The Serbian daily Blic says that there ware obvious signs that Greece’s vulnerable financial situation means that “Kosovo is a lost battle for Serbia.”
Most EU countries, except Greece, Spain, Romania, Cyprus and Slovakia, have recognized the independence of Kosovo, who seceded from Serbia in 2008 (see background).
“It would take a miracle for Greece not to recognize Kosovo in ...
At the age of 15 on a riverbank he was shot eight times just for being Serbian. He survived and a few days later during the religious holiday of Transfiguration he was out of his coma. But until now he has not received an answer to his question: who shot the children bathing in the river near the Kosovo village of Gorazdevac on August 13, 2003? In his interview to the Voice of Russia Bogdan Bukumiric tells a wonderful story of his rescue.
“It is not so scary to die as to be buried alive” - this is the inscription on ...
The region of Kosovo & Metohija (Metochia in English) was a political center of mediaeval Serbia and makes the very essence of Serbian spiritual and cultural identity and statehood since the Middle Ages up today. The biggest and the most important number of Serbian Orthodox mediaeval monasteries and churches (for instance, Gračanica, Pećka Patrijaršija, Bogorodica Ljeviška and Visoki Dečani) are built exactly in Kosovo & Metohija and the headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Church - Patriarchate established in 1346 was located (till 1766) in the city of Peć in the western portion of the region called Metohija. The capital of ...
Revelations of fascistic crimes carried out by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) prior to, during and after NATO’s war against the former Yugoslavia should provide a salutary lesson whenever Washington again cites humanitarian concerns to justify its predatory war aims. A new report prepared by Swiss Council of Europe deputy Dick Marty slams Kosovo leader Hachim Thaci for organ trafficking and other abominable crimes, deftly shaded by the U.S. in pursuit of their own self-interests.
A report by the Council of Europe describes Kosovo today as a country subject to “mafia-like structures of organised crime”. It accuses KLA commander and current ...
Barack Obama's speech on Ukrainian crisis seems to have left the public confused as he claimed that Kosovo broke away from Serbia "after a referendum". But attentive listeners quickly pointed Obama's gaps in history - there was no referendum in Kosovo. Video here.
President Obama was speaking Wednesday at The Center for Fine Arts in the heart of Brussels, Belgium, and was telling the youth crowd mostly about Russian-Ukrainian conflict over the strategic Crimean Peninsula.
He lashed out at Russia for "violation of international law, its assault on Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
Obama recalled the conflict around Kosovo and NATO's involvement, making ...
Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal speaking at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative thanks former U.S. President Bill Clinton for "delivering Bosnia-Herezegovina and Kosovo into Muslim hands and for near deliverance — within a hundred meters — of Palestine from occupation."
By Meira Svirsky
Source: Clarion Project
In one of the more bizarre foreign policy announcements of a bizarre Obama Administration, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that Washington will “help” Kosovo to join NATO as well as the European Union. She made the pledge after a recent Washington meeting with Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in Washington where she praised the progress of the Thaci government in its progress in “European integration and economic development.”1
Her announcement no doubt caused serious gas pains among government and military officials in the various capitals of European NATO. Few people appreciate just how mad Clinton’s plan to push ...
Kosovo has been a troublesome region of West Balkan for the last half millennium. The latest events, which have resulted in NATO occupation of the southern province of Serbia, marked the culmination of the violence that includes both domestic and international agencies.
Many authors have dealt with the Kosovo affair, but none of them endeavored to present a complete picture of the case. This book attempts to provide a broad and objective analysis of the problem from the historical, anthropological, political and sociological points of view. The emphasis is on the sociological side of the conflicts.
Only by understanding the differences of ...
While all eyes have been on the U.S. presidential campaign, such foreign-policy hot spots as Syria, Iran and Pakistan, and the increasingly frosty relations between the United States and China, a simmering problem in the Balkans threatens to come to a boil. The most serious clashes to date involving angry Serb inhabitants of the northern portion of Kosovo and international Kosovo Force (KFOR) peacekeeping personnel erupted on November 28. Thirty German and Austrian soldiers were injured, some by small-arms fire and Molotov cocktails, when KFOR troops tried to remove roadblocks that Serb residents had erected. Those barricades have been the most ...
At least 120 natives of Kosovo have returned home during the last few years after taking part in the ongoing hostilities in Syria on the side of Daesh (ISIL), according to local police reports.
Milovan Drecun, chairman of the Serbian parliamentary Committee on Kosovo-Metohija, told Sputnik that these former militants may establish ties with local political extremists, thus further exacerbating the current volatile situation in Pristina. He pointed out that ties already exist between the jihadists and certain Albanian organized crime groups, as well as former militants of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) – a terrorist group that was officially disbanded but still exists.
"These ties were established back in the 1990s, after Osama ...
Article is publishes as: “The Serbian Patriarchate of Peć in the Ottoman Empire: The First Phase (1557−94)”, Serbian Studies: Journal of the North American Society for Serbian Studies, Vol. 25, 2011, № 2, ISSN 0742-3330, 2014, Slavica Publishers, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, pp. 143−167
The goals of this article are: 1) to investigate the role of the revived Patriarchate of Peć in Serbian and Balkan history?; and 2) to explore and present the results of investigation of the problems with respect to: a) the role of the Serbian Church during the first decades of the Ottoman occupation of Serbian lands in ...
The Serbs stepped again onto the historical scene in the years of the European wars that swept the continent from the forests of Ireland to the walls of Constantinople in the late 17th century. The Turks finally withdrew from Hungary and Transylvania when their Ottoman hordes were routed outside Vienna in 1683. The disintegration of Ottoman rule in the southwest limbered up the Serbs, arousing in them hope that the moment was ripe for joint effort to break Turkish dominion in the Balkans. The neighboring Christian powers (Austria and Venice) were the only possible allies. The arrival of the Austrian ...
The former Yugoslavia was engulfed by many conflicts and ethnic and religious differences tore away at the very fabric of this nation. Like all wars, atrocities took place on all sides but the mass media in general focused on Serbian atrocities, while neglecting brutal crimes committed against the Serbian community. This certainly applies to the glossing over of war crimes done by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
However, more and more evidence is coming to light about brutal KLA death camps and killing people for organs. Therefore, will former KLA members be charged with war crimes and will the “real truth” ...
Kosovo’s government has discretely engaged the lobbying services of one of Washington’s top firms for $50,000 a month, after having been forced to cancel an identical agreement with the firm last year for breaking public procurement laws.
Balkan Insight has obtained a copy of an official US document, which shows that Kosovo signed up the services of the lobbying firm Patton Boggs on August 31.
The document, logged at the Department of Justice, says Patton Boggs will offer Kosovo “advisory services on legal and advocacy issues to be used for expansion of bilateral and multilateral relations”.
The company will also be “fostering investments ...
History is in many ways a myth we create for ourselves. History is constantly falsified to justify wars and territorial claims. Albanian apologists have falsified the role Albania played in the Holocaust to justify an illegal US/NATO war against Serbia and to allow for the creation of a Greater Albania that would include the Serbian province of Kosovo-Metohija.
The Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Albania are estimated at 591 from 1941 to 1944, when a Greater Albania was sponsored by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. There were 33 known families of Albanian Jews living in pre-war Albania. The largest Jewish ...
Islamic fundamentalism in the Balkans
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Why the Albanians need tensions in the province of Kosovo-Metohija now?
Kosovostan – A European trafficking point
Serbia fears EU to pressure Greece to recognize Kosovo
The killing of Serbian children in Kosovo: The story of a survivor
A Short History of Kosovo-Metochia
Washington’s “humanitarian” war and the KLA’s crimes
Obama ignorance exposed: States Kosovo left Serbia only after referendum, but there was NO referendum at all!
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Book: Prof. Petar V. Grujic, KOSOVO KNOT, Pittsburg, PA: Rosedog Books, 2014, pp. 450 (available on amazon.com)
Coming home to roost: Kosovo sees return of locals who fought for Daesh
Serbian Patriarchate of Peć in the Ottoman Empire: The First Phase (1557−1594)
Kosovo history – Fourth part
Shaking Hands With a War Criminal
Kosovo and systematic persecution by KLA
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Falsifying history: The holocaust and Greater Albania
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