2001 CPEO Military List Archive

From: mervtano@iiirm.org
Date: 8 Jan 2001 18:42:06 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Merv Tano Article Digest=20
1)Uranium May Not Have Caused Harm
2)The Rape of Okinawa
3)Radiation From Balkan Bombing Alarms Europe
4)Uranium Ammunition Used in Britain
5)Maimed Elephant Gets Death Threats
6)Portuguese Probe Kosovo Depleted Uranium Sites

JANUARY 05, 15:44 EST

Uranium May Not Have Caused Harm

AP Medical Writer

LONDON (AP) =97 While European governments scramble to screen soldiers who
may have been exposed to depleted uranium in the Balkans, many medical
experts are skeptical that it caused cancer and other illnesses reported by

A heavy metal with low levels of radioactivity, depleted uranium is used
in ammunition to penetrate tanks and other armor. Some scientists believe=
dust created when rounds hit targets may be harmful, but studies of Gulf
War troops have found no proof it caused diseases.

Some experts say the health screenings are little more than a political
strategy to head off accusations that governments are covering up ill
health effects, as is alleged by some Gulf War veterans with unexplained

``Depleted uranium vaporizes instantly. You would have to be very close to
a damaged tank and be there within seconds of it being hit,'' said Yan
Grosse, a toxicologist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer,
a division of the World Health Organization. ``These soldiers were very
unlikely to have been exposed.''

But Roger William Coghill, a British radiation researcher, argued that
depleted uranium =97 first used in ammunition during the Gulf War =97 could =
the cause of illnesses reported by soldiers who served in the Balkans.

For the rest of the story see:

The Rape of Okinawa
George Feifer

A smog of smoke and smell darkens the site of the Second World War's last
major battle and last dirty deal. Okinawans are hardly the first to endure
a martyrdom of geography, but few have done so with less recognition. After
55 years of abuse by Washington and Tokyo, it would have been good to see
Okinawa's designation as host of July's G-8 summit as sunlight at last
breaking through again on the Land of Constant Courtesy, as Asians once
called the then-independent little kingdom. So it might have seemed on the
face of it. So the summit's public relations staff diligently broadcast.
Actually, however, the choice of Okinawa served to mask relentless
exploitation by the imperial powers that fought there with supreme savagery
in April-June of 1945.

For the rest of the article including descriptions of the U.S. presence in
Okinawa see:  http://worldpolicy.org/journal/feifer.html

January 7, 2001
Radiation From Balkan Bombing Alarms Europe


PARIS, Jan. 6 =97 Pekka Haavisto made some startling discoveries on a recent
mission in Kosovo to assess the impact of uranium-tipped weapons hurtled on
the province during NATO's 78-day bombing war against Yugoslavia in 1999.

"We found some radiation in the middle of villages where children were
playing," said Mr. Haavisto, a former environment minister of Finland who
headed the United Nations inquiry in Kosovo. "We were surprised to find
this a year and a half later. People had collected ammunition shards as
souvenirs and there were cows grazing in contaminated areas, which means
the contaminated dust can get into the milk."

The discovery by Mr. Haavisto and his team of low-level beta radiation at 8
of the 11 sites they sampled seems certain to fan a rapidly spreading sense
of fury and panic across Europe about the well-being of soldiers sent to
serve in the Balkans, more than a dozen of whom have since died of leukemia.

Residents of Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro may also increasingly
resent that they were unaware until now of the need to clean up the
low-level uranium dispersed by American weapons dropped over Bosnia in
1995, and over Yugoslavia during the 1999 Kosovo war.

Mr. Haavisto said that even though the radiation was low level, the debris
should be removed. "We are recommending that until the cleanup starts,
contaminated areas should be clearly marked and fenced off," he said. "The
local people do not understand the material."

Even in Western Europe, it is only in recent days that full alarm has been
sounded about what the European newspapers have dubbed Balkan syndrome.
Besides the leukemia deaths and cases being treated, uncounted numbers of
soldiers who served as peacekeepers in the Balkans have complained about an
array of symptoms, like chronic fatigue, hair loss and various types of
cancer =97 complaints similar to gulf war syndrome, registered after the
Persian Gulf war in 1991.

The 15-country European Union has ordered its own inquiry into the possible
noxious effects of the uranium-tipped ammunition and any potential link to
the recent cancer deaths among Balkan veterans.

Tens of thousands of European soldiers who served in the Balkans have
already undergone quietly conducted medical tests in countries like
Belgium, France and Canada. This week, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal,
Spain, Finland, Norway, Greece and Bulgaria have announced that they will
screen all Balkan veterans. Britain, which also owns uranium- tipped
ammunition, has resisted.

Alarm bells rang first in Belgium, where nine Balkan veterans have fallen
ill with cancer, five having since died. Two veterans have died of leukemia
in the Netherlands, and one in Spain. France said it was treating four
veterans for leukemia. In Italy, 30 veterans contracted serious illnesses,
12 of whom developed cancer. Six of the cancer patients have already died
of leukemia.

Italy said it had also asked NATO for more information about areas where
the weapons were used, fearing that its troops served in an area of
southern Kosovo that was heavily shelled by NATO's uranium-tipped antitank

The Italian defense minister paid what was billed as a morale-boosting
visit to the Italian troops in the former Yugoslavia on Thursday and Prime
Minister Giuliano Amato himself has now become involved in the discussion
about depleted uranium.

For the rest of the story see:

Uranium Ammunition Used in Britain

     LONDON--Uranium-tipped ammunition at the center of a health scare
among NATO nations has been in use at two British firing ranges for more
than 10 years, the Defense Ministry has acknowledged.
     The ministry said late Saturday that depleted-uranium ammunition fired
at ranges in northern England and Scotland since 1990 did not pose a
significant health risk.

For the rest of the story see:

Maimed Elephant Gets Death Threats

By DENIS D. GRAY, Associated Press Writer

     BANGKOK, Thailand--Motola, the Thai elephant who drew sympathy and
donations from around the world after being maimed by a land mine, has
become a target of death threats, her keeper said Sunday.

     "I get telephone calls from people saying they want Motola dead," said
Soraida Salwala, founder of the world's first elephant hospital, where
Motola's mangled left foot was amputated in August 1999.

Portuguese Probe Kosovo Depleted Uranium Sites


     KLINA, Yugoslavia--A scientific team from Portugal arrived in Kosovo
Saturday to examine depleted uranium sites suspected of causing "Balkan
Syndrome" illness among soldiers who have served in the province.
      A crew of four from the Department of Radioactivity Protection went
immediately to the Klina area in western Kosovo with Portuguese
peacekeepers who work in the region.
      There, the team checked the ground for radiation with Geiger
counter-style machines and took soil samples in plastic bags.
      "So far we have not found meaningful contamination, but the work is
still far from the end," Fernando Carvalho, team leader, told Reuters

For the rest of the story see:

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