Depleted Uranium, Dirty Bombs: NATO’s Deadly Gifts To Kosovo, Serbia
All Voices, March 23, 2010

Deathly Gifts of NATO’s Merciful Angel, Serbia

By Ljubica Vujadinovic

Belgrade: A leading Serbian expert in the field says NATO’s use of depleted uranium ammunition in it’s aggression against Serbia has caused an enormous increase in cancer rates and the number of newborns with genetic malformations.

Silent killer

“Depleted uranium is not only radioactive, it is very toxic as well,” says doctor Radomir Kovacevic, an expert of the Institute for radiology protection at the Dr. Dragomir Karajovic institute in Belgrade.

In an interview for the VJ Movement, he explains “Primarily it is nephrotoxic, so it affects the kidneys, then the liver and spleen. Actually, the whole organism is affected from the aspect of toxicity, it is poisoned.”

Four studies conducted so far, on both civilians and those who worked on the spots’ decontamination, have shown that DU exposure causes typical and specific changes in genetic material.

”The DNA molecule is very sensitive to aggression – in this case it is radioactivity. Experimental oncology has shown 18 years ago that in the etiopathogenesis of malignity precedes one genotoxic stadium and that is exactly what is visible on those chromosomes,” said Dr. Kovacevic, stating that the information obtained so far is enough to link DU contamination to an increase in cancer rates.

Threat to newborn lives

In the Vranje area, which is surrounded by four known DU contaminated locations, there has been an enormous increase in cancer rates and the number of newborns with genetic malformations.

“In 1998, 21 children were born with deformities. In 2008 there were 73,” says Nela Cvetkovic, a Member of the Vranje City Council, in a statement for VJM. The number of of the newborn didn’t change, it is about 800-1000 babies per year.

At the same time, in a six year period after the NATO bombing the number of newly registered cancer cases has more than doubled – from 185 in the year 2000 to 398 new diagnoses in 2006.

Permanent consequences

“The half-life of uranium 238 is very long – 4.5 billion years,” reminds nuclear physicist Miroslav Simic, stating that “this way of throwing away nuclear waste on civilian, but also military targets, is not human as the consequences are permanent.”

Traces of uranium 236 and some plutonium isotopes found at bombed locations suggest that at least a part of the material in the projectiles had originated from reprocessing nuclear fuel.

“Plutonium is one million times more toxic than uranium,” says Mr Simic in an interview for VJM, and explained that “one particle of plutonium which enters a human body is enough to cause fatal consequences”.

At the same time in Kosovo, doctor Nebojsa Srbljak, who researches the health consequences of the bombing on the civilian population, accuses NATO of using so-called dirty bombs.

“We first started researching when we found traces of Iodine 131 in the tissue extracted from one patient,” he says, adding that Iodine 131, also known as radio iodine, is well known as a major factor in health consequences of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl.

Price for Kosovo independence

In Kosovo, none of the more than a hundred known DU contaminated locations has been cleaned. Foreign personnel have been warned to stay clear of those areas unless equipped with full radiological protective clothing. But no one warned civilians.

“We, the doctors, know what it is, politicians are silent to please their mentors. But the people are in the worst position as there are new cancer cases among young persons every day,” says doctor Srbljak, adding that the data on health statistics of the Albanian population is completely unavailable. The Albanian people, or at least their leaders, seem to be willing to pay the DU price for Kosovo independence.
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By piotrbein