reclaim the streets on Sun, 25 Apr 1999 21:44:14 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Eco-war in Kosovo [NATO poisons civillians]

>From: "George Monbiot" <> (by way of genetics
>Subject: -ALLSORTS- Eco-war in Kosovo [NATO poisons civillians]
>Mime-Version: 1.0
>X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by id
>Here's this week's article from George Monbiot 
>The Nato commanders trying to explain what happened to the refugee convoy they
>bombed sounded rather like the police at the Stephen Lawrence enquiry. They did
>their utmost to appear contrite, without actually apologising. Sorry, for the
>guardians of law and order, always seems to be the hardest word.@
>But even as the alliance tied itself in circumlocutory knots, it continued to
>engage in the slaughter of non-combatants. Slowly, largely silently, it is
>killing thousands of civilians. They are being neither bombed nor shot: the
>people of the former Yugoslavia are being poisoned.@
>Nato's immediate war aim is to destroy the Serb economy, in order to restrict
>Milosevic's capacity either to attack the Kosovo Albanians or to retaliate
>against Nato troops. This may or may not be working. But whatever its impact on
>the Yugoslav Republic's economy might be, Nato is succeeding in wiping out its
>The Nato press office claims that it has "no idea" how many chemical plants and
>oil installations its bombers have hit. But it concedes that there have been
>multiple raids on a vast oil refinery and chemicals complex in the suburbs of
>Belgrade, on another chemicals facility close to the capital and on an oil
>refinery at Novi Sad, in the north of the country.@
>Britain's Ministry of Defence told me yesterday that the bombers are "keeping
>the risks of pollution to a minimum", but it was unable to explain how, while
>blowing chemicals plants to pieces, they have achieved this commendable feat.
>Nato informed me that "the smoke from these fires is barely comparable to the
>smoke caused by the Yugoslav attacks on several hundred villages". It's clear
>that neither agency has the faintest idea what it's talking about.@
>The chemical tanks ruptured by Nato bombers on the outskirts of Belgrade last
>week contained a number of lethal pollutants. Some held a complex mixture of
>hydrocarbons called "naphtha", others housed phosgene and chlorine (both of
>which were used as chemical weapons in the First World War), and hydrochloric
>acid. As the factories burnt, a poisoned rain, containing hundreds of toxic
>combustion products, splattered Belgrade, its suburbs and the surrounding
>countryside. Broken tanks and burst pipes poured naphtha, chlorine, ethylene
>dichloride and transformer oil, all deadly poisons, into the Danube. Oil slicks
>up to twelve miles long wound their way towards Romania.@
>It could, it seems, have been worse. Scientists at the plant claimed that one
>of the bombs "grazed" a vast vat of liquid ammonia. If that had gone up, it
>would have poisoned most of the people of Belgrade.@
>These toxins are unlikely to kill people immediately. But they will have soaked
>the soil across hundreds of square miles and percolated into the aquifers. The
>people of the former Yugoslavia, as a result, will be repeatedly exposed to
>them. Many of the compounds released cause cancers, miscarriages and birth
>defects. Others are associated with fatal nerve and liver diseases. The effects
>of the bombing of Serbia's economy equate, in other words, to low-intensity
>chemical warfare.@
>Nato might also be waging an undeclared, invisible nuclear war. During the Gulf
>War, the Allies deployed a new kind of munition: bullets and bombs tipped with
>depleted uranium, or DU. DU, being heavier than lead or steel, penetrates
>armour more effectively. In lump form it is only moderately harmful, but when
>the munitions explode they scatter thousands of particles, small enough to be
>inhaled. The Atomic Energy Authority predicted that if 50 tonnes of DU dust
>were released in Iraq, 500,000 people would die of cancer. In the event,
>according to the Campaign Against Depleted Uranium in Manchester, some 700-900
>tonnes of DU were deployed. The result, the investigator Felicity Arbuthnot
>found, is a seven-fold increase in leukaemia and a massive rise in the
>incidence of certain rare cancers in Iraq. Thousands of Iraqi children have
>been born without eyes, limbs, brains and genitalia. DU has also been
>associated by some scientists with Gulf War Syndrome.@
>I asked the MoD whether DU is being deployed in the former Yugoslavia.
>"Certainly not", the press office replied. I asked Nato. "It's used in some
>American munitions", I was told.@
>This, in environmental terms at least, is perhaps the dirtiest war the West has
>ever fought. Nato's scorched earth policy, which seeks to destroy Milosevic's
>armed capacity by destroying everything else, places the Alliance firmly on the
>wrong side of the Geneva Convention. For a war which targets chemical factories
>and oil installations, which deploys radioactive weapons in towns and cities,
>is a war against everyone: civilians as well as combatants, the unborn as well
>as the living. As such, it can never be a just one.@
>and more news from ALLSORTS -
>      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E
>            <>
>ATENAS,   Greeks Stone, Stop NATO Convoy Apr. 15 - About
>500 Greeks turned back a convoy of NATO trucks carrying military equipment to
>Macedonia on Thursday in protest against the alliance's air strikes against
>Yugoslavia, the Reuters news wire reported on Apr. 15.
>      Police said the protestors blocked the national road a few kilometers
>(miles) before the Evzoni border crossing at the Greek-Macedonian frontier, and
>forced the 15-truck convoy to turn back after smashing the leading vehicle's
>windows with stones.

To work for delight and authentic festivity is barely distinguishable
from preparing for a general insurrection."
Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life.

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