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<nettime> Impacts of NATO's "Humanitarian" Bombing
Michel Chossudovsky (by way of mediafilter) on Mon, 12 Apr 1999 11:20:51 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Impacts of NATO's "Humanitarian" Bombing


Ad-hoc Committee to Stop Canada's Participation
in the War in Yugoslavia
-----------------------------------------------
For immediate release, April 11, 1999.

For distribution at Press Conference
Monday, April 12, 10 a.m.
National Press Theatre
150 Wellington Street, Ottawa


	IMPACTS OF NATO'S  "HUMANITARIAN" BOMBINGS,
	THE BALANCE SHEET OF DESTRUCTION IN YUGOSLAVIA

	by

	Michel Chossudovsky

Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa, author of The
Globalization of Poverty, Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms, Third
World Network, Penang and Zed Books, London, 1997. Professor Chossudovsky
can be contacted at 1-514-4252777;  email chossudovsky {AT} sprint.ca; fax
1-514-4256224.


Amply documented, the bombings of Yugoslavia are not strictly aimed at
military and strategic targets as claimed by NATO. They are largely intent
on destroying the country's civilian infrastructure as well as its
institutions.

According to Yugoslav sources, NATO has engaged around 600 aeroplanes of
which more than 400 are combat planes. They have flown almost 3,000 attack
sorties, "with 200 in one night alone against 150 designated targets". They
have dropped thousands of tons of explosives and have launched some 450
cruise missiles.

The intensity of the bombing using the most advanced military technology is
unprecedented in modern history. It far surpasses the bombing raids of
World War II or the Vietnam War.

The bombings have not only been directed against industrial plants,
airports, electricity and telecommunications facilities, railways, bridges
and fuel depots, they have also targeted schools, health clinics, day care
centres, government buildings, churches, museums, monasteries and
historical landmarks.


Infrastructure and Industry

According to Yugoslav sources: "road and railway networks, especially road
and rail bridges, most of which were destroyed or damaged beyond repair,
suffered extensive destruction". Several thousand industrial facilities
have been destroyed or damaged with the consequence of paralysing the
production of consumer goods. According to Yugoslav sources, "[B]y totally
destroying business facilities across the country, 500,000 workers were
left jobless, and 2 million citizens without any source of income and
possibility to ensure minimum living conditions". Western estimates as to
the destruction of property in Yugoslavia stand at more than US$ 100 billion.

Bombing of Urban and Rural Residential Areas

Villages with no visible military or strategic structures have been bombed.
Described as "collateral damage", residential areas in all major cities.
The downtown area of Pristina (which includes apartment buildings and
private dwellings) has been destroyed. Central-downtown Belgrade --
including government buildings-- have been hit with cluster bombs and there
are massive flames emanating from the destruction. According to the
International Center for Peace and Justice (ICPJ):

"No city or town in Yugoslavia is being spared. There are untold civilian
casualties. The beautiful capital city of Belgrade is in flames and fumes
from a destroyed chemical plant are making it necessary to use gas masks".

Civilian Casualties

Both the Yugoslavia authorities and NATO have downplayed the number of
civilian casualties. The evidence amply confirms that NATO has created a
humanitarian catastrophe. The bombings are largely responsible for driving
people from their homes. The bombings have killed people regardless of
their nationality or religion. In Kosovo, civilian casualties affect all
ethnic groups. According to a report of the Decany Monastery in Kosovo
received in the first week of the bombing:

"Last night a cruise missile hit the old town in Djakovica, mostly
inhabited by Albanians, and made a great fire in which several Albanian
houses were destroyed ... In short, NATO attacks are nothing but barbarous
aggression which affects mostly the innocent civilian population, both Serb
and Albanian.

The Dangers of Environmental Contamination

Refineries and warehouses storing liquid raw materials and chemicals have
been hit causing environmental contamination. The latter have massively
exposed the civilian population to the emission of poisonous gases. NATO
air strikes on the chemical industry is intent on creating an environmental
disaster, "which is something not even Adolf Hitler did during World War
II."According to the Serbian Minister for Environmental Protection
Branislav Blazic, "the aggressors were lying when they said they would hit
only military targets and would observe international conventions, because
they are using illegal weapons such as cluster bombs, attacking civilian
targets and trying to provoke an environmental disaster". A report by NBC
TV confirms that NATO has bombed a the pharmaceutical complex of Galenika,
the largest medicine factory in Yugoslavia located in the suburbs of
Belgrade. The fumes from this explosion have serious environmental
implications. "The population is asked to wear gas masks that in fact nobody

Supply with drinking water for the inhabitants of Belgrade is also getting
difficult after the drinking water facility at Zarkovo was bombed.

Hospitals and Schools

NATO has targeted many hospitals and health-care institutions, which have
been partially damaged or totally destroyed. These include 13 of the
country's major hospitals. More than 150 schools (including pre-primary day
care centres) have been damaged or destroyed.  According to Yugoslav
sources, more than 800,000 pupils and students do not attend schools in the
wake of the war destruction. There is almost no pre-school institutions
(nurseries and day-care centres) which are operational.

Churches, Monasteries and Historical Landmarks

NATO has also systematically targeted churches, monasteries, museums,
public monuments and historical landmarks.

 "The targets of the attacks on historical and cultural landmarks have
included the Gracanica monastery, dating back to the 14th century, the Pec
Patriarchate (13th century), the Rakovica monastery and the Petrovarardin
Fortress, which are testimony to the foundations of the European
civilization, are in all world encyclopedias and on the UNESCO World
Heritage list".

The Use of Weapons banned by International Convention

The NATO bombings have also used of weapons banned by international
conventions. Amply documented by scientific reports, the cruise missiles
utilize depleted uranium "highly toxic to humans, both chemically as a
heavy metal and radiologically as an alpha particle emitter". Since the
gulf War, depleted uranium (DU) has been a substitute for lead in bullets
and missiles. According to scientists "it is most likely a major
contributor to the Gulf War Syndrome experienced both by the veterans and
the people of Iraq". According radiobiologist Dr. Rosalie Bertell,
president of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health:

"When used in war, the depleted uranium (DU) bursts into flame [and]
releasing a deadly radioactive aerosol of uranium, unlike anything seen
before.  It can kill everyone in a tank. This ceramic aerosol is much
lighter than uranium dust.  It can travel in air tens of kilometres from
the point of release, or be stirred up in dust and resuspended in air with
wind or human movement.  It is very small and can be breathed in by anyone:
a baby, pregnant woman, the elderly, the sick.  This radioactive ceramic
can stay deep in the lungs for years, irradiating the tissue with powerful
alpha particles within about a 30 micron sphere, causing emphysema and/or
fibrosis.  The ceramic can also be swallowed and do damage to the
gastro-intestinal tract.  In time, it penetrates the lung tissue and enters
into the blood stream. ...It can also initiate cancer or promote cancers
which have been initiated by other cancinogens".

According to Paul Sullivan, executive director of the National Gulf War
Resource Center:

"In Yugoslavia, it's expected that depleted uranium will be fired in
agricultural areas, places where livestock graze and where crops are grown,
thereby introducing the spectre of possible contamination of the food chain."

The New York based International Action Center called the Pentagon's
decision  to use the A-10 "Warthog" jets against targets in Serbia "a
danger to the people and environment of the entire Balkans". (Truth in
Media, 10 April 1999). In this regard, a report in from Greece:

"registered an increase in levels of toxic substances in the atmosphere of
Greece, and said that Albania, Macedonia, Italy, Austria and Hungary all
face a potential threat to human health as a result of NATO's bombing of
Serbia, which includes the use of radioactive depleted uranium
shells".(April 10, 1999, see Truth in Media, 10 April 1999).

The Plight of the Refugees

What is not conveyed by the international media, is that people of all
ethnic origins including ethnic Albanians, Serbs and other ethnic groups
are leaving Kosovo largely as a result of the bombing.

There are reports that ethnic Albanians have left Kosovo for Belgrade where
they have relatives. There are 100,000 ethnic Albanians in Belgrade. The
press has confirmed movements of ethnic Albanians to Montenegro. Montenegro
has been portrayed as a separate country, as a safe-haven against the
Serbs. The fact of the matter is that Montenegro is part of Yugoslavia.


    Michel Chossudovsky

    Department of Economics,
    University of Ottawa,
    Ottawa, K1N6N5

    Voice box: 1-613-562-5800, ext. 1415
    Fax: 1-514-425-6224
    E-Mail: chossudovsky {AT} sprint.ca


Recent articles by Chossudovsky :

On Kosovo:  http://www.transnational.org/features/crimefinansed.html

On the break-up of Yugoslavia:
http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/62/022.html

On the Brazilian financial crisis:
http://wwwdb.ix.de/tp/english/special/eco/6373/1.html

On global poverty and the financial crisis:

http://www.transnational.org/features/chossu_worldbank.html
http://www.transnational.org/features/g7solution.html
http://www.twnside.org.sg/souths/twn/title/scam-cn.htm
http://www.interlog.com/~cjazz/chossd.htm
http://www.heise.de/tp/english/special/eco/
http://heise.xlink.de/tp/english/special/eco/6099/1.html#anchor1

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