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Serbs Bombed by NATO in 1999 Show Levels of Uranium in Bloodstreams Hundreds of Times Above Norm

Samizdat – 23.07.2022

The US and its allies spent 78 days bombing the now-dissolved nation of Yugoslavia in 1999, contaminating the Balkans with at least 15 tons of depleted uranium munitions. In the United States, troops who have been exposed to DU are eligible for generous disability benefits. Nothing of the kind has been offered to the people of Yugoslavia.

Medical testing of a Serbian soldier and civilian who came under fire during the 1999 NATO bombings has found that the level of radioactive uranium in their bloodstreams is “hundreds of times” above the norm, Serbian attorney Srdan Aleksic has told Sputnik.

Aleksic, who has spent several years filing lawsuits to try to ensure compensation for the victims of the DU bombings, said the testing was carried out in Turin, Italy, and that his legal team is now awaiting an official translation of the results into Serbian.

“So I will not delve into the medical details. But the results are frightening, not only for southern Serbia, Kosovo and Metohija and the ground-based security zone between them, where our first plaintiff served for 200 days,” Aleksic said.

“The second analysis was taken from a woman in Belgrade… Her results are a little better. We will file a lawsuit on the basis of the results,” he added. Serbian media indicated that the woman was exposed to DU after finding herself near the bombed out Ministry of Defense building in the Yugoslav capital in 1999.

Turin-based forensic scientist Dr. Rita Celli, a DU analysis expert who assisted multiple Italian legal cases seeking compensation for Italian troops who fell ill or died following their exposure to the deadly substance, characterized the pair of Serbians’ test results as “dramatic.”

She indicated that the levels of uranium-238 found in their tissue was as much as 500 times above normal, and that such high levels of DU contamination have not been established in any other civilians or military personnel that she knows of.

Celli’s approach involves blood testing and biopsies, and a search for aluminum, barium, antimony, lead, molybdenum, and other metals.

“All of the detected metals contain traces of U-238, which comes from the shells used by NATO during the bombing of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and especially Kosovo and Metohija. Its effects have almost certainly also affected surrounding countries, such as Albania and Macedonia,” Celli told Serbian outlet Vecherne Novosti in an article published Saturday.

Under normal conditions, Celli said, the maximum amount of aluminum in a liter of blood is 3.3 micrograms. But in Italian and Serbian troops suffering from DU contamination, it runs from 500, 2,000, or even 3,000 micrograms. Among civilians, the safe level of uranium is 0.0053 units per liter of blood, while among those who have been contaminated, it can reach up to 10 micrograms.

Aleksic is working with Italian lawyer Andel Fiore Tartaglia, who has spent decades fighting for compensation for DU exposure suffered by Italian troops and their families, including among those who served in Kosovo during NATO’s ground-based occupation of the breakaway Serbian territory. In 2021, the lawyers filed a lawsuit in the High Court of Belgrade to demand that NATO provide financial [compendsation] for Serbian victims of the DU bombings.

Hearings in the case are expected to begin in October, but NATO has already preemptively declared that the bloc has “full immunity” from prosecution under Serbian jurisdiction on the basis of agreements signed in 2005 and 2006.

Aleksic told Sputnik Serbia earlier this year that the immunity claims are rubbish, since such immunity can’t be applied retroactively – i.e. to the 78-days which NATO spent bombing the country between March and June of 1999.

Tartaglia similarly told Vecherne Novosti in its Saturday article that “there is no immunity for war crimes and the principle of retroactivity does not apply.”

In 2000, a Belgrade court found former US General Wesley Clark and NATO chief Javier Solana guilty of war crimes for the 1999 bombings. However, the ruling was overturned in 2001 following the color revolutionary overthrow of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and his detention at The Hague, where he died in custody in 2006.

Serbia suffers from one of the highest cancer rates in Europe, with close to 60,000 oncology diagnoses made each year, and cancers among children as much as two-and-a-half times above the European average. In the decades since the 1999 bombings, local doctors and scientists have also recorded an alarming rise in infertility, autoimmune diseases, and mental disorders.

The NATO war machine has used DU munitions in many of its campaigns since the end of the Cold War, sowing up to 2,300 tons of DU across Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 invasion, and using the weapons in Afghanistan and Syria on a smaller scale. Military drills and accidents involving US aircraft are also said to have contaminated parts of Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Italy, and Remscheid, Germany.

As many as 20 nations, including Russia, France, Japan, China, South Korea, and South Africa are confirmed or suspected of having depleted uranium tank shells, armor piercing bullets, and air-dropped projectiles in their arsenals, but the United States and Britain are the only two countries confirmed to have used the substance in combat. DU’s potential for use as a weapon was first discovered in the 1970s, and it has been integrated into projectiles – particularly anti-tank rounds, due to its incredible density, comparatively low aerodynamic drag, and ability to penetrate deeper into targets than conventional shells.

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

US/NATO Embrace Psy-ops and Info-War

By Don North | Consortium News | September 2, 2015

As reflected in a recent NATO conference in Latvia and in the Pentagon’s new “Law of War” manual, the U.S. government has come to view the control and manipulation of information as a “soft power” weapon, merging psychological operations, propaganda and public affairs under the catch phrase “strategic communications.”

This attitude has led to treating psy-ops – manipulative techniques for influencing a target population’s state of mind and surreptitiously shaping people’s perceptions – as just a normal part of U.S. and NATO’s information policy.

Dr. Stephen Badsey, Professor of Conflict studies, Wolverhampton University, U.K.

Dr. Stephen Badsey, Professor of Conflict studies, Wolverhampton University, U.K.

“The NATO case and argument is that NATO’s approach to psy-ops is to treat it as an essentially open, truthful and benign activity and that, plus the elimination of any meaningful distinctions between domestic and foreign media institutions and social media, means that psy-ops and public affairs have effectively fused,” said British military historian, Dr. Stephen Badsey, one of the world’s leading authorities on war and the media.

Badsey said NATO has largely abandoned the notion that there should be a clear distinction between psy-ops and public affairs, although NATO officially rules out the dissemination of “black propaganda,” knowingly false information designed to discredit an adversary.

“The long argument as to whether a firewall should be maintained between psy-ops and information activities and public affairs has now largely ended, and in my view the wrong side won,” Badsey added.

And, as part of this Brave New World of “strategic communications,” the U.S. military and NATO have now gone on the offensive against news organizations that present journalism which is deemed to undermine the perceptions that the U.S. government seeks to convey to the world.

That attitude led to the Pentagon’s new “Law of War” manual which suggests journalists in wartime may be considered “spies” or “unprivileged belligerents,” creating the possibility that reporters could be subject to indefinite incarceration, military tribunals and extrajudicial execution – the same treatment applied to Al Qaeda terrorists who are also called “unprivileged belligerents.” [See Consortiumnews.com’sPentagon Manual Calls Some Reporters Spies.”]

The revised “Law of War” manual has come under sharp criticism from representatives of both mainstream and independent media, including The New York Times’ editors and the Committee to Protect Journalists, as well as academics such as Dr. Badsey.

“The attitude toward the media expressed in the 2015 Pentagon manual is a violation of the international laws of war to which the USA is a signatory, going back to the 1907 Hague Convention, and including the Geneva Conventions,” said Badsey, a professor of conflict studies at Wolverhampton University in the United Kingdom and a long-time contact of mine who is often critical of U.S. military information tactics.

“But [the manual] is a reflection of the attitude fully displayed more than a decade ago in Iraq where the Pentagon decided that some media outlets, notably Al Jazeera, were enemies to be destroyed rather than legitimate news sources.”

The Vietnam Debate

The Pentagon’s hostility toward journalists whose reporting undermines U.S. government propaganda goes back even further, becoming a tendentious issue during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s when the war’s supporters accused American journalists of behaving treasonously by reporting critically about the U.S. military’s strategies and tactics, including exposure of atrocities such as the My Lai massacre.

In the 1980s, conservatives in the Reagan administration – embracing as an article of faith that “liberal” reporters contributed to the U.S. defeat in Vietnam – moved aggressively to discredit journalists who wrote about human rights violations by U.S.-backed forces in Central America. In line with those hostile attitudes, news coverage of President Ronald Reagan’s invasion of Grenada in 1983 was barred, and in 1990-91, President George H.W. Bush tightly controlled journalists trying to report on the Persian Gulf War. By keeping out – or keeping a close eye on – reporters, the U.S. military acted with fewer constraints and abuses went largely unreported.

This so-called “weaponizing of information” turned even more lethal during the presidency of Bill Clinton and the war over Kosovo when NATO identified Serb TV as an enemy “propaganda center” and dispatched warplanes to destroy its studios in Belgrade. In April 1999, acting under orders from U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, American bombers fired two cruise missiles that reduced Radio Televizija Srbija to a pile of rubble and killed 16 civilian Serb journalists working for the government station.

Despite this willful slaughter of unarmed journalists, the reaction from most U.S. news organizations was muted. However, an independent association of electronic media in Yugoslavia condemned the attack.

“History has shown that no form of repression, particularly the organized and premeditated murder of journalists, can prevent the flow of information, nor can it prevent the public from choosing its own sources of information,” the group said.

The (London) Independent’s Robert Fisk remarked at the time, “once you kill people because you don’t like what they say, you change the rules of war.” Now, the Pentagon is doing exactly that, literally rewriting its “Law of War” manual to allow for the no-holds-barred treatment of “enemy” journalists as “unprivileged belligerents.”

Despite the 1999 targeting of a news outlet in order to silence its reporting, a case for war crimes was never pursued against the U.S. and NATO officials responsible, and retired General Clark is still a frequent guest on CNN and other American news programs.

Targeting Al Jazeera

During the presidency of George W. Bush, the Arab network Al Jazeera was depicted as “enemy media” deserving of destruction rather than being respected as a legitimate news organization – and the news network’s offices were struck by American bombs. On Nov. 13, 2001, during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, a U.S. missile hit Al Jazeera’s office in Kabul, destroying the building and damaging the homes of some employees.

On April 8, 2003, during the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a U.S. missile hit an electricity generator at Al Jazeera’s Baghdad office, touching off a fire that killed reporter Tareq Ayyoub and wounding a colleague. The Bush administration insisted that the attacks on Al Jazeera offices were “accidents.”

However, in 2004, as the U.S. occupation of Iraq encountered increased resistance and U.S. forces mounted a major offensive in the city of Fallujah, Al Jazeera’s video of the assault graphically depicted the devastation – and on April 15, 2004, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld decried Al Jazeera’s coverage as “vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.”

According to a British published report on the minutes of a meeting the next day between President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush suggested bombing Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Qatar but was talked out of the idea by Blair who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.

During the Iraq War, Dr. Badsey wrote the following observation which I cited in my book on military/media relations, Inappropriate Conduct: “The claim that in 2004 at the first battle of Fallujah the U.S. Marine Corps ‘weren’t beaten by the terrorists and insurgents, they were beaten by Al Jazeera television’ rather than that they [U.S. forces] employed inappropriate tactics for the political environment of their mission, is recognizable as yet another variant on the long-discredited claim that the Vietnam War was lost on the television screens of America.”

Although the notion of Vietnam-era journalists for U.S. media acting as a fifth column rather than a Fourth Estate is widely accepted among conservatives, the reality was always much different, with most of the early Vietnam War coverage largely favorable, even flattering, before journalists became more skeptical as the war dragged on.

In a recent interview on NPR radio, Charles Adams, a senior editor of the new “Law of War” manual, was unable to cite examples of journalists jeopardizing operations in the last five wars – and that may be because there were so few examples of journalistic misconduct and the handful of cases involved either confusion about rules or resistance to news embargoes that were considered unreasonable.

Examining the history of reporters dis-accredited during the Vietnam War, William Hammond, author of a two-volume history of U.S. Army relations with the media in Vietnam, found only eight dis-accreditations, according to military files.

Arguably the most serious case involved the Baltimore Sun’s John Carroll, an Army veteran himself who believed strongly that it was important that the American people be as thoroughly informed about the controversial war as possible. He got in trouble for reporting that the U.S. Marines were about to abandon their base at Khe Sahn. He was accused of violating an embargo and was stripped of his credentials, though he argued that the North Vietnamese surrounding the base were well aware of the troop movement.

Toward the end of the war, some reporters also considered the South Vietnamese government so penetrated by the communists that there were no secrets anyway. Prime Minister Nguyen van Thieu’s principal aide was a spy and everyone knew it except the American people.

During his long career, which included the editorship of the Los Angeles Times, Carroll came to view journalists “almost as public servants and a free press as essential to a self-governing nation,” according to his obituary in The New York Times after his death on June 14, 2015.

Strategic Communication

During the Obama administration, the concept of “strategic communication” – managing the perceptions of the world’s public – has grown more and more expansive and the crackdown on the flow of information unprecedented. More than any of his predecessors, President Barack Obama has authorized harsh legal action against government “leakers” who have exposed inconvenient truths about U.S. foreign policy and intelligence practices.

And Obama’s State Department has mounted a fierce public campaign against the Russian network, RT, that is reminiscent of the Clinton administration’s hostility toward Serb TV and Bush-43’s anger toward Al Jazeera.

Since RT doesn’t use the State Department’s preferred language regarding the Ukraine crisis and doesn’t show the requisite respect for the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev, the network is denounced for its “propaganda,” but this finger-pointing is really just part of the playbook for “information warfare,” raising doubts about the information coming from your adversary while creating a more favorable environment for your own propaganda. [See Consortiumnews.com’sWho’s the Propagandist? US or RT?”]

This growing fascination with “strategic communication” has given rise to NATO’s new temple to information technology, called “The NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence” or STRATCOM, located in Latvia, a former Soviet republic that is now on the front lines of the tensions with Russia.

On Aug. 20, some of the most influential minds from the world of “strategic communications” gathered in Latvia’s capital of Riga for a two-day conference entitled “Perception Matters.” A quotation headlined in all its communications read: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed” – noble sentiments perhaps but not always reflected in the remarks by more than 200 defense and communications experts, many of whom viewed information not as some neutral factor necessary for enlightening the public and nourishing democracy, but as a “soft power” weapon to be wielded against an adversary.

Hawkish Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, led a delegation of U.S. senators and said STRATCOM was needed to combat Russia and its President Vladimir Putin. “This Center will help spread the truth,” said McCain – although “the truth” in the world of “strategic communications” can be a matter of perception.

~

Don North is a veteran war correspondent who covered the Vietnam War and many other conflicts around the world. He is the author of a new book, Inappropriate Conduct,  the story of a World War II correspondent whose career was crushed by the intrigue he uncovered.

September 3, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Need to Bring Back Internment Camps?

Internment+Camp

By Ron Paul | July 27, 2015

Last week, Retired General Wesley Clark, who was NATO commander during the US bombing of Serbia, proposed that “disloyal Americans” be sent to internment camps for the “duration of the conflict.” Discussing the recent military base shootings in Chattanooga, TN, in which five US service members were killed, Clark recalled the internment of American citizens during World War II who were merely suspected of having Nazi sympathies. He said: “back then we didn’t say ‘that was freedom of speech,’ we put him in a camp.”

He called for the government to identify people most likely to be radicalized so we can “cut this off at the beginning.” That sounds like “pre-crime”!

Gen. Clark ran for president in 2004 and it’s probably a good thing he didn’t win considering what seems to be his disregard for the Constitution. Unfortunately in the current presidential race Donald Trump even one-upped Clark, stating recently that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor and should be treated like one, implying that the government should kill him.

These statements and others like them most likely reflect the frustration felt in Washington over a 15 year war on terror where there has been no victory and where we actually seem worse off than when we started. The real problem is they will argue and bicker over changing tactics but their interventionist strategy remains the same.

Retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, who was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, told al-Jazeera this week that US drones create more terrorists than they kill. He said: “The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict.”

Still Washington pursues the same strategy while expecting different results.

It is probably almost inevitable that the warhawks will turn their anger inward, toward Americans who are sick of the endless and costly wars. The US loss of the Vietnam war is still blamed by many on the protesters at home rather than on the foolishness of the war based on a lie in the first place.

Let’s hope these threats from Clark and Trump are not a trial balloon leading to a clampdown on our liberties. There are a few reasons we should be concerned. Last week the US House passed a bill that would allow the Secretary of State to unilaterally cancel an American citizen’s passport if he determines that person has “aided” or “abetted” a terrorist organization. And as of this writing, the Senate is debating a highway funding bill that would allow the Secretary of State to cancel the passport of any American who owes too much money to the IRS.

Canceling a passport means removing the right to travel, which is a kind of virtual internment camp. The person would find his movements restricted, either being prevented from leaving or entering the United States. Neither of these measures involves any due process or possibility of appeal, and the government’s evidence supporting the action can be kept secret.

We should demand an end to these foolish wars that even the experts admit are making matters worse. Of course we need a strong defense, but we should not provoke the hatred of others through drones, bombs, or pushing regime change overseas. And we must protect our civil liberties here at home from government elites who increasingly view us as the enemy.

July 27, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 8 Comments

NBC Invents War-o-tainment

By David Swanson | War is a Crime | July 29, 2012

If you’ve watched the Olympics on NBC you’ve probably seen ads promoting a war-o-tainment reality show cohosted by retired U.S. General Wesley Clark, co-starring Todd Palin, and with no apparent role for reality.

The ads brag about the use of real bullets in a way that promoters of the new Batman movie probably wouldn’t try. But the chances that any of the celebrities engaged in “war competition” on NBC’s “Stars Earn Stripes”  will be shot and killed is essentially what it was for John Wayne, as he promoted war while dodging it (even if nuclear weapons testing got him in the end).

RootsAction.org and Just Foreign Policy have set up a website at StarsEarnStripes.org to push NBC to show the real cost of war, and to help get them started.

“Stars Earn Stripes” is being produced by the TV “genius” behind Donald Trump’s “Apprentice” and “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” (Husband Todd Palin is a “Stars Earn Stripes” co-star.) NBC is promoting the show during its Summer Olympics telecast as the next big sporting event.  But the sport it’s exhibiting is war.

On “Stars Earn Stripes,” celebrities will pair-up with members of the U.S. military to compete at war-like tasks, including “long-range weapons fire.” Only there won’t be any of the killing or dying.

Our wars kill huge numbers of people, primarily civilians, and often children and the elderly.  NBC is not showing this reality on its war-o-tainment show any more than on its news programs.  Other nations’ media show the face of war, giving people a very different view of war-making.

NBC news programs have repeatedly used retired generals, pretending independence but getting their pro-war talking points from the Pentagon. See New York Times: Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand and Glenn Greenwald: The Pulizer-Winning Investigation That Dare Not Be Uttered on TV.

In the United States, our tax dollars are spent by the billions each year marketing the idea that war is a sport and associating the military with sporting events.  Media companies like NBC are complicit in the propaganda.  While 57% of federal discretionary spending goes to the military, weapons makers can’t seem to get enough of our tax dollars.  In the spirit of transferring veterans’ care to the realm of private charity, “Stars Earn Stripes” will give prize money each week to “military-based charities” in order to “send a message.”

One of NBC’s corporate parents, General Electric, takes war very seriously, but not as human tragedy — rather, as financial profit.  (GE is a big weapons manufacturer.) A retired general hosting a war-o-tainment show is another step in the normalization of permanent war.  And consider for a moment who that retired general is.  During the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia commanded by Gen. Wesley Clark, civilians and a TV station were bombed, while cluster bombs and depleted uranium were used. Had Clark done these things for another nation, NBC would probably favor his prosecution and certainly not employ him. See Democracy Now! Confronts Wesley Clark Over His Bombing Of Civilians.

StarsEarnStripes.org  is asking NBC to stop treating war as a sport, and to air an in-depth segment showing the reality of civilian victims of recent U.S. wars, on any program, any time in the coming months.  We’ve provided some resources to help NBC research and show the reality of war, at http://StarsEarnStripes.org

July 31, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on NBC Invents War-o-tainment