November 26, 2001
ERRATUM (Added February 11, 2002)
On March 24, 1999, NATO attacked Yugoslavia with planes and rockets. According to Yugoslav Army sources, Depleted Uranium (DU) ammunition (rounds of 297 grams) was used for the first time on the 30th of March near the city of Prizren. On April 6, American general Chuck Weld admitted the use of DU in the undeclared war that ended on June 10, 1999.
For a long time after the end of the conflict, NATO tried to downplay the use of DU ammunition in Yugoslavia. First, NATO maps of locations that were under the fire of A-10 planes which used dangerous DU shells had only 25-35 "hot spots." The picture changed after the arrival of UN peacekeeping forces to Kosovo. When the soldiers of these forces started becoming ill and dying, many of the NATO countries wanted to know the full truth about the sites contaminated by DU. Finally, on January 24, 2001, NATO released the information, Data concerning the locations of depleted uranium ordnance during Operation Allied Force (updated on February 8, 2001). This report contains the list of grid locations where NATO aircrafts engaged targets and presents data for 112 air strikes utilizing DU. However, the attack numbered "101" includes two locations, thus one can conclude that NATO delivered DU to 113 locations. NATO claims that the first use of DU was on April 6 and the last one was on June 11, 1999, the day after the end of the war!
Careful analysis of NATO data (used in the map presenting DU locations) shows some surprising, unbelievable results. Besides Yugoslavia, two other sovereign Balkan countries (collaborators of NATO in the war) were exposed to DU. Sixteen locations in Albania and 26 in FRY Macedonia got their shares of DU. Altogether this makes 37.2% of all locations cited by NATO, more than one third of the total number! Up to now, according to our knowledge, not a single NATO or United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) map, or written information, reveals this fact.
The NATO data are contradictory and full of mistakes, which are mostly not of a technical but of a political nature. From 112 (read 113) locations listed under the name Kosovo and those in two other lists, FRY (Serbia) and FRY (Montenegro), one can conclude that FR Yugoslavia is a part of Kosovo! Twelve locations from the Kosovo list appear in the FRY (Serbia) list and two in the FRY (Montenegro) list. But now we come to an even greater surprise only two of the first mentioned 12 "Serbian locations" are in Serbia, the other ten are in FRY Macedonia!
NATO data do not contain three undisputed DU locations: peninsula Lustica in FRY (Montenegro), Reljan, a site east of Presevo FRY (Serbia), and one location close to the city of Vranje FRY(Serbia), in each of which the Yugoslav Army found a collection of DU rounds.
There are great doubts about the reported quantity of DU ammunition used in some air strikes. It is well known that the A-10 plane's gun delivers 3,900 bullets per minute (65 bull./sec). So, it is hardly believable that NATO planes in their actions used only 50, 65 or 70 bullets (i.e., "fired" less than 1.5 seconds). There are 38 cases in the NATO list in which shooting lasted less than three or only three seconds. In 83 air strikes, the numbers of fired bullets are represented in round figures (given in tens). There is only one case with "no round number" (907) in which the gun counter of fired bullets was working! It is highly unrealistic that the NATO planes would fly from Avianno, Italy, to the southern part of Yugoslavia in order to deliver a negligible part of their DU ammunition in one or two seconds.
It is astonishing that in three cases the dates of actions and numbers of used bullets are not known, while the locations of actions are known. In two cases, they were defined with the precision of one meter! Another wonder is that one location in the international water of the Adriatic Sea was twice targeted by DU with the precision of ten meters!
Suspiscion about the NATO data grows even further after comparing the NATO map with the UNEP map (see maps below). UNEP is giving 72 DU "hot spots" (locations) in the Kosovo province, while NATO is listing only 51! Whom to believe: NATO or UNEP? And how did UNEP come in possession of such different results? Who was the source of UNEP information, NATO or the Yugoslav Army?
Summing up available data leads to conclusion that we are far from knowing the truth about NATO's destructive use of DU ammunition in the Balkans. Taking into account "unknown" numbers of fired bullets (using average values for them), we arrive at the figure of 13 tons of DU as the minimum which NATO used in this area. Search for the truth should continue. We should not let it be buried under the carpet of Depleted Uranium.
Sites identified as being targeted by ordnance containing DU can be viewed on the United Nations Environment Programme's web site and the "Depleted Uranium in Kosovo - Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment," also by UNEP (this is the full 188-page report in pdf format). The NATO information, as well as maps, can be viewed at http://www.nato.int/du/docu/d010124a.htm.
[Editing: Pedja Zoric and Jan Baughman.]
ERRATUM (added February 11, 2002)
On November 26, 2001 we published the above paper authored by the respected Yugoslav scientists, Dr. Vladimir Ajdacic & Dr. Predrag Jaksic.
Two weeks later, on December 10, our good friend Pedja Zoric alerted us that there were possible flaws in how Dr. Jaksic and Dr. Ajdacic had interpreted NATO-published DU location coordinates. Zoric, with the help of Dr. Piotr Bein, researched the issue thoroughly and contacted Drs. Ajdacic and Jaksic with their findings that the authors' characterization could not be substantiated.
After careful review both Dr. Jaksic and Dr. Ajdacic concurred with Pedja Zoric and Piotr Bein. Consequently, Dr. Ajdacic acknowledged by e-mail that their misinterpretation of the maps had led them to incorrect conclusions and asked that their paper be disregarded. Dr. Ajdacic added that they deeply regretted the inconvenience to Swans and to its readers.
So do we.
Consequently, we are appending this erratum to their paper and we apologize for this unfortunate incident. We all make mistakes, but not all acknowledge them. Dr. Ajdacic and Dr. Jaksic should be commended for their intellectual integrity and we should all be grateful to people like Pedja Zoric and Piotr Bein. They, among many volunteers, make Swans what it is, a little corner in cyberspace where honesty prevails so that we may all form our own opinion based on reliable information and strong opinions. To our readers, please never hesitate to contact us when you catch an error.
It remains that the truth behind DU should not be swept under the rug as it keeps being used in other parts of the world with mere total obfuscation. After Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia, now Afghanistan and possibly again in Iraq later on this year, how long will it take for the human community (compared to the so-called international community) to realize that DU should be banned as yet another weapon of indiscriminate harm?
February 11, 2002
Prof. Vladimir S. Ajdacic, Ph.D., educated at the University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and at the University of Toronto, Canada, is a retired nuclear physicist. He is presently dealing with the problems of eliminating heavy radioactive metals (U, Pu) from the humans that, under peaceful or war circumstances, became victims of nuclear technology, pestilence of our time. Dr. Ajdacic lives in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Dr. Predrag Jaksic is a member of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Pristina, Krusevac, Yugoslavia.
Please, DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work without the expressed written authorization of Swans, which will seek permission from the author. This material is copyrighted, © Vladimir S. Ajdacic 2001. All rights reserved.
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