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[Emperor's Clothes]

Love Canal of the Balkans?

[The following letter from Dr. Norman F. Ness appeared in the January 16, 2001 'Philadelphia Inquirer'. Dr. Ness is a leading scientist involved in the study of Extraterrestrial Physics, that is, Outer Space]

Daniel Rubin reported (Inquirer, Jan. 6) on the furor among European military personnel because of the use of depleted-uranium ammunition in Bosnia, Kosovo and throughout Serbia in the 1990s. Depleted uranium is being blamed for a number of deaths from leukemia and is called the "Balkans Syndrome."

It should be noted that there are other health and environmental consequences of the U.S.-led NATO bombing in the Balkans. NATO's targets included petro-chemical plants, fuel depots and power plants. These actions spread poisonous chemicals into the soil and ground water, where they remain for years and enter the human food chain for generations. Also, hospitals were deprived of critically essential electricity even when located far from any military targets.

Cluster bombs were indiscriminately used against civilian targets, such as the city market in Nis. Many cluster bomblets remain, as yet unexploded, and pose special dangers for children, who are fascinated by the small, colorful objects. These bomblets are even more insidious than land mines. [1]

Many targets were missed in the 1999 bombing of Serbia and Kosovo. Also, bad weather prevented many thousands of air sorties from delivering their weapons to primary targets. NATO aircraft then dropped their bombs in the Adriatic Sea or on land, such as in the Frushka Gora National Park north of Belgrade, to avoid returning to base fully armed.

I was in Rome in May 1999 during the U.S.-led NATO bombing and read in the Italian media about public demonstrations against the bombing. The media also reported about hazardous conditions due to bombs dropped in the Adriatic Sea.

Fishermen were prohibited from operating more than four miles from shore because allied aircraft used the central Adriatic for disposal of their unused weapons. A front-page color photo of the newspaper Il Messagero of May 26, 1999, shows such a bomb washed up on the Termoli beach at Molise.

Critical questions not yet addressed about depleted uranium, contaminated soils and water supplies and the unexploded ordnance is: Where are they? Who will clean them up? When? Are U.S. troops kept cooped up to prevent their being exposed to depleted uranium? [2]

Does this explain the ease with which armed Kosovo Albanian separatists readily cross the border into southern Serbia and kill poorly armed Serbian police? U.N. Resolution 1244 does not allow either Yugoslav army or NATO troops to enter this tense buffer zone. [3]

The legacy of these environmental pollution and health problems will continue for generations. Kosovo and Serbia may already have become effectively the polluted Love Canals of the Balkans, all courtesy of NATO.

Norman F. Ness
Landenberg, Pa.

[Note from Emperor's Clothes: Dr. Norman F. Ness has been an outspoken critic of U.S. policy towards Yugoslavia; see for instance his March 28, 2000 letter to the 'Inquirer', at

Dr. Ness is a Professor at the University of Delaware Bartol Research Institute. He was President of that institute from 1987 to 2000.  Prof. Ness is co- investigator on the USA Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) and Advanced Composition Explorer Missions. For more on Dr. Ness, see


Further Reading

1) See 'Venice on a sea of bombs' at

2) In 'Eyewitness to Hell', engineer and war crimes investigator Tika Jankovich reports that British commanders Gave their troops (but not the 'natives') special instructions to help them avoid poisoning resulting from British bombing. See

(3) Regarding the permeability of the Kosovo-Albanian border, see "Gracko survivors blame NATO," at

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[Emperor's Clothes]