War and destruction of living-conditions on the Balcan-region

Reconstruction in Yugoslavia on a poisoned basis?

Matthias Reichl

(Deutsche Fassung, traduction en Francais)

How can and should NGOs and other basic-organisations contribute to the reconstruction of the civil society in Kosovo and the rest of Yugoslavia? Can reconciliation and mediation secure a long term survival of the remaining inhabitants and the returning refugees? Or, isn't it necessary to evacuate all people from Yugoslavia and the neighbouring regions for the next decades or longer, because of the vast chemical and radioactive contamination of these areas? That is what not only we, but also more and more independent experts demand. Living in this region, growing crops and other agricultural products (including export) and even the smallest quantities of particles transported through the air, water or food, can have lethal consequences.

Have we forgotten what experts like Robert Jungk, Günther Anders and others have warned us some thirty years ago: In the industrialized countries, even conventional warfare is suicidal, because of the (un-)intentional bombings of chemical factories, warehouses, refineries, but also nuclear power-plants and other objects with dangerous content. According to an estimation of the WWF, more than 80 sites, bombed by NATO, are poisoning the Danube-area, the air, the soil, underground water reserves for tenths of years, and this up to the Black Sea, with often unknown poisonous molecules. About 20 million people depend for drinking water on the Danube! On top of that, dioxin and furanes are dispersed by the wind over hundredths of kilometers (from Greece till Austria).

Not only this kind of warfare is prohibited by UN-decisions and other laws but also the use of fragmentation (cassette-)bombs. It has been estimated that at least 20.000 blind bombs lie around somewhere. Others already have been disposed of by NATO-planes into forests in Kosovo and Montenegro and also in the Adriatic Sea (up till Venice).

Even more worse are the hundreds of tons of Cruise-Missile warheads and anti-tank-shells (that have partly been fired on tank dummies) with their core containing depleted uranium (DU) under a thin light-metal cover. (This waste product of the enrichment-process of uranium for nuclear power-plants with a half-life decay time is calculated in some 4.5 million years is so deposited in large areas. Only special instruments and laboratories - in Canada - can measure the alpha rays of these products, but not conventional Geiger counters!) The impact of such projectiles creates locally temperatures of over 1500 °C and frees minuscule particles of uranium which contaminate through the air, wounds, water and food-chain the bodies of all kind of creatures and cause cancers, defects in the organs, nervous system and genetic code, often only detectable after years. These particles also are spread by wind or water over hundreds of kilometers. Like other experts, also the "Alternative-Nobel-Price-Laureate" Rosalie Bertell recently gave conclusive evidence at the Right-Livelihood-Meeting in Salzburg about similar damages through the "Gulf-War-Syndrom". It had been denied by NATO officials and politicians and is now evident at hundred thousands of people, inhabitants of Iraq and Gulf-War-Veterans from USA and UK.

Mass media (including Austrian radio, TV and most of the newspapers), influenced by massive NATO-propaganda, try to maintain an illusion of a clean warfare - without irreversible damages - and to direct public attention on to the (rejectable) Serbian violation of human rights. Globalized ruling economic powers and companies try to present the Balkan countries as ready for investment and reconstruction. Politicians and humanitarian organizations count on the return of the refugees and hide at the same time the dangers that exist, as well for the KFOR- and police-forces and international volunteers, active in more or less long relief-aid and reconstruction. On his side, Milosevic tries to avoid panic, lethargy and escapism of his people.

We became aware of Rosalie Bertells warning through an US-Indian e-mail network (Native News). Gorbatchevs environmental organisation "Green Cross" issued a warning message, grass-roots-organisations on the Balcans and in end of May also an UN-(and later also an EU-) research-datas funded these reports. Most of the main Austrian environmental organisations like "Greenpeace" and "Global 2000" - with the exception of WWF and anti-nuclear-initives - remained silent for too long because of internal controversies on the war. Also most of the peace-initiatives did - if at all - only shortly point out the environmental threats. Their main concern is - similar to the human-rights-organisations - a reconciliation-process between the peoples. Press-releases and appeals of the Austrian Green party did get only little publicity and were ignored by recent conferences of high rank politicians on the Balkans. Still there is no powerful common ecology-campaign of concerned peoples in Austria.

Beside others, Michael Chossudowski analyses the geo-political strategy of NATO, like the expansion of the sphere of influence and domination by western powers over Bulgaria, Romania, Moldavia, Ukraine, the Caucasian region, the oil-fields of Kasachstan and finally till .

A network of american lawyers and scientists instituted action against more than 60 State- and Minister Presidents, Foreign and Defence Ministers of NATO-states (including Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland) and also against high NATO officials, at the International Court for War-Crimes in ex-Yugoslavia. Their motivation: the aftermath - a genocide - and the violation of international law and UN-resolutions. Not only militant hardliners but also people like the German "Green" Joschka Fischer and the former Czech human rights activists Vaclav Havel and Jan Kavan were so accused of the points mentioned above. With NATO-chief Javier Solana a politician who is suspected of war-crimes becomes the first "foreign minister" of the EU. Considering their power, these people, however, will certainly be able to prevent a trial at the international court and therefore preserve their humanitarian image.

None of these trials, however, can solve the dangers mentioned above. They can at best reduce them. Is the whole environment too hot and non-reconciliable for the construction of a civil, nonviolent society?

Some more www- and e-mail- information-sources (among many more):

<www.web-light.nl/VISIE/ud_main.html> and


Andreas Rockstein <anro0002@stud.uni-sb.de>,


Janet M. Eaton <jeaton@fox.nstn.ca>,

Green Cross Int. Bertrand Charrier <bertrand.charrier@gci.ch>

Rosalie Bertell <IICPH@Compuserve.com>

Int. Action Center New York <iacenter@iacenter.org>

<info @ begegnungszentrum.at> www.begegnungszentrum.at

Matthias Reichl

(Translation: Johannes Niederbrucker, Wout Somers and Matthias Reichl)

Matthias Reichl, Center for Encounter and active Non-Violence, Wolfgangstr. 26, A-4820 Bad Ischl, Tel. ++43-6132-24590, e-mail: info @ begegnungszentrum.at

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(Published on the internet by Matthias Reichl 10.01.2007)