International Action Center
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Attention: Assignment Editor		Press Contact: Sara Flounders or 
For Immediate Release				John Catalinotto, 212-633-6646 
April 1, 1999

Radioactive weapons used by U.S. and NATO in Kosovo

The International Action Center, a group that opposes the use of
depleted-uranium weapons, called the Pentagon's decision to use the
A-10 "Warthog" jets against targets in Kosovo "a danger to the people
and environment of the entire Balkans."

The A-10s were the anti-tank weapon of choice in the 1991 war against
Iraq. It carries a GAU-8/A Avenger 30 millimeter seven-barrel cannon
capable of firing 4,200 rounds per minute.  During that war it fired
30 mm rounds reinforced with depleted uranium, a radioactive weapon.

There is solid scientific evidence that the depleted uranium residue
left in Iraq is responsible for a large increase in stillbirths,
children born with defects, and childhood leukemia and other cancers
in the area of southern Iraq near Basra, where most of these shells
were fired.  Many U.S. veterans groups also say that DU residues
contributed to the condition called "Gulf War Syndrome" that has
affected close to 100,000 service people in the U.S. and Britain with
chronic sickness.

John Catalinotto, a spokesperson from the Depleted Uranium Education
Project of the International Action Center and an editor of the 1997
book Metal of Dishonor:  Depleted Uranium, said the use of DU weapons
in Yugoslavia "adds a new dimension to the crime NATO is perpetrating
against the Yugoslav people--including those in Kosovo."  

Catalinotto explained that the Pentagon uses DU, a waste product of
the uranium enrichment process used for making atomic bombs and
nuclear fuel, because it is extremely dense--1.7 times as dense as
lead. "DU is used in alloy form in shells to make them penetrate
targets better.  As the shell hits its target, it burns and releases
uranium oxide into the air. The poisonous and radioactive uranium is
most dangerous when inhaled into the body, where it will release
radiation during the life of the person who inhaled it," said

Sara Flounders, a contributing author of Metal of Dishonor:  Depleted
Uranium and the Co-Director of the International Action Center, said,
"Warthogs fired roughly 940,000 rounds of DU shells during the Gulf
War.  More than 600,000 pounds of radioactive waste was left in the
Gulf Region after the war.  And DU weapons in smaller number were
already used by NATO troops during the bombing of Serbian areas of
Bosnia in 1995.

"The use of Warthogs with DU shells threatens to make a nuclear
wasteland of Kosovo," Flounders said. " The pentagon is laying waste
to the very people_along with their children--they claim to be saving;
this is another reason for fighting to end NATO's attack on

"Worldwide protests against these bombings are growing.  The U.S. use
of radioactive weapons must be linked to all the protests and
opposition that is taking place internationally to the bombing.  These
protests must be joined by environmental activists, veterans groups,
anti-nuclear groups, and all those who know the long-term destruction
to the environment and to whole civilian populations that this type of
warfare will cause."

Flounders said that Metal of Dishonor:  Depleted Uranium, which has
been translated and published in Arabic and Japanese, will be coming
out soon with a second edition.

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