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Committee for Peace in the Balkans Conference

The Manchester Committee for Peace in the Balkans organised a conference on the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia which was held at the Friends Meeting House on 4 December. The plenary sessions featured speakers analysing various aspects of the global political causes and consequences of the bombing. Workshop session included information on NATO's economic war, NATO's humanitarian war, NATOs media war and NATO's environmental war. One very important message was the resistance we must all make to the government's and media's demonisation of the Serb people. Obviously this goes for the Iraqi people as well. Nobody thinks the leadership of those two countries is composed of saints, but we should make every effort to resist the demonisation and accompanying economic deprivation imposed on the people, which results not only in severe hardship but deprivations resulting in the death in Iraq of 6,000 children per month. The so-called "smart sanctions" in Yugoslavia - targeted only at those cities which have not withdrawn support from the government - not only assume a degree of agency which may not exist, but may also serve to mask the health effects of the chemical and radiological pollutants released during the bombing.

I gave the workshop on DU, in the "Environmental war" section. This was well-received, and several useful contacts were made. One item mentioned was the negative effect of the 1959 agreement between the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). This agreement includes clauses that limit WHO's ability to properly research the health effects of exposure to low-level radiation, and may be one root of the secrecy and cover ups which have been the hallmark of the nuclear age. Since the IAEA is also charged with promoting the nuclear industry, giving it any control whatsoever over scientific enquiry into the negative effects of the industry is rather like getting the fox to guard the chickens. The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom is circulating a petition to have the agreement amended. Copies of the petition may be obtained from WILPF member Helen John, 26 The Oval, Otley LS21 2ED (Tel. 01943-468593), or CADU office.

Cat Euler

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From CADU News 3: Winter 1999/2000

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Page last updated: January 28, 2003