Balkan Syndrome

(translated from the greek, so pardon any strange errors)

Davey Garland

“Balkan Syndrome” second part

by Georgia Linardou and Paschali Koronaiou

“Sunday Eleftherotipia” – 05/06/2005

The nightmare of “Balkan Syndrome” strikes Greek armed forces also! Three military men have lost their lives from forms of malformation and all of them have participated in the first missions in Bosnia. The most recent case is of a 36-year-old Martial Navy officer, who after two years of ‘battle’ in hospitals, died of leukaemia. A 40-year-old captain and a 32-year-old non-commissioned officer preceded him.

The issue of repercussions from the use of Depleted Uranium has been introduced initially by Belgians and Italians, causing great agitation in Europe. From then onwards victims keep on counted in various countries, regardless if NATO insists that the guilty missiles are “substantially harmless”; an opinion with which agrees the Greek ministry of National Defence too.

“However, up to today, the Americans have informed no one of the Allies for the exact type of substance that the missiles which they threw in Bosnia and Kossifopedio, contained” a Pentagon officer points out.

The case of the 36-year-old frogman of Martial Navy brings the question in the surface again. He was one of the first who went to Bosnia as observers in 1997. He ‘passed’ from Visoko where the Greek pacificatory force camped later.

As his colleagues say, his team seems to have been found itself within a breath’s distance from the point that the Allies had been bombarded, hardly an hour and a half earlier”. The standardbearer in the degree, served periodically until 1997 when he returned to Greece. Leukaemia struck him two and a half years ago.

“The Greek Navy never admitted it but we all had the same thoughts and opinion” one of his colleagues admits now. When his illness was diagnosed the 36-year-old frogman took a leave without compensation, he went through medical examinations in the Naval Hospital and the last year he was transported in a clinic in London. His wife was also in the same hospital and gave birth to their child. He saw his baby only three hours before he died, the 5th of May.

The same also happened to his captain, with who were together in the same team in Bosnia, as well as to another officer who was together with them in that mission.

Medical ‘circles’ of the Naval Hospital claim that the standard-bearer suffered from “chronic leukaemia” and that in his case depleted uranium cannot be incriminated.

According to valid information, military circles have expressed occasionally fears for the Greek missions in Bosnia. They speculate that they have been exposed in situations of high danger and this because certain additional measures of precaution for the health of their personnel have been undertaken, after the noise publicity caused about the repercussions of bombardments.

Officers that have dealt closely with the possible repercussions in the health of military men, underline the importance of potable water. They suggest, for example, appliances of refinement of water with special filters, appliances which were only provided to the personnel of Greek pacificatory missions only the last five years. They argue that cases of leukaemia in the personnel of foreign missions situated in the same region with the Greeks, have been confirmed.

Furthermore, relatives of foreign military men who were attacked by illnesses sued Nato, that nevertheless doesn’t accept that there exists any such a problem of contamination, invoking that the Greeks …have not demonstrated any symptoms..

It is particularly curious –the same sources point out- that after the bombardments in the Kossifopedio, the Americans stopped to provide their personnel with water from Northern Greece and started buying bottled water from…Loutraki. Why? I wonder

Up to now, the Ministry of National Defence has officially admitted only one case of a Greek sergeant that had served in Bosnia and was medically attended due to leukaemia in the 424 Military Hospital of Thessalonica in 2001. The minister of National Defence at that period, A, Tsochatzopoulos had declared that medical examinations would be conducted on everyone of the military personnel that serviced in Bosnia and Kossifopedio. These were estimated above 3.500 thousand people. However, in reality, only few, a minimal number, were submitted in whole-body radiation meter examinations!

Mr. N. Katsaros (former MP), who at the time was in “Dimokritos” confirms today the exceptionally limited turn-out of officers served in Bosnia. Others from the Greek Committee of Atomic Energy confirm the same.

The question however still remains at the prophetic statement, made in 2001 by L.Kamarinopoulos the chairman of the Greek Committee of Atomic Energy: “the results of this exposure will start to appear seven years later”.

It is worth noting that only the last three years additional measures and special examinations have started to take place for all the personnel that participate in pacificatory missions; after additional equipment had been installed in the military hospital of Athens.

In addition, every military man is submitted in specialised medical examinations depending on the country of destination.



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Juni 2005

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