- MG Wald admitted the A-10's were firing DU munitions in the Balkans
Toxics Project Confirms NATO is Using DU Munitions in Yugoslavia
and Releases Results of Medical Study Indicating Potential for Fatal Cancers
- Depleted Uranium: Huge Quantities of Dangerous Waste
is the DOD News Briefing in which MG Wald admitted the A-10's were firing
munitions in the Balkans.
Other emails to DOD public affairs also confirm DU was used.
DoD News Briefing
Monday, May 3, 1999 -
Presenter: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA - Also participating is Major General Chuck Wald, J-5.
Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon.
Let me bring you up to date on a topic of great interest to you, Reserve call-ups.
Secretary Cohen has ordered
another small group to be called up, 120 members of the 939th Rescue Wing,
Air Force Reserve
in Portland, Oregon. This will bring to the total 2,236 Reservists who have been called up so far under the Presidential Selective
Reserve Call-up. Some of the other units that have been called include elements of the 117th Wing from Birmingham, Alabama,
which began deploying on Saturday; the 931st Air Refueling Group from Wichita, Kansas which deployed on Saturday; the
128th from Milwaukee, the 161st from Phoenix, and the 171st from Pittsburgh will begin their deployments on Tuesday.
Q:...the Rescue Wing, yet?
Mr. Bacon: Yes.
Mr. Bacon: Right. Yeah.
With that, I'll take your questions or turn it over to General Wald.
Q: Ken, how about the
aircraft? You still have about in effect of the
300. Any comment?
Mr. Bacon: There's been no movement on that. It's still under review, and at the appropriate time we'll move forward with it.
Q: Two more quick ones.
Will helicopters move with the rescue wing, or will they simply transfer
and use choppers that are
Mr. Bacon: I'm not aware that equipment is moving, but we'll check on that.
Major General Wald: Yes.
Mr. Bacon: They will be moving? Okay. Do you know how many?
Major General Wald: Okay.
Q: Just one more, has the President signed the Action Order on the Apaches yet?
Mr. Bacon: I don't have anything to say on that.
Q: You mean, you say you don't have anything to say on it. You mean he hasn't or has?
Mr. Bacon: No, what I
mean is that I'm not going to tell you whether he's signed it or not, because
at the appropriate time the
Apaches will come into use. We're not going to telegraph when they're going to be used.
Q: Can you tell us...
Q:...Reservists is that total now, with these last ones...
Mr. Bacon: 2,236, I believe. Out of the total of 33,000 cap that we've set.
Q: Can you tell us anything
more about what's known now about the condition of the U.S. soldiers who
were released by
Yugoslavia, what their condition is now? And do you know anything more based on what you've learned since their release
about the circumstances of their capture?
Mr. Bacon: First, they're
still being interviewed, and the debrief probably won't be done for another
two or three days. It could
be less, could be more, but it usually takes about three days to complete the debrief.
Second, having said that
we haven't completed the debrief, and therefore any conclusion could be
subject to change, everything
we've learned so far suggests that these soldiers were illegally detained in Macedonia.
Q: Are they in worse medical condition than we were led to believe from the statements from Yugoslavia?
Mr. Bacon: I think it's
hard to judge right now. We know that one has had some stitches; one appears
to have a leg problem;
one has some bruises. But I don't think we know enough yet about the circumstances of when they got these and how they
were treated. That's one of the things that will come out as the investigation continues.
Q: Are there any events,
any of these problems are a result of mistreatment after they were captured,
or did these things
happen during the capture?
Mr. Bacon: First of all,
a failure to provide adequate medical care when needed would be, I think,
an example of mistreatment.
But having said that, we don't know all the circumstances of the medical care yet and when these injuries were sustained.
Q: Ken, what are the circumstances of what happened on that day, what they were doing, for example? The soldiers.
Mr. Bacon: All that will come out at the appropriate time, but I don't have information on that now.
Q: Were they captured by troops...
Q: You said, Ken, excuse me, Charlie, you said that they were illegally detained in Macedonia. What evidence...
Mr. Bacon: Based on what
they've told us, that's what we believe. As I said, we're still going on
with the debrief, but everything
we've learned so far supports that.
Now this is what General
Clark said weeks ago after they were detained, and nothing has changed
our view that they were
illegally detained in Macedonia, but I don't have more details now. Eventually we hope to have a full rundown of what
happened, but we don't at this stage.
Q: Were they detained
by troops, or were they... There were reports that they might have been
detained by Serbs and turned
over to Serbian forces.
Mr. Bacon: They were clearly
detained by Serbs. The question was what were they wearing. One report
is they were detained
by Arkan's Tigers, a paramilitary group, a ferocious paramilitary group. Other reports were that they could have been detained
by units. But all of this will come out. They may not know exactly who detained them, but as we learn more from them, we'll
have more information.
Q: Will they go home, Ken, directly after these debriefings are over? Do you know when they'll go home?
Mr. Bacon: They'll get 30 days of leave, each one of them, and I assume they'll decide to take that in the United States.
Q: That's right after the debriefings are finished, and they're...
Mr. Bacon: Yeah.
Q: Will they go back to their unit in Germany after that, or will they be reassigned here?
Mr. Bacon: My understanding is that their hope is to go back and rejoin their units.
Q: The home for their unit, we understand is in Germany. Would they then go on to Macedonia, do you think?
Mr. Bacon: I don't know
how much longer their units are staying in Macedonia. I'd have to look
into that. This is easy enough to
find out, but I don't know. They rotate in and out.
Q: I have two questions
about the electrical grid that was struck. The first is, can you tell us
something about the weapon that
was used against it? And secondly, why it was only on what, day 40 that it was struck? Why it wasn't struck a lot earlier, given
its significance to supplying electricity to air defense or command and control, that sort of thing?
Mr. Bacon: I have nothing
to say about the weapon that was used, and in terms of why it was struck,
this obviously was one of
the targets that was reviewed very carefully, and it was struck at what we thought was the appropriate time.
Q: What was the aircraft that was used in this?
Mr. Bacon: I'm not talking about the weapons in any way, how they were delivered or what kind they were.
Q: Can I just follow up on the question of why it was not struck earlier? I mean other than you chose to strike it when you did?
Mr. Bacon: I can tell
you exactly. At the Summit the NATO leaders decided to expand the list
of targets, and this was one of
the target sets that was added to the list at the time.
Q: In answer to my pending question if you are ready to use your base in Incirlik, Turkey, against Yugoslavia.
Mr. Bacon: Excuse me?
Q: If you are ready to use your base in Incirlik, Turkey, against Yugoslavia.
Mr. Bacon: I don't have anything to say about using new bases at this time.
Q: Ken, what is the activity
on the border in regards to the Yugoslav attacking KLA and Albanian villages?
Has there been an
increase in that...
Mr. Bacon: I don't think
there's been an increase. There's been sporadic fighting across the border
from time to time, both
ways, but there are occasionally artillery rounds fired into Albania, then the UCK or the Kosovar Liberation Army will deploy
from Albania out into Kosovo. This has been happening episodically from actually before Operation ALLIED FORCE began,
and it continues.
Q: What about physical incursions?
Mr. Bacon: I don't have
anything new on physical incursions. What is new is that there's an increased
flow of refugees from
Kosovo into Albania. There were 3100 yesterday. Aid workers, UNHCR and others, believe that there could be as many as
100,000 Kosovars coming into Albania in the next week or ten days, just based on the reports they're getting from other
refugees and what they're seeing in terms of people lined up to come over.
Q: Why is that, Ken? Is
there a campaign by the VJ or MUP to push them out of the country? Or are
they just going voluntarily
at this point?
Mr. Bacon: I think there
are two reasons. One, there's not adequate food in Kosovo now, and you've
seen press reports of
people saying they're leaving because they're hungry. Also, we have continuing evidence that they're being forced out by the
Special Police and by the Yugoslav army.
Q: Why is it that you can't talk about the weapon employed against the electrical system?
Mr. Bacon: Look, we have certain weapons we don't believe it's appropriate to talk about, and this is one of them.
Q: Is it a security matter, or is it a classified...
Mr. Bacon: It is highly classified, and it's not a weapon we choose to discuss publicly.
Q: Ken, the original indications
were the three soldiers were picked up at a substantial distance from the
border. Does it still
look like that's accurate?
Mr. Bacon: That's exactly the type of detail we need to wait on until we have a full accounting of what happened.
Q: Is taking out part
of the power grid and interrupting it -- at NATO this morning they indicated
that it was not an attack on the
Serb population, but it certainly is a massive inconvenience to the Serb population, if not an attack on them. I wonder how you
Mr. Bacon: First of all,
it's not nearly as massive an inconvenience as what the Kosovo population
is encountering from Serb
troops and special police. Second, I think NATO was extremely clear this morning in explaining the military implications of this
strike -- that it does confuse their command and control system; it diverts resources that might otherwise go into running the
command and control system; it disorients and confuses their computers by shutting them off quickly, and we think it can have a
major impact even though the duration of the electricity loss period was relatively small, approximately seven hours according to
reports in the Serb press.
So it clearly does have an impact on their ability to operate efficiently.
Q: But it also has an
impact on the civilian population. What would you postulate could be the
impact on the civilian population
vis-a-vis their attitude towards their leadership and/or NATO?
Mr. Bacon: I guess I can't
psychoanalyze the Serb attitudes about this. Clearly, it should have the
impact of alerting them to the
fact that inconveniences like this will continue as we intensify the air campaign, and that there's one easy way to stop them, and
that is to meet NATO's demands for a settlement.
Q: Can you tell us, the
CSAR of the F-16 over the weekend, was that comparable in the way it was
carried out to the CSAR
done for the F-117...
Mr. Bacon: Yes, in two ways. It was highly professional and speedy.
Q: Going back to the electrical
power grid, and you've just outlined why it's important militarily. Again,
you said that NATO
leaders gave them expanded authority on lists of targets. Did you not ask to do this before? Was this something that you only
asked to do late in the campaign? Can you explain why that was?
Mr. Bacon: No, I cannot.
Q: Ken, there's been another...
Q: Why not? Why can't you explain that?
Mr. Bacon: We've said
from the very beginning two things. One, this is a phased campaign. A systematic
campaign that will
grow in intensity over time, and it's done that. In order to grow in intensity, there have to be targets to which you grow which
are added to the list. This was one of those targets.
There are other targets; there have been other targets, and there will be other targets in the future.
Secondly, it's also been
very clear -- you've written about it; many other people have written about
it -- that this is a 19-member
alliance and that targets have been considered for a number of reasons throughout, and this was one of those target sets that
was reviewed from the beginning. So I don't think it's surprising that a target set like this would require review, and I don't think
it's surprising that we will be adding new targets as the campaign continues. That's been the history of this from the very
beginning, 40 days ago. And 40 days from now we will have added significantly new targets beyond what we've struck so far.
Q: Ken, 40 days from now there won't be any people left in Kosovo. Part of the reason...
Mr. Bacon: Forty days from now...
Q:...for this whole campaign...
Mr. Bacon: I hope that 40 days from now, I hope, they'll be returning to Kosovo.
Q: Yeah, but part of the
whole reason for this campaign was to stop them moving the Kosovars out
of Kosovo, and now you're
saying 100,000 more will be coming out this week.
Mr. Bacon: We've always said that you can't use air power to stop this type of depopulation that's taking place.
What we're trying to do
is establish a set of conditions that will allow these people to go back
to their homes and to live in peace
and stability for a long time to come, and that's the NATO goal. It's very clear. Stop the killing in Kosovo, Serb forces out,
international forces led by NATO back in, and the refugees back in to live in some sort of autonomous arrangement.
Q: Do you have any information on this second bus incident? Was that also a result of a bomb gone astray?
Mr. Bacon: We have no
information on it. I talked to SHAPE just before we came in here. We've
been talking to people in
Vicenza. We have no information on it now. Obviously, we're continuing to look at it, but we have nothing to say at this stage.
Q: What's the status of
that Serb POW being held in Germany? Is he going to be released in response
to the release of the
Mr. Bacon: He'll be released
at the appropriate time. He is in Germany. He's in good condition. The
ICRC has been invited to
visit him, and they've announced that they will talk with him on Wednesday.
I guess I should correct
the record on one thing. We announced that the first Serb POW was a lieutenant.
It turns out he's a
Q: Is he the only POW?
Mr. Bacon: There are two POWs now.
Q: What is the other one?
Mr. Bacon: I'm sorry, there [are] two enemy prisoners of war being held in Germany now.
Q: What's the rank of the other one?
Mr. Bacon: The second
one is an enlisted man. I'm not certain of his rank. The first one we said
was a lieutenant but in fact is a
private. The second one is an enlisted person as well, and I believe he's a private.
Q: The first one was moved from Tirane to Germany?
Mr. Bacon: Right. Both were moved from Tirane to Germany.
Q: You say they'll be,
or one of them will be released at the appropriate time. Is there any plan
to release either or both of these
Mr. Bacon: All I can say is they'll be released at the appropriate time.
Q: How did we get the second? Also captured by the KLA?
Mr. Bacon: He came basically the same route, through the Albanian government.
Q: When was he captured?
Mr. Bacon: He was captured
-- we discussed this on Saturday -- he was captured Friday; he was turned
over to us on Friday
or Saturday. He left Albania early Saturday and arrived in Germany.
Q: Do you have any other
indication, what the cause of the engine malfunction, what caused the F-16
to crash? And is there
any sort of pattern emerging with the recent F-16 crashes at Luke Air Force Base? Is there any common thread to these F-16
crashes, and is it a cause for concern at this point?
Mr. Bacon: Those are all extremely good questions for General Wald to answer at the end of his briefing.
Q: Let's get him up here.
Mr. Bacon: I say the same thing. Let's get him up here.
[Charts available at Briefing
Slides DoD News Briefing, Monday, May 3,
1999 - 2:00 p.m. ]
Major General Wald: I'll give the briefing first and you can ask questions later.
[Chart - Weather Conditions]
The weather, as we talked
last week, has improved markedly over the last few days. There was a prediction
that today, this
afternoon, the weather would be bad for air ops. In fact it hasn't been. It's stayed pretty good. So over the last few days the
weather has been good for air operations, and as the sortie rate has shown, we've flown a lot of sorties.
Q: How many?
Major General Wald: Yesterday
they were scheduled for about 500-plus, and today they're about 600. So
they're staying right
around 600 every day now.
[Chart - Level of Effort Last 48 Hours - Days 39/40]
Over the last two days,
over 77 different planned targets were struck. Additionally, some targets
of opportunity. The
predominant target was the MUP/VJ forces, about 50 percent of those out of those 77 targets; then a large percentage were
mobility targets. You can see the LOCs now are being closed into Kosovo continuously. Some command and control, some
more radio relays, and C2 as well as some sustainability and some SAM sites were attacked over the last two days.
[Chart - Refugees in Theater]
Quickly, into the refugees.
Basically about 14,200 the last 24 hours have come out. The numbers stay
about the same. There's
about 25,000 that have been, are living in other countries at this time. That's the number we can count. Several of the refugees
are actually living with families in both Macedonia and Albania. I think the number in Albania is actually 100,000 or so that are
actually living with the families in Albania.
[Chart - Operation SUSTAIN HOPE Last 24 Hours]
Just an update on Camp
Hope. Camp Hope is not really the final name for it. It's what we call
it because of SHINING HOPE.
It hasn't been named. Once the camp is finally finished, it will be named.
The construction continues.
Right now they're looking at somewhere around the 12th or 13th where people
actually move in.
They're looking for a good source of water as we speak. There have been about 7,160 tents, approximately, [that] went so far.
The tents for Camp Hope, about
400 are actually in country, and the other 1,600 are in Ancona ready to ship forward.
They've started to put
up tents at Camp Hope; as I said, it will be named later. Then the initial
refugees into Fort Dix should
start coming in on Wednesday. I think there's a flight for Wednesday and Friday of about 400 each.
Q: Camp Hope is at Fier?
Major General Wald: The camp at Fier is right now named Camp Hope. That isn't the final name. It will be named later.
Mr. Bacon: I think the final name is Camp America.
Major General Wald: Has
that been announced? Okay. Camp America. They haven't put the board out
yet. I'll defer to Mr.
Bacon on that one.
[Photos available at 03
May 1999 -- Imagery used by Joint Staff Vice Director for Strategic Plans
and Policy Maj. Gen.
Charles F. Wald, U.S. Air Force, during a press briefing on NATO Operation Allied Force
I showed you a film --
not a film, but I've showed you film also, but some imagery of the Novi
Sad petroleum refinery the other
day. These were the major areas that I showed a couple of days ago.
[Photo - Novi Sad Petroleum Refinery, Serbia - Post Strike]
Yesterday, they struck
some more of these areas here. The tanks with the red arrows were struck
yesterday. I'll show you
some imagery of that. You saw it on TV burning last night. I believe I have some film of that. This is actually an overhead
image of that same area I just showed you. The three areas are burning. So we're taking out his storage capability as well.
So, the Novi Sad petroleum
factory -- the first thing you want to do is take down the most important
part. That's production.
Then go back and try to get out his supply and sustainability.
[Photo - Baric Explosives Plant Prva Iskra, Serbia - Pre Strike]
[Photo - Baric Explosives Plant Prva Iskra, Serbia - Post Strike]
Baric explosive plant
near Prva Iskra in Serbia itself. And this area here looks not too bad
here. You can see there was some
damage before, but I'll show you another image of that large area, but several probably upwards to 30 different aim points.
There are just a few of them I'll show you here that have been taken out. And methodically, we're starting to take out his ability
to have any of his facilities sustain any type of ammunition production or supply.
[Photo - Pec TV & FM Transmitter, Kosovo - Post Strike]
This is the Pec TV, FM
transmitter and TV area. There's an antenna here, if you look closely,
that's not standing anymore,
laying there. And there are three areas in here -- one building, an antenna, and another support building -- and that's pretty much
a black hole right now. It's shut down.
[Photo - Vranjc Army Garrison, Kosovo - Post Strike]
This is an army garrison
in Kosovo itself. This was a vehicle storage, sustainment, and maintenance
facility that's been totally
destroyed in Kosovo.
[Photo - Balince Bridge South, Kosovo - Post Strike]
A bridge in southern Kosovo.
This span here has dropped into the ravine, and then there's another hole
for the bridge here. This
is one of the smaller bridges. As I said yesterday, a lot of the lines of communication bridges have been taken down. We
continue to do that to ensure that his sustainment in Kosovo is if not restricted, limited in a significant way.
I'm going to show about nine or so of the films from the 77 targets of the last couple of days.
First is, as we showed
last week, this is a border post along the Kosovo/Albanian border. F-16CG
with laser-guided bomb. The
pilot is switching back in his imagery from black to white-hot to see which one is best. You'll see under the cursor here, it takes
out that border post.
I was talking to some
of the intelligence folks that are looking at those border posts. They
say there are maybe a couple of
dozen, and we continue to take those down.
There's a military vehicle along the Kosovo/Macedonian border itself. That was destroyed. An F-16 with laser-guided bomb.
An anti-aircraft battery
in Central Serbia. This is along a bridge, one of the lines of communication,
so they're actually putting
AAA up by the bridges to defend them. You'll see just next to the bridge is a AAA site. The most important thing you do is try
to get that down first; then they'll take the bridge down after that. That was destroyed.
Novi Sad refinery, the
picture I just showed you a moment ago. F-16 with laser-guided bomb, 2,000-pound
bombs. You'll see
four large tanks. It will hit this tank, and the explosion from that bomb will actually take the tank to the right down, and actually
after this was over, all four of those tanks were on fire. So there was petroleum in those tanks, and that petroleum is obviously
not available anymore.
Some trucks in the Pristina
ammunition storage area. Why they're leaving the trucks there is debatable.
It may be because they
don't have enough fuel to move the trucks. But this F-16, once again, with 2,000 pound bombs, will hit these trucks. All three
will be destroyed, and there's large secondaries, so there's probably ammunition in those trucks.
A radio relay site, command
and control, in Montenegro on one of the hills or ridge line in Montenegro,
to take away his ability
to track aircraft and fire at us. An AGM-130 off an F-15E, and you'll see the pilot looks at this black spot initially, and at end
game picks up the actual target, moves it over just prior to the impact, and is lucky enough to -- actually professional enough to
-- hit the target. That was struck again after that by another bomb, and it was destroyed.
The Cacak ordnance assembly
facility. F-16CG with laser-guided bomb again. You can see that it's been
struck earlier by the
arrow by another aircraft. It's burning. This one goes off, pretty good-sized secondary, and multiple bombs on that particular
Another picture of the
same facility. Another F-16 with laser-guided bomb. This was on Saturday.
As you can see, this is one
of the bombs that I showed a minute ago. You can see a large secondary, and this is a lot of ammunition in that building. But
once again, it's not available to Milosevic.
There's a military vehicle
in a revetment. They're hard to find, but once we find them we go after
them. You can see under the
cursor where he's aiming here. It actually misses the target by a few feet, but it's close enough that you can see the vehicle is
burning and destroyed afterwards.
I believe that's all the film for today.
Q:...77 targets were MUP and VJ? (inaudible) for those MUP and VJ buildings, trucks, people...
Major General Wald: They were buildings, trucks, ammunition storage, APCs, that type of thing. Some tanks.
Q: Were they along the
border? Is that the area where they're building up the defensive area?
It looked like it on that chart you
Major General Wald: Some
were along the border, and some were internal. Most of those were in Kosovo
itself, though. Some
were the border posts; some were the actual ammunition storage areas; some were troops in, or congregation points for the VJ
and MUP staging areas.
Q: In the past you've led us to believe that they're building a defensive line in there.
Major General Wald: I've
never said that, but I have heard that they are -- I've heard some reports
where they are building
some defenses along the border. It's been in open press, I believe.
Q: Is that what we were attacking?
Major General Wald: No.
These are border posts that have been there from before. They're manned
up by VJ and MUP. Both
police and the VJ itself, and they have some posts that are for monitoring the goings and coming of folks -- mainly the goings,
obviously. And there are some that are just actually defensive posts. So we're attacking all of those.
Q: Why do you strike still extensively the last 48 hours, against Pristina...
Major General Wald: I think I didn't hear what you...
Q: Why do you strike extensively Pristina in the last 48 hours?
Major General Wald: There
are a lot of VJ and MUP targets in the Pristina area, and where we find
them, that's where we'll
attack them. If they have more in Pristina, that's where they'll be attacked more of.
Q: So 40 days was not enough for the Air Force to do that?
Major General Wald: Well,
40 days hasn't been enough for Milosevic, evidently. It may be 40 more
days or 40 after that. We'll
continue to strike his military until it's either destroyed or he quits.
Q: General, it was reported
this morning in the briefing from Brussels by Jamie Shea that there were,
the MUP, I guess, and the
VJ, or one or the other, was using artillery against the internally displaced people that were in the mountains, apparently have
been driven up in the mountains, and then they were shelling them. Can you confirm that? And secondly, can you say anything
about why Prizren is being emptied or just generally the tactics with regard to the IDPs.
Major General Wald: There
were reports of the VJ and MUP shelling the IDPs and the Kosovo Albanians
from what I
remember at least a year ago. They've continued to do that. That's not new. Why anybody would attack innocent civilians is
beyond me in that respect.
The Prizren area, they've
moved some IDPs out of some areas; they've moved some back in. So why Milosevic
is using these
civilians in that way is beyond me. I think you'd have to ask him. But they are moving some IDPs, refugees I should say now,
out of Kosovo. They're coming out at the rate of 500 to 1,000 an hour. They continue to move some people back in toward
villages. Once again, as a military person, it's beyond my imagination why anybody would do anything like that, so...
Q: Are they trying to annihilate these people? Are they trying to...
Major General Wald: I would...
Q:...they can't go anywhere, go across the border? Or what?
Major General Wald: I think Milosevic is trying to do all of that. I think he has a total disregard for humanity.
Q: General Wald, I'm still
a little bit fuzzy -- it's difficult to see exactly how many MUP and VJ
forces now that the air war has
degraded or destroyed. Do you have any aggregated figures that you can share with us that might clarify that?
Major General Wald: I
go back to -- I would defer to General Clark's briefing of maybe a little
over a week and a half ago. He
gave a good rundown then. I think if you look at over that last ten days or so since he briefed, the cumulative effect, it doesn't
take a lot to imagine that he's being degraded in a big way over time. He has a lot of military force. He has a lot of capability.
But he's sustaining a large amount of damage and a lot of his forces [are] being destroyed on a daily basis. As the weather
stays good and as we increase our operational tempo, it will only increase.
So to sit down and give
an actual percentage of what that is would be very difficult, because we
are not on the ground counting
these things onesie-twosies.
Q: General, I know that
you're very limited in what you can say about these weapons that were used
to disable the electrical
system. They only resulted in, as near as we can tell, a temporary loss of power for most of Yugoslavia. Is it safe to assume
that that was the intended result? That that's how these weapons are designed to work?
Major General Wald: I'd
answer it this way. I think NATO gave a good explanation today, but I would
answer it this way.
There are some things militarily -- and I think we're really very open -- that I'm just not going to talk about. There are some
things that are classified to the point that from a military perspective wouldn't do anybody any good right now, so I won't even
talk about that.
Q: Without discussing
anything that you're not supposed to talk about, just talking about the
facts that we know now, for
instance that Mr. Bacon said that the power was out for seven hours according to reports over there. What's the military utility
of so brief a power outage?
Major General Wald: I
think anything that degrades Milosevic in any way from a military perspective,
command and control, or
anything else, and disrupts him for a period of time is beneficial to us militarily.
Q: Let me just ask it
the other way. What's the disadvantage of say a more, a strike with more
conventional weapons that for
instance takes out an entire power plant. Why would you want to do something less, rather than something more devastating? Is
there a tradeoff? Is there an advantage? What's the military thinking?
Major General Wald: I
think the benefit of your question is exactly what we want Milosevic to
think, so I'm not going to answer
Q: General, can you tell
us a little bit about the CSAR? Did they use Pave Lows and Pave Hawks again?
Anything come from
a friendly country flying back to a friendly country? Anything at all you can tell us?
Major General Wald: I
can tell you that from a pilot's perspective, if it wasn't for them, I'd
be a little more worried, and I'm very
proud of what they do. But I think, Ivan, if I were to tell you any of that right now, it may give some of our pilots not the same
chance that the one that got out the other day would have, so I don't want to talk about that.
Q: Can I just try this
another way on the weapons? Without discussing the weapon or even the timing,
how long the electricity
was locked out? Was the purpose there not to just destroy the electrical grid for good? Was that why the weapon was used, so
you wouldn't just completely destroy it?
Major General Wald: There's
a lot of reasons we use different weapons for different things with different
intent, and it
necessarily doesn't have to always be destruction. We've used jamming on different things. We use weapons for various
reasons. It may be a tactical reason; it may be a strategic reason. Some of those reasons, obviously, I don't think Milosevic
knows, because if you knew, he probably would know because it would be an open literature. So there are some things that
we're just not going to talk about. And we do have some things beneficially to us that we do not talk about that Milosevic will
have to find out later.
Q: One more, if you'll
just bear with me. This morning in the NATO briefing, they made the point
that we can turn off their
electrical grid or [turn] on their electrical grid on a moment's notice, that we have control over that. Do you have confidence,
based on whatever technology you have available to you that you can take out that grid on a moment's notice, virtually at will?
Major General Wald: If
we could do anything at a moment's notice, it would be done. Sometimes
we overstate things, I think.
Q: Can I get back to my
question about the F-16 crash. Do you have any indication of what kind
of malfunction there was in the
engine and whether, if it's any common thread with the training accidents that happened in the United States?
Major General Wald: From
what I understand, there was an engine problem. What it was caused by,
I don't know. It's going to
be very difficult for us to find out because we don't have the airplane back, so it could have been caused by a normal logistics
type maintenance failure -- not maintenance, but a material type failure. Also it could have been caused by him flying into or
through something or being hit by something. We don't know that.
So the answer is, is it
related to any other engine problem we've had in the past? It's going to
be very difficult to find out until
we get access to the aircraft.
Q: Talk about the intensity
of the SAM activity in the last week or so. Have you seen a trend line,
especially over this last
weekend, of how they're using it or how often they are firing?
Major General Wald: From
what I understand, the last couple of nights has been pretty intense, and
the reason for that is
speculation. Either it's because -- I think possibly Milosevic feels like he has to be a little more defensive. The intensity of the air
campaign has increased significantly over the last few days. So I would suspect, if I were in that situation, I'd probably try to
defend myself a lot more with whatever I had.
I think, additionally,
you can speculate that with the integrated air defense, although it still
is integrated, is not as integrated as it
was before. And they may have less of a central control over their weapons, possibly. Therefore, there may be a little more
autonomy for people to fire SAMs.
Additionally, we're going
after a lot more different targets in a lot more different places. So as
we attack those targets, they'll
defend themselves. So he has a lot of missiles, SAM missiles, and he's shooting those in a lot of ways, ways that maybe I
wouldn't think were very efficient. But the fact of the matter is, he continues to fire away, and over the last few nights it's been
in the dozens of SAMs he's fired and a lot of AAA.
Q: Primarily ballistic fires still, or is he risking his base radar?
Major General Wald: He's
doing a combination of both, and he's taking some risk. You'd have to speculate
why that would be, if
he's getting a little more desperate or whatever the case may be.
Q: General, are you suggesting that the F-16 may have been hit by ground fire?
Major General Wald: I'm
suggesting that that's certainly a possibility. We have an A-10, as you
know, that was struck by AAA
or a SAM last night. They're flying around areas where they're flying dozens of SAMs that have the -- when they blow up, they
throw fragments of metal in the air. There's lots of AAA; you've seen it on TV. And what you've seen on TV with those
tracers is only about one in every six bullets, and that's only what you see on TV. So when that happens, there's always the
chance that you could get unlucky and fly through something. So it could very well have been a piece of metal or something else
that went through the engine, or it could have been just a materiel failure. The good news is the pilot's back.
Q: When the power was
shut down last night to large areas of Serbia, can you say anything about
what kind of effect that has
on the air defense system? Did that account for why -- does that temporarily blind the...
Major General Wald: As
you know, the integrated air defense system needs power to work. So anything
that takes down his
command and control, his ability to communicate, is going to be beneficial to us, where he can't either see us as well or
communicate as well, or he has to run his equipment which takes power. So from a pilot's perspective when we do that type of
thing, it makes me feel great.
Q: Do the air defenses not have backup generators or other redundant...
Major General Wald: You
would expect some of them to have some backup generators. Now whether they've
running all the time, and they can get it cranked up in time, that's debatable. But the fact of the matter is, power is like fuel. It's
like munitions. It's like things that keep his army going. If he doesn't have power, he doesn't have fuel; he doesn't have
ammunition; he doesn't have fuel; all those things will contribute to our objectives of getting him to the point where he either
says uncle, or he doesn't have anything to say uncle with.
Q: Last week, I think
it was Friday, you or Bacon announced that the Ministry of Defense was
one of the targets that was hit.
Can you explain why that was struck so late in the campaign? Is there some reason it wasn't struck earlier?
Major General Wald: No,
it's just a matter of when the campaign is progressing along and when those
targets would be decided
upon by SACEUR and his joint targeting board that that's the right time to go ahead and hit that particular target.
Q: I guess what I'm missing
here is in how you've explained what you're doing in the campaign, including
going after the military
Major General Wald: Let
me explain it this way. The first thing we want to do is give ourselves
the opportunity to fly without
getting shot down. So you want to start building a, either local or maybe more than local air superiority. Then you want to start
going after things that would be an immediate problem, and that would be things that could be made more fleeting or sustain his
force in the field a little bit more. Then eventually as we go down the road, we'll start taking down his ability to lead and sustain
over a period of time.
So there's a lot of reasons
for targets being hit at different times. It may be weather; it may be
the type of weapon you want to
use, but it certainly has a plan of attack, and I don't plan to tell when we're going to hit certain targets, but there's a reason for it.
Q: General, there have
been reports that while Chernomyrdin is coming to town with some kind of
peace offering, and Jesse
Jackson's bringing a letter from Milosevic presumably to sit down and talk with President Clinton about some kind of negotiated
settlement. Is there any evidence that he's backing that up in the field in any way? Any evidence that he is reducing or
beginning to halt the offensive against the Kosovo refugees or beginning to withdraw any of his forces?
Major General Wald: The
only reduction or ceasing of anything we've seen is because he's being
bombed or destroyed by air
power. So no, I haven't seen any of that, and I haven't heard any of that from SHAPE or anyplace else. So any reduction so far
at this point has been because he's being destroyed.
Q: So he's not doing it voluntarily in some kind of peace gesture, in your estimation.
Major General Wald: I haven't seen any of that at all, no. ....................
Q: I have a question for
General Wald primarily, but you too can relate. The A-10, can you tell
us what it was going after?
When it was hit? Was it over Kosovo? Did it make it back safely? The pilot okay?
Major General Wald: The
pilot's okay. It was over Kosovo. It was going after -- I'm not sure exactly
the target, but a fielded
force of some sort. It was in Skopje, and it was hit by AAA and SAM-type activity.
Q: Are A-10s being used more to actually drop ordnance rather than the observer role as they were before?
Major General Wald: They're
doing a lot of both. There's the forward air controller mission, and they
actually, the A-10s that go
out as forward air controllers, FACs, the only real difference is they do have a pod of marking rockets, smoke rockets, but they
still carry ordnance. They have the 30mm gun, and they carry other types of ordnance, so if they find a target -- with their
wingman, there's usually two of them -- they can attack a target on their own, or they -- normally the best thing they try to do is
try to bring other aircraft in and find targets and have them go in on those.
Q: Is that what this one that was hit was doing?
Major General Wald: It was probably either a FAC or attacking a target, but it was obviously doing one of the two.
Q: General, there's been
some concern raised in Europe about the possibility of A-10s using the
depleted uranium munitions,
especially when they go after the armor. Are we using any of these munitions now against the...
Major General Wald: Yes.
And the 30mm on the A-10. I think it's almost -- I've heard that question
a lot, and I've been thinking
about it. I've been around the A-10s for a long time. I know that I see the munitions handlers put these bullets in the aircraft,
holding on to them for 20 years, so they've done a lot of scientific studies on these things, and there doesn't seem to be a
problem. So I don't think there's a problem at all with that, and it hasn't been a problem for any of us, so it's kind of old news.
Q: What kind of damage (inaudible)?
Major General Wald: From what I understand, he had some engine problems and a little bit of external damage to the aircraft.
Q: (inaudible) obviously, and landed safely?
Major General Wald: Yes, that's right.
Q: I want to make sure
that I understand General Wald on one point. The DU shells. Have the A-10s
actually been firing them
in addition to simply carrying them?
Major General Wald: Yes.
Q: They have been.
Q: Do you have anything
on a report that was on the wires about some bombs that, at least according
to reports, fell short in a
place called Valjevo, excuse my mispronunciation, that the hardware apparently aimed at an ammunition site and seemed to fall
short, within a few hundred yards of a hospital?
Major General Wald: I haven't heard that yet. I'll find out and let you know.
Q: Can you update us on the arrangements for the embargo at sea? What's going on with that, and when will that start?
Major General Wald: Mr. Bacon can probably talk to that.
Mr. Bacon: Yeah. They're
still working on it. I think the Military Committee -- It went to the NAC,
and the NAC sent it back to
the Military Committee for more work. It will probably take another day or two before it's finished.
Q: Has there been any increase in shipments through the port of Bar while this is being deliberated upon?
Mr. Bacon: Not that I'm
aware of. What you have to know is that the European Union embargo, which
is subscribed to now by
about 30 countries, went into effect on Friday. Also we issued new regulations barring the export of most products -- I think
food and medicine is excluded -- into Bar or Montenegro as well on Friday. So there's been a significant change in the
regulatory environment, and NATO will continue to work out the details of the visit and search regime.
Q:...command and control
in Serbia since day one, and again, the telephone system is still working.
Why is that not considered
part of the command and control system?
Mr. Bacon: Some of it's still working, not all of it.
Q: A question on the first
targeting map. There were a whole series of mobility targets in sort of
west central Serbia seeming to
go along in lines. Are those fuel tankers on highways, or what are they?
Major General Wald: What was the first part of the question?
Q: On your first targeting map it shows a lot of...
Major General Wald: Those were lines of communication.
Q: It's all, it's sort of not just in one place, but it's all along...
Major General Wald: As
you can see, those are the lines of communication going into Kosovo primarily,
and we'll continue to
move on all of those lines. You're talking about right here?
Q: Yeah, I am. It almost looks like the rail lines from where the railway goes into Bosnia, and then goes on to Kosovo?
Major General Wald: Some
of those lines of communication go various places. What we're saying, as
we said before, is we're
going to cut out his ability to -- some of those may go this way and then drop back down toward Kosovo after they get across
the bridge. It depends on where the bridge needs to be, because the river doesn't always run straight east and west or south and
north. So the line there may just happen to go along where a river or something else is. That's normally what a bridge would be
Press: Thank you.
Chris Kornkven President National Gulf War Resource Center, Inc. http://www.gulfweb.org/ngwrc/index.htm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 4, 1999
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Tara Thornton, International Organizer
Military Toxics Project (207) 783-5091
Dr. Hari Sharma, University
Ontario, Canada (510) 885-1211 ext. 2609
Military Toxics Project
Confirms NATO is Using DU Munitions in Yugoslavia
and Releases Results of Medical Study Indicating Potential for Fatal Cancers
The Military Toxics Project (MTP) and Dr. Hari Sharma of the University of Waterloo, confirmed the results of their earlier Medical Pilot Study (Sept 1998) today indicating that the military's use of DU munitions in the Persian Gulf War will result in an increase of 20,000-100,000 fatal cancers in Gulf War veterans and Iraqi citizens.
The study, organized by MTP, began with the testing of some of the Gulf War veterans who served in the Gulf War. Urine samples were tested and analyzed by Dr. Hari Sharma of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada with the help of several other Canadian laboratories to confirm his findings.
"This is quite disturbing given that NATO is using DU weaponry in Yugoslavia", according to Tara Thornton, national organizer for MTP. "MTP has been attempting to confirm the use of the weapons for weeks. Up until yesterday the Pentagon and NATO officials have denied the use of DU weapons in Yugoslavia. At a DoD briefing yesterday, Major General Wald admitted that the A-10's are firing DU munitions."
Dr. Sharma has prepared his findings in a report and will send the information along with a letter to all NATO Heads of State imploring them to stop using DU weaponry and to eliminate all DU weapons from their arsenal.
"We believe that the results of Dr. Sharma's testing is clear evidence that the use of these weapons violates International Human Rights Law given the potential to cause deleterious health effects to thousands of soldiers and innocent civilians."
The Military Toxics Project (MTP) is a national network of community, veteran, environmental justice and labor organizations working to find preventative solutions to the Department of Defense's poor environmental practices. MTP's international campaign to ban depleted uranium weaponry, which began in 1992, has garnered support from around the world as information on its use and the proliferation of the weapon continues. The Military Toxics Project is co-sponsoring a workshop on depleted uranium at the International Hague Appeal for Peace Conference May 11-15, 1999 in the Netherlands. Thousands of NGO'S, Foreign Ministers, Nobel Peace Prizewinner's and representatives from International Organizations from around the World will be attending the Peace Conference.
DoD News Briefing Monday,
May 3, 1999
capitolo 17: Depleted Uranium: Huge Quantities of Dangerous Waste (excerpt)
U.S. troops were used as human guinea pigs for the Pentagon.
Thousands must have walked through almost invisible clouds of
uranium dioxide mist, not realizing that micron-sized particles
were entering into their lungs.
Dr. Michio Kaku - Professor of Theoretical Physics- City College
City University of New York
The use of depleted uranium for military purposes is a deplorable
development that, if unchecked, could have serious consequences.
The widespread use of DU in the Gulf War can be directly linked
to the Gulf War Syndrome. Although most of the publicity has
gone to plutonium-239, uranium-235, and uranium-233 (the only
substances in the universe which can sustain an uncontrolled chain
reaction), the dangers of waste uranium-238 are much more
pervasive, simply because there are huge quantities of waste
U-238 lying around and because most people do not think it is
that dangerous. Now that DU is being used in warfare, steps must
be made to prevent its use.
It has been known for over three hundred years that U-238 harms
people's health. For example, Bohemian miners in what is now the
Czech Republic would often come across pitchblende ore in their
work. Pitchblende ore contains uranium-238. Because of its
unusual weight, it would often be used as doorstops in Europe. It
was also used to create beautiful colors in ceramic glazes.
However, the Bohemian miners would often come down with a
mysterious "mountain disease."
We now know that this mountain disease is really lung cancer,
caused by the radioactive emissions of radon gas, a standard
byproduct of radioactive decay. Even today the emission of
radioactive radon gas and the dispersal of uranium particulates
poses a health risk. In the American Southwest, there are
hundreds of millions of tons of waste uranium "tailings" left over
from the mining and milling of uranium ore. Unscrupulous
contractors would sell the uranium tailings to Native Americans,
who would then use them to build their adobe homes. It was also
sold to developers, who would use the waste uranium for landfill
for suburban housing tracts.
It is one of the great unpublicized scandals in this country that
Native Americans would breathe the radon gas and uranium
particulates, both as miners in unventilated mines, as well as
residents in their own radioactive homes. Illness and death have
ravaged those in the Native American community who came in
contact with uranium waste. But most of the publicity went to
several middle-class housing tracts (like Grand Junction,
Colorado), which were actually built on top of waste uranium.
Much to the embarrassment of the old Atomic Energy
Commission, measurements of the radioactive waste uranium
showed high levels of radiation and radon gas, so the basements of
many of these homes had to be dug up at the taxpayers expense.
Even today, uranium ore poses a problem. During the scandals
related to human radiation experimentation, it was revealed two
years ago that several million pounds of uranium dust were
dispersed over an area near Cincinnati, near suburban homes, in
an experiment conducted by the U.S. government to determine the
dispersal of radioactive materials in the atmosphere in populated
areas. Not long ago, there was a truck accident where uranium
"yellow cake" (uranium ore after being processed) spilled onto an
interstate in the Midwest. Local, state, and federal officials argued
for days as to who was responsible for cleaning up this radioactive
mess, even as cars drove through the dust left by the yellow cake
Even in many homes in the Northeast, a persistent problem is
radioactive radon gas that seeps into people's basements,
contaminating the house. Radon gas is quite radioactive but is also
an inert gas, so it will seep right through the cracks in people's
walls and floors. It will also go right through activated charcoal in a
gas mask as if it weren't even there, so gas masks provide no
Today the military has found a new use for waste uranium—as a
weapon of war. Precisely because uranium is quite heavy as a
metal, it has ideal armor-piercing capabilities against tanks and
artillery. If you hold uranium, you are surprised how dense it is.
The full text of this chapter is available in the book, Metal of
International Action Center Anti-Sanctions Project 39 W. 14th
St., #206; New York, N.Y. 10011.
For more information,
call 212-633-6646, fax 212-633-2889