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US forces 'used chemical weapons' during assault on city of Fallujah


By Peter Popham, The Independent (UK)

Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon.

Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical weapons on the city.

On 10 November last year, the Islam Online website wrote: "US troops are reportedly using chemical weapons and poisonous gas in its large-scale offensive on the Iraqi resistance bastion of Fallujah, a grim reminder of Saddam Hussein's alleged gassing of the Kurds in 1988."

The website quoted insurgent sources as saying: "The US occupation troops are gassing resistance fighters and confronting them with internationally banned chemical weapons."

In December the US government formally denied the reports, describing them as "widespread myths". "Some news accounts have claimed that US forces have used 'outlawed' phosphorus shells in Fallujah," the USinfo website said. "Phosphorus shells are not outlawed. US forces have used them very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes.

"They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters."

But now new information has surfaced, including hideous photographs and videos and interviews with American soldiers who took part in the Fallujah attack, which provides graphic proof that phosphorus shells were widely deployed in the city as a weapon.

In a documentary to be broadcast by RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, this morning, a former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says: "I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it's known as Willy Pete.

"Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for."

Photographs on the website of RaiTG24, the broadcaster's 24-hours news channel, www.rainews24.it, show exactly what the former soldier means. Provided by the Studies Centre of Human Rights in Fallujah, dozens of high-quality, colour close-ups show bodies of Fallujah residents, some still in their beds, whose clothes remain largely intact but whose skin has been dissolved or caramelised or turned the consistency of leather by the shells.

A biologist in Fallujah, Mohamad Tareq, interviewed for the film, says: "A rain of fire fell on the city, the people struck by this multi-coloured substance started to burn, we found people dead with strange wounds, the bodies burned but the clothes intact."

The documentary, entitled Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre, also provides what it claims is clinching evidence that incendiary bombs known as Mark 77, a new, improved form of napalm, was used in the attack on Fallujah, in breach of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons of 1980, which only allows its use against military targets.

Meanwhile, five US soldiers from the elite 75th Ranger Regiment have been charged with kicking and punching detainees in Iraq.

The news came as a suicide car bomber killed four American soldiers at a checkpoint south of Baghdad yesterday.

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In the Idahoe Observer Amy Worthington wrote about the delivery of
depleted uranium by the tons on the Iraqi people since the war began
--DU is a component of toxic nuclear waste usually stored at secure sites. Handlers need radiation protection gear.

War makers and the Pentegon decided to incorporate DU into much of our weaponry. DU is everywhere on Iraqi soil being inhaled daily. Our vets returning from war have traces of DU in organs etc. and face physical problems unending as this will remain imbedded in their organs for life.

DU Munitions are classified by a UN resolution as illegal weapons of mass destruction. Their use breaches all international laws.

How much more data do we need to pur these mad leaders on trial for crimes against humanity? alcyone

The use of napalm (as well as cluster bombs) by U.S. forces in Iraq has been public knowledge for nearly a year -- and considerably longer by Iraqis themselves, of course. In fact, the earlier reports almost resulted in a pullout by the British, but Blair somehow managed to quell the uprising. Some of the earlier news and commentary can be read here and here.
__

O nation miserable,
With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd,
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again.

(Shakespeare - Macbeth, Act IV. Scene III.)

I have followed our course in Iraq like I follow most other matters of public importance -- very closely. And I am shocked to know that I wasn't aware of something like this. I stopped relying on print or news media a long time ago, because they never report the things we really need to know. But even with the internet, anymore, unless you know where to look you just can't find the truth! What frightens me even more is that the vast majority of the American public isn't even aware of a tenth of what I have learned from following this disaster -- and those who are still on the right (I say "still" because even some staunch Republicans I know are defecting in response to the administration's gross abuses of power and lies) would just denounce the truth as lies if it were thrust in their faces. Look back at the neo-Nazi movement in our own country 20 years ago, or the KKK, who had crazies running around claiming the Holocaust never happened. And I suppose if no one ever reports on this stuff, it will be really easy for people in this country to make similar claims about what we're doing in Iraq.

Come on, Guys - this is a non-story. I'm against Bush and the war more so than you, but please - now we're calling white phosphorous "Chemical weapons"???? That's like calling bullets "chemical weapons", because after all they use chemical propellants to project their deadly payload, right?

Stupid over-stretching stories like this just hurt our cause.

... there are a number of international laws and treaties that make distinctions amongst various classes of weapons of war and it's pretty clear that white phosphorous and napalm do not fall into the same category as ordinary bullets.

Consider, for example, the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects. In particular, Protocol III deals with "any weapon or munition which is primarily designed to set fire to objects or to cause burn injury to persons through the action of flame, heat or a combination thereof, produced by a chemical reaction of a substance delivered on the target".

As a matter of possible further interest, Protocol II deals with "the use of non-self-destructing and non-self-deactivitating mines outside fenced, monitored and marked areas". These provisions are elaborated in the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction of September 1997.

I know that the U.K. is a signatory of both treaties; hence its hesitancy as I`ve mentioned here below. But I think the U.S. has refused to accept either, just as it refused to accept ICC jurisdiction and has sought (demanded) bilateral exemptions for (obvious) reasons of its own. Not that it would really matter much to an administration that simply re-interprets any and all international laws to suit its own immoral purposes.
__

O nation miserable,
With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd,
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again.

(Shakespeare - Macbeth, Act IV. Scene III.)

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