US occupation forces use WMD in Iraq

 

The BRussells Tribunal: essential in documenting the use of WMD and exposing the lies

* Dahr Jamail tells the real story: Fallujah Revisited (14 Nov 2005)

* Gabriele Zamparini: his stories forced the US State Department and the BBC to correct their own official statements & lies about the use of White Phosphorus !  (November 2005)

* Dirk Adriaensens: White Phosphorous, Daisy cutters, Depleted Uranium, Thermobaric bombs, Clusterbombs, Napalm…. The US uses WMD against civilians (11 Nov 2005) - Italian - German

* Medialens: The tragic blindness of the Embedded BBC- White Phosphorus, Fallujah And Unreported Atrocities (28 Nov 2005)

More Medialens Alerts: "NO GREAT WAY TO DIE” - BUT THE GENERALS LOVE NAPALM (30 March 2005) -  And other highly revealing  media alerts

John Pilger: Mainstream journalism is the voice of rampant power (21 Nov 2005)

* Dr Geert Van Moorter in the RAI Video: Star Wars in Iraq, about lasers and microwave weapons (16 May 2006) - Read text file

 

RAI VIDEO | Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre (08 Nov 2005)

RAI VIDEO | Star wars in Iraq, about lasers and microwave weapons,  with Dr. Geert Van Moorter (16 May 2006)  - Read text file

 

Fallujah - the hidden massacre Photo gallery (07 Nov.2005) | Using Napalm in Iraq - The Story That Won't Die (07 Nov. 2005) | BBC and Fallujah: War Crimes, Lies and Omertà (07 Nov 2005  | U.S. Used Chemical Weapons In Iraq (07 Nov 2005) |  Fallujah – Where is the outrage? The story the mainstream media won’t tell you (08 Nov 2005) |  The BBC is WRONG!!!  (08 Nov 2005)  |  The White Death (09 Nov 2005) | What I saw in Iraq with regards to White Phosphorus (09 Nov 2005) | Melting the Skin Off of Children [GRAPHIC] (09 Nov 2005) | US Army Admits Use of White Phosphorus as Weapon (09 Nov 2005) |  U.S. Army publication confirms United States used incendiary weapon in Falluja (10 Nov 2005) | The White Death (11 Nov. 2005) | US Army Article Confirms White Phosphorous Use In Fallujah (11 Nov 2005) |  The fog of war: white phosphorus, Fallujah and some burning questions (15 Nov 2005) The US used chemical weapons in Iraq - and then lied about it (15 Nov 2005) | The BBC, of course! (16 Nov 2005) | Pentagon Admits Using Phosphorous Bombs on Fallujah (16 Nov 2005)  | Media Lies regarding the Use of White Phosphorus Bombs (16 Nov 2005)  |  Chemical hypocrisy (17 Nov 2005)  | U.S. Admits: Phosphorus may have killed civilians in Iraq (17 Nov 2005)  | The BBC’s Big White (Phosphorus) Lie (18 Nov 2005) | Incendiary weapons: The big white lie (17 Nov 2005) | How the Pentagon Justifies Phosphorous Bombs on Fallujah (18 Nov 2005) | Willie Pete and the Theo-logicians of Empire (20 Nov 2005)  | Tim Collins trained troops to fight with white phosphorus (20 Nov 2005)  | US Used Chemical Weapons Against Iraq (20 Nov 2005)  |  Spinning the News: Fallujah (21 Nov 2005)  | New revelations of US military use of white phosphorus in Iraq (21 Nov 2005) |  Behind the phosphorus clouds are war crimes within war crimes  (22 Nov 2005) | UK's deadly legacy: the cluster bomb (22 Nov 2005)US Intelligence Classified White Phosphorus as 'Chemical Weapon' (23 Nov 2005) | White Phosphorus, Continued (25 Nov 2005) Iraq: A Criminal Process  (27 Nov 2005) | US: White phosphorus use legitimate (30 Nov 2005) |

 

Flashbacks: Fallujah: The Flame of Atrocity (website including pictures and movies of  Fallujah) | Israel Used White Phosphorous (09 Nov 2005) | Incinerating Iraqis: The Napalm Cover-Up (07 July 2005) | Bush Officials Lied to Britain About US Use of Napalm in Iraq (17 June 2005) | PDF File: Fire bombs in Iraq: Napalm by any other name (17 Apr 2005) - Napalm, Chemical Weapons Used at Fallujah – Iraqi Official (05 March 2005) | WMD Employed by US to Imolate Falluja: White Phosphorus is a Chemical Weapon (07 March 2005) |  Odd Happenings in Fallujah (18 Jan 2005) - Dahr Jamail | Firebombing Falluja (01 Dec 2004)  | Fallujah napalmed (29 Nov 2004) | U.S. uses napalm gas in Fallujah – Witnesses (28 Nov 2004) | Fallujah napalmed (28 Nov 2004) | 'Unusual Weapons' Used in Fallujah (26 Nov 2004)  | US Troops Reportedly Gassing Fallujah (10 Nov 2004) | US admits it used napalm bombs in Iraq (10 Aug 2003)  | Napalm use reported by CNN (March 2003) |

 

Het BRussells Tribunal mengt zich in het Witte Fosfor debat in Vlaanderen

 

Answer of the US State department: Did the U.S. Use "Illegal" Weapons in Fallujah?. Excerpts: napalm or napalm-like incendiary weapons are not outlawed. International law permits their use against military forces, which is how they were used in 2003. (...) Finally, some news accounts have claimed that U.S. forces have used "outlawed" phosphorous shells in Fallujah. Phosphorous shells are not outlawed. U.S. 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.
[November 10, 2005 note: We have learned that some of the information we were provided in the above paragraph is incorrect. White phosphorous shells, which produce smoke, were used in Fallujah not for illumination but for screening purposes, i.e., obscuring troop movements and, according to an article, "The Fight for Fallujah," in the March-April 2005 issue of Field Artillery magazine, "as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes …." The article states that U.S. forces used white phosphorous rounds to flush out enemy fighters so that they could then be killed with high explosive rounds.]
There is a great deal of misinformation feeding on itself about U.S. forces allegedly using "outlawed" weapons in Fallujah. The facts are that U.S. forces are not using any illegal weapons in Fallujah or anywhere else in Iraq.

 

Apparently for the US nothing is "outlawed". What about cluster ammunition, what about depleted uranium?

And how many times will they have to adjust their official version?

The United Nations banned the use of napalm against civilians in 1980 after pictures of a naked wounded girl in Vietnam shocked the world.

The United States, which didn't endorse the convention, is the only nation in the world still using napalm.

Let's be very clear: White phosphorous, depleted uranium, napalm, cluster ammunition: they are all weapons of mass destruction, and only the US is using them, and according to numerous reports & witnesses, against Iraqi civilians.



On the other hand: let's have a look at the lies the warmongers told us about the non-existing weapons of mass destruction of Iraq:

The stories they told

June 21 2003

August 7, 2002 - US Vice-President Dick Cheney: "Many of us are convinced that Saddam Hussein will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon."

September 12, 2002 - US President George Bush at the United Nations General Assembly: "Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminium tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year."

September 24, 2002 - British Prime Minister Tony Blair releases a 50-page dossier on Iraq stating that Iraq had sought to acquire uranium in Africa that could be used to make nuclear weapons and that Iraq had military plans for use of chemical and biological weapons, some of which could be deployed within 45 minutes.

January 28, 2003 - George Bush in a State of the Union address: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

February 4, 2003 - John Howard to Australian Parliament: "My purpose today is to explain why Iraq's defiance of the UN and its possession of chemical and biological weapons and its pursuit of a nuclear capability poses a real threat to the stability and security of our world ... Iraq continues to work on developing nuclear weapons - uranium has been sought from Africa that has no civil nuclear application in Iraq."

February 5, 2003 - US Secretary of State Colin Powell at the UN Security Council: "While we were here in this council chamber debating Resolution 1441 last fall, we know from sources that a missile brigade outside Baghdad was disbursing rocket-launchers and warheads containing a biological warfare agent to various locations ... in western Iraq."

March 7, 2003 - Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, tells the Security Council the documents on Iraq's importation of uranium "are in fact not authentic". "We have to date found no evidence or plausible indications of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq."

March 12, 2003 - John Howard in a national television address: "The Government [is] determined to join other countries to deprive Iraq of its chemical and biological weapons capable of causing death and destruction on a mammoth scale."

March 16, 2003 - Dick Cheney press conference: "We believe he [Saddam] has in fact reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr ElBaradei, frankly, is wrong."

March 17, 2003 - George Bush in his address to the US before the war: "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraqi regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

March 20, 2003 - John Howard to Parliament on the day of the invasion of Iraq: "We have made a very strong commitment to disarming Iraq ... We do worry about the ultimate and fateful coming together of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism."

April 10, 2003 - John Howard to reporters: "I've said all along we wouldn't expect to get hard evidence of chemical and biological weapons until well after hostilities ceased. They've been obviously passed around and hidden."

May 14, 2003 - John Howard to Parliament: "Australia did the right thing. We brought freedom and liberty to an oppressed people. That is something about which we should always be properly and eternally proud." Later in the same speech: "The hunt for these weapons will not be easy ..."

May 30, 2003 - "For those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong. We found them," Bush said.

This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/06/20/1055828490557.html


White Phosphorous, Daisy cutters, Depleted Uranium, Thermobaric bombs, Clusterbombs, Napalm…. The US uses WMD against civilians.

Dirk Adriaensens, coordinator SOS Iraq, Executive committee BRussells Tribunal (12 Nov 2005)

 

"Injuries to everyone involved in war - civilians and troops of all sides - are very serious issues. After World War 2 there was sufficient horror for consensus about the Geneva Conventions. The US Military and arms industry have shown supreme contempt for international humanitarian law ever since WW2.
If this war shows one thing it is the need for the World to start to get control over the barbarity of the US military industrial complex. Criticisms of Saddam Hussein's record of atrocities fade into history as they are eclipsed by the industrialised killing that US Forces have spent billions of dollars perfecting."

(Dai Williams, April 06 2003)

 

The war on Iraq is an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. Many health workers, professionals and students the world over added their voices to the massive protest movement. They were of the opinion that, apart from providing health services, their task also includes the prevention of diseases, injuries, and death because of this unjust war.

 

Despite the global protests, war was unleashed on Iraq. The Belgian NGOs Medical Aid for the Third World (MATW) www.m3m.be in cooperation with S.O.S. Iraq (www.irak.be) had a Medical Team of two doctors in Baghdad, Dr. Geert Van Moorter and Dr. Colette Moulaert. They remained in Iraq during the bombings and the invasion to witness the American and British aggression. They coordinated with the Ministry of Health, the Iraqi Red Crescent and international institutions including the World Health Organization and Unicef.

 

Their report describes in three different incidents the use of some terrible weapons used by the US forces . I sent this report at the time to Dai Williams, weapons analyst, to explain the descriptions given by Dr. Geert Van Moorter.

Diary from Baghdad, April 3, 20 O’clock: Dr. Geert Van Moorter through satellite telephone

About the horrors of war, 100 km south of Baghdad

Dr. Bert de Belder (coordinator of Medical Aid For The Third World)

 

Dai Williams’ answer, copied underneath with relevant parts of Dr. Geert's eye-witness account, includes  also a report from BBC reporter Adam Mynott (5 April 2003), who describes civilian casualties with severe burns near Nasiriyah (http://newswww.bbc.net.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2921227.stm)  . "The Phosphorus turned the inside of his house white hot". Even Dai Williams couldn’t believe then that White Phosphorous was used against civilians. But now we know the US aggressors DID use it.

 

The use of Napalm was reported by Martin Savidge from CNN as early as March 22 2003, so there's no need to be surprised. (http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/03/21/otsc.irq.savidge/): “There is a lookout there, a hill referred to as Safwan Hill, on the Iraqi side of the border. It was filled with Iraqi intelligence gathering. From that vantage point, they could look out over all of northern Kuwait.

It is now estimated the hill was hit so badly by missiles, artillery and by the Air Force, that they shaved a couple of feet off it. And anything that was up there that was left after all the explosions was then hit with napalm. And that pretty much put an end to any Iraqi operations up on that hill.”

The United Nations banned the use of napalm against civilians in 1980 after pictures of a naked wounded girl in Vietnam shocked the world. The United States, which didn't endorse the convention, is the only nation in the world still using napalm.

And what about other new weaponry that may have been used in Iraq?

" And in Washington, the Pentagon confirmed it was authorising use of "non-lethal" gases of the type used in last October's disastrous Moscow theatre siege – a move that has already provoked accusations of hypocrisy by a country that claims to be at war to prevent chemical weapons being used." 

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=391480 , 28 March 2006. "Non-Lethal gases": what's that supposed to mean, and how, when and where did the US Army use it?

It would be reasonable to expect new types of weapons to be tested in this war. We as the citizens of the world should stop the endless development and use of these weapons.

(...) I think that weapon that fried the busload of people is a version of the microwave weapon that the US Marines revealed in a press conference 1-2 years ago - they wanted to use it in the US for "crowd control".  These are called NLW, non-lethal weapons, but all you do is turn the dial a little more to the right and "oops we fried them"....
Many of the new weapons and the military research has been on "directed energy" - pain beams, heat the enemy up until his skin is burning, fry his brain or scramble it, alter moods, its really really really really wicked.  What are the Brits there for?  The US is going to ruin their reputation...

(...)
There are many types of microwave, EMF and pulsed and shaped energy weapons which have been developed and which we may or may not know about because they are classified.  Dai has demonstrated the information it is possible to get from patent applications.   (...)
 

Watch Dr Geert Van Moorter's testimony in the RAI Video: Star Wars in Iraq (16 May 2006)  - Read text file

 

Here’s the story and Dai Williams' evaluation (06 April 2003) of the weaponry used. His recommendations for the international community still stand today..

 

(...) Please can you ask the Pentagon to explain why and how many Daisy cutters, fragmentation bombs and suspected uranium weapons it has used in the last week in the region around now in the outskirts of Baghdad? And please can you ask the UK Government whether it condones the use of Daisy cutters in populated areas with large numbers of civilians?

 

I have been investigating US guided weapons as an independent researcher for 2 years. My primary concern are the 23 suspected uranium weapon systems. But my investigations include similar weapons like thermobaric bombs, daisy cutters etc.

Full weapons identification requires inspection on site by trained and independent weapons analysts. This must be a high priority for the UN. Ex-military personnel, HALO or similar demining organisations may help. Serving military personnel will simply lie about more advanced, prototype or illegal weapons.

Less trained observers can partly narrow down suspected weapon systems from descriptions of their explosions and from injuries on victims.

The following reports were received yesterday from two Belgian Doctors in Baghdad.

Partial answers to their questions are as follows:

 

[INCIDENT 1 ] "I have two awful stories to tell", Geert immediately starts when I get him on the line. "Today we drove to Hilla, a small town near Babylon that was heavily bombed yesterday. One poor district was hit by 20 to 25 bombs. The hospital of Hilla received in the next half an hour 150 seriously injured patients. Dr. Mahmoud Al-Mukhtar said that the wounds were caused by clusterbombs. These are bombs that explode into many small bombs that again explode individually and cause enormous damage.
Clusterbombs are banned by the International Laws on War, but Bush completely disregards these! In the hospital I have seen very many abrading situations. A family of eleven persons, of whom six are dead. A father who is left with one child; his wife and two sons are dead. Small children with amputated limbs."

 

Incident 1:
is a clusterbomb description. These are already recognised as weapons of indiscriminate effect by the media.

 

[INCIDENT 2 ] "My second story is even more horrible", warns Geert. "About a bus with civilians that was fired upon. Not the one in Najaf, which reached the news everywhere, but a case that according to me has not yet been covered by western media. Three days ago, In Al Sqifal, near Hilla, a passenger bus was fired upon from an American checkpoint, with ghastly results. According to witnesses the bus stopped on time and had, on orders of the American Military, turned back. Dr. Saad El-Fadoui, a 52 years old surgeon who still has studied in Scotland, was immediately on the place of incident from the hospital in Hilla. When he told me what he had seen there, he again became very emotional, three days after it had happened. 'The bodies were all carbonized, terribly mutilated, torn into pieces, he sighs. 'In and around the bus I saw dismembered heads, brains and intestines,..' One wonders what a criminal weapon of mass destruction could have caused these horrors. Nobody had heard the sound of an explosion; on the bodies no traces of shrapnel were found. A journalist spoke of a heat-weapon with liquid cupper or something like that.. Can the Americans be really that cruel? Dr. Saad El-Fadoui asked us repeatedly to do everything to help stop this horrible war of aggression."

 

Incident 2:
3 April, Al Sqifal, near Hilla 'The bodies were all carbonized, terribly mutilated, torn into pieces,....One wonders what a criminal weapon of massdestruction could have caused these horrors. Nobody had heard the sound of an explosion; on the bodies no traces of shrapnel were found. A journalist spoke of a heat-weapon with liquid cupper or something like that..

The reference to a heat weapon with liquid copper sounds like a misquote of someone describing an anti tank weapon with a shaped charge warhead. (HEAT also stands for High Explosive AntiTank weapons).
Shaped charge warheads use a focussed explosive blast with a copper (or uranium) core that is melted by the blast and travels at very high velocity to cut through armour plating. "Heat" in the context may also be describing the obvious effects of an incendiary weapon.

If the weapon was fired from the check point (ground to ground) it must have been an anti-tank missile e.g. JAVELIN which uses a tandem shaped charge warhead. Recently purchased by UK forces I question whether JAVELIN warheads use a depleted uranium core like the prototype that DERA and the MOD made and tested in 1999 (refer MOD website). This would produce a far higher temperature (5000 degrees) blast than copper and may account for the characteristic severe burns on victims. "Carbonisation" was typical of uranium weapon victims on the highway of death in 1991.
Shaped charge weapons do not create shrapnel - they work by projecting a lance of burning molten metal, almost a plasma, into the target.

Similar effects would have been caused by the larger Hellfire or Maverick missiles though these are fired by planes or helicopters, not referred to in this report.

QUESTION: What weapon was used by US forces in this incident? Did it contain a Uranium warhead?

 

[INCIDENT 3] "Geert understands me poorly when I say something, the line is not always clear. "We are momentarily without electricity", he explains. "Large blocks in Baghdad are without electricity, last night the bombardment was very severe. Colette
(Geert's collegue-doctor Dr. Collette Moulaert) saw from her hotel room, just behind the mosque in this neighbourhood, two enormous fireballs coming down. I think that these are containerbombs of about 7-8 tons each that cause enormous vibrations. "I am shivering of the cold", Collette said, but this was the vibration caused by the bomb explosion."

 

Incident 3:
"Colette saw from her hotel room, just behind the mosque in this neighbourhood, two enormous fireballs coming down."
The only weapons that match this description are the BLU-82 Daisy Cutter bombs. Developed in Vietnam for clearing jungle into runways they created immense pressure (1000 lbs / sq inch) over a large area - lethal from 300 to 900 metres.
http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/dumb/blu-82.htm

They literally mash and burn any human beings under the blast area causing extensive internal injuries, severe burns but no shrapnel wounds from the high pressure blast. Rather like high-blast napalm in effect but the bombs are 10-20 times larger.

The two doctors providing these reports are in
Baghdad. Dirk Adriaensens, coordinator of SOS Iraq, their contact in Belgium, is on sos.irak@skynet.be. Dr Bert De Belder, coordinator of Medical Aid for the Third World, can be reached at bert.debelder@intal.be  
===
Incident 4
 is from a separate report from BBC reporter Adam Mynot yesterday (5 April) described civilian casualties with severe burns near Nasiriyah. "The Phosphorus turned the inside of his house white hot". This is the first reference I have heard to Phosphorus weapons in the current war.

A more likely alternative may have been a guided bomb with a uranium warhead e.g. GBU 31 or 32 (for increased penetration and incendiary effects). UK researchers located US patents for upgrading the 2000 lb BLU-109/B hard target warhead (used in the GBU-15, 24, 27 and 31 guided bombs) with a choice of tungsten or depleted uranium. See Appendix 2 of my summary "Hazards of Uranium weapons in Afghanistan and Iraq", October 2002 at http://www.eoslifework.co.uk/u23.htm  and extracts at http://www.eoslifework.co.uk/pdfs/USpats.pdf

These mini (just under 1 ton) bunker busters were used extensively in the earlier
Baghdad bombing. The explosions with intense fireballs at ground level and incandescent metal in their explosion plumes are highly suspected of using uranium warheads.

The existence and use of guided bombs and missiles with uranium warheads is vigorously denied by the UK MOD saying that the Pentagon have assured them that such weapons don't exist. I don't trust either statement. In addition to causing horrific burns on casualties near the fireball such weapons are likely to be causing hundreds, possibly up to 1500, tons of uranium oxide contamination in target regions of Iraq, especially in and around Baghdad.
 

===
It is really important that media reports question what kinds of weapons are being used by US (and UK) forces - especially when large numbers of casualties or fatalities are seen with unusual injuries e.g. the fire and blast effects described in the incidents above.

The civilian casualties cause most obvious outrage. But there are very few questions about, or reports of, the forms of mutilation and death inflicted on Iraqi troops. It is customary in times of war to demonise the enemy. But much of the Iraqi army are conscripts..

Injuries to everyone involved in war - civilians and troops of all sides - are very serious issues. After World War 2 there was sufficient horror for consensus about the Geneva Conventions. The US Military and arms industry have shown supreme contempt for international humanitarian law ever since WW2.

If this war shows one thing it is the need for the World to start to get control over the barbarity of the US military industrial context. Criticisms of Saddam Hussein's record of atrocities fade into history as they are eclipsed by the industrialised killing that US Forces have spent billions of dollars perfecting.

A new War Crimes Tribunal will be needed in Iraq as soon as hostilities cease - to inspect the targets and casualties of US weapon systems throughout Iraq. This will of course require a dramatic awakening of the UK Government and Conservative Opposition from the "war-trance" spell cast on them by Pentagon propaganda.

There will be one mighty reckoning to follow soon for the US and UK Governments (if and) when independent international observers are allowed into Iraq.

Dai Williams
Woking, Surrey
eosuk@btinternet.com
01483-222017 07808-502785

http://www.irak.be/ned/missies/medicalMissionColetteGeert/weaponsUS.htm

 

It's time for the World community to wake up and charge the US with war crimes.

 

Dirk Adriaensens.

Coordinator SOS Iraq

Member executive committee BRussells Tribunal

 

Read this article in Italian: URANIO DEPLETO DU, BOMBE TERMOBARICHE, BOMBE A GRAPPOLO, NAPALM…GLI STATI UNITI USANO ARMI DI DISTRUZIONE DI MASSA WMD CONTRO I CIVILI

 

Read this article in German: Weisser Phosphor, Daisy Cutter, abgereichertes Uran, thermobarische Bomben, Klusterbomben, Napalm …


Dahr Jamail (14 Nov 2005)

Fallujah Revisited

Nearly a year after they occurred, a few of the war crimes committed in Fallujah by members of the US military have gained the attention of some major media outlets (excluding, of course, any of the corporate media outlets in the US).

Back on November 26, 2004, in a story I wrote for the Inter Press Service titled 'Unusual Weapons' Used in Fallujah, refugees from that city described, in detail, various odd weapons used in Fallujah. In addition, they provided detailed descriptions such as “pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burnt the skin even when water was thrown on the burns.”

This was also mentioned in a web log I’d penned nine days before, on November 17, 2004, named Slash and Burn where one of the descriptions of these same weapons by the same refugee from Fallujah said, “These exploded on the ground with large fires that burnt for half an hour. They used these near the train tracks. You could hear these dropped from a large airplane and the bombs were the size of a tank. When anyone touched those fires, their body burned for hours.”

On December 9th of 2004 I posted a gallery of photos, many of which are included in the new RAI television documentary about incendiary weapons having been used in Fallujah.

Like the torture “scandal” of Abu Ghraib that for people in the west didn’t become “real” until late April of 2004, Iraqis and journalists in Iraq who engaged in actual reporting knew that US and British forces were torturing Iraqis from nearly the beginning of the occupation, and continue to do so to this day.

All of this makes me wonder how much longer it will take for other atrocities to come to light. Even just discussing Fallujah, there are many we can choose from. While I’m not the only journalist to have reported on these, let me draw your attention to just a few things that I’ve recorded which took place in Fallujah during the November, 2004 massacre.

In my story “Fallujah Refugees Tell of Life and Death in the Kill Zone” published on December 3, 2004 there are many instances of war crimes which will, hopefully, be granted the attention they deserve.

Burhan Fasa’a, an Iraqi journalist who worked for the Lebanese satellite TV station, LBC and who was in Fallujah for nine days during the most intense combat, said Americans grew easily frustrated with Iraqis who could not speak English.

“Americans did not have interpreters with them,” Fasa’a said, “so they entered houses and killed people because they didn’t speak English. They entered the house where I was with 26 people, and [they] shot people because [the people] didn’t obey [the soldiers’] orders, even just because the people couldn’t understand a word of English.” He also added, “Soldiers thought the people were rejecting their orders, so they shot them. But the people just couldn’t understand them.”

A man named Khalil, who asked not to use his last name for fear of reprisals, said he had witnessed the shooting of civilians who were waving white flags while they tried to escape the city.

“I watched them roll over wounded people in the street with tanks,” said Kassem Mohammed Ahmed, a resident of Fallujah. “This happened so many times.”

Other refugees recounted similar stories. “I saw so many civilians killed there, and I saw several tanks roll over the wounded in the streets,” said Aziz Abdulla, 27 years old, who fled the fighting last November. Another resident, Abu Aziz, said he also witnessed American armored vehicles crushing people he believes were alive.

Abdul Razaq Ismail, another resident who fled Fallujah, said: “I saw dead bodies on the ground and nobody could bury them because of the American snipers. The Americans were dropping some of the bodies into the Euphrates near Fallujah.”

A man called Abu Hammad said he witnessed US troops throwing Iraqi bodies into the Euphrates River. Abu Hammed and others also said they saw Americans shooting unarmed Iraqis who waved white flags.

Believing that American and Iraqi forces were bent on killing anyone who stayed in Fallujah, Hammad said he watched people attempt to swim across the Euphrates to escape the siege. “Even then the Americans shot them with rifles from the shore,” he said. “Even if some of them were holding a white flag or white clothes over their heads to show they are not fighters, they were all shot.”

Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein reported witnessing similar events. After running out of basic necessities and deciding to flee the city at the height of the US-led assault, Hussein ran to the Euphrates.

“I decided to swim,” Hussein told colleagues at the AP, who wrote up the photographer’s harrowing story, “but I changed my mind after seeing US helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river.”

Hussein said he saw soldiers kill a family of five as they tried to traverse the Euphrates, before he buried a man by the riverbank with his bare hands.

“I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could still see some US snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim,” Hussein recounted. “I quit the idea of crossing the river and walked for about five hours through orchards.”

A man named Khalil, who asked not to use his last name for fear of reprisals, said he had witnessed the shooting of civilians who were waving white flags while they tried to escape the city. “They shot women and old men in the streets,” he said. “Then they shot anyone who tried to get their bodies.”

“There are bodies the Americans threw in the river,” Khalil continued, noting that he personally witnessed US troops using the Euphrates to dispose of Iraqi dead. “And anyone who stayed thought they would be killed by the Americans, so they tried to swim across the river. Even people who couldn’t swim tried to cross the river. They drowned rather than staying to be killed by the Americans,” said Khalil.

Why should blatant lying from the military come as a surprise? Even back in November of 2003, I wrote about how US forces claimed to have been attacked by, and then killed 48 Fedayin Saddam in Samarra. Then magically, overnight, they raised the number to 54. Upon investigation of this, I found that 8 civilians had been killed in the city, and wrote about it here
and posted photos of it here.

However, why should any of us be surprised at this? When we have an administration which led the country into an illegal war of aggression and continues to lie about it, events like torturing and the use of incendiary weapons on civilians are small change.

 

http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives/dispatches/000317.php#more


The fog of war: white phosphorus, Fallujah and some burning questions

By Andrew Buncombe and Solomon Hughes in Washington (15 Nov 2005 )

The controversy has raged for 12 months. Ever since last November, when US forces battled to clear Fallujah of insurgents, there have been repeated claims that troops used "unusual" weapons in the assault that all but flattened the Iraqi city. Specifically, controversy has focussed on white phosphorus shells (WP) - an incendiary weapon usually used to obscure troop movements but which can equally be deployed as an offensive weapon against an enemy. The use of such incendiary weapons against civilian targets is banned by international treaty.

The debate was reignited last week when an Italian documentary claimed Iraqi civilians - including women and children - had been killed by terrible burns caused by WP. The documentary, Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre, by the state broadcaster RAI, cited one Fallujah human-rights campaigner who reported how residents told how "a rain of fire fell on the city". Yesterday, demonstrators organised by the Italian communist newspaper, Liberazione, protested outside the US Embassy in Rome. Today, another protest is planned for the US Consulate in Milan. "The 'war on terrorism' is terrorism," one of the newspaper's commentators declared.

The claims contained in the RAI documentary have met with a strident official response from the US, as well as from right-wing commentators and bloggers who have questioned the film's evidence and sought to undermine its central allegations.

While military experts have supported some of these criticisms, an examination by The Independent of the available evidence suggests the following: that WP shells were fired at insurgents, that reports from the battleground suggest troops firing these WP shells did not always know who they were hitting and that there remain widespread reports of civilians suffering extensive burn injuries. While US commanders insist they always strive to avoid civilian casualties, the story of the battle of Fallujah highlights the intrinsic difficulty of such an endeavour.

It is also clear that elements within the US government have been putting out incorrect information about the battle of Fallujah, making it harder to assesses the truth. Some within the US government have previously issued disingenuous statements about the use in Iraq of another controversial incendiary weapon - napalm.

The assault upon Fallujah, 40 miles from Baghdad, took place over a two-week period last November. US commanders said the city was an insurgent stronghold. Civilians were ordered to evacuate in advance. Around 50 US troops and an estimated 1,200 insurgents were killed. How many civilians were killed is unclear. Up to 300,000 people were driven from the city.

Following the RAI broadcast, the US Embassy in Rome issued a statement which denied that US troops had used WP as a weapon. It said: "To maintain that US forces have been using WP against human targets ... is simply mistaken." In a similar denial, the US Ambassador in London, Robert Tuttle, wrote to the The Independent claiming WP was only used as an obscurant or else for marking targets. In his letter, he says: "US forces participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom continue to use appropriate, lawful and conventional weapons against legitimate targets. US forces do not use napalm or phosphorus as weapons."

However, both these two statements are undermined by first-hand evidence from troops who took part in the fighting. They are also undermined by an admission by the Pentagon that WP was used as a weapon against insurgents.

In a comprehensive written account of the military operation at Fallujah, three US soldiers who participated said WP shells were used against insurgents taking cover in trenches. Writing in the March-April edition of Field Artillery, the magazine of the US Field Artillery based in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which is readily available on the internet, the three artillery men said: "WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions ... and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against insurgents in trench lines and spider holes ... We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents using WP to flush them out and high explosive shells (HE) to take them out."

Another first-hand account from the battlefield was provided by an embedded reporter for the North County News, a San Diego newspaper. Reporter Darrin Mortenson wrote of watching Cpl Nicholas Bogert fire WP rounds into Fallujah. He wrote: "Bogert is a mortar team leader who directed his men to fire round after round of high explosives and white phosphorus charges into the city Friday and Saturday, never knowing what the targets were or what damage the resulting explosions caused."

Mr Mortenson also watched the mortar team fire into a group of buildings where insurgents were known to be hiding. In an email, he confirmed: "During the fight I was describing in my article, WP mortar rounds were used to create a fire in a palm grove and a cluster of concrete buildings that were used as cover by Iraqi snipers and teams that fired heavy machine guns at US choppers." Another report, published in the Washington Post, gave an idea of the sorts of injuries that WP causes. It said insurgents "reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns". A physician at a local hospital said the corpses of insurgents "were burned, and some corpses were melted".

The use of incendiary weapons such as WP and napalm against civilian targets - though not military targets - is banned by international treaty. Article two, protocol III of the 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons states: "It is prohibited in all circumstances to make the civilian population as such, individual civilians or civilian objects, the object of attack by incendiary weapons." Some have claimed the use of WP contravenes the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention which bans the use of any "toxic chemical" weapons which causes "death, harm or temporary incapacitation to humans or animals through their chemical action on life processes".

However, Peter Kaiser, a spokesman for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which enforces the convention, said the convention permitted the use of such weapons for "military purposes not connected with the use of chemical weapons and not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare". He said the burns caused by WP were thermic rather than chemical and as such not prohibited by the treaty.

The RAI film said civilians were also victims of the use of WP and reported claims by a campaigner from Fallujah, Mohamad Tareq, that many victims had large burns. The report claimed that the clothes on some victims appeared to be intact even though their bodies were badly burned.

Critics of the RAI film - including the Pentagon - say such a claim undermines the likelihood that WP was responsible for the injuries since WP would have also burned their clothes. This opinion is supported by a leading military expert. John Pike, director of the military studies group GlobalSecurity.org, said of WP: "If it hits your clothes it will burn your clothes and if it hits your skin it will just keep on burning." Though Mr Pike had not seen the RAI film, he said the burned appearance of some bodies may have been caused by exposure to the elements.

Yet there are other, independent reports of civilians from Fallujah suffering burn injuries. For instance, Dahr Jamail, an unembedded reporter who collected the testimony of refugees from the city spoke to a doctor who had remained in the city to help people, encountered numerous reports of civilians suffering unusual burns.

One resident told him the US used "weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud" and that he watched "pieces of these bombs explode into large fires that continued to burn on the skin even after people dumped water on the burns." The doctor said he "treated people who had their skin melted"

Jeff Englehart, a former marine who spent two days in Fallujah during the battle, said he heard the order go out over military communication that WP was to be dropped. In the RAI film, Mr Englehart, now an outspoken critic of the war, 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."

In the aftermath of the battle, the State Department's Counter Misinformation Office issued a statement saying that WP was only "used [WP shells] very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes. They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters." When The Independent confronted the State Department with the first-hand accounts of soldiers who participated, an official accepted the mistake and undertook to correct its website. This has since been done.

Indeed, the Pentagon readily admits WP was used. Spokesman Lt Colonel Barry Venables said yesterday WP was used to obscure troop deployments and also to "fire at the enemy". He added: "It burns ... It's an incendiary weapon. That is what it does."

Why the two embassies have issued statements denying that WP was used is unclear. However, there have been previous examples of US officials issuing incorrect statements about the use of incendiary weapons. Earlier this year, British Defence Minister Adam Ingram was forced to apologise to MPs after informing them that the US had not used an updated form of napalm in Iraq. He said he had been misled by US officials.

Napalm was used in several instances during the initial invasion. Colonel Randolph Alles, commander of Marine Air Group 11, remarked during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003: "The generals love napalm - it has a big psychological effect."

In his letter, Ambassador Tuttle claims there is a distinction between napalm and the 500lb Mk-77 firebombs he says were dropped - even though experts say they are virtually identical. The only difference is that the petrol used in traditional napalm has been replaced in the newer bombs by jet fuel.

Since the RAI broadcast, there have been calls for an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the battle of Fallujah. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has also repeated its call to "all fighters to take every feasible precaution to spare civilians and to respect the principles of distinction and proportionality in all operations".

There have also been claims that in the minutiae of the argument about the use of WP, a broader truth is being missed. Kathy Kelly, a campaigner with the anti-war group Voices of the Wilderness, said: "If the US wants to promote security for this generation and the next, it should build relationships with these countries. If the US uses conventional or non-conventional weapons, in civilian neighourhoods, that melt people's bodies down to the bone, it will leave these people seething. We should think on this rather than arguing about whether we can squeak such weapons past the Geneva Conventions and international accords."

The controversy has raged for 12 months. Ever since last November, when US forces battled to clear Fallujah of insurgents, there have been repeated claims that troops used "unusual" weapons in the assault that all but flattened the Iraqi city. Specifically, controversy has focussed on white phosphorus shells (WP) - an incendiary weapon usually used to obscure troop movements but which can equally be deployed as an offensive weapon against an enemy. The use of such incendiary weapons against civilian targets is banned by international treaty.

The debate was reignited last week when an Italian documentary claimed Iraqi civilians - including women and children - had been killed by terrible burns caused by WP. The documentary, Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre, by the state broadcaster RAI, cited one Fallujah human-rights campaigner who reported how residents told how "a rain of fire fell on the city". Yesterday, demonstrators organised by the Italian communist newspaper, Liberazione, protested outside the US Embassy in Rome. Today, another protest is planned for the US Consulate in Milan. "The 'war on terrorism' is terrorism," one of the newspaper's commentators declared.

The claims contained in the RAI documentary have met with a strident official response from the US, as well as from right-wing commentators and bloggers who have questioned the film's evidence and sought to undermine its central allegations.

While military experts have supported some of these criticisms, an examination by The Independent of the available evidence suggests the following: that WP shells were fired at insurgents, that reports from the battleground suggest troops firing these WP shells did not always know who they were hitting and that there remain widespread reports of civilians suffering extensive burn injuries. While US commanders insist they always strive to avoid civilian casualties, the story of the battle of Fallujah highlights the intrinsic difficulty of such an endeavour.

It is also clear that elements within the US government have been putting out incorrect information about the battle of Fallujah, making it harder to assesses the truth. Some within the US government have previously issued disingenuous statements about the use in Iraq of another controversial incendiary weapon - napalm.

The assault upon Fallujah, 40 miles from Baghdad, took place over a two-week period last November. US commanders said the city was an insurgent stronghold. Civilians were ordered to evacuate in advance. Around 50 US troops and an estimated 1,200 insurgents were killed. How many civilians were killed is unclear. Up to 300,000 people were driven from the city.

Following the RAI broadcast, the US Embassy in Rome issued a statement which denied that US troops had used WP as a weapon. It said: "To maintain that US forces have been using WP against human targets ... is simply mistaken." In a similar denial, the US Ambassador in London, Robert Tuttle, wrote to the The Independent claiming WP was only used as an obscurant or else for marking targets. In his letter, he says: "US forces participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom continue to use appropriate, lawful and conventional weapons against legitimate targets. US forces do not use napalm or phosphorus as weapons."

However, both these two statements are undermined by first-hand evidence from troops who took part in the fighting. They are also undermined by an admission by the Pentagon that WP was used as a weapon against insurgents.

In a comprehensive written account of the military operation at Fallujah, three US soldiers who participated said WP shells were used against insurgents taking cover in trenches. Writing in the March-April edition of Field Artillery, the magazine of the US Field Artillery based in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which is readily available on the internet, the three artillery men said: "WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions ... and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against insurgents in trench lines and spider holes ... We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents using WP to flush them out and high explosive shells (HE) to take them out."

Another first-hand account from the battlefield was provided by an embedded reporter for the North County News, a San Diego newspaper. Reporter Darrin Mortenson wrote of watching Cpl Nicholas Bogert fire WP rounds into Fallujah. He wrote: "Bogert is a mortar team leader who directed his men to fire round after round of high explosives and white phosphorus charges into the city Friday and Saturday, never knowing what the targets were or what damage the resulting explosions caused."

Mr Mortenson also watched the mortar team fire into a group of buildings where insurgents were known to be hiding. In an email, he confirmed: "During the fight I was describing in my article, WP mortar rounds were used to create a fire in a palm grove and a cluster of concrete buildings that were used as cover by Iraqi snipers and teams that fired heavy machine guns at US choppers." Another report, published in the Washington Post, gave an idea of the sorts of injuries that WP causes. It said insurgents "reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns". A physician at a local hospital said the corpses of insurgents "were burned, and some corpses were melted".

The use of incendiary weapons such as WP and napalm against civilian targets - though not military targets - is banned by international treaty. Article two, protocol III of the 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons states: "It is prohibited in all circumstances to make the civilian population as such, individual civilians or civilian objects, the object of attack by incendiary weapons." Some have claimed the use of WP contravenes the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention which bans the use of any "toxic chemical" weapons which causes "death, harm or temporary incapacitation to humans or animals through their chemical action on life processes".

However, Peter Kaiser, a spokesman for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which enforces the convention, said the convention permitted the use of such weapons for "military purposes not connected with the use of chemical weapons and not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare". He said the burns caused by WP were thermic rather than chemical and as such not prohibited by the treaty.

The RAI film said civilians were also victims of the use of WP and reported claims by a campaigner from Fallujah, Mohamad Tareq, that many victims had large burns. The report claimed that the clothes on some victims appeared to be intact even though their bodies were badly burned.

Critics of the RAI film - including the Pentagon - say such a claim undermines the likelihood that WP was responsible for the injuries since WP would have also burned their clothes. This opinion is supported by a leading military expert. John Pike, director of the military studies group GlobalSecurity.org, said of WP: "If it hits your clothes it will burn your clothes and if it hits your skin it will just keep on burning." Though Mr Pike had not seen the RAI film, he said the burned appearance of some bodies may have been caused by exposure to the elements.

Yet there are other, independent reports of civilians from Fallujah suffering burn injuries. For instance, Dahr Jamail, an unembedded reporter who collected the testimony of refugees from the city spoke to a doctor who had remained in the city to help people, encountered numerous reports of civilians suffering unusual burns.

One resident told him the US used "weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud" and that he watched "pieces of these bombs explode into large fires that continued to burn on the skin even after people dumped water on the burns." The doctor said he "treated people who had their skin melted"

Jeff Englehart, a former marine who spent two days in Fallujah during the battle, said he heard the order go out over military communication that WP was to be dropped. In the RAI film, Mr Englehart, now an outspoken critic of the war, 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."

In the aftermath of the battle, the State Department's Counter Misinformation Office issued a statement saying that WP was only "used [WP shells] very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes. They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters." When The Independent confronted the State Department with the first-hand accounts of soldiers who participated, an official accepted the mistake and undertook to correct its website. This has since been done.

Indeed, the Pentagon readily admits WP was used. Spokesman Lt Colonel Barry Venables said yesterday WP was used to obscure troop deployments and also to "fire at the enemy". He added: "It burns ... It's an incendiary weapon. That is what it does."

Why the two embassies have issued statements denying that WP was used is unclear. However, there have been previous examples of US officials issuing incorrect statements about the use of incendiary weapons. Earlier this year, British Defence Minister Adam Ingram was forced to apologise to MPs after informing them that the US had not used an updated form of napalm in Iraq. He said he had been misled by US officials.

Napalm was used in several instances during the initial invasion. Colonel Randolph Alles, commander of Marine Air Group 11, remarked during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003: "The generals love napalm - it has a big psychological effect."

In his letter, Ambassador Tuttle claims there is a distinction between napalm and the 500lb Mk-77 firebombs he says were dropped - even though experts say they are virtually identical. The only difference is that the petrol used in traditional napalm has been replaced in the newer bombs by jet fuel.

Since the RAI broadcast, there have been calls for an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the battle of Fallujah. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has also repeated its call to "all fighters to take every feasible precaution to spare civilians and to respect the principles of distinction and proportionality in all operations".

There have also been claims that in the minutiae of the argument about the use of WP, a broader truth is being missed. Kathy Kelly, a campaigner with the anti-war group Voices of the Wilderness, said: "If the US wants to promote security for this generation and the next, it should build relationships with these countries. If the US uses conventional or non-conventional weapons, in civilian neighourhoods, that melt people's bodies down to the bone, it will leave these people seething. We should think on this rather than arguing about whether we can squeak such weapons past the Geneva Conventions and international accords."

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article327094.ece


November 28, 2005

MEDIA ALERT: THE TRAGIC BLINDNESS OF THE EMBEDDED BBC

White Phosphorus, Fallujah And Unreported Atrocities

Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, said earlier this year:

"We are committed to evidence-based journalism. We have not been able to establish that the US used banned chemical weapons and committed other atrocities against civilians in Falluja last November. Inquiries on the ground at the time and subsequently indicate that their use is unlikely to have occurred.” (Email forwarded to Media Lens, July 13, 2005)

Sadly, their use has occurred, as the Pentagon has now been forced to admit.

Readers may recall from previous media alerts that we did not know then whether unusual or banned weapons – including cluster bombs, depleted uranium, napalm, white phosphorus and poisonous gas – had been used in Fallujah, or whether atrocities had been committed by ‘coalition’ forces against civilians. We did know, however, that the BBC had consistently overlooked credible testimony from multiple sources suggesting such weapons had been used and such acts had taken place.

Last November, Fallujah was placed under “a strict night-time shoot-to-kill curfew” with “anyone spotted in the soldiers’ night vision sights... shot”; male refugees were prevented from leaving the combat zone; a health centre was bombed killing 60 patients and support staff; refugees claimed that “a large number of people, including children, were killed by American snipers” and that the US had used cluster bombs and phosphorus weapons in the offensive.

Recent US military offensives in Ramadi, Baghdadi, Hit, Haditha, Mosul, Qaim, Tal Afar and elsewhere, have likely also killed many civilians and created thousands more refugees. (For sources and further details see: www.rememberfallujah.org/why.htm)

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of US military reprisal, a high-ranking Red Cross official estimated that “at least 800 civilians” were killed in the first 9 days of the November 2004 assault on Fallujah. (Dahr Jamail, ‘800 Civilians Feared Dead in Fallujah,’ Inter Press Service, November 16, 2004)

IRINnews.org, the news service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, reported that the emergency team from Fallujah’s main hospital recovered more than 700 bodies from rubble where houses and shops had stood. Dr Rafa'ah al-Iyssaue, the hospital director, said:

“It was really distressing picking up dead bodies from destroyed homes, especially children. It is the most depressing situation I have ever been in since the war started.”

Dr al-Iyssaue added that more than 550 of the 700 dead were women and children. He said a very small number of men were found in these places and most were elderly. (IRINnews.org, ‘Death toll in Fallujah rising, doctors say,’ January 4, 2005; www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=44904&SelectRegion=Middle_East&SelectCountry=IRAQ)

The Study Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, based in Fallujah, estimates the total number of people killed in the city during the assault at 4,000 to 6,000, most of them civilians. Mass graves were dug on the outskirts of the city for thousands of the bodies. (Dahr Jamail, ‘Life Goes On in Fallujah's Rubble,’ Inter Press Service, November 23, 2005)

Embedded BBC Saw Nothing, Heard Nothing, Reported Nothing

In light of the Pentagon’s admission that US forces +did+ use white phosphorus (WP) as an offensive weapon, the BBC needs to explain its earlier silence. The corporation is now trying to absolve itself by claiming that not one single report until now was credible or worth reporting. It has been revealed that UK forces also have WP in their arsenal, and have been trained to use it as a weapon. (Sean Rayment, ‘Tim Collins trained troops to fight with white phosphorus,’ Sunday Telegraph, November 20, 2005)

Unprompted by Media Lens but disturbed by the BBC’s bias in covering the invasion and occupation, members of the public have been contacting the corporation. Several complainants cited our earlier media alerts (e.g. ‘BBC Still Ignoring Evidence of War Crimes’)

Many independent researchers, including the London-based filmmaker and author Gabriele Zamparini (www.thecatsdream.com/blog), have also been pursuing developments. As a result, the pressure on mainstream media to report and analyse what is now in the public domain has intensified.

No doubt mindful of this pressure, BBC News led with the WP revelations on its flagship 10 O’Clock News bulletin on November 15, 2005. BBC correspondent Paul Wood, who had been embedded with US forces in Fallujah, asserted that: "this deadly substance [WP] was fired directly at trenches full of insurgents". This may be correct, but it is also incomplete. As we reported in previous media alerts, there is ample evidence of devastating weaponry, including WP, being deployed in built-up areas (not just "trenches") where civilians (not just "insurgents") were sheltering.

Wood told anchor Jeremy Paxman on the BBC’s Newsnight programme that same evening:

"Many in the Arab world, some here [in the UK] who campaigned against the war on Iraq, believe that a massacre of civilians took place inside Fallujah. I didn't see evidence of that myself. In Fallujah over the summer, I spoke to doctors at the hospital there who discounted these allegations." (Newsnight, November 15, 2005)

We asked Wood for details of his research in Fallujah. He told us that he “had long conversations” with hospital doctors. By Wood’s own admission only one of these “had been in Falluja right throughout the November campaign”. He added: “Others had arrived later, but I thought it would be good to ask them about the various atrocity allegations anyway, to see how widely they were believed in the town, even if they had no proof.”

According to Wood: “All of them dismissed allegations of chemical weapons use, or of the use of dispersal weapons in general.” (Email forwarded to David Cromwell via Newsnight editor Peter Barron, November 17, 2005)

However, the US has now been forced to admit that it did use white phosphorus as an offensive weapon in Fallujah. We also now know, thanks to the unearthing of a US intelligence document by researchers using the internet, that the US recognises that white phosphorus +is+ a chemical weapon (Peter Popham and Anne Penketh, ‘US intelligence classified white phosphorus as "chemical weapon" ', The Independent, November 23, 2005). And, as Dahr Jamail has reported over many months, cluster bombs and depleted uranium were also used in the assault on Fallujah. (http://dahrjamailiraq.com)

We asked Wood why he had reported not one of the many credible accounts of atrocities in Fallujah, and elsewhere in Iraq – many of which had been presented to the World Tribunal on Iraq held in Istanbul. (See ‘The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing World Tribunal on Iraq')

Wood told us that he had spoken to independent reporter Dahr Jamail “to try to chase down his leads.” He added: “Dahr told me they were all too scared to talk (even though they are now in Jordan) or that he otherwise couldn't track them down. Fair enough -- they are his contacts and he might have a number of valid reasons for not handing them on." (Email forwarded to David Cromwell via Newsnight editor Peter Barron, November 17, 2005)

Dahr Jamail disputes this:

“I am rather surprised that Mr. Wood would allege here that I've not provided him contacts he requested. As I told him on the phone when we spoke of this, I gave him all the contacts I had emails/phones for.” Jamail added: “Why does Mr. Wood think I have withheld contact details?” (Email to David Cromwell, November 19, 2005)

Jamail again:

“Perhaps Mr. Wood wouldn't find it necessary to question another journalist's sources (mine were first-hand interviews), and would be able to obtain some of these reports himself, if he were not embedded with the military forces which destroyed the city of Fallujah.” (Email to David Cromwell, November 20, 2005)

Wood stated on Newsnight that he had only seen WP used for illumination purposes. He did note, however, that the US admission of WP use “does to some appear to be confirmation of the much wider allegations that civilians were killed in large numbers inside Fallujah."

And so, once again, the BBC dismisses as mere “allegations” the copious evidence of atrocities provided by humanitarian workers, doctors, refugees and other credible sources.

A new BBC online piece written by Wood excuses himself and the BBC with a few carefully chosen words:

"We didn't at the time, last November, report the use of banned weapons or a massacre because we didn't see this taking place – and since then, we haven't seen credible evidence that this is was [sic] what happened." (Wood, 'Heated debate over white phosphorus,' November 17, 2005; http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ukfs/hi/newsid_4440000/newsid_4441700/4441798.stm)

As we have noted in previous alerts, ‘credible evidence‘ comes from ‘credible sources.’ For mainstream media, this generally means officialdom - including political and military leaders responsible for the use and abuse of chemical weapons, cluster bombs and napalm.

Wood had earlier dismissed reports of such usage because no “reference [was] made to them at the confidential pre-assault military briefings he attended” and because he had not himself witnessed their use. (‘Did BBC ignore weapons claim?’, April 14, 2005; http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ukfs/hi/newsid_4390000/newsid_4396600/4396641.stm)

This was a remarkable judgement by the BBC and an indictment of the ‘embed’ system of reporting. When we pressed Helen Boaden further, citing more reports of atrocities committed against civilians, she abruptly ended the correspondence:

“I do not believe that further dialogue on this matter will serve a useful purpose.” (Email to David Cromwell, March 21, 2005)

Propagandists For Killing Power

Dirk Adriaensens, executive committee member of the BRussells Tribunal, told us:

“It is not that difficult to find witnesses for what happened to Fallujah. There is ample evidence of the atrocities that took place there. Moreover, it is notable that no embedded 'journalist' reported atrocities committed in hospitals in recent attacks on Haditha, Al Qaim, Tal Afar, etc.” (Email to David Cromwell, November 21, 2005)

One UN report cited by Adriaensens observes that:

“Ongoing military operations, especially in western and northern parts of the country, continue to generate displacement and hardship for thousands of families and to have a devastating effect on the civilian population... The United Nations has been unable to obtain accurate figures concerning civilian losses following such operations but reports received from civil society organizations, medical sources and other monitors indicate that they are significant and include women and children.” (UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, Human Rights Report, 1 August – 31 October, 2005; www422.ssldomain.com/uniraq/documents/HR Report.Oct.Eng final.doc)

As Adriaensens notes, “the UN report is consistent with eyewitness accounts received from sources inside Iraq.” (www.brusselstribunal.org/ArticlesIraq.htm, www.brusselstribunal.org/ArticlesIraq2.htm. Warning: disturbing images)

Other evidence ignored by the BBC includes the work of Mark Manning, an American documentary filmmaker. Manning recorded 25 hours of videotaped interviews with dozens of Iraqi eyewitnesses - men, women and children who had experienced the assault on Fallujah first-hand.

Manning "was told grisly accounts of Iraqi mothers killed in front of their sons, brothers in front of sisters, all at the hands of American soldiers. He also heard allegations of wholesale rape of civilians, by both American and Iraqi troops”. Moreover: “he heard numerous reports of the second siege of Falluja [November 2004] that described American forces deploying - in violation of international treaties - napalm, chemical weapons, phosphorous bombs, and 'bunker-busting' shells laced with depleted uranium”. (Nick Welsh, 'Diving into Fallujah,' Santa Barbara Independent, March 17, 2005; www.independent.com/cover/Cover956.htm)

How much effort have Paul Wood and the BBC made to obtain such evidence? Why have they ignored the work of the World Tribunal on Iraq, the BRussells Tribunal, Iraqi human rights groups and the suffering reported by local doctors, health workers and refugees?

The BBC has relied heavily on embedded reporters, and has broadcast relentless propaganda from those wielding devastating firepower in the assault on Iraq. But precious little has been heard from the ‘unpeople’ - including women, children and the elderly - who have been on the receiving end of such killing power.

SUGGESTED ACTION

The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others. We strongly urge readers to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone when writing emails to journalists.

Please write to:

Helen Boaden, director of BBC news
Email: helenboaden.complaints@bbc.co.uk

Peter Horrocks, head of BBC television news
Email: peter.horrocks@bbc.co.uk

Paul Wood, BBC world affairs correspondent
Email: paul.wood@bbc.co.uk

Kevin Bakhurst, editor of the BBC 10 O’Clock News
Email: kevin.bakhurst@bbc.co.uk

Peter Barron, editor of Newsnight
Email: peter.barron@bbc.co.uk

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Fallujah: operatie doofpot

Inge Van De Merlen (21 nov 2005)

Vorige week dinsdag, precies een jaar na de feiten, zond de Italiaanse zender RAI-3 een documentaire uit over het gebruik van chemische wapens tijdens de belegering van Fallujah in november 2004.  Ranucci en Torrealta laten in ‘Fallujah - De verborgen slachting’ [1] verschillende getuigen aan het woord. 

Een Amerikaanse ex-militair vertelt hoe via de boordradio van zijn voertuig werd aangekondigd dat witte fosfor boven Fallujah zou worden gedropt.  De gassen van een fosforbom verspreiden zich 150 m in de omtrek, en branden de huid tot op het bot weg.  Contact met water veroorzaakt een chemische reactie, waardoor de werking van het gas versterkt.  In juni 2005 gaf het Brits ministerie van defensie toe dat de VS MK-77 had gebruikt in Irak. Deze brandbommen hebben een andere samenstelling dan napalm, maar de effecten zijn nagenoeg gelijk.  Volgens een VN conventie van 1980 is het onder alle omstandigheden verboden om brandbommen te gebruiken in gebieden waar zich burgers bevinden.

Journalisten die de gebeurtenissen in Fallujah wilden onderzoeken, zat het doorgaans niet mee.  De video’s van twee reporters van Al-Arabyia werden in beslag genomen.  Mark Manning, keerde met beeldmateriaal uit Fallujah naar de VS terug om een film samen te stellen, maar zijn video’s werden uit zijn auto en hotelkamer gestolen.  De inbrekers lieten zijn dure filmuitrusting wel ongemoeid. Juliana Sgrena werkte aan een reportage over Fallujah toen ze werd gekidnapt.  Na haar vrijlating werd haar wagen door Amerikaanse soldaten onder vuur genomen.  Ook Enzo Baldoni, de vermoorde journalist van ‘Diario’, werkte in de weken voor zijn ontvoering aan een reportage over de verwoeste stad.

Toch zijn er sinds de aanvallen op Fallujah verscheidene getuigenissen doorgesijpeld, naar de alternatieve media althans.  Zo berichtte Dahr Jamail op 18 januari 2005 over de opruimacties na de zware gevechten van november.[2]  Het leger schepte met bulldozers aanzienlijke hoeveelheden grond weg.  De waterreservoirs werden lek geschoten en de straten met hogedrukreinigers schoongespoeld.  Hulpverleners kregen geen toegang tot de districten waar de hevigste gevechten hadden plaatsgevonden en soldaten adviseerden hen om in de stad niet van het water te drinken.

Eén van de voorwendsels om Irak aan te vallen waren de massavernietigingswapens die nooit werden gevonden.  Tot nu toe blijken de enige massavernietigingswapens in Irak de Amerikaanse te zijn.  Ondertussen worden de steden langs de Eufraat sinds maanden gebombardeerd en zijn duizenden inwoners de woestijn ingevlucht.[3]  Geen haan die er naar kraait.


[1] De documentaire kan worden gedownload via http://www.chris-floyd.com/fallujah/

[2] JAMAIL, D., Odd happenings in Fallujah, 18 januari 2005,  http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives//000173.php

[3] ALI, S., The Story of a Declared Attack- Al Qaim Again - Families Besieged in Refugee Camps, 7 oktober 2005 http://www.brusselstribunal.org/ArticlesIraq.htm#AlQaim3

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Witte fosfor als verlichting?

Lieven De Cauter, De Standaard 18 Nov 2005

 

Het Amerikaans leger geeft nu toe dat het inderdaad witte fosfor heeft gebruikt tegen de het Iraakse verzet in Fallujah. Terwijl ze dat kort geleden nog in alle toonaarden ontkenden. Dat is geen fait divers. Natuurlijk blijven ze liegen als ze beweren dat ze dat alleen als rookgordijn (dus om militaire acties aan het gezicht te ontrekken) en als verlichting van het slagveld hebben gebruikt. Beide functies zijn overigens nogal contradictorisch. Wie de verkoolde lijken en verminkte lichamen heeft gezien  op de Rai-reportage die vorige week werd uitgezonden (zie op http://www.thecatsdream.com/blog/2005/11/) weet wel beter: er zijn ook vrouwen en kinderen omgekomen en andere werden zwaar verminkt. Witte fosfor blijft, eens in contact met waterhoudende cellen, doorbranden. Het is een chemisch wapen dat volgens een verdrag uit 1980 verboden is. Het verdrag heeft de VS – there is method in the madness – niet ondertekend. Maar dat maakt het wapen nog niet legaal, zoals zij beweren.

  

De pijnlijke ironie van de hele geschiedenis wordt als maar duidelijker: men gebruikt martelingen (in Abu Graib en elders) in een illegale invasie die zogezegd bedoeld was om het Iraakse volk van het barbaarse terreurbewind en de martelpraktijken van Saddam Hoessein te bevrijden. En nu geven ze zelf toe, dat ze – wat wij allang wisten – zelf chemische wapens gebruiken. WMD, massavernietigingswapens! Precies dat wat ze aan die demonische Saddam toeschreven (in een nu al legendarische leugencampagne, onder andere geboekstaafd in de Downingstreet memo’s).

 

Men schijnt overigens voortdurend te vergeten, dat zowat alle informatie die we over Irak hebben en terugvinden in de media van het Amerikaanse leger zelf komen en van hun ‘embedded journalists’. Robert Fisk zei onlangs nog dat deze oorlog de minst ‘gecoverde’ conflicten uit de wereldgeschiedenis behoort. We komen er weinig over te weten, behalve onze dagelijkse portie zelfmoordaanslagen met precieze aantallen slachtoffers, maar over raids op ziekenhuizen, het schieten op ziekenwagens, terreur tegen dokters, de moorden op academici, en terreur op gewone burgers, vernemen we niets. Zelfs van de grootschalige militaire operaties tegen heelder steden, Fallujah, (I en II), Al Hadihta, Alqaim, Tal Afar, horen we uiterst weinig. Terwijl er natuurlijk duizenden slachtoffers vallen en duizenden vluchtelingen zijn. Les Roberts, de leider van het onderzoek dat verscheen in The Lancet, schat dat er 285.000 mensen zijn omgekomen in deze oorlog, verruit het grootste deel door bommen en militaire acties van de coalities, met daaronder vele vrouwen en kinderen.

 

Als pers en media hun werk doen zal straks ook onomstotelijk vaststaan dat ze ook napalm hebben gebruikt in Fallujah en elders. Het heet nu MK 77. Zoals ook het gebruik van verarmd uranium ooit als een onvoorstelbare, want ‘eeuwige’ schande zal worden gebrandmerkt. Wie nu nog niet door heeft dat de oorlog in Irak op een gigantische reeks van leugens en oorlogsmisdaden berust, steekt zijn of haar kop in het zand.

 

Wat is Verlichting? vroeg de oude Immanuel Kant zich af. Sapere aude, was zijn antwoord: ‘durf te weten’. Alleen als we durven weten dat witte fosfor niet dient om het slagveld te verlichten (of te verduisteren), maar om burgers op een gruwelijke manier te doden of te verminken, gehoorzamen we aan de kantiaanse oproep tot Verlichting. Vanuit een dergelijk durf tot weten, volgt een plicht tot protest en verzet. Het verzet tegen deze illegale, leugenachtige bezetting en de oorlogsmisdaden van de bezetters, is van levensbelang voor de internationale rechtsorde en voor ons aller veiligheid: zolang de bezetting doorgaat, zolang zullen de terroristische aanslagen- Istanbul, Madrid, Londen, Aman, …-  zich blijven opstapelen.

 

Lieven De Cauter

(is filosoof en initiatiefnemer van het BRussells tribunal)

 

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De rook rond het witte-fosfordebat

De Standaard 30 Nov 2005

VORIGE en ook nog deze week ontstond naar aanleiding van berichten over het Amerikaanse gebruik van witte fosfor in Irak een lezersdebat in De Standaard . De discussie ging erover of witte fosfor al dan niet een chemisch wapen was en zijn gebruik in de oorlog internationaal verboden was. Een hoogst relevante discussie, want de antwoorden liggen niet voor de hand. Maar jammer genoeg werd ze al snel gekleurd door een pro- of anti-Amerikanisme, waarbij naar mij werd verwezen om een het ene of andere argument kracht bij te zetten.

Eerst even de feiten (of, misschien beter, de fouten) op een rijtje. Historisch gezien behoort witte fosfor samen met de vlammenwerper en napalm tot de brandwapens. Tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog werd het ingezet om de met houten balken verstevigde loopgraven te ontvlammen. Bij de massale bombardementen in de Tweede Wereldoorlog droeg witte fosfor bij tot de brandstormen die de burgerbevolking in de steden verschroeiden (Londen, Conventry, Keulen, Dresden, Tokyo enzovoort).

Na de Vietnamoorlog, waarin vooral napalm zorgde voor schrijnende beelden van burgerslachtoffers, legde de internationale gemeenschap een conventie vast die de betrokken partijen het gebruik van zogenaamde inhumane wapens ontzegt. En met inhumane wapens wordt dan bedoeld: wapens die excessieve verwondingen veroorzaken of geen onderscheid maken tussen wie strijdt en wie niet (zoals burgers).

De conventie werd van kracht in december 1983. Protocol III verbiedt het gebruik van brandwapens en een amendement maakt het verbod sinds mei 2004 ook toepasbaar op interne conflicten. De VS hebben Protocol III tot op vandaag niet aanvaard, en zijn bijgevolg niet gebonden door die verbodsbepaling. Het Protocol bindt trouwens minder dan honderd staten, zodat de kracht van de norm in het gewoonterecht (waardoor het alsnog op de Verenigde Staten of andere niet-verdragspartijen van toepassing zou kunnen zijn) niet echt sterk is.

Een tweede element in de discussie is of witte fosfor een chemisch wapen is. Daarbij wordt verwezen naar een Amerikaans rapport dat witte fosfor als chemisch wapen omschrijft. Het bewuste document is een van de vele stukken die het Amerikaanse defensiedepartement publiceerde in het kader van het onderzoek naar de zogenaamde Gulf War Illnesses '. Het gaat om een rauw inlichtingenverslag van een telefoongesprek over het mogelijk Iraakse gebruik van witte fosfor tegen de Koerden. En op die manier kan het dus bezwaarlijk als bewijsmateriaal voor de Amerikaanse classificatie van witte fosfor als chemisch wapen aangevoerd worden.

Wat niet wil zeggen dat witte fosfor niet als chemisch wapen kan gebruikt worden. In het algemeen definieert men een chemisch wapen op basis van ,,het exploiteren van de directe toxische inwerking van een scheikundig product op een levend organisme, om militaire objectieven te bereiken''. Daardoor onderscheidt een chemisch wapen zich van een brandwapen, dat ondanks een duidelijke scheikundige reactie eerder steunt op de productie van extreme hitte om de schade te berokkenen.

Maar de geschiedenis kan verwarrend werken. Tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog zetten de gespecialiseerde gaseenheden ook vaak vlammenwerpers in. En in de Sovjet-Unie bleven de chemische troepen verantwoordelijk voor rook en vuur.

Een centraal element in hedendaagse definitie van een chemisch wapen is het zogenaamde 'doel van algemene bestemming'. Een chemisch wapen wordt niet gedefinieerd op basis van de kenmerken van het object (giftigheid), maar door zijn eindbestemming (een oorlogswapen). Een logische benadering, als men ervan uitgaat dat giffen in de natuur voorkomen en in grote hoeveelheden door de industrie aangemaakt en verbruikt worden. Het concept staat dan ook het politioneel gebruik van traangas toe, maar niet het gebruik ervan in het kader van oorlogshandelingen (wat op zich een grijze zone creëert, bijvoorbeeld bij ordehandhaving tijdens militaire vredesoperaties).

Om witte fosfor te bestempelen als chemisch wapen moet je dus het criterium van de algemene bestemming toepassen. En dan kun je als volgt redeneren.

Als witte fosfor gebruikt wordt om een rookgordijn op te zetten of een doelwit te markeren, dan valt die bestemming duidelijk buiten de definitie. Als witte fosfor gebruikt wordt tegen mensen, met als doel hun schuilplaatsen in brand te steken (zoals in de loopgravenoorlog zo'n negentig jaar geleden), dan gaat het niet om chemische oorlogvoering.

Maar: witte fosfor heeft ook een sterke irriterende inwerking op de huid, ogen, slijmvliezen... En de rookproductie zou kunnen gebruikt worden om vijandelijke strijders uit hun schuilplaatsen te verdrijven, zoals de VS destijds traangas in de tunneloorlog in Vietnam gebruikten. Zo'n exploitatie van de irriterende werking van witte fosfor zou wel vallen onder het begrip chemische oorlogvoering.

Dat laatste scenario zou een ernstige inbreuk op de conventie over chemische wapens betekenen, waarvan de VS verdragspartij zijn. Mij zijn geen gegevens bekend die zo'n gebruik van witte fosfor in Fallujah suggereren; vandaar mijn stelling dat witte fosfor geen scheikundig wapen is.

Betekent dat alles nu dat er geen ruimte is voor morele verontwaardiging over het gebruik van brandwapens tijdens oorlogsacties? Absoluut niet. Er bestaat ook een eeuwenoud basisprincipe in het oorlogsrecht dat het gebruik van middelen om een vijand schade te berokkenen niet onbeperkt is. Veel bepalingen in het moderne humanitair recht en de wapenbeheersings- en ontwapeningsidee steunen daarop.

Ik heb geen enkel probleem met de uiting van mijn morele verontwaardiging over het gebruik van brandwapens, ongeacht of dat is door een grote mogendheid of een miezerig dictatuurtje. Maar laten we de discussie voeren op grond van juiste basisgegevens; anders wordt het te gemakkelijk voor diegenen met een andere agenda om het debat af te leiden van de kernproblematiek, namelijk de norm tegen het gebruik van zulke wapens te versterken

Jean Pascal Zanders

(De auteur is directeur van de internationale ngo BioWeapons Prevention Project.)
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WITTE FOSFOR
De Standaard 01 Dec 2005

In De Standaard van 30 november doet Jean Pascal Zanders een verdienstelijke poging om de ,,rook rond het witte-fosfordebat'' - het gebruik van witte fosfor door de VS-troepen bij de belegering van Fallujah - te doen optrekken. Hij gaat daarbij uitvoerig in op de vraag of witte fosfor een chemisch wapen is, en of het gebruik ervan, naast moreel verwerpelijk, ook verboden is volgens het oorlogsrecht. Vragen die ongetwijfeld belangrijk zijn voor wat betreft de internationaal rechterlijke aansprakelijkheid van de VS. Maar zijn ze dat ook voor de Iraakse slachtoffers, en voor de globale beoordeling van de VS-oorlogvoering in Irak?

Dokter Salam Ismael, een jonge Iraakse chirurg die enkele dagen geleden in ons land kwam getuigen, is genuanceerd. Enerzijds zag hij in Fallujah met eigen ogen tientallen lijken waarvan het vlees tot op het bot was weggeschroeid. Of van mensen die in hun bed gestorven waren en niet de minste uiterlijke verwondingen vertoonden: ze waren gestikt, omdat de hitte van zulke bommen alle zuurstof uit de lucht wegzuigt.

Anderzijds vindt Ismael het niet eens zo relevant of het internationaal rechterlijk al dan niet gaat om chemische en/of brandwapens, om verboden of toegelaten wapens. Hij maakte mee hoe de VS-troepen in Fallujah 300.000 mensen gijzelden, dagenlang hun elektriciteits- en watertoevoer afgesneden hielden, de brug naar het enige hospitaal afsloten en hulpverleners en -konvooien elke toegang tot de stad ontzegden. Dat zijn overduidelijke schendingen van de Conventies van Genève. Het eventueel gebruik van verboden chemische wapens zou alleen nog maar een misdaad toevoegen aan de nog veel grotere misdaad die de VS-bezetting van Irak is, aldus Ismael.

Bert De Belder

geneeskunde voor de Derde Wereld
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Witte fosfor en het rookgordijn van het anti-amerikanisme

Lieven De cauter 01 Dec 2005

 1. Antwoord aan Miel Swillens. In mijn korte tekst over witte fosfor (DS 18 november) heb ik helemaal geen 'morele equivalentie' gemaakt tussen het regime van Saddam Hussein en de VS, zoals Miel Swillens beweert in zijn tweede brief naar aanleiding van mijn tekst.(DS 28 november). Dat is een zware beschuldiging. En ze is ook totaal uit de lucht gegrepen. Ik heb het helemaal niet gehad over Saddam Hussein. Ik heb het nooit gehad over Saddam, hoe zou ik dan een morele equivalentie kunnen maken. Het dictatoriale regime van Saddam was voor de Amerikanen maar het laatst ingeroepen alibi voor de oorlog. Eerst waren er de onbestaande link met Al quaeda en dus 9/11 en de onbestaande massavernietigingswapens, remember? Het is in deze oorlog nooit om Saddam gegaan, maar om controle over olie, permanente basissen en geostrategische uitschakeling, of opsplitsing, van een machtig land in het midden-Oosten (wat Israel niet ongenegen is natuurlijk). De kwestie is dat een illegale invasie is gepland op basis van manifeste leugens en dat deze oorlog, als aberrante speerpunt van de 'war on terror', vervolgens alle internationale wetten en regels met de voeten heeft getreden: het maken van kampen buiten elke juridische structuur, systematische martelingen (nu ook aan onze achterdeur in kampen in Europa), fragmentatiebommen tegen burgers, systematische raids op hospitalen en het schieten op ambulances, het uitschakelen van onafhankelijke pers door 'embedded journalism', het gebruik van wapens als verarmd uranium, witte fosfor en napalm (chemische wapens of niet, het zijn gruwelijke massavernietigingswapens, zie daarover de schitterende brief van Jef Van Bauwel, DS 25 november) tegen verzetstrijders én burgers, en tenslotte heuse urbicides ('stadsmoorden') in Fallujah, Al Qaim, Haditha en Tal Afar. Om nog maar te zwijgen van de zogenaamde 'Salvador optie', het gebruik van doodseskaders en terreur tegen de burgerbevolking om het verzet te breken. En dat allemaal in de naam van democratie en 'nationbuilding'! Dat is 'onze' schande. Saddam deed en doet er niet toe. De Amerikaanse regeringen zijn nooit geïnteresseerd geweest in het opheffen van dictaturen, ze hebben er meer geïnstalleerd en de hand boven het hoofd gehouden dan omver geworpen (denk aan Zuid-Amerika). Wat er wel toe doet is dat er intussen naar schatting 285.000 iraqi's zijn omgekomen (schatting van Les Roberts, de man die het Lancet-rapport leidde). Wat er wel toe doet is dat wij samen met de media lange tijd de andere kant hebben opgekeken. 

Tot slot nog even terug naar die zo vreemde 'morele equivalentie'. Over Saddam moet een onafhankelijk Irakese of internationale rechtbank oordelen (die voorwaarden zijn volgens velen in dit proces niet vervuld). Iedereen is het er echter over eens dat het een dictator was.  Maar over de politiek van het Westen die zogenaamd democratisch is, moeten wij, de burgers, oordelen. Deze oorlog is zonder meer een van de grootste misdaden tegen het international recht, het oorlogsrecht, de mensenrechten en zelfs tegen de menselijkheid, sinds de oorlog in Vietnam. En, hij maakt onze wereld daarenboven alleen maar onveiliger. Zelfs in Amerika beginnen ze dat te beseffen. Misschien is het tijd dat u dat ook begint te beseffen, Mr Swillens.

2. Antwoord aan Jean Pascal Zanders. We danken Jean Pascal Zanders, van Bioweapons prevention project, voor zijn preciseringen. Nu weten we wat chemische wapens zijn. Hij schrijft (DS 30.11) dat de definitie berust op ‘het exploiteren van de directe toxische inwerking van een chemisch product op een levend organisme, om militaire objectieven te bereiken’. En voegt eraan toe “dat exploitatie van ‘de irriterende werking van witte fosfor’ wel degelijk onder het begrip chemische oorlogsvoering valt. “Dat laatste scenario zou een ernstige inbreuk zijn op de conventie over chemische wapens betekenen”. Maar dan gaat het fout: “Mij zij geen gegevens bekend die zo’n gebruik van witte fosfor in Fallujah suggeren” en zonder overgang een zeer vreemde gedachtekronkel: ‘vandaar mijn stelling dat witte fosfor geen chemische wapens zijn”. Meneer Zanders heeft duidelijk de reportage van de Rai niet gezien (te zien via onderstaande website), en kent evenmin de vele getuigenissen van dokters en rapporten vanuit Irak (zowel van organisaties als van journalisten). Maar het is ook duidelijk voor wie even nadenkt: het gebruik van witte fosfor in Fallujah, een stad van 100.000 inwoners,  zal ook burgers treffen, inclusief vrouwen en kinderen. Daarenboven heeft witte fosfor geen ‘irriterende werking’, maar brandt door tot op het bot. Dus als we zeker weten dat witte fosfor is gebruikt in een stedelijk gebied en dus ook tegen mensen (verzetslui en burgers), hoe kan u dan in godsnaam besluiten, op basis van uw eigen definities, dat witte fosfor geen chemisch wapen is? Ik hoop dat de redactie een paar foto’s die ik bijstuur durft publiceren. Zowat de gruwelijkste foto’s die ik ken. De Rai documentaire maakt ook duidelijk dat er napalm is gebruikt. En ook tegen burgers.

De reeks urbicides, zoals de getuigenissen van Amerikaanse soldaten in de Rai documentaire en elders bewijzen, maken geen enkel onderscheid tussen burgers en ‘insurgents’ (lees: het in wezen legitieme verzet tegen een illegale invasie en daardoor alleen al niet legitimeerbare bezetting), om de goede reden dat natuurlijk het volk zelf het verzet steunt, of zelfs het verzet is. Vandaar alle pogingen om het verzet te breken door massale aanvallen en heuse vernietigingen van steden, die de geschiedenis zullen ingaan als wandaden. Daarin past ook het afsluiten van water en voedselbevoorrading, wat door de UN bij monde van Jean Ziegler streng is veroordeeld als (nog eens) een oorlogsmisdaad. En vandaar ook de systematische pogingen om het verzet te discrediteren, en af te schilderen als alleen maar een bende terroristen.

Maar in de woorden van John Murtha, de ex-militair en democratisch senator die pleit voor onmiddellijke terugkeer, kan men de waarheid vinden: ‘het aantal aanslagen is van 150 per week naar 772 gestegen’(International Herald Tribune, 29 nov). En daar wringt het schoentje: veruit de meeste aanslagen zijn gericht tegen de bezetter en zijn ‘Vichy-régime’. Maar over die efficiëntie van het verzet vernemen we natuurlijk weinig of niets, alleen de zelfmoordaanslagen tegen burgers, die in feite het verzet mee delegitimeren. Meer en meer verschijnen echter ook in kranten als de IHT berichten over wandaden van doodseskaders die gelieerd zijn met het regime en/of met de bezettingsmacht, die nota bene 3 miljard dollars uittrok voor ‘covered operations’ en het oprichten van deze milities!

Zanders besluit met een soort van hygiënische opmerking dat we moeten vertrekken van de juiste gegevens (zoals ik hierboven heb geschetst, mist hij er kennelijk een paar essentiële) ‘anders wordt het te gemakkelijk voor  degenen met een andere agenda om het debat af te leiden van de kernproblematiek, namelijk de norm tegen het gebruik van zulke wapens te versterken’. Wat een mooie loop maakt met zijn waarschuwing aan het begin dat deze discussie meteen gekleurd was door pro- of anti- amerikanisme.

Nu, de ‘kernproblematiek’ is natuurlijk de oorlog en niet de wapens die erin gebruikt worden. Het is nogal wiedes dat de oorlog in Vietnam een veel grotere misdaad was dan de napalm die er gebruikt werd (want ook met perfect legale wapens zou het een gigantische misdaad gebleven zijn). Natuurlijk maken de onnodige gruweldaden het nog veel erger. En zijn ze ook een argument tegen die oorlog in het bijzonder en tegen oorlog in het algemeen. Dus spaar mij uw gemoraliseer au dessus de la melée, en stel uzelf misschien eens wat ethico-politieke vragen. Bijvoorbeeld over het te pas en te onpas gebruik van het woord anti- Amerikanisme. Het is een geniale uitvinding: wie kritiek heeft op de Israëlische politiek is anti- semiet en naar analogie heeft men een term uitgevonden die ook school maakt, namelijk wie de politiek van de VS veroordeelt, getuigt van anti-Amerikanisme.

Ik zeg het hier nog eens duidelijk: ik hou van Amerika. Van Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Warhol, Art deco, Skyscrapers, New York, Westerns, film noir en zo kan ik nog even doorgaan. Net zoals ik een enorme bewondering voor en affiniteit heb met de joodse cultuur: van de Kaballa tot Derrida. Zowat al mijn maîtres à penser zijn joden. Maar dat belet niet dat ik het mijn verdomde plicht vind om uitdrukkelijk en met luide stem te protesteren tegen de muur in Israël, tegen ‘het neoconservatieve project voor een nieuwe Amerikaanse eeuw‘ als een cynische doctrine voor militarisering van de planeet en wetteloze wereldoverheersing, tegen de war on terror als planetaire uitzonderingstoestand, tegen de oorlog in Irak (die Bush gisteren nog ‘de speerpunt van de war on terror’ noemde terwijl er geen enkele link met Al Quaeda bestond) en tegen alle misdaden in deze meest misselijke oorlog sinds Vietnam. Dat heeft met anti-Amerikanisme niets, maar dan ook volstrekt niets te maken. Mij zijn ideologische overwegingen en partijpolitieke lijnen helemaal vreemd, maar de onverschilligheid van de Westerse publieke opinie tegenover deze grootschalige misdaden in naam van vrijheid en democratie, verplicht mij ertoe, als intellectueel, mijn stem te verheffen. Het is mijns inziens de plicht van elke burger. Helaas weet deze burger, net als u blijkbaar, niet de helft van de gruwelen die er zich nu, as we speak, afspelen. Jammer.

Maar geleidelijk komt de waarheid aan het licht. En daarom is dit debat over witte fosfor zo belangrijk en daarom dank ik u voor uw preciseringen, hoe volstrekt vreemd ook uw conclusies en afleidingen mogen zijn. Wie is hier ideologisch bevooroordeeld? Zo zou ik mij bijna beginnen afvragen.  

Lieven De Cauter

filosoof (Kuleuven, Rits, Berlage Institute)

initiatiefnemer van het bRussells Tribunal

www.brusselstribunal.org


 Star Wars in Iraq

(16 May 2006)

Majid Al Ghezali They used incredible weapons

 

Patrick Dillon Experimental weapons?

 

Majid Al Ghezali Yes… Yes, I think. They shoot the bus. We saw the bus like a cloth, like a wet cloth. It seemed like a Volkswagen, a big bus like a Volkswagen.

 

This testimony was reported to American filmmaker Patrick Dillon a few weeks after the battle for the airport. The person interviewed, Majid al Ghezali, is a well-known and respected man in Baghdad, who is the first violinist in the city orchestra.

In addition to describing the battle, Majid al Ghezali wanted to show Patrick Dillon the site near the airport where this mysterious weapon was used, along with the traces of fused metal still visible, and the irregularly sized ditches where the cadavers were buried before they were exhumed.

We sought out Majid al Ghezali to hear more details of his story. We met up with him in Amman and he pointed out some inexplicable peculiarities on the bodies of the victims of the battle for the airport.

 

Majid Al Ghezali Just the head was burnt. In the other parts of the body there wasn’t anything.

 

Al Ghezali reported that he had seen three passengers in a car, all dead, with their faces and teeth burnt, their clothes intact, and no sign of projectiles.

 

Majid Al Ghezali There wasn’t any bullet. I saw their teeth, just the teeth, and they had no eyes, all of them, there was nothing on their bodies.

 

There were other inexplicable aspects: the terrain where the battle took place was dug up by the American military and replaced with other fresh earth; the bodies that were not hit by projectiles had shrunk to just slightly more than one meter in height.

 

Majid Al Ghezali Except the ones killed by the bullets, most of them became very small. I mean… like that… Something like that.

 

When we asked Majid what weapon he imagined had been used, he said that he had reached the conclusion that it must have been a laser weapon.

 

Majid Al Ghezali One year later we heard that they used an update technology, a unique one, like lasers.

 

We found another disturbing document on the use of mysterious weapons in Iraq, which referred to episodes that took place almost at the same time as those described by Majid al Ghezali.

 

Saad al Falluji They were 26 in the bus. About 20 of them had no head, the head had been cut, some of them had no arms or no legs. The only unwounded was the driver and really I don’t know how he reach our hospital, because one arm was on his side, one head just beside him. It was a very strange and horrible situation.

In the roof of the car there were parts of the body: intestines, brains, all parts of the body. It was a very very very miserable situation.

 

Geert Van Moorter (medical doctor working in Iraq during and after the war, as a volunteer for the belgiam NGO Medical Aid fot the Third World) Do you have idea with what kind of weapon the attacked the bus? 

 

Saad al Falluji We don’t know with what kind of weapon they hit this bus.

 

Doctor n°2 It seems to be a new weapon

 

Saad al Falluji Yes, a new weapon

 

Doctor n°2 They are trying to do experiments on our civilians. Nobody could identify the type of this weapon.

 

We went to Belgium to find the filmmaker of this sequence, Geert Van Moorter, a doctor working as a volunteer in Iraq.

 

Geert Van Moorter This footage is taken at the General Teaching Hospital in Hilla, which is about 100 Km from Baghdad, and close to the historical site of Babylon. There I talked with the colleague doctor Saad al Falluji, which is the chief surgeon in that hospital.

Doctor al Falluji said me that the survivors that he operated said him that they did not hear any noise, so there was no explosion to hear, no metal fragments or shrapnels or bullets in their bodies, so they themselves were thinking of some strange kind of weapon which they did not know.    

 

Let’s hear Dr. Saad el Falluji’s story about this in more detail.

 

Saad al Falluji This bus was very crowded, they were going from Hilla to Kifil, to find their families, but before they had arrived at the American checkpoint the villagers said to them “return back, return back”. When the bus tried to return back it was shot by the checkpoint.

 

Geert Van Moorter No gunshot wounds?

 

Saad al Falluji No, no, I don’t know what it was. We are here 10 surgeons and we couldn’t decide which was the weapon that hit this car.      

 

Geert Van Moorter But inside the bodies you did not discover ordinary bullets?

 

Saad al Falluji We didn’t find bullets, but most of the passengers were dead, so they took them immediately to the refrigerator and we couldn’t dissect and see, but in those who were alive we didn’t find any kind of bullet. We didn’t find bullets in their bodyes.

 

Doctor n°2 Something cutting organs, cutting limbs, attacking the abdomen, attacking the neck and goes out.

 

Dr. Falluji also ended up speaking about a laser weapon....

 

Saad al Falluji I don’t think that the bombing, or the cluster bombs, or the laser weapons can bring democracy to our country.

 

As in any war, the war in Iraq, left us a dreadful gallery of horror - images of mutilations that not even doctors can explain. The witnesses referred to laser weapons, arms with mysterious effects. We do not know what kind of weapons could produce such terrible effects. We tried to learn more about it, by asking for interviews to members of companies manufacturing laser and microwave weapons. Yet, the US Defence Department prevented any information from being released to us. They also did not answer – up to the time the film was edited – the questions we had sent them in order to know weather or not experimental weapons had been tested in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We then reviewed the Pentagon’s media conferences released before the II Gulf War. Willingness to test new weapons emerged form the words of both the Defence Secretary and General Meyers. The questions from the media on direct energy and microwave weapons produced a certain amount of embarrassment.

 

American journalist Mr. Secretary, can I ask you a question about some of the technology that you're developing to fight the war on terrorists, specifically directed energy and high-powered microwave technology? Do you -- when do you envision that you can weaponize that type of technology?

 

Donald Rumsfeld Goodness, it is in -- for the most part, the kinds of things you're talking about are in varying early stages. (To the general.) Do you want to -- do you have anything you would add?

 

General Myers I don't think I would add much. It's -- I think they are in early stages and probably not ready for employment at this point.

 

Donald Rumsfeld in the normal order of things, when you invest in research and development and begin a developmental project, you don't have any intention or expectations that one would use it. On the other hand, the real world intervenes from time to time, and you reach in there and take something out that is still in a developmental stage, and you might use it. So the -- your question's not answerable. It is -- depends on what happens in the future and how well things move along the track and whether or not someone feels it's appropriate to reach into a development stage and see if something might be useful, as was the case with the unmanned aerial vehicles.

 

American journalist But you sound like you're willing to experiment with it.

 

General Myers Yeah, I think that's the point. And I think -- and it's -- and we have, I think, from the beginning of this conflict -- I think General Franks has been very open to looking at new things, if there are new things available, and has been willing to put them into the fight, even before they've been fully wrung out. And I think that's -- not referring to these particular cases of directed energy or high-powered microwaves, but sure. And we will continue to do that.

 

But what is meant by directed-energy and microwave weapons? We went to ask retired colonel John Alexander, former program director in one of the most important military research laboratories in the United States, Los Alamos National Laboratory.

 

Retired Colonel John B. Alexander The research and the concepts for directed energy weapons go back many decades. What is happening is that the technology has now advanced sufficiently that now we are starting to see these weapons becoming real.

There are several types of directed energy weapons and basically what they do is they’re known as “speed of light” because they shoot electrons very fast over very long distances. Lasers of course are in the light range, then there are microwave weapons that are operating at other frequencies, but basically they’re beam weapons, which is nothing physical that goes out, because they move electrons, while the kinetic weapons shoot big bullets to go out and physically hit and destroy something. These work because the energy is deposed on the target and causes some effect. 

 

These images document one of the THEL tests. THEL stands for Tactical High Energy Laser. In the sequence, you can see the laser beam hit and destroy missiles and mortar rounds as they are about to hit the objective.

In this other test we see the laser beam identify and destroy two missiles at the same time.

 

It doesn’t make any noise and it’s invisible?

 

Retired Colonel John B. Alexander Some are visible, some are just outside… You have, you know, in the infrared range…

What’s emerging now are laser weapons where the effect is that that of the laser. They can be all burners, in what we call High Energy Lasers, because with the concentrated energy you can literally drill holes, you know, in the target.

 

Former Pentagon analyst William Arkin, who presently works as a journalist for the Washington Post, also confirms this revolutionary change from kinetic weapons to energy weapons.

 

William Arkin For thousands of years, the way in which you have killed someone is you have hit them with a sword, a sphere, an arrow, a bullet, a bomb. It’s kinetic, you’re killing them by hitting them. And now, all of the sudden, out of nowhere, you have a completely new physical principle being applied in killing people, in which they don’t know that they’re being killed because their skin and body is being heated by high power microwaves or they are being hit by a laser that would have an instantaneous effect.

 

There are other types of weapons made with lasers, such as the device we can see in this sequence. The target is not hit by a projectile, but rather by an impulse of energy that manages to bore through the armor of an armored car.

Excluding acoustic weapons, for the moment, the only sign of the use of energy weapons in a war scenario is a laser device known as Zeus. According to official Pentagon sources, military vehicles equipped with this laser device have been used in Afghanistan to explode mines. According to two reliable military information sites – Defense Tech and Defence Industry Daily - at least three such vehicles are being used in Iraq as well and some people report having seen them.

 

Geert Van Moorter When you showed me the picture of what you described that is a laser weapon, it reminded me that I was talking with some American soldiers, in August 2003, and there was some kind of box on their tank with a blue light like this. I recall it very well not because they said me what it was used for, but because I was teasing a translator, which was an Iraqi female, by telling her “look, with this kind of thing they can look through and see somebody without clothes”. That’s why I remind it, but I have seen for sure this kind of thing on that tank.

 

William Arkin is one of the American experts who follows the Pentagon activity most closely. So what does Arkin think about the possibility of the use of directed energy weapons in battle in Iraq?

 

William Arkin You know, there’s even some possibility that high power microwaves have been used experimentally. I think that the panic about IEDs, about Improvised Explosives Devices, has been so bad that if these things are sitting in the lab, I’m sure that they want to get them to Iraq to see whether they are effective. So I can imagine that there could be some, what we call, “black” use of these weapons, but not in any significant way, and certainly not in such a way that one would conclude that they’ve had any impact.

 

But let’s look at the Pentagon budget figures to see how important the outlay is for directed energy weapons.

 

William Arkin Right now you have about $50 million a year being spent for non-lethal weapons, you have about another $200 million or so being spent on High Power Microwaves, Active Denial type Systems, you’ve got probably another $100-200 million being spent on “secret”, “black” laser programs, and then you have the big lasers, the High Energy Lasers of the Air force and the other Tactical Lasers. So probably, when you add all of that up, you know the United States are probably spending $½ billion a year right now on directed energy weapons. This is a significant amount of money; this is the size of the Defence Budget of some countries in Europe.       

 

You might think that energy weapons only pose a danger for the countries involved in a military conflict, but that’s not the case. One particular weapon called the Active Denial System – better known as the pain ray – has been built specifically for use in maintaining public order. Given its claim to be non-lethal and the suffering it produces, this weapon could become a very controversial one.

 

Retired Colonel John B. Alexander The Active Denial System is a Millimetre Wave System, operates at about 93 GHz. It sends out a beam for a very long distance, and what’s important about it is that when it hits the skin it penetrates only a very slight, for a few millimetres under the skin and it it’s the pain receptors and causes, you know, people to be adverse to the pain.

It hurts, it hurts a lot.

The tests that had been run they were to go for 3 seconds, each individual was given a kill switch and nobody made 3 seconds. The answer to the pain is extremely rapid, and you don’t have to do it very long, I mean, it gets your attention instantly. 

 

To understand the consequences this new weapon could have for human rights we went to the Empire State Building in Manhattan, home of the offices of Human Rights Watch, one of the most important human rights organizations.

 

Marc Garlasco We can see the effects of a gun very easily and understand them, but when you cannot see the effect of a weapon because it is not visible and because the science is not very well understood because technology is so new, then it becomes a grieve concern that enrages the states for potential human rights violations and abuses. And that is something that we have to understand about the Active Denial System, that it exists to create pain and is very different in most other non-lethal weapons where the desire is either to immobilize someone or make it so that they cannot walk in the area. With the Active Denial System the main desire is pain, and we have to be very careful because in international law is very clear that devices created solely for the creation of pain can eventually lead to torture and are therefore illegal, and it’s very critical that the United States does a careful legal review of the Active Denial System and is open with their findings. To date they have not been open.

 

William Arkin Some people say “ooh acoustic weapons, or High Power Microwave weapons, the Active Denial System, we can use it for crowd control…”

What crowd control? What does that mean?

It pretends that anyone in the crowd is eighteen years old, and male and in good health, and we’re just going to shoot these microwaves or shoot these acoustic weapons on this crowd, and it’s going to be carefully calibrated at a power level, in the intensity and at a range to affect all these eighteen years old men in the crowd.

Well, what crowd is made up of just eighteen years old men?

Look at the Intifada, look at any riot in Iraq today: children, women, pregnant women, old people, and so the effect… the effect that you would need in order to have an impact on a healthy male, you target, would be too much for a child or a pregnant woman or an old person.    

 

Marc Garlasco There’s been a lot of discussion also about the potential for eye damage. They have done some tests on the skin to show that is not harmful, but where is the eye test? And there are concerns raised by scientists about potential harm to the eyes. And we also have concerns about the effects to children, to the infirm, to the elderly… Why are they not producing the data? Why are they not sharing it with us?

 

As regards the use of the pain ray in the field of war, the military review Defence Industry Daily reports that three Sheriff vehicles were ordered at a price of about 31 million dollars, and that approval has been requested for another 14 vehicles by Brigadier General James Haggin, chief of staff of the multinational forces in Iraq.

 

Retired Colonel John B. Alexander In my view the next global conflict has already began and we don’t have an understanding of what that conflict looks like. Because of the issues of terrorism for instance the adversaries are going to be I think mixed in with civilian populations. We need weapons that allow us to be able to sort, minimize what they call “collateral casualties”. I think the battlefields are going to be in urban areas.

 

William Arkin If you look at the Active Denial System, or the High Power Microwaves, or the LRAD, the acoustic weapon, what you see is enthusiasm for those are being displayed by the Us Northern Command, which is the homeland defence command of the United States, or other counterterrorism organizations, which are looking at them like “oh well, maybe, in some special circumstances we can take these secret weapons, boutique weapons, you know, we have only 10 or 20 of them somewhere in a secret place and if we need them we can pull them out and use them in this kind of specialty warfare”. So ironically, even though the Americans would probably think “oh yeah, special new weapon, it would make sense because Iraq is such a mess and maybe we can do something to turn that corner in some way with the use of this weapon, the truth is that the only real way in which they, the military, sees the prospects for the deployment of these is in their domestic use. And you know quite well… that if the United States adopts these weapons for their domestic defence… Nato in Italy are not far behind…