Andrew Buncombe / The Independent & Gabriele Zamparini / GlobalResearch – 2005-11-11 09:00:31
US Criticized for Use of Phosphorus in Fallujah Raids
Andrew Buncombe / The (London) Independent
WASHINGTON (November 9. 2005 ) — A leading campaign group has demanded an urgent inquiry into a report that US troops indiscriminately used a controversial incendiary weapon during the battle for Fallujah. Photographic evidence gathered from the aftermath of the battle suggests that women and children were killed by horrific burns caused by the white phosphorus shells dropped by US forces.
The Pentagon has always admitted it used phosphorus during last year’s assault on the city, which US commanders said was an insurgent stronghold. But they claimed they used the brightly burning shells “very sparingly” and only to illuminate combat areas.
But the documentary Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre, broadcast yesterday by the Italian state broadcaster, RAI, suggested the shells were commonly used and killed an unspecified number of civilians. Photographs obtained by RAI from the Studies Centre of Human Rights in Fallujah, show the bodies of dozens of Fallujah residents whose skin has been dissolved or caramelized by the effects of the phosphorus shells. The use of incendiary weapons against civilian targets is banned by treaty.
Last night Robert Musil, director of the group Physicians for Social Responsibility, called for an investigation. He told The Independent: “When there is clear testimony that use of such weapons has done this, it demands a full investigation. From Vietnam onwards there has been a general condemnation of [the use of white phosphorus] and concern about the injuries and consequences.”
The 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons bans the use of weapons such as napalm and white phosphorus against civilian – but not military – targets. The US did not sign the treaty and has continued to use white phosphorus and an updated version of napalm, called Mark 77 firebombs, which use kerosene rather than petrol. A senior US commander previously has confirmed that 510lb napalm bombs had been used in Iraq and said that, “the generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect.”
John Pike, director of the Washington-based military studies group GlobalSecurity.Org, said the smoke caused by the bombs could confuse or blind the enemy or mark a target. “If it hits your clothes it will burn your clothes and if it hits your skin it will just keep on burning,” he said.
Experts said that, if not removed, white phosphorus – known as Willy Pete – can burn to the bone. The fumes from phosphorus cause severe eye irritation.
Fallujah: War Crimes and Media Lies
Gabriele Zamparini / GlobalResearch.ca
(November 10, 2005) — November 9, 2005 on the BBC News website, under the title US ‘uses incendiary arms’ in Iraq I could still read: “Italian state TV, RAI, has broadcast a documentary accusing the US military of using white phosphorus bombs against civilians in the Iraqi city of Falluja.
“Rai says this amounts to the illegal use of chemical arms, though the bombs are considered incendiary devices. Eyewitnesses and ex-US soldiers say the weapon was used in built-up areas in the insurgent-held city. The US military denies this, but admits using white phosphorus bombs in Iraq to illuminate battlefields.”
Yesterday I wrote on why the BBC NEWS is wrong when (in its article: “though the bombs are considered incendiary devices” and with an email to me: “White Phosphorous is not a chemical weapon”) it denies that the white phosphorus is a chemical weapon.
According to international law, any chemical used to harm or kill people or animals is considered a chemical weapon. In the words of Peter Kaiser (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons):
“Any chemical that is used against humans or against animals that causes harm or death through the toxic properties of the chemical, ARE considered chemical weapons and as long as the purpose is to cause harm — that is prohibited behaviour.”
The BBC NEWS article goes on:
“The US military denies this, but admits using white phosphorus bombs in Iraq to illuminate battlefields.”
The US Government had already denied the claims in the past. In Did the US Use “Illegal” Weapons in Fallujah? Media allegations claim the U.S. used outlawed weapons during combat in Iraq the US Department of State writes:
Finally, some news accounts have claimed that US forces have used “outlawed” phosphorus shells in Fallujah. Phosphorus shells are not outlawed. US forces have used them very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes. They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters.
There is a great deal of misinformation feeding on itself about US forces allegedly using “outlawed” weapons in Fallujah. The facts are that US forces are not using any illegal weapons in Fallujah or anywhere else in Iraq. (Created: 09 Dec 2004 Updated: 27 Jan 2005)
Obviously nobody would expect the truth about war crimes and mass murders coming from those accused of committing such crimes against humanity. Nobody but the BBC and most of the media. Obviously everybody would expect independent and honest information to be sceptical towards military and governmental sources and to investigate, investigate, investigate. Everybody but the BBC and most of the media.
They do not believe independent journalism. They do not trust independent sources. They do not see their job as discovering the truth, investigate, questioning the official version. They have sold their souls for a brilliant career and – as Noam Chomsky has recently said – “to make sure they are respectable enough to be invited to the right dinner parties.”
OK, here it’s the challenge! If the BBC (and most of the media) trust only military sources, then a military source they’ll have. From US Army’s “Field Artillery Magazine”:
“9. Munitions. The munitions we brought to this fight were 155-mm highexplosive (HE) M107 (short-range) and M795 (long-range) rounds, illumination and white phosphorous (WP, M110 and M825), with point-detonating (PD), delay, time and variable-time (VT) fuzes. (…) White Phosphorous. WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired “shake and bake” missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out. (…) We used improved WP for screening missions when HC smoke would have been more effective and saved our WP for lethal missions.”
THE FIGHT FOR FALLUJAH — TF 2-2 IN FSE AAR: Indirect Fires in the Battle of Fallujah By Captain James T. Cobb, First Lieutenant Christopher A. LaCour and Sergeant First Class William H. Hight”
More about the SOURCE:
Captain James T. (Tom) Cobb has been assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery (1-6 FA), 1st Infantry Division, and served as the Fire Support Officer (FSO) for Task Force 2d Battalion, 2d Infantry, (TF 2-2 IN) in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) II, including during the Battle of Fallujah. He also deployed with Kosovo Force (KFOR) 4B.
First Lieutenant Christopher A. LaCour, assigned to 1-6 FA, has been the Targeting Officer for TF 2-2 IN in OIF II, including during the Battle of Fallujah. Also in OIF II, he was a Platoon Leader for 2/C/1-6 FA and, previously, a Fire Direction Officer in the same battery.
Sergeant First Class William H. Hight, also assigned to 1-6 FA, has been TF 2-2 IN’s Fire Support NCO since September 2003, deploying in OIF II and fighting in the Battle of Fallujah. He also deployed to Bosnia as part of the Implementation Force (IFOR) and to Kosovo as part of KFOR 4B.
Here it’s what Darrin Mortenson of the North County Times wrote in April 2004:
Fighting from a Distance
After pounding parts of the city for days, many Marines say the recent combat escalated into more than they had planned for, but not more than they could handle. “It’s a war,” said Cpl. Nicholas Bogert, 22, of Morris, N.Y.
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.
“We had all this SASO (security and stabilization operations) training back home,” he said. “And then this turns into a real goddamned war.”
Just as his team started to eat a breakfast of packaged rations Saturday, Bogert got a fire mission over the radio.
“Stand by!” he yelled, sending Lance Cpls. Jonathan Alexander and Jonathan Millikin scrambling to their feet.
Shake ‘n’ Bake
Joking and rousting each other like boys just seconds before, the men were instantly all business. With fellow Marines between them and their targets, a lot was at stake.
Bogert received coordinates of the target, plotted them on a map and called out the settings for the gun they call “Sarah Lee.”
Millikin, 21, from Reno, Nev., and Alexander, 23, from Wetumpka, Ala., quickly made the adjustments. They are good at what they do.
“Gun up!” Millikin yelled when they finished a few seconds later, grabbing a white phosphorus round from a nearby ammo can and holding it over the tube.
“Fire!” Bogert yelled, as Millikin dropped it.
The boom kicked dust around the pit as they ran through the drill again and again, sending a mixture of burning white phosphorus and high explosives they call “shake ‘n’ bake” into a cluster of buildings where insurgents have been spotted all week.
They say they have never seen what they’ve hit, nor did they talk about it as they dusted off their breakfast and continued their hilarious routine of personal insults and name-calling. (from VIOLENCE SUBSIDES FOR MARINES IN FALLUJAH by DARRIN MORTENSON, North County Times, April 10, 2004)
The silence and the lies of the mainstream media have resulted in war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Iraq war has started with lies and with lies it has been continuing since. We shall never forget the words used at the Nazi criminals’ trials:
“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” — Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Trial of German Major War Criminals, Nuremberg, Germany, 1946.
Now, it’s up to us…
Thanks to Mark Kraft for sending me important information used for this article.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) at www.globalresearch.ca
© Copyright Gabriele Zamparini, GlobalResearch.ca, 2005
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