Chris Floyd / Moscow Times & Mark Kraft / Insomnia.Live – 2005-11-14 23:44:50
MOSCOW (November 11, 2005) — This week, the broadcast of a shattering new documentary, provided fresh confirmation of a gruesome war crime covered by this column nine months ago: the use of chemical weapons by U.S. forces during the frenzied destruction of Fallujah in November 2004.
Using filmed and photographic evidence, eyewitness accounts and the direct testimony of U.S. soldiers who took part in the attacks, the documentary — “Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre” — catalogs the American use of white phosphorus shells and a new, “improved” form of napalm that turned human beings into “caramelized” fossils, with their skin dissolved and turned to leather on their bones. The film was produced by RAI, the Italian state network run by a government that backed the war.
Vivid images show civilians, including women and children, who had been burned alive in their homes, even in their beds. This illegal use of chemical weapons — at the order of the Bushist brass — and the killing of civilians are confirmed by former U.S. soldiers interviewed on camera.
“I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah,” said one soldier, quoted in The Independent. “In military jargon, it’s known as Willy Pete. Phosphorus burns bodies; in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone. … I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 meters is done for.”
The broadcast is an important event: shameful, damning, convincing.
But it shouldn’t be news. Earlier this year, as reported here on March 18, a medical team sent to Fallujah by the Bush-backed Iraqi interim government issued its findings at a news conference in Baghdad.
The briefing, by Health Ministry investigator Dr. Khalid ash-Shaykhli, was attended by more than 20 major US and international news outlets. Not a single one of these bastions of a free and vigorous press reported on the event. Only a few small venues — such as the International Labor Communications Association — brought word of the extraordinary revelations to English-speaking audiences.
Yet this highly credible, pro-American official of a pro-occupation government confirmed, through medical examinations and the eyewitness testimony of survivors — including many civilians who had opposed the heavy-handed insurgent presence in the town — that “burning chemicals” had been used in the attack, in direct violation of international and US law.
“All forms of nature were wiped out” by the substances unleashed in the assault, including animals that had been killed by gas or chemical fire, said ash-Shaykhli. But apparently this kind of thing is not considered news anymore by the corporate gatekeepers of media “truth.”
As we noted here in March, ash-Shaykhli’s findings were buttressed by direct testimony from US Marines filing “after-action reports” on web sites for military enthusiasts back home. There, fresh from the battle, soldiers talked openly of the routine use of Willy Pete, propane bombs and “jellied gasoline” (napalm) in tactical assaults in Fallujah. As it says in the scriptures: By their war porn ye shall know them.
This week, as in March, the Pentagon said it only used white phosphorus shells in Fallujah for “illumination purposes.” But the documentary’s evidence belies them. Although there are indeed many white bombs bursting in air to bathe the city in unnatural light, the film clearly shows other phosphorus shells raining all the way to the ground, where they explode in fury throughout residential areas and spread their caramelizing clouds.
As Fallujah biologist Mohamed Tareq says in the film: “A rain of fire fell on the city, the people struck by this multicolored substance started to burn, we found people dead with strange wounds, the bodies burned but the clothes intact.”
The slaughter in Fallujah was a microcosm of the entire misbegotten enterprise launched by those two eminent Christian statesmen, US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair: a brutal act of collective punishment for defying the imperial will, a high-tech turkey shoot that mowed down the just and unjust alike, an idiotic strategic blunder that has exacerbated the violence and hatred it was meant to quell.
The vicious overkill of the Fallujah attack — where an estimated 1,200 civilians died while almost all of the targeted insurgents slipped away beforehand — alienated large swaths of previously neutral Iraqis and spurred many to join the resistance.
It further entangled the United States and Britain in a putrid swamp of war crime, state terrorism and atrocity, dragging them deeper into a moral equivalency with the murderous extremists whom the Christian leaders so loudly condemn.
Let’s give the last word to Jeff Engelhardt, one of the ex-servicemen featured in the documentary, who recently issued this plea to his fellow U.S. soldiers on Fight to Survive, a new dissident web site run by Iraqi War vets:
“I hope someday you find solace for the orders you have had to execute, for the carnage you helped take part in, and for the pride you wear supporting this bloodbath. Until then, you can only hope for an epiphany, something that stands out as completely immoral, that convinces you of the inhumanity of this war. I don’t know how much more proof you need.
“The criminal outrage of Abu Ghraib, the absolute massacre of Fallujah, the stray .50 caliber bullets or 40mm grenades or tank rounds fired in highly packed urban areas, 500-pound bombs dropped on innocent homes, the use of 25mm depleted uranium rounds, the inhumane use of white phosphorus, the hate and the blood and the misunderstandings … this is the war and the system that you support.”
• US forces ‘used chemical weapons’ during assault on city of Fallujah, The Independent, Nov. 8, 2005
• US ‘uses incendiary arms’ in Iraq, BBC, Nov. 8, 2005
• The White Death, Empire Burlesque, Nov. 9, 2005
• The Fight for Fallujah, Field Artillery magazine, March 2005
• US Army Admits Use of White Phosphorus as Weapon, Daily Kos, Nov. 9, 2005
• Napalm, Chemical Weapons Used at Fallujah: Iraqi Official, ILCA Online, March 7, 2005
• Stories From Fallujah, Iraq Dispatch, Feb. 8, 2005
• Iraqi Health Ministry Confirms Use of Prohibited Weapons in Attacks on al-Fallujah, Mafkarat al-Islam (Iraq), March 2, 2005
• The Eyewitnesses Must Be Crazy, Antiwar.com, March 15, 2005
• Life Under the Bombs in Iraq, TomDispatch, Feb. 2, 2005
• A War Crime in Real Time: Obliterating Fallujah, CounterPunch, Nov. 15, 2004
• Inside Fallujah: One Family’s Diary of Terror, Scotland Sunday Herald, Nov. 14, 2004
• US Strikes Raze Fallujah Hospital, BBC, Nov. 6, 2004
• Ghost City Calls for Help, BBC, Nov. 13, 2004
• Odd Happenings in Fallujah, Electronic Iraq, Jan. 18, 2005
• American Heroes, Baghdad Burning, Nov. 16, 2004
Copyright © 2005 The Moscow Times
US Army Article Confirms White Phosphorous Use In Fallujah
Mark Kraft, http://insomnia.livejournal.com
(November 11, 2005) — A March 2005 publication by the US Army confirms that US soldiers used white phosphorus offensively in the Battle of Fallujah. This directly contradicts statements made by the U.S. Department of Defense and by the US State Department.
The new discovery also backs up the allegations made in an Italian documentary screened this week concerning the use of white phosphorous in Fallujah. (See http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0511/S00143.htm)
The broadcast shows video of a U.S. helicopter repeatedly raining down a bombardment of white phosphorus across Fallujah at night. The U.S. State Department had previously released a statement categorically denying all use of white phosphorus during the battle of Fallujah except for illumination purposes. This confirms several firsthand reports from news sources at the time of the invasion.
In the video, Jeff Englehart, a Marine who served in Fallujah and who maintains a weblog at http://www.ftssoldier.blogspot.com, claims that there was widespread, indicriminate use of white phosphorus in last year’s attack on Fallujah.
The white phosphorus hits and disperses into an indiscriminately lethal cloud with a kill zone approximately a quarter of a mile wide — over a tenth of a mile in all directions. Although white phosphorus often has no effect on clothes, when it makes contact with a person’s skin, it will burn it down to the bone. If the gas is inhaled, it will blister the throat and lungs, causing rapid suffocation, burning the body from the inside.
Englehart heard officers approve requests for use of white phosphorus on a wide scale throughout the assault.
“It comes across the radio as a general transmission… we have speakers in our trucks. ‘We’re going to drop some Willy Pete.’ ‘Roger. Commence bombing'”
“We were told going into Fallujah that every single person going into the combat area that was walking, talking, breathing was an enemy combatant. . . It seemed like just a massive killing of Arabs. It looked like just a massive killing. . . Burned bodies. Burned children. Burned women. White phosphorus kills indiscriminately.”
Englehart also reported that the invasion of Fallujah was intentionally delayed by the Bush administration until after the election.
“It’s was definitely the case. Even in the military ranks, we knew what was going on. They told us…”
Here is the story on artillery use from the March/April edition of the US Army’s Field Artillery Magazine.The relevant mentions of white phosphorous in the article:
The munitions we brought to this fight were . . . illumination
and white phosphorous (WP, M110 and M825), with point-detonating (PD), delay, time and variable-time (VT) fuzes.”
“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.”
What the article does not say, however, is that there is no way you can use white phosphorus like that without forming a deadly chemical cloud that kills everything within a tenth of a mile in all directions from where it hits. Obviously, the effect of such deadly clouds weren’t just psychological in nature.
This claim of “shake and bake” is further confirmed in a news article by an embedded journalist at the time. See http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2004/04/11/military/iraq/19_30_504_10_04.text
“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… 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.”
• This directly contradicts a previous US State Department statement, (archived at: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0511/S00186.htm) , that WP was used “very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes”.
• Video of the Italian broadcast, which made the original claims, which is online at: MIRROR 1
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Uruknet .
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.