FALLUJAH, Iraq (SkyNews) May 29, 2008 – Families in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are calling for an investigation into their claims of a rise in the number of birth defects.
They have raised concerns about the weapons used by American forces in 2004 – when Fallujah suffered one of the heaviest bombardments of the entire war in Iraq.
But Hikmat Tawfeeq, deputy chairman of the Fallujah-based human rights group Alakhyar said: “We have around 200 cases of deformities recorded by our society. Most of these cases are birth deformities which have arisen after the bombing of Fallujah.”
Campaigners say officials are reluctant to speak out publicly, but at Fallujah’s children’s hospital one doctor told Sky News in the past month she has seen one or two cases of birth deformities every day.
An opthalmologist said he deals with four or five cases of newborn babies every week suffering from some form of eye deformity – and that has risen in the last two years.
FALLUJAH, Iraq (Bella Ciao) January 19, 2005 – Also last November , another Fallujah refugee from the Julan area, Abu Sabah told me, “They [U.S. military] used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud. Then small pieces fell from the air with long tails of smoke behind them.”
He explained that pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burned people’s skin even when water was dumped on their bodies, which is the effect of phosphorous weapons, as well as napalm. “People suffered so much from these, both civilians and fighters alike,” he said.
My friend Suthir [name changed to protect identity] was a member of one of the Iraqi Red Crescent relief convoys that was allowed into Fallujah at the end of November.
“I’m sure the Americans committed bad things there, but who can discover and say this?” she said when speaking of what she saw of the devastated city. “They didn’t allow us to go to the Julan area or any of the others where there was heavy fighting, and I’m sure that is where the horrible things took place.”
“The Americans didn’t let us in the places where everyone said there was napalm used,” she added. “Julan and those places where the heaviest fighting was, nobody is allowed to go there.”
“In the center of the Julan Quarter they are removing entire homes which have been bombed, meanwhile most of the homes that were bombed are left as they were. Why are they doing this?”
According to him, this was also done in the Nazal, Mualmeen, Jubail, and Shuhada’a districts, and the military began to do this after Eid, which was after Nov. 20 .
He told me he has watched the military use bulldozers to push the soil into piles and load it onto trucks to carry away. This was done in the Julan and Jimouriya quarters of the city, which is of course where the heaviest fighting occurred during the siege, as this was where resistance was the fiercest.
“At least two kilometers [1.2 mi.] of soil were removed,” he explained. “Exactly as they did at Baghdad Airport after the heavy battles there during the invasion and the Americans used their special weapons.”
He explained that in certain areas where the military used “special munitions,” 200 square meters [2,150 sq. ft.] of soil was being removed from each blast site.
In addition, many of his friends have told him that the military brought in water-tanker trucks to power blast the streets, although he hadn’t seen this himself.
“They went around to every house and have shot the water tanks,” he continued. “As if they are trying to hide the evidence of chemical weapons in the water, but they only did this in some areas, such as Julan and in the souk [market] there as well.” He first saw this having been done after Dec. 20 .
DailyKos by Avila – Nov. 21, 2004
Veteran journalist Simon Jenkins made just this point in a striking piece recently in the British Sunday Times (A wrecked nation, a desert, a ghost town. And this will be called victory). “In Vietnam,” he wrote, “the Americans destroyed the village to save it. In Iraq we destroy the city to save it.”
It seems that, as in Vietnam where napalm and white phosphorus — unbearably gruesome weapons — were commonly employed, American troops have already used white phosphorus in Falluja. (“Some artillery guns fired white phosphorous rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot be extinguished with water. Insurgents reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns.”)
My comment in 2005 – Cost of Iraq War
On 9 November, 2005 the Italian state-run broadcaster RAI ran a documentary titled “Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre” depicting what it alleges was the United States’ use of white phosphorus (WP) in the attack causing insurgents and civilians to be killed or injured by chemical burns . The effects of WP are very characteristic. The resulting bodies were partially turned into what appears to be ash, but sometimes the hands of the bodies had skin or skin layers peeled off and hanging like gloves instead. The documentary further claims that the United States used incendiary MK-77 bombs (similar to napalm). The use of incendiary weapons against civilians is illegal by Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (1980), however the US is not a signatory. Moreover, the 1983 Chemical Weapons Convention (signed by the US) prohibit the use of the chemical properties of white phosphorus against personnel. The documentary stated:
“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 US State Department initially denied using white phosphorus as a munition, a claim later contradicted by the Department of Defense when bloggers discovered a US Army magazine had run a story detailing its use in Fallujah. The US government maintains its denial of use against civilians, while trying to justify the offensive use of WP against enemy combatants. However, according to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, quoted by the RAI documentary, WP is allowed as an illumination device, not as an offensive weapon, for which its chemical properties are put to use. An article in Washington Post exactly a year before also pointed out the use of White Phosphorus in the battle, but attracted little attention.