BBC whitewashing of Iraq war crimes

This video from the USA says about itself:

The Story From Fallujah Covered Up By The US

26 September 2014

Shoot the Messenger (2005): How one journalist’s footage from Fallujah in the Iraq War caused a firestorm over acceptable rules of combat

The horrific shooting of an unarmed wounded Iraqi in a mosque shocked the world. But what really happened that day was never publicised. This exclusive report reveals the true story.

“I knew I had filmed something that has been captured on camera very few times in war,” states NBC reporter Kevin Sites. His footage of a marine shooting a wounded combatant was so shocking that most American audiences didn’t even get to see it. NBC released only a single black and white still. But even worse than the shooting, Sites alleges that four other wounded men were also killed in cold blood that day at the mosque. “These men were definitely shot again, freshly shot, after having been wounded the day before.” The killing of the other insurgents was largely ignored by the media at the time.

With the war such a hot political issue in America, the press is reluctant to criticise the actions of its own soldiers. In the original NBC report, Sites went to great lengths to justify the marine’s actions. But while the soldier involved was cleared of any wrong doing, Sites himself came under attack for releasing the footage. “I received thousands of hate mails and death threats saying I was a traitor.” The real issue of acceptable rules of combat seems to have been lost in the rush to discredit Sites.

By Ian Sinclair in Britain:

Fallujah: BBC whitewash of war crimes

Monday 1st November 2014

Ian Sinclair accuses Paul Wood of propaganda journalism over mass civilian deaths in the Iraq war

“The truth,” US historian Howard Zinn once wrote, “is so often the reverse of what has been told us by our culture that we cannot turn our heads far enough around to see it.”

A recent article by the BBC’s Paul Wood titled “Iraq’s hardest fight: The US battle for Fallujah 2004” perfectly illustrates Zinn’s truism.

Wood, an award-winning foreign correspondent, was writing about the 10th anniversary of the US assault on Fallujah, when he was embedded with US marines attacking the Iraqi city.

For Wood the story begins on March 31 2004, when four US private security contractors were ambushed in the centre of the city, killed, burned and strung up from a bridge.

In response the US launched its first attack in April 2004, killing approximately 800 people, including around 300 women and children, before its forces were ordered to pull back in the face of protests across Iraq and the world.

What Wood doesn’t mention is tensions in the city had been running high since April 2003 when US soldiers killed 17 protesters during a demonstration about US troops being stationed in a school.

In the days before the lynching of the private security contractors the US military had conducted a “sweep” through the city. During this operation, the Observer reported that at least six Iraqi civilians were killed, including an 11-year-old boy.

Speaking about the aftermath of the first US attack, Wood repeats the official narrative of the US military, claiming that “Fallujah became a safe haven for al Qaida.”

In contrast Fadhil Badrani, an Iraqi journalist and resident of Fallujah who reported regularly for Reuters, wrote an article for the BBC News website in which he noted: “I am not aware of any foreign fighters in Fallujah.”

Turning to the second US assault in November 2004, Wood makes the following, highly misleading, statement: “Most of the people had left Fallujah … the image of a city packed with non-combatants being pounded with artillery and white phosphorus was wrong.”

In reality, when the US attack began on November 8 2004 the American Forces Press Service reported that out of a total population of 300,000 “officials estimate that between 50,000 and 60,000 people are left in the city.”

According to the New York Times, just before the US forces moved into Fallujah “heavy artillery could be heard pounding positions in or near the city every few minutes. An entire apartment complex was ground to rubble. A train station was obliterated in a hail of 2,000-pound bombs.”

The Washington Post reported the US military used white phosphorus during the fighting, a fact confirmed by a 2005 edition of Field Artillery magazine, the official publication of the US Army Field Artillery Corps.

While Wood’s words are a classic example of a journalist echoing US propaganda, arguably it is what he chooses not to mention that is most shocking.

Contemporary news reports and subsequent commentary confirm that the US committed a number of war crimes in Fallujah. Prior to the attack, the Washington Post reported that US forces cut off Fallujah’s water and electricity supply.

This contravened the Geneva Conventions which states the “starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited” and led to predictable results. Rasoul Ibrahim, who fled the fighting, said: “There’s no water. People are drinking dirty water. Children are dying.”

The New York Times reported that within an hour of the start of the ground attack, US troops seized the Fallujah General Hospital: “Patients and hospital employees were rushed out of rooms by armed soldiers and ordered to sit or lie on the floor while troops tied their hands behind their backs.”

Quoting an Iraqi doctor, the Independent reported that a US air strike had destroyed an emergency clinic killing 20 doctors. The Geneva Conventions state that medical establishments “may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the parties to the conflict.”

US forces blocked aid convoys from reaching Fallujah, only letting them enter after five days of fighting. “From a humanitarian point of view, it is a disaster, there is no other way to describe it,” Firdoos al-Ubaidi from the Iraqi Red Crescent Society said on November 10 2004.

“We have asked for permission from the Americans to go into the city and help the people there but we haven’t heard anything back from them.”

At the same time they were stopping help getting to the city, US forces were preventing military-aged males from leaving.

“Hundreds of men trying to flee the assault on Fallujah have been turned back by US troops following orders to allow only women, children and the elderly to leave,” the Associated Press reported.

James Ross, senior legal advisor to Human Rights Watch, said that returning unarmed men to the war zone “would be a war crime.”

Those unable to escape Fallujah had to contend with US forces implementing “a strict night-time shoot-to-kill curfew” with “anyone spotted in the soldiers’ night vision sights … shot,” according to the Times.

Patrick Cockburn, the Independent’s veteran Middle East correspondent, wrote: “US commanders largely treated Fallujah as a free-fire zone to try to reduce casualties among their own troops.”

The outcome of this unrestrained violence was 800 dead in the first week of fighting, according to one Red Cross official. In January 2005, the director of the main hospital told the UN that 700 bodies — including 550 women and children — had been recovered from just a third of the city’s neighbourhoods.

Local authorities said about 60 percent of all houses in the city were totally destroyed or seriously damaged while the Fallujah Compensation Committee reported that 9,000 shops, 65 mosques, 60 schools and a heritage library had been demolished. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced.

In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf war US academic Edward Herman penned his seminal essay The Banality of Evil about the normalisation of “ugly, degrading, murderous and unspeakable acts.”

According to Herman “there is usually a division of labour in doing and rationalising the unthinkable, with the direct brutalising and killing done by one set of individuals,” while “it is the function of the experts, and the mainstream media, to normalise the unthinkable for the general public.’’

We in the West should be deeply ashamed and angry about what our armed forces did to Fallujah in 2004 — described as “our Guernica” by the Guardian’s Jonathan Steele and independent journalist Dahr Jamail.

Instead what we get is Wood’s embedded puff piece complete with a sub-heading referring to when “US troops and coalition forces fought their deadliest battle since the Vietnam war.”

If Emily Thornberry MP has to step down from the shadow cabinet for tweeting a photo of a house decked out with English flags, then Wood should definitely go for his whitewashing of US war crimes in Iraq.

Ian Sinclair is the author of The March That Shook Blair, published by Peace News Press.

THE new Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has announced that an investigation has uncovered that the Iraqi state was paying the wages of 50,000 ‘ghost soldiers’ whose wages were being pocketed by corrupt senior officials. This revelation will come as no surprise either to Iraqis, or to the US and UK governments. The US in particular has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq, first of all to remove the Saddam Hussein regime, and then to put in place, and keep in place the most corrupt regime in Iraq’s recent history: here.


Leukaemia and birth defect babies in Iraq

Baby born in Iraq with birth deformities (Photo credit: Karen Robinson)

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Huge increase in leukaemia and birth defects in Iraq

THE use of depleted uranium in Iraq by the US and UK military has led to a huge increase in leukemia and birth defects in the cities of Najaf, Fallujah and Basra, according to reports from the Norwegian government and a Dutch report.

The city of Najaf saw one of the most severe military actions during the 2003 imperialist invasion.

Every residential street in several neighbourhoods has seen multiple cases of families whose children are either suffering from cancer or whose children have died from it.

This video says about itself:

23 July 2013

The US military’s use of depleted uranium in Iraq has led to a sharp increase in leukemia and birth defects in the city of Najaf — and panicked residents are fearing for their health. Cancer is now more common than the flu, a local doctor tells RT.

The city of Najaf saw one of the most severe military actions during the 2003 invasion. RT traveled to the area, quickly learning that every residential street in several neighborhoods has seen multiple cases of families whose children are ill, as well as families who have lost children, and families who have many relatives suffering from cancer.

Speaking on the rooftop of her house instead of her laboratory, Dr. Sundus Nsaif says the city has seen a “dramatic rise” in cancer and birth defects since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. Nsaif said the alternative location was chosen because there is an active push by the government not to talk about the issue, perhaps in an effort not to embarrass coalition forces.

“After the start of the Iraq war, rates of cancer, leukemia and birth defects rose dramatically in Najaf. The areas affected by American attacks saw the biggest increases. We believe it’s because of the’ illegal’ weapons like depleted uranium that were used by the Americans. When you visit the hospital here you see that cancer is more common than the flu,” Nsaif told RT’s Lucy Kafanov.

The News Line article continues:

Interviewed by Russia Today (RT), Dr Sundus Nsaif says the city has seen a ‘dramatic rise’ in cancer and birth defects since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

‘After the start of the Iraq war, rates of cancer, leukemia and birth defects rose dramatically in Najaf.
‘The areas affected by American attacks saw the biggest increases.

‘We believe it’s because of the illegal weapons like depleted uranium that were used by the Americans.

‘When you visit the hospital here you see that cancer is more common than the flu.’

Leila Jabar, whose three children died because they were born with congenital deformities, told RT: ‘The war isn’t over. Yes, the Americans are gone, but we are still suffering from the consequences.’

She believes that radioactive ammunition used by American forces during the war is responsible for the health problems of her children.

Her only surviving child, an 8-months-old boy Ahmed, has a nervous system disorder and doctors don’t expect him to survive his first birthday.

Dr Chris Busby, who has extensively researched the effects of depleted uranium (DU), said the only source of uranium in Iraq was used by American-led forces.

Quoted in a Dutch report, he said: ‘We looked at the parents of children with congenital malformation and we did analysis of their hair to see what was inside their hair that might be genotoxic, that might be the sort of thing that can cause congenital malformation.

‘The only thing that we found was uranium. We found uranium in the mothers of the children with congenital malformations.’

In Fallujah, there have been extremely high rates of congenital birth defects.

At least two types of bomb that utilise DU munitions were employed against Fallujah by the imperialists in 2003.

At least 440,000kg of DU were used in Iraq, some ending up as DU dust, and some as corroding penetrators – leaving a still unknown number of sites with contaminated vehicles, buildings and soils, according to the Dutch report by the Ikv Pax Christi charity.

The report states: ‘The exposure risks to civilians from the use of DU in populated areas have been compounded by the US’s persistent refusal to release the data that could have helped facilitate the effective assessment and clearance work, providing that the Iraqi government had the capacity and finances to undertake it.

‘Aside from DU’s potential impact on physical health, it is highly likely that its use and presence in Iraq has led to heightened fear and anxiety, which in turn may have created a measurable psycho-social impact.’

Another report, funded by the Norwegian government, recently found that depleted uranium was used against civilian targets in populated areas in Iraq in 2003.

It highlights an incident in Najaf where a Bradley armoured fighting vehicle fired 305 depleted uranium rounds in a single engagement.

Dr Busby continued: ‘We know that uranium is genotoxic, that it causes these levels of genetic damage, and because of that it also causes cancer.

‘The only source of uranium was the use by the American-led forces of uranium weapons.

‘Not only depleted uranium weapons but, as we later found out, slightly enriched uranium weapons which we believe they were using in order to cover their tracks.

‘So, I think we have more or less proved that these effects are a result of the use, during the two wars, of uranium and the particles that the uranium weapons produced.’

Depleted uranium weapons are known for the ability to penetrate through walls and tanks.

One of its most dangerous side effects is that when the substance vapourises, it generates dust inhaled by individuals.

The Pentagon and the UN estimate that US and British forces used 1,100 to 2,200 tons of armour-piercing shells made of depleted uranium during attacks in Iraq in March and April, 2003, far more than the (officially) estimated 375 tons used in the 1991 Gulf War, according to a report published in Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2003.

In cities like Basra and Fallujah, where US and British forces used heavy munitions at the beginning of the war, it is believed that more than half of all babies born after the start of the war had heart defects.

According to a study published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, between October 1994 and October 1995 the number of birth defects per 1,000 live births in Al Basra Maternity Hospital was 1.37.

In 2003, the number of birth defects in the same hospital was 23 per 1,000 live births.

Within less than a decade, the occurrence of congenital birth defects increased by over 1,700 per cent.

Non-government organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) have voiced concerns over the actual effects of the use of such weapons.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Iraq are expected to publish a report on this in the near future.

According to the WHO, the report will not examine the link between the prevalence of birth defects and use of depleted uranium munitions used during the war and occupation in Iraq.

WHO said in a statement: ‘Since the issue of associating congenital birth defects with exposure to depleted uranium has not been included in the scope of this particular study, establishing a link between the congenital birth defects prevalence and exposure to depleted uranium would require further research.’

Meanwhile, people in Najaf struggle to provide the necessary medical support for their children suffering from a wide range of disorders.

Some couples have said that they will not have any more children because of the chance that they will be born with several birth defects.

Report on Fallujah children: here.

Iraq war infant birth defects

This video is called Cancer Birth Defects, Depleted Uranium, 2012, Fallujah, Iraq, Europe.

By Eric London:

US munitions cause spike in Iraqi infant birth defects

27 December 2012

Though it has been nearly a decade since the beginning of the US-led invasion of Iraq, a report from the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology released in September reveals the devastating impact that the war is continuing to have on the Iraqi people—particularly Iraqi infants.

According to the study, titled “Metal Contamination and the Epidemic of Congenital Birth Defects in Iraqi Cities,” the Iraqi cities of Basra and Fallujah are experiencing an exponential rise in birth defects, allegedly caused by the use of depleted uranium ammunition by the United States and British invasion forces.

The German-based Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology survey reported that half of the infants it surveyed who were born between 2007 and 2010 were born with a birth defect. This figure was less than 2 percent before 2000. In Basra, the southern Iraqi city and site of a massive bombing campaign undertaken at the start of the invasion in March and April 2003, the birth defect rate was 17 times higher than before the 2003 invasion.

“Some [infants] had only one eye in the forehead. Or two heads. One had a tail like a skinned lamb. Another one looked like a perfectly normal child, but with a monkey’s face. Or the girl whose legs had grown together, half fish, half human,” Basra children’s cemetery owner Askar Bin Said told Der Spiegel.

Chemist Chris Busby, the co-author of two studies on the subject, told the Guardian that Fallujah is experiencing “the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied.”

Hair sample studies performed in 2010 by Bulletin researchers revealed that lead levels were five times higher in Fallujah children than in other children. Mercury levels were six times higher. Diagnosed cases of hydrocephalus, or “water in the brain,” are six times higher in Basra children than in children from the United States. Basra is also experiencing the highest ever rate of spina bifida, or “open back disease.” In total, over 45 percent of pregnancies ended in miscarriage between 2004 and 2006.

Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a lead author of the report and an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, told the Independent that “the massive and repeated bombardment of these cities is clearly implicated here. I have no knowledge of any alternative source of metal contamination in these areas.”

According to Dr. Savabieasfahani, there is now a “footprint of metal in the population” and “compelling evidence linking the staggering increases in Iraqi birth defects to neuro-toxic metal contamination following the repeated bombardments of Iraqi cities.”

Moreover, the data reported by the study was most likely an “underestimate,” according to Dr. Savabieasfahani, on account of many parents’ attempts to hide their children’s defects from public view.

The unprecedented health crisis facing the bombed-out targets of American imperialism is apparently the result of the use of “depleted uranium” ammunition used by the United States and British armed forces during the invasion and occupation. “DU” ammunition contains alloys or cores made of depleted uranium. The added density the uranium gives to projectiles allows bullets and shells to pierce bodies and metal with increased facility.

When the ammunition explodes or hits a target, it releases a chemical dust that is inhaled or permeates through the skin of its victim.

In other words, the advanced weaponry utilized by the US with the express goal of facilitating the destruction of Iraqi towns and cities has achieved its goal: local populations will quite literally be feeling the pain of the invasion for generations to come. Infants born even after the public “withdrawal” of invasion troops are killed as a result of the impact of the invasion on young Iraqi mothers and fathers.

“The war is to blame. The pollution. There were many bombs in our neighborhood,” said Sabra Salman, the mother of a 10 year-old child with cancer, to Der Spiegel.

Mohammad Haider, a Basra parent of a deformed child, also told Der Spiegel that he and his wife “both grew up in Basra. I hold the United States responsible. They used DU. My child isn’t an isolated case.”

Fallujah, Iraq children killed by US armed forces?

This video says about itself:

1 August 2012 by Al Jazeera English

New research is under way on the alarming increase in birth defects in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, showing elevated levels of radioactivity in the city and across the country. Iraqi doctors have long reported a spike of cases involving severe birth defects in Fallujah since 2004 which are shocking in their severity. So is the US being honest about the weapons it used in the 2004 battle for the city, and in its other theatres of war? Guests: Ross Caputi, Dai Williams, Raed Jarrar.

See also here.

A new study confirms what many Iraqi doctors have been saying for years – that there is a virtual epidemic of rare congenital birth defects in cities that suffered bombing and artillery and small arms fire in the U.S.-led attacks and occupations of the country: here.

Human Dignity: A Casualty of War. Matt Southworth, Friends Committee on National Legislation: “As a bright-eyed nineteen-year-old soldier in Iraq in 2004, I was faced with a crisis of conscience. I thought I was going to Iraq to help free Iraqis, but instead I was a part of a mission to put them in a different kind of prison”: here.

In a report presented at the University of Michigan last Wednesday, “The epidemic of birth defects in Iraq and the duty of public health researchers,” Dr. Muhsin Al Sabbak, a gynecologist from Basra Maternity Hospital, and Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicology researcher, reviewed the ever-growing mountain of data showing that rates of cancer, child cancer and birth defects (BD) have reached historically unprecedented levels in Fallujah and other Iraqi cities since the 2003 US invasion: here.

A decade after the US military waged two barbaric sieges of Fallujah, the Iraqi city is once again the scene of a bloody armed conflict: here.

Armed clashes erupt around besieged Iraqi city of Fallujah: here.

War Not Over: U.S. Occupation Is Still Poisoning Iraq’s Children. Environmental toxicology report ties elevated levels of lead in children to bombings and ammunition: here.

US soldiers kill Fallujah civilians

People read the Koran as they gathered around the coffins of people killed in a raid by Iraqi and American security forces in Falluja on Wednesday

From the New York Times in the USA:

7 Civilians Killed in U.S. and Iraqi Raid


Published: September 15, 2010

BAGHDAD — Seven Iraqi civilians were killed near the western city of Falluja on Wednesday during an early morning raid conducted by American and Iraqi security forces, officials said.

A wounded man was taken to a hospital in Falluja in the aftermath of a raid by American and Iraqi security forces where seven people were killed and four injured on Wednesday.

Four of the dead were brothers between the ages of 12 and 23, according to the Iraqi police and residents of the area. The United States military in Iraq said in an e-mail Wednesday afternoon that the Iraqi military had “planned and led” the “joint counterterrorism” operation. The raid underscored the continuing presence of American service members in security operations, even after the United States declared an official end to the combat at the end of August. An American military spokesman directed inquiries to the government of Iraq.

It is not clear whether the dead were the targets of the raid or how they were killed. Four other people were wounded during the operation. …

Qasim Mohammed Abed, the governor of Anbar Province, said he had been angered by how the raid was conducted and blamed both the American and Iraqi militaries for the deaths.

“We did not know about this operation — they only informed us that there was going to be a small raid in which they would arrest someone,” he said. “We did not expect this to happen.”

Mr. Abed said he had been told by witnesses that the deaths were unjustified.

“The security forces behaved without morals,” the governor said. “They say that people there resisted them, but it is not true. No one resisted them. They just came to bring trouble to this province.”

Two weeks after Obama proclaimed the end of the US “combat mission” in Iraq, a raid by US troops has claimed the lives of at least eight Iraqi civilians in Fallujah: here.

Specialist Neftaly Platero is being accused of shooting and killing two fellow soldiers and wounding one more. The US military says that the incident took place last Thursday after an argument broke out at Camp Fallujah in Iraq. The two men died from their injuries the next day, the third is still being treated for his wounds: here.