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.”

Iraqi children’s birth defects

This 2009 video says about itself:

Doctors are dealing with an increase in chronic deformities in infants in Falluja, where heavy munitions were used in 2004

Another video used to be called DEPLETED URANIUM from US, UK munitions ’cause birth defects in Iraq’.

By Fred Mazelis in the USA:

New evidence that US invasion has produced epidemic of birth defects in Iraq

17 October 2012

A new study confirms, not for the first time, the horrific price paid by the Iraqi people for the US-led invasion of their country in 2003, and the 2004 bombing campaign and assaults on the city of Fallujah in particular.

Eight years after the attacks on Fallujah, a majority-Sunni city about 40 miles west of Baghdad where the resistance to the invasion had been tenacious, the consequences of this collective punishment, illegal under international law, are continuing to unfold.

A study published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology focuses on an extraordinary epidemic of congenital birth defects in Iraqi cities over the past decade, particularly in Fallujah and in the southern city of Basra, assaulted by British troops in 2003.

This study has been released only one month before a broader survey is due to be released by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO report has looked at nine areas in Iraq and is also expected to show increases in birth defects.

As summarized in the British newspaper The Independent, the first study, entitled “Metal Contamination and the Epidemic of Congenital Birth Defects in Iraqi Cities” and published online on September 16, pinpoints statistics for Fallujah and Basra that add up to a public health crisis that is as serious as any other around the world.

More than 50 percent of all births surveyed in Fallujah were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010, the newspaper explains. In the 1990s, Falllujah had a birth defect rate of 2 percent. This rose to about 10 percent in the early years of the twenty-first century, and then exploded in the years following the siege of Fallujah in 2004.

The data on miscarriages was also significant. Before the 2004 attacks on Fallujah, both in April and in November-December of that year, about 10 percent of pregnancies ended in miscarriage. This rose to a rate of 45 percent in the two years after the bombings. It fell as the most drastic attacks subsided, but the rate still remained high, at one in six pregnancies.

In Basra, attacked by British troops as part of the US-led invasion, the data is also compelling. Al Basrah Maternity Hospital recorded birth defects in just 1.3 out of 1,000 babies born a decade before the 2003 assault. This had risen to 20 out of 1,000, a 17-fold increase that is very likely attributable to the decade-long US-led sanctions campaign. In the past seven years, the rate of birth defects has risen another 60 percent, to 37 out of 1,000 births.

One of the authors of the article, Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, spoke to The Independent about the study’s significance. The birth defects are almost certainly related to metal exposure as a result of bombs and bullets used over the past two decades. Levels of lead were five times higher in the hair of children with birth defects in Fallujah than in other children, and mercury levels were six times higher.

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

“In utero exposure to pollutants can drastically change the outcome of an otherwise normal pregnancy,” the doctor continued. “The metal levels we see in the Fallujah children with birth defects clearly indicates that metals were involved in the manifestation of birth defects in these children. The massive and repeated bombardment of these cities is clearly implicated here.” She added that the data was like an underestimate, since parents often hide children with birth defects.

A professor of environmental toxicology at Leeds University in Britain, Alastair Hay, told The Independent that the figures in the study were “absolutely extraordinary” and that “people here would be worried if there was a five or 10 percent increase [in birth defects]. Professor Hay said that another factor, in addition to the increase in metal exposure, was “the extreme stress people are under in that period; we know this can cause major physiological changes.”

Official spokesmen for both the US Defense Department and the British government responded to the latest findings with statements that add up to little more than evasion and double talk. The Pentagon claimed, “We are not aware of any official reports indicating an increase in birth defects in Al Basrah or Fallujah that may be related to exposure to the metals contained in munitions used by the US or coalition partners. We always take very seriously public health concerns about any population living in a combat theatre.”

Iraq: ten years, a million lives and trillions of dollars later: here.

Lu Lobello, Iraq War Veteran, Tracks Down Kachadoorian Family And Apologizes For Shooting Incident In 2003: here.

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.

Witnessing the BBC’s omissions on Fallujah. IAN SINCLAIR reveals how the mainstream media is downplaying US-British crimes in Iraq.

Fallujah war crimes as ‘entertainment’

This video says about itself:

Japanese independent journalist, Toshikuni Doi, shares his look at the siege on the Iraqi city of Falluja by the US Armed Forces.

From TechRadar UK, 8 April 2009:

Japanese videogame giant Konami has controversially announced a new game based on the recent conflict in Iraq called Six Days In Fallujah. …

But is it really ‘just a game’?

“The massacre carried out by American and British forces in Fallujah in 2004 is amongst the worst of the war crimes carried out in an illegal and immoral war,” Stop The War Coalition spokesperson Tansy E Hoskins told TechRadar, upon reading the first reports of Six Days In Fallujah.

“It is estimated that up to 1,000 civilians died in the bombardment and house to house raids carried out by invading troops. So many people were killed in Fallujah that the town’s football stadium had to be turned into a cemetery to cope with all the dead bodies.

“The American led assault on Fallujah pretended there were no civilians left in the city. Although 60,000 refugees were able to flee, over 50,000 people remained in their homes and took the brunt of the violence and chemical weapons. Months of aerial bombardments, the use of thermobaric weapons and the probable use of white phosphorus turned Fallujah into fields of rubble,” she added.

“There is nothing to celebrate in the death of people resisting an unjust and bloody occupation. To make a game out of a war crime and to capitalise on the death and injury of thousands is sick. There will never be a time when it is appropriate for people to ‘play’ at committing atrocities. The massacre in Fallujah should be remembered with shame and horror not glamorised and glossed over for entertainment.”

Military training sim

Ethical questions over whether or not recent theatres of wars are acceptable fodder for interactive entertainment aside, there are also reports that Atomic Games is planning on using material from the game to create a military training simulation.

From the British (Conservative) Daily Mail:

[Anti war activist] Reg Keys, whose son Thomas was a Red Cap killed by an Iraqi mob in June 2003, added: ‘Considering the enormous loss of life in the Iraq War, glorifying it in a video game demonstrates very poor judgement and bad taste.

‘It is particularly crass when you consider what actually happened in Fallujah.

‘These horrific events should be confined to the annuls of history, not trivialised and rendered for thrill-seekers to play out, over and over again, for ever more.’

Gold Star Families Speak Out Expresses Outrage at Video Game Based on Deadly Battle in Iraq: here.

What will this Japanese corporation make next? A “very entertaining” game about the massacre of Nanjing in China by the imperial Japanese army? Or a still more “funny” game about how the SS troops of Adolf Hitler, imperial Japan’s World War II ally, massacred the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw? After all, they may think, if someone from a family with a World War II war crimes past can become Prime Minister of Japan now …

This is a Steve Bell cartoon on Obama’s Iraq visit.

Steve Bell cartoon on Obama's Iraq visit

28 April 2009.

From Asahi Shimbun in Japan:

Under criticism, Konami ditches realistic “Fallujah” videogame

“Six Days in Fallujah,” developed by U.S. company Atomic Games, was showcased earlier this month at an event in the United States for magazines specializing in the videogame industry.

Konami had planned to put the game on sale in or after 2010.

However, bereaved families of soldiers, retired troops and citizens’ groups in the United States and Europe criticized the game as in poor taste and insensitive.

The fighting in Fallujah in November 2004 was among the most intense after the U.S.-led war against Iraq‘s regular forces ended in 2003. More than 2,000 people, including many citizens, were killed in the street battles over several weeks. …

The reporter [Jamin Brophy-Warren of the Wall Street Journal] also said several thousand photos, including satellite images classified by the U.S. military, were used in the production of “Six Days in Fallujah.”

“We think Atomic Games used a network (to produce the game),” the Konami official said. “But we don’t know the connection (between the company and U.S. military forces).”

Death toll in Iraq: here.

Robert Fisk on the Iraq war: here.

An iPhone game in which users act as an “all-powerful god that rules over the primitive islanders” has caused a stir: here.

Based on a popular toy and cartoon franchise, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a film that does little more than glorify militarism and war: 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.

Children of Fallujah, Iraq, suffering

This video is about deformed children born in Fallujah.

From the BBC:

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Fallujah doctors report rise in birth defects

Doctors in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are reporting a high level of birth defects, with some blaming weapons used by the US after the Iraq invasion.

The city witnessed fierce fighting in 2004 as US forces carried out a major offensive against insurgents.

Now, the level of heart defects among newborn babies is said to be 13 times higher than in Europe.

The US military says it is not aware of any official reports showing an increase in birth defects in the area.

BBC world affairs editor John Simpson visited a new, US-funded hospital in Fallujah where paediatrician Samira al-Ani told him that she was seeing as many as two or three cases a day, mainly cardiac defects.

Disturbing tale of birth defects

Our correspondent also saw children in the city who were suffering from paralysis or brain damage – and a photograph of one baby who was born with three heads.

He adds that he heard many times that officials in Fallujah had warned women that they should not have children.

Doctors and parents believe the problem is the highly sophisticated weapons the US troops used in Fallujah six years ago.

British-based Iraqi researcher Malik Hamdan told the BBC’s World Today programme that doctors in Fallujah were witnessing a “massive unprecedented number” of heart defects, and an increase in the number of nervous system defects.

She said that one doctor in the city had compared data about birth defects from before 2003 – when she saw about one case every two months – with the situation now, when, she saw cases every day.

Ms Hamdan said that based on data from January this year, the rate of congenital heart defects was 95 per 1,000 births – 13 times the rate found in Europe.

“I’ve seen footage of babies born with an eye in the middle of the forehead, the nose on the forehead,” she added. …


40 miles (64km) west of the capital Baghdad

Major city in the predominantly Sunni province of Anbar, a hotbed of insurgency following US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003

Burned corpses of four ambushed US contractors dragged through the streets of the city in March 2004

Scene of major US-led offensive against insurgents in November 2004, when thousands of marines stormed the city

US military’s use of white phosphorus munitions in that offensive widely condemned

See also here. And here.

Britain: Gordon Brown: Paymaster General for the Iraq War: here.

The Ministry of Defence has been accused of giving MPs “disingenuous” information about a massive shortfall in its budget: here.

Two arms dealers attacked Gordon Brown for not spending more on weapons. It doesn’t have the same ring as “army big guns attack Gordon Brown’s defence budget claims” or “Prime Minister is targeted by top brass over army funding claims.” But it is true: here.

Children as Casualties of War: The Effects of 1991 Sanctions on Iraq: here.

Depleted uranium still killing Iraqis

This video says about itself:

The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children

An award winning documentary film produced for German television by Freider Wagner and Valentin Thurn. The film exposes the use and impact of radioactive weapons during the current war against Iraq. The story is told by citizens of many nations. It opens with comments by two British veterans, Kenny Duncan and Jenny Moore, describing their exposure to radioactive, so-called depleted uranium (DU), weapons and the congenital abnormalities of their children. Dr. Siegwart-Horst Gunther, a former colleague of Albert Schweitzer, and Tedd Weyman of the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC) traveled to Iraq, from Germany and Canada respectively, to assess uranium contamination in Iraq.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Toxic bombs ‘still blight Iraq

Monday 24 August 2009

by Tom Mellen

Baghdad has revealed that it is struggling to clean up the pollution left by depleted uranium weapons used by US-led troops during the first Gulf war and the 2003 invasion.

Environment Minister Narmin Othman Hasan said that only a fraction of the contaminated tanks and other wartime vehicles have been successfully treated and disposed of.

Ms Hasan estimated that “we have only found 80 per cent of the contaminated sites. There are still some areas we can’t reach because of the lack of security.”

And she said that her budget of around £57.5 million was woefully inadequate to get to grips with the issue.

Depleted uranium, a radioactive metal present in armour-piercing bullets, has been blamed for health problems including cancer, brain damage, respiratory problems, kidney failure and blood-curdling birth defects.

During the first Gulf war, US warplanes and tanks fired munitions containing at least 320 tons of the metal.

Britain has admitted to firing around 100 depleted uranium shells in the 1991 conflict.

The US and British governments are understandably cagey about the amount dropped on Iraq since 2003.

But while the munitions were restricted to anti-tank weapons in the first Gulf war, it was apparently extended to the guided missiles and “bunker busters” that played a key role in Washington’s “shock and awe” campaign.

And birth defects reported by doctors in Fallujah suggest that depleted uranium may have been used by US troops and their Kurdish peshmerga allies in the 2004 siege of the city.

Over 140,000 cases of cancer associated with the weaponry have been reported, but research on the link between depleted uranium and the rise in cancer remains inconclusive.

Ms Hasan observed that while “all radiation is dangerous, how much depleted uranium radiation is affecting our health is still under study.”

She added that media reports on the impact of depleted uranium on public health had contributed to a “panic” among the Iraqi people.

Ms Hasan said that dealing with the 25 million landmines that continue to maim and kill innocent Iraqis was her most pressing concern.

A public relations firm that organized the opposition to Saddam Hussein during the 1990s and “coerced” journalists during the run-up to the Iraq war is now vetting at least some embedded journalists in war zones to keep out those who have a history of writing negative stories about the US military, a new report claims: here.

According to a section of the researchers particularly concerned with the cases of birth deformities, Punjab may be paying with the health of its people for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. More precisely, depleted uranium reportedly used in wars in these countries may be the cause of the deformities and disorders on the rise in India’s northwestern state, according to a team based in the city of Faridkot: here.

Multi-National Forces-Iraq, the name of the military command of the US-led coalition that invaded Iraq in 2003, will be changed next year as no other countries have troops stationed in the country, a US military spokesman said Sunday: here.

The Iraq War Will Cost Us $3 Trillion, and Much More, by Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz: here.

Britain was one of only four countries on Wednesday to vote against a United Nations call for transparency from states which use depleted uranium weapons in conflict: here.

Afghan civilians’ white phosphorus death probe

This is a video about United States use of illegal white phosphorus in Fallujah town, Iraq.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Probe into Afghan white phosphorus use

Sunday 10 May 2009

AFGHAN human rights monitors said on Sunday they are investigating the possible use of white phosphorus in a US air raid that killed 147 civilians.

Doctors are concerned over what they are calling “unusual” burns on Afghans wounded in last Monday’s battle with Taliban guerillas in Farah province.

Herat Regional Hospital burn unit head Dr Mohammad Aref Jalali, who has treated five patients wounded in the battle, said: “I think it’s the result of a chemical used in a bomb, but I’m not sure what kind of chemical.

“But if it was a result of a burning house – from petrol or gas cylinders – that kind of burn would look different,” he said.

Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission member Nader Nadery said that officials had met patients and were investigating.

UN human rights investigators have also seen “extensive” burn wounds on victims and have raised questions about how the injuries were caused.

White phosphorus is a spontaneously flammable light metal which can cause chemical burns, blindness and suffocation from its caustic smoke.

It is used to mark targets, create smoke screens or as a weapon. International law bans its use in residential areas.

The US military continued to blame the Taliban for the massacre on Sunday.

April 2013: Israel bowed to pressure today and announced that it will be phasing out white phosphorus smokescreen munitions: here.