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U.S. Lies About Use of Chemical Weapons

 
 
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 09:26 pm
Published on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 by the Guardian/UK
The US Used Chemical Weapons in Iraq - And Then Lied About It
Now we know napalm and phosphorus bombs have been dropped on Iraqis, why have the hawks failed to speak out?

by George Monbiot

Did US troops use chemical weapons in Falluja? The answer is yes. The proof is not to be found in the documentary broadcast on Italian TV last week, which has generated gigabytes of hype on the internet. It's a turkey, whose evidence that white phosphorus was fired at Iraqi troops is flimsy and circumstantial. But the bloggers debating it found the smoking gun.

The first account they unearthed in a magazine published by the US army. In the March 2005 edition of Field Artillery, officers from the 2nd Infantry's fire support element boast about their role in the attack on Falluja in November last year: "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 [high explosive]. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."

The second, in California's North County Times, was by a reporter embedded with the marines in the April 2004 siege of Falluja. "'Gun up!' Millikin yelled ... 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... buildings where insurgents have been spotted all week."

White phosphorus is not listed in the schedules of the Chemical Weapons Convention. It can be legally used as a flare to illuminate the battlefield, or to produce smoke to hide troop movements from the enemy. Like other unlisted substances, it may be deployed for "Military purposes... not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare". But it becomes a chemical weapon as soon as it is used directly against people. A chemical weapon can be "any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm".

White phosphorus is fat-soluble and burns spontaneously on contact with the air. According to globalsecurity.org: "The burns usually are multiple, deep, and variable in size. The solid in the eye produces severe injury. The particles continue to burn unless deprived of atmospheric oxygen... If service members are hit by pieces of white phosphorus, it could burn right down to the bone." As it oxidizes, it produces smoke composed of phosphorus pentoxide. According to the standard US industrial safety sheet, the smoke "releases heat on contact with moisture and will burn mucous surfaces... Contact... can cause severe eye burns and permanent damage."

Until last week, the US state department maintained that US forces used white phosphorus shells "very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes". They were fired "to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters". Confronted with the new evidence, on Thursday it changed its position. "We have learned that some of the information we were provided ... is incorrect. White phosphorous shells, which produce smoke, were used in Fallujah not for illumination but for screening purposes, i.e. obscuring troop movements and, according to... Field Artillery magazine, 'as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes...' The article states that US forces used white phosphorus rounds to flush out enemy fighters so that they could then be killed with high explosive rounds." The US government, in other words, appears to admit that white phosphorus was used in Falluja as a chemical weapon.

The invaders have been forced into a similar climbdown over the use of napalm in Iraq. In December 2004, the Labour MP Alice Mahon asked the British armed forces minister Adam Ingram "whether napalm or a similar substance has been used by the coalition in Iraq (a) during and (b) since the war". "No napalm," the minister replied, "has been used by coalition forces in Iraq either during the war-fighting phase or since."

This seemed odd to those who had been paying attention. There were widespread reports that in March 2003 US marines had dropped incendiary bombs around the bridges over the Tigris and the Saddam Canal on the way to Baghdad. The commander of Marine Air Group 11 admitted that "We napalmed both those approaches". Embedded journalists reported that napalm was dropped at Safwan Hill on the border with Kuwait. In August 2003 the Pentagon confirmed that the marines had dropped "mark 77 firebombs". Though the substance these contained was not napalm, its function, the Pentagon's information sheet said, was "remarkably similar". While napalm is made from petrol and polystyrene, the gel in the mark 77 is made from kerosene and polystyrene. I doubt it makes much difference to the people it lands on.

So in January this year, the MP Harry Cohen refined Mahon's question. He asked "whether mark 77 firebombs have been used by coalition forces". The US, the minister replied, has "confirmed to us that they have not used mark 77 firebombs, which are essentially napalm canisters, in Iraq at any time". The US government had lied to him. Mr Ingram had to retract his statements in a private letter to the MPs in June.

We were told that the war with Iraq was necessary for two reasons. Saddam Hussein possessed biological and chemical weapons and might one day use them against another nation. And the Iraqi people needed to be liberated from his oppressive regime, which had, among its other crimes, used chemical weapons to kill them. Tony Blair, Colin Powell, William Shawcross, David Aaronovitch, Nick Cohen, Ann Clwyd and many others referred, in making their case, to Saddam's gassing of the Kurds in Halabja in 1988. They accused those who opposed the war of caring nothing for the welfare of the Iraqis.

Given that they care so much, why has none of these hawks spoken out against the use of unconventional weapons by coalition forces? Ann Clwyd, the Labour MP who turned from peace campaigner to chief apologist for an illegal war, is, as far as I can discover, the only one of these armchair warriors to engage with the issue. In May this year, she wrote to the Guardian to assure us that reports that a "modern form of napalm" has been used by US forces "are completely without foundation. Coalition forces have not used napalm - either during operations in Falluja, or at any other time". How did she know? The foreign office minister told her. Before the invasion, Clwyd traveled through Iraq to investigate Saddam's crimes against his people. She told the Commons that what she found moved her to tears. After the invasion, she took the minister's word at face value, when a 30-second search on the internet could have told her it was bunkum. It makes you wonder whether she really gave a damn about the people for whom she claimed to be campaigning.

Saddam, facing a possible death sentence, is accused of mass murder, torture, false imprisonment and the use of chemical weapons. He is certainly guilty on all counts. So, it now seems, are those who overthrew him. Sad

EM Notes: Bush: how is he different from Saddam?

www.Monbiot.com
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 10,121 • Replies: 229
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Fedral
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 09:34 pm
I don't care how many times you post this topic. (I think this is the 4th incarnation of it.)

Saying it a million times won't make it true. There is a HUGE difference between WP and napalm and REAL chemical weapons like Sarin, Soman, Chlorine Gas, GB and all associated blood, blister and nerve agents.

Lets get something straight, napalm and white phosphorus are NOT 'chemical weapons' and the title of the thread is both misleading and more than a bit partisan. The video, while horrific, is trying to make it appear that the U.S. is dropping something other than WP (White Phosphorus) or Napalm upon the people of Iraq. This, while making a great fairy tale, is false.

For a better definition of what Chemical Weapons are go to:
http://www.fas.org/nuke/intro/cw/intro.htm

Napalm
Napalm is a mixture of benzene (21%), gasoline (33%), and polystyrene (46%). Benzene is a normal component of gasoline (about 2%). The gasoline used in napalm is the same leaded or unleaded gas that is used in automobiles.

Red and White Phosphorus
a. At ordinary temperatures, white phosphorus (WP) is a solid which can be handled safely under water. When dry, it burns fiercely in air, producing a dense white smoke. Fragments of melted particles of the burning substance may become embedded in the skin of persons close to a bursting projectile, producing burns which are multiple, deep and variable in size. The fragments continue to burn unless oxygen is excluded by flooding or smothering.

b. WP may be used to produce a hot dense white smoke composed of particles of phosphorus pentoxide which are converted by moist air to droplets of phosphoric acid. The smoke irritates the eyes and nose in moderate concentrations. Field concentrations of the smoke are usually harmless although they may cause temporary irritation to the eyes, nose or throat. The respirator provides adequate protection against white phosphorus smoke.

c. In an artillery projectile white phosphorus is contained in felt wedges which ignite immediately upon exposure to air and fall to the ground. Up to 15% of the white phosphorus remains within the charred wedge and can re-ignite if the felt is crushed and the unburned white phosphorus exposed to the atmosphere.

d. Red phosphorus (RP) is not nearly as reactive as white phosphorus. It reacts slowly with atmospheric moisture and the smoke does not produce thermal injury, hence the smoke is less toxic.

These weapons are classified under the term Incendiary Weapons.

Incendiary agents are used to burn supplies, equipment and structures. The main agents in this group are thermite (TH), magnesium, white phosphorus (WP) and combustible hydrocarbons (including oils and thickened gasoline).
Burns may be produced by flame-throwers, oil incendiary bombs which may also contain phosphorus and sodium, and fire bombs containing thickened gasoline. Lung damage from heat and irritating gases may be a complication added to the injuries from incendiaries, especially in confined spaces.

While it is extremely unpleasant to be on the receiving end of either of these weapon types, neither of them is a Chemical Weapon and any reference to them as such, is totally disingenuous.


P.S.: Just FYI for you partisan types, if you claim I am splitting hairs and you DO consider White Phosphous to BE Chemical Weapons and thus Weapons of Mass Destruction, we can all consider President Bush to have told the 100% unvarnished truth about Iraq having WMD's since, to date, the US and British military have captured thousands of White Phosphorus shells from Iraqi ammo dumps all over Iraq.

Just my 2 cents (pre tax)
0 Replies
 
englishmajor
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 10:02 pm
NO. This is the first post of this topic. If you can find others that I have posted on chemical weapons please show proof, or shut your pie hole.

Chemical Weapons as defined below, in case you aren't able to hold your attention span long enough to actually READ the entire article, are defined as:

'any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm".

How would you like that stuff attached to your body parts?

I repeat, for those with the attention span of a fruit flly:

The first account they unearthed in a magazine published by the US army. In the March 2005 edition of Field Artillery, officers from the 2nd Infantry's fire support element boast about their role in the attack on Falluja in November last year: "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 [high explosive]. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."

White phosphorus is not listed in the schedules of the Chemical Weapons Convention. It can be legally used as a flare to illuminate the battlefield, or to produce smoke to hide troop movements from the enemy. Like other unlisted substances, it may be deployed for "Military purposes... not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare".

But it becomes a chemical weapon as soon as it is used directly against people.

THAT IS THE POINT HERE. DO YOU GET THAT THESE ARE HUMAN BEINGS? DO YOU GET THAT IRAQ HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11? DO YOU GET THAT IRAQ WANTS AMERICA OUT OF THEIR COUNTRY? THAT IS WHY THERE ARE INSURGENTS. WOULD YOU LIKE THEM IN YOUR COUNTRY?

Partisan type? I'd have to be an american and be limited to 2 parties. I am Canadian and not therefore limited to 2 parties. We have at least 4 parties in Canadian gov't, not counting the Greens, which makes 5.

Causing extreme, unnecessary pain to people is what this is about. That your government lied about it is the MAIN POINT. You can split hairs all you want, but America is despicable and makes Saddam look like Santa Claus. America has become worse, with it's torture and murder, as what they overthrew. What goes around, comes around, and America's turn is coming. Shame on you.
0 Replies
 
englishmajor
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 10:05 pm
Saddam, facing a possible death sentence, is accused of mass murder, torture, false imprisonment and the use of chemical weapons. He is certainly guilty on all counts. So, it now seems, are those who overthrew him.

And I'll post it a thousand times if that's what it takes to get through thick yankee skulls. Wake up. Get out of Iraq. They are worse off now than they were before. At least they had electricity, running water, and food. What have you Americans given them besides misery?
0 Replies
 
englishmajor
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 10:28 pm
0 Replies
 
englishmajor
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 10:30 pm
0 Replies
 
englishmajor
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 10:32 pm
Fedral wrote:
I don't care how many times you post this topic. (I think this is the 4th incarnation of it.)



Saying it a million times won't make it true.


Yup. That's what I keep saying when I hear Bushie open his pie hole: 'we've routed the terrorists, we got em on the run' blah blah blah Laughing
0 Replies
 
Fedral
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 12:20 am
I was posting that this TOPIC was posted multiple times before, not that YOU yourself posted it multiple times you self important prig , so lets talk about shuting another piehole as you are fond of saying.

The other topics I was speaking of are here:

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=63549&sid=e1d130022e68f43b317ca20e05b44dec

and here:

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=62960


Just because YOU say that using WP and napalm against personnel 'magically' turns those weapons from conventional into chemical weapons is the height of arrogance and totally untrue.

I was in the U.S. Army Artillery, MOS 15E (Pershing II Missile Crewman) back in the mid to late '80's, just before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

My system was a vehicle transported short/medium ranged tactical nuclear missile. IT was a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

I trained at Fort Sill, the home of U.S. Army Artillery and I had many friends in the tube and rocket artillery, and let me inform you of something:

Any and ALL deployments of nuclear or chemical weapons requires approval and release by NCA (National Command Authority aka the President and Joint Chiefs of Staff)

White Phosphorus is merely a conventional weapon with some very nasty effects at the target point.
Napalm is a CONVENTIONAL weapon with some rather nasty effects as well.

Just because you desperately want to turn the U.S. into the moral equivalent of Saddam's military will not make it so.

Just because I say over and over: Hillary Clinton is the Anti Christ doesn't make it true... I may believe it, but it doesn't make it true.

Do you see the freaking difference?
0 Replies
 
Wolf ODonnell
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 05:38 am
Now I've seen the news. Apparently, the US has retracted any denials and has admitted to using white phosphorous. It acts chemically with your body. It's just powder. That's not the same as napalm, which kills through burning. It's a chemical powder that chemically reacts with your body.

Though, I guess the US wouldn't care. It isn't a signatory of an international treaty restricting white phosphorous use, so as far as it's concerned, what it has done isn't illegal.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1108/dailyUpdate.html
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 06:16 am
Wolf_ODonnell wrote:
Now I've seen the news. Apparently, the US has retracted any denials and has admitted to using white phosphorous. It acts chemically with your body. It's just powder. That's not the same as napalm, which kills through burning. It's a chemical powder that chemically reacts with your body.

And how.

BBC:

White phosphorus is highly flammable and ignites on contact with oxygen. If the substance hits someone's body, it will burn until deprived of oxygen.

Globalsecurity.org, a defence website, says: "Phosphorus burns on the skin are deep and painful... These weapons are particularly nasty because white phosphorus continues to burn until it disappears... it could burn right down to the bone."
0 Replies
 
rodeman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 07:47 am
Semantics.....................Fedral You're missing the forest because of the trees. Everything about us has a chemical composition
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  0  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 08:21 am
Semantics? The term "Chemical weapon" means something specific. It is a defined term. It is not semantics.

This is a non-issue.
0 Replies
 
Fedral
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 09:05 am
rodeman wrote:
Semantics.....................Fedral You're missing the forest because of the trees. Everything about us has a chemical composition


Then a pistol and a rifle count as chemical weapons because they use the chemical reaction of burning gunpowder to propel a projectile into the body of a target and the cloud of gunpowder smoke can cause irritation of the eyes and mucous membranes.


Do you see how EVERY weapon used chemical reactions to make them work ... this doesn't make them CHEMICAL WEAPONS!


Just because you want something to be true doesn't make it so.
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 09:12 am
If white phosphorus, which was used "to flush out enemy fighters so that they could then be killed with high explosive rounds", is not a chemical weapon, what is it then?

a) nuclear
b) biological
c) conventional


???
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  0  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 09:13 am
I blieve it would be classified as a conventional incendiary device.
0 Replies
 
Fedral
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 09:33 am
old europe wrote:
If white phosphorus, which was used "to flush out enemy fighters so that they could then be killed with high explosive rounds", is not a chemical weapon, what is it then?

a) nuclear
b) biological
c) conventional


???


It is a purely conventional weapon, in the same class as:
Fragmentation Weapons
Improved Conventional Munitions (Small sub munitions loaded in artillery rounds)
Aerial Illumination Rounds (Parachute Flares)
High Explosive Rounds
Laser Guided Rounds (Copperhead)
White Phosphorus
FASCAM (A shell which spreads a temporary minefield)

All the above are conventional artillery rounds and can be requested by troops on the line for fire support missions.
They do not require any release by National Command Authority before firing.

Below are the classes of shells fired by 155 mm artillery pieces that can be classified as CHEMICAL WEAPONS and require approval by NCA before release on a battlefield:

M104 - Delivers H or HD blister gas [not in active service, slated for destruction].
M110A1/A2 - Delivers H or HD blister gas [not in active service, slated for destruction].
M121/A1 - GB or VX nerve gas [not in active service, slated for destruction]
M122 - GB nerve gas [not in active service, slated for destruction]
M687 - Binary GB nerve gas [not in active service]

Can you see the difference??
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 09:39 am
US admits it used white phosphorus in Iraq as a weapon
BBC
11/16/05
US used white phosphorus in Iraq
The US Military called it their "shake and bake" weapon.

US troops used white phosphorus as a weapon in last year's offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja, the US has said.

"It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants," spokesman Lt Col Barry Venable told the BBC - though not against civilians, he said. The US had earlier said the substance - which can cause burning of the flesh - had been used only for illumination.

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood says having to retract its denial is a public relations disaster for the US.

Col Barry Venable, Pentagon spokesman, denied that white phosphorous constituted a banned chemical weapon. White phosphorus is an incendiary weapon, not a chemical weapon.

Washington is not a signatory to an international treaty restricting the use of the substance against civilians. The US state department had earlier said white phosphorus had been used in Falluja very sparingly, for illumination purposes.

Col Venable said that statement was based on "poor information".

'Incendiary'

The US-led assault on Falluja - a stronghold of the Sunni insurgency west of Baghdad - displaced most of the city's 300,000 population and left many of its buildings destroyed.

Col Venable told the BBC's PM radio programme that the US army used white phosphorus incendiary munitions "primarily as obscurants, for smokescreens or target marking in some cases.

"However it is an incendiary weapon and may be used against enemy combatants."

And he said it had been used in Falluja, but it was a "conventional munition", not a chemical weapon. It is not "outlawed or illegal", Col Venable said. He said US forces could use white phosphorus rounds to flush enemy troops out of covered positions.

"The combined effects of the fire and smoke - and in some case the terror brought about by the explosion on the ground - will drive them out of the holes so that you can kill them with high explosives," he said.

San Diego journalist Darrin Mortenson, who was embedded with US marines during the assault on Falluja, told the BBC's Today radio programme he had seen white phosphorous used "as an incendiary weapon" against insurgents.

However, he "never saw anybody intentionally use any weapon against civilians", he said.

'Particularly nasty'

White phosphorus is highly flammable and ignites on contact with oxygen. If the substance hits someone's body, it will burn until deprived of oxygen.

Globalsecurity.org, a defence website, says: "Phosphorus burns on the skin are deep and painful... These weapons are particularly nasty because white phosphorus continues to burn until it disappears... it could burn right down to the bone."

A spokesman at the UK Ministry of Defence said the use of white phosphorus was permitted in battle in cases where there were no civilians near the target area.

But Professor Paul Rodgers, of the University of Bradford's department of peace studies, said white phosphorus could be considered a chemical weapon if deliberately aimed at civilians.

He told PM: "It is not counted under the chemical weapons convention in its normal use but, although it is a matter of legal niceties, it probably does fall into the category of chemical weapons if it is used for this kind of purpose directly against people."

When an Italian TV documentary revealing the use of white phosphorus in Iraq was broadcast on 8 November it sparked fury among Italian anti-war protesters, who demonstrated outside the US embassy in Rome.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/4440664.stm

Published: 2005/11/16 11:25:36 GMT
0 Replies
 
Fedral
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 09:45 am
Re: US admits it used white phosphorus in Iraq as a weapon
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:

The US Military called it their "shake and bake" weapon.


And the artillery call aerial illumination parachute flares: 'Starshells'

They call High explosive framentation shells: 'Frags'

They call Improved Conventional Munitions: 'Firecracker rounds'


Soldiers nickname EVERYTHING, just because you don't like the mane and it isn't PC, doesn't change its nature.

WP are NOT chemical weapons ... period.
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 10:00 am
Re: US admits it used white phosphorus in Iraq as a weapon
Fedral wrote:
WP are NOT chemical weapons ... period.


Quote:
White phosphorus results in painful chemical burn injuries. The resultant burn typically appears as a necrotic area with a yellowish color and characteristic garliclike odor. White phosphorus is highly lipid soluble and as such, is believed to have rapid dermal penetration once particles are embedded under the skin. Because of its enhanced lipid solubility, many have believed that these injuries result in delayed wound healing. This has not been well studied; therefore, all that can be stated is that white phosphorus burns represent a small subsegment of chemical burns, all of which typically result in delayed wound healing.

Incandescent particles of WP may produce extensive burns. Phosphorus burns on the skin are deep and painful; a firm eschar is produced and is surrounded by vesiculation. The burns usually are multiple, deep, and variable in size. The solid in the eye produces severe injury. The particles continue to burn unless deprived of atmospheric oxygen. Contact with these particles can cause local burns. These weapons are particularly nasty because white phosphorus continues to burn until it disappears. If service members are hit by pieces of white phosphorus, it could burn right down to the bone. Burns usually are limited to areas of exposed skin (upper extremities, face). Burns frequently are second and third degree because of the rapid ignition and highly lipophilic properties of white phosphorus.


from globalsecurity.org
0 Replies
 
Fedral
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 11:20 am
White phosphorus shells have been used by both sides in every war since World War 2.

This includes all signatories of the 1925 Geneva Accords.

Not one of the signatories, their propagandists, their militaries and their press EVER considered them to be Chemical Weapons.

Almost every one of the countries involved in these conflicts had a 'No first use' policy and declared that they would use chemical weapons in response to any first use by the other side.

During every conflict, White Phosphorus shells were used and yet NO SIDE considered the use of these weapons to be chemical weapons.

Only now, the revisionist historians have decided to re define the scope of 'chemical weapons' for the sake of some good headlines.

White Phosphorus is as much a 'chemical weapon' as is gunpowder.

Do you get it yet??????
0 Replies
 
 

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