Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Fire Down Below

The Fire Down Below

The Fire Down Below (2000)

Speak Out
You've got to speak out against the madness

Crosby Stills Nash & Young, "Long Time Gone"

Stop the presses. President Bush can quit splitting journalists' sides by peeping under Oval Office furniture for missing weapons of mass destruction. WMDs were finally found in Iraq -- in our own arsenal.

Worse, these WMDs were actually used on human beings -- not by Saddam -- but by us.

From The Independent Online -- "U.S. Forces Used Chemical Weapons During Assault on City of Fallujah" by Peter Popham:

Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon.

Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical weapons on the city.

[...]

In December the US government formally denied the reports, describing them as "widespread myths". "Some news accounts have claimed that US forces have used 'outlawed' phosphorus shells in Fallujah," the USinfo website said. "Phosphorus shells are not outlawed. US forces have used them very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes.

"They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters."

But now new information has surfaced, including hideous photographs and videos and interviews with American soldiers who took part in the Fallujah attack, which provides graphic proof that phosphorus shells were widely deployed in the city as a weapon.

In a documentary to be broadcast by RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, this morning, a former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says: "I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it's known as Willy Pete.

Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for."

[...]

A biologist in Fallujah, Mohamad Tareq, interviewed for the film, says: "A rain of fire fell on the city, the people struck by this multi-coloured substance started to burn, we found people dead with strange wounds, the bodies burned but the clothes intact."

The documentary, entitled Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre, also provides what it claims is clinching evidence that incendiary bombs known as Mark 77, a new, improved form of napalm, was used in the attack on Fallujah, in breach of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons of 1980, which only allows its use against military targets.

Naturally, the military issued a blanket denial -- as seen in this article I found -- in a mind-boggling coincidence -- in the heart of Freeperland:

The US Marines in Baghdad described white phosphorus as a "conventional munition" used primarily for smoke screens and target marking. It denied using it against civilians.

"Suggestions that US forces targeted civilians with these weapons are simply wrong," US Marine Major Tim Keefe said.

"Had the producers of the documentary bothered to ask us for comment, we would have certainly told them that the premise of the program was erroneous."

[...]

An incendiary device, white phosphorus was also used to light up combat areas. The use of incendiary weapons against civilians was banned by the Geneva Convention since 1980.

The United States did not sign the relevant protocol to the convention, a UN official in New York said.

Why bother to sign a section of a document the Attorney General notes is "quaint"? Our leader, who says we don't torture even as his Veep is actively seeking policy avenues to allow the CIA to continue torturing, has threatened to veto any bill mandating against the use of torture. Wake up and smell the Orwell. We do not torture. We did not use phosphorus weapons. We've always been at war with Eurasia. Ignorance is Strength.

And, you know, I'd like to believe the military denials. I would -- except for the mile-long paper trail. We have all been here before, as Environmentalists Against War remind us:

On March 22, 2003, following the US-led invasion of Iraq, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that US forces had used napalm. Noting that napalm had been banned by a United Nations convention in 1980 (a convention never signed by the US), US military spokesmen denied using napalm in Iraq. On August 5, 2003, however, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that US officials confirmed using "napalm-like" weapons in Iraq between March and April 2003.

In a feat of semantic hair-splitting of which Bill Clinton would have been proud, the US claimed the incendiaries used in Iraq contained less benzene than the internationally-banned napalm and, therefore, were "firebombs" and not napalm.

According to US officials, had reporters asked about firebombs [note similar train of thought in the Fallujah denial above] in March of 2003, the US would have confirmed their use. Nonetheless, the US was forced to concede that regardless of the technicalities, the napalm-like weapons were functionally equivalent to napalm. In fact, the difference between napalm and firebombs is so minute that US forces still refer to the weapons as napalm.

With that kind of track-record, it is difficult to swallow the recent denials by the US that it used napalm or any other banned weapons in Fallujah.

We don't use napalm. We just call it napalm.

We don't torture. We just call it "sleep adjustment" and other "enhanced interrogation techniques."

We don't melt down sleeping civilians with phosphorus. We just use the chemical like a flare to light up the sky.

Here's a former person in Fallujah who was apparently sleeping on a cloud:

While visions of sugar plums...

Note the leathery skin. Note that the skin is singed but the clothing is relatively intact. These are signature traits of phosphorus burns. There are many more photos of the Fallujah dead here -- if you choose to stomach the graphic images.

I'm sickened and disgusted at this latest BushCo War Criminal Moment. But the sensitive souls in Wingnuttia have a different take. Let's eavesdrop on actual comments as Freepers weigh in on this breaking news story:

"Don't throw water on burning Willie Pete."

"The United States did not sign the relevant protocol to the convention, a UN official in New York said...so, the point of this article is ....?"

"Looks like the guy quoted in the story is this Jeff Englehart, big fan of psycho babbler Hunter S. Thompson and dedicated anti-war activist. Oh, I'm sure he's just as reliable as some of the other Cindy Sheehan/John Kerry types......"

"Another slam against the US, pure and simple."

"Jihadis are a bunch of hotheads and they are burning down France. Maybe the MK77s are a little payback. What's wrong with taking a jihadi hothead and placing a little fire on his head?"

"This must be a Democrat talking points memo."

Well, I hope to Jumping Jeebus this a Democratic talking point. I hope at least one Democrat stands proudly and says that we (supposedly) went to war to find WMDs and not to use them. 90 senators voted against torture, so I hope a similar number would vote against deploying banned weapons of mass destruction.

Not that BushCo cares.

I want my country back. I really really do.

~/~

UPDATE:

Idyllopus has written a poignant response in reaction to this post tying it to another one at Alas, a Blog.

2 comments:

Mark said...

A March '05 publication by the US Army confirms that US soldiers used white phosphorus offensively in the Battle of Fallujah. This directly contradicts recent statements made by the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as a previous statement by the US State Department -- located at
http://usinfo.state.gov/media/Archive_Index/Illegal_Weapons_in_Fallujah.html -- that WP was used "very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes".

Here is the story on artillery use in Fallujah from the March/April edition of the US Army's "Field Artillery Magazine" :
http://sill-www.army.mil/FAMAG/Previous_Editions/05/mar-apr05/PAGE24-30.pdf

The article specifically states:

"The munitions we brought to this fight were . . . illumination and white phosphorous (WP, M110 and M825), with point-detonating (PD), delay, time and variable-time (VT) fuzes."

"WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."

What the article does not say, however, is that there is no way you can use white phosphorus at ground level without forming a deadly chemical cloud that kills everything within a tenth of a mile in all directions from where it hits. Obviously, the effect of such deadly clouds weren't just psychological in nature.

This claim of "shake and bake" is further confirmed in a news article by an embedded journalist at the time. See
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2004/04/11/military/iraq/19_30_504_10_04.txt

"Bogert is a mortar team leader who directed his men to fire round after round of high explosives and white phosphorus charges into the city Friday and Saturday, never knowing what the targets were or what damage the resulting explosions caused. . . they ran through the drill again and again, sending a mixture of burning white phosphorus and high explosives they call "shake 'n' bake" into a cluster of buildings where insurgents have been spotted all week."

You can also direct people to the video of the Italian broadcast, which made the original claims, which is online at
http://216.239.39.104/translate_c?u=http://www.rainews24.rai.it/ran24/inchiesta/default_02112005.asp
and at
http://play.rbn.com/?url=demnow/demnow/demand/2005/nov/video/dnB20051108a.rm&proto=rtsp&start=9:20

Hope this helps,
Mark Kraft
http://insomnia.livejournal.com

Anonymous said...

My right hand offended me
So I cut it off and stuck it
Up a dummy's ass

Watch his wooden lips gape
Bucktoothed at the foreign press
Who believe every word I give him

I love making him lap dance
Just before his marble eyes
Glaze over in ecstasy

Don't speak of torture
When coercion is so much better
For such a beautiful firestorm

A mob of smiley faces bob
On the ends of their poles
Where naked strippers once danced

Dr. Mike

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