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Fallujah battle toxic legacy: ‘Damage done to DNA’

RT | November 7, 2016

The level of congenital malformation and ill health in Iraqi children is not improving, which means whatever happened during the US-led war is still there and the damage has been done to DNA, says Chris Busby a health inspector in Fallujah.

November 7 marks 12 years since Washington began what became the bloodiest battle in its invasion of Iraq. It took two months for the Pentagon to push insurgents out of the city of Fallujah with hundreds of civilian victims as collateral damage.

Following studies on the ground, the World Health Organization claimed that rates of stillbirths and congenital defects across Iraq are consistent with or even lower than international estimates.

Nevertheless, other studies have linked serious health issues to the use of depleted uranium weapons in both the 1991 and 2003 wars. Those weapons were designed to be “armor-busters”. However the US has reportedly used them on soft targets as well.

Depleted uranium is toxic and mildly radioactive and there are growing calls to ban the use of such arms altogether.

RT talked to Dr. Chris Busby who has studied what’s been described as an epidemic of cancer and birth defects in Iraq and particularly Fallujah. He’s behind a major report on the issue and says the situation on the ground remains drastic, years after the war ended.
‘Health situation not improving’

“The most interesting thing is that nothing has got any better. The level of congenital malformation, the level of ill health in the children as they are born is not improving, which means that whatever it was that happened long ago is still there in the genetic make-up of the people who live there.”
‘WHO report – disgraceful’

“The problem with that study is that it wasn’t a study that was carried out at a hospital like ours. The study that was carried out by the WHO – which is incidentally a disgraceful study – just looked at children whose parents said that they had congenital malformations. On that basis in fact they found that they had a lower level of congenital malformations than the expected number throughout the world should have led them to the idea that maybe the study wasn’t working.”

‘Cause of health problems’

“We know it was exposed to uranium because we measured the uranium in one study. We spent a lot of money looking at the uranium levels in the hair of the parents of the children with congenital malformations. So, there is no doubt about it being uranium.”

‘Need for depleted uranium ban’

“It is becoming clear now that uranium has very serious genetic qualities that weren’t understood. And they are still not conceded by the authorities. The last people to concede it will be the Americans, the American military, the people who are most dependent upon it. They don’t want to get rid of this magical weapon. And they are fighting tooth and nail, including scientifically, to try and show that there isn’t a serious problem that quite obviously is.”

‘Damage done to DNA can’t be cleaned up’

“The problem is not that there are these contamination sites. It is very difficult to decontaminate an area that has been affected by depleted uranium because it spreads so uniformly across the area in the form of these very fine particles. So, it is not a case of going somewhere and finding something that is radioactive and removing it. Though, you can do that. Lots of the tanks and armored vehicles that were attacked in the First Gulf War, they can be taken away and dumped somewhere. But that is not the problem. The thing that is causing the problem is the inhalation of this dust. And once the dust is created, it goes all over the place. After 10-20 years the dust will get washed down by the rain into the soil and won’t be so hazardous. The problem is that the damage that has been done to the DNA – you can’t clean that up. The continuing level of congenital malformations and cancer presumably is an indicator of the fact that the genome of these people has been affected and that is like a sort of trans-generational curse that will go on for a very long time, for generations,” Busby told RT.

Christopher Busby is an expert on the health effects of ionizing radiation. He qualified in Chemical Physics at the Universities of London and Kent, and worked on the molecular physical chemistry of living cells for the Wellcome Foundation. Professor Busby is the Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk based in Brussels and has edited many of its publications since its founding in 1998. He has held a number of honorary University positions, including Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Health of the University of Ulster. Busby currently lives in Riga, Latvia. See also: http://www.chrisbusbyexposed.org, http://www.greenaudit.org and http://www.llrc.org.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Not Just Cancer! Radiation, Genomic Instability and Heritable Genetic Damage

By Chris Busby | CounterPunch | March 18, 2016

Those who fear the effects of radiation always focus on cancer. But the most frightening and serious consequences of radiation are genetic.

Cancer is just one small bleak reflection, a flash of cold light from a facet of the iceberg of genetic damage to life on Earth constructed from human folly, power-lust and stupidity.

Cancer is a genetic disease expressed at the cellular level. But genetic effects are transmitted across the generations.

It was Herman Joseph Muller, an American scientist, who discovered the most serious effects of ionizing radiation – hereditary defects in the descendants of exposed parents – in the 1920s. He exposed fruit flies – drosophila – to X-rays and found malformations and other disorders in the following generations.

He concluded from his investigations that low dose exposure, and therefore even natural background radiation, is mutagenic and there is no harmless dose range for heritable effects or for cancer induction. His work was honoured by the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1946.

In the 1950s Muller warned about the effects on the human genetic pool caused by the production of low level radioactive contamination from atmospheric tests. I have his original 1950 report, which is a rare item now.

Muller, as a famous expert in radiation, was designated as a speaker at the Conference, ‘Atoms for Peace’ in Geneva in 1955 where the large scale use of nuclear energy (too cheap to meter) was announced by President Eisenhower. But when the organisers became aware that Muller had warned about the deterioration of the human gene pool by the contamination of the planet from the weapon test fallout, his invitation was cancelled.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The protective legislation of western governments does, of course, concede that radiation has such genetic effects. The laws regulating exposure are based on the risk model of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, the ICRP.

The rules say that no one is allowed to receive more than 1mSv of dose in a year from man-made activities. The ICRP’s scientific model for heritable effects is based on mice; this is because ICRP states that there is no evidence that radiation causes any heritable effects in humans.

The dose required to double the risk of heritable damage according to the ICRP is more than 1000mSv. This reliance on mice has followed from the studies of the offspring of those who were present in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Japanese/ US Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC).

These studies were begun in 1952 and assembled groups of people in the bombed cities to compare cancer rates and also birth outcomes in those exposed at different levels according to their distance from the position of the bomb detonation, the hypocentre. The entire citadel of radiation risk is built upon this ABCC rock.

But the rock was constructed with smoke and mirrors and everything about the epidemiology is false. There have been a number of criticisms of the A-Bomb Lifespan Studies of cancer: it was a survivor population, doses were external, residual contamination was ignored, it began seven years after the event, the original zero dose control group was abandoned as being “too healthy”, and many others.

But we are concerned here with the heritable effects, the birth defects, the congenital malformations, the miscarriages and stillbirths. The problem here is that for heritable damage effects to show up, there have to be births. As you increase the exposures to radiation, you quickly obtain sterility and there are no pregnancies. We found this in the nuclear test veterans.

Then at lower doses, damaged sperm results in damaged foetuses and miscarriages. When both mother and father are exposed, there are miscarriages and stillbirths before you see any birth defects. So the dose response relation is not linear. At the higher doses there are no effects. The effects all appear at the lowest doses.

Bad epidemiology is easily manipulated

As far as the ABCC studies are concerned, there is another serious (and I would say dishonest) error in the epidemiology. Those people discarded their control population in favour of using the low dose group as a control.

This is such bad epidemiology that it should leave any honest reviewer breathless. But there were no reviewers. Or at least no-one seemed to care. Perhaps they didn’t dig deeply enough. In passing, the same method is now being used to assess risk in the huge INWORKS nuclear worker studies and no-one has raised this point there either.

Anyway, the ABCC scientists in charge of the genetic studies found the same levels of adverse birth outcomes in their exposed and their control groups, and concluded that there was no effect from the radiation.

Based on this nonsense, ICRP writes in their latest 2007 risk model, ICRP103, Appendix B.2.01, that “Radiation induced heritable disease has not been demonstrated in human populations.”

But it has. If we move away from this USA controlled, nuclear military complex controlled A-Bomb study and look in the real world we find that Muller was right to be worried. The radioactive contamination of the planet has killed tens of millions of babies, caused a huge increase in infertility, and increased the genetic burden of the human race and life on earth.

And now the truth is out!

In January of this year Prof. Inge Schmitz-Feuerhake, of the University of Bremen, Dr Sebastian Pflugbeil of the German Society for Radioprotection and I published a Special Topic paper in the prestigious peer-review journal Environmental Health and Toxicology. The title is: Genetic Radiation Risks – a neglected topic in the Low Dose debate.

In this paper we collected together all the evidence which has been published outside the single Japanese ABCC study in order to calculate the true genetic effects of radiation exposure. The outcome was sobering, but not unexpected.

Using evidence ranging from Chernobyl to the nuclear Test Veterans to the offspring of radiographers we showed clearly that a dose of 1mSv from internal contamination was able to cause a 50% increase in congenital malformations. This identifies an error in the ICRP model and in the current legislation of a factor of 1,000. And we write this down. The conclusion of the paper states:

Genetically induced malformations, cancers, and numerous other health effects in the children of populations who were exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation have been unequivocally demonstrated in scientific investigations.

Using data from Chernobyl effects we find a new Excess Relative Risk (ERR) for Congenital malformations of 0.5 per mSv at 1mSv falling to 0.1 per mSv at 10mSv exposure and thereafter remaining roughly constant. This is for mixed fission products as defined though external exposure to Cs-137.

Results show that current radiation risk models fail to predict or explain the many observations and should be abandoned. Further research and analysis of previous data is suggested, but prior assumptions of linear dose response, assumptions that internal exposures can be modelled using external risk factors, that chronic and acute exposures give comparable risks and finally dependence on interpretations of the high dose ABCC studies are all seen to be unsafe procedures.

Radiation causes genomic instability

Our paper is available on the web as a free download, so you can see what we wrote and follow up the 80 or so references we used to construct the case.

Most of the evidence is from effects reported in countries contaminated by the Chernobyl accident, not only in Belarus and Ukraine but in wider Europe where doses were less than 1mSv. Other evidence we referred to was from the offspring of the nuclear test veterans.

In a study I published in 2014 of the offspring of members of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association (BNTVA) we saw a 9-fold excess of congenital disease in the children but also, and unexpectedly, an eight-fold excess in the grandchildren. This raises a new and frightening spectre not anticipated by Herman Muller.

In the last 15 years it has become clear that radiation causes genomic instability: experiments in the laboratory and animal studies show that radiation exposure throws some kind of genetic switch which causes a non-specific increase in general mutation rates.

Up until these genomic instability discoveries it was thought that genetic processes followed the laws of Gregor Mendel: there were specific dominant and recessive gene mutations that were passed down the generations and became diluted through a binomial process as offspring married away.

But radiation scientists and cancer researchers could not square the background mutation rate with the increased risks of cancer with age: the numbers didn’t fit. The discovery of the genomic instability process was the answer to the puzzle: it introduces enough random mutations to explain the observations.

It is this that supplies the horrifying explanation for the continuing high risk of birth defects in Fallujah and other areas where the exposures occurred ten to twenty years ago. Similar several generation effects have been seen in animals from Chernobyl.

Neonatal mortality in the nuclear bomb era

So where does that leave us? What can we do with this? What can we conclude? How can this change anything? Let’s start by looking at the effects of the biggest single injection of these radioactive contaminants, the atmospheric weapons tests of the period 1952 to 1963.

If these caused increases in birth defects and genetic damage we should see something in the data. We do. The results are chilling. If babies are damaged they die at or shortly before birth. This will show up in the vital statistics data of any country which collects and publishes it.

Busby-fig1

In Fig 1 (above right) I show a graph of the first day (neonatal) mortality rates in the USA from 1936 to 1985. You can see that as social conditions improved there was a fall in the rates between the beginning and end of the period, and we can obtain this by calculating what the background should have been using a statistical process called regression.

The expected backgound is shown as a thin blue line. Also superimposed is the concentration of Strontium-90 in milk (in red) and its concentration in the bones of dead infants (in blue). The graph shows first day neonatal mortality in the USA; it is taken from a paper by Canadian paediatrician Robin Whyte (woman) in the British Medical Journal in 1992. This paper shows the same effect in neonatal (1 month) mortality and stillbirths in the USA and also the United Kingdom. The doses from the Strontium-90 were less than 0.5mSv.

This is in line with what we found in our paper from Chernobyl and the other examples of human exposures. The issue was first raised by the late Prof Ernest Sternglass, one of the first of the radiation warrior-scientists and a friend of mine. The cover-ups and denials of these effects are part of the biggest public health scandal in human history.

It continues and has come to a venue near you: our study of Hinkley Point showed significant increased infant mortality downwind of the plant at Burnham on Sea as I wrote in The Ecologist.

It’s official – genetic damage in children is an indicator of harmful exposures to the father

As to what we can do with this new peer-reviewed evidence we can (and we shall) put it before the Nuclear Test Veterans case in the Pensions Appeals hearings in the Royal Courts of Justice which is tabled for three weeks from June 14th 2016 before a tribunal headed by high court judge Sir Nicholas Blake.

I represent two of the appellants in this hearing and will bring in the genetic damage in the children and grandchildren as evidence of genetic damage in the father.

We are calling Inge Schmitz-Feuerhake, the author of the genetic paper, as one expert witness; the judge has conceded that genetic damage in the children is an indicator of harmful exposures to the father. He has made a disclosure order to the University of Dundee to release the veteran questionnaires. They have.

Finally, I must share with you a window into the mind-set of the false scientists who work for the military and nuclear operation. As the fallout Strontium-90 built up in milk and in childrens’ bones and was being measured, they renamed the units of contamination, (picoCuries Sr-90 per gram of Calcium) ‘Sunshine Units’.

Can you imagine? I would ship them all to Nuremberg for that alone.

Dr Chris Busby is the Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Riskand the author of Uranium and Health – The Health Effects of Exposure to Uranium and Uranium Weapons Fallout (Documents of the ECRR 2010 No 2, Brussels, 2010). For details and current CV see chrisbusbyexposed.org. For accounts of his work see greenaudit.orgllrc.org and nuclearjustice.org.

March 19, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Nuclear Power, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iraq: The ‘Liberation’ Neocons Would Rather Forget

By Ron Paul | January 5, 2014

Remember Fallujah? Shortly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US military fired on unarmed protestors, killing as many as 20 and wounding dozens. In retaliation, local Iraqis attacked a convoy of US military contractors, killing four. The US then launched a full attack on Fallujah to regain control, which left perhaps 700 Iraqis dead and the city virtually destroyed.

According to press reports last weekend, Fallujah is now under the control of al-Qaeda affiliates. The Anbar province, where Fallujah is located, is under siege by al-Qaeda. During the 2007 “surge,” more than 1,000 US troops were killed “pacifying” the Anbar province. Although al-Qaeda was not in Iraq before the US invasion, it is now conducting its own surge in Anbar.

For Iraq, the US “liberation” is proving far worse than the authoritarianism of Saddam Hussein, and it keeps getting worse. Last year was Iraq’s deadliest in five years. In 2013, fighting and bomb blasts claimed the lives of 7,818 civilians and 1,050 members of the security forces. In December alone nearly a thousand people were killed.

I remember sitting through many hearings in the House International Relations Committee praising the “surge,” which we were told secured a US victory in Iraq. They also praised the so-called “Awakening,” which was really an agreement by insurgents to stop fighting in exchange for US dollars. I always wondered what would happen when those dollars stopped coming.

Where are the surge and awakening cheerleaders now?

One of them, Richard Perle, was interviewed last year on NPR and asked whether the Iraq invasion that he pushed was worth it. He replied:

I’ve got to say I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done in the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t a decade later go back and say, well, we shouldn’t have done that.

Many of us were saying all along that we shouldn’t have done that – before we did it. Unfortunately the Bush Administration took the advice of the neocons pushing for war and promising it would be a “cakewalk.” We continue to see the results of that terrible mistake, and it is only getting worse.

Last month the US shipped nearly a hundred air-to-ground missiles to the Iraqi air force to help combat the surging al-Qaeda. Ironically, the same al-Qaeda groups the US is helping the Iraqis combat are benefiting from the US covert and overt war to overthrow Assad next door in Syria. Why can’t the US government learn from its mistakes?

The neocons may be on the run from their earlier positions on Iraq, but that does not mean they have given up. They were the ones pushing for an attack on Syria this summer. Thankfully they were not successful. They are now making every effort to derail President Obama’s efforts to negotiate with the Iranians. Just last week William Kristol urged Israel to attack Iran with the hope we would then get involved. Neoconservative Senators from both parties recently introduced the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, which would also bring us back on war-footing with Iran.

Next time the neocons tell us we must attack, just think “Iraq.”

January 5, 2014 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why the WHO report on congenital anomalies in Iraq is a disgrace

By Christopher Busby | RT | September 28, 2013

The recently published World Health Organization report on its study of congenital birth anomalies in Iraq is nothing short of a disgrace.

There have been an increasing number of reports about childhood cancers, adult cancers and birth defects in Iraq. Public pressure and media attention to this catastrophic situation prompted a joint study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Iraqi Health Ministry to determine the prevalence of birth defects in the country. The study began in May-June 2012 and was completed in early October 2012. But it was not made public until recently. And I have to say that those who designed and carried out the study were well aware that the method they chose could not possibly give correct answers to the question of congenital anomaly rates, since they had consulted with me before they started, and I had pointed out why their method was unsafe, even sending them a report suggesting a method that would work.

In May 2011, I was asked to travel to Geneva by the Union of Arab Jurists to make my first presentation at the UN Human Rights Council, reporting our preliminary findings of extraordinarily high rates of cancer, infant mortality and sex ratio perturbations in the population of Fallujah, which we published in the International Journal of Environment and Public Health in 2010.  I met with the director of the Human Rights Council, and also with the director of the International Red Cross, and made the case for intervention.

There was massive anecdotal evidence of these genetic damage effects of the US uranium weapons since the mid-1990s and in Fallujah after the 2004 war, but no one had carried out any study. We collected some money from individuals (about £4,000) and marched in. What we found made headlines in The Daily Telegraph, Le Monde and all over the world. In that study, we examined infant mortality rather than congenital birth defects, for reasons we gave in the paper and I will review here.

Later we also published two other follow-up studies based on hospital data, one analyzing 52 elements in the hair of the parents of children with congenital anomalies, the other giving the congenital anomaly rates and types. Both were based on prospective collection of data by the pediatricians from Fallujah General Hospital, and so we could be sure of the types of anomaly and the numbers.

I have to say that the fear generated by these discoveries made it extremely difficult to get the results published. The Lancet threw the papers out without sending them for review. The International Journal of Environment and Public Health was attacked after the first one, by various individuals they refused to name – and they wouldn’t publish the second one, which was published by Conflict and Health. The third one was also rejected by The Lancet and various other frightened journals and eventually was published by the Journal of the Islamic Medical Association, and then only after I asked them what Allah would think of their pusillanimous behavior. So much for scientific truth.

I pointed out to the WHO representative who contacted me in January 2011, Syed Jaffar Hussein, asking if I would join the WHO project, that the kind of questionnaire study that WHO were proposing would fail for two reasons. The first and most critical is that parents will not have sufficient knowledge to diagnose a congenital anomaly in their baby. For example, in the absence of hospital involvement at a high technical level (e.g. Fallujah Hospital) the baby will just die of what seems to the parents to be pneumonia, or failure to thrive, or the child will die for no apparent reason. In terms of congenital heart defects, or kidney defects, or many neurological defects there is no observable sign. And the type of monstrous defect, the Cyclops eye, the lack of arms, all the pictures on the Internet, these are a minor fraction of all the congenital defects that are fatal at birth. Generally the mother is not allowed to see such a baby and she is told it has died. It is the heart defects that make up the majority, and these are only diagnosable in a hospital pediatric unit.

The second problem I know about, since I have designed and carried out several questionnaire epidemiology studies since the pilot one in Carlingford, Ireland in 2000, is that people can’t remember back even five years, let alone 15 years. And in a situation like Iraq, where having a child with a congenital defect means that you yourself are contaminated and damaged, the likelihood is that you will shortly be dead from cancer and a whole range of illnesses generated by the causes that killed your baby. So the questionnaire study loses cases as you go back in time. The WHO results clearly show this, since the rates they report are actually lower than expected, suggesting that living in Iraq is good for birth outcomes. They seem surprised by this.

So a hospital-based prospective study is the only way. And since this is such a political issue, I said I would only be involved if I could have a hands-on role so that the numbers could be checked, and that was the end of our communication.

The result is very shoddy procedure which would not make it into peer-review. The WHO says that its work and the report was peer-reviewed by senior epidemiologists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, but if this is true these reviewers should be sent packing. The WHO report fails to refer to any of the studies, like our follow-up papers on uranium in Conflict and Health and the IMANA congenital anomaly rates one. There, for example, we looked at the uranium content along long strands of hair in mothers of birth-defect children and showed that the concentrations increased back to the time of the US attacks.

It is fairly easy to show that the WHO results are ridiculous. There was a previous similar study under Saddam’s regime for the period 1994-1999 which is of interest. This study also was not cited in the WHO report but was discussed in our paper which they must have read. The Iraqi child and maternal mortality survey covered 46,956 births in Iraq from 1994-1999. Results were obtained by questionnaires filled out by the mothers and results were given for all children aged 0-4 who died in 1994-1999. Effects found in this period, if due to environmental agents, would, of course, follow exposures in and following the first Gulf War. Using data presented in the tables in this publication it is easy to show that the results indicated a marked increase in deaths in the first year of life with an infant mortality (0-1) rate of 93 per 1,000 live births. Fifty-six percent of deaths in all the children aged 0-5 occurred in the first month after birth, but since the results were from self-reporting, it was difficult to draw conclusions as to the underlying causes of death except in the case of oncology/hematology. For example, the largest reported proportion of deaths in the neonates were listed as “cough/difficulty breathing” which might result from many different underlying causes. The low rates from congenital malformation reported are hardly credible. However, using data published in the report it appeared that the cancer and leukemia death rates in the entire all-Iraq 0-4 group were about three or four times the levels found in Western populations for this age group. These rates were three times higher in the south where depleted uranium was employed in the major tank battles near the Kuwait border (53 per 100,000 per year) than in the north (18 per 100,000 per year) where there was less fighting and where depleted uranium was not employed to such an extent. Furthermore, cancer and leukemia rates were highest in the 0-1 year group, which is unusual; the main peak in childhood cancer is generally found at age 4.

Despite all that can be said about the methodology, it is extremely hard to reconcile the WHO study’s finding of an overall congenital anomaly rate of 23.6 with the rate of 147 we found in Fallujah General Hospital, reported by us in. In Table 2, I copy the full results which were submitted in this congenital anomaly paper. It is clear from this that the majority of conditions could not be recognized by mothers of children who died at or shortly after birth. Of 291 babies with congenital abnormalities in our Fallujah hospital study, 113 were cardiovascular, 40 digestive, 9 genitourinary and 44 chromosomal defects, few of which could be recognized as congenital anomalies by mothers, and would need specialized diagnoses in a top hospital to classify.

It is shown in Table 2 that the rate for congenital heart effects alone is twice the rate reported in the WHO study. Of particular concern is the outcome of the “Expert Peer Group” meeting on 27-28 July, 2013, which apparently endorsed this epidemiologically unsafe approach and its results.

I have written and given presentations on scientific dishonesty. The truth can be established by science, but not if it is dishonest and political. And it seems that this report, and the events and decisions that preceded it, and particularly the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine peer review meeting, are a classical example of scientific dishonesty. The use of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reminds me of the use of the Royal Society to produce a disgraceful report on depleted uranium in 2001. Since the outcome is intended to exonerate the US and UK military from what are effectively war crimes, and since the result will be employed to defend the continued use of uranium weapons, all concerned in this chicanery should be put before a criminal court and tried for what they have done. Their actions are responsible for human suffering and death and cannot be forgiven. This is a human rights issue. I returned to the issue of Fallujah when I was invited a second time to make a presentation at the UN Human Rights Council in September 2011. I said then it was time to make a legal stand and I presented the human rights petition I had developed with the International Committee for Nuclear Justice. This issue will be taken forward by the Low Level Radiation Campaign in the next six months, so watch this space.

Finally, we should not forget that the WHO signed an agreement in 1959 with the International Atomic Energy Agency to keep their noses out of any research that has a connection with radiation or radioactivity. This agreement is still in force and is a matter of deep concern.

Christopher Busby is an expert on the health effects of ionizing radiation and Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk.

September 30, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Depleted Uranium: The BBC’s John Simpson does a hatchet job on Fallujah’s genetically damaged children

 By William Bowles | April 1, 2013

Under the title ‘Fallujah’s children’s ‘genetic damage’ that old war horse ‘literally’ of the BBC’s foreign propaganda service, John Simpson, manages not to mention the phrase ‘depleted uranium’ when allegedly reporting on the alarming rise in birth defects that include cancer, leukaemia and a horrific rise in child mortality since the US demolished the city of Fallujah in 2004. And it’s not until right at the end of the piece that the US attack on Fallujah is even mentioned, let alone depleted uranium!

Simpson says:

“Even if it’s possible to produce watertight scientific proof that American weapons were responsible for the genetic damage it will be almost impossible for the people who suffered to get any redress. American legislation makes it extremely difficult to sue the US government over acts of war.”

Well that takes care of that little problem then, doesn’t it. I trust the US government will reward Simpson for his slavish support of its wars of conquest and destruction.

Indeed, just look at the title of the video, the phrase genetic damage is in single quotes, thus the damage to the children of Fallujah, which is clearly and obviously genetic in origin, is questioned by the BBC’s spin meister Simpson. Worse, the video shows doctors comparing the effects of depleted uranium on the children of Fallujah with that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and point out that in fact, they’re much worse than the damage inflicted by the Empire’s atomic bombs.

Dan Hind, in his latest piece describes the BBC’s role as follows:

“[The BBC’s] journalistic failings derive from its nature as a creature of parliamentary opinion. If the executive and most of Parliament are uninterested in seeing an issue debated then the BBC remains silent. Given the centrality of the BBC in our information system its dependence on cues from an out of control political class lends mainstream coverage of public affairs an increasingly hallucinatory quality. When Westminster wants something – from a war in the Middle East to the privatization of the NHS – the BBC falls into line.” – ‘What If They Held A Constitutional Convention and Everybody Came?‘ By Dan Hind

I wanted to put the BBC video up here, but inconveniently, The BBC decided that us punters who pay for the BBC, are denied that right, so you’ll have to watch it here, but hurry up, who knows how long the BBC will allow us to view it? This in spite of the fact that it states on its website:

“BBC News makes some video content available for embedding on other websites and blogs. These videos can be embedded onto both personal and business websites, subject to our revised terms of use.“

Clearly this video is one that the BBC doesn’t want distributed too widely in spite of its disingenuous and downright misleading message (or perhaps because of it?).

Facts in the video about genetic damage (note not alleged genetic damage) to the children of Fallujah in the video that Simpson apparently didn’t notice include:

  • A twelve-fold increase in childhood cancers since 2004
  • Child mortality in Fallujah 80 per thousand but in neighbouring Jordan it’s only 17 per thousand.
  • The ratio of boys to girls born has dramatically altered. Normally it’s a little over a 1,000 thousand boys to 1,000 girls but in Fallujah it’s 860 boys to a 1,000 girls, an effect seen after the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • Horrific birth defects (too horrible for the BBC to show)

And even after a specialist talks about “genetic damage” in Fallujah, Simpson tells us:

“Yet the way the survey was done, asking people to fill in forms, means that it still isn’t finally conclusive.”

I’m not sure what Simpson wants here (aside from “watertight scientific proof”), if the survey of 4,800 people, conducted by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doesn’t fit the bill, what does?

But to add insult to injury, Simpson ends the report by blaming the Iraqi government!

“But even the Iraqi government doesn’t seem interested in finding out the truth, perhaps because Fallujah is a predominately Sunni Muslim town and the government is overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim.”

So Simpson manages to make the alleged Sunni/Shiite divide as the reason why we can’t get at the truth of the situation in Fallujah! Once more, the victims get blamed.

This is outrageous stuff, truly propaganda of the worst kind. Hopefully, if there’s any justice in this world, one day Simpson will be called to account for his crimes of misreporting.

April 4, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Comments Off on Depleted Uranium: The BBC’s John Simpson does a hatchet job on Fallujah’s genetically damaged children

Horrors of war: US, UK munitions ‘cause birth defects in Iraq’

RT | October 14, 2012

US and UK weapons ammunition were linked to heart defects, brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs, according to a recent study. The report revealed a shocking rise in birth defects in Iraqi children conceived after the US invasion.

Titled ‘Metal Contamination and the Epidemic of Congenital Birth Defects in Iraqi Cities,’ the study was published by the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. It revealed a connection between military activity in the country and increased numbers of birth defects and miscarriages.

The report, which can be found here, also contains graphic images of Iraqi children born with birth defects. (The images were not published on RT due to their disturbing content.) It documents 56 families in Fallujah, which was invaded by US troops in 2004, and examines births in Basrah in southern Iraq, which was attacked by British forces in 2003.

The study concluded that US and UK ammunition is responsible for high rates of miscarriages, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiraling numbers of birth defects, which ranged from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs.

Fallujah, around 40 miles west of Baghdad, was at the epicenter of these various health risks. The city was first invaded by US Marines in the spring of 2004, and then again 7 months later. Some of the heaviest artillery in the US arsenal was deployed during the attack, including phosphorus shells.

Shocking findings

Between 2007 and 2010 in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with birth defects. Before the war, this figure was around one in 10. Also, over 45 percent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in 2005 and 2006, compared to only 10 percent before the invasion.

In Basrah’s Maternity Hospital, more than 20 babies out of 1,000 were born with defects in 2003, 17 times higher than the figure recorded in the previous decade.

Overall, the study found that the number of babies in the region born with birth defects increased by more than 60 percent (37 out of every 1,000 are now born with defects) in the past seven years. This rise was linked to an increased exposure to metals released by the bombs and bullets used over the past decade.

Hair samples of the population of Fallujah revealed levels of lead in children with birth defects five times higher than in other children, and mercury levels six times higher. Basrah children with birth defects had three times more lead in their teeth than children living in areas not struck by the artillery.

The study found a “footprint of metal in the population,” Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the lead authors of the report said. Savabieasfahani is an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.

“In utero exposure to pollutants can drastically change the outcome of an otherwise normal pregnancy. The metal levels we see in the Fallujah children with birth defects clearly indicates that metals were involved in manifestation of birth defects in these children,” she said.

The study’s preliminary findings, released in 2010, led to an in-depth inquiry on Fallujah by the World Health Organization (WHO), the results of which will be released next month. The inquiry is expected to show an increase in birth defects following the Iraq War.

According to the WHO, a pregnant woman can be exposed to lead or mercury through the air, water and soil. The woman can then pass the exposure to her unborn child through her bones, and high levels of toxins can damage kidneys and brains, and cause blindness, seizures, muteness, lack of coordination and even death.

US and UK ‘unaware’ of rise in birth defects

US Defense Department responded to the report by claiming that there are no official reports indicating a connection between military action and birth defects in Iraq.

“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,” a US Defense Department spokesperson told the Independent. “We always take very seriously public health concerns about any population now living in a combat theatre. Unexploded ordnance, including improvised explosive devises, are a recognized hazard.”

An UK government spokesperson also said there was no “reliable scientific or medical evidence to confirm a link between conventional ammunition and birth defects in Basrah. All ammunition used by UK armed forces falls within international humanitarian law and is consistent with the Geneva Convention.”

October 14, 2012 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The U.S. Empire’s Achilles Heel: Its Barbaric Racism

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford | March 14, 2012

The American atrocities in Afghanistan roll on like a drumbeat from hell. With every affront to the human and national dignity of the Afghan people, the corporate media feign shock and quickly conclude that a few bad apples are responsible for U.S. crimes, that it’s all a mistake and misunderstanding, rather than the logical result of a larger crime: America’s attempt to dominate the world by force. But even so, with the highest paid and best trained military in the world – a force equipped with the weapons and communications gear to exercise the highest standards of control known to any military in history – one would think that commanders could keep their troops from making videos of urinating on dead men, or burning holy books, or letting loose homicidal maniacs on helpless villagers.

These three latest atrocities have brought the U.S. occupation the point of crisis – hopefully, a terminal one. But the whole war has been one atrocity after another, from the very beginning, when the high-tech superpower demonstrated the uncanny ability to track down and incinerate whole Afghan wedding parties – not just once, but repeatedly. Quite clearly, to the Americans, these people have never been more than ants on the ground, to be exterminated at will.

The Afghans, including those on the U.S. payroll, repeatedly use the word “disrespect” to describe American behavior. But honest people back here in the belly of the beast know that the more accurate term is racism. The United States cannot help but be a serial abuser of the rights of the people it occupies, especially those who are thought of as non-white, because it is a thoroughly racist nation. A superpower military allows them to act out this characteristic with impunity.

American racism allows its citizens to imagine that they are doing the people of Pakistan a favor, by sending drones to deal death without warning from the skies. The U.S. calls Pakistan an ally, when polls consistently show that its people harbor more hatred and fear of the U.S. than any other people in the world. The Pakistanis know the U.S. long propped up their military dictators, and then threatened to blow the country to Kingdom Come after 9/ll, if the U.S. military wasn’t given free rein. They know they are viewed collectively as less than human by the powers in Washington – and, if they don’t call it racism, we should, because we know our fellow Americans very well.

The U.S. lost any hope of leaving a residual military force in Iraq when it showed the utterly racist disrespect of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison, the savage leveling of Fallujah, the massacres in Haditha and so many other places well known to Iraqis, if not the American public, and the slaughter of 17 civilians stuck at a traffic circle in Nisour Square, Baghdad. What people would agree to allow such armed savages to remain in their country if given a choice?

The United States was conceived as an empire built on the labor of Blacks and the land of dead natives, an ever-expanding sphere of exploitation and plunder – energized by an abiding and general racism that is, itself, the main obstacle to establishing a lasting American anti-war movement. But, despite the peace movement’s weaknesses, the people of a world under siege by the Americans will in due time kick them out – because to live under barbarian racists is not a human option.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

March 14, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

American Morlocks: Another Civilian Massacre and the Savagery of Our Soldiers

By Nima Shiraz | Wide Asleep in America | March 11, 2012

“Great shapes like big machines rose out of the dimness, and cast grotesque black shadows, in which dim spectral Morlocks sheltered from the glare…there was an altogether new element in the sickening quality of the Morlocks — a something inhuman and malign…I wondered vaguely what foul villainy it might be that the Morlocks did under the new moon.”

– H.G. Wells, The Time Machine, 1895

Nearly eight years ago, on April 1, 2004, former speech writer and Special Assistant to Ronald Reagan, Peggy Noonan wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal, where she was a contributing editor. It began like this (emphasis in original):

The world is used to bad news and always has been, but now and then there occurs something so brutal, so outside the normal limits of what used to be called man’s inhumanity to man, that you have to look away. Then you force yourself to look and see and only one thought is possible: This must stop now. You wonder, how can we do it? And your mind says, immediately: Whatever it takes.

The brutal, inhuman event she was referring to was the killing in the Iraqi city of Fallujah of four American civilian contractors, whose SUV was ambushed by rocket-propelled grenades the day before.  The four men, all employees of the infamous mercenary outfit Blackwater, were shot, their bodies burned, mutilated, and dragged through the streets in celebration.  The charred corpses of two of those killed that day were strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River.  The news, and accompanying photographs, sent shockwaves of horror and disgust through the United States and prompted endless editorials from coast to coast.

Noonan described “the brutalization of their corpses” as “savage, primitive, unacceptable” and decried that the “terrible glee of the young men in the crowds, and the sadism they evinced, reminds us of the special power of the ignorant to impede the good.” She wrote that the Iraqis responsible for such gruesome actions “take pleasure in evil, and they were not shy to show it. They are arrogant. They think barbarity is their right.”

White House spokesman Scott McClellan condemned the killings as “despicable, horrific attacks” and “cowardly, hateful acts,” saying, “it was inexcusable the way those individuals were treated.” He called those responsible for the deaths “terrorists” and “a collection of killers” and vowed that “America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins.”

A few days later in the San Diego Union-Tribune, editor Robert J. Caldwell wrote of the “grisly horror,” the “shocking slaughter,” the “barbarism” and “butchery,” the “homicidal hatred,” and insisted that “if we permit atrocities like the one in Fallujah to drive the U.S.-led coalition into retreat and premature withdrawal” and “[i]f we falter in Iraq, we let the mob in Fallujah win.”  Similarly, Noonan suggested,

It would be good not only for elemental justice but for Iraq and its future if a large force of coalition troops led by U.S. Marines would go into Fallujah, find the young men, arrest them or kill them, and, to make sure the point isn’t lost on them, blow up the bridge.

Whatever the long-term impact of the charred bodies the short term response must be a message to Fallujah and to all the young men of Iraq: the violent and unlawful will be broken. Savagery is yesterday; it left with Saddam.

In fact, in retaliation, savagery returned with a vengeance as United States Marines immediately bombarded Fallujah, killing over 600 Iraqis, most of them women, children, and the elderly in the very first week of the assault in early April 2004, eleven months after George W. Bush declared “Mission Accomplished.”  By the end of the year, after two massive assaults on the city by the U.S. military, over 2,000 Iraqis, including hundreds of women and children, had been killed by American soldiers, thousands more injured and at least 300,000 displaced.

Such is the American capacity for blood-thirsty revenge.

Nowhere has this vengeance been more tragically demonstrated than Afghanistan and upon an innocent and terrorized civilian population that bares absolutely no responsibility for the events that led the United States to invade and occupy the country over a decade ago.

According to the official U.S. government story, the attacks of September 11, 2001 were carried out by 19 hijackers, none of whom were from Afghanistan. Fifteen were from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt and another from Lebanon. None of them lived in Afghanistan. They lived in Hamburg, Germany. They didn’t train in Afghanistan, but rather in Sarasota, Florida. They didn’t attend flight school in Afghanistan; their school was in Minnesota. The attacks were reportedly planned in many places, including Falls Church, Virginia and Paris, France, but not in Afghanistan.

Soon after the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan offered repeatedly “to hand bin Laden over to a neutral Islamic country for trial, if there is proof of his crimes.” In response, George W. Bush replied, “We know he’s guilty. Turn him over.”

On October 1, 2001, the Taliban repeated their offer, telling reporters in Pakistan, “We are ready for negotiations. It is up to the other side to agree or not. Only negotiation will solve our problems.” The next day, when Bush was asked about this offer at a press conference, he replied: “There’s no negotiations. There’s no calendar. We’ll act on our time.” Refusing to provide any evidence of bin Laden’s guilt, U.S. officials stated that the Taliban offer was “inadequate” and instead “dispatched war planes and ships towards Afghanistan,” beginning its illegal bombing campaign on October 7, 2001.

By early December 2001, over 6,500 tons of munitions had been dropped on Afghanistan by US-led NATO forces, including approximately 12,000 bombs and missiles. By the end of March 2002, over 21,000 bombs and missiles had been dropped, murdering well over 3,000 Afghan civilians in air strikes. In the first two months alone, Afghan civilians were killed at an average rate of 45 per day.

The killing has continued unabated for over ten years and is routinely ignored by the mainstream media, which choose instead to praise American soldiers for their duty, their heroism, and their sacrifice.

Just last month, on February 8, 2012, a NATO air strike killed several children in the eastern Kapinsa province of Afghanistan, with “young Afghans of varying ages” identified among the casualties.  Similar strikes were responsible for the murders of nearly 200 civilians last year alone.  Furthermore, in less than ten months from 2010 to early 2011, well over 1,500 Afghan civilians were killed by U.S. and NATO forces in night raids, a brutal occupation tactic that has been embraced – along with drone attacks – by Barack Obama.  According to a September 2011 study by the Open Society Foundation, “An estimated 12 to 20 night raids now occur per night, resulting in thousands of detentions per year, many of whom are non-combatants.” These raids produce heavy civilian casualties and often target the wrong people.

And earlier today, Sunday March 11, 2012, Reuters reported,

Western forces shot dead 16 civilians including nine children in southern Kandahar province on Sunday, Afghan officials said, in a rampage that witnesses said was carried out by American soldiers who were laughing and appeared drunk.

One Afghan father who said his children were killed in the shooting spree accused soldiers of later burning the bodies.

Witnesses told Reuters they saw a group of U.S. soldiers arrive at their village in Kandahar’s Panjwayi district at around 2 am, enter homes and open fire.

The New York Times reported that “a United States Army sergeant methodically killed at least 16 civilians, 9 of them children,” after “[s]talking from home to home.”

Residents of three villages in the Panjwai district of Kandahar Province described a terrifying string of attacks in which the soldier, who had walked more than a mile from his base, tried door after door, eventually breaking in to kill within three separate houses. At the first, the man gathered 11 bodies, including those of four girls younger than 6, and set fire to them, villagers said.

The Guardian added, “Among the dead was a young girl in a green and red dress who had been shot in the forehead. The bodies of other victims appeared partially burned. A villager claimed they had been wrapped in blankets and set on fire by the killer.”

The mainstream media was quick to follow the lead of “U.S. military officials” who “stressed that the shooting was carried out by a lone, rogue soldier, differentiating it from past instances in which civilians were killed accidentally during military operations.”

While Reuters noted that, while ” U.S. officials” asserted “that a lone soldier was responsible,” this conflicted with “witnesses’ accounts that several U.S. soldiers were present.”

“I saw that all 11 of my relatives were killed, including my children and grandchildren,” said a weeping Haji Samad, who said he had left his home a day earlier.

The walls of the house were blood-splattered.

“They (Americans) poured chemicals over their dead bodies and burned them,” Samad told Reuters at the scene.

Neighbors said they had awoken to crackling gunfire from American soldiers, who they described as laughing and drunk.

“They were all drunk and shooting all over the place,” said neighbor Agha Lala, who visited one of the homes where killings took place.

“Their (the victims’) bodies were riddled with bullets.”

A senior U.S. defense official in Washington rejected witness accounts that several apparently drunk soldiers were involved. “Based on the preliminary information we have this account is flatly wrong,” the official said. “We believe one U.S. service member acted alone, not a group of U.S. soldiers.”

“Some villagers reported that more than one US soldier was involved,” wrote Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian‘s Kabul-based correspondent, “but Afghan officials and the NATO-led coalition said they believed the killer worked alone.”

The Washington Post quoted Fazal Mohammad Esaqzai, deputy chief of the Kandahar provincial council, as saying, “They entered the room where the women and children were sleeping, and they were all shot in the head. They were all shot in the head.”  Esaqzai was “doubtful of the U.S. account suggesting that the killings were the work of a lone gunman…About an hour later, residents in a nearby village heard gunshots, and they later discovered the corpses of five men inside two houses located near each other, Esaqzai said.”

A reporter for The New York Times “inspected bodies that had been taken to the nearby American military base counted 16 dead, and saw burns on some of the children’s legs and heads. ‘All the family members were killed, the dead put in a room, and blankets were put over the corpses and they were burned,’ said Anar Gula, an elderly neighbor who rushed to the house after the soldier had left. ‘We put out the fire.'”

One of the survivors from the attack, Abdul Hadi, 40, said he was at home when a soldier broke down the door.
“My father went out to find out what was happening, and he was killed,” he said. “I was trying to go out and find out about the shooting, but someone told me not to move, and I was covered by the women in my family in my room, so that is why I survived.”

U.S. officials were also quick to express their “deep sadness” as they described the “individual act” as an “isolated episode.”  Lt. Gen. Adrian J. Bradshaw, deputy commander of the international coalition in Afghanistan, called the murders “callous.” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told Afghan president Hamid Karzai, “I condemn such violence and am shocked and saddened that a U.S. service member is alleged to be involved.”  U.S. President Barack Obama declared, “I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured too much violence and suffering. This incident…does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan.”

These isolated incidents and that kind of respect have been obliterating the lives of Afghan civilians for over a decade.  Such exceptional character was responsible for the premeditated murders of at least three Afghan civilians in Kandanhar in the first half of 2010. Between January and May 2010, members of a U.S. Army Stryker brigade, who called themselves the “Kill Team,” executed three Afghans, staged combat situations to cover-up the killings, took commemorative and celebratory photographs with the murdered corpses, and took fingers and teeth as trophies.  To date, eleven soldiers have been convicted in connection to the murders.  Last year, one of the soldiers, Specialist Jeremy Morlock of Wasilla, Alaska was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role in the killings.  One of the leaked Kill Team photos shows “Morlock smiling as he holds a dead man up by the hair on his head.” At the beginning of his court-martial, Morlock bluntly told the judge, “The plan was to kill people, sir.”  Nevertheless, he may be eligible for parole in less than seven years.

Last month, a video posted online showed four giddy U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of three slain Afghan men while saying things like “Have a good day, buddy” and “Golden like a shower.”  One of the soldiers was the platoon’s commanding officer.  Just a few weeks later, American troops at Bagram Air Base deliberately incinerated numerous copies of the Qur’an and other religious texts, sparking mass riots across Afghanistan and leading to a rash of killings of U.S. and NATO soldiers by Afghans armed and trained by NATO.  Just two days ago, in the eastern Afghan province of Kapisa, “NATO helicopters apparently hunting Taliban insurgents instead fired on civilians, killing four and wounding three others.”

A 2011 military report determined – shockingly – that the treatment of Afghans by the occupying armies was one reason why members of the Afghan National Security Force sometimes kill their NATO comrades. The report credited such actions to “a crisis of trust and cultural incompatibility.”  One would hope that night raids, drone strikes, the willful execution of men, women, and children, mutilating, desecrating and pissing on corpses would be “incompatible” with any “culture.”

In the wake of the Qur’an burnings, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, “We can’t forget what the mission is – the need to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda remains,” and stressed that “the overall importance of defeating al-Qaeda remains.”

Carney said this despite the fact that, in late June 2010, then-CIA Director Leon Panetta judged that the number of al-Qaeda militants in Afghanistan was “at most…maybe 50 to 100, maybe less.”  In April 2011, General David Petraeus told reporters in Kabul that al-Qaeda’s total strength in Afghanistan is “generally assessed at less than 100 or so” combatants, of whom only “a handful” were seen to pose a threat to Western countries.  Months later, in November 2011, The Washington Post quoted a “senior U.S. counterterrorism official” as saying, “We have rendered the organization that brought us 9/11 operationally ineffective.” The official also stated that al-Qaeda’s entire leadership consisted only of two top positions and described the group as having none of “the world-class terrorists they once had.”

As such, the U.S. military and its coalition partners have been waging a war against a civilian population, allegedly in pursuit of what remains of a leaderless and powerless band of potential terrorists affiliated with the group accused (but never charged, tried or convicted) of planning and executing the 9/11 attacks.

To make matters even more appalling, hardly any Afghans even know the “reason” why foreign armies have invaded and occupied their land and have been killing their family and friends for years.  A survey released by the International Council on Security and Development in November 2010 revealed that, “in Kandahar and Helmand provinces, the two provinces currently suffering the most violence” and where Obama had recently sent thousands of American soldiers, “92% of respondents in the south are unaware of the events of 9/11 or that they triggered the current international presence in Afghanistan,” after being read a three-paragraph description of the attacks. Furthermore, of those interviewed (one thousand Afghan men ages fifteen to thirty), 40% “believe the international forces are there to destroy Islam, or to occupy or destroy Afghanistan.”  Chances are, incinerating their holy scripture and bombing their villages don’t help challenge this perception.

Consequently, when American missiles and bullets tear through villages, rooftops, windshields, and the living, breathing bodies of Afghan men, women, boys and girls, the carnage is devoid of “context” – not that a deadly attack on U.S. soil over a decade ago can possibly, in any conceivable, legal, or human way, justify the atrocities, trauma, terror, dehumanization and devastation that have befallen the Afghan people at the orders and hands of American soldiers, officers, and commanders-in chief.

Such criminal brutality is obviously not limited to Afghanistan.  Sunday’s massacre of 16 human beings in Kandahar recalls the massacre in Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2005.  Following the death of one soldier (and wounding of two others) by a roadside bomb, a squad of Marines killed 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women, an elderly man, children, some of them toddlers.

Led by Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich (who told his men to “shoot first and ask questions later”), Marines ordered a taxi driver and four students at the Technical Institute in Saqlawiyah out of their car and shot them dead in the street, the Marines raided three nearby homes, slaughtering everyone they came in contact with.


Haditha Massacre, Iraq, 2005

Along with his 66-year-old wife Khamisa Tuma Ali, three grown sons, a 32-year-old woman and a four-year-old child, 76-year-old, wheelchair-bound Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali was killed in his own home after having his chest and abdomen riddled with bullets.  Nine-year-old Eman Walid witnessed the slaughter of her family. “First, they went into my father’s room, where he was reading the Koran and we heard shots,” she said. “I couldn’t see their faces very well—only their guns sticking into the doorway. I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest and then in the head. Then they killed my granny.”

Younis Salim Khafif, 43, his wife Aida Yasin Ahmed, 41, their 8-year-old son Muhammad, 14-year-old daughter Noor, 10-year-old daughter Sabaa, 5-year-old daughter Zainab, 3-year-old daughter Aisha and a one-year-old baby girl who was staying at their home were all attacked with hand grenades and shot to death at close range.  In the third house, four adult brothers, Jamal, Marwan, Qahtan and Chasib Ahmed were all killed by the Marines.  Another brother, Yousif, who survived the attack, recalled, “The Americans gathered my four brothers and took them inside my father’s bedroom, to a closet. They killed them inside the closet.”  The soldiers then took photos of the dead and desecrated their bodies by urinating on them.

Despite overwhelming evidence, only a single solider, Wuterich, stood trial for these murders. All charges against the other Marines who committed these atrocities were dropped or dismissed.  Wuterich, whose own charges of assault and manslaughter were also dropped, was convicted on January 24, 2012 of only negligent dereliction of duty. He got a demotion and a pay cut.  His sentence did not include any jail time.

This kind of American impunity is hardly surprising.

Over the past decade, the United States military has invaded and occupied two foreign countries (illegally bombing and drone striking at least four others), and has overseen the kidnapping, indefinite detention without charge or trial, and the physical and psychological torture of thousands of people, including at places like Guantanamo, Bagram, and Abu Ghraib, where detainees were raped by their American captors.  Prisoners held by the United States in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, in addition to being “chained to the ceiling, shackled so tightly that the blood flow stops, kept naked and hooded and kicked to keep them awake for days on end,” have also been beaten to death by their American interrogators. Of the fifteen soldiers charged with detainee abuse ranging from “dereliction of duty to maiming and involuntary manslaughter,” all but three have been acquitted. Those three received written reprimands and served, at most, 75 days in prison for their war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In response to the lethal rampage in Kandahar today, the Taliban condemned the “sick minded American savages” and vowed to “take revenge from the invaders and the savage murderers for every single martyr.” The official Taliban statement continued,

A large number from amongst the victims are innocent children, women and the elderly, martyred by the American barbarians who mercilessly robbed them of their precious lives and drenched their hands with their innocent blood.

The American terrorists want to come up with an excuse for the perpetrator of this inhumane crime by claiming that this immoral culprit was mentally ill.

If the perpetrators of this massacre were in fact mentally ill then this testifies to yet another moral transgression by the American military because they are arming lunatics in Afghanistan who turn their weapons against the defenceless Afghans without giving a second thought.

The words could be Peggy Noonan’s. One would assume, as the victims of this latest massacre were not trained, uniformed combat troops, heavily-armed and armored, serving in a military occupation of an invaded and destroyed foreign country, but rather innocent civilians, many of them children, that the Noonans of the world would similarly cry out for justice, for vengeance, for retribution.

But don’t hold your breath.

Their silence – or worse, equivocation – will be thunderous.

March 13, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 3 Comments