Posts Tagged ‘Fallujah’

1 / 2

The pictures flash up on a screen on an upper floor of the Fallujah General Hospital. And all at once, Nadhem Shokr al-Hadidi’s administration office becomes a little chamber of horrors. A baby with a hugely deformed mouth. A child with a defect of the spinal cord, material from the spine outside the body. A baby with a terrible, vast Cyclopean eye. Another baby with only half a head, stillborn like the rest, date of birth 17 June, 2009. Yet another picture flicks onto the screen: date of birth 6 July 2009, it shows a tiny child with half a right arm, no left leg, no genitalia.

“We see this all the time now,” Al-Hadidi says, and a female doctor walks into the room and glances at the screen. She has delivered some of these still-born children. “I’ve never seen anything as bad as this in all my service,” she says quietly. Al-Hadidi takes phone calls, greets visitors to his office, offers tea and biscuits to us while this ghastly picture show unfolds on the screen. I asked to see these photographs, to ensure that the stillborn children, the deformities, were real. There’s always a reader or a viewer who will mutter the word “propaganda” under their breath.

But the photographs are a damning, ghastly reward for such doubts. January 7, 2010: a baby with faded, yellow skin and misshapen arms. April 26, 2010: a grey mass on the side of the baby’s head. A doctor beside me speaks of “Tetralogy of Fallot”, a transposition of the great blood vessels. May 3, 2010: a frog-like creature in which – the Fallujah doctor who came into the room says this – “all the abdominal organs are trying to get outside the body.”

This is too much. These photographs are too awful, the pain and emotion of them – for the poor parents, at least – impossible to contemplate. They simply cannot be published.

There is a no-nonsense attitude from the doctors in Fallujah. They know that we know about this tragedy. Indeed, there is nothing undiscovered about the child deformities of Fallujah. Other correspondents – including my colleague Patrick Cockburn – have visited Fallujah to report on them. What is so shameful is that these deformities continue unmonitored. One Fallujah doctor, an obstetrician trained in Britain – she left only five months ago – who has purchased from her own sources for her private clinic a £79,000 scanning machine for prenatal detection of congenital abnormalities, gives me her name and asks why the Ministry of Health in Baghdad will not hold a full official investigation into the deformed babies of Fallujah.

More@ http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-children-of-fallujah–the-hospital-of-horrors-7679168.html


Read Full Post »

Forgetting Fallujah

Coffee Bean Direct General Banner 3

Forgetting Fallujah

The Iraq War was back in the news again, with reports that Al-Qaeda-affiliated forces claimed control over the city of Fallujah. For many in the media, this was a time to recall a particularly important moment of the Iraq War. But their memory of Fallujah was extremely limited.

In the Washington Post (1/3/14), reporter Liz Sly explained that this was “one of the most crucial areas that US troops fought to pacify before withdrawing from Iraq two years ago.” She added:

Roughly a third of the 4,486 US troops killed in Iraq died in Anbar trying to defeat Al-Qaeda in Iraq, nearly 100 of them in the November 2004 battle for control of Fallujah, the site of America’s bloodiest confrontation since the Vietnam War.

Events Friday suggested the fight may have been in vain.

On NPR‘s All Things Considered (1/4/14), Arun Rath explained:

A little over nine years ago, American soldiers and Marines in Iraq endured the bloodiest combat since Vietnam to retake the city of Fallujah from Iraqi and foreign insurgents. It must be hard for the veterans of that battle to see the headlines today.

NBC‘s Richard Engel (Meet the Press, 1/4/14) told viewers that  “the gains that were achieved by US troops in Iraq, very hard-fought gains, have now been wiped out or are being wiped out. US troops fought in Fallujah; they invaded Fallujah twice to drive out Al-Qaeda extremists.” That left host David Gregory to say, “Critics already questioning whether some of our battles there–and the loss of life on the US side–whether that was in vain.”

So it’s clear that an awareness of the suffering and sacrifices of US forces in Fallujah is very much at the front of the corporate media’s memory. But mostly–if not entirely–forgotten is what was done to the people who lived in Fallujah.

There were two major offensives in 2004–a siege in April and an intense US-led assault on the city in November. Prior to both, there was an incident in 2003 where US forces fired on protesters, killing over a dozen.

The residents of Fallujah suffered terribly throughout. The April siege reportedly killed hundreds of civilians; as FAIR noted in real time (Action Alert, 11/16/04), outlets like the New York Times sought to downplay the death toll.  The intense US attacks in November included the use of cluster bombs and white phosphorous chemicals (FAIR Blog, 10/22/12). More than half of the homes in the city were reportedly destroyed; civilian deaths were at least 800, according to the  Red Cross.

As Mike Marqusee wrote in the Guardian (11/10/05):

The assault was preceded by eight weeks of aerial bombardment. US troops cut off the city’s water, power and food supplies, condemned as a violation of the Geneva convention by a UN special rapporteur, who accused occupying forces of “using hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population.” Two-thirds of the city’s 300,000 residents fled, many to squatters’ camps without basic facilities.

He added: “The collective punishment inflicted on Fallujah–with logistical and political support from Britain–was largely masked by the US and British media, which relied on reporters embedded with US troops.”

But more than a decade later, US media still see Fallujah primarily as a place where US forces suffered–and died–perhaps “in vain.” Then and now, the hundreds of Iraqis who died in Fallujah hardly register at all.

Read Full Post »

World Chaos Never Touches the Blissheads of ‘Happiness’

Lisa Guliani
Tue, 19 Nov 2013 18:47 CST

Think about what has been sown with regard to our government’s illegal invasions, occupations and mass murder campaigns post-9/11. Take Iraq as just one example, if you will.

Please read the following excerpt from: How the U.S. poisoned Iraq

MSNBC reports: Between 2002 and 2005, U.S. forces shot off 6 billion bullets in Iraq (something like 300,000 for every person killed). They also dropped 2,000 to 4,000 tons of bombs on Iraqi cities, leaving behind a witch’s brew of contaminants and toxic metals, including the neurotoxins lead and mercury. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an Iranian-born toxicologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, is studying the health impact, and her early findings are worrying.

Last year, in a study published with Iraqi colleagues, she reported staggering increases in birth defects in the heavily bombarded cities of Basrah and Fallujah. The increases started in the early 90s, after the bombings of the first Gulf War, and continued right through 2011.

So that’s 6 billion bullets in a 3 year period, which equals 300,000 for every person – just in Iraq.

Ok, presuming you’ve read the above excerpt, please ask yourselves what you think Americans might reasonably expect to ‘reap’ from what has been sown through unthinking, unquestioning mass support of the psychopath warmongers in control of the U.S. government crime syndicate and their bullshit ‘reasons’ for murdering innocent people and facilitating Israel’s genocide campaign against the Palestinians over the years?

How about from ignoring all this stuff? What do we reap when we ignore what’s going on in the world out there?

What can Americans hope to ‘reap’ after billions of seeds of hate, death and destruction have been sown around this world?

Peace? Seriously?? Do you say ‘peace’? As in, ‘we can all just agree to get along now, because well, we’ve got the ‘evildoers’ choking on the barrel of a gun, or we shoved a drone up their asses and showed’ em who’s boss?’

Have you thought at all yet about the inevitable harvest upon us, the one that’s only just begun? Yes? No?

I know I annoy the hell out of people for reminding them of stuff they don’t want to think about, or look at, or remember, but…

I remind you all again: If you support these psychopaths in power in ANY way, if you can still find it in you to vote for ‘red’ or ‘blue’ psychopaths, or salute that goddamned wretched bloody flag after what it represents TODAY to people all around the world; OR if you ignore what’s happening beyond our borders when our government is FULLY responsible for atrocities, and instead choose to live in fruity-flavored ‘bliss’, concerned solely with your own personal peace of mind, contentment, and security; if you’re telling yourself ( and everyone else on your friend list) that you ‘choose to be happy’ while the world burns around you, pretending NOTHING is going on beyond your personal zen zone and your ‘book club’, sculpting on that stuck-on smile for the web cam, no matter what happens anywhere else to anyone else; if you announce on FB that you’re ‘changing this world by teaching ‘happiness’ ( some of you are doing that) and never utter one peep about those living under military occupation, or in poverty, the ones who struggle to find dinner, let alone ‘happiness’; if you block out all the bad stuff and focus only on superficial, new-agey flake & bake bullshit, and never once stand up and speak out against this evil in which the world bathes, day in and day out , because it pisses on your personal perky parade, – then, imo, you not only support the evil, you’re a ‘speshul’ sort of evil.

If you’re supporting or ignoring it, then…

You support mass murder, the Killing Machine, ongoing drone strikes that annhilate mostly civilians, you support every evil fucking act these psychos in power commit against every single innocent person, culture, and population. You ignore or support evil, you become evil yourself.

See how that works?

That means the evildoers are not just THEM, those nameless faceless shapeless formless figments that have barely made it through your blood-brain barrier, the stuff you refuse to think about or openly oppose, because it screws with your bliss to think about it. It means YOU are one of the evildoers, Blisshead & Patriot Parrot.

An Iraqi boy forever ‘liberated’ from the use of his arms by an American bomb.

‘Cuz, in my book, silence about crimes against humanity = complicity in crimes against humanity.

The Harvest is upon us, you know.

Better break out that cherry-flavored ‘bliss’ stick and ‘pray’ it’ll be enough insulation to keep your soul from chapping, ‘cuz the high wind’s blowin’.

Sometimes I wonder why people had to happen at all.

How come we don’t see the Blissheads in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine, for example, or reaching out to those folks on the internet, teaching ‘happiness’ and sharing that ‘speshul formula for ‘happy’ with the ones who need it most – as opposed to their equally blissed-out buddies on FB, who are overdosing on it?

It must be a lot harder to reach out beyond the Bliss Zone, to do something that’s meaningful in the lives of others, not just profitable and lucrative for your own life.

So much simpler to just sit around blowing bliss up your buddies’ butts, never acknowledging the world lack or any of the rest of the chaotic mess taking place on this spinning space rock – that is, beyond the dimensions of a Blisshead’s pink plastic heart and stuck-on smile.

It would cost too goddamn much , upset that precariously balanced ‘bliss’ to care, wouldn’t it.

One of them says: “I choose to be happy. That’s how I change the world.”

Oh, is it now? The world must really, really appreciate Americans who choose to be ‘happy’. I reckon your bliss is working freakin’ miracles over there in Pakistan right about now.

Read Full Post »

How the World Health Organisation Covered Up Iraq’s Nuclear Nightmare


October 13, 2013

Ex-UN, WHO officials reveal political interference to suppress scientific evidence of postwar environmental health catastrophe

Last month, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a long awaited document summarising the findings of an in-depth investigation into the prevalence of congenital birth defects (CBD) in Iraq, which many experts believe is linked to the use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by Allied forces. According to the ‘summary report’:

“The rates for spontaneous abortion, stillbirths and congenital birth defects found in the study are consistent with or even lower than international estimates. The study provides no clear evidence to suggest an unusually high rate of congenital birth defects in Iraq.”

Jaffar Hussain, WHO’s Head of Mission in Iraq, said that the report is based on survey techniques that are “renowned worldwide” and that the study was peer reviewed “extensively” by international experts.


But the conclusions contrasted dramatically from previous statements about the research findings from Iraqi Ministry of Health (MOH) officials involved in the study. Earlier this year, BBC News spoke to MOH researchers who confirmed the joint report would furnish “damning evidence” that rates of birth defects are higher in areas experiencing heavy fighting in the 2003 war. In an early press release, WHO similarly acknowledged “existing MOH statistics showing high number of CBD cases” in the “high risk” areas selected for study.

The publication of this ‘summary document’ on the World Health Organisation’s website has raised questions from independent experts and former United Nations and WHO officials, who question the validity of its findings and its anonymous authorship. They highlight the existence of abundant research demonstrating not only significant rates of congenital birth defects in many areas of Iraq, but also a plausible link to the impact of depleted uranium.

For years, medical doctors in Iraq have reported “a high level of birth defects.” Other peer-reviewed studies have documented a dramatic increase in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the aftermath of US military bombardment. In Fallujah, doctors are witnessing a “massive unprecedented number” of heart defects, and an increase in the number of nervous system defects. Analysis of pre-2003 data compared to now showed that “the rate of congenital heart defects was 95 per 1,000 births – 13 times the rate found in Europe.”

The purpose of the WHO study was to probe the data further, but some say the project is deeply flawed.

Politicised science

Dr. Keith Bavistock of the Department of Environmental Science, University of Eastern Finland, is a retired 13-year WHO expert on radiation and health. He told me that the new ‘summary document’ was at best “disappointing.” He condemned the decision from “the very outset to preclude the possibility of looking at the extent to which the increase of birth defects is linked to the use of depleted uranium”, and further slammed the document’s lack of scientific credibility.

“This document is not of scientific quality. It wouldn’t pass peer review in one of the worst journals. One of the biggest methodological problems, among many, is that the document does not even attempt to look at existing medical records in Iraqi hospitals – these are proper clinical records which document the diagnoses of the relevant cases being actually discovered by Iraqi doctors. These medics collecting clinical records are reporting higher birth defects than the study acknowledges. Instead, the document focuses on interviews with mothers as a basis for diagnosis, many of whom are traumatised in this environment, their memories unreliable, and are not qualified to make diagnosis.”

I asked Dr. Baverstock if, given the document’s avoidance of analysing the key evidence – clinical records compiled by Iraqi medics – there was reason to believe the research findings were compromised under political pressure. He said:

“The way this document has been produced is extremely suspicious. There are question marks about the role of the US and UK, who have a conflict of interest in this sort of study due to compensation issues that might arise from findings determining a link between higher birth defects and DU. I can say that the US and UK have been very reluctant to disclose the locations of DU deployment, which might throw further light on this correlation.”

If so, it would not be the first time the WHO had reportedly quashed research on DU potentially embarrassing for the Allies. In 2001, Baverstock was on the editorial board for a WHO research project clearing the US and UK of responsibility for environmental health hazards involved in DU deployment. His detailed editorial recommendations accounting for new research proving uranium’s nature as as a genotoxin (capable of changing DNA) were ignored and overruled:

“My editorial changes were suppressed, even though some of the research was from Department of Defense studies looking at subjects who had ingested DU from friendly fire, clearly proving that DU was genutoxic.”

Baverstock then co-authored his own scientific paper on the subject arguing for plausibility of the link between DU and high rates of birth defects in Iraq, but said that WHO blocked publication of the study “because they didn’t like its conclusions.”

“The extent to which scientific principles are being bent to fit politically convenient conclusions is alarming”, said Baverstock.

Environmental contamination from the Iraq War

Other independent experts have also weighed in criticising the WHO study. The British medical journal, The Lancet, reports that despite the study’s claims, a “scientific standard of peer review… may not have been fully achieved.”

One scientist named as a peer-reviewer for the project, Simon Cousens, professor of epidemiology and statistics at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), told The Lancet that he “attended a relatively brief meeting of around one and a half hours, so just gave some comments on an early presentation of the results. I wouldn’t classify that as thorough peer review.”

Just how distant the new WHO-sponsored study is from the last decade’s scientific literature is clear from a new report released earlier this year by a Tokyo-based NGO, Human Rights Now (HRN), which conducted a review of the existing literature as well as a fact-finding mission to Fallujah.

The HRN report investigated recorded birth defects at a major hospital in Fallujah for the year 2012, confirmed first hand birth defect incidences over a one-month period in 2013, and interviewed doctors and parents of children born with birth defects. The report concluded there was:

“… an extraordinary situation of congenital birth defects in both nature and quantity. The investigation demonstrated a significant rise of these health consequences in the period following the war… An overview of scientific literature relating to the effects of uranium and heavy metals associated with munitions used in the 2003 Iraq War and occupation, together with potential exposure pathways, strongly suggest that environmental contamination resulting from combat during the Iraq War may be playing a significant role in the observed rate of birth defects.”

The report criticised both the UN and the WHO for approaches that are “insufficient to meet the needs of the issues within their mandate.”

Definitive evidence

According to Hans von Sponeck, former UN assistant secretary general and UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, the gap between previous claims made by MOH researchers about the study, and the new ‘summary document’, justified public scepticism.

“The brevity of this report is unacceptable”, he told me:

“Everybody was expecting a proper, professional scientific paper, with properly scrutinised and checkable empirical data. Although I would be guarded about jumping to conclusions, WHO cannot be surprised if people ask questions about whether the body is giving into bilateral political pressures.”

Von Sponeck said that US political pressure on WHO had scuppered previous investigations into the impact of DU on Iraq:

“I served in Baghdad and was confronted with the reality of the environmental impact of DU. In 2001, I saw in Geneva how a WHO mission to conduct on-spot assessments in Basra and southern Iraq, where depleted uranium had led to devastating environmental health problems, was aborted under US political pressure.”

I asked him if such political pressure on the UN body could explain the unscientific nature of the latest report. “It would not be surprising if such US pressure has continued”, he said:

“There is definitive evidence of an alarming rise in birth defects, leukaemia, cancer and other carcinogenic diseases in Iraq after the war. Looking at the stark difference between previous descriptions of the WHO study’s findings and this new report, it seems that someone, somewhere clumsily decided that they would not release these damning findings, but instead obscure them.”

The International Coalition to Ban Depleted Uranium (ICBUW) has called for WHO to release the project’s data-set so that it can be subjected to independent, transparent analysis. The UN body continues to ignore these calls and defend the integrity of the research.

Read Full Post »

Coverup of War Crimes in Iraq: When ‘Damning Evidence’ on Congenital Birth Defects becomes ‘No Clear Evidence’: Much-Delayed WHO Report

In a 2010 alert, ‘Beyond Hiroshima – The Non-Reporting Of Fallujah’s Cancer Catastrophe’, we noted the almost non-existent media response to the publication of a new study that had found high rates of infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city. The dramatic increases in these rates exceeded even those found in survivors of the atomic bombs dropped by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn was a lone exception in reporting these awful findings. 

As many readers will recall, Fallujah was subjected to US military attacks in March 2004 and an even larger assault in November 2004 which also involved UK forces. Our media alerts at the time highlighted the abysmal lack of media coverage of Western war crimes in Fallujah, including the use of chemical weapons and depleted uranium. Media Lens paid particular attention to the appalling performance of BBC News (‘Doubt Cast on BBC Claims Regarding Fallujah’, ‘BBC Silent On Fallujah’, ‘BBC Still Ignoring Evidence Of War Crimes’).

And it is not just Fallujah that has suffered appallingly. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and author of the book Pollution and Reproductive Damage, notes that increasing numbers of birth defects have also been seen in Mosul, Najaf, Basra, Hawijah, Nineveh and Baghdad. In some provinces, adds Dr Savabieasfahani, the rate of cancers is also increasing. She says:

‘Sterility, repeated miscarriages, stillbirths and severe birth defects – some never described in any medical books – are weighing heavily on Iraqi families.’

In Basra, attacked and occupied by UK troops, childhood leukaemia rates more than doubled between 1993 and 2007, the year that UK troops withdrew from the city.

Dr Savabieasfahani describes ‘an epidemic of birth defects in Iraq’ and says that what is ‘most urgently needed’ is:

‘comprehensive large-scale environmental testing of the cities where cancer and birth defects are rising. Food, water, air, and soil must be tested to isolate sources of public exposure to war contaminants. This is a necessity to discover the source, extent, and types of contaminants in the area followed by appropriate remediation projects to prevent further public exposure to toxic war contaminants.’

In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO), after being pressured by public health experts for a decade, belatedly instigated a study in conjunction with the Iraqi Ministry of Health (MOH) to investigate ‘prevalence and factors associated with congenital birth defects’ in Iraq. But although the study is extensive in scale, with 10,800 Iraq households selected as the sample size, Dr Savabieasfahani describes the scope of the research as ‘severely handicapped’. Why? Because of the controversial decision not to investigate the possible causes of birth defects and cancer; in particular, depleted uranium (DU), white phosphorus and other dangerous residues of the war, notably lead and mercury.

DU is a by-product of the process of enriching uranium. Because of its very high density, it is often used in weapons designed to penetrate buildings and armoured tanks. Dr Keith Baverstock, a former health and radiation adviser to WHO, says that:

‘There is absolutely no doubt that DU is toxic if it becomes systemic and gets into the bloodstream.’

The decision by WHO and MOH not to consider uranium in their study ‘is an important omission’, says Dr Baverstock, and he ‘believes that WHO has miserably failed to assess risks posed by DU… There is no doubt in my mind that the upper management of WHO failed to fulfil their obligations to examine the public health implications of DU.’

In 2004, Dr Baverstock was the lead author of a WHO report linking the US and UK use of depleted uranium in Iraq with long-term health risks. But the report was declared ‘secret’ and never published. Dr Baverstock said that the report was ‘deliberately suppressed’, pointing the finger of suspicion at the powerful pro-nuclear UN body, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The War Is Responsible – ‘No Other Explanation’

The new WHO/MOH report was originally due to be published in November 2012, but it was indefinitely postponed with no satisfactory reason given. Months passed. Meanwhile, in March 2013, the BBC included a report on its World News channel about birth defects and cancer in Iraq. BBC reporter Yalda Hakim interviewed Dr Mushin Sabbak at Basra Maternity Hospital. He told her that he believed that ‘mercury, lead, uranium’ from the war were responsible for a 60 per cent increase in birth defects there since 2003. ‘We have no other explanation than this,’ he added. (An edited version of the World News segment appeared here on BBC News.)


Dr Chaseb Ali, a senior MOH official in Baghdad, told Hakim that:

‘All studies done by the Ministry of Health prove with damning evidence that there has been a rise in birth defects and cancer, since the substances in question cause birth defects if the mother was exposed to them, or cancer, or in some cases, both.’ (English subtitles)

The BBC journalist said in the report’s voiceover:

‘Dr Chaseb says there could be many factors, including the use of depleted uranium, and the looting and destruction of Saddam Hussein’s laboratories.’

Tellingly, when the journalist asked the senior Iraqi health official whether, given the extensive findings of increased birth defects and cancer, the Iraq government would call for action, he smiled uncomfortably and said:

‘I’ll keep my thoughts to myself.’

Switching to English, he stated directly:

‘I have no answer. I know the fact, but I cannot say anything.’

Hakim then spoke with two Iraqi Ministry of Health doctors working on the WHO/MOH study. These researchers discussed the increase in Iraqi birth defects, and blamed the increase on the war. The BBC reporter was told that the report had been repeatedly delayed but that:

‘They confirm that the report will show a rise in birth defects in areas which show heavy fighting.’

There is no shortage of damning testimony of the awful Western legacy suffered by the people of Iraq. Donna Mulhearn is an Australian antiwar activist who has travelled repeatedly to Fallujah, talking with Iraqi doctors as well as affected families. She told journalist Kelley Vlahos:

‘I believe the Iraqi government is responding to pressure from the US to keep the issue under the radar.’

The physical horrors reported by Mulhearn and others include:

‘babies born with parts of their skulls missing, various tumors, missing genitalia, limbs and eyes, severe brain damage, unusual rates of paralyzing spina bifida (marked by the gruesome holes found in the tiny infants’ backs), Encephalocele (a neural tube defect marked by swollen sac-like protrusions from the head), and more.’

Mulhearn said:

‘When I was in Iraq earlier this year there was a definite feeling of fear and intimidation among doctors who felt pressure from the Government to stay quiet about increasing levels of cancer and birth defects.’

She added:

‘One cancer specialist in Basra was removed from his senior position in a hospital because he has been outspoken on the issue of radiation caused by depleted uranium pollution and what he believes is its terrible impact of the health of Iraqis in the Basra region. He was nervous about giving us an on-camera interview because of possible ramifications.’

‘We Worry That This Is Now Politics, Not Science’

In May 2013, with still no sign of the joint WHO/MOH report, a call was issued by a number of public health and medical experts, together with around 50 others including Noam Chomsky, asking for the immediate release of the report. A petition on Change.org, initiated by Dr Samira Alaani, a pediatrician working in Fallujah General Hospital, attracted almost 50,000 signatures. Dr Alaani wrote:

‘I have worked in Fallujah as a Pediatrician since 1997 but began to notice something was wrong in 2006 and began logging the cases; we have determined that 144 babies are now born with a deformity for every 1000 live births. We believe it has to be related to contamination caused by the fighting in our city, even now, nearly 10 years later. It is not unique to Fallujah; hospitals throughout the Anbar Governorate and many other regions of Iraq are recording increases. Every day I see the strain this fear puts on expectant mothers and their families. The first question I am asked when a child is born is not “is it a boy or a girl?” but “is my child healthy?“‘ (Emphasis in original.)

She added:

‘The research is now complete and we were promised that it would be published at the beginning of 2013, yet six months later the WHO has announced more delays. We worry that this is now politics, not science. We have already waited years for the truth and my patients cannot wait any longer. […] My patients need to know the truth, they need to know why they miscarried, they need to know why their babies are so ill but, most importantly, they need to know that something is being done about it.’

When UN sanctions were imposed on Iraq in the 1990s, the British oncologist Karol Sikora, who was then chief of WHO’s cancer programme, wrote that:

‘Requested radiotherapy equipment, chemotherapy drugs and analgesics [were] consistently blocked by United States and British advisers [to the Iraq sanctions committee].

Dr Sikora told John Pilger:

‘We were specifically told [by the WHO] not to talk about the whole Iraq business. The WHO is not an Organization that likes to get involved in politics.’

But it’s even worse than that. WHO is an organization that seemingly bends to the will of powerful Western governments. Hans von Sponeck was the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq before he resigned in 2000 in protest at the appalling level of deaths caused by the sanctions (his predecessor, Denis Halliday, resigned in 1998 for the same reason). Von Sponeck noted that:

‘The US government sought to prevent WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers.’

Halliday said:

‘The World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorically refused in defiance of its own mandate to share evidence uncovered in Iraq that US military use of Depleted Uranium and other weapons have not only killed many civilians, but continue to result in the birth of deformed babies.’

In July 2013, around 50 medical experts and other concerned people, wrote a second time to WHO:

‘The joint WHO and Iraqi Ministry of Health Report on cancers and birth defect in Iraq was originally due to be released in November 2012. It has been delayed repeatedly and now has no release date whatsoever. […] we are baffled and alarmed at the WHO’s inability to release any of its findings, despite our urgent request of May 2013, for the WHO to release its report.

‘The Iraqi birth defects epidemic, by itself, would outrage anyone with the simplest understanding of population health and disease. Who could justify blocking the release of information from a long-completed investigation of that epidemic?

 ’Why have our inquiries failed to break the WHO’s apparent filibuster against releasing that data? WHO has a staff of thousands, including medical doctors, public health specialists, scientists, and sophisticated epidemiologists. They are certainly capable of presenting that data to the public by now.’ (Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, via email, July 26, 2013)

 ’A Total Reversal’

On September 11, 2013, Iraq’s Ministry of Health finally published a ‘summary report’. The World Health Organization was credited with assistance but, oddly, was not a signatory of the report (the study had previously been presented as a ‘collaborative’ study and ‘co-financed’ by WHO and Iraq’s MOH). But even more bizarrely, the report claimed that:

‘The study provides no clear evidence to suggest an unusually high rate of congenital birth defects in Iraq.’

Incredulous, Dr Savabieasfahani noted:

‘This is a total reversal compared to previous statements from the same Ministry of Health, as broadcast worldwide in March 2013.’ (Email, September 12, 2013)

This was the item on BBC World News in which Iraqi Ministry of Health researchers confirmed that the high rates of cancers and birth defects constituted a ‘big crisis’ for the ‘next generation’ of Iraqi children. There was ‘damning evidence’, a senior Iraqi MOH official had said, of a rise in Iraq birth defects.

Dr Savabieasfahani said that it was ‘shocking to see this report declare “no clear evidence” for any abnormality in rates of “spontaneous abortions”, “stillbirths”, or “congenital birth defects” anywhere in Iraq.’ She added bluntly:

‘What happened to the data between March and September? Even though data analysis is prone to variations in output, which can lead to potential changes in conclusions, for a change of this magnitude – from “damning evidence” to “no clear evidence” – extensive data manipulation must have taken place. […] this new report must be viewed with extreme caution if not with suspicion and disbelief.’

Dr Amy Hagopian, a public health researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle, told Media Lens that, along with others, she would be ‘pressing for the timely release of all remaining data and reports to ensure effective public health interventions can be developed and implemented.’ (Email, September 14, 2013).

Dr Keith Baverstock, the former WHO adviser on radiation and public health mentioned earlier, told us:

‘I have not had time to study this report in detail so I will not comment on the scientific aspects. However, there are aspects which cause me very considerable concern. Firstly, this is not the independent academic analysis that is required – it certainly would not find a place in a reputable scientific journal. So it is strange to my mind that apparently reputable scientists have, through what is purported to be a peer review process, endorsed this study. I would have several questions for these people, none of whom I know. For example, how did they ensure that there was no selection bias: why was such a simplistic approach taken to the statistical analysis of the results. The implication is that these people were appointed by WHO although WHO does not appear to be a co-author, or in other ways connected with the report. If this peer review group have had access to information not in the report where and when will this information be made public?’ (Email, September 17, 2013).

Dr Baverstock continued:

‘From the WHO perspective I think the appointment of peer reviewers (if indeed WHO did appoint them) was extraordinarily inept. Five of the six reviewers were either from the UK or the USA, both countries which contributed to the environmental contamination in Iraq and therefore have a strong conflict of interest in this matter. The sixth reviewer from Norway may well have less of a conflict of interest but it is not clear that he is even qualified to review a study of this kind as his website says he is a social anthropologist and apparently he has no publications in the area of pregnancy outcome. It is the case that WHO suppressed a paper on the genotoxicity of uranium in 2001/2 at the time that Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former Prime Minister of Norway, was the WHO DG [Director-General].’

He concluded:

‘The issue of the health consequences for the civilian populations of the Iraq wars is a very serious matter and nothing short of an independently conducted study prepared for a scientific journal will provide satisfactory answers.’

We also asked Noam Chomsky to comment. He told us:

‘Extensive evidence had appeared about sharp increases in birth defects in regions of Iraq subjected to intense US assault, particularly Fallujah, where the crimes of November 2004 bear comparison to Srebrenica. Coverage has been slight and hopelessly inadequate. By now there are serious questions about analysis and perhaps withholding of data and reports. The time has surely come for careful inquiry and full disclosure.’ (Email, September 16, 2013)

Denis Halliday said:

‘This tragedy in Iraq reminds one of US Chemical Weapons used in Vietnam. And that the US has failed to acknowledge or pay compensation or provide medical assistance to thousands of deformed children born and still being born due to American military use of Agent Orange throughout the country. The millions of gallons of this chemical dumped on rural Vietnam were eagerly manufactured and sold to the Pentagon by companies Dupont, Monsanto and others greedy for huge profits.’

He added:

‘Given the US record of failing to acknowledge its atrocities in warfare, I fear those mothers in Najaf and other Iraqi cities and towns advised not to attempt the birth of more children will never receive solace or help.’

Halliday concluded that what is needed is a ‘United Nations that is no longer corrupted by the five Permanent Members of the Security Council.’

So far, Lexis database searches yield not a single British newspaper mention of the publication of the study into Iraq birth defects, far less the report’s ‘shocking’ shortcomings. But this is standard performance for the corporate media which have an established history of looking the other way when it comes to the crimes of the West.

We do not expect a media investigation anytime soon into why the study’s methodology and findings appear to have been twisted by major political interests – presumably to avoid embarrassing the US and its allies who bombarded Iraq, resulting in the deaths of around one million people, littering the country with contaminants, and leaving a toxic legacy of cancer and birth defects.

Read Full Post »

A U.S. Air Force Douglas A-1E Skyraider drops ...

A U.S. Air Force Douglas A-1E Skyraider drops a white phosphorus bomb on a Viet Cong postion in South Vietnam in 1966. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

US used white phosphorus in Iraq

16 Nov 2005 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 [Yeah, right!], 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.

Read Full Post »

US denies illegal use of weapons in Iraq 18 Nov 2005 (The Sydney Morning Herald) The Pentagon has acknowledged using incendiary white phosphorus munitions in a 2004 counterinsurgency offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja, but defended their use as legal. A Pentagon spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Venable, said on Wednesday that the US military had not used the highly flammable weapons against civilians, contrary to an Italian state television report this month that said the weapons were used against men, women and children in Falluja who were burned to the bone. “We categorically deny that claim,” Colonel Venable said. “It’s part of our conventional weapons inventory and we use it like we use any other conventional weapon,” said another Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman. Colonel Venable said white phosphorus was not outlawed or banned by any convention. However, a protocol to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons forbids using incendiary weapons against civilians or against military targets amid concentrations of civilians. The US did not sign the protocol.

US defends use of white phosphorus weapons in Iraq 16 Nov 2005 (Reuters) The Pentagon on Wednesday acknowledged using incendiary white-phosphorus munitions in a 2004 ‘counterinsurgency’ offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja, but defended their use as legal. Army Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Pentagon spokesman, said the U.S. military had not used the highly flammable weapons against civilians, contrary to an Italian state television report this month which said the weapons were used against men, women and children in Falluja who were burned to the bone.

UK used white phosphorus in Iraq 16 Nov 2005 (BBC) UK troops have used white phosphorus in Iraq – but only to create smokescreens [?!?], Defence Secretary John Reid has said. MPs are worried by the admission by US forces that they used the controversial substance in the Iraqi city of Falluja – something they had previously denied.

Read Full Post »

Population Cleansing Wars

(Every effort was made to censor this story.)

 It is a mistake to look on what has become endless wars, first centering in the Middle East, as struggles over religion, political theories, sectarian struggles or post-colonial realignments.  Each hypothesis fails.

Increasingly, intelligence analysts are agreeing on one thing, there is clear evidence of “game theory/chaos theory” with one clear purpose, to reduce populations in specific areas where key resources are in abundance.

The first hard evidence hit with the discoveries of Dr. Chris Busby, researching the effects of depleted uranium use in the Fallujah region of Iraq.  It took several years to get access to the area.  There was a reason.

Read Full Post »

“To know President George W. Bush is to like him.”

—–President Barack Obama, April 24, 2013

SOURCE: legalienate

Ah, yes, the return of “the guy you’d like to have a beer with.” What is the secret to his “likability”?

It began with selecting the right parents, insuring he would be born rich. With steely discipline he then advanced along the path of effortless achievement, receiving the imprimatur of Ivy League schools, ducking the Vietnam draft, getting bailed out of repeated business failures, enriching himself via a Harken Energy insider-trading deal, receiving the Texas Rangers for being the president’s son, grabbing the land to build the team a new stadium by manipulating eminent domain laws, winning the governorship of Texas by trading on the fame of his father and grandfather, amassing a record financial war-chest exploiting Dad’s GOP connections, gaining the White House with the assistance of a Florida vote rigged by his brother, and inheriting limitless political capital from the most devastating terrorist attack in U.S. history. Safe to say he’s not merely likable, but positively adorable.

After that came the fanatic super-patriotism, the unrestrained blood-letting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the continued demolition and colonization of Palestine, the degenerate rhetoric against an imagined “Axis of Evil,” the shredding of the Constitution via the enshrinement of torture as a virtual sacred duty, the gargantuan tax-cuts for the rich and accompanying devastation of social programs, and on and on and on. George W. Bush’s public record was so disgraceful that even the GOP didn’t mention his name in the 2012 election campaign, but that doesn’t mean Obama can’t like and even admire him, as he does former president Ronald Reagan as well. Isn’t our two-party system delightful?

While his unprovoked invasion of Iraq was killing thousands of civilians, Bush was moved to exclaim in 2003, “We believe in the value and dignity of every human life.” And after declaring war on some one-third of the nations in the world on the pretext that “radical Islam” was a perversion of legitimate religious belief, he proclaimed himself an agent of the Divine in 2004: “I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.” That’s not a North Korean dictator talking, that’s a U.S. president. And Obama shares his religious faith.

During the fierce fire-fights in Fallujah in 2004 and subsequently, much of the city was left in ruins. The BBC informed the public that doctors were reporting a high level of birth defects, some thirteen times higher than in Europe. It was well-known that the U.S. was using depleted uranium weapons in the area. The BBC also reported on children in that city who were suffering paralysis or brain damage. There was a photograph of one baby born with three heads. Officials in Fallujah were warning women that they should not have children. One doctor said that before the U.S. invasion in 2003 she used to see about one birth defect every two months, but by 2010 she was seeing such cases every day. “I’ve seen footage of babies born with an eye in the middle of the forehead, the nose on the forehead,” she said. Naturally, George W. had a different focus, to wit: “Years from now when America looks out on a democratic Middle East, growing in freedom and prosperity, Americans will speak of the battles like Fallujah with the same awe and reverence that we now give to Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.”

Reverence and awe for producing record numbers of deformed babies? After having attacked a defenseless nation we first forced to disarm, then demolishing anything that wasn’t already wrecked by the first Gulf War (1991), or the devastating U.S. sanctions imposed in its wake?

Suggestion: Let’s prosecute this man for war crimes.

Not on your life. Obama likes him.


“Presidents praise George W. Bush at new library,” Miami Herald online, April 25, 2013

Blum, William, “America’s Deadliest Export – Democracy: The Truth About U.S. Foreign Policy and Everything Else,” (Zed Books, 2013)

Posted by

Read Full Post »

You come from a culture where it is okay to kill children,’ the Iraqi woman said. We were sheltering against the wall of a building in Fallujah in April 2004 while the city was under attack by US forces.

I began to protest, but she continued, in broken English: ‘Let me say it another way. You come from a culture where your people think it is okay to kill our children.’

What could I say? There were several little bodies at my feet, bloodied remains laid out on the footpath and covered with thin sheets. The children had been shot by US snipers that day, among at least 1000 civilians killed in that ferocious attack.

Pakistani children light candles to pay tribute to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims in southern Pakistani port city of Karachi   Read more http://www.prafulla.net/graphics/photography/in-photos-the-world-grieving-for-sandy-hook/

This Iraqi woman knew there would be no collective outrage at the killing of Fallujah’s children. No front-page headlines. We would not know their names, see their faces or hear their stories. Their killers would not be pursued, labelled ‘mad’ or ‘evil’, or made to face a court. There would be no calls for ‘change.’

Some commentators have compared the response to deaths of the children in the small American community of Newtown with the young victims of US wars. The point is valid. A life is a life, and all life is precious; a fact that has enough weight of its own without the need to draw comparisons.

Yet the dark, shocking words of the Iraqi woman in Fallujah have been haunting me these past days as the grief of the Newtown shootings has overwhelmed us all.


Read Full Post »

by grtv

A new study’s revealed a staggering rise in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the US-led war.

The findings were published by the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.

It’s suggested American and British ammunition has caused high rates of miscarriages and birth defects – including in the heart and brain.

Professor Christopher Busby from the European Committee on Radiation Risks believes the invaders should take responsibility for what they did.

Read Full Post »

We don’t usually start articles with warnings, but some of the pictures in the gallery are incredibly distressing. We omitted some on the grounds that they were just too upsetting, but the ones that we do run, we do so with full permission, and because we feel that this is an important story.

You might remember Karlos Zurutuza from his photos of Baloch insurgents, his guide to warzone hotelsor maybe, if you like reading news and knowing what’s going on in the world, you will have seen his work elsewhere. During recent trips to Iraq, Karlos waded into a story that even in the quagmire of depressing awfulness that is Iraqi news, stands out as brutally distressing. We had a chat with him about the medical fallout of the Iraq War and specifically its effects on children in Fallujah.

You can read his original report on this here.


Read Full Post »

John L. Estrada, Sergeant Major of the Marine ...

Image via Wikipedia

From conspiring behind the scenes to trick the USA into entering WWI, which by 1916 had virtually exhausted the British, especially after the Battle of the Somme —The Battle of the Somme is famous chiefly on account of the loss of 58,000 British troops (one third of them killed) on the first day of the battle, 1 July 1916, which to this day remains a one-day record–to using their bought off corrupt American politicians and near total ownership of American media, that continually sells to a fearful, unknowing American public, there’s one dark force that keeps playing America for suckers, while at the same time, draining ‘We the People’ of blood and wealth.

It’s the same malignancy that was the prime mover behind the FALSE FLAG/INSIDE JOB of 9/11.

US Marine says Iraq war was one long atrocity

Ex-Marine Ross Caputi says American soldiers should take “ownership” of the war in Iraq that was one long atrocity.

It’s no wonder, he says, that so many returning soldiers are overwhelmed by guilt at what they have done, with a higher rate of suicides than in any previous American war.

“People do not go home and want to kill themselves because they’ve been helping Iraqis,” says Ross Caputi. “They go home and want to kill themselves because they’ve committed atrocities.”

Ross Caputi now campaigns for justice for the city of Fallujah, which as a Marine he helped to destroy in 2004, when thousands of civilians were killed and 200,000 driven from their homes.


Read Full Post »

Fallujah, Iraq – While the US military has formally withdrawn from Iraq, doctors and residents of Fallujah are blaming weapons like depleted uranium and white phosphorous used during two devastating US attacks on Fallujah in 2004 for what are being described as “catastrophic” levels of birth defects and abnormalities.

Dr Samira Alani, a pediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, has taken a personal interest in investigating an explosion of congenital abnormalities that have mushroomed in the wake of the US sieges since 2005.

“We have all kinds of defects now, ranging from congenital heart disease to severe physical abnormalities, both in numbers you cannot imagine,” Alani told Al Jazeera at her office in the hospital, while showing countless photos of shocking birth defects.


Read Full Post »

Thousands of Iraqis have taken into the streets in the western city of Fallujah to celebrate the withdrawal of US troops from the country.

Iraqi protesters burned Israeli and US flags during a rally in Fallujah to celebrate the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Dec. 14, 2011.

Burning US and Israeli flags and carrying photos of Fallujah residents killed by US forces after the 2003 US-led invasion, the demonstrators on Wednesday described resistance against American invaders key to their country’s freedom.

The demonstration was dubbed the first annual “festival to celebrate the role of the resistance”.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: