Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates

How many children, in how many classrooms, over how many centuries, have hang-glided through the past, transported on the wings of these words? And now the bombs are falling, incinerating and humiliating that ancient civilisation, writes Arundhati Roy

Wednesday April 2, 2003

On the steel torsos of their missiles, adolescent American soldiers scrawl colourful messages in childish handwriting: For Saddam, from the Fat Boy Posse. A building goes down. A marketplace. A home. A girl who loves a boy. A child who only ever wanted to play with his older brother's marbles...
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates

"We Think the Price Is Worth It": Media uncurious about Iraq policy's effects- there or here

By Rahul Mahajan
November/December 2001

Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.

--60 Minutes (5/12/96)"

...(read on)...
"Fair | Extra | 2001

The Tragedy of a People Betrayed

Wherever you go in Iraq's southern city of Basra, there is dust. It rolls down the long roads that are the desert's fingers. It gets in your eyes and nose and throat; it swirls in markets and school playgrounds, consuming children kicking a plastic ball; and it carries, according to Dr Jawad Al-Ali, 'the seeds of our death'...

23 February 2003

Dr Al-Ali is a cancer specialist at Basra's hospital and a member of Britain's Royal College of Physicians. He has a neat moustache and a kindly, furrowed face. His starched white coat, like the collar of his shirt, is frayed...

The Independent | Pilger | People betrayed :

Not again

Thousands of people turned out in London at the weekend to protest against an attack on Iraq. Here, the distinguished writer Arundhati Roy argues that it is the demands of global capitalism that are driving us to war

Monday September 30, 2002

Writers imagine that they cull stories from the world. I'm beginning to believe that vanity makes them think so. That it's actually the other way around. Stories cull writers from the world. Stories reveal themselves to us. The public narrative, the private narrative - they colonise us. They commission us. They insist on being told. Fiction and non-fiction are only different techniques of story telling. For reasons I do not fully understand, fiction dances out of me. Non-fiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Not again

UN snubs Iraq over DU study

Gulf News
December 01, 2001

After lobbying by Washington, the General Assembly on Thursday rejected an Iraqi proposal that the United Nations study the effects of the depleted-uranium shells used by U.S.-led forces in the Gulf War...
GN Online: UN snubs Iraq over DU study

US 'provoked clashes with Iraq'

Thursday, 19 July, 2001

A former United Nations weapons inspector has accused the United States of deliberately provoking confrontations with Iraq, which, he says, was almost fully disarmed by 1995...
BBC News | MIDDLE EAST | US 'provoked clashes with Iraq':

That Was no War, it Was Homicide—And Still Iraqis Die

Behind the official version of Desert Storm lie awful secrets of a one-sided slaughter, writes John Pilger.

Sydney Morning Herald, 22 June ‘00

The great American reporter Seymour Hersh is at war with the American military over his report in The New Yorker that one of its most lauded generals, now a member of President Bill Clinton’s Cabinet, ordered his troops to fire on retreating Iraqis on the eve of the Gulf War ceasefire in 1991.
Sydney Morning Herald | Pilger | That was not war, it was homicide

BBC Timeline of the Iraqi crisis

The Gulf War ended at 0500 GMT on February 28,1991. The US-led coalition began a ceasefire and Baghdad ordered its troops to stop fighting. But since then, Iraq has remained at loggerheads with the United Nations and the Americans in particular.
BBC News | ROAD TO THE BRINK | Timeline of the Iraqi crisis

The evidence is there - we caused cancer in the Gulf

I've seen enough Iraqi children with tumours on their abdomen to feel horror as well as anger, says Robert Fisk

October 16, 1998, Friday

PHIL GAMER telephoned me this week to ask how he could make contact with the doctors treating Iraq's child cancer victims. He had been reading our series on the growing evidence of links between cancers in Iraq and the use of depleted uranium shells by American and British forces during the 1991 Gulf War.

During the conflict, Gamer was in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was not in the front lines, but he handled the uniforms of Britain's "friendly fire" casualties - men who were attacked by US aircraft using depleted uranium rounds. And now he suffers from asthma, incontinence, pain in the intestines and has a lump on the right side of his neck.

I know what those lumps on the neck look like. This month I've seen enough Iraqi children with tumours on their abdomen to feel horror as well as anger. When Hebba Mortaba's mother lifted her little girl's patterned blue dress in the Mansour hospital in Baghdad, her terribly swollen abdomen displayed numerous abscesses. Doctors had already surgically removed an earlier abdominal mass only to find, monster-like, that another grew in its place.

During the 1991 war, Hebba's suburb of Basra was bombed so heavily that her family fled to Baghdad. She is now just nine years old and, so her doctors told me gently, will not live to see her 10th birthday.

When I first reported from Iraq's child cancer wards last February and March - and visited the fields and farms around Basra into which US and British tanks fired thousands of depleted uranium shells in the last days of the war - the British Government went to great lengths to discredit what I wrote. I still treasure a letter from Lord Gilbert, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, who told Independent readers that my account of a possible link between DU ammunition and increased Iraqi child cancer cases would, "coming from anyone other than Robert Fisk", be regarded as "a wilful perversion of reality." According to his Lordship, particles from the DU hardened warheads - used against tank armour - are extremely small, rapidly diluted and dispersed by the weather and "become difficult to detect, even with the most sophisticated monitoring equipment." Over the past few months I've been sent enough evidence to suggest that, had this letter come from anyone other than his Lordship, its implications would be mendacious as well as misleading.

Let us start with an equally eloquent but far more accurate letter sent to the Royal Ordnance in London on 21 April 1991 by Paddy Bartholomew, business development manager of AEA Technology, the trading name for the UK Atomic Energy Authority. Mr Bartholomew's letter - of which I have obtained a copy - refers to a telephone conversation with a Royal Ordnance official on the dangers of the possible contamination of Kuwait by depleted uranium ammunition. An accompanying "threat paper" by Mr Bartholomew, in which he notes that while the hazards caused by the spread of radioactivity and toxic contamination from these weapons "are small when compared to those during a war", they nonetheless "can become a long-term problem if not dealt with in peacetime and are a risk to both military and civilian population".

The document, marked "UK Restricted" goes on to say that "US tanks fired 5,000 DU rounds, US aircraft many tens of thousands and UK tanks a small number of DU rounds. The tank ammunition alone will amount to greater than 50,000lb of DU. . .if the tank inventory of DU was inhaled, the latest International Committee of Radiological Protection risk factor. . .calculates 500,000 potential deaths."

"The DU will spread around the battlefield and target vehicles in various sizes and quantities . . . it would be unwise for people to stay close to large quantities of DU for long periods and this would obviously be of concern to the local population if they collect this heavy metal and keep it."

Mr Bartholomew's covering letter says that the contamination of Kuwait is "emotive and thus must be dealt with in a sensitive manner".

Needless to say, no one has bothered even to suggest a clean-up in southern Iraq where Hebba Mortaba and other child victims are dying. Why not? And why doesn't the Government come clean and tell us what really happened?

Here is a clue. It comes in a letter dated 1 March 1991 from a US lieutenant colonel at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to a Major Larson at the organisation's Studies and Analysis Branch and states that: "There has been and continues to be a concern (sic) regarding the impact of DU on the environment. Therefore, if no one makes a case for the effectiveness of DU on the battlefield, DU rounds may become politically unacceptable and thus be deleted from the arsenal. If DU penetrators proved their worth during our recent combat activities, then we should assure their future existence (until something better is developed)."

So there it is. Shorn of the colonel's execrable English, the message is simple: the health risks of DU ammunition are acceptable until we - the West - invent something even more lethal to take its place.

So with tens of thousands of 1991 Gulf War veterans suffering unexplained and potentially terminal illnesses and with thousands of Iraqi civilians, including children unborn when the war ended, now suffering from unexplained cancers, I can only repeat what I wrote last February: that something terrible happened at the end of the Gulf War about which we have still not been told the truth. As former acting Sergeant Tony Duff of the Gulf War Veterans put it to me yesterday, "a lot of things we are now calling victories about the Gulf War will be seen one day as atrocities - I wonder whether this is why the powers that be don't want this DU thing to come out?"

And what exactly is this awful secret which we are not allowed to know? Is it, as Professor Malcolm Hooper, professor of medicinal chemistry at Sunderland University remarks, the result of the US-British bombing of Saddam Hussein's Sarin and Tabun poison gas factories (around 900 facilities were bombed, it now turns out). Or is it the secret DU factor?

I don't know whether this can be classed as a war crime. But anyone who thinks there's no connection between our use of depleted uranium ammunition in the 1991 Gulf War and the tide of sickness that has followed in its wake must also believe in Father Christmas.

Does Lord Gilbert believe in Father Christmas, I wonder?

The Independent | Fisk | We caused cancer in the Gulf

Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II

Table of Contents

1. China - 1945 to 1960s: Was Mao Tse-tung just paranoid?
2. Italy - 1947-1948: Free elections, Hollywood style
3. Greece - 1947 to early 1950s: From cradle of democracy to client state
4. The Philippines - 1940s and 1950s: America's oldest colony
5. Korea - 1945-1953: Was it all that it appeared to be?
6. Albania - 1949-1953: The proper English spy
7. Eastern Europe - 1948-1956: Operation Splinter Factor
8. Germany - 1950s: Everything from juvenile delinquency to terrorism
9. Iran - 1953: Making it safe for the King of Kings
10. Guatemala - 1953-1954: While the world watched
11. Costa Rica - Mid-1950s: Trying to topple an ally - Part 1
12. Syria - 1956-1957: Purchasing a new government
13. Middle East - 1957-1958: The Eisenhower Doctrine claims another backyard for America
14. Indonesia - 1957-1958: War and pornography
15. Western Europe - 1950s and 1960s: Fronts within fronts within fronts
16. British Guiana - 1953-1964: The CIA's international labor mafia
17. Soviet Union - Late 1940s to 1960s: From spy planes to book publishing
18. Italy - 1950s to 1970s: Supporting the Cardinal's orphans and techno-fascism
19. Vietnam - 1950-1973: The Hearts and Minds Circus
20. Cambodia - 1955-1973: Prince Sihanouk walks the high-wire of neutralism
21. Laos - 1957-1973: L'Armee Clandestine
22. Haiti - 1959-1963: The Marines land, again
23. Guatemala - 1960: One good coup deserves another
24. France/Algeria - 1960s: L'etat, c'est la CIA
25. Ecuador - 1960-1963: A text book of dirty tricks
26. The Congo - 1960-1964: The assassination of Patrice Lumumba
27. Brazil - 1961-1964: Introducing the marvelous new world of death squads
28. Peru - 1960-1965: Fort Bragg moves to the jungle
29. Dominican Republic - 1960-1966: Saving democracy from communism by getting rid of democracy
30. Cuba - 1959 to 1980s: The unforgivable revolution
31. Indonesia - 1965: Liquidating President Sukarno ...and 500,000 others ...... East Timor - 1975: And 200,000 more
32. Ghana - 1966: Kwame Nkrumah steps out of line
33. Uruguay - 1964-1970: Torture -- as American as apple pie
34. Chile - 1964-1973: A hammer and sickle stamped on your child's forehead
35. Greece - 1964-1974: 'Fuck your Parliament and your Constitution,' said the President of the United States
36. Bolivia - 1964-1975: Tracking down Che Guevara in the land of coup d'etat
37. Guatemala - 1962 to 1980s: A less publicized 'final solution'
38. Costa Rica - 1970-1971: Trying to topple an ally -- Part 2
39. Iraq - 1972-1975: Covert action should not be confused with missionary work
40. Australia - 1973-1975: Another free election bites the dust
41. Angola - 1975 to 1980s: The Great Powers Poker Game
42. Zaire - 1975-1978: Mobutu and the CIA, a marriage made in heaven
43. Jamaica - 1976-1980: Kissinger's ultimatum
44. Seychelles - 1979-1981: Yet another area of great strategic importance
45. Grenada - 1979-1984: Lying -- one of the few growth industries in Washington
46. Morocco - 1983: A video nasty
47. Suriname - 1982-1984: Once again, the Cuban bogeyman
48. Libya - 1981-1989: Ronald Reagan meets his match
49. Nicaragua - 1981-1990: Destabilization in slow motion
50. Panama - 1969-1991: Double-crossing our drug supplier
51. Bulgaria 1990/Albania 1991: Teaching communists what democracy is all about
52. Iraq - 1990-1991: Desert holocaust
53. Afghanistan - 1979-1992: America's Jihad
54. El Salvador - 1980-1994: Human rights, Washington style
55. Haiti - 1986-1994: Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?
56. The American Empire - 1992 to present

Appendix I: This is How the Money Goes Round
Appendix II: Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-1945
Appendix III: U. S. Government Assassination Plots

...(click for fullt text links to some of the above chapters)...
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II:

(Self-)Censored Stories: Eight Stories National Media Ignored

Special Gulf War Issue 1991

1. Secret U.S. Arms Shipments to Iraq (Murray Waas, Village Voice, 12/18/90): The Reagan administration reportedly sent sophisticated weaponry to Iraq through third-country cut-outs. Waas indicated that the secret policy violated U.S. arms export laws.
....(read the rest)...
Fair | Extra | Eight Stories National Media Ignored: