08/08/2012

Latest News Syria: Obama is very concerned about safety of Syria's chemical weapons...

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U.S. used napalm in Falluja

By David Hoskins

Nov 17, 2005 - New evidence came to light earlier this month that confirmed reports in Workers World newspaper and elsewhere that the U.S. military had used internationally banned chemical weapons, including white phosphorus and napalm, during its November 2004 attack on Falluja.

The U.S. government adamantly denied these reports at the time. Reports of the alleged U.S. war crimes were notably absent from the pages of most Western newspapers and there was virtually no discussion of the issue on cable news stations or talk radio. Al Jazeera’s facility in Iraq was forcibly shut down in an attempt to stifle journalistic inquiry into these reports.

Now, almost a year later, Italian state television RAI has produced a documentary confirming that U.S. forces in fact used white phosphorus and MK77 Mod 5—a napalm derivative—in Falluja. And the Guardian of London has called Falluja an atrocity on the scale of Mylai and Guernica, estimating 7,000 civilian dead.

While MK77 Mod 5 uses a formula consisting of a smaller concentration of benzene, the effects are exactly the same as napalm. The use of these incendiary wea pons is a violation of the 1980 UN Conven tion on Certain Conventional Weapons.

Workers World newspaper had published an article in its Dec. 2, 2004, issue based on a talk by Workers World Party Secre tariat member Sara Flounders in which she described how the use of illicit chemical weapons, poison gas and bunker busters had virtually destroyed the city of Falluja.

Jeff Englehart, a former soldier in the U.S. 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, says in the Italian documentary that he saw “burned bodies, burned children and burned women.” Entitled “Falluja: The Hidden Massacre,” the film contains video footage showing the bodies of civilian women and children following the U.S. air and artillery bombardment.

The innocent victims appear to have been burned to the bone. Others have partially melted flesh hanging from their bodies. These chemical weapons primarily affect the flesh of their targets. The evidence leaves no doubt that the victims were unarmed and in civilian clothing at the time of their deaths.

Orders to shoot children

Describing the United States’ intention to target civilians in Falluja, Englehart states that he was told by military superiors going into Falluja that “every single person that was walking, talking, breathing was [an] enemy combatant. As such every single person that was walking down the street or in a house was a target.” Englehart confirms that soldiers had orders to shoot children as young as 10 years old.

The use of white phosphorus and napalm in Falluja is just another example of criminal action and conspiracy to hide the truth. It fits into a domestic and international agenda to reshape world politics in favor of the extreme right wing of the U.S. ruling class. The breakup of the Soviet Union emboldened the most conservative sector of U.S. imperialism and its allies to try to assume for themselves absolute control of the world.

Recent news reports have provided myriad instances of criminality, corruption and conspiracy. Since 2004 alone, troops directed by the Bush administration have been caught committing torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, desecrating the Koran in the concentration camp in Guantanamo in occupied Cuba and now using internationally banned chemical weapons in Falluja.

The U.S. government first lied in 2002-2003, claiming the existence of massive amounts of chemical weapons in Iraqi hands, to justify the invasion of Iraq. The same U.S. government then turned its own arsenal of chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Falluja and has now been caught lying in an attempt to cover up its criminal actions.

http://www.workers.org/2005/world/falluja-1124/

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Photo: The U.S. used napalm, mustard gas, and nerve gas when it attacked Fallujah in November 2004.

08/07/2012

Syria News: American hypocrisy about chemical weapons

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AUGUST 10, 2012, AT NOON: 51 YEARS AFTER THE CHEMICAL WAR BEGAN IN VIETNAM, WE SHOULD BE SILENT IN MEMORY, THEN TAKE ACTION TO REMEDY

To take action go to http://www.vn-agentorange.org/  

There are images from the U.S. War against Vietnam that have been indelibly imprinted on the minds of Americans who lived through it. One is the naked napalm-burned girl running from her village with flesh hanging off her body. Another is a photo of the piles of bodies from the My Lai massacre, where U.S. troops executed 504 civilians in a small village. Then there is the photograph of the silent scream of a woman student leaning over the body of her dead friend at Kent State University whose only crime was protesting the bombing of Cambodia in 1970. Finally, there is the memory of decorated members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War testifying at the Winter Soldier Hearings, often in tears, to atrocities in which they had participated during the war.

These pictures are heartbreaking. They expose the horrors of war. The U.S. War against Vietnam was televised, while images of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have intentionally been hidden from us. But what was not televised was the relentless ten years (1961-1971) of spraying millions of gallons of toxic herbicides over vast areas of South Vietnam. These chemicals exposed almost 5 million people, mostly civilians, to deadly consequences. The toxic herbicides, most notably Agent Orange, contained dioxin, one of the most dangerous chemicals known to man. It has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen (causes cancer) and by the American Academy of Medicine as a teratogen (causes birth defects).

From the beginning of the spraying 51 years ago, until today, millions of Vietnamese have died from, or been completely incapacitated by, diseases which the U. S. government recognizes are related to Agent Orange for purposes of granting compensation to Vietnam Veterans in the United States. The Vietnamese, who were the intended victims of this spraying, experienced the most intense, horrible impact on human health and environmental devastation. Second and third generations of children, born to parents exposed during the war and in areas of heavy spraying — un-remediated “hot spots” of dioxin contamination, — suffer unspeakable deformities that medical authorities attribute to the dioxin in Agent Orange.

The Vietnamese exposed to the chemical suffer from cancer, liver damage, pulmonary and heart diseases, defects to reproductive capacity, and skin and nervous disorders. Their children and grandchildren have severe physical deformities, mental and physical disabilities, diseases, and shortened life spans. The forests and jungles in large parts of southern Vietnam were devastated and denuded. Centuries-old habitat was destroyed, and will not regenerate with the same diversity for hundreds of years. Animals that inhabited the forests and jungles are threatened with extinction, disrupting the communities that depended on them. The rivers and underground water in some areas have also been contaminated. Erosion and desertification will change the environment, causing dislocation of crop and animal life.

For the past 51 years, the Vietnamese people have been attempting to address this legacy of war by trying to get the United States and the chemical companies to accept responsibility for this ongoing nightmare. An unsuccessful legal action by Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange against the chemical companies in U.S. federal court, begun in 2004, has nonetheless spawned a movement to hold the United States accountable for using such dangerous chemicals on civilian populations. The movement has resulted in pending legislation HR 2634 – The Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2011, which attempts to provide medical, rehabilitative and social service compensation to the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange, remediation of dioxin-contaminated “hot spots,” and medical services for the children and grandchildren of U. S. Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese-Americans who have been born with the same diseases and deformities.

Using weapons of war on civilian populations violates the laws of war, which recognize the principle of distinction between military and civilian objects, requiring armies to avoid civilian targets. These laws of war are enshrined in the Hague Convention and the Nuremberg principles, and are codified in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Optional Protocol of 1977, as well as the International Criminal Court statute. The aerial bombardments of civilian population centers in World Wars I and II violated the principle of distinction, as did the detonation of nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9 of 1945. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese people were killed in an instant, even though Japan was already negotiating the terms of surrender.

The use of Agent Orange on civilian populations violated the laws of war and yet no one has been held to account. Taxpayers pick up the tab of the Agent Orange Compensation fund for the U. S. Veterans at a cost of 1.52 billion dollars a year. The chemical companies, most specifically Dow and Monsanto, which profited from the manufacture of Agent Orange, paid a pittance to settle the veterans’ lawsuit to compensate them, as the unintended victims, for their Agent Orange related illnesses. But the Vietnamese continue to suffer from these violations with almost no recognition, as do the offspring of Agent Orange-exposed U.S. veterans and Vietnamese-Americans.

What is the difference between super powers like the United States violating the laws of war with impunity and the reports of killing of Syrian civilians by both sides in the current civil war? Does the United States have any credibility to demand governments and non-state actors end the killings of civilians, when through wars and drones and its refusal to acknowledge responsibility for the use of Agent Orange, the United States has and is engaging in the very conduct it publicly deplores?

In 1945, at the founding conference of the United Nations, the countries of the world determined:

to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

If we are to avoid sinking once again into the scourge of war, we must reaffirm the principles of the Charter and establish conditions under which countries take actions that promote rather than undermine justice and respect for our international legal obligations. The alternative is the law of the jungle, where only might makes right. It is time that right makes might.

August 10th marks 51 years since the beginning of the spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam. In commemoration, the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign urges you to observe 51 seconds of silence at 12 noon, to think about the horrors of wars which have occurred. We ask you to take action so as not to see future images of naked children running from napalm, or young soldiers wiping out the population of an entire village, or other atrocities associated with war, poverty, and violence around the world. We urge you to take at least 51 seconds for your action. In the United States, you can sign an orange post card to the U.S. Congress asking it to pass HR 2634. This would be a good start to assist the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange as well as the next generations of those exposed to these dangerous chemicals in both Vietnam and the United States.

Jeanne Mirer, a New York attorney, is president of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. They are both on the board of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign.

To sign the petition, go to http://www.vn-agentorange.org/  


 Global Research Articles by Jeanne Mirer


 Global Research Articles by Marjorie Cohn

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid...

http://jakking.typepad.com/daily/2004/08/chemical_war_cr....

Photo: victims of American chemical weapons

05/04/2011

Omar Suleiman and the torture of Pakistanis

Omar Suleiman, who was Egypt’s vice-president for a short time,  was Mubarak’s intelligence chief and close confidant of nearly two decades.

Suleiman graduated from Egypt’s prestigious Military Academy but also received training in the Soviet Union. Under his guidance, Egyptian intelligence has worked hand-in-glove with the CIA’s counterterrorism programs, most notably in the 2003 rendition from Italy of an al-Qaeda suspect known as Abu Omar.
The Norweigan newspaper Aftenposten, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau, secretly visited Suleiman in September 2005. Gilad then reported on the visit to US diplomats in Tel Aviv.  The US embassy in Tel Aviv wrote that Suleiman opposed Hamas because of fears that Islamic leadership in Gaza would strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
In 2009, Foreign Policy magazine ranked Suleiman as the Middle East’s most powerful intelligence chief, ahead of Mossad chief Meir Dagan.
Shortly after 9/11, Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib was captured by Pakistani security forces and, under US pressure, tortured by Pakistanis. He was then rendered (with an Australian diplomat watching) by CIA operatives to Egypt, a not uncommon practice. In Egypt, Habib merited Suleiman’s personal attention.
As related byRichard Neville, based on Habib’s memoir: ‘Habib was interrogated by the country’s Intelligence Director, General Omar Suleiman … Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al-Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before 9/11, he was under suspicion. Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks.
That treatment wasn’t enough for Suleiman, so:
To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib — and he did, with a vicious karate kick.

Well researched article by Andy Worthington on Omar Suleiman:
http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2011/01/30/as-egyptians-...

Photo: Omar Suleiman, Ehud Barak - May 12, 2008

04/09/2011

Human rights activist Barack Obama

Human rights activist Barack Obama condemns ‘abhorrent violence’ of Syrian gov’t (Israel News, Ynetnews) and, at the same time, is responsable for the bombings of Gaza and the abhorrent violence against Palestinians…

November 15, 2010 – ’U.S. President Barack Obama has praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for urging his cabinet to accept a U.S. proposal to extend a freeze on West Bank settlement building for 90 days. Under the plan, Washington would block UN resolutions critical of Israel, and supply Israel with fighter jets worth $3 billion. The US government also promised Israel that after the 90-day moratorium, they would not seek an extension, and settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (all of which is illegal under international law) could continue unabated.’