Wednesday Dec 14, 201104:55 PM GMT
US used uranium on Iraq community
Mon Jan 3, 2011 7:41PM
Interview with Ali al-Nashmi - political analyst, Baghdad; and Zayd al-Isa - expert on Iraqi affairs , London.
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A 2009 hospital report states that almost one in four babies born in Fallujah die during their first week and that 75% of them are deformed.
The city of Fallujah in Iraq was a place of resistance to invading forces from the US and its allies. Now, it is forced to face a monumental health crisis that is escalating yearly: Gross birth defects 11 times the norm and rising; leukemia 39 times the norm; cancer cases and infant mortality rates are alarming.

In 2009, doctors from Fallujah hospital reported that almost a fourth of all newborns died within the first week, adding that 75% of the newborns were deformed. This can be compared to only 6 of 500 babies that died in the first week with just one birth defect in 2002.

What has caused such a massive and unprecedented deterioration?

In 2004, the United States of America launched an offensive in Fallujah, a massive bombardment, and there are claims about the use of depleted uranium along with illegal white phosphorus during the bombardment. The use of such material constitutes a war crime making the US reluctant to admit responsibility. The evidence, however, is mounting.

Battlefield residues are suspected to have contaminated drinking water, creating the main cause of the suffering. A study in Fallujah confirms that residents have been exposed to intense fallout radiation.

For a closer look at Fallujah, the seeking of justice and potential solutions to this devastating problem we join Mr. Ali al-Nashmi, a political analyst from Baghdad; and from London an expert on Iraqi affairs, Mr. Zayd al-Isa.

PressTV: Thank you all for being with us. Starting in Baghdad with Mr. al Nashmi… Why Fallujah? Why is there a difference between Fallujah and other cities that faced American offensive in Iraq?

Ali al-Nashmi: A big battle happened in 2005 when American forces attacked some resistance and some terrorists in that place and they [Iraqis] have the right to resist forces that invade their liberty and their country… So they were hiding in those places [Fallujah]. In that battle, the media showed us how the huge amount of casualties occurred among Iraqi civilians and American forces. And in that battle, Americans used heavy weapons and some of this equipment contained negative uranium and I think in that mission, these elements mixed with the ground and agriculture and this mixed in with the water and so when the people swam or used water on their farms and drinking water, the radiation of that negative uranium affected this region in Fallujah. They targeted a very limited area and so the affect is very high in that place.

PressTV: Let's turn to London to Mr. al-Isa. Mr. al-Isa there are some that say the reason that Fallujah is different and it seems like it has been more singled out is because of the resistance to the occupational forces in 2004. How do you see the issue?

Zayd al-Isa: We have to firstly acknowledge that depleted uranium shells were used in the first Gulf War that happened in 1991 when the American army went in to liberate Kuwait and then basically crossed into Iraq to fight the Iraqi armored divisions around Basra. So we have again a dramatic surge in the number of major defects in new born babies in the areas around Basra and Nasria where they were invaded in 2003 when American forces headed towards Baghdad and there was resistance.

The main reason that Fallujah is singled out is because in Fallujah the battle actually took place from house to house and it took place within residential areas; that's where the insurgents were hiding. There is an acknowledgement in an American army magazine called Field Artillery magazine, which confesses and the report has been documented in the 2005 issue that the Americans have said that we have fired 'shake and bake' white phosphorus to flush out the insurgence and to take them on. It has been widely under-reported in America because it has grave implications and dire consequences because we all know that according to the international conventions and also US army law that it is forbidden or illegal to use those weapons.
Americans have also not admitted using chemical weapons in Vietnam - it took them three decades to admit that …

Press TV: Most women in Fallujah are afraid of giving birth with some grotesquely deformed babies being born. Some with no heads or two heads. Others with eyes in the middle of their foreheads or no limbs or deformed limbs. What is the solution to this and if you, as an Iraqi, believe that the American forces are responsible, what do you propose? Do you think that they will be made to pay?

Ali al-Nashmi: I think the first thing that the American government must do is take the responsibility of that effect and they must treat them. They must build a special hospital in Iraq for treating those victims and I think they want many hospitals in Basra, Baghdad and many other places. They have many victims in Iraq. I think this is a very basic solution, or, I think a normal solution if we are talking about a solution.

The women in Fallujah are afraid of getting pregnant. I live in Iraq; I live in Baghdad. My nephew and my cousins are doctors in Iraqi hospitals and they told me many times and I asked them many times about the number [of such cases of abnormal births] and they said the number is very high. They told me two months ago, a woman in Baghdad gave birth to a boy like a frog. He is a boy but his face is like a frog. They showed me his pictures on their mobiles and they told me there are many other cases like this, especially in Fallujah.

I think the Iraqi government should take the responsibility and go to an international court against the American forces to take the responsibility in this case. This is the best solution for the Iraqi victims.

All the Iraqi researchers, NGOs and all the international organizations give many reports about the Iraqi victims. That has not only happened to the Iraqi civilians. In the American army, [there are some victims] called the Iraqi sick or the Iraqi diseased, especially in Basra, because Basra has seen many wars and in the first war and second war and the third war the Americans used very heavy weapons and depleted uranium.

Press TV: Mr. al-Isa, looking at this particular war that basically was started on a false premise - Do you think that the United States will be made to pay and what does it take now? - as there is particular media blackout on stories such as this one -- what does this take to get global opinion and also the American public becoming aware of this and possibly pressuring their government?

Zayd al-Isa: Firstly, I think it is very important to mention that Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against his own people in Fallujah and southern Iraq and also against civilians in Iran. That was not acknowledged or reported by the United Nations or by the US or by the West, because Saddam Hussein was basically backed and supported by the West and by Saudi Arabia.

But basically, when they turned on Saddam Hussein, they used similar weapons and that is why it is usually embarrassing and severely undermining for them to admit that the very man, who was a brutal dictator, that they ousted, actually resorted to using their weapons, which are illegal on the grounds against human beings.

Now, what is actually needed to get the Americans to admit that and to come clean about it is for the Iraqi government to launch a comprehensive, rigorous investigation - a formal one and official one into what happened and the usage of those weapons and to document all those major defects that have happened, so that we can have a formal case. Because those people, who are still suffering, deserve compensations.

Now the Americans are basically shying away from admitting or confessing, because they know that this would open the flood gates for foreigners to ask for compensation, particularly those Iraqis who suffer at their hands, those innocent civilians. Also the American soldiers, who basically have repeatedly joined the war twice in Iraq, will ask for compensation from the American government and they know fully well that this would open the flood gates.

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