Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘depleted uranium bombs

A state, two factions of the Popular Volunteers (Hashid Shaabi/7ashed sha3bi) and Kurdish factions

ISIS had entered Mosul and occupied a vast swath of Iraq western provinces. Before ISIS advanced quickly toward Baghdad, Iran dispatched “resistance forces” to the Kurdish regions and forced ISIS to change its plans in occupying Kerkuk and the kurdish provinces in the North-East of Iraq.

The Iraqi resistance, supported by Iran against ISIS, was underway, and lare Suleimani (assassinated by US/Israel) was the leading leader in the counter-offensive planning and execution. The “Bader militia” was the main organization that united the volunteer fighters into a cohesive fighting force.

The Fatwa of Iraq Ayatollah Sistani was mainly a catalyst that encouraged the disinherited and poorer classes to volunteer in fighting ISIS at a vaster scale.

ISIS has been vanquished and Iraq recaptured its land, except in a few pockets in the North-West that Turkey still insist on maintaining strong military bases, on the excuse to opposing kurdish military movements Not associated with Turkish policies in the region.

Currently, the Hashid Shaabi is being splintered into two factions.

The original movement with its solid institutions is basically aligned with the Wilayat Faqih of Iran Ayatollah Khamenei

The splintered faction assembles 4 factions under the name of “Hashid Atabaat”, meaning associated with Iraqi Shia Imams such as: Al Abbas Battalion, Liwa2 Ali Akbar (associated with Atabat Hussainiat), Firkat Imam Ali (associated with Alawit Atabat), and Ansar Marja3iyat (Sistani).

These 4 factions held a 3-day conference from 1 to 3 December under the motto “Hashid Atabaat: the protector of the Iraqi Fatwa and the building of the State”.

So far, Ayatollah Sistani refused to back this splintered Hashid, essentially because these factions are led by the Imams surrounding him and advising him. Sistani knows he can no longer retain his credibility if the hierarchy of his sect has distanced itself from him.

Military confrontations between the splintered factions has Not yet materialized, except in organizing vast demonstrations for one reason or others.

Iran is a stable and well organized nation and patient and plans for the longer term. As an example, the well established Hezbollah in Lebanon.

It is no wonder why US/Israel felt it urgent to assassinate Suleiman and Al Mouhandess: the colonial powers wanted to give a breathing space for the Iraqi tribal (3asha2er) groupuscules to gather their alliances before it is too late.

This phase is a head on confrontation be

More likely, the Hashid associated with Iran will prevail as more social confrontations will spread.

Iraqi Birth Defects: Usage of depleted uranium shells for years

I watched a documentary on the cable ARTE yesterday on the birth defects suffered by babies in Iraq after the US invasion of 2003.

And today Hot Posts is disseminating what Rania Khalek wrote. This is a reblog with minor editing. 

Rania Khalek posted on March 20, 2013 in her blog “Dispatches from the underclass”

The United States may have finished dropping bombs on Iraq, but Iraqi bodies and babies will be dealing with the consequences for generations to come in the form of birth defects, mysterious illnesses and skyrocketing cancer rates.

Al Jazeera’s Dahr Jamail reports that contamination from U.S. weapons, particularly Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions, has led to an Iraqi health crisis of epic proportions.

Children being born with two heads, children born with only one eye, multiple tumors  disfiguring facial and body deformities, and complex nervous system problems…” are just some of the congenital birth defects being linked to military-related pollution.

In certain Iraqi cities, the health consequences are significantly worse than those seen in the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Japan at the end of WWII.

(Dr Samira Alani/Al Jazeera])

(Dr Samira Alani/Al Jazeera])

The highest rates are in the city of Fallujah, which underwent two massive US bombing campaigns in 2004.

Though the U.S. initially denied it, officials later admitted using white phosphorus (like what Israel used on Gaza).

In addition, U.S. and British forces unleashed an estimated 2,000 tons of depleted uranium ammunition in populated Iraqi cities in 2003.

DU, a chemically toxic heavy metal produced in nuclear waste, is used in weapons due to its ability to pierce through armor.

That’s why the US and UK were among a handful of nations (France and Israel) who in December refused to sign an international agreement to limit its use, insisting DU is not harmful, science be damned.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s refusal to release details about where DU munitions were fired has made it difficult to clean up.

Today, 14.7% of Fallujah’s babies are born with a birth defect, 14 times the documented rate in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Fallujah’s babies have also experienced heart defects 13 times the European rate and nervous system defects 33 times that of Europe.

That comes on top of a 12-fold rise in childhood cancer rates since 2004.

The male-to-female birth ratio is now 86 boys for every 100 girls, indicating genetic damage that affects males more than females.

(Dr Samira Alani/Al Jazeera)

(Dr Samira Alani/Al Jazeera)

(On a side note, these pictures are rather sanitized compared to other even more difficult to look at images. See here if you can bear it.)

If Fallujah is the Iraqi Hiroshima, then Basra is its Nagasaki counterpart.

According to a study published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, a professional journal based in the southwestern German city of Heidelberg, there was a 7 fold increase in the number of birth defects in Basra between 1994 and 2003.

According to the Heidelberg study, the concentration of lead in the milk teeth of sick children from Basra was almost 3 times as high as comparable values in areas where there was no fighting.

In addition, never before has such a high rate of neural tube defects (“open back”) been recorded in babies as in Basra, and the rate continues to rise. According to the study, the number of hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) cases among new-born is 6 times as high in Basra as it is in the United States.

These phenomenon are not isolated to Fallujah and Basra. The overall Iraqi cancer rate has also skyrocketed:

Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the First Gulf War in 1991, the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people.

By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the increasing trend continuing.

As Grist’s Susie Cagle points out, “That’s potentially a more than 4,000% increase in the cancer rate, making it more than 500 percent higher than the cancer rate in the U.S.

Dr. Mozghan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, told Jamail that “These observations collectively suggest an extraordinary public health emergency in Iraq. Such a crisis requires urgent multifaceted international action to prevent further damage to public health.”(

Dr. Samira Alani/Al Jazeera)

Instead, the international community, including the nation most responsible for the health crisis is mostly ignoring the problem.

To make matters worse, Iraq’s healthcare system, which was once the envy of the region, is virtually nonexistent due to the mass exodus of Iraq’s medical doctors since 2003.

According to recent estimates, there are currently fewer than 100 psychiatrists and 20,0000 physicians serving a population of 31 million Iraqis.

Dahr Jamail was on Democracy Now this morning discussing the horrific effects of military-related pollution in Iraq:

Yanar Mohammad, President of the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq was also on Democracy Now and addressed the toxic legacy of birth defects in Iraq. (I interviewed Mohammed for a piece I wrote for Muftah about the deterioration of Iraqi women’s rights since the invasion, which you can read here.


“If you break it, you own it. You’ll be the proud owner of 25 million Iraqis in 18 fractious provinces?”

Why you failed to resign General Colin Powell, former Secretary of State?

“What choices had I? After all it was the wish of My President”? 

Do you recall General Colin Powell? Former Secretary of State to Bush Jr. who invaded and destroyed Iraq and its people in 2003?

Well, he is still waiting for answers on Iraq invasion?

And refusing to admit his cowardness?

An educated cowardness that fail to confront genocide is the worst kind of sins.

Powell had lamely said to Bush Jr.: ““If you break it, you own it. You’ll be the proud owner of 25 million Iraqis in 18 fractious provinces.”

As if this brainless, alcoholic President had any notion of owning the safety, security and health of 18 million Iraqis. Bush Jr. almost choked to death voraciously swallowing a hamburger, Not trained to chew as decent people should

Illegal Depleted uranium bombs and missiles used extensively, most ancient archeological sites devastated and used are military depot for ammunition, oil pouring in valleys and water streams

More than one million civilian Iraqis dead, three times that number handicapped and with chronic illnesses and suffering until now, babies still being born with 2 heads and no members, as many refugees in bordering countries and inside Iraq, in Infamous camps and prisons (Abu Ghraib prison..)

By Published in NYT July 16, 2020

Early one morning in August 2002, Jack Straw, the British foreign minister at the time, drove with a small entourage to a beach house in East Hampton on Long Island.

The house belonged to the billionaire Ronald Lauder, who for most of August was hosting his good friend and Straw’s American counterpart, Colin Powell.

The foreign minister and the secretary of state had become extraordinarily close over the previous year.

Powell’s customary 11 p.m. calls to the Straw household had prompted Straw’s wife to refer to him as “the other man in my life.” The August meeting at the Lauder residence, Powell would later say, was an attempt to answer a question: “Could we both stop a war?”

For nearly a year — since just a few days after the Sept. 11 attacks — Powell had watched as the idea of invading Iraq, once the preoccupation of a handful of die-hards in other corners of the Bush administration, took on increasingly undeniable momentum. (Two years before attacking and occupying Iraq, the plan was already drawn)

Powell thought this invasion would be disastrous — and yet the prospect had for months seemed so preposterous to Powell and his deputies at the State Department that he assumed it would burn out of its own accord.

But by that August, it had become evident to Powell that he was Not winning the argument.

On Monday, Aug. 5, a couple of weeks before the meeting in East Hampton, he and Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush’s national security adviser, joined Bush for dinner at the White House residence.

For two hours, Rice said little while Powell proceeded to do what no one else in the Bush administration had done or would do: tell the president to his face that things in Iraq could go horribly wrong. “If you break it, you own it,” he famously told Bush. “This will become your first term.”

As they sat on the veranda of the beach house, Powell recounted the dinner meeting to Straw. “I told him, ‘Removing Saddam is the easy part,’” he said.

“ ‘You’ll be the proud owner of 25 million Iraqis in 18 fractious provinces.’” They talked for three hours. Powell spoke ruefully of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — men he had known for years, both of whom had changed, he told Straw, and not for the better.

Straw listened sympathetically. He shared Powell’s views on the folly of invasion. His own boss, Prime Minister Tony Blair, professed a commitment to regime change in Iraq, but one that was orderly and supported by other countries in the West as well as in the Arab world.

Such a coalition, achieved through the passage of a United Nations resolution, might persuade Saddam Hussein to comply with weapons inspectors and avoid military confrontation.

But Blair’s attempts to deliver this message to Bush were not getting through, in part because the prime minister was not terribly forceful in delivering it. Straw was plainly frustrated with Blair, who he feared was becoming Bush’s enabler. Powell pressed him to keep trying. “You’ve got to get Tony to convince the president to go to the U.N.,” he said.

The day after he returned to London, Straw warned Blair that he should not dismiss the prospect of Bush’s unilaterally taking his country to war. “You have to take this seriously,” the foreign minister said, “because there are contrary voices. Cheney and Rumsfeld are in a different place. We haven’t landed this yet.”

Powell was Blair’s ally in this cause, but Straw could see that the secretary of state was only a single voice in Bush’s ear, and not necessarily the one that counted.

As it turned out, the secretary’s voice was the most prescient in the Bush administration.

And yet Powell’s “you break it, you own it” warning to the president would be overshadowed by the fact that he was also the war’s most effective salesman. The sale had been made in a speech before the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003: a methodical recitation of the American intelligence agencies’ findings on Iraq’s weapons program demonstrating the urgency of putting an end to it, by invasion if necessary.

It was precisely the secretary of state’s skepticism about the wisdom of war that made him the Bush White House’s indispensable pitchman for it.

Alone among the president’s war council, the four-star general was seen by Republicans and Democrats, the news media and the public as a figure of unassailable credibility. If Powell said Hussein presented an immediate danger to the United States, then surely it was so.

The speech remains one of the most indelible public moments of the Bush presidency.

By the time Powell resigned from his post, his performance that morning before the U.N. Security Council had come to symbolize the tragic recklessness of Bush’s decision to go to war.

Iraq, it was by then widely understood, had played No role in the Sept. 11 attacks, nor did it possess weapons of mass destruction. Nearly all the intelligence Powell presented to the world in his speech turned out to be false.

Credit…Photo illustration by Joan Wong

With the benefit of 15 years of hindsight, it’s possible to see Powell’s U.N. speech as a signal event in the broader story of American governance.

It is Exhibit A for the argument that would help propel Donald Trump to the White House in 2016 — that the U.S. government was not on the level, that the “establishment” figures of both parties were at once fools and manipulators.

In June, when Powell told CNN that he would be voting for Joe Biden in November, Trump shot back on Twitter: “Didn’t Powell say that Iraq had ‘weapons of mass destruction?’ They didn’t, but off we went to WAR!”

Because of its long shadow, the U.N. speech invites one of the Bush presidency’s most poignant what-ifs.

What if that same voice that publicly proclaimed the necessity of invading Iraq had instead told Bush privately that it was not merely an invitation to unintended consequences but a mistake, as he personally believed it to be?

What if he had said No to Bush when he asked him to speak before the U.N.?

Powell would almost certainly have been obligated to resign, and many if not all of his top staff members involved in the Iraq issue would also have quit; several had already considered doing so the previous summer.

If the State Department’s top team had emptied out their desks, what would Powell’s close friend Straw have done? “If Powell had decided to resign in advance of the Iraq war,” Straw told me, “I would almost certainly have done so, too.”

Blair’s support in the Labour Party would have cratered — and had Blair withdrawn his support for war under pressure from Parliament or simply failed to win an authorization vote, the narrative of collapsed momentum would have dominated the news coverage for weeks.

Doubters in the upper ranks of the American military — there were several — would have been empowered to speak out; intelligence would have been re-examined; Democrats, now liberated from the political pressures of the midterm elections, would most likely have joined the chorus.

This domino effect required a first move by Bush’s secretary of state. “But I knew I didn’t have any choice,” Powell told me. “What choice did I have? He’s the president.” (That’s a lot of crap)

I’m sort of not the resigning type,” Straw said. “Nor is Powell. And that’s the problem.” (Two people holding on faked power)

In August 2018, in the course of researching a book on the lead-up to the Iraq war, I went to see Powell at the office in Alexandria, Va., that he has maintained since leaving the Bush administration in early 2005.

Powell, who is now 83, is as proud and blunt-speaking as he was during his career in public service.

Over the course of our two hour long conversations, he made clear that he was all too aware of the lonely turf he was destined to occupy in history.

It was not the turf that anyone, least of all Powell himself, would have imagined for him in 2001.

He entered the Bush administration as a four-star general of immense popularity and political influence. He left it four years later, discarded by Bush in favor of a more like-minded chief diplomat, Condoleezza Rice.

He mournfully predicted to others that his obituaries first paragraph would include his authorship of the U.N. speech.

In the decade and a half since then, Powell’s world and Bush’s have intersected only at the margins.

The secretary takes pains not to speak ill of the president he once served, even when he announced in 2008 that he would be supporting Barack Obama as Bush’s successor.

He was on hand for the opening of Bush’s presidential library in 2013. But he has not attended the administration’s annual alumni gatherings, and since leaving office he has refused to defend Bush’s legacy-defining decision to invade Iraq.

On the one other occasion I interviewed Powell, while gathering material for a book about Bush’s presidency in 2006, he was wary and did not wish to speak on the record.

It was a time of chaos in Iraq, and of score-settling memoirs in Washington.

A dozen years later, however, that caginess had mostly fallen away. Some of the core mysteries that still hung over the most consequential American foreign-policy decision in a half-century, I found, remained mysteries even to Powell.

At one point during our first conversation in 2018, he paraphrased a line about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction from the intelligence assessment that had informed his U.N. speech, which intelligence officials had assured him was rock solid: “ ‘We judge that they have 100 to 500 metric tons of chemical weapons, all produced within the last year.’ How could they have known that?” he said with caustic disbelief.

I told Powell I intended to track down the authors of that assessment. Smirking, he replied, “You might tell them I’m curious about it.”

Not long after meeting Powell, I did manage to speak to several analysts who helped produce the classified assessment of Iraq’s supposed weapons program and who had not previously talked with reporters.

In fact, I learned, there was exactly zero proof that Hussein had a chemical-weapons stockpile.

The C.I.A. analysts knew only that he once had such a stockpile, before the 1991 Persian Gulf war, and that it was thought to be as much as 500 metric tons before the weapons were destroyed.

The analysts had noted what seemed to be recent suspicious movement of vehicles around suspected chemical-weapons plants. There also seemed to be signs — though again, no hard proof — that Iraq had an active biological-weapons program, so, they reasoned, the country was probably manufacturing chemical weapons as well.

This was, I learned, typical of the prewar intelligence estimates: They amounted to semi-educated guesses built on previous and seldom-challenged guesses that always assumed the worst and imagined deceptiveness in everything the Iraqi regime did. The analysts knew not to present these judgments as facts. But that distinction had become lost by the time Powell spoke before the U.N.

Moreover, a circular reasoning guided the intelligence community’s prewar estimates.

As an intelligence official — one of many who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity — said: “We knew where we were headed, and that was war. Which ironically made it that much more difficult to change the analytic line that we’d stuck with for 10 years. For 10 years, it was our pretty strong judgment that Saddam had chemical capability.” Whether or not this was still true, “with American soldiers about to go in, we weren’t going to change our mind and say, ‘Never mind.’”

“I am capable of self-pity,” Powell wrote in “My American Journey,” his 1995 memoir. “But not for long.”

In his ascent to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush, the Harlem-born son of Jamaican immigrants had prevailed over racism, hard-ass generals in the Army and right-wingers who found him insufficiently hawkish.

His appointment by Bush and Cheney, then the secretary of defense, also turned out to be a stroke of political genius.

During the gulf war, his poise and resolve on television rallied Americans leery of foreign entanglements after the horror of Vietnam. It was thoroughly unsurprising when Bush’s son appointed Powell his secretary of state.

But their relationship was fraught from the start. Bush was not at all like his father, whom Powell had greatly admired.

The new president was far more conservative, far less reverential of international alliances.

Bush also understood the power that Powell’s popularity conferred on him, and he knew that Powell, who had once considered and decided against running for president, could change his mind anytime he wished.

And when it came to policy in the Middle East, Powell was not where the rest of Bush’s team was. He was, as a top National Security Council staff member who respected Powell would recall, “more of a dissident, who,” as the administration drifted steadily toward confrontation with Hussein, “would say, ‘I’m fighting a rearguard action against these [expletive] crazies.’”

Recalling the chaotic days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Powell told me, “The American people wanted somebody killed.”

Bush Jr. himself confessed to a gathering of religious leaders in the Oval Office on the afternoon of Sept. 20, “I’m having difficulty controlling my blood lust.”

For Powell, it was plain at the time that the “somebody” deserving to be killed was Osama bin Laden, along with his network and the Taliban government in Afghanistan that had given him haven.

When Bush and the rest of his senior foreign-policy team gathered at Camp David four days after the attacks, Powell argued that the world would support such a mission — but that a global coalition would fall apart if the U.S. began attacking other countries.

Rumsfeld (Defense minister) archly replied: “Then maybe it’s not a coalition worth having.

Rumsfeld argued that a “global war on terror” should in fact be global. This was not an academic argument.

A number of voices inside the administration had for years before the Sept. 11 attacks viewed Hussein as a principal sponsor of radical Palestinian groups and now maintained that any counterterrorism effort worth its salt necessarily encompassed Iraq.

These figures were concentrated in Rumsfeld’s Pentagon and in Cheney’s office. They included Rumsfeld’s deputy, Paul Wolfowitz; the under secretary of defense for policy, Douglas Feith; Scooter Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff; and Cheney himself. (They are members or supporters of the extremist Evangelical sect that believe a Second Coming is soon when Israel occupies Jerusalem entirely)

At Camp David, Wolfowitz went so far as to argue that Hussein was most likely behind the Sept. 11 attacks. Iraq was “the head of the snake,” he contended, and should be America’s primary target. Powell thought the deputy secretary of defense’s logic was absurd. But, he noted, Bush did not dismiss it outright, saying instead, “OK, we’ll leave Iraq for later.”

Bush was true to his word. On Oct. 7, the president announced the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, a military attack on Al Qaeda and the Taliban. His administration’s policy focused on Afghanistan throughout the final months of 2001. But while spending Thanksgiving with Army troops at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, the president proclaimed, “Afghanistan is just the beginning of the war on terror.”

A month later, Bush was briefed by Gen. Tommy Franks of U.S. Central Command on a possible plan for invading Iraq. And a month after that, on Jan. 29, 2002, the president delivered his State of the Union address branding Iraq, Iran and North Korea the Axis of Evil.

“Iraq,” Bush Jr. told Congress, “continues to flaunt its hostility towards America and to support terror.”

Throughout early 2002, the Iraq debate played out largely in the National Security Council cabinet-level meetings known as the Principals Committee.

Powell advocated the approach championed by Blair and Straw: have Bush go to the U.N. and press for a resolution condemning Hussein.

Rumsfeld was adamant that the United States should not be slowed down by coalition-building.

The interagency gatherings often descended into face-to-face bickering between the two sides, quarrels that spilled over into bureaucratic back alleys. Skilled infighter though he was, Powell was plainly frustrated by what one Principals Committee attendee described as “Don’s style, this Socratic asking of questions rather than tell you where he stood.”

Rumsfeld was not Powell’s only rival in the room. Cheney had a history with both men. He owed his career to Rumsfeld, whose coattails had carried him from the Office of Economic Opportunity to the Ford White House in 1974.

And as the elder Bush’s defense secretary, Cheney watched attentively as his Joint Chiefs chairman hoovered up publicity. That had been useful during the gulf war, up to a point. But Powell had also offered unsolicited policymaking advice to the White House and off-the-cuff troop-downsizing estimates to the press.

Cheney — a figure of legendary discretion whose Secret Service code name at one time was Back Seat — had come to believe that Colin Powell was playing for Colin Powell.

In the Principals Committee meetings, men who had known one another for decades could no longer disguise their ill feelings. At the beginning of one meeting, Richard Armitage, Powell’s deputy secretary, genially offered the vice president some coffee. Cheney smiled. “Rich,” Armitage recalled him replying, “if you gave it to me, I’d have to have a taster.”

As one of Powell’s subordinates put it: “The secretary and Armitage thought we could get by with a rope-a-dope approach: Let’s play along. Let them hang themselves. Because this idea is so cockamamie, it’ll never happen.”

Of Hussein, “Powell kept saying, ‘He’s a bad guy in a box, so let’s keep building the box,’” another one of his deputies recalled. “And he hoped that over time, the president might say: ‘Ah, OK, I get it. The box is good.’”

But by the summer of 2002, this argument was clearly losing ground.

One morning that summer, Powell’s under secretary of state for political affairs, Marc Grossman, called Libby’s deputy, Eric Edelman. The two had traveled in the same foreign-policy circles for decades, but their collegiality had begun to fray over Iraq. So Edelman was surprised when Grossman said, “I’d like to meet with you on some kind of neutral territory.” They chose the coffee shop in the basement of the Corcoran Gallery.

Once they were seated, Grossman got right to the point. “Eric,” Edelman recalled him asking, “has the president already decided to go to war, and we’re just in this interagency circle jerk?

“I don’t think the president has decided to go to war,” Edelman replied. “But I do think the president has decided the problem Saddam presents can’t just drag on forever.”

Just hours before Powell joined Bush for dinner on Aug. 5, General Franks briefed Bush on what would become the final war plan for invading Iraq.

Still, Powell could see that his grim prophecy to the president — “this will become your first term” — registered. “What should I do?” Bush asked.

Go to the United Nations, Powell advised him. After all, Hussein had violated numerous U.N. resolutions regarding his weapons program, aggression toward Kuwait and treatment of his own people. The U.N. was the aggrieved party. But if he were to do so, Powell added, there was a chance that Hussein would surrender his weapons. Bush would have to accept a changed regime as a substitute for regime change.

It was arguably the most important message that Bush would hear from any of his subordinates in his entire presidency — and, in what Powell left out of the message, the most important missed opportunity.

When Bush asked, “What should I do?” his secretary of state could have spoken his mind and said, “Don’t invade Iraq.” But he didn’t. (What? Didn’t Powell believe this infantile Bush Jr. needed a clear cut answer?)

Perhaps the most tireless lobbyist for invasion in 2002 was a smooth-talking Iraqi expatriate named Ahmad Chalabi.

The leader of the Iraqi National Congress, an aspiring government in exile, Chalabi had for years been feeding sympathetic policymakers and journalists a utopian vision of what a post-Hussein democratic Iraq might look like. On the veranda in East Hampton, Powell complained to Straw that Wolfowitz, Feith, Cheney and Libby were hopelessly smitten with Chalabi. “You wouldn’t believe how much this guy is shaping our policy,” he told Straw.

Chalabi had also been vigorously disseminating intelligence seeking to tie Hussein to Al Qaeda.

Cheney, Libby, Wolfowitz and Feith found his evidence on this subject to be persuasive. By contrast, Powell’s team found it highly unlikely that Hussein would consort with Islamic terrorists who despised the secular Iraqi regime.

George Tenet, the director of the C.I.A., broadly agreed with Powell on the administration hawks’ intelligence — so it was at first glance mystifying that the U.S. intelligence community, by the summer of 2002, was providing the most convincing arguments for going to war.

Tenet had by then come to believe that Bush’s mind was made up about overthrowing Hussein, even as the president continued to maintain otherwise.

Some who worked with Tenet — a Clinton holdover whose agency’s work was repeatedly criticized by Rumsfeld and others — thought he fretted that the White House would come to see him as unhelpful and proceed to disregard the C.I.A.’s assessments altogether. “Here we had this precious access,” recalled one of Tenet’s senior analysts, “and he didn’t want to blow it.”

Sometime in May 2002, Bush received a Presidential Daily Briefing from the C.I.A. that included perhaps the most alarming intelligence about Iraq that he had yet heard.

National Security Agency intercepts had picked up communications between an Iraqi general and an Iraqi procurement agent who was based in Australia. The general had directed the procurement agent to buy equipment for Iraq’s unmanned aerial vehicles program. In the spring of 2002, the agent had given an Australian equipment distributor his shopping list. Among the items was Garmin GPS software that included maps of major American cities.

Alarmed, the distributor contacted the authorities. This P.D.B. presented Bush with the first intelligence appearing to confirm his nightmare scenario: Hussein intended to attack the United States.

This marked a turning point for Bush, according to one of his senior advisers. “We get this report about, They’ve bought this software that’s supposed to be mapping the United States. He’s hearing this intel, and the diplomacy is going nowhere. And so I think that’s when he really starts thinking, I’ve got to get something done in Iraq.”

As it happened, there was a more innocent explanation for the mapping software. Two C.I.A. analysts and an Australian intelligence officer eventually brought the Iraqi procurement agent in for questioning and confronted him about the American maps. The Iraqi was stunned.

He said it was the Garmin hardware he had been interested in. The only reason he bought the mapping software, he said, was because he thought the hardware wouldn’t work without it. The presentation on the vendor’s web page seemed to confirm this account.

But this revelation, like others tempering the most dire view of Iraq’s capabilities, was swept aside by the self-compounding momentum toward war. In a speech in Cincinnati in October 2002, Bush likened America’s confrontation with Hussein to World War II — an indicator that the president could not foresee a diplomatic outcome.

In early December, word reached the C.I.A. that the White House wanted it to prepare an oral presentation on Iraq’s weapons program that would feature an “Adlai Stevenson moment” — referring to the 1962 episode in which the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. presented open-and-shut photographic evidence of Soviet ballistic-missile installations in Cuba.

The timing of the request seemed odd, given that Hans Blix, the U.N.’s chief weapons inspector, and his team were already in Iraq and would presumably be furnishing on-the-ground visual proof of Hussein’s arsenal, if it existed, any day now. The fact that such a presentation was being ordered up was tantamount to a White House vote of no confidence in Blix.

The presentation was referred to internally at the C.I.A. as the Case. That Tenet did not resist the request suggested that the agency had crossed a red line. “The first thing they teach you in C.I.A. 101 is you don’t help them make the case,” said an agency official who was involved in the project. “But we were all infected in the case for war.”


Credit…Photo illustration by Joan Wong

The task of supervising the intelligence on Iraq’s weapons program fell largely to Tenet’s deputy director, John McLaughlin. McLaughlin was a beloved figure among the agency’s analysts. As measured and even-tempered as Tenet was mercurial, he wore natty suspenders but was otherwise a by-the-book professional who pored over classified documents with a ruler, sliding it slowly downward line by line. He enjoyed performing sleight-of-hand coin tricks, which earned him the code name Merlin from the C.I.A. security detail.

McLaughlin met with the agency’s analytical team headed by Bob Walpole, the national intelligence officer for strategic programs. The deputy director told the analysts that the White House had asked for their best story on Iraq. The analysts sent up what visuals they had.

McLaughlin reviewed them with astonishment. “This is all there is?” he asked when they convened again. He also asked them, “Do we have any slam-dunk evidence of W.M.D.?

Larry Fox, a senior chemical-weapons analyst, did not watch basketball. He asked McLaughlin what “slam dunk” meant.

“Like a smoking gun,” the deputy director explained. “Undeniable. Caught red-handed.”

“Ah,” Fox said. “Well, no. We don’t have any.”

For the next two weeks, several analysts fine-tuned the presentation.

On Friday afternoon, Dec. 20, McLaughlin stood in Rumsfeld’s conference room at the Pentagon before a group that included Wolfowitz, Feith and Franks and recited the Case. Rumsfeld and his team were polite but visibly unimpressed. They asked few questions.

The following morning, McLaughlin and his colleagues were sent to the Oval Office for a repeat performance, accompanied by Tenet, for a gathering that included Bush, Cheney, Rice and Libby.

“This is a rough draft — it’s still in development,” McLaughlin began. For the next 20 or so minutes, McLaughlin spoke almost entirely uninterrupted. It was a smoother performance than his briefing the day before at the Pentagon. Bush and the others listened intently. But a thick silence settled in after he finished. “Again, this is a first draft,” Tenet assured the president.

“Nice try,” the president said to McLaughlin.

Bush did not appear to mean it sarcastically. Bush expressed his concern clearly, according to notes taken by an attendee: “Look, in about five weeks I may have to ask the fathers and mothers of America to send their sons and daughters off to war. This has to be well developed.”

Bush Jr. emphasized the need to make the case to “the average citizen. So it needs to be more convincing. Probably needs some better examples.” (The decision to go to war was already made?)

It was clear to everyone in the room that Bush had already made up his mind about the Iraqi threat. The only question to him was whether the C.I.A. had what it took to convince the public that the threat justified war. “Maybe have a lawyer look at how to lay out the structure of the argument,” Bush continued. “Maybe someone with Madison Avenue experience should look at the presentation.” He added, “And it needs to tie all this into terrorism, for the domestic audience.”

The president asked Tenet whether his agency could build a more convincing case. It was to that question — not, as often reported, a question relating to whether Hussein posed a threat — that the C.I.A. director infamously replied: “Slam dunk.”

McLaughlin tried again. He instructed Bob Walpole to make the Case more persuasive. “Give me everything you’ve got,” Walpole in turn told his weapons team, according to one of the analysts. “Never mind sourcing or other problems.” He wanted the kitchen sink.

On Dec. 28, Walpole and McLaughlin went to the White House to discuss the Case with Rice. Just a couple of minutes into his summary, Rice stopped him. “Bob?” she said with evident concern. “If these are just assertions, we need to know this now.”

“They’re analytical assessments,” Walpole replied. “The agencies have attached confidence levels to them.”

Rice studied her copy, frowning. “What’s ‘high confidence’?” she asked. “About 90 percent?”

“About that,” he said.

The national security adviser gaped at Walpole and McLaughlin. “Well,” she finally said, “that’s a heck of a lot lower than what the P.D.B.s are saying!”

The chemical and biological weapons cases were based on inference, Walpole conceded. The nuclear case, he said, was “the weakest.”

Rice turned to McLaughlin. “You have gotten the president way out on a limb on this,” she said. Walpole — who personally thought that invading Iraq made absolutely no sense — nonetheless could see that the administration wouldn’t be satisfied with a case that was built only on deceptions and shady activity. He wrote to his analysts, “We must make a public case that ‘Iraq HAS WMDs.’”

Unknown to Walpole’s team, a parallel process was underway in the Office of the Vice President.

Immediately after the Dec. 21 meeting in the Oval Office, Cheney had said privately to Bush, “You know, Scooter’s already been working on something we could use.” Two days later, Libby called Edelman, his deputy, and told him about McLaughlin’s weak presentation. “The president doesn’t think it’s nearly persuasive enough,” Cheney’s chief of staff said. “And so they’ve given O.V.P. the assignment of redoing that.”

The next morning, Cheney’s staff got to work on their alternative presentation. John Hannah, Cheney’s assistant for national security affairs, was tasked with the section on biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Libby had instructed his Middle East specialist to put every damning bit of raw intelligence he could find into his brief. The burden would then be on the C.I.A. analysts to argue why any of it should be thrown out.

On Saturday, Jan. 25, Libby gave a preview of the new presentation in the Situation Room. The audience included Rice, Wolfowitz, Armitage and Stephen Hadley, the deputy national security adviser.

More notable, the political side of the White House — including Karl Rove, Bush’s longtime adviser, and Dan Bartlett, his communications director — was now hearing the intelligence case against Hussein for the very first time.

Wolfowitz thought Cheney’s chief of staff had done a great job. Rove found much to admire about it as well. Because many in the group were communications specialists, the conversation quickly moved on from the intelligence to the matter of its delivery. “I recall the general sense was, Who would be the best person to make this case at the U.N.?” Rove told me. “And the obvious answer was Colin Powell, chief diplomat.”

“Are you with me on this?” Bush asked Powell. The two were alone in the Oval Office on Jan. 13, 2003. “I think I have to do this. I want you with me.”

Powell had cautioned Bush a few months earlier about the consequences of invading Iraq, and he had gone further in private conversations with others, saying he thought the idea of going to war was foolish on its face. But the secretary of state had never expressed this outright opposition to the president.

And although Powell would not admit it, Bush’s request that he be the one to make the case against Hussein to the U.N. was enormously flattering.

Even Cheney had explicitly acknowledged that Powell was the right man for the job. As the secretary told one of his top aides: “The vice president said to me: ‘You’re the most popular man in America. Do something with that popularity.’” But, Powell added to his aide, he wasn’t sure he could say no to Bush anyway.

“There’s only so many times I can go toe to toe with the V.P.,” he said. “The more I think about it, the more I realize it’s important to keep the job.”

Once the decision was made that Powell would deliver the U.N. speech, he was handed the text that Libby’s team had prepared. Powell viewed the document suspiciously. Among the first things he noticed about Libby’s text were the lurid intimations about Hussein’s supposed ties with bin Laden’s organization. “You guys really believe all this [expletive]?” he scoffed to one of Cheney’s deputies.

After first scrapping the entire section dealing with Iraq’s alleged ties to Al Qaeda, the secretary tasked Carl Ford, the director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (I.N.R.), with reviewing the speech’s claims on biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

Ford’s staff worked overnight. Their memo of objections to Hannah’s weapons section on Jan. 31 came to six single-spaced pages and cited at least 38 items that were deemed either “weak” or “unsubstantiated.”

The I.N.R. analysts warned that Iraq’s alleged chemical-weapon decontamination trucks could simply be water trucks. Libby’s team had claimed that a shipment of aluminum tubes that the C.I.A. had intercepted on its way to Iraq in 2001 was intended for use in uranium-enrichment centrifuges (a claim that was leaked to The New York Times). The I.N.R. analysts maintained that the tubes were for rocket launchers. Three of the critique’s most common phrases were “plausibility open to question,” “highly questionable” and “draft states it as fact.”

Meanwhile, Powell’s chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, was also hashing out the text on weapons with Hannah. The sources in the text weren’t footnoted, and Wilkerson grimaced as he watched Hannah fumble through his binders. After one query, Hannah produced a New York Times article as his source. Between I.N.R.’s factual objections and Hannah’s halting command of the material, Powell was fast losing faith in the work by Libby’s team. He instructed Wilkerson to start from scratch.

It was George Tenet who came to the rescue, Powell later said. Tenet suggested that he base the new speech on the National Intelligence Estimate relating to Iraq’s weapons capability that had been thrown together in less than three weeks the previous September. It was, after all, the consensus product of the American intelligence community. What could go wrong?

For the next three days, Powell, dressed in jeans, sat in Tenet’s conference room on the seventh floor in C.I.A. headquarters with his speechwriting team. Line by line, data point by data point, the secretary read out the text and then asked: “Does that sound right? What’s the source on this? Opposition? Kurdish? Asylum seeker? Can we trust him?” If the answer did not suit him, Powell’s reply would be: “I’m not comfortable with that. Throw it on the floor.”

To the outside observer, the process seemed methodical and professional. Dan Bartlett dropped by the C.I.A. over the weekend. “Everybody’s in the room,” Bartlett recalled. “He’s got their undivided attention. This is going to be done right. I left thinking, OK, I feel good about this.

Powell had reason to feel sanguine about the process as well. Tenet was there, along with McLaughlin and the aluminum tube he had taken to carrying as a prop, which at one point he rolled across the conference-room table. Whenever Powell seemed concerned about a particular claim, Tenet’s staff would usher in what seemed to be the proper analyst to affirm the source’s validity.

What Powell did not know was that there were other C.I.A. officials not present in the conference room who seriously doubted much of the National Intelligence Estimate’s contents. This was particularly evident on the subject of Hussein’s biological-weapons capabilities. Some of the most arresting visuals in the Case — the only ones that seemed to catch the attention of the Pentagon officials during McLaughlin’s early rehearsal of the C.I.A.’s presentation — were photographs of a vehicle believed to be an Iraqi mobile biological-weapons lab.

Its description had been supplied by a former Iraqi chemical engineer code-named Curveball, who had made his way to Germany in 1999, seeking asylum and in exchange offering spectacular details about Iraq’s weapons program. “The really strong stuff was Curveball,” remembered Bill McLaughlin, a C.I.A. military analyst (and no relation to John McLaughlin) who was in the conference room on Saturday, Feb. 3. “It was the kind of specificity we needed to show. It was the centerpiece of the discussion.”

But Curveball claims to have been part of a mobile biological-weapons program had also polarized the agency. The American intelligence community still did not have access to the source himself. “We don’t have a case officer in touch with this guy,” Tenet had once muttered to his staff.

Though many analysts at the C.I.A. considered the Iraqi engineer credible, the agency’s Directorate of Operations officers, who dealt firsthand with informants, believed they knew a liar when they saw one. In Curveball, they saw a liar.

In December, John McLaughlin asked his executive assistant, Stephen Slick, to (as Slick would put it) “get to the bottom of a disagreement within the building about the veracity of one human source.” Tyler Drumheller, the chief of the directorate’s European division, instructed Margaret Henoch, the division’s chief of the group of countries that included Germany, to “look into Curveball.” Referring to the directorate deputy director, Jim Pavitt, he added, “Pavitt wants him to be vetted, because apparently we’re going to use him to justify going into Iraq.”

Henoch’s staff’s discussions with German intelligence agents led them to conclude that Curveball was not on the level. On Dec. 19, Henoch argued this point to Slick. To a chief biological-weapons analyst in the room who had fervently believed Curveball’s claims, Henoch said: “You guys are trained to write papers. You write to prove a thesis, rather than evaluating the information. And I think that’s what you’ve done here.”

Henoch was overruled; a day later, Slick issued his opinion that the intelligence community had conducted an “exhaustive review” of Curveball and “judged him credible.” But Slick later acknowledged that there was “not much more” to the biological-weapons case than Curveball.

When another C.I.A. analyst expressed concern about Curveball to a deputy on the weapons of mass destruction task force, the deputy’s email response began, “Let’s keep in mind the fact that this war’s going to happen regardless of what Curveball said or didn’t say, and that the Powers That Be probably aren’t terribly interested in whether Curveball knows what he’s talking about.” Pavitt, too, conveyed to a colleague that war was inevitable and that those against it could “tap dance nude on Pennsylvania Avenue and it would make no difference.”

McLaughlin would later insist that he was unaware that doubts had been expressed about Curveball’s veracity. Still, before Powell was to deliver his U.N. speech, the deputy director instructed Slick to check on Curveball’s “current status/whereabouts.” Slick’s memo to Drumheller on Feb. 3 said, “A great deal of effort is being expended to vet the intelligence that underlies SecState’s upcoming U.N. presentation.”

But the memo made no mention of a cable that had been sent to the agency’s headquarters a week before by the C.I.A.’s chief of station in Berlin, Joe Wippl. The German intelligence agency handling Curveball “has not been able to verify his reporting,” Wippl warned. He added: “The source himself is problematical. Defer to headquarters, but to use information from another liaison service’s source whose information cannot be verified on such an important, key topic should take the most serious consideration.”

Powell knew nothing about these serious concerns. The C.I.A.’s dissenters were not in the room during the secretary’s U.N. speech preparation — and Curveball’s intelligence was the room’s star attraction. “George was on the team, and that itself is an issue,” Wippl would later reflect. “It was, ‘Hey, guys, we’re going to war — and we’ll find this stuff anyway once we’re there.’ It’s something that, in retrospect, kind of makes you sick.”

On the evening of Feb. 4 at U.N. headquarters, Powell went over his speech one final time. He asked Tenet if he felt comfortable with the facts marshaled in the speech. The C.I.A. director said that he did. “Good,” Powell said. “Because I want you sitting right behind me when I give it tomorrow morning.” Tenet was reluctant — he was aware that his appearing with the secretary would give the appearance that the C.I.A. was putting its seal of approval on administration policy — but he was way past the point of protesting.

At 10:30 the following morning, Powell addressed the international body. For the next 76 minutes, he laid out the U.S. government’s case against Hussein.

“My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources,” Powell said in his calm, sonorous baritone. “These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.” (Deep down, Powell knew he was lying through his teeth. What a shame)

The story Powell told marked a departure from the Bush administration’s evocations of madness, evil and mushroom clouds. It was an investigator’s meticulous brief of institutionalized deception and murderous intent. Powell spoke of a key source, “an eyewitness, an Iraqi chemical engineer,” who happened to be watching the speech at home with his wife in Erlangen, Germany. He spoke of one of Curveball’s confirming sources, “an Iraqi major” — surprising a Defense Intelligence Agency staff member watching the speech who, months earlier, had interviewed the major and determined him to be a fabricator.

He spoke of decontamination trucks at chemical-weapons factories, to the consternation of the chemical-weapons analyst Larry Fox, who had repeatedly warned that the speech was making too much out of what might well be innocuous vehicles but had been repeatedly overruled by his superiors. And he spoke of aluminum tubes that “most experts think” were to be used for uranium enrichment — ignoring his department’s own experts, including the I.N.R.’s director, Carl Ford, who became heartsick watching Powell on TV and informed the secretary three months later that he was resigning.

In the audience in the Security Council chamber was a young U.N. weapons inspector named Dawson Cagle, who had recently returned from Baghdad.

Sitting next to Cagle was one of Hans Blix’s senior munitions experts, who had also just returned from Iraq’s capital. The expert’s mouth opened when Powell displayed photographs of trucks moving into a suspected weapons of mass destruction bunker, hours before an inspection team was due to visit, followed by a photo of the inspectors filing through a now-empty bunker.

“I’m in that photo,” the munitions expert whispered to Cagle. “I went into that bunker that those trucks pulled up to. There was a three-inch layer of pigeon dung covering everything. And a layer of dust on top of that. There’s no way someone came in and cleaned that place out. No way they could’ve faked that.”

But back at the White House, Bush watched Powell’s speech in the small dining room connected to the Oval Office, visibly pleased. On Capitol Hill, at a Democratic Senate caucus meeting after the U.N. speech, Tom Daschle, the majority leader, told his colleagues that he was now “really convinced” that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. To the caucus, he said: “You may not trust Dick Cheney. But do you not trust Colin Powell?”


An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the United Nations chamber where Colin Powell delivered a speech in February 2003. It was the Security Council, not the General Assembly.

Robert Draper is a writer at large for the magazine. He last wrote about Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale.

Note 1: If Powell had the guts to resign instead of participating in the genocide of the Iraqi people, and later the Syria people, He could have been President instead of Barack Obama. Powell never felt he is legitimate and entitled to run for the Presidency. He was contented with his hobby of repairing vintage Volvo cars

Note 2: Powell must have had hints of Hillary Clinton plans and decision to “create” and launch Da3esh (ISIS) during her tenure of Obama State chief. Has anyone heard Powell taking a stand on that horror and machiavelic decision?



Cancer epidemic calamity awaiting Lebanon citizens in a couple of years?

Cancer cases increased by 5.6% this year in tiny Lebanon of barely 4,5 million.
14,000 cases are unable to secure the appropriate treatment and targeted medicine.
The cost that the ministry of health is incurring rose to 12% yearly
Within a decade, from 2006 to 2016, the increase was 3 folds, or 300 cases for every 10,000 citizens
The direct cause is the tons of imported cancerous waste (nuclear waste shipped by Italian boats) from Europe that were buried in landfills during the civil war. Militia leaders didn’t give a hoot as long as money was pouring in.
Mind you that Israel used depleted uranium bomb in most of its pre-emptive wars on Lebanon, especially in the 2006 war that destroyed most of Lebanon infrastructure.
Currently, there are 940 haphazard waste dumping locations and 150 incinerators Not satisfying standards.
Air pollution will increase by 20% lung cancer. Mind you that Lebanon has the heaviest concentration of cars since we lack public transportation and trains.
Almost all our water supply from rivers are contaminated.

لبنان على موعد مع كارثة سرطانية بعد أعوام

ارقام مخيفة قدمت ضمن تقارير خلال جلسة للجنة الصحة النيابية، أظهرت ارتفاع نسبة الاصابة بأمراض السرطان بحوالي 5,6 % هذا العام في لبنان.

ودعت خطورة هذا الارتفاع الى نقاش مطول حوله، خصوصا ان هناك حوالي 14 ألف مريض يعانون من المرض في لبنان ويعانون أكثر في محاولاتهم تأمين الدواء للمعالجة منه.

لم يأت هذا الارتفاع من عدم، بل نتيجة عدة عوامل تتعلق بنمط الحياة والوراثة، أضف الى التلوّث البيئي وازمة النفايات وتلوث المياه وكل ما يمر به لبنان.

أضف الى كلفة ادوية السرطان التي تكبد وزارة الصحة أكثر من 40 مليون دولار سنويا، والكلفة تستمر بالارتفاع حوالي 12% سنويا.

ارتفع احتمال الاصابة بأمراض السرطان في لبنان من 100 حالة لكل 10 آلاف مواطن في العام 2006، إلى 300 حالة للعدد نفسه في العام 2016، الذي سجل فيه 13 ألف إصابة جديدة والآتي أعظم. وبحسب منظمة الصحة العالمية ان عدد حالات السرطان التي يتم تشخيصها في الشرق الأوسط سيتضاعف خلال العقدين المقبلين ما لم تقم السلطات المعنية باتخاذ الإجراءات اللازمة خصوصا سرطان الرئة والمثانة.

في السياق، لفت الاخصائي بالأمراض السرطانية الدكتور جواد مكارم في حديثه لـ “ليبانون ديبايت” ان معدلات الاصابة بمرض السرطان الخبيث ترتفع في كل العالم وليس فقط في لبنان. ويعاني هذا الأخير بشكل خاص لأكثر من عامل لأنه لا يمكن حصر اسباب الاصابة بهذا المرض بعامل واحد.

وشدد مكارم على ان السرطان ان لم يكن وراثي يحتاج لحوالي 10 الى 15 عام للظهور والتفشي بالتالي ما يتعرّض له لبنان من تزايد في حالات المصابين هو بمعظمه نتيجة الحروب التي مرت عليه، وما دفن في جباله من مواد كيميائية ونفايات نووية وغيرها.

من المتوقع تنامي مرض السرطان أكثر وأكثر في السنوات المقبلة بعد مرور حوالي 10 سنوات على الكوارث التي تحصل اليوم بحق البيئة، مثل تلوث الهواء الناتج عن محارق نفايات العشوائية

اذ ان هناك حوالي 940 مكبا عشوائيا وأكثر من 150 موقعاً تحرق فيه النفايات في الهواء الطلق أسبوعياً، بحسب مكارم. وحذّر من خطورة عادة التدخين التي أصبحت شائعة “وين ماكان” على حد قوله. ودعا الى التركيز على حملات توعية للحد من آفة التدخين خصوصا مع الرواج الذي تشهده على جميع الفئات العمرية نظرا لتحوّل النرجيلة الى رفيق دائم للجلسات في المطاعم والمنازل وكل مكان.

لم يقلل الدكتور من اهمية التشديد على خطورة التدخين على الصحة واعتبره سبب محتم للإصابة بالسرطان. وارفق تحذيراته بأرقام تؤكد ارتفاع عدد المصابين بسرطان الرئة وتظهر بأن معدلات المرض هي الأعلى في المنطقة عند كل من الرجال والنساء وتزداد عادات التدخين بين النساء والشباب.

ومن المتوقع أن يساهم ارتفاع التعرض لتلوث الهواء بنسبة حوالي 20 ٪ في حالات سرطان الرئة.

وأوضح ان المياه والهواء ليسا سببا مباشرا للإصابة بالسرطان، بل المواد الكيميائية المضرة ورواسب المعامل والمصانع والسيارات والغازات السامة المنبعثة منها والمواد السامة المرمية في الأنهر والبحر وغيرها من الأسباب مجتمعة وما يرافقها من اهمال وقلة وعي وإدراك لمدى تعاظم الأزمة تزيد من عدد المصابين سنويا لا بل يوميا.

وإذا لم يتم التخلص من التلوث والتكثيف من حملات التوعية، فان لبنان على موعد مع كوارث من حيث ارتفاع تفشي هذا المرض.

أكثر انواع السرطان الشائعة في لبنان هي سرطان الثدي عند النساء، وسرطان الدم، والرئة والرحم وترتفع نسب الاصابة بسرطان البروستات وسرطان المثانة الذي من أبرز مسبباته تدخين التبغ ومشتقاته. ووفقا لدراسات حول ارتفاع نسبة السرطان، ستسجل معدلات الاصابة بسرطان المثانة بحلول عام 2020 الى 43 حالة بين كل 100 ألف شخصا،

ويبقى التدخين السبب الرئيسي لهذا الارتفاع وتحديدا التبغ الأسود والنرجيلة، اذ ان المعدلات مماثلة لتلك التي سجلت في البلدان الصناعية في أوروبا والولايات المتحدة. وتعتبر نسبة اصابة السرطان عند الرجال في لبنان الأعلى بين الدول العربية خصوصا سرطانات البروستات، المثانة، اللمفوما لا هودجكن (Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma)، واللوكيميا.

ليس مرض السرطان وحده ما يشكل صدمة للمواطن، بل كلفة أدوية العلاج من المرض وعلى الرغم من ان هناك حوالي 14 ألف مريض، يأخذ 7500 منهم الدواء السرطاني الخاص بهم من وزارة الصحة أي أكثر من 50% منهم. وهذا مجهود مشكورة عليه وزارة الصحة رغم قدرتها المحدودة وامكانياتها كون الموازنة المخصصة للأمراض المستعصية هي 144 مليار وتمت زيادتها الى 156 مليار هذا العام.

لذا ومع استمرار ارتفاع معدلات الاصابة بالسرطان، هناك ضرورة لرصد موازنة اضافية لعلاج مرضى السرطان والأمراض المزمنة ذات العلاقة وعدم اخضاع هذه الموازنات إلى التقشف، لأن لا تقشف في صحة الناس.

أضف الى اتخاذ الاجراءات اللازمة والخطوات لمعالجة الكوارث البيئية المسببة بأضرار صحية مسرطنة، وإيجاد خطة بيئية ومستدامة لمعالجة النفايات ووضع الحلول حيز التنفيذ لتأمين بيئة سليمة للمواطنين، وتكثيف حملات التوعية للوقاية من مخاطر التلوث والتدخين والدعوات لإجراء فحوصات مبكرة للكشف عن المرض.

(ليبانون ديبايتكريستل خليل)

“Depleted Uranium bombs”? Not that depleted at all…

What the US military calls Depleted Uranium (DU) are only 40% less active than the enriched uranium used in nuclear power plants. The DU are not that performing in generating power, but they are as toxic to people, soil and water contamination… for thousands of years.

The US hold 50% of the world reserve of DU, and it found an economical expedient to contaminate “other people land” instead of the very costly “treatment” and storing of these extremely dangerous residues.

This “Silent Chernobyl“, repeated countless time in modern warfare, is harvesting million of lives and babies born with serious anomalies.

In the preemptive war on Iraq, starting in 1990 and then in 2003, the US and Britain dropped over 1,700 tons of DU bombs.

In Afghanistan, in the few days of the start of the preemptive war of 2002, over 3,000 tons were infesting the landscape.

(In addition to DU bombs, cluster bombs and phosphorous bombs were used. The irony is that after flooding the land with yellow Coca Cola can-sized cluster bombs, the US dropped food stuff in yellow parcels in the same area. The children were rushing to eat and were killed by the 20% of unexploded cluster bombs…)

In Kosovo, the US dropped just 20 tons of DU bombs and missiles on 105 targeted sites: The rate of solid cancer increased 5 folds within a few years.

The soil contamination in these countries are 2,000 times higher than the normal average.

Research and investigation to the health consequences in Afghanistan are still hard to conduct, but in Iraq the results are opened to the public perusal.

The rate of leukemia is 38 times, of infantile cancer 12 times, breast cancer 10 times, infantile mortality 4 times more elevated than average.

In Iraq, the rate of babies born without eyes (anophtalmy) has increased 250,000 folds the normal occurrence!

Pr. A. Durakovic at the medical Georgetown center said that DU dust is the worst toxin that sciences have produced when inhaled or digested.

Usually, kids of veteran soldiers who served in these war ravaged countries exhibit much higher anomalies than ordinary soldiers who fought in “more civilized lands”

Do you know that the military budget of NATO represents 70% of the world military budget?

For further detailed information according to Joelle Penochet “Armes a l’uranium: 20 ans après, ou on n’est on”?

Note: Information extracted from the book “The devastation” of the French/Afghani neurosurgeon Ahmad Ashraf

What of the victims of the city of Fallujah (Iraq) During US occupation? Any health remedies?
Mariam Yasir was 6 of age in 2009 and she suffers from a birth defect.
Children of Fallujah

Photograph: Muhannad Fala’ah/Getty Images
Ever since two major US-led assaults destroyed the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004, the people in Falluja have witnessed dramatic increases in rates of cancers, birth defects and infant mortality in their city.

Are the victims of Fallujah’s health crisis stifled by western silence?

Is it a moral imperative to research a possible link between US bombardment (with Not just depleted uranium, but slightly enriched uranium bombs) and rates of birth defects and pediatric cancer in Iraq?

Ross Caputi published in The Guardian on Oct. 25, 2012:

“Four new studies on the health crisis in Fallujah have been published in the last three months. Yet, one of the most severe public health crises in history, for which the US military may be to blame, receives no attention in the United States.

Dr Chris Busby, the author and co-author of two studies on the Fallujah heath crisis, has called this “the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied“.

In the years since the 2004 sieges, Fallujah was the most heavily guarded city in all of Iraq. All movement in and out of Fallujah was monitored by the occupying forces. The security situation made it nearly impossible to get word out about Fallujans’ nascent health crisis.

One of the first attempts to report on the crisis was at the 7th session of the UN Human Rights Council in the form of the report, Prohibited Weapons Crisis: The Effects of Pollution on the Public Health in Fallujah by Dr Muhamad Al-Darraji.

This report was largely ignored. It wasn’t until the first major study on the health crisis was published in 2010 that the issue received mainstream media attention in the UK and Europe.

To this day, though, there has yet to be an article published in a major US newspaper, or a moment on a mainstream American TV news network, devoted to the health crisis in Fallujah. The US government has made no statements on the issue, and the American public remains largely uninformed about the indiscriminate harm that our military may have caused.

The report presented at the seventh session of the Human Rights Council gave anecdotal evidence gathered at the Fallujah General Hospital. It included a stomach-turning collection of pictures of babies born with scaly skin, missing and deformed limbs, and horrifying tumors.

Two years later, Dr Busby and his team of researchers sought to verify the claims in this report. What they found was that, in addition to shocking increases in pediatric cancers, there had also been an 18% reduction in male births. Such a finding is a well-known indication of genetic damage. The authors conclude that:

“These results support the many reports of congenital illness and birth defects in Fallujah and suggest that there is evidence of genetic stress which appeared around 2004, one year before the effects began to show.”

In a follow up study, in which Dr Busby was a co-author, hair, soil and water samples were taken from Fallujah and tested for the presence of heavy metals. The researchers expected to find depleted uranium in the environmental samples. It is well known that the US used depleted uranium weapons in Iraq during the 1991 Gulf war.  And Iraqis, at least, are well aware of the increases in cancers and infant mortality rates in the city of Basrah, which was heavily bombarded during Desert Storm. However, what the researchers found was not depleted uranium, but man-made, slightly enriched uranium.

Dr Busby has been the most visible scientist behind these studies, and for that reason, a lot of criticism has been directed at him. He is considered by many to be a “controversial” figure, which only means that his research has often challenged official government positions. His studies on Fallujah have similarly earned the title of “controversial”.

Many journals were afraid to publish his second study because of “pressure” from “outside people“. “Outside people” means types like Roger Helbig – a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force who is well-known for publishing online attacks on those who take a critical stance against uranium weapons – and pressure groups with similar agendas.

Some have criticized the methodology of this study, and they have used this as an excuse to dismiss the entire issue. But as other experts have noted:

“The role of ‘quick and dirty’ studies like this one, conducted under difficult conditions, is not to inform policy, but rather to generate hypotheses about important questions when resources are not yet available and other research methods are not possible.”

Busby is not the only researcher who takes “controversial” positions. His findings are complimented by the work of Dr Dai Williams, an independent weapons researcher. Williams has been investigating what he calls “third generation uranium weapons” (pdf).

Dr Dai Williams has found patents for weapon systems that could use nondepleted uranium, or slightly enriched uranium, interchangeably with tungsten, either as a dense metal or as a reactive metal. Undepleted and slightly enriched uranium have also been found on other battlefields (Afghanistan (pdf) and Lebanon). These findings lead researchers like Dr Williams to believe that there is a new generation of weapons being used, possibly by the US and Israeli military, that could have serious indiscriminate health effects on the populations living near bombing targets.

Many people have dismissed these hypotheses as speculative, and with that, they dismiss the research, the issue and the suffering of the people on the ground. What these naysayers fail to understand is that hypotheses are always speculative to a degree – they are informed, but they are claims intended to be verified or falsified. This is the nature of the scientific method:

First, you observe certain phenomena in the world, then you come up with a hypothesis to explain those phenomena.

Second, you conduct an experiment to test your hypothesis.

Many of these naysayers have not responded to these studies by calling for more research and investigation to test the hypotheses of Dr Busby or Dr Williams. Rather, they dismiss these hypotheses because they don’t like their moral and political implications. In doing so, they show a great deal of antipathy for the scientific method and the pursuit of truth.

But more importantly, the  naysayers also dismiss the suffering of the people of Fallujah, and all people affected by these issues.

One weapon system that may use uranium, in some form or another, is the SMAW-NE (Shoulder-fired Multipurpose Assault Weapon – Novel Explosive). My former unit battle-tested this weapon for the first time in Fallujah during Operation Phantom Fury in 2004.

It is not my intention irresponsibly to lay blame on the US military, but there is a potential connection between this weapons system and the health crisis in Fallujah – and this connection needs to be investigated.

There are other avenues of investigation besides uranium weapons. One recent study examines the possible contributions of mercury and lead to the health crisis in Iraq. Metal Contamination and the Epidemic of Congenital Defects in Iraqi Cities, by Al-Sabbak et al, compared the levels of lead and mercury in hair, nail and teeth samples from Fallujah and Basrah. The study found that the population studied in Fallujah had been exposed to high levels of “two well-known neurotoxic metals, Pb and Hg“.

In Basrah, the authors found even higher levels of lead exposure than in Fallujah. Basrah has the highest ever reported level of neural tube defects, and the numbers continue to climb. The authors of this study note:

“Toxic metals such as mercury (Hg) and Pb are an integral part of war ammunitions and are extensively used in the making of bullets and bombs … the bombardment of al-Basrah and Fallujah may have exacerbated public exposure to metals, possibly culminating in the current epidemic of birth defects.”

The conclusion of this study is not abstract, and it is not merely an intellectual or medical issue. It has real world importance. The modern means of warfare may be inherently indiscriminate.

This is a scientific finding worthy of discussion at the highest levels of academia, politics and international affairs. While it may yet get some attention outside the borders of the United States, its “controversial” nature (its implications of the US military’s guilt in creating possibly the worst public health crisis in history) ensures that it will be ignored at all costs by the callous and corrupt US government and its subservient media establishment.

Ultimately, it may not be the case that either lead alone, or uranium alone, is the sole cause of the health crisis in Fallujah. It could be a combination of the two agents, or something different entirely. But this is an empirical question that demands further investigation.

Methodology and proper science are important, but we must remember that science is a means to an end, and not an end in and of itself. The welfare of the people of Fallujah should be our ends, and our goal should be to help them.

Those who choose misguided political allegiance over the pursuit of truth, and those who use methodological flaws to dismiss real-world suffering, have already lost their humanity.

What we need to do to help the people of Falluja is clear. More studies need to be done to figure out what is harming those poor children, and then steps need to be taken to ensure that this never happens again.

But first, we must find a way to overcome the stifling silence of governments.

Note: You may read details on Fallujah on




March 2023

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