Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘White phosphorus

Saudi Kingdom using white phosphorus in Yemen

And US drones still very active in Yemen and in bombing humanitarian aid going to East Aleppo

Thomas Gibbons-Neff. Monday 19 September 2016

Saudi Arabia appears to be using US-supplied white phosphorous munitions in its war in Yemen, based on images and videos posted to social media, raising concerns among human rights groups that the highly incendiary material could be used against civilians.

Under American regulations, white phosphorous sold to other countries is to be used only for signaling to other troops and creating smoke screens. When the munition explodes, it releases white phosphorous that automatically ignites in the air and creates a thick white smoke. When used against soldiers or civilians, it can maim and kill by burning to the bone. (Why Saudi Kingdom need tons of that stuff? Too many Saudis lost in the desert?)

It is unclear exactly how the Saudis are using the munitions, but the government has already received widespread condemnation for its indiscriminate bombing in civilian areas since its campaign against rebel forces in Yemen began in 2015.

Andrew Bossone shared a link.
independent.co.uk/news/world/ame…

US officials confirmed that the American government has supplied the Saudis white phosphorous in the past but declined to say how much had been transferred or when. After reviewing a social media image taken from the battlefield that showed a white phosphorous mortar shell, a U.S. official said it appeared to be American in origin but could not trace it to a particular sale because some of the markings were obscured

.”The United States expects any recipient of US military assistance to use those items in accordance with international law and under the terms and conditions of any US transfer or sale,” said a State Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss politically sensitive issues.

The official said the department was looking into reports of Saudi forces’ improperly using US-supplied white phosphorous munitions. “If a country is determined to have used U.S.-provided weapons for unauthorised purposes, the US will take appropriate corrective action,” the official said.

The United States has grown increasingly wary of its material support to the Saudi military. In May, the Obama administration halted the sale of roughly 400 cluster bombs to the Saudis after human rights organizations documented the weapons’ use in civilian areas.

This week, lawmakers on Capitol Hill moved to delay a $1 billion arms deal that would replace some of Saudi Arabia’s US-supplied tanks that have been damaged in the conflict. (As if the administration has Not the habit of circumventing all these laws destined for the public)

Since coming to office in 2009, the Obama administration has facilitated more than $115 billion in 42 different arms sales to Saudi Arabia, more than any other US administration, according to a report in the Security Assistance Monitor. Batches of the equipment are likely to be delivered for years to come.

International humanitarian law does not ban the use of white phosphorous outright, but there is a strict requirement that it be used only in areas clearly separated from civilians. Even using it against enemy combatants has raised concerns, given that the munitions can cause particularly horrific injuries.

“The United States must not provide or sell white phosphorous munitions to Saudi Arabia or any other military that would use them in the Yemen conflict,” said Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International’s advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa. “As a major arms seller to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. risks being complicit in Saudi Arabia’s likely war crimes in Yemen.”

A spokesman from the Saudi Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment for this article. The Saudi government has repeatedly denied claims about unlawful bombings and civilian casualties, pointing to its military’s Western support as validation of its practices.

According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, more than 3,700 civilians have been killed and 2.8 million have been displaced during the now nearly two-year-old war.

“The United States is concerned by the high number of casualties resulting from this war,” the State Department official said. “We are prepared to work with the Saudis to deter and confront any external threat to their territorial integrity, and we stand by that assurance. However, that does not mean we refrain from expressing our concerns about the war in Yemen and how it has been waged.”

The Pentagon provides midair refueling for Saudi aircraft and limited intelligence resources to Saudi forces. In addition to short-term military assistance, the Pentagon and the State Department, as well as other Western countries, have facilitated the sale of billions of dollars worth of arms to the Kingdom, everything from hand grenades to attack helicopters.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Patrick Evans, said that “as a matter of policy,” the Pentagon office responsible for overseeing foreign military sales “does not disclose specific deliverables or the details” of the final transfer agreements.

The United States has used white phosphorous against fighters, including in 2004 in Fallujah, Iraq, and sporadically in Afghanistan over the course of the war there.

In 2009, Israel used the weapon in populated areas in the Gaza Strip. (And no one complained of these illegal usages)

Images on pro-Saudi Twitter and Instagram accounts show that Saudi forces are using several systems for firing white phosphorous munitions, including tank rounds, mortars, howitzers and rifle grenades.

Footage and images and social media posts showing the munition indicate that it is being used near the Saudi-Yemen border — in Najran province — and around the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

The most recent footage — posted Sept. 9 — shows a U.S.-developed M198 155mm Saudi howitzer with the telltale sea-foam green white phosphorous rounds nearby ready to be loaded and fired.

Many of the images posted to social media show white phosphorous rounds from a distance, leaving any writing or identifying features blurry or ill-defined. The shell’s color pattern is the most telling, as the greenish-hue interrupted by yellow bands and red writing is internationally recognized as indicating white phosphorous munitions.

The picture reviewed by the U.S. official was first posted in November 2015 on a Saudi Instagram account and shows the shell with the words “Martyr Jamil Hadi” written on it.

The only company with the rights to sell to the U.S. government the white phosphorous round pictured in the image is General Dynamics Ordnance Tactical Systems, according to Marine Corps Systems Command documents distributed in 2015. The shell’s design is owned by TDA-Armaments of France. Both TDA-Armaments and General Dynamics manufacture the munition, although it is unclear which country manufactured the round pictured.

When asked about the image, General Dynamics spokeswoman Laurie VonBrocklin said “it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment” and deferred further questions to the Pentagon and the State Department.

 

Israel Drops Cancer-inducing Bombs on Gazans

Chris Carlson of International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group  posted thisJuly 19, 2014

A Norwegian doctor working in Gaza has strongly criticized Israel for using cancer-inducing bombs against Palestinian civilians.

erikfosse.jpg

According to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, Dr. Erik Fosse recently stated to Press TV that the majority of patients hospitalized in Gaza are civilians injured in attacks on their homes, and that about 30% of these victims are children.

Dense Inert Metal Explosive, known as DIME, is an explosive device developed to minimize damage to things that are incidental to the intended target, known as “collateral damage“.

The bombs reportedly effect a relatively small but rather significantly damaging blast radius, and are believed by medical experts to have severe biological effects on those hit with the bomb’s micro-shrapnel.

DIME munitions were developed by the US Air Force, in 2006, and have since been tested repeatedly on the people of Gaza, who, according to the Electronic Intifada, have long served as involuntary lab rats for Israel’s weapons industry.

DIME bombs contain tungsten, a cancer-causing metal which helps to produce blasts which slice through flesh and bone, often completely destroying the lower limbs of people within the blast radius.

See related link: Israel DIME Weapon effect on Gaza-Article and Gallery
(Warning — graphic images.)

The doctor also says that some Palestinians in the besieged enclave have been wounded by a new type of weapon which even doctors with previous experience in war zones do not recognize.

Israel has used banned weapons in the past, including depleted-uranium and white phosphorus, which is nearly impossible to extinguish and leaves its victim hideously burned and scarred, should he or she even survive such an attack.

The ground assault continues in Gaza, today, with nearly 300 reported deaths and over 2,000 wounded in Gaza, to include elderly, disabled and children not even a year old — all victims of targets which include mostly civilian homes,hospitals and municipal facilities.

Related:Doctors Evacuate Patients After Israel Bombs Hospital

Who may be taken down Assad or Obama? The consequences of Syria Chemical weapon climate of anxieties…

Do you think a few of the major players, among Presidents, Prime Ministers, UN inspectors, a few head of intelligence services… will pay the price for this extended game of keeping the world community on its toes?

Is the premature US president’s handling of the Syria crisis and its bad timing of any effects on his ultimate downfall?

So far, Russia pulled the Joker card that satisfies all parties, except those who wants Syria destroyed, completely ruined, desolate for decades and divided.

The USA, Russia and China have reached an agreement on the dominion partition of this region.

Ridding the Middle East of all chemical and biological weapon factories and depots is a must. And this policy should apply to Israel, especially Israel that master the modern techniques for biological warfare.

Sahar Charara shared a link from Aljazeera English:

HIGHLY CLASSIFIED. FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (a letter of Obama to Syrian President Assad?)
Dear Mr Assad,

This letter is to inform you that some time in the next two weeks, you will be the subject of a focused, limited and narrow attack by US cruise missiles in response to your recent alleged use of chemical weapons on your own people without our permission.

Here are some helpful hints to help you get through this uncomfortable episode:
1- Send the wives and kids of senior government personnel to Beirut and Paris for a shopping holiday.
2- Remove any chemical weapons from the map I have conveniently appended to this letter of potential bombing locations.
3- Move in political prisoners to use as human shields and ensure maximum collateral damage and thus publicity value when we do bomb.
4- Loudly declare your willingness to attend a UN-sponsored peace conference “under fair conditions“, but don’t lay them out in any detail. Skype call Bibi (Israel PM) if you have any questions on how to do this. The Israelis are the world experts in this field.
5- Point out to anyone who will listen that, while there’s no proof that you were responsible for this attack (even though we both know you did it), the US knowingly provided Saddam Hussein with intelligence while he gassed Iranian soldiers during the Iran-Iraq War, and we’ve not even so much as offered an apology to Iran, never mind to Iraq for the hundreds of thousands of people we killed in a generation of sanctions, invasions and occupation.
6- Tell your broker in Beirut to buy stock in Raytheon before the attack is launched; the price is climbing quite nicely as we approach bomb date and there’s no reason you shouldn’t earn a little something for your trouble.

Hoping the events of the next few weeks aren’t too unpleasant,

Sincerely, Barack Obama

Mark LeVine posted:

Simply put, the entire process by which the president has tried to steer the US towards a bombing campaign reveals such a shocking display of political and diplomatic incompetence – one of the greatest in US history – that he couldn’t have done more to aid the Assad regime if he tried.

Unable even to conceive over 3 years of actually using the full weight of the UN for the purposes it was intended – to stop war – or to lay a proper groundwork for the use of force against Syria when it inevitably crossed the “red line” of large-scale chemical weapon use, the Obama administration, which clearly hasn’t wanted any part of military action in Syria, has allowed itself to get behind a ridiculous plan of action that is allowing the likes of Assad’s son and Russian President Putin to taunt him like a schoolyard bully when no teachers are in sight.

The mess extends in several directions.

The first is the lack of willingness of the Whitehouse to make amends for the chemical weapons-based lies it deployed a decade ago to justify the invasion of Iraq, let alone its own large-scale use of weapons such as White Phosphorus and depleted uranium, the direct support provided to Saddam Hussein for his use of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War – or the even more colossal impact of Washington’s use of Agent Orange and napalm in Vietnam.

Had Obama owned up for the American misdeeds of the past half century, the US might have a little credibility at the moment.

Instead, it’s as if he dusted off the script from 2002-03. Even if this time the script is true, it’s hard not to imagine Dick Cheney hiding somewhere in the Whitehouse attic pulling the strings.

Second, while the president talks about “international credibility” being on the line, his administration has done absolutely nothing to engage in serious reform of the UN – the legitimate embodiment of the international community – and particularly the Security Council, so that countries such as Russia or China could no longer veto action against murderers such as Assad.

The reason, of course, is that this would mean the UN could stop murderers and thieves such as Israelis Netanyahu and Peres, not to mention the US, Russia and China, from pursuing all the policies that routinely violate international law.

At the same time, Obama has done even less to support real democracy in the Arab world, instead strengthening the hands of dictators and despots the region over.

In this environment, there was really never any way the administration could offer the kind of help to the civil resistance in Syria that might have given them a fighting chance without moving to violence, an arena in which they could only be hopelessly outgunned in the current international environment.

Yet neither did it arm the secular opposition early on, when it could have made a difference and prevented the inevitable takeover of the resistance by amply funded extremist jihadis (of the Nusra Front).

As important, by allowing the UN to remain removed from the equation, Obama has given other great powers, in particular Russia, the ability to challenge the US directly, as Putin has indicated he would do, in response to any military action by the US.

If this wasn’t bad enough, not only does the president disregard international law by declaring his willingness to use force without a UN mandate, he also declares that he can use force without Congressional approval, but then goes and seeks it anyway.

These possibilities are all bad.

Either the US Congress becomes complicit in launching an attack that is a clear violation of international law, or the president winds up acting in complete isolation to the vast majority of the international community, the US political establishment, and the American people, who oppose the use of force by a wide margin.

What’s worse, in the hopes of appeasing critics at home and abroad, the president has promised to make the strikes narrowly focused and limited – that is, meaningless in practical terms.

If the president is looking only to degrade Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities, he’s given Assad so much time to prepare that no limited strike would accomplish that goal.

If he’s hoping, as his new ally Senator John McCain advocates, to use this opportunity to change the balance of power on the ground, a limited strike will be even more useless.

And if he strikes harder and longer than he said he would, he will look like a liar – and the Russians will no doubt come to the Syrians’ aid with deliveries of advanced weapons systems.

It’s worth noting that, during the 1967 war, it was the Soviet Union’s secret message to the US that it would become directly involved to protect its client regimes that led President Johnson to pull the Israelis back from conquering even more territory.

The US administration’s attempts to win the propaganda battle have been equally amateurish.

After beginning a unilateral move towards military action before it could be determined who was responsible for the attack, it did not release the evidence it says it has until after its main ally, Britain, had already seen its parliament vote against authorizing violence – plunging the “special” US-UK relationship into one of its deepest crises in decades.

When the administration does release evidence, it doesn’t in fact release any evidence – only a narrative about what the “secret” evidence shows, and assumes anyone will accept it at face value.

In the meantime, it once again delegitimizes the work of weapons inspectors, while engaging in a campaign of coordinated leaks about the evidence – rather than merely presenting such in the open – that so confuses and annoys the press corps.

This risible, almost Keystone Cops-esque attempt to manage information and public discourse on Syria has only strengthened another dictator and mass murderer, Russian President Putin (anyone remember the tens of thousands of deaths during the second Chechen War?), who can take the high road of calling for bringing everything to the UN or the G20 precisely because he knows he has the veto power to protect his allies, the Syrian regime.

If there was any silver lining to this absolute foreign policy disaster, it’s that the people of the United States and their British counterparts have apparently decided they will no longer back the use of force without a full and open debate. (This is a major victory to world peace: Seeking the debates in parliaments before any preemptive war)

But what good is this if the US government believes it can ignore its own citizens?

Key members of the Congressional establishment will back the government, despite widespread public opposition, on the claim that “American credibility” is at stake.

Perhaps the worst part of this whole diplomatic and political fiasco is that the loss of credibility and focus has allowed the one claim Obama has made that remains valid and of utmost importance – that normalising the use of chemical weapons would be an utter disaster for the world community and would wind up seeing it used with increasing frequency by governments, armed groups and terrorists – is left in a shambles.

If there’s one thing that’s certain, we’ll all be the worse off for ignoring chemical weapons use.

It’s hard to see how Obama’s attempt to intervene in the Syrian civil war can produce any kind of successful outcome from either the American or Syrian civilian perspective, if Assad is left still standing with nothing worse than a bloody nose.

And if events play out as it seems they will – a “narrow and limited strike” that rallies people around Assad and shifts focus away from his murderous campaign against his own people – Obama will have succeeded in making the situation even worse for the Syrians on whose behalf he is supposedly striking.

Truly, Syria could wind up being one of the worst foreign policy disasters in US history, destroying whatever shred of diplomatic credibility the Obama administration had left.

It’s almost enough to make one nostalgic for the days of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld…

Mark LeVine is professor of Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine and distinguished visiting professor at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden and the author of the forthcoming book about the revolutions in the Arab world,  The Five Year Old Who Toppled a Pharaoh. 

His book,  Heavy Metal Islam,  which focused on ‘rock and resistance and the struggle for soul’ in the evolving music scene of the Middle East and North Africa, was published in 2008.

Follow him on Twitter:  @culturejamming

Note: The 5 principles of propaganda before launching a preemptive war:

1. Never mention any economic interests

2. Completely Forget history and geography: Your citizens should remain in a total blank on where your targeted enemy is located, and whether it had any long history of resistance to invaders and occupiers…

3. Demonize the opponent (club of evils). Just focus on the bad history of the enemy related to violent crimes against humanity…

4. Vehemently claim to defend the victims, the same ones that your bombs and missile will re-kill first in collateral damages”…

5. Monopolize the debate and prevent the opposing opinions

Note 2:

Joumana Hadeed, a Syrian woman, Destroys McCain at Townhall Meeting
Length: 3:17
Note 3: Hitler was asked “Who do you despise most?”
Reply: “The ones who aided me in the occupation of their countries”

Toxic wastes poured on Falluja (Iraq) in 2004: Babies still paying the price

Nadim al-Hadidi,  hospital spokesman , reported to Inter Press Service (IPS): “In 2004 the Americans tested all kinds of chemicals and explosive devices on us: thermobaric weapons, white phosphorous, depleted uranium… we have all been laboratory mice for them…”

Karlos Zurutuza of IPS reported: “The increases in cancer, infant mortality and perturbations in birth sex ratio in Fallujah are significantly greater than those recorded for survivors of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945″

The study, released by the Switzerland-based International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, shows that in the years following Operation Phantom Fury there has been a 4-fold increase in all cancer, including a 12-fold increases in childhood cancer in those aged 0-14.

According to hospital spokesman Nadim al-Hadidi: “Fallujah hospital cannot offer any statistics on children born with birth defects because there are just too many. We recorded 672 cases in January but we know there were many more.”

Hadidi projects pictures on to a wall at his office: children born with no brain, no eyes, or with the intestines out of their body.

Noam Chomsky considers the findings “immensely more embarrassing than the WikiLeaks leaks on Afghanistan.”

On March 31, 2004, images of the dismembered bodies of Blackwater mercenaries hanging from a bridge were broadcast around the world. After al-Qaeda claimed responsibility, Fallujah saw the heaviest U.S. urban combat since the Battle of Huế City in Vietnam in 1968.

The local population paid the price in the form of random house-to- house checks and intense night bombings accompanied by white phosphorus and depleted uranium (DU).

White phosphorus is an incendiary weapon that can cause injuries and even death by burning deep into tissue if contacting skin; irritating eyes, the nasal cavity, and respiratory tract if inhaled; and liver, heart or kidney damage if ingested.

Depleted uranium is said to significantly increase the penetration capacity of shells, but it is also a radioactive element with a half-life of 4.5 billion years and has been called the “silent murderer that never stops killing,” according to IPS.

From IPS:

Samira Alaani, chief doctor at Fallujah hospital, took part in a study in close collaboration with the World Health Organization. Several tests conducted in London point to unusually large amounts of uranium and mercury in the hair root of those affected. That could be the evidence linking the use of prohibited weapons to the extent of congenital problems in Fallujah

Birth sex ratio is a well-known indicator of genetic damage because girls have a redundant X-chromosome and thus can afford to lose one through genetic damage whereas boys do not.

Birth sex ratio in normal populations is about 1,050 boys born per 1,000 girls, but the sex ratio for the group born in 2005 was 860 (which is about the same as the children of Hiroshima survivors).

Dr. Chris Busby, who is visiting Professor in the University of Ulster and Scientific Director of Green Audit, said: “It was an extraordinary and alarming result, and that some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened to produce effects like this.”

This month the WHO will collaborate with the Iraqi Health Ministry to launch the first ever study on congenital malformations in Baghdad, Anbar, Thi Qar, Suleimania, Diala and Basra. ” End of report

I recall one of my close relative, a professor of math at the university, was attending mass in Vancouver with his family as Fallujah was under heavy fire from the US troops, and the priest was going on in nhis speech and never mentioned what was happening in Fallujah. My cousin screemed: “Fallujah. What’s happening in Fallujah. Why don’t you care of the victims in Fallujah…” and stormed out of the church

Note 1: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/where-is-this-fallujah-in-iraq-what-the-us-marines-were-doing-there/

Note 2http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-04-18/news/31359130_1_ips-fallujah-uranium#ixzz1t2Z39WJH

Note 3: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-04-18/news/31359130_1_ips-fallujah-uranium#ixzz1t2ZRsuQk


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