Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Chemicals against Fallujians

ROME: A news programme on Italian satellite TV, RAI News 24, has substantiated the claim that the US military has been exploiting the dual use of white phosporus.
In its siege of Fallujah, the US military used the chemical on the civilian population, it said. The La Repubblica newspaper also carried a similar report on Tuesday.
Critics of the US noted that the US military is now accused of carrying out a massacre using unconventional weapons, a charge identifical to which Saddam Hussein stands accused.
An investigation by RAI News 24, the all-news Italian satellite television channel, has pulled the veil from one of the most carefully concealed mysteries from the front in the entire US military campaign in Iraq.
A US veteran of the Iraq war told RAI New correspondent Sigfrido Ranucci: "I received the order use caution because we had used white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military slag it is called 'Willy Pete.' Phosphorus burns the human body on contact--it even melts it right down to the bone."
RAI News 24's investigative story, Fallujah, The Concealed Massacre, was to be broadcast on RAI-3 on Tuesday.
A copy of the footage posted on the Internet in advance contained not only eye-witness accounts by US military personnel but those from Fallujah residents.
"A rain of fire descended on the city. People who were exposed to those multicolored substance began to burn. We found people with bizarre wounds-their bodies burned but their clothes intact," relates Mohamad Tareq Al Deraji, a biologist and Fallujah resident.
"I gathered accounts of the use of phosphorus and napalm from a few Fallujah refugees whom I met before being kidnapped," says Manifesto reporter Giuliana Sgrena, who was kidnapped in Fallujah last February, in a recorded interview." I wanted to get the story out, but my kidnappers would not permit it."
RAI News 24 also broadcast video and photographs taken in the Iraqi city during and after the November 2004 bombardment which prove that the US military, contrary to statements in a Dec. 9 communiqué from the US Department of State, did not use phosphorus to illuminate enemy positions (which would have been legitimate) but instend dropped white phosphorus indiscriminately and in massive quantities on the city's neighbourhoods.
In the investigative story, produced by Maurizio Torrealta, dramatic footage is shown revealing the effects of the bombardment on civilians, women and children, some of whom were surprised in their sleep.
The investigation will also broadcast documentary proof of the use in Iraq of a new napalm formula called MK77. The use of the incendiary substance on civilians is forbidden by a 1980 UN treaty. The use of chemical weapons is forbidden by a treaty which the US signed in 1997