Italian journalist who launched the controversy over the American use
of white phosphorus (WP) as a weapon of war in the Fallujah siege has
accused the Americans of hypocrisy.
who made the documentary for the RAI television channel aired two weeks
ago, said that a US intelligence assessment had characterised WP after
the first Gulf War as a "chemical weapon".
was published in a declassified report on the American Department of
Defence website. The file was headed: "Possible use of phosphorous
chemical weapons by Iraq in Kurdish areas along the
1991, an intelligence source reported, during the Iraqi crackdown on
the Kurdish uprising that followed the coalition victory against Iraq,
"Iraqi forces loyal to President Saddam may have possibly used white
phosphorous chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels and the populace in
Erbil and Dohuk. The WP chemical was delivered by artillery rounds and
intelligence report, the "reports of possible WP chemical weapon
attacks spread quickly among the populace in Erbil and Dohuk. As a
result, hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled from these two areas"
across the border into Turkey.
WP it was a chemical weapon," said Mr Ranucci, "but when the Americans
use it, it's a conventional weapon. The injuries it inflicts, however,
are just as terrible however you describe it."
documentary, eyewitnesses inside Fallujah during the bombardment in
November last year described the terror and agony suffered by victims
of the shells . Two former American soldiers who fought at Fallujah
told how they had been ordered to prepare for the use of the weapons.
The film and still photographs posted on the website of the channel
that made the film - rainews24.it - show the strange corpses found
after the city's destruction, many with their skin apparently melted or
caramelised so their features were indistinguishable. Mr Ranucci said
he had seen photographs of "more than 100" of what he described as
"anomalous corpses" in the city.
Department and the Pentagon have shifted their position repeatedly in
the aftermath of the film's showing. After initially saying that US
forces do not use white phosphorus as a weapon, the Pentagon now says
that WP had been used against insurgents in Fallujah. The use of WP
against civilians as a weapon is prohibited.
said that there remain questions about the official US position
regarding its observance of the 1980 conventional weapons treaty which
governs the use of WP as an incendiary weapon and sets out clear
guidelines about the protection of civilians.
director of the Arms Control Association in Washington, called for an
independent investigation of the use of WP during the Fallujah siege.
"If it was used as an incendiary weapon, clear restrictions apply," he
US and UK went into Iraq on the ground that Saddam Hussein had used
chemical weapons against his own people, we need to make sure that we
are not violating the laws that we have subscribed to," he added.
Mynott, a BBC correspondent in Nassiriya in April 2003, told Rai News
24 that he had seen WP apparently used as a weapon against insurgents
in that city.
2005 Independent News & Media (UK) Ltd.