Remember Falluja. .. and the mothers who cannot forget
FALLUJA CHILDREN who may have been fortunate enough to survive their city's ordeal. Others, as yet unborn, are still suffering.
BADLY hit by bombing in the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraqi industrial city of Falluja, once known as "the city of mosques", has a history going back to ancient Babylon, and was the site of the old Jewish academy of Pumbedita.
When the American-led invasion of Iraq took place, Falluja was quiet at first, perhaps hoping to avoid suffering yet more war damage.
It's new mayor and local leaders tried to co-opeate with the occupiers. But on the evening of April 28, 2003, a crowd of 200 local people gathered outside a school that had been taken over by American forces for headquarters, to demand it be handed back so it could re-open for pupils. Soldiers of the 82nd US Airborne opened fire on the crowd, killing 17 civilians, and wounding more than 70. The following week a protest over this shooting was also fired upon..
Falluja and its surrounding area became insurgent country. On March 31, 2004 Iraqi insurgents ambushed a convoy containing personnel from Blackwater, the US private military contractor.Four Americans were killed and their charred bodies were hanged from the Euphrates bridge.
Vowing revenge, the US forces launched two operations to retake Falluja, first Operatioon Vigilant Resolve, and then Operation Phantom Fury in November 2004. Using among other things white phosphorus, they destroyed nearly two thirds of the city's homes, and killed large numbers of people, including children, before announcing that "calm" had been restored. Later, in 2007, they handed over to Iraqi government forces.
But this petition, brought to my attention by the Iraq Solidarity Campaign, says Falluja's suffering has not ended.
To: The United Nations
Young women in Fallujah in Iraq are terrified of having children because of the increasing number of babies born grotesquely deformed, with no heads, two heads, a single eye in their foreheads, scaly bodies or missing limbs. In addition, young children in Fallujah are now experiencing hideous cancers and leukaemias. These deformities are now well documented, for example in television documentaries on SKY UK on September 1 2009, and on SKY UK June 2008. Our direct contact with doctors in Fallujah report that:
In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital had 170 new born babies, 24% of whom were dead within the first seven days, a staggering 75% of the dead babies were classified as deformed.This can be compared with data from the month of August in 2002 where there were 530 new born babies of whom six were dead within the first seven days and only one birth defect was reported.
Doctors in Fallujah have specifically pointed out that not only are they witnessing unprecedented numbers of birth defects but premature births have also considerably increased after 2003. But what is more alarming is that doctors in Fallujah have said, "a significant number of babies that do survive begin to develop severe disabilities at a later stage".
As one of a number of doctors, scientists and those with deep concern for Iraq, Dr Chris Burns-Cox, a British hospital physician, wrote a letter to the Rt. Hon. Clare Short, M.P. asking about this situation. She wrote a letter to the Rt. Hon.Douglas Alexander, M.P. the Secretary of State of the Department for International Development (a post she had held before she resigned on a matter of principle in May 2003 ) asking for clarification of the position of deformed children in Fallujah.
She received a reply dated 3rd September 2009 (two days after the Sky TV broadcast of 1st September 2009 ) from a junior minister, deputy to The Secretary of State, Mr. Gareth Thomas MP, Duty Minister, Department for International Development. In his reply he denies that there are more than two or three deformed babies in Fallujah in a year and asserts that there is, therefore, no problem. This is at wild variance with reports coming out of Fallujah. One grave digger of a single cemetery is burying four to five babies a day, most of which he says are deformed.
Clare Short passed us a copy of this letter. It bears a remarkable similarity to three other written answers we have received over a four year period, in regard to child health and the use of depleted uranium. All these letters are based on lies and an aim to confuse the recipients. In her autobiography "Honorable Deception?" Clare Short says "The first instinct of Number 10 (Downing Street) is to lie."We regard the mendacity of Mr. Thomas's letter, and of the other letters we have received, as extremely serious. These letters do not deal with minor matters of corruption, or taxes, but do deal with the use of armed forces and deadly weapons.
The use of certain weapons has tremendous repercussions. Iraq will become a country, if it has not already done so, where it is advisable not to have children. Other countries will watch what has happened in Iraq, and imitate the Coalition Allies' total disregard of the United Nations Charter, The Geneva, and Hague Conventions, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Some countries, such as Afghanistan, will also come to experience the very long term damage to the environment, measured in billions of years, and the devastating effect of depleted uranium and white phosphorous munitions.
If, as we say in our letter to the Duty Minister of the Department for International Development, the UK Government clearly does not know the effects of the weapons it uses, nor, as a matter of policy, does "it do body counts", how can the UK Government judge whether it is conducting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan according to International Law, especially in terms of "proportionality" and long term damage to the natural environment? How can the UK know about the illegality of the weapons systems it sells on the international market, such as the "Storm Shadow" missile, if the very Department of the Government that is supposed to assess the deaths and medical needs of children and adults in Iraq is not telling the truth.
We request from the United Nations General Assembly the following:
1. To acknowledge that there is a serious problem regarding the unprecedented number of birth defects and cancer cases in Iraq specifically in Fallujah, Basra, Baghdad and Al - Najaf.
2. To set up an independent committee to conduct a full investigation into the problem of the increased number of birth defects and cancers in Iraq.
3. To implement the cleaning up of toxic materials used by the occupying forces including Depleted Uranium, and White Phosphorus.
4. To prevent children and adults entering contaminated areas to minimize exposure to these hazards.
5. To investigate whether war crimes, or crimes against humanity, have been committed, and thereby uphold the United Nations Charter, The Geneva and Hague Conventions, and The Rome Statute of The International Criminal Court.