Israel indiscriminately used air-burst white phosphorus artillery shells in Gaza (Israel accused of indiscriminate phosphorus use in Gaza - Human Rights Watch 25 May 2009)
In the early hours of April 7 news agencies around the world broke the news of an alleged chemical weapons attack on the city of Duma in civil-war-torn Syria. The last city controlled by western-backed rebels in Syria.
According to reports, the attack left around 70 –including women and children- dead and many hundreds hospitalised.
The ‘White Helmets’ -a group of first responders active in the conflict zone- claimed they were able to document 42 fatalities but were impeded from searching further because of strong chemical odour.
The US, Britain and France, were quick to lay the blame for the attack on the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian backers, based on unverified videos provided by the White Helmet group.
The Syrian regime and the Russia which backed the Syrian President in his struggle to crush the rebels, denied involvement in the use of chemical weapons. The Russian military went even further charging the first responders with manufacturing evidence.
As tensions heated up US President Trump tweeted a warning to Syria and Russia that ‘smart missiles’ would soon be coming. On early Saturday the US, Britain and France commenced a missile strike on what they termed specific Syrian chemical weapons manufacturing targets.
The Syrians shot down a number of the missiles, so how successful or whether the strikes achieved the desired results is still unknown. Yet the attackers said the strike was a one-off warning to Syria that the international community would not tolerate using chemical weapons on civilian populations.
Speaking in the immediate aftermath of ordering a missile strike on Syria US president Trump claimed mission accomplished and said the attack was a response to a dastardly attacked on innocent fathers, mothers and children.
British Premier Theresa May said the attack was not aimed at regime change…
Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu who has himself unleashed chemical attacks on unarmed Palestinian men women and children in Gaza condemned the attack on Douma saying: “We saw the Syrian children being slaughtered with chemical weapons. Our hearts were torn from the horror,”...
All this without any independent verification of the pictures or videos were circulated globally.
As Sri Lankans who went through a three-decade-long war against the LTTE, we have become familiar with unverified pictures, videos of alleged killings and have become sceptical of these unverified documents.
"Despite the prostrations against the most recent use of chemical weapons on civilian populations, history is replete with numerous instances of the accusers (the UK, US and France) themselves having repeatedly used chemical weapons on civilian populations"
We have doubts of these claims. But what surprises us most is that the countries who are today condemning the use of chemical weapons have themselves used these self-same chemical weapons as well as bacteriological agents on civilian targets in the not too distant past.
The US and its western allies accuse the Syrian government of breaking the international agreement reached at the end of World War I. The agreement prohibits the use of chemical weapons in any sort of military conflict.
Whilst the use of chemicals in warfare is despicable and amounts to war crimes, the reaction of the US and its Western allies leads one to believe that chemical weapons have not been used in wars since the end of World War I, until the attacks unleashed by the Assad regime in August 21, 2013 and again on April 7 this year.
Sadly, this has not been the case. Despite the prostrations against the most recent use of chemical weapons on civilian populations, history is replete with numerous instances of the accusers (the UK, US and France) themselves having repeatedly used chemical weapons on civilian populations and additionally actively helping client states using chemical weapons on civilian populations, and regimes, deemed by the western powers as being opposed to the interests.
Use of Chemical weapons as weapons of war
During the Korean War, 1950-53, North Korea and China accused the US of using the germ warfare agents which the US had developed in 1947.
The 1952 report of the International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China -(set up by the Helsinki-based World Peace Council) - concluded “the American Air Force had employed in Korea, methods very similar to, if not exactly identical with, those employed to spread plague by the Japanese during the Second World War.
Experts from Sweden, France, Italy, Brazil and Russia, as well as Dr. Joseph Needham, a respected British authority on Chinese science, compiled the Commission’s report.
During the Vietnam war (1961-1971), the United States sprayed over 73 million litres of chemical agents in Vietnam.
Using a variety of defoliants, the U.S. military intentionally targeted cultivated land, destroying crops and disrupting rice production.
The US sprayed over 73 million litres of chemical agents on the country.
Some 45 million litres of ‘Agent Orange’, which contains the toxic compound dioxin was unleashed on Vietnamese civilians.
Again during the Vietnam War the US dropped more than 400,000 tons of Napalm on mainly civilian areas in Vietnam throughout the war.
The Vietnam Red Cross recorded over 4.8 million deaths and 400,000 birth defects caused by the use of Agent Orange.
Areas of Laos and Cambodia near the Vietnam border were also sprayed with chemical agents.
Unverified pictures of victims of the alleged chemical weapons attacks in Duma bear witness to the chemical attack (Daily Mail)
In the U. S. A...
In 2001, the San Francisco Chronicle reported “at least three times in the past, residents of San Francisco and other American cities had been inadvertent victims of efforts designed to help shield citizens against attacks.” In 1950, the army secretly sprayed supposedly harmless bacteria over the entire city and its suburbs using a Navy ship.
Between 1956 and 1961 the CIA sent agents to examine the effects of mind-altering drugs such as LSD and synthetic mescaline on unsuspecting people in San Francisco, Mill Valley and other cities across the country in a secret behaviour modification programme named MK-ULTRA. Between 1944 to 1974, both the Defence Department and the Atomic Energy Commission conducted in San Francisco and around the country hundreds of secret experiments, which exposed unsuspecting patients to dangerous doses of radiation, including injections of plutonium.
Again, in 1951, racist experiments were carried out by U.S. army researchers by deliberately exposing African-Americans to the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus so as to discern whether they are more susceptible to the infections caused by such organisms than people of white European descent.
ISRAEL / PALESTINE
In January 2009, Human Rights Watch reported Israel’s military fired white phosphorus over crowded areas of Gaza repeatedly and indiscriminately in its three-week war.
The 71-page report charged the Israeli military of using white phosphorus in Gaza. The report charged Israel with firing 155mm artillery shells, each containing 116 wedges soaked with the chemical.
The Guardian reported finding one such shell still smoking several days after it was fired, outside the home of the Abu Halima family in Atatra. One white phosphorous shell hit the house directly, killing a father and four of his children. His wife was severely burnt. Human Rights Watch also reported the same case.
According to HRW, on January 15 at around 7.30 am, Israeli artillery shells began falling near the main compound of the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza City, where 700 civilians were sheltering.
UN staff made repeated telephone calls to the Israeli military asking them to stop. But, at about 10.00 am, six shells hit the compound, three of which contained white phosphorus. The warehouse was hit, causing at least $10m of damage, and it continued to burn for 12 days.
In another case, on 17 January, an artillery shell that had already discharged its white phosphorus hit a UN school in Beit Lahiya, where 1,600 civilians were sheltering!
Iran – Iraq (1980–1988)
‘Foreign Policy’ (of 25/8/2013) charged the US with responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in Iraq. The chemical gas attack on Halabja by Saddam in 1988, which killed at least 5000 Kurdish civilians, was carried out by the Saddam regime in the dying months of the Iran-Iraq war, during which both the UK’s Thatcher government and the Reagan White House were providing military support to the Saddam regime.
The US also encouraged Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons against Iran, which was the largest use of chemical weapons in history. In addition to the Kurds, at least 20,000 Iranians were killed by Saddam’s chemical weapons attacks with full US support and backing.
In 1988 during Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. US intelligence officials informed the Iraqi military about the location of the Iranian troops.
According to a 2002 article in the Star-Ledger, 20,000 Iranian combatants and combat medics were killed on the spot by nerve gas. As of 2002, 5,000 of the 80,000 survivors continue to seek regular medical treatment, while 1,000 are hospital inpatients.
Documents at the National Archives Archaeological Site (College Park, Maryland), s how the US supported Saddam Hussein’s regime in their use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war and the Iraqi–Kurdish conflict. UN fact-finding teams which investigated charges of chemical agents being used by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war confirmed Iraq had in fact used chemical weapons.
According to Iraqi documents, assistance in the development of chemical weapons was obtained from firms in many countries, including the United States, West Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and France. A report stated that Dutch, Australian, Italian, French and both West and East German companies were involved in the export of raw materials to Iraqi chemical weapons factories.
In its invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein, the US used White Phosphorous, Napalm and Depleted Uranium in contravention of all UN Conventions.
According to a study, Fallujah had a higher rate of cancer, leukaemia and infant mortality rate than Hiroshima and Nagasaki had, after the US nuclear bombed the two cities in 1945.
The study/report found young women in Fallujah were afraid of having children because an increasing number of babies were born with unimaginable grotesque birth defects. Moreover, young children in Fallujah are currently suffering from various cancers and leukaemia.
Contrary to the image the US and western political leadership attempts to present, from World War II to today, the US has the lead in the world in the development, production and deployment of chemical weapons on both military forces and civilian populations across the world.
Other Western nations
Other western powers have also used chemical weapons against ‘enemies’ at different times. During World War, Germany used chlorine gas at the second battle of Ypres. By the end of the war, all sides used mustard and chlorine gas, resulting in 85,000 people being killed and 1.2 million others injured by these toxic weapons. Between the end of World War I and 1939, there were other cases of chemical weapons usage. The UK supported the Russian forces’ use of poisonous gas against the Bolsheviks. Spain and France used mustard gas in Morocco. Britain used chemical weapons in Iraq “as an experiment” against Kurdish rebels seeking independence.
This is not a complete list of the use of chemical weapons by western countries and their ‘client’ states, but it exposes the lies and hypocrisy of the US and its western allies who pose as champions of democracy and human rights.
The recent missile attack carried out by the US, UK and France in Syria in fact, is a means of testing their ‘smart’ weapons on human guinea pigs. The fact that the Syrians were able to shoot down a large number of these ‘smart weapons’ now provides these powers chance to update the weapons.