Thursday, November 17, 2005

Falluja : Iraq Government to investigate WP claims

An Iraqi human rights team has gone to the city of Falluja to investigate the use of white phosphorus as a weapon by US forces ( The Investigation is being headed up by a member of the Iraqi cabinet)



Acting Human Rights Minister Narmin Uthman said her staff would examine the possible effects on civilians. The US has now admitted using white phosphorus as a weapon in Falluja last year, after earlier denying it.

The US initially said white phosphorus had been used only to illuminate enemy positions, but now admits it was used as a weapon. BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood says having to retract that denial is a public relations disaster for the US.

A Pentagon spokesman, Lt Col Barry Venable, confirmed to the BBC the US had used white phosphorus "as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants" - though not against civilians, he said. He said earlier denials had been based on "poor information".

San Diego journalist Darrin Mortenson, who was embedded with US marines during the assault on Falluja, told the BBC's Today radio programme he had seen white phosphorous used "as an incendiary weapon" against insurgents.

White phosphorus is highly flammable and ignites on contact with oxygen. If the substance hits a person's body, it will burn until deprived of oxygen.

Globalsecurity.org, a defence website, says: "Phosphorus burns on the skin are deep and painful... These weapons are particularly nasty because white phosphorus continues to burn until it disappears... it could burn right down to the bone."

Britain's Defence Secretary John Reid said UK forces had used white phosphorus in Iraq, but not as "anything other than a smokescreen to protect our troops when in action".

The UK Ministry of Defence said its use was permitted in battle in cases where there were no civilians near the target area. But Professor Paul Rogers, of the University of Bradford's department of peace studies, said white phosphorus could be considered a chemical weapon if deliberately aimed at civilians.

He told the BBC: "It is not counted under the chemical weapons convention in its normal use but, although it is a matter of legal niceties, it probably does fall into the category of chemical weapons if it is used for this kind of purpose directly against people."

source : BBC

All italics are my comments and not to be attributed to the owner of this article .

well it seems Narmin Uthman is a member of the Iraqi government and it is her job to look after the Human rights of the country , so the Iraqi's are taking this as a genuine and serious concern. This story is going keep growing of that you can be sure

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