Wednesday, November 23, 2005

White Phosphorus, Take 4

Back to incendiary chemicals. Jeff Marley, who blogs "World Opinion Roundup" for the Washington Post, picks up on the now suppressed, by Blair, Daily Mirror report of a Bushbucker threat to bomb al-Jazeera headquarters in Qatar --who said the U.S. hasn't been targeting journalists in Iraq--and a more comprehensive citation for the Defense Intelligence Agency communique from April 1991 on white phosphorus. I went looking on Gulflink, a DOD site maintained by the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, and found among the declassified documents posted there, this investigation into whether Saddam and his troops used "chemical weapons to suppress the Shiia rebellion in southern Iraq after the Gulf War [March to April 1991] and if US forces were exposed to these agents as a result of any such use." The document cited by Marley and others, including me in "Take 3," deals with chemical weapons use against Kurds to the north.

The investigation itself--A Case Narrative Close-Out Report, submitted May 10, 2000 by the special assistant--was called inclusive, although elsewhere the report says that both the CIA and DIA independently ruled out Iraqi use of chemical weapons against its own people following Gulf War I--got that Cheney/Bush? Of interest here are several statements in Part II. Investigation, A. Scope: "What constitutes a chemical weapon is outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention and includes toxic chemicals and their precursors (defined in accompanying schedules), munitions and devices specifically designed to deliver those chemicals, and equipment specifically designed for use directly in connection with the employment of such munitions. The toxic chemicals include nerve agents, such as sarin, soman, and VX; blister agents like mustards and lewisite; and other less well known agents. However, the difference between these chemical warfare agents and other substances not classified as chemical warfare agents (e.g., white phosphorous and napalm) is largely technical and legalistic [italics added]."

Part of the reason for that, we are told, is that it is often difficult to tell what caused a wound. Thus, "Blisters result from exposure to blister chemical warfare agents as well as contact with acids and incendiaries such as napalm and white phosphorus."

The mainstream American media have been spending an inordinate amount of time trying to protect their Bushy partners in disinformation and wondering whether they are becoming obsolete. Certain editors have attacked blogs even while their reporters continue to present nothing but the Bushy line. They need to cover stories like the threat against al-Jazeera, the targeting of journalists, and the use of white phosphorus as a lethal weapon--that they don't seems partly to do with journalistic jingoism, the belief that foreign journalists can't possibly be better than American reporters--guess again. Like many bloggers, I do this in free time I don't have, with virtually no financial resources. Yet, for now, these important stories are being best covered by bloggers with help from a few large media outlets, like, in this case, the Washington Post. If the mainstream media falters, the way GM has, it will be because it has become enamored of its own voice pontificating and forgotten how to find and present the facts.

1 comment:

faculty for workplace justice said...

hallelujah and amen. say like it is, mark!