Revisiting “Red Lines”

Saving Syria from Chemical Weapons by “Punishing” With Chemical Weapons?

Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions.

Frantz Fanon,  (1925-1961)

Against all odds, given the circumstances, the Syrian government has, of Friday (20th September) sent an “initial declaration” of the country’s (arguably defensive) weapons to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. “The organization is looking at ways to fast-track moves to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities.”

Putting aside the complexities of “fast-tracking” in a war zone, flooded with foreign and foreign-backed, armed and financed insurgents, Syria is now, as Iraq and Libya before it, vulnerable to the massive attack threatened by John Kerry, Acting Enforcer for the current Nobel Laureate War-Monger-in-Chief, should he so choose.

“The threat of force is real”, said Kerry, speaking aside his other Master, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Israel after a hasty shuttle there last Sunday (15th September.). “We cannot have hollow words”, said Kerry, a man without peer in vacuous idiocies.

The following day the UN produced the weapons inspectors report on the chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs on 21st August. Although the 38 page report did not apportion blame and in spite of all the evidence to the contrary (news, websites) the Syrian government was deemed culprit.

“It is the most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them in Halabja in 1988, and the worst use of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century,” said UN Secretary General Ki-moon. “The international community has a responsibility to ensure that chemical weapons never re-emerge as an instrument of warfare.”

Talking to reporters the same day, Kerry pitched in with:  “… the military option is still on the table.”

However, a document, of August 2013, seems to show, despite official denials by the Obama administration, that the Syrian insurgents are capable of producing such poison gas.

“The document reveals that sarin was confiscated earlier this year from members of the Jabhat al-Nusra Front, the most influential of the rebel (fundamentalists) fighting in Syria.”

It cites: “ … sarin from al-Qaida in Iraq had made its way into Turkey and that while some was seized, more could have been used in an attack last March on civilians and Syrian military troops in an artillery attack in the major Syrian city of Aleppo.

Moreover, Al Qaida in Iraq “had produced a ‘bench-scale’ form of sarin in Iraq and then transferred it to Turkey where opposition forces, including Islamist militant foreign fighters had access to it.

“There’s apparently a large stockpile of sarin in Baghdad …Insurgents are using it to threaten the government there in order to get prisoners released.”

But blind eye turning in US warmongering is the order of the occasion – for both eyes.

The US, of course, is a collective veteran when it comes to the use of chemical weapons. The destroyed generations of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, emerging in Libya, of Yugoslavia, with their cancers and unimaginable deformities are silent, ignored, decimated witnesses – and will be for generations to come. Now Syria is threatened with chemical weapons on a war crime defying scale.

On September 11th, as America mourned its dead twelve years on, a near un-noticed, interminably delayed World Health Organisation Report was released into Iraq’s birth defects, cancers, and health anomalies linked to the country’s twenty year bombardment by the US and UK with Depleted Uranium – chemical and radioactive weaponry. White phosphorous and other yet to be identified “exotic” people and child exterminators were also used.

The UN-US Incorporated have done a shameful job of burying the staggering, horrific resultant health epidemic along with the bodies.

As former UN Under Secretary General and UN Head in Iraq Hans von Sponeck has noted:

“The US government sought to prevent WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers.”

His colleague Denis Halliday also former UN Head in Iraq and Under Secretary General, commented:

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorically refused in defiance of its own mandate to share evidence uncovered in Iraq that US military use of Depleted Uranium and other weapons have not only killed many civilians, but continue to result in the birth of deformed babies.”

See “Damning Evidence” Becomes “No Clear Evidence”; Much-Delayed Report On Congenital Birth Defects In Iraq, a shaming, shocking, and comprehensive read of, indeed, a cover-up of enormity.

Ironically, if Kerry has his way to “punish” the Syrian government and entire civilian population for its non use of chemical weapons, this latest Mesapotamian blitzkrieg to free Syria of a government whose “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is “guaranteed” (lest we forget) by the same duplicitous UN, will be rained on by the same chemical and radioactive weapons which have brought genetic Armageddon to its previous nation victims.

Here are the assessments of Depleted Uranium, in the US Army’s very own words. This 1995 material is used, as when the scale of the decimation, the birth defects, the cancers, including amongst their own and allied troops, later Army assessments are more muted. The potential for being sued until the end of time no doubt weighs heavy at the Pentagon and the UK Ministry of Defence.

June 1995.  “Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium Use in the US Army”, (US) Army Environmental Policy Unit:

“If DU enters the body it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences. The risks associated with DU are both chemical and radiological.” (p 101)

“No available technology can significantly change the inherent chemical and radiological toxicity of DU. These are intrinsic properties of uranium.” (p. xxii)

“DU is a … radioactive waste and therefore must be deposited in a licensed repository.” (p. 154) Not deposited on a church, mosque, school, hospital, home.

“Inhaled insoluble oxides stay in the lungs longer and pose a potential cancer risk due to radiation. Ingested DU dust can also pose both a radioactive and a toxicity risk …” (“Army Not Adequately Prepared to Deal with Depleted Uranium Contamination”, US General Accounting Office Report, GAO/NSIAD-93-90, January 1993, p. 14.)

“Health hazards occur primarily due to internal exposures. Soluble forms present chemical hazards primarily to the kidneys; insoluble forms present hazards to the lungs from ionizing radiation … Short term effects of high doses can result in death, while long terms effects of low doses have been implicated in cancer.”  Science Applications International Report. Kinetic Energy Penetrators, Long Term Strategy Study, Danesi, July 1990 (SAIC, p. 4-12.)

A recent scientific study estimated that the earth has a life of 1.7 Billion Years. Depleted Uranium, of course, has a half-life of 4.5 Billion years.

Even in the litany of US crimes of enormity – Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Agent Orange, Napalm, White Phosphorous – this has a particular place in infamy; a crime in which, it seems, the UN is both complicit and covering up.

RIP those great founding words of 26th June 1945 in San Francisco:

We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and o promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours …

What a load of tosh.

Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger's Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.) Read other articles by Felicity.