.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

The Father: Truth Teller, The Mother: Aya granny, Daughter 1: Najma, Daughter 2: HNK.

Monday, October 17, 2005

NO PROOF SADDAM GASSED THE KURDS!

Memo to Jess Helms from InfoTimes. Note excerpt from US Army War College report that no evidence exists to support US claims that Iraq used gas on the Kurds.

I continue to make inquiry into the situation in Iraq, as it is likely to brew up into another crisis one of these days when the US Army War College has no choice but to conclude that Iraq is not hiding any weapons of mass destruction -- or if they are, they are so well hidden that nobody is going to find them. As you know, I'm sure, the warhawks in the United States will continue to insist that the embargo remain in place no matter what, and there will be assertions from around the world that we have not been acting in good faith. As you also know, I believe there are serious questions regarding our behavior toward Iraq that go back further. You would agree, I think, that at the very least our State Department gave a "green light" to Saddam Hussein to go into Kuwait in August 1990. The more I read of the events of the period, the more I believe history will record that the Gulf War was unnecessary, perhaps even that Saddam Hussein was willing to retreat back to his borders, but our government decided we preferred the war to the status quo ante.

In my previous correspondence with you on this matter, I had been in a quandary about the state of our relations with Baghdad during that critical period. In the months immediately preceding the "green light" given by our Ambassador, April Glaspie, a number of your Senate colleagues including Bob Dole had traveled to Baghdad, met with Saddam, and found him to be a head of state worthy of support. Even Sen. Howard Metzenbaum [D-OH], a Jewish liberal and staunch supporter of Israel, gave him a seal of approval. What disturbs me even now, Jesse, is that these meetings occurred after the Senate Foreign Relations committee had accused Iraq of using poison gas against its own people, i.e., the Kurds. Like all other Americans, in recent years I had assumed that what I read in the papers was true about Iraq gassing its own people. Once the war drums again began beating last November, I decided to read up on the history, and found Iraq denied having used gas against its own people. Furthermore, I heard that a Pentagon investigation at the time had also turned up no hard evidence of Saddam gassing his own people.

This is serious stuff, because the US Army War College tells us that 1.4 million Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the sanctions, which is 3,000 times more than the number of Kurds who supposedly died of gassing at the hands of Saddam. Many of my old Cold Warrior friends practically DEMAND that we not lift the sanctions because if Saddam would gas his own people, he would gas anyone. Now I have come across the 1990 Pentagon report, published just prior to the invasion of Kuwait. Its authors are Stephen C. Pelletiere, Douglas V. Johnson II and Leif R. Rosenberger, of the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. War College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The report is 93 pages, but I append here only the passages having to do with the aforementioned issue:

Iraqi Power and U.S. Security in the Middle East
Excerpt, Chapter 5
U.S. SECURITY AND IRAQI POWER

Introduction. Throughout the war the United States practiced a fairly benign policy toward Iraq. Although initially disapproving of the invasion, Washington came slowly over to the side of Baghdad. Both wanted to restore the status quo ante to the Gulf and to reestablish the relative harmony that prevailed there before Khomeini began threatening the regional balance of power. Khomeini's revolutionary appeal was anathema to both Baghdad and Washington; hence they wanted to get rid of him. United by a common interest, Iraq and the United States restored diplomatic relations in 1984, and the United States began to actively assist Iraq in ending the fighting. It mounted Operation Staunch, an attempt to stem the flow of arms to Iran. It also increased its purchases of Iraqi oil while cutting back on Iranian oil purchases, and it urged its allies to do likewise. All this had the effect of repairing relations between the two countries, which had been at a very low ebb.

In September 1988, however -- a month after the war had ended -- the State Department abruptly, and in what many viewed as a sensational manner, condemned Iraq for allegedly using chemicals against its Kurdish population. The incident cannot be understood without some background of Iraq's relations with the Kurds. It is beyond the scope of this study to go deeply into this matter; suffice it to say that throughout the war Iraq effectively faced two enemies -- Iran and the elements of its own Kurdish minority. Significant numbers of the Kurds had launched a revolt against Baghdad and in the process teamed up with Tehran. As soon as the war with Iran ended, Iraq announced its determination to crush the Kurdish insurrection. It sent Republican Guards to the Kurdish area, and in the course of this operation - according to the U.S. State Department -- gas was used, with the result that numerous Kurdish civilians were killed. The Iraqi government denied that any such gassing had occurred. Nonetheless, Secretary of State Schultz stood by U.S. accusations, and the U.S. Congress, acting on its own, sought to impose economic sanctions on Baghdad as a violator of the Kurds' human rights.

Having looked at all of the evidence that was available to us, we find it impossible to confirm the State Department's claim that gas was used in this instance. To begin with there were never any victims produced. International relief organizations who examined the Kurds -- in Turkey where they had gone for asylum -- failed to discover any. Nor were there ever any found inside Iraq. The claim rests solely on testimony of the Kurds who had crossed the border into Turkey, where they were interviewed by staffers of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

We would have expected, in a matter as serious as this, that the Congress would have exercised some care. However, passage of the sanctions measure through the Congress was unusually swift -- at least in the Senate where a unanimous vote was secured within 24 hours. Further, the proposed sanctions were quite draconian (and will be discussed in detail below). Fortunately for the future of Iraqi-U.S. ties, the sanctions measure failed to pass on a bureaucratic technicality (it was attached as a rider to a bill that died before adjournment).

It appears that in seeking to punish Iraq, the Congress was influenced by another incident that occurred five months earlier in another Iraqi-Kurdish city, Halabjah. In March 1988, the Kurds at Halabjah were bombarded with chemical weapons, producing a great many deaths. Photographs of them Kurdish victims were widely disseminated in the international media. Iraq was blamed for the Halabjah attack, even though it was subsequently brought out that Iran too had used chemicals in this operation, and it seemed likely that it was the Iranian bombardment that had actually killed the Kurds.

Thus, in our view, the Congress acted more on the basis of emotionalism than factual information, and without sufficient thought for the adverse diplomatic effects of its action. As a result of the outcome of the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq is now the most powerful state in the Persian Gulf, an area in which we have vital interests. To maintain an uninterrupted flow of oil from the Gulf to the West, we need to develop good working relations with all of the Gulf states, and particularly with Iraq, the strongest.

48 Comments:

Blogger strykerdad said...

Are you really that simple? This was apparently written prior to the first Gulf War, by the way (infotimes?).Your efforts are so lame I don't have the heart to spend any effort to refute them. But they are so distasteful, I will anyway. Don't want to disappoint.

There are much more credible sources to support your position than this, but they all hinge on that War College report, don't they? You'd think such a hoax could be easily proven, wouldn't you? Have you read the Human Rights Watch accounts? They have collected evidence and accounts---If any come here and are persuaded that TT is anything more than an inept propagandist-- on this subject at least--, please take the time to look over some of what they report, then judge for yourselves which sources have the most credibility:


http://www.hrw.org/reports/1991/IRAQ913.htm

http://www.hrw.org/reports/1993/iraqanfal/

Many of those doing the investigations for them were physicians. TT, as a fellow physician, I'm sure they would appreciate all of the information you have available on the subject to show them how they have been duped by the CIA-JEWS-and Kurds/ or Iranians, which is it? Maybe you could testify on Uncle Saddam's behalf? Poor misunderstood man that he is.

10/17/2005 08:35:00 AM

 
Blogger strykerdad said...

http://www.kdp.pp.se/chemical.html

Great resource with many links to stories about Halabja.

I know who the kdp are, but they shouldn't prevent fair consideration of the facts presented or the use of the other resources to which this page is linked.

10/17/2005 09:30:00 AM

 
Blogger waldschrat said...

Truth teller, I have one question about this post. It speaks about American confusion and events that occurred years ago and may be argued for years to come. I have no way to judge whether it is correct and no hope that any analysis I could apply to it would be useful.

My one question, truth teller, is as follows: how is this post related to your family? Clearly you feel it is important enough to post it, and clearly it has some relation to America's relationship to Iraq over the past years, and clearly Saddam is supposed to be put on trial for crimes soon, but in the past it seems you have reserved your "family" blog for things more clearly related to your family, and I do not understand why now you post political stuff about Saddam instead.

The recent referendum election was a bit of a farce - as you said, it is not clear that many people had the opportuunity to actually read and study the constitution they were expected to vote on. The results were predicted in advance, and it was equally predictable that there would be irregularities, violence, suspicion, and dissatisfaction related to it. At best it seems that a constitution which is not perfect will perhaps be improved in future years and Iraqis have gained further experience in holding elections as an alternative to waging civil war.

You commented little on the referendim before it was held. Now you seem very concerned about the justice of accusations against Saddam, and you post these concerns in your family blog instead of your individual blog.

So, if Saddam is put on trial, is this more important to your family than the constitutional referendum? If it was me I would probably just lock him up and throw away the key for his crime of placing himself as an idol before the Iraqi people and forcing them to bend their knee and worship him, but I was never an Iraqi and he is not mine to judge. I think that Iraqis are more inclined to give him a fair trial and then kill him - there seems little doubt that he will be found guilty and a sentence of death will be pronounced, perhaps as much to put an end to a false god and to fear as to serve the cause of justice.

If the referendum had been to decide Saddam's fate, how would you have voted, truth teller? Guilty or innocent? Prison? Exile? Death? Restoration to the presidency? How would Iraq have voted?

10/18/2005 01:31:00 AM

 
Blogger waldschrat said...

Here's a link to a recent "USA Today" article about the upcoming Saddam trial.

Link

10/18/2005 02:08:00 AM

 
Blogger Truth teller said...

waldschrat

" how is this post related to your family?"

It is not related at all.

"Now you seem very concerned about the justice of accusations against Saddam"

It is not for Saddam it is for the Justice. The american take this evevnt of Halabja as one of many other causes to justify the war against Iraq. As this is found to be fake!! ther may be the same. Don't forget the WMD, and his relation to Al Qaeda.

"If the referendum had been to decide Saddam's fate, how would you have voted, truth teller? Guilty or innocent? Prison? Exile? Death? Restoration to the presidency?"

Guilty of course. The Iraq would do the same I guess.

10/18/2005 07:52:00 AM

 
Blogger strykerdad said...

More irritation: No direct link to 911, but much circumstantial evidence as well as direct evidence of Iraq's support of terror. Many links to many analysis of Saddams's relationship to 'evil doers'.

saddam terror

So far as WMD goes--we know he had them--we know virtually every nation thought he likely retained some amount of them--we know he reserved the capability of reconstituting them. That shouldn't even be deniable.

10/18/2005 08:29:00 AM

 
Blogger Leon Bedro said...

This is way we will never forgive Arabs. Thats why a new generation of Kurds will never forget what the Arab savages did to us in Halabja. Now here a so called "Arab family" is blaming the Iranian goverment in which fact it was the only goverment that provied support and medical care for the Kurds.
View this film:
http://www.beyan.net/halabja

I guess the author of this blogg has no knowglde of the Anfal ethnic cleasing campain by the Baath Arab racisist goverment.

There are tons of documents showing that the Baath goverment did in fact planed, bombed the Kurds.

10/18/2005 11:35:00 AM

 
Blogger Leon Bedro said...

Want to add that this blogg is a great inslut to the Kurds and to the victims of the Halabja genocide.

10/18/2005 11:52:00 AM

 
Blogger waldschrat said...

I guess many of the things people have said about the war are doubtful. No "WMD" bombs or poisons were ever found. The insurgent resistance seems to be stronger than was anticipated, although exactly what was anticipated and why is unclear. The stories about Saddam gassing people have been repeated so often that almost everybody believes them as absolute truth, but in Saddam's trial that is reportedly NOT the first crime he will be accused of, and perhaps it is harder to prove than most people believe.

I think perhaps people have seen the "WMD" that Saddam had and simply not recognized them. When Saddam was captured he reportedly had a suitcase full of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I think money was Saddam's weapon. Money buys other weapons and hires murderers. Maybe this is a simple minded analysis. Of course, money is not necessarily evil in itself. Even so, it seems that Saddam and others use it to do evil.

10/19/2005 03:04:00 AM

 
Blogger programmer craig said...

# No "WMD" bombs or poisons were ever found.

Not true, Waldschrat... thousands of tons of chemical weapons were DECLARED by saddam after the Gulf War, and destroyed.

Truthteller, it seems very ODD to me that you cite a report from the US Department of Defense as your evidence, in this or anything else! When did you become a fan of the US military, and why haven't you shared the good news with us?

In case your romance with American soldiers is short lived, I am providing two references that are, perhaps, more credible. (You may not know that the DoD is often influenced by politics!)

UN Report

Wikipedia

Beware, though, reading these things may give you the impression that Saddam was a rat bastard murdering son of a bitch war criminal, so if that's not what you want to hear, move on.

10/19/2005 04:25:00 AM

 
Blogger waldschrat said...

Well, there's a lot of coverage of Saddam's trial on the television in the US today.

Perhaps the following editorial opinion from the New York Times will be of interest:

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Saddam and Iraq on Trial
Published: October 19, 2005

The opportunity created by the trial of Saddam Hussein to introduce the rule of law and the idea of national reconciliation into Iraq has been largely squandered even before the courtroom proceedings begin. At almost every turn, ill-considered decisions by the United States and Iraq's dominant Shiite-religious and Kurdish-nationalist parties have put politics and score-settling first. The cost has been an indifference to legal scrupulousness, as well as a failure to distinguish between pursuing the specific crimes of a dictator that must be punished in a court and waging a collective vendetta by Kurdish and Shiite victims against the Sunni Arabs who were once their oppressors.

There is still time to shift this exercise in victor's justice to a more constructive course because the trial will adjourn for several weeks after today's televised opening. For that to happen, the Iraqi lawyers and judges will have to stand up to intense and continuing pressures from their political masters for a choreographed proceeding that seems timed to gain short-term advantages at the expense of national healing and an airing of recent Iraqi history.

When invading United States forces drove Mr. Hussein from power two and a half years ago, Americans naïvely expected rejoicing throughout Iraq and rapid efforts at democratic reconstruction. One main reason that did not happen, apart from the well-known mistakes by the American occupation authorities, was the arbitrary, violent and fragmented nature of the society left behind by the dictator, who had ruled through murder, fear and persecution.

One of the best ways to repair such a damaged society is a systematic judicial investigation of the old regime's crimes. That should be followed by a scrupulously fair trial of those found personally accountable. In the case of Iraq, where legal training and appointments had been bent for decades to the political whims of the dictatorship, that should have called for enlisting help from international legal experts and using relevant precedents in international criminal law. The Bush administration and its Iraqi allies strongly opposed that step because it would have excluded the death penalty.

Once the decision was made to rely on Iraqi lawyers and American advisers, they should have been well insulated from political pressures. Instead, the special tribunal organizing the trial has been subjected to constant manipulation and intimidation by Ahmad Chalabi, the ceaselessly conspiring émigré politician who has made anti-Baathist vendettas his latest political platform.

Finally, this prosecution would have been conducted differently if it were a serious attempt to uncover the murky lines of authority and responsibility within the Baathist regime and establish Mr. Hussein's clear personal responsibility for at least some of the roughly 300,000 murders committed in his name. It would have built up its case methodically, from the field operatives carrying out the killings to the officials who gave them their orders and on up the chain of command to Mr. Hussein himself.

Instead, today's trial will begin with what prosecutors and politicians decided was the easiest case to prove, a mass execution in a Shiite town that followed a failed 1982 assassination attempt against Mr. Hussein. These killings ought to be prosecuted. But if the aim is to uncover the broader criminal conspiracy in order to punish the truly guilty and absolve those guilty only by association, other trials should have come first.

What we have is a narrow sectarian government, still struggling to come up with a nationally inclusive constitution, that is conducting what looks like a show trial, borrowing noxious elements of Baathist law to speed the way toward an early and politically popular execution.
-----------------------------------------------------------------

10/19/2005 12:37:00 PM

 
Blogger strykerdad said...

Waldschrat--thought you might find this article interesting. It discusses with some historical references the difficulties involved when trying a head of state who will claim his actions were in defense of the nation, among other things.

I find the NYT propsal to be unrealistic. They would drag the thing on ad infinitum as with Milosovic. I can't imagine any, other than some Sunni Arabs who see in him their lost security, will really view his execution as anything less than justice. I don't think it is possible to reconcile all in Iraq.

Having a Kurdish Iraqi judge certainly doesn't help the Sunnis accept it, I'm sure. Maybe we should wait and see before we decide it is all a show trial. If it is reasonalby fair and open, having an Iraqi Kurd sitting as judge will be justice not usually visited upon those like Saddam, if ever.

click here

10/19/2005 05:42:00 PM

 
Blogger Jack Bennett said...

TT, I admit I don't understand either. I understand this particular post is against the gassing of Kurds (which we've all seen pictures of but if you don't believe it nothing I say will convince you) BUT I also know that both your daughters hate Saddam and have stated as much several times in their blog and you've also said you don't support him. So don't you think he should stand trial for his crimes against Iraqis?

Even if you don't believe in one thing its said he did, surely you know firsthand what a tyrant he (and his sons) were. Do you think the whole trial should be cancelled? I don't mean this to be insulting,I'm really curious what you think should be done with him.

10/19/2005 09:39:00 PM

 
Blogger Truth teller said...

waldschrat

I know those are not your own opinions, but I will address my replay to you, as most of the commenter did when I post some think that they did't like.
Sorry if my replay upsets you.

"by Kurdish and Shiite victims against the Sunni Arabs who were once their oppressors."

No Sir, Sunni Arabs never oppressed Kurds or Shiite. If Saddam or any other of his gang oppressed some group, they will carry the sin of that action not the Sunni Arabs. BTW most of Saddam's government were Sheeti at that time, why don't you say Sheeti oppressed the Kurds? It is what the US and its propaganda wants, a sectarian conflict.

"Americans naïvely expected rejoicing throughout Iraq and rapid efforts at democratic reconstruction."

come on, you still believe in that?

10/19/2005 11:04:00 PM

 
Blogger Truth teller said...

Jack bennett

"So don't you think he should stand trial for his crimes against Iraqis?"

You may misunderstand me Jack. I don't want to defend him. He definitly should stand trial for his crimes, but with justice. He shouldn't be blamed for crimes did by others. He have more than enough crimes to stand trials for.

"Do you think the whole trial should be cancelled?"

No at all. The Justice should be applied. The best place for that is the court. A fair and open trial, let every body know him as he really is.

"I'm really curious what you think should be done with him. "

This depend on the result of the trial, if it proved that he is quilty (as every body expected), then the court will decide what should be done with him.

10/19/2005 11:18:00 PM

 
Blogger programmer craig said...

So, reading between the lines here, your agenda is to try and discredit the US and Iran, not to defend Saddam?

Do you believe the gassing of the Kurds by Iran is justification for war on Iran, Truthteller? Just wondering, because, you know... the Iranians would probably kill you for making that claim, if they could...

10/19/2005 11:51:00 PM

 
Blogger Janice said...

For the US and their collaborators to try Saddam is hypocritcal because, well Guantanamo, Fallujah,the whole invasion, sanctions,etc etc by the US government which means that they cannot criticise when their own human rights record is so abysmal. Plus a lot of psychiatrically disabled people are in prisons in the US. They might have done something wrong but they do not have their faculties so its against human rights to have them in prison.

10/20/2005 02:48:00 AM

 
Blogger waldschrat said...

Truth teller -

My grandmother came to the USA from Germany as a young girl around 1891. Many years later she showed me where her home was there, in a small village in what is now Poland. Because of my ancestry I might be considered "German" by some people, perhaps even from the "ruling class" of Germany if one considers that one of my relatives was once Mayor of Breslau (now called Wroclaw). This would be silly, of course, because I was born in Detroit in 1944 and have never considered myself German.

Dividing people up by their religious beliefs, their country of origin (or the country of their ancestors), and by their "race" of physical appearance is prejudice pure and simple. To deny a person their rights based on such prejudices is unlawful in America, and dividing people and turning them against each other by categorizing them by race or language or nationality is a favorite trick of dictators and tyrants.

Surely the editors of the New York Times know this. Yet even they fall prey to the habit the press has developed of casually referring to people as "Sunni" and "Kurdish" and "Shiite" and letting people assume that these are well defined groups of people who all think alike and all share responsibility for tha actions of some member(s) of that so-called group.

It is not easy to avoid the errors of prejudice and oversimplification. Even so, it is needful. Thank you for pointing out the problems in that article.

10/20/2005 02:52:00 AM

 
Blogger Truth teller said...

leon bedro

Would you make a favour and read this article in open minde before you answer.
The article

Thank you for your time.

10/20/2005 04:05:00 AM

 
Blogger Jack Bennett said...

Thanks for your answers, TT. I agree with all of them. I think we all (well at least those on the outside of power) want Saddam to get a fair trial. Not because of him personally but as proof that everyone is treated equally, regardless of who they are.

10/20/2005 06:56:00 AM

 
Blogger strykerdad said...

Somebody in Iraq needs to go to Halabja and tell them how they have it all wrong--any volunteers?


Reuters--Oct 19, 2005 — By Cyrille Cartier

HALABJA, Iraq (Reuters) - Live TV brought Saddam Hussein back to Halabja on Wednesday as survivors in the Kurdish town where thousands died in a chemical attack in 1988 watched their former dictator go on trial.

Many would have preferred to watch him hang.

"As long as Saddam is alive, our suffering will never end," said Pakhshan Mohamed Hama Mared, who lost three children in the gas attack and her husband a year later in the Iran-Iraq war.

On March 16, 1988, an estimated 5,000 residents perished when Halabja was blanketed with poison gas. Kurds say Saddam's government ordered the attack to punish them for seeking greater autonomy in northern Iraq during its war with Iran.

Saddam went on trial on Wednesday in Baghdad charged with crimes against humanity stemming from the killing of more than 140 men in the village of Dujail, just north of Baghdad, after a failed attempt on his life in 1982.

The Dujail case, while perhaps easier for prosecutors to win, pales against allegations that Saddam ordered the chemical attack on Halabja near the Iranian border — which could bolster a charge of genocide.

Saddam has dismissed the accusations, saying Iranian forces, with whom Iraq was at war from 1980-88, were the targets.

But residents of Halabja remain convinced Saddam was behind the deaths in their town — and hope the government follows through on its plan to bring him to book. The judge in the case, Rizgar Mohammed Amin, is an ethnic Kurd from Sulaimaniya, about an hour's drive from Halabja.

"If I had the chance to catch Saddam, I'd cut him to pieces, but is that a solution?" asked local newspaper editor Kadr Ahmed, 34, who lost his father, mother, five sisters and two cousins in the chemical strike.

Halabja residents say many of the town's survivors suffer from cancer, asthma and other ailments they blame on the attack, which combined nerve and mustard gas.

Residents made sure they were ready to watch Saddam's trial begin, buying extra fuel to fill home generators to keep their televisions working in case electricity was cut.

10/20/2005 07:10:00 AM

 
Blogger programmer craig said...

Janice said:

#Plus a lot of psychiatrically disabled people are in prisons in the US.

Lol, "psychiatrically disturbed" people in prison = criminally insane, right? I think a suicide bomber qualifies as "criminally insane" don't you? Interesting comment to make on an Iraqi blog, Janice. Way to go.

10/20/2005 08:00:00 AM

 
Blogger programmer craig said...

TT, would you please read the following article with an open mind?

Jude Wanniski's Genocide Denial

It's a direct rebuttal of the "memo" you keep quoting from.

From Janice's blog:

# Tariq Aziz will not testify against Saddam Hussein.
# The detention of both is illegal as was the war.

Janice doesn't want Saddam on trial, Truth Teller, so she may not support your positions as much as it seems. She wants him to go free, I suppose. I wonder how long it would take Saddam to re-constitute 50,000 or so of his Republican Guards? Maybe that wouldn't be a bad idea, I'm sure they'd deal with the "insurgents" much more effectively than the US military is doing.

10/20/2005 08:12:00 AM

 
Blogger strykerdad said...

TT You may misunderstand me Jack. I don't want to defend him. He definitly should stand trial for his crimes, but with justice. He shouldn't be blamed for crimes did by others. He have more than enough crimes to stand trials for.

TT Saddam Never Gassed His Own People---NO PROOF SADDAM GASSED THE KURDS!
I know those were not your direct words, but is it unfair to assume they reflect your views? Especially since you continue to defend them as true?

These statements seem a little out of sync.

Others, like Jack and Waldschrat who are no doubt more reasonable than I, seem to find your explanation satisfactory, but I still don't get it. Which I don't expect will cause you any loss of sleep.

Standing trial for his crimes with justice is a great thing. What were your impressions of the first glimpse of the process yesterday?

If you are still open to the possibility of Saddam's culpability in the Halabja massacre and other mass killing of Kurds, did you read the extensive reports on HRW regarding the subject? Since you continue to cut and paste defenses, may I assume you have read the evidence and found them lacking? Was it the interviews of eyewitnesses and surviving victims or the laboratory and autopsy forensics that you dismiss? Do you find that the direct refutaion of the Pelteirre claims, (which is the common thread in all of these defenses), somehow inadequate? Do you have some knowledge of the effects of different chemical weapons on the human body that contradicts what their doctors reported as contributing to the evidence showing Peletierre to be misinformed and his conclusions false?

Either you want to argue the available evidence of Saddam's guilt in the issue outside of the process, or you want the process to determine his guilt to be fair and open--which is it? If you want to argue the available facts while the process determines the legalities, that is sometimes entertaining, also. We have television networks dedicated to that pastime in the US.

Personally, I think seeing a man like Saddam being treated as a common person and afforded some reasonable defense against some of the most indefensible acts to be an uplifting experience only to be matched by his eventual execution at the hands of a democratically elected government comprised of many of his former victims. THAT is justice the likes of which has never been seen before, especially in that part of the world.

10/20/2005 09:25:00 AM

 
Blogger Janice said...

Craig what I said is true. The US can hold no moral high ground on this issue.
Saddam's trial should be at the Hague so it can be fair.

Re the psychiatric patients in prison like Schizophrenia be careful what you say you could be like that sometime in the future.
Oh! You already are.

10/20/2005 09:41:00 AM

 
Blogger Truth teller said...

strykerdad

"Others, like Jack and Waldschrat who are no doubt more reasonable than I, seem to find your explanation satisfactory, but I still don't get it. Which I don't expect will cause you any loss of sleep."

Both Jack bennett and waldschrats are very important to me, and I respect their opinions very much.
I admired waldschrat for his wisdom and politeness in addition to his attitude toward the Iraqi's cancer patients, a thing I will never forget. I will not say he changed my idea about the American (because I knew lately he has a German ancestor), but he definitely proved to me that there is still a good people in the world.
He did a great work for one person, in few days he did a work that the free and democratic Ministry of health can't did in 2.5 years.

Regarding the less reasonable people, I am totally don't care about what they think of say.

10/20/2005 11:22:00 AM

 
Blogger programmer craig said...

Janice, how old are you? I "read" your blog, and I get the impression you are about 10 years old. I ask, because I don't want to insult a child. You are quite abusive (that is you on the other blogs, insulting everybody, right?) but maybe that can be overlooked if you are a little kid?

TT... interesting you don't think I'm reasonable, and don't care what I ahve to say, but I assume that's the case, since you've never replied to me. You obviously haven't read any of the various links that people have posted for you, in response to the link you posted for *us* - are you really so sure it's us who aren't open minded? I read your link. I even took the time to find a link to a journalist who wrote a well researched article in response. I did that after you ignored my personal opinions. Doesn't matter to you a bit, does it? You are here to tell us what *you* think, not to hear what *we* think.

Which of us is open-minded?

10/20/2005 12:13:00 PM

 
Blogger strykerdad said...

I admired waldschrat for his wisdom and politeness in addition to his attitude toward the Iraqi's cancer patients

We agree on something! I wish I could be as polite as Mr Bennet and Waldschrat, but I've found you tell much more about yourself and your true opinions when responding to those who are more beligerent in tone.

If you don't want to address the overwhelming evidence that refutes your two posts in defense of Saddam and the dismissal of the Kurds--yet proclaim my lack of open-mindedness or reasonableness ( I will readily admit to a decided lack of subtlety)--I'll let that speak for itself and not challenge it beyond what I have already done.

If you want to devote your blog to such things as 'resistance reports' and atrocity denial and leave that open to comment, there will be folks like me who will challenge you and some of us will be nicer than others while agreeing and disagreeing with what you say. For my part, I have tried to be appreciative and polite when the subject wasn't controversial or when you related your own personal experiences, but those that accuse US soldiers of heinous acts and defend those who are the most reponsible doesn't neccesarily call for a polite response, nor should any reasonable person expect to receive one at all times. Some folks aren't accustomed to having their view of the world challenged and may be surprised at how others see things, but it's a new world where people who formerly had no voice will get to have their say-including you, me, AND 'bad Iraqis'-get used to it.

10/20/2005 01:28:00 PM

 
Blogger Tilo Reber said...

Janice:

"For the US and their collaborators to try Saddam is hypocritcal "

For the Iraqis to try Saddam is hypocritical when he killed 300,000 of them. What kind of idiot are you?

So Janice, in your opinion should the crimanally insane have a license to kill. It was the left who insisted that the the insane not spend their lives in asylums. So they are out on the street. Now, if someone is on the street, should they not also be responsible for their actions. And if they cannot be responsible for their actions, why are they out on the street.

10/20/2005 09:05:00 PM

 
Blogger Tilo Reber said...

II. Halabja
What distinguished Halabja from previous, unrecorded incidents was not only the magnitude of the bombardment, but also that journalists were flown in by Tehran to photograph the carnage in the captured town. Because of those pictures, no one could deny that many had been killed by poison gas.

The facts as best they can be reconstructed are the following:

The war between Iran and Iraq was in its eighth year when, on March 16 and 17, 1988, Iraq dropped poison gas on the Kurdish city of Halabja, then held by Iranian troops and Iraqi Kurdish guerrillas allied with Tehran.13 According to the testimony of survivors, the chemical weapons employed in Halabja were dropped from airplanes well after the town had been captured by Iranians and Iraqi Kurdish rebel forces allied with them, and after fighting in the immediate area had ceased.14

The city's 70,000 or so inhabitants, many of whom were refugees from outlying areas, had already been pounded for two days from the surrounding mountain heights by conventional artillery, mortars and rockets. Many families had spent the night in their basements to escape the bombs. When the gas came, however, that was the worst place to be since the toxic chemicals, heavier than air, concentrated in low-lying areas. Between and 4,000 and 5,000 people, almost all civilians, died either at the time or shortly thereafter.

Hewa, a university student, survived by covering his face with a wet cloth and taking to the mountains around the city. He says that Iraqi warplanes followed, dropping more chemical bombs. "I got some gas in my eyes and had trouble breathing. You always wanted to vomit and when you did, the vomit was green.15 He says he passed "hundreds" of dead bodies. Those around him died in a number of ways, suggesting a combination of toxic chemicals. Some "just dropped dead." Others "died of laughing." Others took a few minutes to die, first "burning and blistering" or "coughing up green vomit." Journalists noted that the lips of many corpses had turned blue.

Hewa and his brother made it to the Iranian border at about 2 a.m. on March 17. Iranian helicopters took them and 48 others to a hospital at Bawa, an Iranian Kurdish town. Later, they were taken to Tehran for further examination. Hewa was in the hospital for four days. After leaving the hospital, he went back to Halabja to look for his family, without success. He was told that those who took refuge in the mountains were taken by government forces.


III. Subsequent Chemical Gas and Conventional Attacks
According to various press and personal accounts, Iraq continued to use toxic weapons sporadically through the summer, as the fighting between Kurdish guerrillas and Iraqi forces helped Iran keep the war at a stalemate.16

The day after Iraq signed a cease-fire with Iran on August 20, 1988, Iraq's Republican Guards turned on the Kurdish rebels with a vengeance. The heaviest chemical bombing came on August 25. Survivors painted a grisly picture of noiseless bombs producing yellowish smoke smelling of "bad garlic" or "rotten apples"; of people, plants and livestock dying instantly as dead birds and bees fell from the sky. The bodies of the dead burned and blistered and later turned blackish blue.17

Within a month, Iraqi bombs and bulldozers had destroyed 478 villages near the Turkish and Iranian borders, killing 3,496 people18 according to the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

The true count may never be known because of the chaos that followed. Tens of thousands of people, many of them women and children travelling on foot, fled for the borders, sometimes a journey of several days through the mountains. The Republican Guards were not far behind, harrying the refugees and continuing to use chemical weapons.

Nerve gas wafting over the Turkish border "devastated honey farms and killed wild flowers and trees," according to a fact-finding delegation of Turkish parliamentarians.19 Two teenagers who made it to Iran said they saw planes dropping poison gas that killed "more than 3,000" people huddled in the Bassay Gorge in Iraq, about 25 miles south of the Turkish border. The next day, "thousands of soldiers with gas masks and gloves" entered the gorge, dragged the bodies into piles and set them on fire.20

Soldiers cut off about 40,000 other Kurds trying to flee and transported them to detention camps. Reports on these people are scant, since few Western journalists or other foreign delegations have been allowed into the Kurdish region of Iraq, and then under close supervision. Kurdish political sources say that most were initially put in the Bahrka camp near Erbil, and that they and others were later moved to guarded townships around Kurdish cities such as Suleymanieh. The KDP has documented the names of 439 Kurdish men who were rounded up and have disappeared, like the 8,000 Barzanis in 1983.

http://www.hrw.org/reports/1991/IRAQ913.htm#6

10/20/2005 09:15:00 PM

 
Blogger Tilo Reber said...

In 1988, during the final six months of Iraq's eight-year long war with Iran, something terrible occurred in the mountains of northern Iraq. At least metaphorically, the regime of Saddam Hussein did "level the mounts," in the sense of razing thousands of villages, destroying the traditional rural economy and infrastructure of Iraqi Kurdistan and killing many tens of thousands of its inhabitants.

The outside world has long known of two isolated episodes of abuse of the Iraqi Kurds in 1988. In both instances, it was the proximity of the victims to international borders, and thus to the foreign media, that accounted for the news leaking out. In the first, the March 16 poison gas attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja, near the border with Iran, the Iranian authorities made it their business to show off the site to the international press within a few days of the bombing. Even so, the illusion has long persisted, fostered initially by reports from the U.S. intelligence community, which "tilted" strongly toward Baghdad during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, that both sides were responsible for the chemical attack on Halabja.7 This is false: The testimony of survivorsestablishes beyond reasonable doubt that Halabja was an Iraqi action, launched in response to the brief capture of the city by Iraqi peshmerga assisted by Iranian Revolutionary Guards (pasdaran). The thousands who died, virtually all of them civilians, were victims of the Iraqi regime.8

The second well-publicized event was the mass exodus of at least 65,000, and perhaps as many as 80,000, Iraqi Kurdish refugees from the northern mountains of the Badinan area into the Turkish borderlands, during the final days of August.9 The reason for their flight was later conclusively demonstrated to have been a further series of chemical weapons attacks by the Iraqi armed forces.10 Since World War One, the use of poison gas in warfare has been regarded as a special kind of abomination. Chemical weapons were banned by the Geneva Protocol of 1925, to which Iraq is a party, and many countries subsequently destroyedtheir stockpiles. While Iraq, and to a lesser extent Iran, had broken the battlefield taboo on many occasions since 1983, the Halabja and Badinan attacks marked a new level of inhumanity, as the first documented instances of a government employing chemical weapons against its own civilian population.

Yet Halabja and Badinan are merely two pieces in a much larger jigsaw puzzle, and they formed part of a concerted offensive against the Kurds that lasted from March 1987 until May 1989. In the judgment of Middle East Watch, the Iraqi campaign against the Kurds during that period amounted to genocide, under the terms of the Genocide Convention.11

Middle East Watch has reached this conclusion after over eighteen months of research. Our methodology has had three distinct and complementary elements. The first was an extensive series of field interviews with Kurdish survivors. Between April and September 1992, Middle East Watch researchers interviewed in depth some 300 people in Iraqi Kurdistan and spoke to hundreds of others about their experiences. Most had been directly affected by the violence; many had lost members of their immediate families. In March and April 1993, an additional fifty interviews sought to deal with the questions that remained unanswered.

The second dimension of Middle East Watch's Iraqi Kurdistan project was a series of forensic examinations of mass gravesites, under the supervision of the distinguished forensic anthropologist Dr. Clyde Collins Snow. Dr. Snow's first preliminary trip, to the Erbil and Suleimaniyeh areas, was in December 1991. On two subsequent visits, Dr. Snow's team exhumed a number of graves, in particular a site containing the bodies of twenty-six men and teenage boys executed by the Iraqi Army in lateAugust 1988 on the outskirts of the village of Koreme, in the Badinan area.12

The third, and most ambitious, strand in our research has been the study of captured Iraqi intelligence archives. During 1991 and early 1992, through a variety of sources, Middle East Watch had assembled a modest file of official Iraqi documents that described aspects of the regime's policy toward the Kurds. For the most part, these had been seized from Iraqi government buildings during the aborted Kurdish uprising of March 1991. Then, in May 1992, Middle East Watch secured permission to examine and analyse 847 boxes of Iraqi government materials that had been captured during the intifada by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the two main parties in Iraqi Kurdistan. Through an arrangement between the PUK and the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the documents became Congressional Records of the Committee.13 Analysis of the documents began on October 22, 1992, and in many cases it has been possible to match documentary evidence about specific villages or campaigns with testimonial material from the same locations.

As Raul Hilberg notes in his history of the Holocaust, "There are not many ways in which a modern society can, in short order, kill a large number of people living in its midst. This is an efficiency problem of the greatest dimensions..."14 The trove of captured documents demonstrates in astonishing breadth and detail how the Iraqi state bureaucracy organized the Kurdish genocide. Some of these documents were seized during the uprising by the citizens of the Kurdish city of Suleimaniyeh and later stuffed haphazardly into stout plastic flour sacks. Others, piled first into tea boxes and then wrapped in sacks stamped"PUK Shaqlawa," were taken from the offices of Iraq's General Security Directorate (Mudiriyat al-Amn al-Ameh), commonly known as Amn, in Erbil and the northern resort town of Shaqlawa.15 The contents of these boxes are often charred as a result of the March 1991 fighting, in which many government buildings were torched. Some are wrinkled, partly shredded and almost illegible after prolonged exposure to moisture. The documents are crammed into bulging ring-back letter files or bound together loosely with staples, string, laces or pins. Hand-written ledgers are covered with flowered wallpaper, kept clean with sheets of transparent plastic. Sometimes their Arabic titles are lettered in ornate psychedelic script with a variety of colored felt-tip pens, by bored or whimsical clerks with the right security clearance. One police binder is neatly bound in Christmas wrapping paper from Great Britain that shows a red-breasted robin singing cheerfully among sprigs of holly.

Between them, the documents show in compelling detail how the Iraqi security bureaucracy tackled the "efficiency problem" of razing thousands of Kurdish villages from the map and murdering tens of thousands of their inhabitants. There are smoking guns here, in the form of signed government decrees ordering summary mass execution. Yet equally telling in their own way are the thousands upon thousands of pages of field intelligence notes, scribbled annotations of telephone conversations, minutes of meetings, arrest warrants, deportation orders, notes on the burning of a particular village, casualty lists from chemical attacks, lists of the family members of "saboteurs," phone surveillance logs, food ration restrictions, interrogation statements and salutes to victorious military units. Between them these are, so to speak, the innumerable tiny pixels that together make up the picture of the Kurdish genocide.

For those who survived the slaughter, the experience can be summed up in a single word: al-Anfal. The word is religious in origin; it is the name of the eighth sura, or chapter, of the Koran. According to the Iraqi writer Kanan Makiya, whose May 1992 article in Harper's Magazine was the first written journalistic treatment of the Anfal campaign, the eighth sura is "the seventy-five-verse revelation that came to the Prophet Mohammed in the wake of the first great battle of the new Muslim faith at Badr (A.D. 624). It was in the village of Badr, located in what is now the Saudi province of Hejaz, that a group of Muslims numbering 319 routed nearly 1,000 Meccan unbelievers. The battle was seen by the first Muslims as vindication of their new faith; the victory, the result of a direct intervention by God."16

In this sura, the Arabic word 'al-Anfal' means 'spoils,' as in the spoils of battle. It begins, "They will question thee concerning the spoils. Say: 'The spoils belong to God and the Messenger; so fear you God, and set things right between you, and obey you God and his Messenger, if you are believers."

The sura continues with the revelation of God's will to the angels:

"I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast into the unbelievers' hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!" That, because they had made a breach with God and with His Messenger; and whosoever makes a breach with God and with His Messenger, surely God is terrible in His retribution. That for you; therefore taste it; and that the chastisement of the Fire is for the unbelievers."17

Although Saddam Hussein has often chosen in recent years to wrap his campaigns in religious language and iconography, Ba'athist Iraq is a militantly secular state. The victims of the 1988 Anfal campaign, the Kurds of northern Iraq, are for the most part Sunni Muslims. During Anfal, every mosque in the Kurdish villages that were targeted for destruction was flattened by the Iraqi Army Corps of Engineers, using bulldozers and dynamite.

10/20/2005 09:29:00 PM

 
Blogger Tilo Reber said...

This post as well as my previous one came from a link supplied by Strykerdad. It is:

http://hrw.org/reports/1993/iraqanfal/ANFAL1.htm

With the collapse of the Barzani Revolution, as Kurds call it, the Iraqi regime shifted its anti-Kurdish activities into a higher gear. The traditional concerns of counterinsurgency planners now gave way to the more ambitious goal of physically redrawing the map of northern Iraq. This meant removing rebellious Kurds from their ancestral lands and resettling them in new areas under the strict military control of the Baghdad authorities.

In 1975 the Iraqi government embarked on a sweeping campaign to "Arabize" the areas that had been excluded from Kurdistan under theoffer of autonomy--an effort that had first begun in 1963. Hundreds of Kurdish villages were destroyed during the mid-1970s in the northern governorates of Nineveh and Dohuk, and about 150 more in the governorate of Diyala, the southernmost spur of Iraqi Kurdistan, where there were also significant oil deposits.24 Restrictions were imposed, and maintained over the years that followed, on the employment and residence of Kurds in the Kirkuk area.25 Arab tribespeople from southern Iraq were enticed to move to the north with government benefits and offers of housing. Uprooted Kurdish farmers were sent to new homes in rudimentary government-controlled camps along the main highways.

Some were forcibly relocated to the flat and desolate landscapes of southern Iraq, including thousands of refugees from the Barzani tribal areas who returned from Iran in late 1975 under a general amnesty. Once moved, they had no hope of resuming their traditional farming activities: "The houses that the government had allocated for the Kurds in those areas were about one kilometer away from each other," recalled one returning refugee. "They told me I should stay there and become a farmer, but we could not farm there: it was all desert."26 In November 1975, an Iraqi official acknowledged that some 50,000 Kurds had beendeported to the southern districts of Nasiriya and Diwaniya, although the true figure was almost certainly higher.27

This reference to "houses" is a little misleading, for the new quarters were primitive in the extreme. The relocated Kurds were simply driven south in convoys of trucks, dumped in the middle of nowhere and left to their own resources. "This is to prevent you from going to Mustafa [Barzani] or Iran," one villager remembers being told by a soldier.28 Many people died of heat and starvation; the remainder survived at first in "shades"--crude shelters fashioned from branches and thatch, or rugs strung on a framework of poles. In time they managed to build mud houses with the money that the men earned as day-laborers in the nearest town.

In 1977-1978, under the terms of the 1975 Algiers Agreement, Iraq began to clear a cordon sanitaire along its northern borders. At first, a former Iraqi military officer told Middle East Watch, this no-man's land extended five kilometers (3.1 miles) into Iraq; later, it was extended to ten kilometers, then to fifteen, and finally to thirty (18.6 miles). The governorate of Suleimaniyeh, which shares a long mountainous border with Iran, was the worst affected, and estimates of the number of villages destroyed during this first wave of border clearances run as high as 500, the great majority of them in Sulemaniyeh.29 Again, official Iraqi statements convey some minimal sense of the numbers involved: the Ba'ath Party newspaper Al-Thawra admitted that 28,000 families (as many as 200,000 people) had been deported from the border zone in just twomonths during the summer of 1978.30 Deportees say that they were given five days to gather up their possessions and leave their homes; when that deadline had expired the army demolition crews moved in.

This was no haphazard operation. A new bureaucratic infrastructure was set up in August 1979 to handle these forced mass relocations, in the form of the Revolutionary Command Council's Committee for Northern Affairs, headed by Saddam Hussein. (Reportedly, a "Special Investigation Committee" (Hay'at al-tahqiq al-khaseh) was also set up at this time, charged with identifying potential peshmerga and authorized to order the death penalty without consulting Baghdad.)31

Saddam Hussein's committee now began systematically to redraw the map of Iraqi Kurdistan, and the border clearances of the late 1970's marked the first large-scale introduction of the mujamma'a, or "complex" system of Kurdish resettlement camps.32 The mujamma'at (plural) were crudely built collective villages, located near large towns or along the main highways in areas controlled by the Iraqi Army. Sometimes the Kurds received some nominal compensation for their confiscated lands, although the amounts offered were usually derisory. They could also apply for loans from the government's Real Estate Bank in order to build a home in the complexes; but they were forbidden to return to their ancestral lands.

After the start of the war with Iran, which began with the Iraqi invasion of September 22, 1980, Baghdad's campaign against the Kurdsfaltered. Army garrisons in Iraqi Kurdistan were progressively abandoned or reduced, their troops transferred to the Iranian front; into the vacuum moved the resurgent peshmerga. Villages in the north began to offer refuge to large numbers of Kurdish draft dodgers and army deserters. Increasing stretches of the countryside effectively became liberated territory.

In these early years of the Iran-Iraq war, it was the KDP--now commanded by Mullah Mustafa Barzani's sons, the half-brothers Mas'oud and Idris--that was the main object of Baghdad's attention.33 Since 1975, the KDP had been based at Karaj, outside Teheran. The Iraqi regime's hostility only grew when it learned that the Kurdish group was now allying itself quite as readily with Iran's new clerical rulers as it had with the Shah.

The villagers who had been removed from the Barzan valley in 1975 spent nearly five years in their new quarters in the southern governorate of Diwaniya. But in 1980 army trucks, East German-supplied IFAs, rolled up outside their desert encampment and told them they were to be relocated again. For most, the new destination was Qushtapa, a new resettlement complex a half-hour drive to the south of the Kurdish city of Erbil. Some were taken to Baharka, north of Erbil, and others to the mujamma'at of Diyana and Harir, some way to the northeast. There was no permanent housing in these complexes, nothing but tents, but the villagers were relieved at first to be breathing the air of Kurdistan once more.

But in the last week of July 1983, the residents of Qushtapa became aware of unusual military movements. Fighter planes screamed overhead, making for the Iranian border. Troop convoys could be seen on the paved highway that bisected the camp, headed in the same direction. Listening to Teheran radio, the Barzanis learned that the strategic border garrison town of Haj Omran had fallen to an Iranian assault. What they did not know at first was that the KDP had effectively acted as scouts and guides for the Iranian forces.

The reprisals began in the early hours of July 30. "We were all asleep when the soldiers surrounded the complex at 3:00 a.m.," said oneBarzani woman who was living in Qushtapa at the time.34 "Then, before dawn, as people were getting dressed and getting ready to go to work, all the soldiers at once charged through the complex. They captured the men walking on the street and even took an old man who was mentally deranged and was usually left tied up. They took the religious man who went to the mosque to call for prayers. They were breaking down doors and entering the houses searching for our men. They looked inside the chicken coops, water tanks, refrigerators, everywhere, and took all the men over the age of thirteen. The women cried and clutched the Koran and begged the soldiers not to take their men away."

"I tried to hold on to my youngest son, who was small and very sick," added another of the "Barzani widows," as the women are now known. "I pleaded with them, 'You took the other three, please let me have this one.' They just told me, 'If you say anything else, we'll shoot you,' and then hit me in the chest with a rifle butt. They took the boy. He was in the fifth grade."

Between five and eight thousand Barzani men from Qushtapa and other other camps were loaded into large buses and driven off toward the south. They have never been seen again, and to this day the widows show visitors to the Qushtapa camp framed photographs of their husbands, sons and brothers, begging for information about their fate.35 For almost a year after the raid the Qushtapa camp was sealed. Electrical power was cut off; the women were not allowed to leave, even to shop, and townspeople of Erbil smuggled in food secretly at night. "Now that your men are gone, why don't you come and stay with us?" one woman who remained behind recalls being taunted by Amn agents.

In a 1983 speech, President Saddam Hussein left little doubt what had happened to the Barzanis. "They betrayed the country and they betrayed the covenant," he said, "and we meted out a stern punishment to them and they went to hell."36 The seizure and presumed mass killing of the Barzani men was the direct precursor of what would be repeated on a much larger scale five years later, during the campaign known as Anfal.

10/20/2005 09:39:00 PM

 
Blogger Tilo Reber said...

THE GREAT TERROR

by JEFFREY GOLDBERG

In northern Iraq, there is new evidence of Saddam Hussein's genocidal war on the Kurds—and of his possible ties to Al Qaeda.

Issue of 2002-03-25
Posted 2002-03-25

In the late morning of March 16, 1988, an Iraqi Air Force helicopter appeared over the city of Halabja, which is about fifteen miles from the border with Iran. The Iran-Iraq War was then in its eighth year, and Halabja was near the front lines. At the time, the city was home to roughly eighty thousand Kurds, who were well accustomed to the proximity of violence to ordinary life. Like most of Iraqi Kurdistan, Halabja was in perpetual revolt against the regime of Saddam Hussein, and its inhabitants were supporters of the peshmerga, the Kurdish fighters whose name means "those who face death."

A young woman named Nasreen Abdel Qadir Muhammad was outside her family's house, preparing food, when she saw the helicopter. The Iranians and the peshmerga had just attacked Iraqi military outposts around Halabja, forcing Saddam's soldiers to retreat. Iranian Revolutionary Guards then infiltrated the city, and the residents assumed that an Iraqi counterattack was imminent. Nasreen and her family expected to spend yet another day in their cellar, which was crude and dark but solid enough to withstand artillery shelling, and even napalm.

"At about ten o'clock, maybe closer to ten-thirty, I saw the helicopter," Nasreen told me. "It was not attacking, though. There were men inside it, taking pictures. One had a regular camera, and the other held what looked like a video camera. They were coming very close. Then they went away."

Nasreen thought that the sight was strange, but she was preoccupied with lunch; she and her sister Rangeen were preparing rice, bread, and beans for the thirty or forty relatives who were taking shelter in the cellar. Rangeen was fifteen at the time. Nasreen was just sixteen, but her father had married her off several months earlier, to a cousin, a thirty-year-old physician's assistant named Bakhtiar Abdul Aziz. Halabja is a conservative place, and many more women wear the veil than in the more cosmopolitan Kurdish cities to the northwest and the Arab cities to the south.

The bombardment began shortly before eleven. The Iraqi Army, positioned on the main road from the nearby town of Sayid Sadiq, fired artillery shells into Halabja, and the Air Force began dropping what is thought to have been napalm on the town, especially the northern area. Nasreen and Rangeen rushed to the cellar. Nasreen prayed that Bakhtiar, who was then outside the city, would find shelter.

The attack had ebbed by about two o'clock, and Nasreen made her way carefully upstairs to the kitchen, to get the food for the family. "At the end of the bombing, the sound changed," she said. "It wasn't so loud. It was like pieces of metal just dropping without exploding. We didn't know why it was so quiet."

A short distance away, in a neighborhood still called the Julakan, or Jewish quarter, even though Halabja's Jews left for Israel in the nineteen-fifties, a middle-aged man named Muhammad came up from his own cellar and saw an unusual sight: "A helicopter had come back to the town, and the soldiers were throwing white pieces of paper out the side." In retrospect, he understood that they were measuring wind speed and direction. Nearby, a man named Awat Omer, who was twenty at the time, was overwhelmed by a smell of garlic and apples.

Nasreen gathered the food quickly, but she, too, noticed a series of odd smells carried into the house by the wind. "At first, it smelled bad, like garbage," she said. "And then it was a good smell, like sweet apples. Then like eggs." Before she went downstairs, she happened to check on a caged partridge that her father kept in the house. "The bird was dying," she said. "It was on its side." She looked out the window. "It was very quiet, but the animals were dying. The sheep and goats were dying." Nasreen ran to the cellar. "I told everybody there was something wrong. There was something wrong with the air."

The people in the cellar were panicked. They had fled downstairs to escape the bombardment, and it was difficult to abandon their shelter. Only splinters of light penetrated the basement, but the dark provided a strange comfort. "We wanted to stay in hiding, even though we were getting sick," Nasreen said. She felt a sharp pain in her eyes, like stabbing needles. "My sister came close to my face and said, 'Your eyes are very red.' Then the children started throwing up. They kept throwing up. They were in so much pain, and crying so much. They were crying all the time. My mother was crying. Then the old people started throwing up."

Chemical weapons had been dropped on Halabja by the Iraqi Air Force, which understood that any underground shelter would become a gas chamber. "My uncle said we should go outside," Nasreen said. "We knew there were chemicals in the air. We were getting red eyes, and some of us had liquid coming out of them. We decided to run." Nasreen and her relatives stepped outside gingerly. "Our cow was lying on its side," she recalled. "It was breathing very fast, as if it had been running. The leaves were falling off the trees, even though it was spring. The partridge was dead. There were smoke clouds around, clinging to the ground. The gas was heavier than the air, and it was finding the wells and going down the wells."

The family judged the direction of the wind, and decided to run the opposite way. Running proved difficult. "The children couldn't walk, they were so sick," Nasreen said. "They were exhausted from throwing up. We carried them in our arms."




Across the city, other families were making similar decisions. Nouri Hama Ali, who lived in the northern part of town, decided to lead his family in the direction of Anab, a collective settlement on the outskirts of Halabja that housed Kurds displaced when the Iraqi Army destroyed their villages. "On the road to Anab, many of the women and children began to die," Nouri told me. "The chemical clouds were on the ground. They were heavy. We could see them." People were dying all around, he said. When a child could not go on, the parents, becoming hysterical with fear, abandoned him. "Many children were left on the ground, by the side of the road. Old people as well. They were running, then they would stop breathing and die."

Nasreen's family did not move quickly. "We wanted to wash ourselves off and find water to drink," she said. "We wanted to wash the faces of the children who were vomiting. The children were crying for water. There was powder on the ground, white. We couldn't decide whether to drink the water or not, but some people drank the water from the well they were so thirsty."

They ran in a panic through the city, Nasreen recalled, in the direction of Anab. The bombardment continued intermittently, Air Force planes circling overhead. "People were showing different symptoms. One person touched some of the powder, and her skin started bubbling."

A truck came by, driven by a neighbor. People threw themselves aboard. "We saw people lying frozen on the ground," Nasreen told me. "There was a small baby on the ground, away from her mother. I thought they were both sleeping. But she had dropped the baby and then died. And I think the baby tried to crawl away, but it died, too. It looked like everyone was sleeping."

At that moment, Nasreen believed that she and her family would make it to high ground and live. Then the truck stopped. "The driver said he couldn't go on, and he wandered away. He left his wife in the back of the truck. He told us to flee if we could. The chemicals affected his brain, because why else would someone abandon his family?"

As heavy clouds of gas smothered the city, people became sick and confused. Awat Omer was trapped in his cellar with his family; he said that his brother began laughing uncontrollably and then stripped off his clothes, and soon afterward he died. As night fell, the family's children grew sicker—too sick to move.

Nasreen's husband could not be found, and she began to think that all was lost. She led the children who were able to walk up the road.

In another neighborhood, Muhammad Ahmed Fattah, who was twenty, was overwhelmed by an oddly sweet odor of sulfur, and he, too, realized that he must evacuate his family; there were about a hundred and sixty people wedged into the cellar. "I saw the bomb drop," Muhammad told me. "It was about thirty metres from the house. I shut the door to the cellar. There was shouting and crying in the cellar, and then people became short of breath." One of the first to be stricken by the gas was Muhammad's brother Salah. "His eyes were pink," Muhammad recalled. "There was something coming out of his eyes. He was so thirsty he was demanding water." Others in the basement began suffering tremors.

March 16th was supposed to be Muhammad's wedding day. "Every preparation was done," he said. His fiancée, a woman named Bahar Jamal, was among the first in the cellar to die. "She was crying very hard," Muhammad recalled. "I tried to calm her down. I told her it was just the usual artillery shells, but it didn't smell the usual way weapons smelled. She was smart, she knew what was happening. She died on the stairs. Her father tried to help her, but it was too late."

Death came quickly to others as well. A woman named Hamida Mahmoud tried to save her two-year-old daughter by allowing her to nurse from her breast. Hamida thought that the baby wouldn't breathe in the gas if she was nursing, Muhammad said, adding, "The baby's name was Dashneh. She nursed for a long time. Her mother died while she was nursing. But she kept nursing." By the time Muhammad decided to go outside, most of the people in the basement were unconscious; many were dead, including his parents and three of his siblings.

Nasreen said that on the road to Anab all was confusion. She and the children were running toward the hills, but they were going blind. "The children were crying, 'We can't see! My eyes are bleeding!' " In the chaos, the family got separated. Nasreen's mother and father were both lost. Nasreen and several of her cousins and siblings inadvertently led the younger children in a circle, back into the city. Someone—she doesn't know who—led them away from the city again and up a hill, to a small mosque, where they sought shelter. "But we didn't stay in the mosque, because we thought it would be a target," Nasreen said. They went to a small house nearby, and Nasreen scrambled to find food and water for the children. By then, it was night, and she was exhausted.

Continued at:

http://www.kdp.pp.se/chemical.html

10/20/2005 09:55:00 PM

 
Blogger Janice said...

crai is an Idiot of Zion

Tilo reber, re the criminally insane yes the Istitutions should never have been closed to them but they shouldn't be in prison with those who are aware of their
actions.

The above IS by a Mr Goldberg. Jew? Most likely. Zionist? Well that's the question.

10/21/2005 02:34:00 AM

 
Blogger Tilo Reber said...

Janice:

"yes the Istitutions should never have been closed to them "

Tell it to your friends on the left.

"The above IS by a Mr Goldberg. Jew? Most likely. Zionist? Well that's the question. "

I don't care if he is Satan. Unless you can demonstrate that his imformation is wrong, it's irrelevant. And numerous independent sources have backed him up.

10/21/2005 10:28:00 AM

 
Blogger Tilo Reber said...

Copyright Information

© 1989, Physicians for Human Rights
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.



About Physicians for Human Rights

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) promotes health by protecting human rights. PHR believes that respect for human rights is essential for the health and wellbeing of all members of the human family.

Since 1986, PHR members have worked to stop torture, disappearances, and political killings by governments and opposition groups and to investigate and expose violations, including: deaths, injuries, and trauma inflicted on civilians during conflicts; suffering and deprivation, including denial of access to health care, caused by ethnic and racial discrimination; mental and physical anguish inflicted on women by abuse; exploitation of children in labor practices; loss of life or limbs from landmines and other indiscriminate weapons; harsh methods of incarceration in prisons and detention centers; and poor health stemming from vast inequalities in societies. PHR also works to protect health professionals who are victims of violations of human rights and to prevent medical complicity in torture and other abuses. As one of the original steering committee members of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, PHR shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

Author's Foreword

As the final decade of the 20th century approaches, the world faces critical choices in the effort to stem the proliferation of chemical weapons. Public revulsion at the use of chemical weapons in World War I led to the Geneva Protocol of 1925, which bans use of poison gases in war. The public reaction to poison gas warfare was due in large part to the indiscriminate nature of chemical warfare, its long-lasting medical effects and the grotesque accounts of those directly exposed in the trenches. With a few exceptions, poison gas warfare on a large scale has been avoided since the end of World War I. Indeed, many countries have destroyed their stocks. Until recently, chemical weapons appeared to be a class of weapons whose use had been successfully contained by international agreements.

The Iran-Iraq war, however, reintroduced chemical warfare on a large scale, threatening to reopen this Pandora's box. Chemical weapons were used on many occasions in that conflict from 1983 through 1988. Iran and Iraq agreed to a cease-fire on July 19, 1988, to take effect a month later. There were some reports of chemical warfare in the Kurdish areas of Iraq in the period of August 3-6, 1988.

On August 25, 1988, several days after the cease-fire was implemented, Iraqi armed forces began a major military offensive against the Kurds in northern Iraq. Thus began a mass migration of more than 50,000 Kurds across the border into southeastern Turkey. The migration slowed on September 5, when Iraqi armed forces sealed the border.

Early press reports indicated that the Kurds had fled in the face of large-scale poison gas attacks. The Iraqi government denied using chemical weapons, just as they initially had denied using them in the conflict with Iran. Official statements by the Turkish government were equivocal, neither confirming nor denying that chemical weapons had been used. On September 12, the United States ad twelve other countries asked the United Nations Secretary General to investigate the allegations. The Secretary General sought to send a team of experts to the region, but Iraq and Turkey denied the UN request.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) elected to send a mission to the region in light of uncertainty about whether poison gas had been used, the clear need for independent medical assessment, and the international significance of chemical warfare allegations. PHR did thie out of its stated commitment to report the medical effects of human rights abuse, in this case focused on a government's alleged use of poison gas against its own people.

If Iraq did indeed use poison gas on Kurds living within its borders and under rule of its government, then the events of late August 1988 raise questions not only about whether the Geneva Protocol applies, but also whether a new and particularly odious form of human rights abuse - poison gas attack by a government against its own citizens - has been perpetrated for the first time.

A team of three doctors representing PHR went to Turkey from October 7-16, 1988. We designed a questionnaire specifically for this investigation. Twenty-seven residents of refugee camps, who reported being eyewitnesses to poison gas attacks while in northern Iraq, completed the 120-question forms. We also conducted physical examinations, videotaped in-depth interviews with over 20 camp residents, and spoke informally with hundreds of camp residents, government officials, journalists, diplomats and other observers. The questionnaires took on-half to one hour to complete, and video interviews ranged from ten to thirty minutes in duration.

PHR initiated the investigation independently of any government or non-government organization, following consultation with specialists in chemical warfare, human rights, and Middle East studies. PHR requested permission from the government of Iraq to visit the sites of alleged attacks, and asked the governments of Iran and Turkey for permission to interview Iraqi refugees who fled the areas allegedly attacked. After waiting one month and receiving no response from the governments of Iran and Iraq, PHR elected to send the team to Turkey without further delay. Turkish Embassy officials in Washington, DC, assured us in advance that Iraqi refugees in newly formed camps would be accessible.

We assembled in Boston and flew directly to Ankara. From Ankara, we proceeded to southeastern Turkey, using the city of Diyarbakir as our principal base for five days. A two-day side trip to Hakkari Province and daily trips to Mardin Province and other areas began from Diyarbakir.

Despite considerable difficulties, we believe that the mission was able to gather convincing evidence that lethal poison gas was used against the Kurds on August 25, 1988. Obtaining such evidence was the principal goal of the mission. We were not able, however, to visit all the refugee camps, although we attempted to do so. Neither were we able to meet with health professionals involved in treating the Kurds in the camps.

We succeeded in entering two refugee camps. One camp near the city of Markin housed just over 5,100 residents, and another near Diyarbakir over 13,100. In both cases, there was a delay of several hours, while we obtained permission to enter, and we had to leave before 5:00pm camp curfews. We therefore spent only four to five hours in each camp. We sought to enter three other camps near the towns of Silopi and Yuksekova, containing a total of 30,000 inhabitants, but we were denied access to these by regional officials of the Turkish government. We also briefly visited one hospital in Hakkari Province, but were unable to tour it of speak with physicians working there.

We wish to thank the J. Roderick MacArthur Foudation, which has generously supported PHR's work in the Middle East through a grant, as well as the PHR members and contributors who helped make our trip possible. Many experts familiar with chemical weapons and Middle East politics kindly assisted the authors in preparing this report. It was reviewed by the PHR editorial review committee and a group of outside experts. We thank the reviewers and others who enhanced the effectiveness of the mission. We thank Gwynne Roberts for the title. We also wish to thank Vera Saeedpour of the Kurdish Center and Samande Siaband of the Kurdish Library. Because of the need to safeguard some individuals, many who helped us cannot be thanked. We take this opportunite to offer a general expression of gratitude for their assistance.

Robert Mullan Coik-Deegan, MD
Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University
Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins University

Howard Hu, MD, MPH
Channing Laboratory
Harvard Medical School

Asfandiar Shukri, MD
Director of Emergency Services
Northwest Medical Center
Detroit, MI
Observer and Translator

Principal Findings

Iraqi aircraft attacked Kurdish villages in northern Iraq with bombs containing lethal poison gas on August 25, 1988.

This conclusion is based on responses to a systematically administered questionnaire, videotaped eyewitness accounts, and findings on physical examination of those residing in refugee camps in southeastern Turkey at the time of the mission.

Poison gas bombs killed humans and animals nearby, and caused sever suffering among survivors.

Refugees consistently reported that attacks were carried out by low-flying jets early in the morning of August 25, 1988. Bombing runs were followed by the appearance of yellowish clouds at the site of bomb bursts. Birds and domestic foul near bomb bursts were killed within two to five minutes, followed closely by sheep, goats, cows and mules. Larger mammals and people close to the point of detonation began to die soon afterwards. Their skin darkened and yellow, sometimes bloody, discharge drained from their noses and mouths. No survivor reported being closer than 50 to a bomb blast.

Survivors reported a cluster of symptoms indicating sever inflammation of the eyes, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and urinary tracts, and blistering skin burns.

Survivors told consistent stories about the August 25 attacks, even when residing in separate camps with no opportunity to communicate.

Statistical analysis of responses to the questionnaire demonstrated that refugees originating from the same village gave mutually consistent answers regarding the time of attack, weather conditions, number of attacking jets, and number of casualties in their village.

Those stating they were close to the site of bomb bursts reported a more severe pattern of characteristic symptoms, suggesting a dose-depended response to the offending agents.

Survivors showed medical findings consistent with exposure to poison gas.

We examined a middle-aged man who was a casualty of poison gas attacks. He had several extensive lesions on his back and flank, consistent with chemical burns by a blistering poison gas such as mustard gas (yperite). These were large expanses of hyper-pigmented skin surrounding unpigmented new skin in a "geographic" pattern. According to the victim, the new skin had evolved from vesicles (blisters) filled with clear amber fluid that began to appear one-half to one after exposure to chemical attack. The burns were concentrated where he had been wearing tight-fitting clothes.

Two children were also casualties, but had a different pattern of injury. They showed residual skin burns with areas of skin darkening and induration concentrated on surfaces they said had been directly exposed to poison gas (e.g., the back of hands, face, and upper chest). More than a dozen other refugees showed us skin lesions that had almost completely healed. Their pattern of distribution on face, hands, neck and other exposed skin surfaces was consistent with patients' histories of exposure to blistering chemical agents.

Eyewitness accounts, the pattern of symptoms reported, and physical evidence obtained by others point to the use of lethal poison gases including, but not restricted to, sulfur mustard (yperite).

We could not determine the number of chemical munitions used, the scale of attacks, of the chemical composition of agents. The pattern of injury and time-course of symptoms are consistent with observations on victims of Iraqi chemical weapons made by UN investigatory teams from 1984 to 1988. They are also consistent with soil samples taken from Iraqi Kurdistan by British journalist Gwynne Roberts, which revealed degradation products of sulfur mustard. Eyewitness accounts of deaths beginning within minutes of exposure, however, cannot be explained by mustard gas alone. The sum of the evidence is most consistent with use of at least one agent in addition to sulfur mustard.

10/21/2005 11:25:00 AM

 
Blogger Tilo Reber said...

This and the previous post can be found at:

http://www.phrusa.org/research/iraq/winds_results.html

Winds of Death: Iraq's Use of Poison Gas against Its Kurdish Population

Results

We videotaped approximately four hours of interviews on three tapes. One tape from the camp near Mardin contained interviews with nine primary respondents, twelve other family members who added details, and scenes from camp life. Five of the primary respondents were male, and four female. They ranged from eight to seventy years old. Another tape of interviews from the Diyarbakir camp was sent by special messenger as a precaution against confiscation or loss, but had not arrived as the report was prepared. The third tape was an interview of a physician's assistant, the only medic for the Pesh Merga (Kurdish fighters) we met in either camp. He was not a direct eyewitness to the August 25 attacks, but saw many of the Kurds as they reached the border, and reported a poison gas attack from the Zewashikan region in 1987. He stated the recent attacks caused upper respiratory irritation, redness in the eyes, difficulty breathing, nasal discharge, and blister formation. Some patients had dry coughs and many had small blisters filled with clear yellow fluid. He believed those within several hundred meters of detonations had worse symptoms, and those closest to bomb-bursts had died. He reported some cases of bloody diarrhea and bloody urine among those closer to the detonations, and said the blisters were larger.

Questionnaires

Thirteen residents in Mardin camp, and fourteen in Diyarbakir camp completed questionnaires. The length of time required to fill out each questionnaire and time limitations imposed by camp authorities precluded the completion of more questionnaires. One respondent who reported an attack on June 5, 1987 was excluded from comparative analysis. The remaining 26 respondents came from eight different villages (Table 6, Appendix C).

Characteristics of the Population Surveyed

Respondents ranged from six to seventy years old; most were 18 to 59 (Table 7, Appendix C), with a mean of 33.8 years. Two respondents were female. Respondents identified themselves as farmers, housewives, and students (n = 18, 69 percent) or Pesh Merga (Kurdish fighters; n = 8, 31 percent).

Circumstances of the Alleged Attacks

With the exception of the one respondent who referred to an attack in June 1987, all respondents reported that chemical attacks took place on the morning of August 25, 1988. A single respondent from Berzewick said an attack was carried out shortly before dawn with rockets. The other 25 reported attacks in the early morning by low-flying jets that dropped bombs. Bombs detonated on impact (rather than in the air) and released clouds of substances. An open question on the color and odor of the agents elicited a number of responses (Table 8, Appendix C). The most typical profile was an agent that appeared yellow and smelled of "rotten garlic."

Twenty-five respondents completed responses to question 7: "Using your own words, can you please describe what happened?" Several refugees were able to draw maps of the regions of the alleged attacks. A sample map (below) shows the location of houses, nearby geographic markers, and location of bomb explosions.

Analysis of reporting consistency focused on reports from the three villages with six or more residents: Blijan, Ekmala, and Hese. We checked the responses from these three villages for consistency, using questions about the time of the attack, number of planes involved, number of villagers killed, and number of villagers injured.

One of six villagers from Ekmala and one of seven from Hese were residing in Diyarbakir camp. Therefore were able to compare their answers to those from the same villages living in Mardin camp. There had been no opportunity for communication between the camps. For questions about the time of the attack, number of deaths, and number of planes, the responses of the single Diyarbakir camp residents from Ekmala and Hese felll within the range of those recorded in Mardin camp. In the case of number of deaths and number of planes, the Diyarbakir camp residents' answers were the same as the single most comon response (the mode) from Mardin camp. On the question of the number of villagers sick after the attack, the lone respondent's answer from Diyarbakir camp fell within the range for Ekmala village, but the single hese villager in Diyarbakir camp estimated fewer deaths than did the five interviewed in Mardin camp. The data are presented in Figure 1, Appendix C.

Symptoms Reported

Simple frequency analysis of responses to the checklist of symptoms revealed a preponderance of eye irritation, respiratory tract symptoms, skin blistering, headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms and their frequencies are shown in Table 9, and the ten most frequent symptoms are shown in Table 10 of Appendix C.

One question asked respondents to estimate their distance from the nearest bomb-burst. This allowed us to assess a possible dose response, assuming that those closer to detonations would on average have received greater exposure to poison gas. Distances were divided into three categories: less than 250 meters, 251 to 500 meters, and over 500 meters to the closest bomb-burst. Three respondents could not estimate their proximity, and were excluded from the analysis. One respondent was a Pesh Merga soldier who said he had obtained a gas mask from the body of a dead Iraqi soldier. He said he put on the mask as soon as a bomb burst nearby, and so he was also excluded from the analysis. The remaining 22 respondents were distributed among distance categories as shown in Table 11, Appendix C.

A categorical variable was created to classify subjects according to the severity of symptoms. "High severity" subjects were those who experienced at least the following combination of symptoms:

eye pain or redness, or eyelid swelling
shortness of breath or chest pain
skin blistering
vomiting
All other subjects were classified as "low severity."

The relationship distance and severity of symptoms by these criteria is shown in Table 12, Appendix C. Statistical calculation of odds ratios and significance is precluded by the presence of a zero cell and the small counts. None of those more than 500 meters away reported high severity symptoms, while half of those within 250 meters and just under half of those between 250 and 500 meters did so. We do not have sufficient data to reach a statistically significant conclusion, but responses do provide support for the hypothesis that more severe symptoms occurred in those closest to the bomb-busts, i.e., higher exposure levels caused more severe effects.

Discussion

It is important to review some of the limitations of the study before interpreting its significance. We had no access to those who would have been most severely affected in poison gas attacks because they would have either died soon after the attack or would have been to disabled to make the journey to Turkey. Refugees in the Turkish camps represented only those who could reach the border before it was sealed by Iraqi armed forces and so came from only a narrow border region of northern Iraq. On this mission, we could only expect to have seen those mildly to moderately affected. In addition, the mission arrived at the refugee camps five weeks after the alleged attacks, sufficient time for minor injuries to have healed. Facilities for laboratory evaluation were unavailable.

Consistency of Response and Nature of Agents Used

Taken either separately or as a whole, the record of videotaped interviews and questionnaire responses paints a consistent picture of circumstances of the alleged chemical attacks and their medical consequences. Analysis of questionnaire data on the timing of the attack, number of persons killed, and number of persons injured shows that the experience of residents in the same village were similar, and distinct from those in other villages. There is close agreement on the nature of the attack itself, with descriptions conforming to those expected from attack by lethal poison gas, and inconsistent with conventional high explosive ordinance.

The pattern of symptoms described by refugees is consistent with exposure to lethal poison gas. Severe irritation of eyes, disturbance of pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and urinary functions, skin blistering, and physical descriptions of the agents are suggestive of exposure to a lethal blistering agent such as mustard gas. Similar profiles are described by chemical weapons experts in several UN reports that document mustard gas use in the Iran-Iraq war (see Appendix D). Use of sulfur mustard alone, however, would not explain the common and consistent reports of people and animals beginning to die within minutes of detonation. The latency of sulfur mustard is at least one-half hour, even with extremely high doses (12).

The degree of skin blistering and duration of respiratory tract symptoms are not consistent with harassing agents such as CS (a form of "tear gas"). CS and other agents would also fail to explain the frequent reports of rapid death of animals and people. Severe weakness, seizures, and difficulty moving were not frequently described, and this militates against the conclusion that nerve agents were used, although it does not rule them out.

We conclude that lethal poison gas was used, including but not confined to sulfur mustard. One expert in chemical warfare who reviewed the PHR data concluded that the agent best explaining most of our findings is Lewisite (13). Other experts who have reviewed the data suggest that a combination of nerve agents or arsenicals with sulfur mustard could explain the symptoms reported. The limitations of the interview method, the unavoidable delay in conducting physical examinations, and the lack of direct site access preclude us from determining precisely which agent or agents were used in addition to sulfur mustard. But this uncertainty should not obscure the more important conclusion that lethal poison gas was indeed used.

The most compelling evidence that poison gas was used comes from analysis of questionnaire responses. The four symptoms required to meet our criteria for "high severity" are those of ocular inflammation, pulmonary irritation, skin burns, and marked gastrointestinal distress -- effects on 4 different organ systems. the presence of pulmonary or gastrointestinal symptoms alone might not cause surprise in this population, although unexplained skin burns would certainly require some special explanation. The simultaneous expression of injury to all four organ systems, however, is highly unusual. Simultaneous presence of this symptom complex in such a high proportion of our sample (8 of 22 for whom there is complete information) is even more difficult to explain other than as a result of poison gas exposure. None of these symptoms would be expected at anywhere near this frequency. The increased likelihood of severe symptoms with greater exposure levels further supports a causal association.

Other Lines of Evidence

Physical Evidence Gathered by British Journalist

Evidence from a variety of other sources supports our findings and conclusions. Gwynne Roberts, a free-lance journalist on assignment in the Middle East for Independent Television News and Channel 4 in London, undertook a clandestine trip into northern Iraq twelve weeks after the alleged attacks (14). He was accompanied by a London-based Kurd and a group of Pesh Merga (Kurdish fighters) attached to the Kurdish Democratic Party. Mr. Roberts obtained seven soil samples and exploded bomb fragments from the regions allegedly attacked. Clayton, Bostock, Hill & Rigby, Limited, a British firm that does chemical analysis, identified three compounds from one of the samples taken near an exploded bomb fragment. The British Chemical defense Establishment at Porton Down also analyzed multiple samples. The private laboratory found 1,4-dithiane, 1,4-oxathiane, and 1,1-thiobis-ethene-sulfur mustard thermal degradation products-by mass spectrometry; the government laboratory found soil "relatively heavily contaminated' with sulfur mustard and also detected nine degradation products (15). No nerve gas or other agents were directly detected, although further analysis for arsenical compounds is still pending.

Eyewitness Accounts Reported by Other Groups Visiting the Region

Eyewitness accounts of chemical warfare were reported by dozens of journalists and other observers. Amnesty International (AI) had a four-person team investigating the human rights situation of the Kurdish refugees in southeastern Turkey at the same time as PHR. The AI team related multiple eyewitness reports of chemical weapon use (16). The British television group that discovered the physical evidence of mustard gas contamination also videotaped numerous eyewitness accounts of the chemical attacks, taken from persons not in refugee camps (and therefore constituting a separate sample from PHR interviews). Those interviews reported attacks as late as August 29, 1988 (17). Four embers of Parliament from southeastern Turkey who visited their districts in early September also reported to us that they saw many refugees with large amber-colored blisters who said they had been attacked with poison gas bombs.

Massive Migration from Northern Iraq

Over 50,000 Kurds left Iraq in the week from August 28 to September 5, 1988 (1). It is undisputed that this mass migration was precipitated by an Iraqi military campaign in northern Iraq which dramatically escalated on August 25. The indigenous population had sustained many attacks by conventional weapons over the past three decades, with intermittent fighting during the Iran-Iraq war (including attacks in mid-1987), yet this time they fled. Those directly interviewed said that they left Iraq to escape further attacks by chemical weapons.

Iraq Troops Seen Using Gas Masks

More than a week after the alleged attacks, the Iraqi government arranged a tour of parts of northern Iraq for journalists. The tour did not visit areas of most intense combat, helicopters were not allowed to land at village sites, and dozens of videotapes were confiscated afterwards (18). Nonetheless, the journalists described seeing Iraqi troops wearing gas asks (19). Chemical defense masks and special clothing are cumbersome and diminish troop efficiency, and it is difficult to explain why Iraqi commanders would require troops to wear such equipment without cause.

Pesh Merga soldiers gave several gas masks and antidote kits (containing atropine and oxime, used to treat nerve gas victims) to the British journalist who surreptitiously entered northern Iraq. The Pesh Merga soldiers stated the kits and masks were taken from Iraqi soldiers killed in battle; the instructions were in Arabic (spoken in Iraq, as opposed to Farsi used by Iranians, or Kurdish used by Kurds) (20).

Iran refused a United Nations Investigation Despite having Permitted Such Investigations Before

Iraq rejected a request from the United Nations (UN) to investigate the sites of alleged chemical bombings of late August. The Iraqi government failed to respond to a PHR request for site access. Iraq thus obstructed site access despite having three times permitted UN war zone investigations the year before, during the war with Iran. The reason offered by the Iraqi foreign Minister was that "the Kurds are Iraqis and it is an internal matter" (21).

Iraq possessed chemical weapons and had used them against Iran

Finally, Iraq is known to have possessed and used chemical weapons in the war with Iran. This has been documented repeatedly in several UN missions (see Appendix D). The first mission, in 1984, found physical evidence of mustard gas (yperite) in shells and soil samples and also found an unexploded bomb containing the nerve gas Tabun (22). UN missions since that time have repeatedly examined survivors of poison gas attacks and found physical evidence of mustard gas use. The UN reports show a progressive escalation from use against soldiers to attacks against civilian targets (see Appendix D). Thousands of civilians were killed in an Iraqi poison gas attack on the town of Halabja in mid-March 1988 (23). The northern Iraqi town was held at the time by Iranian forces.

Summary of evidence

In summary, Iraq possessed chemical weapons and had used them before. A massive migration of Kurds began on August 25, and was finally stopped when Iraq sealed its border to prevent further exit. Kurds in two separate Turkish refugee camps described poison gas attacks convincingly. They reported symptoms consistent with chemical injury, and there was agreement on details of the events, despite there having been no communication between refugee camps. Healing burn wounds were apparent on physical examination. Soil samples taken from Iraqi Kurdistan revealed thermal degradation products of sulfur mustard, and Iraqi troops in the region after the attack were seen wearing gas masks. Iraq thwarted UN investigation despite having previously permitted such investigations in its territory.

Incentives for Chemical Weapons Proliferation

Barring action by the world community, the Iraqi chemical bombings of late August 1988 could prove a landmark in the spread of chemical weapons. These attacks are distinctive in several respects: 1. They represent use of chemical weapons against an indigenous population by its own government, 2. Descriptions of the attacks include both civilian targets (villages0 and the Pesh Merga (Kurdish fighters), 3. The attacks precipitated a mass emigration, 4. The UN sought, but was rebuffed in pursuing, an investigation of chemical weapons use, and 5. Iraq has escaped any significant penalties for its use of lethal poison gas.

The Iraqi attacks are most worrisome because they appear to have been successful and were conducted with impunity, which may well tempt other countries to acquire chemical weapons. The Kurds have intermittently fought Iraq for decades in an attempt to gain political autonomy. With chemical bombing, Iraq succeeded in dislodging the entrenched population in one week. The targets included both civilian villages and outposts of the Pesh Merga.

10/21/2005 11:38:00 AM

 
Blogger Tilo Reber said...

BOSTON, MA (March 21, 1995) - Soil samples taken in 1992 from bomb craters near a Kurdish village in northern Iraq by a team of forensic scientists contained trace evidence of the nerve gas GB, also known as Sarin. This is the same lethal chemical agent identified in the Tokyo incidents of March 19.

In 1988, shortly after the ceasefire that ended the Iran - Iraq war, the government of Saddam Hussein launched a major military offensive against the Kurds in northern Iraq, sending tens of thousands of refugees fleeing into southeastern Turkey. Six weeks later, in October 1988, a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) medical team interviewed and medically examined dozens of Kurdish refugees who either witnessed or showed physical symptoms of chemical weapons attacks. The team concluded that bombs containing mustard gas and at least one unidentified nerve agent had been dropped on Kurdish villages in northern Iraq.

Refugees from several villages interviewed at the time reported that for those close to the bomb bursts which were delivered by low-flying jets, death came suddenly. First to die were birds and domestic fowl, followed by sheep, goats, cows, and mules. Humans also died within minutes, without evidence of physical trauma. Other symptoms, including those likely related to the use of mustard gas, were reported by survivors who had been within 75 to 500 meters of the bursts. In 1988 testimony before a Senate hearing on chemical weapons, PHR warned of the grave danger in the breach by Iraq of the longstanding taboo against the use of these weapons of mass destruction.

In 1992, a forensic team from Physicians for Human Rights visited the site of one of the 1988 attacks, the Iraqi-Kurdish village of Birjinni. The team collected soil samples from bomb craters located near the village and sent them to be analyzed at the Chemical and Biological Defense Establishment (CBDE) of Great Britain's Ministry of Defense at Porton Down. There, analysis by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry confirmed breakdown products with the unique fingerprint of the nerve agent, GB, also known as Sarin.

http://www.phrusa.org/research/chemical_weapons/chemsaringas.html

10/21/2005 11:43:00 AM

 
Blogger Jack Bennett said...

TT, thank you for your kind words and in putting me in the same sentence as Waldschrat who did such wonderful work in getting medical supplies to Mosul and who I admire very much for doing so. Since Najma closed her comments so long ago (with good reason since the arguing were getting heated) I've fully expected you to do the same especially with all hundreds of comments that appear on your blog. The fact that you haven't done so but comment yourself even though you know a lot of people will disagree with you says a lot about the open-minded man you are -even if some of the articles you have posted I disagree with very much.

Also please thank Najma for her account of Saddam's trial which was very well written and organized (since she got it from several sources). It was much more compact and informative on what happened than other reports I've read.

Strykerdad, you wrote, "there will be folks like me who will challenge you and some of us will be nicer than others while agreeing and disagreeing with what you say.". This is exactly the tact I've tried to take with TT. I agree that the American army is the best in the world (I doubt any other army could do or act better even if there have been bad apples in Iraq like in Abu Gharib). My cousin's husband just got back from Iraq a few months ago (he is an Army specialist) after serving there for several month. The whole family is proud of him. Yes, I do think many of the articles TT has posted are obviously biased but considering these are not his words but those of others I wonder if he really believes ALL of it. In any case I don't think anything I say will change his mind so there's no point arguing about it...and besides I'm not as good as you are in rebutting some of these facts.

BUT, I do respect TT and his family very much. I like them. I've read Najma and HNK's blogs almost since they were started (it been a year now) and with each new family member in Mosul or Baghdad I've grown to like them even more. I check their blogs (and Raghda's and Hassan's and Sunshine's) every day just to make sure they're still okay. Sure I don't agree with everything but even within this family they don't - for instance Hassan voted for the Consitution while TT voted against it. They have made what's going on in Mosul and Baghdad real for me from an Iraqi perspective. I also read military blogs to get the other side. I don't think TT is pro-Saddam, nor that he longs for the old regime (he seems to accept the new goverment) but he HAS become more anti-american soldier (in general, not individual) as has his daughters (Najma's earliest posts are not as angry at US soldiers as some of the current ones are). I think a lot of that has to do with frustration at the continued American presence in Mosul. I don't think TT has had many positive experience with the US military (unlike some other Iraqis). I also try to remember that Aya's OTHER grandfather was killed by a stray bullet in the crossfire between US troops and insurgents and try to imagine how I'd feel if I was TT's family. The terrorist insurgents are largely faceless and nameless while the Americans are highly visible and easy to blame. I'm not excusing it and I don't neccessary agree but I try to imagine how the Moslawi family are feeling living in a literal warzone when I comment.
That does not mean I don't also appreciate commentors like you who possess more facts than I do and salute you for supporting the US troops. I think civil discussion can be a very healthy thing even if its in blogs.

10/21/2005 05:58:00 PM

 
Blogger Tilo Reber said...

Jack,

TT relies on articles from terrorist groups like kavkazcenter.com to make his point. Kavkazcenter is nothing more than a mouthpiece for Shamil Basyev. And Basayev was the planer and organizer for the Beslan massacre. While TT is deeply offended by the mistreatement of hardened criminals and terrorists in Abu Grahib, he seems to have no qualms about relying on the propaganda of groups who shoot fleeing children in the back. I'm not sure I understand your fascination. But I do agree with you about "The Big Sleep".

10/21/2005 06:39:00 PM

 
Blogger strykerdad said...

Mr. Bennet, you are too kind, but I thank you for your complimentary words. I am often too emotional where the American soldiers are concerned in particular and let it interfere with some 'discussions'. I sometimes regret letting that get in the way.

I don't think TT will be influenced by me in any way and started posting just to be able to but into words some of the thoughts that go with being the father of a young lady serving her country in a place like Mosul. Pride, fear, anger, worry. Being able to share that on the blog of a Mosul resident who is also a father of special daughters (aren't they all?) and finds her presence 'less than desireable' is an opportunity that is pretty rare, to say the least. And self indulgent. Yet, there for a year TT and I had those things in common though they also most often put us in conflict.

Since my daughter has returned from Mosul, some of that emotion that I felt has been lifted, but I know TT and his family live it daily to a degree I can barely imagine. I try to take that into account when I react to things that are written. Sometimes I am more successful than others. I have little tolerance for self pity in myself or anyone else. Being an amateur student of history and the human condition, I think very few have the right to afford themselves that luxury.

The one thing that keeps me interested in TT's blog is that he allows all sorts to participate, which says as much about him as does anything he posts. There are some regulars who I think I have come to know to a degree. I have come into contact with others who read this blog, and much to my surprise, have expressed an appreciation for my willingness to stand up for our soldiers against some of the more rabid commentators. I don't feel worthy of their appreciation knowing I am far from the most talented or insightful, but still have come to feel some responsibility even while knowing it is insignificant among the broader efforts of others.
I have also made contact with some Iraqi Kurds and an Assyrian Christian from the Mosul region who have passed along their thoughts about some of the things they have read on these blogs. I find it troubling that they do not feel safe in saying things publicly, even now and even though it is an anonymous process.

This whole blogging process is remarkable and I sometimes am amazed when I stop and think about it. We live in the most interesting of times, which is either a blessing or a curse--I'm undecided on that subject. Not the living part, just the degree to which they are interesting.

If you like to follow military blogs, you might find this one interesting. It is done by an Army Sgt in Mosul who is a veteran of Afghanistan and is part of the Stryker unit that replaced my daughter's unit last month. He is a terrific writer and a man of great character and insight. One of the best of the best, he is what his title suggests: an

American Citizen Soldier

Please pass along my appreciation to the soldier you mentioned.

10/21/2005 07:09:00 PM

 
Blogger Lisa, New York said...

"Truth Teller" (I must continue to put that name in quotes),


I'm really trying to understand what you meant by this, in praising Waldschrat:

"I will not say he changed my idea about the American (because I knew lately he has a German ancestor), but he definitely proved to me that there is still a good people in the world."

Does that mean what I think it means? Do you mean that the fact that you have good feelings about Waldschrat does not change your ideas about Americans, because he's really not fully American but rather German?

That's certainly what it sounds like you're saying. If I misunderstood you, please explain.

Because if that is what you are saying, it makes no sense and shows some blatant ignorance on your part about Americans. Every American has ancestry from somewhere else. I myself am part German, part Irish and small parts English and Scottish. But I'm 100% American. I'm sure if all your American commenters here told you their ancestry, you'd hear similar stories. But we're all fully American, including Waldschrat. The fact that he outlined part of his ancestry for you doesn't change that.

10/21/2005 08:28:00 PM

 
Blogger Tilo Reber said...

Lisa,

I was born in Germany to two German parents. I came to the US when I was 8. And I now consider myself fully American. And of course there are Iraqis here who consider themselves fully American. There is no genetic characteristic to being American and there is no religious characteristic to being American. There is not even a specific ideaology to being American. The innovation, energy and wealth that have been produced by America are the fruit of it's most important characteristic as a nation - freedom.

10/21/2005 11:11:00 PM

 
Blogger Lisa, New York said...

tilo,

That's my point, which is why I'm confused as to what "truth teller" was trying to say about waldschrat and his German ancestry. TT seemed to be saying that the good things waldschrat did don't necessarily reflect Americans, or change his view of Americans, because he now knows of waldschrat's German ancestors.

If I misunderstood TT I hope he says so and tells us what he really meant. Because if I'm correct about what he was saying it reflects a fundamental lack of understanding of America. We all have similar stories to waldschrat's and could recount them here, as you demonstrated. As for me, some of my great-great-Grandparent's on my father's side came here from Germany sometime in the late 1800s. I'm not sure about the rest but I know there's some English and Scottish blood in there. My great-Grandparents on my mother's side came from Ireland in the early 1900s.

Most Americans have a similar story. In fact, nearly half of Americans (40-something percent) can specifically trace their ancestors who came through the Ellis Island immigration center in New York between 1892 and 1924.

And we're all 100% American.

10/22/2005 09:39:00 AM

 
Anonymous breast cancer treatment said...

Hi,
I came past your site while I was searching through Blogger, it is not really the information I was after about breast cancer treatment but I did stay to read your blog and found it interesting and well done, I do like what you have done with your site. Keep up the good work and hopefully I will visit again sometime and also find the information on breast cancer treatment that I was looking for in my travels.
Regards,

1/31/2006 01:17:00 AM

 
Anonymous breast cancer said...

Hello! Blog surfing(as usual) and I found you guys. Nice feeling here. I'll come back . Keep up more stuff about cancer, please.
All the best, cancer

2/18/2006 05:25:00 PM

 
Blogger earnest said...

Here's a useful resources on breast cancer detection unit worth a look: http://breast-cancer1.com/

3/22/2006 09:51:00 AM

 
Blogger earnest said...

Here's a useful resources on screening for breast health worth a look: http://breast-cancer1.com/

3/22/2006 07:33:00 PM

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

 

Click here to submit your site to the search engines for free!