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2003-04-27 - 11:59 a.m.

Bush-Blair: War Crimes Against Humanity

After the first Gulf War, there were many reports about service men and women being ill from what has been dubbed Gulf War Syndrome. Not only were these people sick and dying, but their own children were being born with horrible birth defects. The same was happening to the Iraqi people. The main cause of this has been linked to the DU used on bombs dropped in Iraq. DU was declared as an illegal WMD not only by the UN, but by many international laws as well. Did this deter the US-UK from using these weapons again? NO. The following is a report issued by Christian Scherrer, a researcher at the Hiroshima Peace Institute. He has investigated and written about genocide and exterminism in Rwanda, East Timor, Cambodia, Burma, Sudan, and elsewhere. His most recent books are Genocide and Crisis in Central Africa (Praeger 2001), Structural Prevention of Ethnic Violence (Palgrave 2002), and Ethnicity, Nationalism and Violence (Ashgate 2003). I have included a small snippet from his report, but please click on the underscored title of the report to read it in-full.

DU and the Liberation of Iraq
A report from Hiroshima
by Christian Scherrer; April 13, 2003

On 2 March 2003 some 6,000 people from Hiroshima gathered on an empty space one kilometer from ground zero, where the first nuclear weapon killed hundreds of thousands and devastated the city, to form a message with their bodies, which read from the sky as NO WAR, NO DU!

Our warning was against war and the use of nuclear weapons by USA-UK forces. Our fear was based on the fact that the US has used illegal nuclear munitions and weapons containing Depleted Uranium (DU) and plutonium five times since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed on 6 and 9 August 1945.

In 1991, forty six years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear weapons were used again for the first time by the same United States of America against Iraq. Depleted uranium munitions were first deployed during the Gulf War.

The first independent studies of the effects of DU conducted from 1993 confirmed that the same devastating effects of radiation had occurred in Iraq as earlier in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The special agency of the United Nations system dealing with nuclear questions, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has detailed knowledge of the impact of DU in Iraq. At the 42nd General Conference in September 1998, a document entitled "Radiation Effects" included information about the use of depleted uranium against Iraq. IAEA document GC(43)/INF/20 of 29 September 1999 stated that "Diseases which do not commonly appear in the region such as various forms of cancer, and early pregnancy abortion, deformed babies in addition to the after effects which may damage hereditary genes and future effects of radioactive waste resulting from radioactive aerosols due to the bombardment. This effect may be transferred to other regions in the country due to natural phenomena."

Based on the report of the 48th meeting issued by the UN Committee dealing with effects of Atomic radiation on 20th April 1999, noting the rapid increase in mortality caused by DU between 1991 and 1997, the IAEA document predicted the death of half a million Iraqis, noting that "...some 700-800 tons of depleted uranium was used in bombing the military zones south of Iraq. Such a quantity has a radiation effect, sufficient to cause 500,000 cases which may lead to death."

Despite this red alert and explicit scientific evidence of the horrific effects of uranium weapons, the US continued to use DU weapons of mass destruction in Bosnia 1995, Yugoslavia/Serbia 1999 and Afghanistan from October 2001.

****************

The following is a message from Christian Scherrer calling for the indictment of and prosecution of those involved in the US-UK war crimes. I am including the entire message here:

Indict Bush-Blair for war crimes -- Sanctions vs US-UK
Christian P. Scherrer, Japan
Hiroshima Peace Institute, Professor
contributed at 00:12 Apr/03/2003

Bush-Blair must be indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court / UN sanctions against US-UK similar to those against Apartheid-South Africa

Dear colleagues and concerned citizen across the world,

The Iraqi people became victims of superpower aggression. How could that be justified? In the USA the governments and media propaganda machinery made Saddam the scapegoat for 9-11. We know that this is a big lie. Any operational link with al-Qaeda is, due to ideological and political incompatibility, to be excluded. The US government also maintained that Saddam Hussein possesses what the UN inspectors did not find, but what the US and UK stockpile and might even use in case of failing to achieve Iraq`s surrender: weapons of mass destruction.

What is the significance of the horrors we see happening in front of our eyes?

It is time to figure out the significance of the horrors we see happening in front of our eyes. Five general remarks about the war of aggression against Iraq, the outcome, its significance and possibilities for action in five steps follow:

--- 1. ---

This aggression against Iraq is illegal, illegitimate and immoral. The response of the world community must be determined and swift. People die in the streets of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities — despite almost universal condemnation of such an act of unprovoked aggression. Across the globe millions have already demonstrated and will continue to demonstrate against war. US-UK must be stopped! The UN must act!

--- 2. ---

In practical reality the war is targeting the Iraqi people since city-dwellers are, in large majority, defenseless civilians and pin-pointing military targets is impossible. The USA is going to use Depleted Uranium weaponry massively, and even announced it publicly, knowing about the horrible impact these radiological-cum-nuclear weapons have on the middle and longer term health of the masses of the city populations in Iraq and even on their own soldiers (in the US called `Gulf war syndrome`!). Thousands of children have, since 1991, died long, antagonizing deaths due to nuclear intoxication and the spread of all kind of cancers and leukemia. Yesterday the US admitted that it has used these extremely hazardous and illegal DU weapons from day one of the war against Iraq.

--- 3. ---

The real reasons for the war of aggression are not alleged support for terrorism or possession of WMD. One of the known real reasons is the abundant Iraqi oil reserves, thus the attempts to loot, to undermine OPEC and drive the oil price down. The other one is in my view geopolitical: the third gulf war ushers in a new era of unilateralism and anarchy in the state system in which the US wants to achieve supremacy. The extremists among Bush`s advisors and officials have been open about their aims.

--- 4. ---

Certainly unilateral war will have grave implications for the UN, the EU, NATO and the entire multilateral framework. Let us believe that the period of relapse into 19 century gun-boat imperialism will be short due to the democratic possibilities allowing people to change those at the helm of the present new regression into raw imperialist onslaught.

--- 5. ---

The USA seems poised to transform into the new evil empire. The threat of the use of WMD in Iraq by US-UK is a real danger. The war of aggression undermines world peace and global security - possibly for a long period of time. If the US military planning for the use of nuclear weapons could translate into the unimaginable, the use of the first nuclear bomb after Hiroshima and Nagasaki 1945, then we would face a new evil empire, violating all existing rules and turning the rule of international law into the law of the jungle. The use of nuclear weapons by the USA under any pretext and in any form against a non-nuclear power (such as Iraq) and without being attacked itself would be a crime against humanity. The US would have to be shunned and isolated and those responsible would have to face International Criminal Tribunals such as the ones in Tokyo and Nuremberg after 1945.

What needs to be done?

--- i. ---

The threat can be overcome by a world-wide coalition of civil society actors (NGOs, INGOs) and states against the present US administration.

--- ii. ---

Coalition building could possibly be started by exercising pressure and mobilizing world opinion for an ICC indictment of Bush and Blair as war criminals (an idea I spread recently but which seems legally demanding in the case of Bush, but much easier in the case of Blair since Britain is a party to the ICC).

--- iii. ---

An indictment could be followed by massive UN sanctions against US-UK similar to those against Apartheid South Africa. The illegality of the war implies that US-UK have to pay reparations for death and destruction committed in Iraq.

--- iv. ---

As for the USA, the message for impeaching Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft conveyed by Francis Boyle and Ramsey Clark has been spreading since January 2003. I may say they are very courageous men, and many of us share their ideas. Though I am certain that this is an important symbolic skirmish, their attempt may be difficult, when taking into account the real politics in the US Congress.

--- v. ---

The surprise about UN inactivity is not small. The UN Security Council must meet for an emergency session. The General Assembly also must convene, as called for by a large number of member states. The UN system must react and declare its outrage in real terms: sanctions, embargo, suspension of membership for the aggressor states and other appropriate measures. As for now, UN sanctions and the ICC indictments probably are the most important steps.

We will have to grapple with new realities. Many questions need to be asked: What is in the making and what will be lessons to be learned? What will be the significance and consequences of illegal warfare? And of possible use of WMD by those who claim to outlaw them for some states but stockpile WMD? What will be the consequences of a long and bloody war? What will be the significance of a new era of US unilateralism?

The truth is being sacrificed to propaganda

The US-UK war propaganda says that pinpointing military targets is possible and being done. The reality is that every day `collateral damage` gets worse! Unimaginable but true: DU weapons were used from day one in Baghdad! Cluster bombs (which are outlawed) were used by US-UK. Again an entire civilian residential area in Baghdad was hit by two cruise missiles. In Basra, bombs killed more than 50 according to al-Jazeera (see horrific pictures on their website). This list is incomplete and will get longer.

What we all must be aware of is that the truth is being sacrificed to propaganda. Monumental lies have been told for months to `legitimize` a war of aggression against Iraq (such as linking al-Qaeda and the Hussein regime or the alleged possession of WMD by the Iraqi regime). For both claims there is no evidence and the inspectors have found no WMD. Contrary to that: the invaders have threatened to use WMD! This later danger might become real when the war continues to be a failure for the US-UK warmongers as we see now. All predictions by the invaders have been proved wrong. There was no greeting of US-UK troops with joy by the Iraqis. The contrary happened. There was no fast advance to Baghdad but stiff resistance and counter attacks.

Both US and UK will now fly in tens of thousands of fresh troops because they could be bogged down by the surprisingly effective Iraqi defense. Suddenly the US-UK military locomotive seems out of steam and the invasion seems halted. Scott Ritter predicted that the US-UK will lose the war. Defeat for the invaders is a possibility that few anticipated. It seems too early to say so. My fear is that the war will be long, brutal and costly for both sides.

Let us all unite against war, lawlessness and superpower arrogance.

Greetings from Hiroshima,

Christian P. Scherrer

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