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The real chemical weapons culprits

Felicity Arbuthnot says the US is in no position to throw stones when it comes to poisoning civilians in war

Against all odds Syria's government managed, exactly a week ago, to send an "initial declaration" of the country's chemical weapons stockpiles to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.

The organisation is now "looking at ways to fast-track moves to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities."

Put aside the complexities of "fast-tracking" such a process in a war zone flooded with foreign and foreign-backed, armed and financed insurgents.

Put aside the fact that the weapons are arguably defensive - Damascus has always said they were a last-resort defence against its hostile nuclear-armed neighbour Israel.

Despite compliance with international demands Syria is still, like Iraq and Libya before it, vulnerable to the massive attack threatened by John Kerry, acting enforcer for Nobel Peace laureate and warmonger-in-chief Barack Obama.

"The threat of force is real," Kerry has assured Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

"We cannot have hollow words," adds a man without peer in vacuous idiocies.

Soon afterwards the UN produced the weapons inspectors' report on the chemical attack that took place in a Damascus suburb on August 21.

Although the 38-page report did not apportion blame, and in spite of plenty of evidence to the contrary, the Syrian government was deemed the culprit by Western powers.

But a classified document, dated August 2013, leaked to US media outlet WND shows that the Syrian rebels are capable of using poison gas.

"The document reveals that sarin was confiscated earlier this year from members of the al-Nusra Front, the most influential of the rebel Islamists fighting in Syria," the site reports.

"Sarin from al-Qaida in Iraq had made its way into Turkey and while some was seized, more could have been used in an attack last March on civilians and Syrian troops in Aleppo."

So while UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon can condemn "the most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them in Halabja in 1988," it's dangerous to jump to conclusions about who was responsible.

Ban added: "The international community has a responsibility to ensure that chemical weapons never re-emerge as an instrument of warfare."

The US, of course, is a veteran when it comes to using chemical weapons.

The destroyed generations of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and - now emerging - Libya, with their cancers and unimaginable deformities, are silent, ignored witnesses.

On September 11, as the US mourned its New York dead, a little-noticed, long-delayed World Health Organisation (WHO) report was released.

It studied birth defects, cancers and health anomalies in Iraq linked to its 20-year bombardment by the US and Britain with depleted uranium - chemical, radioactive weaponry.

White phosphorus and other yet to be identified exotic child-exterminators were also used.

The US has done a shameful job of burying the staggering, horrific health epidemic that resulted.

 

Former UN undersecretary-general Hans von Sponeck, who also served as the UN's humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq, notes: "The US government sought to prevent the WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers."

His colleague Denis Halliday, also a former UN humanitarian co-ordinator there, adds that "the WHO has categorically refused - in defiance of its own mandate - to share evidence uncovered in Iraq that US military use of depleted uranium and other weapons have not only killed many civilians, but continue to result in the birth of deformed babies."

So ironically if Kerry has his way and punishes the Syrian government - and population - for supposed use of chemical weapons, this latest Mesopotamian blitzkrieg will in all likelihood see the use of the same chemical weapons that have brought genetic hell to the US's previous victims.

Of course the US, Britain and France don't consider depleted uranium's use problematic.

But here is its assessment in the US army's own words.

This is from 1995, before the scale of the birth defects and cancers, including among their own and allied troops, became clear - later assessments are more muted.

The potential for being sued till the end of time - depleted uranium has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, while a recent scientific study estimated that life on Earth has just 1.7bn years left - no doubt weighs heavily at the Pentagon.

A document entitled Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium Use in the US Army from the army's environmental policy unit states that "the risks associated with DU are both chemical and radiological.

"No available technology can significantly change the inherent chemical and radiological toxicity of DU ... [it] is a radioactive waste and must therefore be deposited in a licensed repository."

Not in a school, hospital, church, mosque or house, then.

The UN general assembly has voted for moratoriums on the use of such weapons, though the Nato powers have always prevented them from being enforced.

That same UN, of course, "guarantees" the "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of its member states, including Syria, Libya, Iraq.

RIP those founding words of June 26 1945 in San Francisco: "We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, to practice tolerance and live together in peace ..."

What a load of tosh.

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