Just this week the United States Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld disclosed that, for a month now, American forces have been bombing communication links in Iraq's air defence network in the the no-fly zone. What other information is being kept secret? In fact, the U.S. has been waging a dirty little war in Iraq all along. Here's the shocking story of how the Pentagon knowingly allowed the poisoning of Iraq's water supply. The story was flagged this month as one of Project Censored's most under-reported of the year.over the last two years, i've discovered documents of the Defense Intelligence Agency proving beyond a doubt that, contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply after the Gulf War. The United States knew that civilian Iraqis, mostly children, would pay, and it went ahead anyway.The primary document, Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities, is dated January 22, 1991. It spells out how sanctions will prevent Iraq from supplying clean water to its citizens.
"Iraq depends on importing specialized equipment and some chemicals to purify its water supply. With no domestic sources of both water treatment replacement parts and some essential chemicals, Iraq will continue attempts to circumvent United Nations sanctions to import these vital commodities. Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease."
The document notes that the importation of chlorine "has been embargoed" by sanctions. "Recent reports indicate the chlorine supply is critically low." Food and medicine will also be affected, the document states. "Food processing, electronic and, particularly, pharmaceutical plants require extremely pure water free from biological contaminants."
In cold language, the document spells out what is in store: "Iraq will suffer increasing shortages of purified water because of the lack of required chemicals and desalination membranes. Incidences of disease, including possible epidemics, will become probable unless the population were careful to boil water."
This document, which was partially declassified but unpublicized in 1995, can be found on the Pentagon's Web site at www.gulflink.osd.mil. (I disclosed this document last fall, but the news media showed little interest in it.) Recently, I have come across other DIA documents that confirm the Pentagon's monitoring of the degradation of Iraq's water supply. These documents have not been publicized until now.
One of them is called Disease Information, also dated January 22, 1991. At the top, it says, Subject: Effects of bombing on disease occurrence in Baghdad. The analysis is blunt: "Increased incidence of diseases will be attributable to degradation of normal preventive medicine, waste disposal, water purification/distribution, electricity and decreased ability to control disease outbreaks.'
The document proceeds to itemize the likely outbreaks. It mentions "acute diarrhea" brought on by bacteria such as E. coli, shigella and salmonella, or by protozoa such as giardia, which will affect "particularly children," or by rotavirus, which will also affect "particularly children.' And it cites the possibilities of typhoid and cholera outbreaks.
Another document, Health Conditions In Iraq, June 1991, is still heavily censored. In one refugee camp, it says, "at least 80 per cent of the population" has diarrhea. At this same camp, named Cukurca, "cholera, hepatitis type B and measles have broken out. Gastroenteritis was killing children. In the south, 80 per cent of the deaths were children."
The Geneva Convention is absolutely clear. In a 1979 protocol relating to the "protection of victims of international armed conflicts," Article 54, it states: "It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works." But that is precisely what the U.S. government did, with malice aforethought. The sanctions, imposed for a decade largely at the insistence of the U.S. constitute a violation of the Geneva Convention.
Last summer (1999), representative Tony Hall, Democrat of Ohio, wrote to then-secretary of state Madeleine Albright, "The prime killer of children under five years of age -- diarrheal diseases -- has reached epidemic proportions. Holds on contracts for the water and sanitation sector are a prime reason.'
The United Nations has estimated that more than 500,000 Iraqi children have died as a result of sanctions, and that 5,000 Iraqi children continue to die every month for this reason. No one can say that the United States didn't know what it was doing. From The Progressive