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>===== Original Message From Piotr Bein <email@example.com> ===== [disseminate to your networks, watch for next parts] www.umrc.net/downloads/Iraq_report_1.doc Abu Khasib to Al Ah’qaf: Iraq Gulf War II Field Investigations Report © Uranium Medical Research Centre November 2003 Part 2 of Installment 1 ******************* Overall impressions · Reports and conditions on the ground Order of Battle CentCom reports and “embedded reporters” coverage was found to be about 70% unreliable when compared to the situation and evidence on the ground. Differences were noted in the geographic locations (place names) and reported to be the scene of head-to-head combat. Press coverage exaggerated the scale and stubbornness of the Iraqi armoured forces and organised military defences. Witnesses, whose reports were corroborated by observations of active battlefields, show that Iraqi organised defences quickly deteriorated to low-intensity guerrilla fighting much earlier than reported - within the first 4 or 5 days of battle. Observers report that ground force engagements, characterised by the embedded reporters as “stiff resistance”, rarely persisted beyond a few minutes to hours. Many Iraqi tanks were defeated while in retreat. Anti-aircraft and artillery defences were helpless against stand-off infrared, heat and radar seeking rockets. There were little to no substantive infantry defences. Pentagon pre-conflict assertions of Iraqi armed forces strength and inventories of battle-ready equipment were not substantiated by local reports, witnesses to the battles and interviews of retired Iraqi military personnel and civilian leaders. The majority of Iraqi armoured assets were too old to withstand US and British modern ordnance; many of these assets were placed in the field as decoys and tactical facades. Serviceable heavy-armoured Iraqi assets were placed in fixed, immobile defensive positions behind sand-berms – rarely taking the offensive. According to witnesses, serviceable tanks, armoured vehicles and anti-aircraft emplacements surviving standoff rocketing and precision artillery fire were abandoned at the first sight of advancing air-cavalry and mechanised infantry. The few major tank-to-tank engagements evidenced by the conditions and size of the battlefields were short in duration – a matter of minutes. The main prolonged armoured engagements were reported as being in Al Basra, An Nasiriyah, the southern approach to Baghdad and the International Airport. The reports generally correspond to the larger battlefields identified by the team. Residential neighbourhoods inside Baghdad that served as shields and camouflage for Iraqi armoured divisions were destroyed by combat aircraft days before Coalition ground forces arrived. Airforce bases were abandoned before the opening of the conflict as Iraqi aircraft were destroyed well before the ground advance. Haiyy-al Mavalemeen, a large residential neighbourhood adjacent to the unoccupied Al Rashid Air Force Base was turned to rubble by Coalition combat aircraft using stand-off ordnance. Although it remains upright, the minaret of the Mosque of Imam Abu Hanifa (Baghdad), one of the most important of the many historical and religious sites was rocketed by an combat aircraft. Coalition “trolling missions” fired blind and unprovoked into buildings and homes to draw out the enemy. Reports indicate extensive bombing continued well beyond the decline of local (paramilitary) resistance, which was largely eliminated by the end of the second week of the invasion. Aerial bombing sites and frequencies reveal a persistent effort to demoralise civilians and discourage unorganised resistance. Most Iraqis remained cloistered in their homes for the duration of both phases of battle (air and ground). Surprisingly few refugees left the cities to cross the main corridor left open for this eventuality -- over the western desert to seek protection at UN, ICRC/RC, and Jordanian campsites set up on the borders in expectation of an exodus. Reports reveal that more Iraqis entered the country during the conflict than left. The largest intact battlefield located by UMRC was found in Abu Khasib at the approach to Al Basra. This engagement was fought by the British Desert Rats and 7th Mechanised Combat Division, with materiel supply by the 2 Close Support Regiment. The battlefield held the largest concentration of Iraqi tanks found by the team, outside Baghdad. An intelligence miscalculation about the Iraqi defensive positions in and around Al Basra, combined with an error in planning nearly spelled disaster for the British. Refusing a US offer of close in air support, the British initially resisted the US Rapid Dominance strategy in favour of a head-to-head confrontation. After meeting the strongest and best-organised Iraqi defences in the entire engagement, the British quickly changed tactics. Under the code name, Operation James (styled on the mythical Hollywood character, James Bond, and using such place names as “pussy”, “gold-finger and “galore” on the commander’s maps at Operation Telic HQ, Qatar), the British faced an unusually committed and unexpected, well organised Iraqi defence. Since the Battle for Basra took place within the first 72 hours of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Iraqi forces surrounding Al Basra had not been psychologically demoralised or mechanically weakened by Shock and Awe aerial bombing. Aerial bombing of Basra was intentionally limited to facilitate the formation of anti-Sadaam alliances with the local Shia leadership. All factors intersected, resulting in one of the most prolonged conventional ground, mechanised forces engagements in the 26 days of battle. The centre of the battle was in a suburb called Abu Khasib. Abu Khasib is the most radioactive battlefield identified by UMRC’s 13 days of radiation surveys. The larger diameter, tank armour penetration channels emit ionising radiation readings ~2,500 X’s the reference level. Some areas of Basra present background radioactivity ~20 X’s the reference level. · Rapid Dominance Every Iraqi heavy-armoured asset inspected by the UMRC team showed the effects and marks of having received fire. About 1 of Iraq’s main battle tanks (MBT’s) investigated – Pentagon estimates were 2,500 serviceable Iraqi tanks – were defeated by radioactive weapons. The physical features of the penetration channels, trajectories and armoured target effects reveal four different sizes (diameters) and three types of radioactive armour penetrating ordnance: (1) inert, (2) incendiary and (3) high explosive. · Shock and Awe Radiation surveys of the Shock and Awe bombing do not reveal the same pattern of contamination or concentrations of radioactive source-material present in the “hotspots” of the Rapid Dominance, ground combat areas. The Basra and Baghdad baselines for total radioactivity on soil surfaces and ambient air are markedly elevated over North American standard reference levels. Radiation spatially associated with Shock and Awe bombsites and surrounding neighbourhoods range from the wide-area elevated Baghdad background up to ~3 X’s the Baghdad baseline. · Quantities of uranium munitions deployed (Figure 2) The April 2003, US CENTAF (Central Airforce Command) post-conflict report, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM - By the Numbers, a desk-study by a US veterans advocate, and a letter solicited from a US Senator conclude that 30-mm rounds fired by A-10 Thunderbolts constitute the highest fraction of DU munitions deployed in Gulf War II. These reports admittedly include only partial and limited accountings of the depleted uranium ordnance delivered by tactical combat platforms (i.e. gun-ships and mechanised infantry). They do not provide any information on the going-in inventories and pre-existing US and UK Telic stockpiles. There is a significant discrepancy between the independent reports that rely on official government and defence department numbers (i.e. 100 – 200 metric tonnes) and the 1000 to 2000 metric tonnes of DU attributed to estimates by unnamed United Nations Environment Program and Pentagon sources. Figure 2 Published estimates of quantities of uranium munitions 1. 24 Imperial Tons (21.8 Metric Tonnes). U.S. Army data related by U.S. Senator Jon Kyle, U.S. Senator, Chair of the Republican Policy Committee, in a letter to J. Cohen-Joppa, July 14, 2003. 2. 100 – 200 Metric Tonnes – D. Fahey, The Use of Depleted Uranium in the 2003 Iraq War: An Initial Assessment of Information and Policies, June 24, 2003. 3. 68 Metric Tonnes (75 Imperial Tons), representing calculations based on % of DU rounds loaded in total fired rounds of 300,000 by A-10 Thunderbolt. Reported interview of unnamed CentCom spokesperson, Christian Science Monitor, May 15, 2003. 4. 311,597 30-mm rounds, T M Mosley, USAF, By the Numbers, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Assessment and Analysis Division, USAF, April 2003. 5. 1,000 – 2,000 metric tonnes (1,100 – 2,200 imperial tons), posted in Associated Press article, The Environment in the News, UNEP Environmental Press Release Reports, Communications and Public Information, United Nations Environment Program, Associated Press, April 2003. ******************* Conditions in Iraq Iraqis are familiar with the fact that uranium weapons were deployed during Gulf War I and over the years have developed a fear of exposure. A history of unexplained illnesses and chronic health problems in communities affected by DU deployed in Gulf War I and perhaps later by ordnance used in Operations’ Desert Fox and Desert Strike is widely attributed to Coalition weapons. A portion of the population is convinced radiological contamination is a permanent feature of the Iraqi environment. Many say this is why they want to leave the country. Since Operation Iraqi Freedom combat ceased, physicians are preoccupied with the treatment of a widely experienced public health crisis due to rampant viral and bacterial diseases – explained by the disruption of the clean water supply, power generation failures and a decade of decline in health care resulting from the embargo. Doctors and hospitals are busy treating wounds and tending recuperating civilians injured by collateral damage and wounded Iraqi armed forces’ members. The decline in the nation’s central health care system was preceded by a severe decline of the national decentralised public health program. The few, very limited national and community health resources are dedicated to emergency services. Physicians are neither trained to nor have the time and facilities to diagnose the relatively unexplained illnesses derived from uranium internal contamination and acute effects from recent exposures. Longer-term effects present a different challenge. As widely reported, cancer and long-term treatment wards are filled with children and teenagers suffering leukaemia and incapacitating congenital deformities attributed locally and by many international sources as direct and inherited effects of uranium contamination. Unemployment levels in major urban areas exceed 70% to 80%. Those employed receive salaries 20% to 30% of pre-war income levels. There is a robust underground economy, the trading and bartering of goods and services, but it is cash poor. A new social and economic elite is comprised of those engaged in selling goods and services to the Coalition, business and government operations permitted to function by the Coalition, and those few commercial and civil organisations linked to the Coalition-sponsored, Governing Council. The Coalition is refusing many businesses and factories the permits to resume business activities. The largest group of newly employed and the widest distribution of US dollars is to the IP (the Coalition controlled, newly formed and fast swelling ranks of Iraqi Police). The narrow and short economic supply-chain is insufficient to trickle resources or cash down and out to the majority of unemployed Iraqis. Contrary to disparaging western press reports about local Iraqi looting and rampant civil disruptions by “loyalists and rebels”, Iraq is experiencing the brunt of pre-planned, organised crime, raping the country of its liquidable assets. For example, sponsored from adjacent countries, Iraq suffered organised and well-finance theft (demonstrated by witnessed convoys of heavy equipment and transport trucks) of thousands of kilometres of high-voltage power transmission cables – dismantled and sold for their copper and aluminium content. In deference to overly enthusiastic and badly researched western press reports claiming wide-scale, disorganised looting and vandalism, Iraq has been systematically dismantled. A second organised program of theft extracted tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of pre-cast, galvanised steal door and window frames, virtually destroying in the process, every undefended government, military, state enterprise and private commercial building in the country. This program began before the launch of OIF and continued until the Coalition became organised, well after the end of the combat phase of the war. Building materials were loaded and transported on commercial trucks under the watchful eyes of the Coalition, taken to neighbouring countries and reserved for resale – pending the planned, multi-billion dollar urban renewal program. The crime was very sophisticated; using decoy tactics of setting fires, indiscriminate high profile looting designed to feed western video cameras, and inciting riots to attract security forces. Supervised theft succeeded in destroying all major buildings in Baghdad (that survived the bombing), collecting all heavy equipment, construction and building materials’ stockpiles, heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical equipment and all commercial and government inventories. This theft was deterred only where Iraqis made a concerted effort to defend their personal businesses, protect public property and their homes. Iraqis complain and accuse the Coalition of intentionally facilitating the theft and looting, refusing to protect homes, businesses and government facilities. Economic problems and systemic disruptions of critical civilian infrastructure plague Iraq. The general population in urban areas reserve their few remaining resources for the purchase of food, school supplies, building materials, inflated gasoline prices, medicine, automobile repair and other goods and services elemental to survival. Although better equipped to ride out economic declines, the rural populations have also suffered from the embargo and the past decade of continuous bombing of the government and civilian infrastructure. Iraq’s second largest city, Basra, is the most severely disaffected and impoverished urban community in the nation – appearing much as it did during the Iran-Iraq War – destroyed by eight years of continuous artillery barrage exacerbated by the recent British artillery bombardments. Basra was abandoned by Sadaam Husein’s government for siding with the Coalition after Gulf War I. Inaccurate and politically divisive western press coverage has claimed that the south was abandoned due to a religious difference between Sunni’s and Shia. In fact, the southern, eastern and western rural areas of Iraq were the first to experience losses due to the embargo – as wealth and resources were concentrated in the capital. Most of the country and the rural populations are situated inside the pre-war US-controlled, northern and southern non-fly zones, which rendered the areas ungovernable. The economic impact of the trade and technology embargo coupled with 13 years of bombing and experimental weapons ’ testing in the no-fly zones brought most of Iraq’s civilian population - other than in Baghdad and the NATO-protectorate in the northern Kurdish communities -- into poverty and a subsistence lifestyle. [installment 1 to be continued] ------------------------ Yahoo! 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