White Phosphorus in Fallujah
Protest at the U.S Embassy
November 14, 2005
USC4P&J endorsed and participated in the demonstration at the U.S. Embassy in Rome denouncing the use of white phosphorus in Fallujah and calling for withdrawal of the troops from Iraq. Below is Stephanie's account.
In a matter of just a few days, a protest was organized in front of the U.S. Embassy in Rome after RAI News 24 aired a 30-minute documentary on the use of white phosphorus by the U.S. military in Fallujah last November, confirming what independent journalists and human rights groups had been reporting for a year. [see the video]
USC4P&J endorsed the demonstration and a number of our members participated. It was very important for us to make our voices heard and to speak out against the atrocities documented in the film. White Phosphorus is a chemical agent the burns the skin on contact. The video included graphic images of the horribly disfigured bodies of men, women, and children; their clothes still intact.
The protest was called to condemn the use of this chemical weapon and to demand the immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq. Participating in the demonstration was a wide slice of the Italian anti-war movement, from Cobas to Beati Costruttori di Pace. There were a few politicians present as well as Giuliana Sgrena, the Italian journalist kidnapped in Iraq and then shot by U.S. soldiers on her way to the Baghdad Airport. Our group held signs with Stop the War on one side and slogans on the other such as "Fallujah = My Lai with Phosphorus" and "Impeach Bush for War Crimes".
There were hundreds of protesters present and we were initially packed on the sidewalk across the street from the embassy. Then a group led by Cobas invaded the street and blocked traffic. They attempted to throw white flour over the gates of the embassy in a symbolic gesture, but were stopped short by the police. The flour was then used to write messages on the street.
A small delegation from our group together with Lisa Clark of Beati Costruttori di Pace walked over to the gates of the embassy and as U.S. citizens requested a meeting with the ambassador. We were asked to wait and were then told it was not possible. Another symbolic gesture.
Our signs in English attracted the attention of a couple of tourists from Denver, Kathy and George, a Vietnam vet. George immediately proclaimed himself anti-Bush. We invited them to join us and gave them a couple of signs. They stayed with us for over an hour. George was also interviewed by the newspaper Liberazione, with one of our friends from Traduttori per la pace functioning as interpreter.
Additional demonstrations were also held the following day in Milan at the U.S. Consulate where over one thousand protesters gathered and a video sit-in was staged in Florence, showing the Fallujah video on laptops to passersby in a pedestrian zone in the center.
Special thanks to those who made it out to the protest. At 4pm on a Monday, it wasn't easy for most. But we had enough of a presence to make it on the Italian news (TG3 and Rai News 24) as well as several Italian newspapers and even Navy Times, Air Force Times, Army Times and Marine Times. Our voices were heard.
Now is the time to keep pushing for this video to get more news coverage both in Italy and the U.S. Contact the news media in the U.S. and demand this story be covered. Or write a letter to the editor of your favorite newspaper. Media contact information can be found on FAIR's web site.
And sign a petition demanding the video of Fallujah be shown in prime time on RAI.
Appeal in English for our members
Appello in italiano
The Face of War: Photo gallery from Darh Jamail's Electronic Iraq. This album contains photos taken by the military of dead men in Fallujah. The photos were taken on November 19th, 2004, to identify the dead. The IRC estimates that at least 60% of those killed in the assault of Fallujah are women, children and elderly. Warning: These are extremely graphic images posted simply to show the true face of war.
Field Artillery Magazine: March/April 2005 issue of this Army magazine contains battlefield report on Fallujah, with the following on white phosphorus:
"WP (White Phosphorous) proved to
be an effective and versatile munition.
We used it for screening missions at
two breeches and, later in the fight, as a
potent psychological weapon against
the insurgents in trench lines and spider
holes when we could not get effects on
them with HE. We fired 'shake and
bake' missions at the insurgents, using
WP to flush them out and HE to take
used improved WP for screening missions
when HC (Hexachloroethane Zinc) smoke would have been
more effective and saved our WP for
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