"An Open Letter to Donald Rumsfeld Concerning Allegations of Atrocities and
Their Cover-up in Fallujah" seeks a response from the Defense Secretary concerning
widespread allegations of the targeting of civilians by US forces in Fallujah,
the use of banned chemical and other weapons, including reformualted Napalm, as
well as indications that DoD covered-up these actions.
April 14, 2005
Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
Re: Serious and credible allegations of U.S. atrocities in Fallujah
Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:
I am writing this open letter to you concerning serious allegations regarding
U.S. military activity in Fallujah. These allegations include the intentional
killing of civilians, the use of banned weapons, including chemicals, gas and
re-formulated napalm, as well as steps to cover-up these activities. Examples
* The testimony of a 16 year old girl who "watched the soldiers enter
and shoot her mother and father directly, without saying anything. They beat
her two sisters, then shot them in the head. After this her brother was enraged
and ran at the soldiers while shouting at them, so they shot him dead."
This is reported by respected American journalist Dahr Jamail of the Inter Press
* Another account comes from Dr. Salem Ismael who describes Marines coming
into a home of non-combatants, a witness describes: "my father and neighbour
approached the door, the Americans opened fire on them. They died instantly.
Me and my 13-year old brother hid in the kitchen behind the fridge. The soldiers
came into the house and caught my older sister. They beat her. Then they shot
her. But they did not see me. Soon they left, but not before they had destroyed
our furniture and stolen the money from my father's pocket."
* Dr. Khalid ash-Shaykhli, an official at Iraq's health ministry, told a press
conference held at the Baghdad health ministry building that the U.S. military
used internationally banned weapons during its deadly attack in November 2004.
He said that research, prepared by his medical team, "prove that U.S. occupation
forces used internationally prohibited substances, including mustard gas, nerve
gas, and other burning chemicals in their attacks in the war-torn city. . .
all forms of nature were wiped out in that city. I can even say that we found
dozens, if not hundreds, of stray dogs, cats, and birds that had perished as
a result of those gasses."
* There have also been reports of the United States military using napalm-like
weapons in Fallujah describing "bombs [that] exploded into large fires
that burned peoples' skin even when water was dumped on their bodies."
Aljazera states: "The reports of the use of napalm in civilian areas are
widespread." The Sunday Mirror reported on November 28, 2004 "Since
the American assault on Fallujah there have been reports of ‘melted' corpses,
which appeared to have napalm injuries. Last August the US was forced to admit
using the gas in Iraq." Napalm was banned by the United Nations in 1980
for use against civilians. While the State Department < http://democracyrising.us/(http://usinfo.state.gov/media/Arc
hive_Index/Illegal_Weapons_in_Fallujah.html ... > has denied the use
of napalm, the widespread reports by people on the ground require a more thorough
response. The Independent on Sunday quoted an American commander, Colonel James
Alles of Marine Air Group 11, admitting the use of napalm in Iraq. Some reports
have described the substance as "reformulated" napalm.
There are also reports of unusual actions taken by the U.S. military that indicate
covering up the deaths of civilians as well as the use of chemical and other
weapons. These include:
* Journalist and writer Naomi Klein has provided evidence of U.S. forces eliminating
people who counted and reported casualties in Fallujah. She describes the U.S.
military arresting doctors at a hospital suspected of giving out casualty information.
She also describes the mobile telephones of doctors being seized so they could
not make calls to people outside the hospital about casualties. Further, U.S.
forces prevented the Iraqi-based Red Crescent to enter the city to care for
wounded civilians and bring aid to survivors - the main purpose of this action
was to prevent official recording of atrocities committed during the siege and
* "In the center of the Julan Quarter they are removing entire homes which
have been bombed, meanwhile most of the homes that were bombed are left as they
were. Why are they doing this?" This was also done in the Nazal, Mualmeen,
Jubail and Shuhada'a districts.
* Witnesses report they "watched the military use bulldozers to push the
soil into piles and load it onto trucks to carry away. This was done in the
Julan and Jimouriya quarters of the city . . . At least two kilometers of soil
were removed," he explained, "Exactly as they did at Baghdad Airport
after the heavy battles there during the invasion and the Americans used their
special weapons." The witness explained further: " that in certain
areas where the military used ‘special munitions' 200 square meters of
soil was being removed from each blast site.
* The military brought in water tanker trucks to power blast the streets. "They
went around to every house and have shot the water tanks," he continued,
"As if they are trying to hide the evidence of chemical weapons in the
water, but they only did this in some areas, such as Julan and in the souk (market)
there as well." Last month one refugee who had just arrived at the hospital
in the small city explained that he'd watched the military bring in water tanker
trucks to power blast some of the streets in Fallujah."Why are they doing
this," explained Ahmed (name changed for his protection), "To beautify
Fallujah? No! They are covering their tracks from the horrible weapons they
used in my city."
* "On 30 November the US military prevented an aid convoy from reaching
Falluja. This aid convoy was sent by the Iraqi Ministry of Health, but was told
by soldiers at a checkpoint to return in ‘8 or 9 days,' reported AP. Dr.
Ibrahim al-Kubaisi who was with the relief team told reporters at that time,
‘There is a terrible crime going in Fallujah and they do not want anybody
to know.' With the military maintaining strict control over who enters Fallujah,
the truth of what weapons were used remains difficult to find.
Source: Dahr Jamail's Dispatches, "Odd Happenings in Falluja," January
Many more testimonies of people living in Falluja are reported on http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog
As Jamail points out "These are the stories that will continue to emerge
from the rubble of Fallujah for years. No, for generations." Certainly,
the DoD recognizes that committing atrocities like the ones widely alleged will
fail to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis and will make the United States less
safe, as such actions will fuel anger at the United States and breed future
I am writing to request a public explanation of these allegations and to find
out whether the DoD has conducted a formal investigation of these allegations.
Kevin B. Zeese
"Journalists Tell of US Fallujah Killings," Aljazeera, March 20,
"Fallujah Napalmed: US uses banned weapon ... but was Tony Blair told?",
Sunday Mirror, November 28, 2004, http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=14920109&method=full&siteid=106694&headline=fallujah-napalmed-name_page.h
"U.S. used banned weapons in Fallujah - Health ministry," Aljazeera,
March 3, 2005, http://www.aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/news_service/middle_east_full_story.asp?service_id=7216