US War Crimes: Cancer Rate in Fallujah Worse than Hiroshima

By Tom Eley

The Iraqi city of Fallujah continues to suffer the ghastly consequences of a US military onslaught in late 2004.

According to the authors of a new study, “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009,” the people of Fallujah are experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality, and sexual mutations than those recorded among survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the years after those Japanese cities were incinerated by US atomic bomb strikes in 1945.

The epidemiological study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health (IJERPH), also finds the prevalence of these conditions in Fallujah to be many times greater than in nearby nations.

The assault on Fallujah, a city located 43 miles west of Baghdad, was one of the most horrific war crimes of our time. After the population resisted the US-led occupation of Iraq—a war of neo-colonial plunder launched on the basis of lies—Washington determined to make an example of the largely Sunni city. This is called “exemplary” or “collective” punishment and is, according to the laws of war, illegal.

The new public health study of the city now all but proves what has long been suspected: that a high proportion of the weaponry used in the assault contained depleted uranium, a radioactive substance used in shells to increase their effectiveness.

In a study of 711 houses and 4,843 individuals carried out in January and February 2010, authors Chris Busby, Malak Hamdan, Entesar Ariabi and a team of researchers found that the cancer rate had increased fourfold since before the US attack five years ago, and that the forms of cancer in Fallujah are similar to those found among the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors, who were exposed to intense fallout radiation.

In Fallujah the rate of leukemia is 38 times higher, the childhood cancer rate is 12 times higher, and breast cancer is 10 times more common than in populations in Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait. Heightened levels of adult lymphoma and brain tumors were also reported. At 80 deaths out of every 1,000 births, the infant mortality rate in Fallujah is more than five times higher than in Egypt and Jordan, and eight times higher than in Kuwait.

Strikingly, after 2005 the proportion of girls born in Fallujah has increased sharply. In normal populations, 1050 boys are born for every 1000 girls. But among those born in Fallujah in the four years after the US assault, the ratio was reduced to 860 boys for every 1000 female births. This alteration is similar to gender ratios found in Hiroshima after the US atomic attack of 1945.

The most likely reason for the change in the sex ratio, according to the researchers, is the impact of a major mutagenic event—likely the use of depleted uranium in US weapons. While boys have one X-chromosome, girls have a redundant X-chromosome and can therefore absorb the loss of one chromosome through genetic damage.

“This is an extraordinary and alarming result,” said Busby, a professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Ulster and director of scientific research for Green Audit, an independent environmental research group. “To produce an effect like this, some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened. We need urgently to find out what the agent was. Although many suspect uranium, we cannot be certain without further research and independent analysis of samples from the area.”

Busby told an Italian television news station, RAI 24, that the “extraordinary” increase in radiation-related maladies in Fallujah is higher than that found in the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the US atomic strikes of 1945. “My guess is that this was caused by depleted uranium,” he said. “They must be connected.”

The US military uses depleted uranium, also known as spent nuclear fuel, in armor-piercing shells and bullets because it is twice as dense as lead. Once these shells hit their target, however, as much as 40 percent of the uranium is released in the form of tiny particles in the area of the explosion. It can remain there for years, easily entering the human bloodstream, where it lodges itself in lymph glands and attacks the DNA produced in the sperm and eggs of affected adults, causing, in turn, serious birth defects in the next generation.

The research is the first systematic scientific substantiation of a body of evidence showing a sharp increase in infant mortality, birth defects, and cancer in Fallujah.

In October of 2009, several Iraqi and British doctors wrote a letter to the United Nations demanding an inquiry into the proliferation of radiation-related sickness in the city:

“Young women in Fallujah in Iraq are terrified of having children because of the increasing number of babies born grotesquely deformed, with no heads, two heads, a single eye in their foreheads, scaly bodies or missing limbs. In addition, young children in Fallujah are now experiencing hideous cancers and leukemias…

“In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital had 170 newborn babies, 24 percent of whom were dead within the first seven days, a staggering 75 percent of the dead babies were classified as deformed…

“Doctors in Fallujah have specifically pointed out that not only are they witnessing unprecedented numbers of birth defects, but premature births have also considerably increased after 2003. But what is more alarming is that doctors in Fallujah have said, ‘a significant number of babies that do survive begin to develop severe disabilities at a later stage.’” (See: “Sharp rise in birth defects in Iraqi city destroyed by US military”)

The Pentagon responded to this report by asserting that there were no studies to prove any proliferation of deformities or other maladies associated with US military actions. “No studies to date have indicated environmental issues resulting in specific health issues,” a Defense Department spokesman told the BBC in March. There have been no studies, however, in large part because Washington and its puppet Baghdad regime have blocked them.

According to the authors of “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah,” the Iraqi authorities attempted to scuttle their survey. “[S]hortly after the questionnaire survey was completed, Iraqi TV reportedly broadcast that a questionnaire survey was being carried out by terrorists and that anyone who was answering or administering the questionnaire could be arrested,” the study reports.

The history of the atrocity committed by American imperialism against the people of Fallujah began on April 28, 2003, when US Army soldiers fired indiscriminately into a crowd of about 200 residents protesting the conversion of a local school into a US military base. Seventeen were killed in the unprovoked attack, and two days later American soldiers fired on a protest against the murders, killing two more.

This intensified popular anger, and Fallujah became a center of the Sunni resistance against the occupation—and US reprisals. On March 31, 2004, an angry crowd stopped a convoy of the private security firm Blackwater USA, responsible for its own share of war crimes. Four Blackwater mercenaries were dragged from their vehicles, beaten, burned, and hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River.

The US military then promised it would pacify the city, with one unnamed officer saying it would be turned into “a killing field,” but Operation Vigilant Resolve, involving thousands of Marines, ended in the abandonment of the siege by the US military in May, 2004. The victory of Fallujah’s residents against overwhelming military superiority was celebrated throughout Iraq and watched all over the world.

The Pentagon delivered its response in November 2004. The city was surrounded, and all those left inside were declared to be enemy combatants and fair game for the most heavily equipped killing machine in world history. The Associated Press reported that men attempting to flee the city with their families were turned back into the slaughterhouse.

In the attack, the US made heavy use of the chemical agent white phosphorus. Ostensibly used only for illuminating battlefields, white phosphorus causes terrible and often fatal wounds, burning its way through building material and clothing before eating away skin and then bone. The chemical was also used to suck the oxygen out of buildings where civilians were hiding.

Washington’s desire for revenge against the population is indicated by the fact that the US military reported about the same number of “gunmen” killed (1,400) as those taken alive as prisoners (1,300-1,500). In one instance, NBC News captured video footage of a US soldier executing a wounded and helpless Iraqi man. A Navy investigation later found the Marine had been acting in self-defense.

Fifty-one US soldiers died in 10 days of combat. The true number of city residents who were killed is not known. The city’s population before the attack was estimated to be between 425,000 and 600,000. The current population is believed to be between 250,000 and 300,000. Tens of thousands, mostly women and children, fled in advance of the attack. Half of the city’s building were destroyed, most of these reduced to rubble.

Like much of Iraq, Fallujah remains in ruins. According to a recent report from IRIN, a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Fallujah still has no functioning sewage system six years after the attack. “Waste pours onto the streets and seeps into drinking water supplies,” the report notes. “Abdul-Sattar Kadhum al-Nawaf, director of Fallujah general hospital, said the sewage problem had taken its toll on residents’ health. They were increasingly affected by diarrhea, tuberculosis, typhoid and other communicable diseases.”

The savagery of the US assault shocked the world, and added the name Fallujah to an infamous list that includes My Lai, Sabra-Shatila, Guérnica, Nanking, Lidice, and Wounded Knee.

But unlike those other massacres, the crime against Fallujah did not end when the bullets were no longer fired or the bombs stopped falling.

The US military’s decision to heavily deploy depleted uranium, all but proven by “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah,” was a wanton act of brutality, poisoning an entire generation of children not yet born in 2004.

The Fallujah study is timely, with the US now preparing a major escalation of the violence in Afghanistan. The former head of US Afghanistan operations, General Stanley McChrystal, was replaced last month after a media campaign, assisted by a Rolling Stone magazine feature, accused him, among other things, of tying the hands of US soldiers in their response to Afghan insurgents.

McChrystal was replaced by General David Petraeus, formerly head of the US Central Command. Petraeus has outlined new rules of engagement designed to allow for the use of disproportionate force against suspected militants.

Petraeus, in turn, was replaced at Central Command by General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who played a key planning role in the US assault on Fallujah in 2004. Mattis revels in killing, telling a public gathering in 2005 “it’s fun to shoot some people…. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot.”

BP committing Ecocide on Islands of the Gulf

Wayne Madsen

From environmentalists and wildlife specialists to fisherman and businessmen along the Gulf Coast the message is the same: BP is not only strangling the news of what is actually occurring in the Gulf of Mexico with the oil disaster but has co-opted key federal regulatory and oversight agencies to advance its agenda and that of its oil partners, including Halliburton, Anadarko, and Transocean.

Elmer's Island, in the Gulf Coast is becoming one of many BP's toxic dumps.

The logistics of the oil clean-up is being criticized because of the over-dependence on deepwater oil skimmer boats. No procedures are in place for using skimmers that can operate in shallower waters of 1 1/2 to 2 feet. There are a number of boats that could be used for shallow water skimming being tied up in port and not being used by BP.

Fishermen who have experience in rescuing sea turtles enmeshed in fishing nets are not being used in turtle rescue operations. In fact, they face arrest if they even touch an endangered turtle. Some 3,000 fisherman have remained idled by the oil disaster and most have not been hired by BP. Idled fishermen were told by BP that they would be called when their help was needed. However, later BP told them that many would probably never be called.

BP has hired an army of contractors and sub-contractors who are spending plenty of “flash money” to assuage some local businesses. However, WMR noticed while driving to Louisiana a large number of seafood distributors and restaurants that were shuttered.

Those hired by BP to clean up beaches and waters are not permitted to wear respirators and many are becoming sick, even coughing up blood. This editor, while driving to Venice, began to experience burning and watering eyes, a condition that lasted hours after returning to the west bank of New Orleans.

The disinformation being promulgated by BP is being accentuated by a number of local TV reporters being “embedded” with Coast Guard units in the waters off the coast and in the marshland and estuaries. Furthermore, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), accused by many local environmentalists and fishermen of being complicit in the cover-up of bad news, has issued a report claiming that tests of 600 fish caught in waters “near the edge of the oil” have proven negative for chemical toxins. Fishermen interviewed by WMR said the claim is ludicrous since there are no fish in the waters in the oil zone or near it.

Gone from the waters of the Gulf off Louisiana are grouper, snapper, amberjack, tuna, and even the small colorful blenny, which normally feeds at oil rig pylons in the Gulf and is found only in the Amazon basin, in addition to the Louisiana Gulf waters. The Gulf waters are slowly being turned into a hydrocarbon soup of dispersed oil bubbles that is translucent black in color.

Fishing boat owners whose boats have been used for clean-up efforts are suffering fiberglass hull damage from hydrocarbon penetration and BP has informed the owners that their boats will have to be destroyed afterwards and their hulls ground up. However, even boats not being used for clean-up will be destroyed with no assurance that BP will compensate the owners.

NOAA is also reportedly sitting on bathymetric maps of the Gulf sea floor that shows a massive fissure on the sea floor that is located 7 miles from the Deepwater Horizon site. The fissure is leaking 120,000 gallons of crude a day, along with methane gas. The Corexit-dispersed oil has seeped under booms set up to protect Lake Ponchartrain, which lies north of New Orleans. Dead fish and tar balls have now turned up in the lake.

Further out in the Gulf and along sensitive refuges like Elmer’s Island, massive fish kills are being reported by local residents. The Coast Guard and BP have established a no-fly zone over Elmer’s Island, a major bird sanctuary.

In addition, local fishermen said that nurseries in the Gulf, responsible for producing 40 percent of America’s seafood, are being destroyed by the oil and the chemical soup created by the mixing of oil dispersant Corexit 9500. Corexit is breaking down the crude oil into small oil bubbles and a watery oil mixture that is seeping under the booms set up to protect sensitive fish nurseries, oyster beds, and other pristine areas. Many Atlantic fish species also spawn in the Gulf and they are also threatened by the oil disaster. Even barnacles, one of the most resistant sea creatures to extreme situations, are dying in vast numbers, along with sponges and coral.

Near Venice, Louisiana in Plaquemines Parish, is the old Civil War fort of Fort Jackson. A national historical site and park, Fort Jackson has been turned into a major base for joint BP-Coast Guard dumping of Corexit on oil in the Gulf. WMR witnessed five helicopters carrying suspended white bags of Corexit out over Gulf waters.

Hastily-erected signs at the entrances to Fort Jackson warn that the site is closed to visitors because of “construction.” Fort Jackson actually serves as a major base of operations for BP and Coast Guard activities. The Obama administration, which has stated its commitment to “open government,” is engaged in what amounts to semi-covert BP-Coast Guard operations in the Gulf.

WMR has also been informed by a reputable source that BP has been engaged in night time spraying of a bleaching agent on Louisiana beaches to make it appear that the beaches are being cleaned up. The planes, which fly at night, disregard flight regulations by flying with their lights out. The operations have been approved by the Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Also coming in for criticism is the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has remained silent as federal incident commanders have ordered home wildlife rescue workers from Texas and other states. One group that was told to pack its bags was the non-profit Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc. from Texas, which has 20 years of experience in handling animal rescues from oil spills. BP hired the O’Brien Group, a subsidiary of SEACOR Holdings of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as its wildlife rescue coordinator. Local environmentalists view O’Brien as a shill for BP.

The EPA is also remaining mute on air quality reports from Venice that show that on May 7 hydrogen sulfide in the air was measured at 1192 parts per billion. Five parts per billion is considered hazardous to human health. In addition, the May 7 reports show that benzene levels in the air were measured at 5000 parts per billion, again in the health danger zone. Propylene glycol, a major component in Corexit 9500, is being measured in Gulf waters at 150 times its lethal concentration.

BP has hired the same firm that performed air quality monitoring in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina’s Murphy oil spill in Chalmette to perform monitoring for the current oil disaster. The firm has been called a “proven liar” in both incidents by environmentalists and emergency planners.

BP clean-up workers have also been found dumping tar balls from the water and beaches in land-fills in Mississippi and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The oil from the sludge is seeping into the local water tables.

The corporate news media, particularly the local New Orleans television stations, are embedding their reporters with Coast Guard and BP teams in the Gulf. The corporate media reports essentially serve as public relations outreeach for BP. A number of New Orleans and Louisiana groups are trying to get the actual news about the disaster out but face limited resources.

To call the Gulf oil disaster the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States is an understatement. And with the connivance of the Obama White House, the Gulf of Mexico is being turned into the Gulf of Death.

Costa Rica Occupied by U.S. Military -Update-

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
July 7, 2010

In an interview to a local newspaper, the Vice Minister of Security of Costa Rica, JORGE CHAVARRÍA said the alternative solution to letting the American occupiers move around the country is “too expensive”.  ”It would require the whole national budget to fully equip the Coast Guard so they can do the work the U.S. military will do.”  But if Costa Rica is not capable of securing its own coasts and land, it means the U.S. Army will have to stay in Costa Rican territory forever, and not only for six months as the permit says, doesn’t it?  One point the Vice Minister got right is that drug smuggling is a regional or even continental problem, therefore, Costa Rica cannot solve it by itself.  However, Mr. CHAVARRÍA also believes it is kosher to violate the Constitution and allow foreign forces to occupy the country.  But isn’t this very same action an example of trying to solve the problem by itself?

In the meantime, legislator Luis Fishman has decided to take the approval of Congress to Costa Rican courts as he believes it is unconstitutional.  ”The agreement signed between Costa Rica and the United States in 1998 was to allow Coast Guard ships only and not military,” insists Fishman.  While some legislators complain about the arrival of the Americans, it seems some people in Costa Rica do not understand what this issue is all about.  It is common to read comments in the local media which favor the arrival of the U.S. Army.  Jesus Cespedes Calderon says in a comment that Fishman’s actions only reflect an interest for self promotion and not an authentic concern for the country’s sovereignty.  Luis Adrian Gonzalez Rozmenoski, another Costa Rican writes that people like Fishman and the others opposing the move are a bunch of drama queens that shield themselves with the issue of sovereignty to become popular figures.

Other comments express a belief that the precarious security condition the country is experiencing demands and justifies the type of actions the Costa Rican Congress has taken.  They ignore or do not recognize that the dire situation they so precisely point out exists due to the corruption that exists at all levels in the Costa Rican society.  They surely ignore the Hegelian dialect and way of operating in which the conquerors create a problem to cause a reaction and provide a “solution”.

A local newspaper called La Nacion, points out that the current security problem is a result of the government neglect, who is used to receiving donations from foreign governments instead of setting funds aside for combating crime and drug trafficking. The Director of the Coast Guard, Martín Arias, said in an interview that: “We don’t have the capacity to safeguard all our marine territory”.  Who has?  The United States, with all its might cannot take care of its own borders, which makes it even more ironic that they go to Costa Rican land and oceans to help them safeguard the territory.

Arias added that the government of Costa Rica has indeed neglected the security of the country, by many seen as a small piece of paradise in the middle of a revolted region.  ”The country is happy with accepting royalties from friendly governments,” he said.  The local Coast Guard obtains its budget from the Public Security Department.  The total annual budget for combating crime in Costa Rican waters is of about $145,000 of which only 15 percent is spent on security operations.  Did anybody say corruption?

Although Mr. Arias did not detail how the U.S. Army would help in the fight against drug trafficking, he insisted that if the Coast Guard had the ability to fully patrol the oceans they could limit the extent to which Costa Rican oceans are used to transport and deal illegal drugs.  One thing is sure: Costa Rica does not need 46 War Ships, or 7,000 Marines or War Helicopters to end with drug trafficking in its oceans.

Costa Rica Occupied: Congress Surrenders Sovereignty to U.S. Army

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
July 6, 2010

For the first time since it abolished its Army in 1948, Costa Rica decided to allow the invasion of United States ships into its harbor

"Cuando alguno pretenda tu gloria manchar, verás a tu pueblo valiente y viril."

and effectively renounced to its sovereignty.  In an illegal move, the Costa Rican Congress approved the arrival of the American troops which include 46 US warships and 7,000 Marines.  All troops will have freedom to move about the country in their full gear, and will be allowed to police the Central American land.  The Congress’ illegal approval is in direct violation of the Costa Rican Constitution, as it was established after 1948 that the country would would not create or maintain an official army and that all the monies would instead be invested in social reform programs such as education and housing.

Although the US army is supposed to only stay in the country until December 2010, many citizens and political parties declared their opposition to the move, due to the fact the U.S. has never actually left a country it has taken possession of.  The newspaper Prensa Latina reported that the leaders of three parties in Costa Rica called the decision a “violation of sovereignty”.  The move, according to those who support it, is justified in order to empower the effort to eradicate drug trafficking in the region.  According to PressTV, the Costa Rican government argues that the approval is disproportionate to the threat caused by drug smuggling in the country and the Central American area.  Besides the 7,000 troops and the ships, the U.S. also added helicopters to the massive contingent.

Luis Fishman, the leader of the Social Unity Party (PUSC) said that the permission is a blank check to the U.S. to station its forces on the coast line of the country.  Others have warned that this position will allow the American forces to launch attacks against  targets like Venezuela, whose government opposes the American Imperialistic policies.  Before the arrival of the 7,000 troops, ships and Helicopters, the U.S. already counted with two bases in Costa Rica, which were directed by SOUTHCOM, or Southern Command, a paramilitary American group -disguised as a drug trafficking combating force- which maintains a Naval Base in the port of Caldera in the Caribbean and another one in the northern province of Guanacaste.  “We cannot support an illegal act, we won’t allow the Constitution to be broken,” Fishman added.

More complaints were heard from other political leaders.  Legislator Jose Maria Villalta said the permission will allow U.S. troops to “enjoy freedom of movement and the right to carry out the activities needed to fulfill their mission.”  Villalta added that the Washington government sees Central America as being within an area of influence  which it intends to use to force its dominance.  Previous to letting the American military forces in, Costa Rica already had agreements with the United States to allow the presence of Coast Guard vessels to remain in its waters, but never before did it permit the arrival or permanence of a military ships, helicopters or any other major war contingent.

Even if these military forces leave Costa Rican soil, as they are supposed to on December 31, 2010, the country will remain occupied by the flotilla of military soldiers who operate out of Caldera and Guanacaste under SOUTHCOM.  However, many believe that the U.S. Army is there to stay.  Let’s see if the Costa Rican people honor what their National Anthem says: “Whenever someone tries to stain your glory, you’ll see your people strong and virile.”

Corrupt Newspapers ‘softened’ Torture After U.S. began Using it

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
July 2, 2010

Torture, as a tool to obtain information from a human being is disgusting, inhumane and illegal by all measurements in past and

Do as I say, not as I do. This seems to be the motto of the torturers and the pandering media.

modern societies.  It is unthinkable that anyone with red blood in their veins could consider it acceptable to torture a person in order to obtain information that as it has been widely demonstrated, (1) has never provided any useful details to prevent a disaster.  In the western world, torture is mostly seen as unjustified, (2) and only some power men who control the militaries of the world still agree to use torture in various forms to get details of ‘plots’ to attack the free world.  Only a population that never experience torture as a tool to criminalize citizens could hesitate before the question, Is Torture Ever Justified? (3)

How would public perception change if the media that feeds propaganda to them on a daily basis simply began to indirectly condone or soften torture as a tool the government uses in times of war? A study conducted by Harvard reveals that the four newspapers with more circulation in the U.S. effectively mischaracterized the use of waterboarding -as a form of torture- after it was discovered the United States waterboarded and humiliated prisoners.  (4) The study conducted by Law students at Harvard says that The New York Times, the USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal either refused to call waterboarding torture or did it in only and handful of their articles that talked about the use of torture by the United States.

We found a significant and sudden shift in how newspapers characterized waterboarding…   … from 2002‐2008, the studied newspapers almost never referred to waterboarding as torture. The New York Times called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture in just 2 of 143 articles (1.4%). The Los Angeles Times did so in 4.8% of articles (3 of 63). The Wall Street Journal characterized the practice as torture in just 1 of 63 articles (1.6%). USA Today never called waterboarding.

According to the study, newspapers were more likely to call waterboarding torture if another country was the perpetrator of the crime.

The New York Times, 85.8% of articles (28 of 33) that dealt with a country other than the United States using waterboarding called it torture or implied it was torture while only 7.69% (16 of 208) did so when the United States was responsible. The Los Angeles Times characterized the practice as torture in 91.3% of articles (21 of 23).

Although waterboarding has been debated and talked about since the beginning of the century, it was never so close to home as it has been in the last decade.  After 9/11, and in the middle of a careless campaign to hunt a nonexistent enemy, the U.S. launched a military assault in Iraq and Afghanistan to find and kill the murderers who had killed innocent Americans.  There was very little concern in the public’s mind as to how this goal was achieved and what would it take to bring them to justice.  Then came Abu Ghraib (5) and a mass awakening took place.  Was the U.S using the very same techniques it had condemned in the past?  The answer was YES.

Harvard’s study examined the newspapers’ coverage using electronic databases.  “Our research team word searched for the term “waterboarding”, these included classifying the practice as “torture,” giving it some lesser, negative classification (such as calling waterboarding “inhuman”), giving it a softer, less negative classification (such as calling waterboarding “objectionable”), or not characterizing the practice at all.”  The study analyzed the reporting of four major newspapers using Proquest, LexisNexis, and the NY Times website archives.  Read more about the methodology on page 5 of the study.

“The results of this study demonstrate that there was a sudden, significant, shift in major print media’s treatment of waterboarding,” concludes the study.  After the Abu Ghraib scandal, the four studied newspapers changed the word torture for “harsh” and/or “coercive”, to describe waterboarding.  This behaviour was seen both in articles considered as “news” as well as those classified as “opinion”.  Although Harvard’s study does not provide any possible reason why this change in wording occurred, it does cite an article by New York Times editor Clark Hoyt, who said that this behaviour was a deliberate decision made by Journalists and Editors in an effort to remain “neutral”.

The study refutes Mr. Hoyt’s statement with the fact newspapers comfortably called waterboarding and other practices of the sort “torture” before 9/11 and even before 2004 without any reserves.  Another reason why Mr. Hoyt’s affirmation is baseless, is that waterboarding had been labeled torture and an illegal practice by American law, international law, and the very same newspapers that now justify their actions by calling themselves “neutral”.

(1) http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-torture-does-not-work-as-history-shows-777213.html

(2) http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/military_0604.pdf

(3) http://hotair.com/archives/2009/12/04/pew-poll-public-support-for-torture-at-five-year-high/

(4) http://www.hks.harvard.edu/presspol/publications/papers/torture_at_times_hks_students.pdf

(5) http://www.antiwar.com/news/?articleid=8560