Skip to comments.Greenpeace: US breaching Geneva Conventions (Barf alert level red!)
Posted on 07/04/2003 5:15:16 PM PDT by knighthawk
Baghdad - Environmental group Greenpeace accused US-led authorities in Iraq on Friday of breaching international law and refusing to allow United Nations experts to assess contamination at a nuclear plant near Baghdad.
The group says it has detected worrying levels of radioactivity in schools and homes around the Tuwaitha nuclear plant, about 20km east of the capital, but that the coalition refuses to recognise the problem.
The head of the group's Iraq investigation team, Mike Townsley, said the US-led occupation authority was breaching the Geneva Conventions "by failing in its responsibility to ensure the public health of the Iraqi people".
The conventions lay out the legal obligations of an occupying power, as well as the rules of war and treatment of prisoners.
Townsley said that coalition authorities were ignoring what he called an urgent environmental health crisis caused by a "frightening array of radioactive material".
The group brought a barrel containing a radioactive sample of yellow cake - one of the main ingredients used for making nuclear fuel - to coalition headquarters in Baghdad to press its case.
Radioactive material was looted from the plant in the chaos that followed the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime on April 9.
Greenpeace says it has noticed an increase in reports of illnesses with symptoms consistent with radiation poisoning, adding that local doctors are ill-equipped to deal with the situation.
The group brought the barrel together with a letter addressed to the top US civil administrator, Paul Bremer, to his offices in a former palace in central Baghdad, but was refused entry, Townsley said.
In the letter, which was accepted by a coalition official, the group said: "We urge you to immediately meet your obligations to protect the health of those who live around Iraq's nuclear sites.
"We urge you to immediately meet your obligation to protect public health by calling on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to mount an urgent investigation into radioactive contamination around Al-Tuwaitha."
The group said it believed there was sufficient evidence for Bremer to reassess his view there was no health risk posed by the plant.
The group says Bremer's administration has repeatedly denied that the Tuwaitha plant represents a threat to public health and says it has blocked efforts to allow the IEAE to access the plant.
The Iraqi atomic energy commission, along with the IAEA and the US army's own radiation protection unit's chief, Colonel Mark Melanson, has recommended that a UN team be allowed to assess the situation at the plant, Townsley said.
"The reason they (the IAEA) can't get in is because their entry is being blocked by the US administration," Townsley said.
Greenpeace said last week that it had uncovered radioactivity in a number of buildings, including one source measuring 10,000 times above normal and another, outside a primary school, measuring 3 000 times above normal.
Locals were still storing radioactive barrels and lids in their houses and several objects carrying radioactive symbols lay discarded in the community.
But an IAEA team last month found most of the uranium feared stolen from Tuwaitha, Science magazine reported on June 20.
How come they never whine about such things against China (for oppressing, occupying Tibet)?
Funny, I don't remember reading any similar complaints from greenpeace while Saddam was in charge.
They are not there but ....well....I guess maybe they ARE there?? Doesn't greenpeace have a whale or something to save?
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