7th May 2003
MANY CIVILIANS WERE KILLED BY CLUSTER BOMBS?
The Pentagon says 1: Iraq Body Count says at least 200.
An independent research organisation has published detailed evidence
of at least 200 civilians killed by coalition cluster bombs since the
start of the Iraq War (full details at www.iraqbodycount.net/editorial.htm.
The Pentagon has admitted only one recorded case of a civilian death
from cluster munitions in Iraq this year. This extraordinarily low
number has been greeted with widespread incredulity. Human Rights
Watch director Kenneth Roth has condemned it as a "whitewash".
International has called for an independent investigation to be held
into coalition use of cluster munitions. So far, however, such critics
have not been able to draw on a firm counter-estimate of the numbers
so far recorded killed.
To begin to fill this informational vacuum an international research
team yesterday published the world's first comprehensive numerical
analysis of cluster-related deaths.
Since the start of hostilities Iraq Body Count has been building up a
meticulous and exhaustive compilation of every reported civilian death
in Iraq caused by coalition military action. It has based its work on
corroborated reports in key media sources published worldwide. The
research team has updated its estimates on a daily basis by adding to
a constantly growing on-line data-base
which now reports over 100
separate incidents involving up to 2700 civilian deaths in total.
Among these incidents are included reliable reports of at least 200
civilian deaths due to cluster bombs, with up to a further 172 deaths
which were probably caused by cluster bombs. Of these 372 deaths, 147
have been caused by detonation of unexploded or "dud" munitions,
around half this number being children.
Many of the press reports from which the data have been extracted
contain graphic eyewitness details of injuries and mutilations
confirmed by doctors as being typical of cluster bombs, including
dismemberment and decapitation, and the riddling of the body with deep
Authors John Sloboda and Hamit Dardagan said "Public concern about
possible misuse of these savagely indiscriminate weapons is rapidly
mounting. Our research reveals the shocking disparity between what the
world's press has already reported and what the Pentagon is prepared
to admit. Those who are genuinely concerned about civilian casualties,
and interested in minimising them, can no longer plead ignorance."
For more information contact Hamit Dardagan (0207 912 1072), John Sloboda
(077 879 75689); Email: firstname.lastname@example.org