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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US 'lied' in denying the use of napalm in Iraq, UK admits

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, June 17, IRNA
Iraq-US Napalm Bombs
The British government has been forced to admit that it was lied to by American officials over the use of "internationally reviled" napalm-type firebombs in Iraq.

"The US confirmed to my officials that they had not used MK77s in Iraq at any time and this was the basis of my response to you," Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram said.

"I regret to say that I have since discovered that this is not the case and must now correct the position," he said in a private letter to Labour MP Harry Cohen, which was revealed by the Independent newspaper Friday.

Despite persistent rumours of injuries among Iraqis consistent with the use of incendiary weapons such as napalm, Ingram assured MPs in January that US forces had not used a new generation of incendiary weapons, codenamed MK77, in Iraq.

But in his letter, he admitted that 30 MK77 firebombs were used by the American 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in the invasion of Iraq between 31 March and 2 April 2003.

To avoid accusation that the US had breached the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the British minister insisted that they were used against military targets "away from civilian targets."
Confirmation of the US had lied to the UK has led MPs to further question the value of assurances by the US, including its claim that the firebombs were not used in last year's major assault on Fallujah.

The Iraq Analysis Group (IAG), which campaigned against the war, has also accused the US and UK of a cover-up, saying that American authorities only admitted the use of the weapons after the evidence from reporters had become irrefutable.

"The US has used internationally reviled weapons that the UK refuses to use, and has then apparently lied to UK officials, showing how little weight the UK carries in influencing American policy," IAG spokesman Mike Lewis said.

He also suggested Tony Blair's government had deliberately held up the information that the US had lied until after last months elections in the UK, saying the evidence Ingram was given was "publicly available months ago."
"He has waited until after the election to admit to it - a clear sign of the Government's embarrassment that they are doing nothing to restrain their own coalition partner in Iraq," Lewis said.

The Liberal Democrats, which opposed the Iraq war, also said that it showed the US had "not been completely open with the UK" despite London's special relationship with Washington.

MK77 bombs are an evolution of the napalm, a kerosene-based jet fuel that sticks to structures and to its victims, that was used so horrendously by the US Vietnam and Korea.

HC/1771



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