The US military has reportedly covered up the discovery of huge numbers of chemical weapons in Iraq – stocks which now lie in the occupied lands controlled by Isis.
According to an exposé published today by the New York Times, American soldiers reported finding around 5,000 chemical warheads or bombs after the invasion of Iraq and deposition of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Between 2004 and 2011 at least 17 US soldiers and seven Iraqi police officers were exposed to nerve agents or mustard gas chemicals, but were encouraged by the Pentagon to downplay or under-report any injuries, the Times reported.
The details of Iraq’s chemical weapons stores have only emerged now from Iraqi and US officials, redacted intelligence documents and interviews with soldiers because, the paper claimed, because of potential embarrassment for the government.
Yet all the chemical weapons found by soldiers were manufactured before 1991, the Times reported. They consisted largely of 155-millimeter artillery shells or 122-millimeter rockets – not designed for mass destruction, and produced in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war.
According to the Times, the reports were embarrassing for the Pentagon because, in five of the six incidents in which troops were wounded by chemical agents, the munitions appeared to have been “designed in the US, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by Western companies”.