Archive for the 'cluster bombs' Category

Is Russia the evil empire? Presidential politicians and the pot calling the kettle black.

Tonight, the two secret combinations candidates discussed whether or not Russia under Putin is the evil empire or not. 

Both stopped short of “yes” or “no” but made plain they have problems with Russia.

“I think they’ve engaged in an evil behavior and I think that it is important that we understand they’re not the old Soviet Union but they still have nationalist impulses that I think are very dangerous,” Obama said.

“Maybe,” McCain said, adding: “If I say yes, then that means that we’re reigniting the old Cold War. If I say no, it ignores their behavior.”

Isn’t this fascinating?  We build up and train an army in Georgia and watch while it attacks a civilian population in its sleep, massacring at least hundreds of defenseless people in cold blood, meeting no resistance at all… and all we in the US can talk about is the beacon of democracy and freedom in poor little Georgia and how it is being bullied by big bad Russia.  Little wonder that Joseph Smith said that his feelings revolt at the idea of having anything to do with politics. 

We are talking here about the politics of murder, the politics of a massacre of women and children (it is not any better to kill men by the way), which politics are the worst kind of politics.  This is where our government flagrantly crosses the line between secret combinations and a government answerable to its people.  Do you doubt that Georgia was the aggressor and that the US government and media lie to this very day about that incident?  Read this story here, just out today from the Christian Science Monitor then and see what you think of this woman’s eyewitness account of what happened in South Ossetia the night of August 7, 2008:

I was in Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, on Aug. 7 when Georgian troops marched into the city and killed my friends and neighbors. I huddled with my family in terror for three nights while Saakashvili’s tanks and rockets destroyed hundreds of our homes, desecrated cemeteries, gutted schools and hospitals.

I also have good reason not to trust what Saakashvili says. For three days before the attack I had been getting calls from many Georgian friends warning me to get out. They said Saakashvili was planning an attack. Most of the Georgians living in South Ossetia left because they knew what was coming.

On the night of Aug. 7, Saakashvili went on television and assured the frightened civilian population of South Ossetia that he would not attack us. This was long after the time Saakashvili now claims Russians had begun “invading” Georgia.

Ossetians went to bed relieved and thankful for a peaceful night.

Less than two hours later, according to credible international accounts, his artillery, bombers, and three brigades of ground troops unleashed what I can only describe as a fierce hell on our city. In the moment, we knew only our fear as we hid. Afterward I spoke with hundreds of Ossetians to find out what was done to us.

My friend’s elderly father tried to douse the flames set by Georgian fire on the home he had built with his hands. His leg was severed by shrapnel from Georgian weapons. He bled to death while his disabled wife crawled from their burning home.

Ossetians saw Georgian tanks firing into basements where women and children hid for safety They saw fleeing families shot down by Georgian snipers. We learned that the Georgian military had used Grad rocket systems and cluster bombs against Tskhinvali.

Read the rest of this story here:


Fadel Shana, victim of Israeli secret combinations: The Facts from Reuters

Reuters is presenting the facts here on Shana’s death.  This is probably so that his death is not forgotten and buried in our memories and so that Israel will be pressured to hold someone responsible for his murder and the murders of the other innocent people (many children) killed with him that day. 

— Fadel Shana, 24, was killed by several darts, known as flechettes, which burst from a shell fired by an Israeli tank on April 16 about 5:30 p.m. The tank firing and shell bursting were the final images on tape before Shana’s camera was destroyed.

— Eight other civilians aged between 12 and 20 were killed, six of them aged under 16. At least seven other bystanders aged from 10 to 18 were also hit. None was armed or was a militant. Reuters soundman Wafa Abu Mizyed, 25, was wounded in the wrist.

— Shana and Abu Mizyed were wearing blue body armour marked “Press” and stood next to a car bearing “TV” and “Press” markings on a country road some 100 metres southeast of Gaza’s main highway. Two Merkava-4 main battle tanks stood on a ridge about 1.5 km (a mile) to the southeast, facing northwest.

— In the preceding half hour, the Reuters crew had driven past a point 700 metres from the tanks, filmed the aftermath of an Israeli air strike that killed 9 civilians, and returned by the same route. Shana had stopped, set up his tripod and filmed a panorama of the area, including the tanks, for some minutes.

— Twenty or more children, some on bicycles, were present between Shana and the main Gaza highway 100 metres behind him. No witness heard or saw militant activity in the area all day.

— An Israeli observation drone was circling over the area.

— One of the tanks fired two flechette shells, typically containing 5,000 1.5-inch (3.75-mm) metal darts. Their purpose is to kill troops in an area 300 metres wide. In 2003, Israel’s Supreme Court said “use of the flechette is restricted to areas in which the danger to innocent civilians is not actual”.

— The first shell killed Shana and others. The tank then fired a second flechette shell, perhaps a minute later. Journalists who arrived filmed a third explosion at 5:40 p.m. Shana’s car was burnt out but its diesel tank had not exploded. 

— Shana … was killed as a result of an Israeli Defence Force (IDF) tank attack at approximately 1730 on April 16, 2008.

— For several minutes prior to his death (Shana) had been filming a panoramic scene of an area in which an IDF air strike had killed nine people believed to be civilians and in which at least two IDF tanks were still visible.

— Three IDF soldiers had been killed in the morning in an ambush approximately 15 km northeast of the location.

— But … there were no known militants at the scene of the attack and no identified militant activity.

— There was at least one UAV above the scene. This drone should have been able to distinguish the press markings on Shana’s vehicle and identify the presence of children.

— (Shana) had a professional attitude to safety and had taken all reasonable precautions … He complied with Reuters’ own safety policy and his actions can not be interpreted as irresponsible or negligent in any way.

Hopefully Israel will be forthcoming in the prosecution of these murderers and put policy into place that will stop such killings in the future.

Update:  This morning, Israel is commenting on the situation as such: 

“We have expressed regret and the army is conducting an investigation. It’s a tragedy,” Regev said. “There was no identification that he was a journalist. Had it been clear he was a journalist, the shell would not have been fired.”

IDF clears itself of cluster bomb violations in Lebanon. No surprises here.

Isn’t this nice.  Israel’s Defense Forces have investigated themselves and found themselves to be not guilty of any sort of crime in the cluster bombing of Southern Lebanon last year.

  As you recall, there was a date set for a ceasefire and Israel knew this date and therefore, in the last 72 hours bombed southern Lebanon massively (about 3 million bomblets) with this worst kind of indiscriminate killer, known as the cluster bomb.  The problem with cluster bombs besides killing everything in a huge radius, is that the failure rate is so high, leaving numerous land mines in populated places that continue to kill for years after the conflict is over.

In Lebanon, conservative numbers have 30 killed since the ceasefire from cluster bomblets, and 180 at least have been injured.  The USA has been investigating Israel’s use of the weapons the USA sold to Israel, but I haven’t heard of an outcome yet and don’t expect any sort of indictment of Israel to come from the USA.

In spite of the fact that cluster bombs have killed about 98,000 civilians around the world, the USA wholeheartedly approves of their use.

These bombs are still killing 120 people a year in Laos and killed 38,000 people in Vietnam.  More than 4,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed or injured by our own cluster bombs since the Iraqi war.

It is notable that Senator Hillary Clinton voted with the Republicans to keep funding for Cluster bombs while most Democrats voted against this.

Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator
Impeach Cheney