11/01/2012

'We fired more than a million cluster bombs in Lebanon'

Cluster bomb explosion victim Mohammed al-Hajj Mussa holds his prosthetic limbs.jpgIsrael 'Defense' Forces 

IDF commander: 'We fired more than a million cluster bombs in Lebanon.'

Phosphorous and cluster bombs heavily used; unexploded munitions litter wide area of Lebanon...

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Sep.12, 2006

"What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs," the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.

Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets.

In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army used phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by international law. According to their claims, the vast majority of said explosive ordinance was fired in the final 10 days of the war.

The rocket unit commander stated that Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) platforms were heavily used in spite of the fact that they were known to be highly inaccurate.

MLRS is a track or tire carried mobile rocket launching platform, capable of firing a very high volume of mostly unguided munitions. The basic rocket fired by the platform is unguided and imprecise, with a range of about 32 kilometers. The rockets are designed to burst into sub-munitions at a planned altitude in order to blanket enemy army and personnel on the ground with smaller explosive rounds.

The use of such weaponry is controversial mainly due to its inaccuracy and ability to wreak great havoc against indeterminate targets over large areas of territory, with a margin of error of as much as 1,200 meters from the intended target to the area hit.

The cluster rounds which don't detonate on impact, believed by the United Nations to be around 40% of those fired by the IDF in Lebanon, remain on the ground as unexploded munitions, effectively littering the landscape with thousands of land mines which will continue to claim victims long after the war has ended.

Because of their high level of failure to detonate, it is believed that there are around 500,000 unexploded munitions on the ground in Lebanon. To date 12 Lebanese civilians have been killed by these mines since the end of the war.

According to the commander, in order to compensate for the inaccuracy of the rockets and the inability to strike individual targets precisely, units would "flood" the battlefield with munitions, accounting for the littered and explosive landscape of post-war Lebanon.

When his reserve duty came to a close, the commander in question sent a letter to Defense Minister Amir Peretz outlining the use of cluster munitions, a letter which has remained unanswered.

'Excessive injury and unnecessary suffering'

It has come to light that IDF soldiers fired phosphorous rounds in order to cause fires in Lebanon. An artillery commander has admitted to seeing trucks loaded with phosphorous rounds on their way to artillery crews in the north of Israel.

A direct hit from a phosphorous shell typically causes severe burns and a slow, painful death.

International law forbids the use of weapons that cause "excessive injury and unnecessary suffering", and many experts are of the opinion that phosphorous rounds fall directly in that category.

The International Red Cross has determined that international law forbids the use of phosphorous and other types of flammable rounds against personnel, both civilian and military.

IDF: No violation of international law

In response, the IDF Spokesman's Office stated that "International law does not include a sweeping prohibition of the use of cluster bombs. The convention on conventional weaponry does not declare a prohibition on [phosphorous weapons], rather, on principles regulating the use of such weapons.

"For understandable operational reasons, the IDF does not respond to [accounts of] details of weaponry in its possession.

"The IDF makes use only of methods and weaponry which are permissible under international law. Artillery fire in general, including MLRS fire, were used in response solely to firing on the state of Israel."

The Defense Minister's office said it had not received messages regarding cluster bomb fire.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/idf-commander-we-fired-more-than-a-million-cluster-bombs-in-lebanon-1.197099

Photo: Cluster bomb explosion victim Mohammed al-Hajj Mussa holds his prosthetic limbs

19:03 Posted by Universal in cluster bombs, Israel, Latest News | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

10/16/2012

'Russian-made cluster bombs' in Syria...

cluster.US.angry_that_afghans_banned_cluster_bombs.jpg

'Syrian government forces have used Russian-made cluster bombs on populated areas in their effort to push back rebel advances along the country's main north-south highway', according to Human Rights Watch. The Syrian Army denied using cluster bombs in its fights against terrorists and by US. armed groups in Syria.

Western human rights organizations as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have very good relations with the US State Department.
Suzanne Nossel previously of the US State Department, is now executive director of Amnesty International USA.

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U.S. angry that Afghans banned cluster bombs

December 6, 2010

A secret cable describes how the Bush-era State Department labored to keep the controversial weapons in Afghanistan...

The 2,000-pound "smart" bomb that killed two U.S. special forces troops and injured 20 others in Afghanistan on December 5, 2001 is one of the most modern and precise weapons in America's military arsenal. Such "JDAMs" (joint direct attack munitions) bombs, which are dropped in both 1,000-pound and 2,000-pound versions, were developed after the 1991 Gulf War for more precise day and night use against ground targets through fog, clouds or other bad weather. A JDAM cluster is shown in this undated Air Force photograph. REUTERS/USAF/Handout RC/SV(Credit: © Reuters Photographer / Reuters)

Here’s another WikiLeaked cable that offers an unfiltered look at a little-discussed aspect of American foreign policy: the Bush-era State Department panicked in 2008 after Afghanistan unexpectedly signed an international treaty banning cluster bombs, with the U.S. fearing that the military could no longer store and use the controversial weapons in Afghanistan.

The December 2008 cable followed an international summit at which Afghanistan and over 90 other countries — not including the U.S. — signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), which ban the use of bombs that scatter so-called bomblets over a wide area. Some of the bomblets typically do not explode, creating a deadly hazard for civilians that can last for many years.

Because the treaty prohibits not only the use of cluster bombs, but also the storage of the munitions, the State Department was worried about the fate of the American store of the bombs in Afghanistan. So Washington sent a note to the embassy in Kabul to pressure the Afghan government on this point:

The U.S. Government believes Article 21 of the Convention provides the flexibility for signatories to continue to cooperate and conduct operations with U.S. forces, and in turn for U.S. forces to store, transfer, and use U.S. cluster munitions in the territory of a State Party. The Department requests that Post approach appropriate interlocutors at the Afghan Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense to urge Kabul to interpret Article 21 in a similar manner, minimizing any potential impact of Afghanistan,s signature of the Convention on U.S. operations and military cooperation. Given the political sensitivities in Afghanistan surrounding cluster munitions as well as air and artillery strikes in general, the Department believes that a low-profile approach will be the best way to ensure a common understanding that the CCM does not impede military planning and operations between our two governments.

Remarkably, one of the U.S. talking points argued that the use of cluster bombs would actually reduce civilian casualties (emphasis added).

Not allowing the use of cluster munitions will increases risk to Coalition forces engaged in combat from enemy counter-fire, reduce responsiveness, decrease the number of different targets that can be attacked within a specified timeframe, and will substantially increase risks of collateral damage by requiring usage of a greater number of large, unitary warheads to accomplish the same mission.

The Guardian has more on how the U.S. also labored to keep cluster munitions in Britain, which, like Afghanistan, signed the treaty.

http://www.salon.com/2010/12/06/wikileaks_afghanistan_clu...

Human rights organizations: 'Syrian Army using cluster bombs'

Amnesty.Nossel.DifferentPodium.SameLies.jpg'Syrian government forces have used Russian-made cluster bombs on populated areas in their effort to push back rebel advances along the country's main north-south highway', according to Human Rights Watch.

The Syrian Army denied using cluster bombs in its fights against terrorists and by US. armed groups in Syria.

Western human rights organizations as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have very good relations with the US State Department and are part of the daily American war propaganda and western media...

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Photo: Same lies, different podium.
Suzanne Nossel previously of the US State Department, is now executive director of Amnesty International USA. 
Nossel was drawn directly from the US State Department - again, utterly contradicting Amnesty's claims of being "independent" of governments and corporate interests. She continued promoting US foreign policy, but simply behind a podium with a new logo, Amnesty International's logo, attached to it. Amnesty International's website specifically mentions Nossel's role behind US State Department-backed UN resolutions regarding Iran, Syria, Libya, and Cote d'Ivoire.