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John Simkin

War Crimes in the Lebanon

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I notice the US didn't veto UN resolution 425 calling for Israeli withdrawal in 1978, when Carter was President, but they did veto a resolution in 1985, when Reagen was President. I also remember Carter being critical of Begin during the peace talks between Israel and Egypt during that period. America's brief flirtation with impartiality during Carter's administration must have alarmed Israel greatly. No matter, it's been all one way traffic since.

One of the holds that Israel has over Bush junior is that it helped Bush senior overthrow Jimmy Carter (October Surprise). This is the story the Bush family is very keen not to emerge. This includes making death threats to journalists trying to uncover the story. See the thread on Robert W. Owen for background to this story.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=7542

As I recall US Government files from 1980 that might have thrown a little more light on the 'October Surprise' scam were overdue for release by September 11th 2001. Dubya's delay in releasing documents in a timely way was becoming an issue. After 9-11, with everyone looking for Moslem's under the bed, Bush quietly changed the release rules.

Interesting the way you say, rightly in my opinion John, that the Israelis could hold the events of 1980 against the Bush clan. This neatly illustrates the relative power relations. In theory, after all, the reverse could also be true. But blackmail seems to be a one-way street when it comes to Israel. I imagine anyone trying to turn the tables has greatly diminished life-expectancy - and media coverage of their untimely demise would not be favourable.

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A powerful article by an American conservative from the era before US Republican Administrations became 100% 'neoconned'

The Shame of Being an American

By Paul Craig Roberts - July 21, 2006

Gentle reader, do you know that Israel is engaged in ethnic cleansing in southern Lebanon? Israel has ordered all the villagers to clear out. Israel then destroys their homes and murders the fleeing villagers. That way there is no one to come back and nothing to which to return, making it easier for Israel to grab the territory, just as Israel has been stealing Palestine from the Palestinians.

Do you know that one-third of the Lebanese civilians murdered by Israel’s attacks on civilian residential districts are children? That is the report from Jan Egeland, the emergency relief coordinator for the UN. He says it is impossible for help to reach the wounded and those buried in rubble, because Israeli air strikes have blown up all the bridges and roads. Considering how often (almost always) Israel misses Hizbollah targets and hits civilian ones, one might think that Israeli fire is being guided by US satellites and US military GPS. Don’t be surprised at US complicity. Why would the puppet be any less evil than the puppet master?

Of course, you don’t know these things, because the US print and TV media do not report them.

Because Bush is so proud of himself, you do know that he has blocked every effort to stop the Israeli slaughter of Lebanese civilians. Bush has told the UN "NO." Bush has told the European Community "NO." Bush has told the pro-American Lebanese prime minister "NO." Twice. Bush is very proud of his firmness. He is enjoying Israel’s rampage and wishes he could do the same thing in Iraq.

Does it make you a Proud American that "your" president gave Israel the green light to drop bombs on convoys of villagers fleeing from Israeli shelling, on residential neighborhoods in the capital of Beirut and throughout Lebanon, on hospitals, on power plants, on food production and storage, on ports, on civilian airports, on bridges, on roads, on every piece of infrastructure on which civilized life depends?

Are you a Proud American? Or are you an Israeli puppet?

On July 20, "your" House of Representatives voted 410-8 in favor of Israel’s massive war crimes in Lebanon. Not content with making every American complicit in war crimes, "your" House of Representatives, according to the Associated Press, also "condemns enemies of the Jewish state."

Who are the "enemies of the Jewish state"?

They are the Palestinians whose land has been stolen by the Jewish state, whose homes and olive groves have been destroyed by the Jewish state, whose children have been shot down in the streets by the Jewish state, whose women have been abused by the Jewish state. They are Palestinians who have been walled off into ghettos, who cannot reach their farm lands or medical care or schools, who cannot drive on roads through Palestine that have been constructed for Israelis only. They are Palestinians whose ancient towns have been invaded by militant Zionist "settlers" under the protection of the Israeli army who beat and persecute the Palestinians and drive them out of their towns. They are Palestinians who cannot allow their children outside their homes because they will be murdered by Israeli "settlers."

The Palestinians who confront Israeli evil are called "terrorists." When Bush forced free elections on Palestine, the people voted for Hamas. Hamas is the organization that has stood up to the Jewish state. This means, of course, that Hamas is evil, anti-Semitic, un-American and terrorist. The US and Israel responded by cutting off all funds to the new government. Democracy is permitted only if it produces the results Bush and Israel want.

Israelis never practice terror. Only those who are in Israel’s way are terrorists.

Another enemy of the Jewish state is Hizbollah. Hizbollah is a militia of Shia Muslims created in 1982 when Israel first invaded Lebanon. During this invasion the great moral Jewish state arranged for the murder of refugees in refugee camps. The result of Israel’s atrocities was Hizbollah, which fought the Israeli army, defeated it, and drove it, with its Satanic tail between its legs, out of Lebanon. Today Hizbollah not only defends southern Lebanon but also provides social services such as orphanages and medical care.

To cut to the chase, the enemies of the Jewish state are any Muslim country not ruled by an American puppet friendly to Israel. Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the oil emirates have sided with Israel against their own kind, because they are dependent either on American money or on American protection from their own people. Sooner or later these totally corrupt governments that do not represent the people they rule will be overthrown. It is only a matter of time.

Indeed Bush and Israel may be hastening the process in their frantic effort to overthrow the governments of Syria and Iran. Both governments have more popular support than Bush has, but the White House Moron doesn’t know this. The Moron thinks Syria and Iran will be "cakewalks" like Iraq, where ten proud divisions of the US military are tied down by a few lightly armed insurgents.

If you are still a Proud American, consider that your pride is doing nothing good for Israel or for America.

On July 20 when "your" House of Representatives, following "your" US Senate, passed the resolution in support of Israel’s war crimes, the most powerful lobby in Washington, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), quickly got out a press release proclaiming "The American people overwhelming support Israel’s war on terrorism and understand that we must stand by our closest ally in this time of crisis."

The truth is that Israel created the crisis by invading a country with a pro-American government. The truth is that the American people do not support Israel’s war crimes, as the CNN quick poll results make clear and as was made clear by callers into C-Span.

Despite the Israeli spin on news provided by US "reporting," a majority of Americans do not approve of Israeli atrocities against Lebanese civilians. Hizbollah is located in southern Lebanon. If Israel is targeting Hizbollah, why are Israeli bombs falling on northern Lebanon? Why are they falling on Beirut? Why are they falling on civilian airports? On schools and hospitals?

Now we arrive at the main point. When the US Senate and House of Representatives pass resolutions in support of Israeli war crimes and condemn those who resist Israeli aggression, the Senate and House confirm Osama bin Laden’s propaganda that America stands with Israel against the Arab and Muslim world.

Indeed, Israel, which has one of the world’s largest per capita incomes, is the largest recipient of US foreign aid. Many believe that much of this "aid" comes back to AIPAC, which uses it to elect "our" representatives in Congress.

This perception is no favor to Israel, whose population is declining, as the smart ones have seen the writing on the wall and have been leaving. Israel is surrounded by hundreds of millions of Muslims who are being turned into enemies of Israel by Israel’s actions and inhumane policies.

The hope in the Muslim world has always been that the United States would intervene in behalf of compromise and make Israel realize that Israel cannot steal Palestine and turn every Palestinian into a refugee.

This has been the hope of the Arab world. This is the reason our puppets have not been overthrown. This hope is the reason America still had some prestige in the Arab world.

The House of Representatives resolution, bought and paid for by AIPAC money, is the final nail in the coffin of American prestige in the Middle East. It shows that America is, indeed, Israel’s puppet, just as Osama bin Laden says, and as a majority of Muslims believe.

With hope and diplomacy dead, henceforth America and Israel have only tooth and claw. The vaunted Israeli army could not defeat a rag tag militia in southern Lebanon. The vaunted US military cannot defeat a rag tag, lightly armed, insurgency drawn from a minority of the population in Iraq, insurgents, moreover, who are mainly engaged in civil war against the Shia majority.

What will the US and its puppet master do? Both are too full of hubris and paranoia to admit their terrible mistakes. Israel and the US will either destroy from the air the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Iran so that civilized life becomes impossible for Muslims, or the US and Israel will use nuclear weapons to intimidate Muslims into acquiescence to Israel’s desires.

Muslim genocide in one form or another is the professed goal of the neoconservatives who have total control over the Bush administration. Neocon godfather Norman Podhoretz has called for World War IV (in neocon thinking WW III was the cold war) to overthrow Islam in the Middle East, deracinate the Islamic religion and turn it into a formalized, secular ritual.

Rumsfeld’s neocon Pentagon has drafted new US war doctrine that permits pre-emptive nuclear attack on non-nuclear states.

Neocon David Horowitz says that by slaughtering Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, "Israel is doing the work of the rest of the civilized world," thus equating war criminals with civilized men.

Neocon Larry Kudlow says that "Israel is doing the Lord’s work" by murdering Lebanese, a claim that should give pause to Israel’s Christian evangelical supporters. Where does the Lord Jesus say, "go forth and murder your neighbors so that you may steal their lands"?

The complicity of the American public in these heinous crimes will damn America for all time in history.

COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration.

Original is HERE

Edited by Sid Walker

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A powerful article by an American conservative from the era before US Republican Administrations became 100% 'neoconned'

The Shame of Being an American

By Paul Craig Roberts - July 21, 2006

Gentle reader, do you know that Israel is engaged in ethnic cleansing in southern Lebanon? Israel has ordered all the villagers to clear out. Israel then destroys their homes and murders the fleeing villagers. That way there is no one to come back and nothing to which to return, making it easier for Israel to grab the territory, just as Israel has been stealing Palestine from the Palestinians.

Do you know that one-third of the Lebanese civilians murdered by Israel’s attacks on civilian residential districts are children? That is the report from Jan Egeland, the emergency relief coordinator for the UN. He says it is impossible for help to reach the wounded and those buried in rubble, because Israeli air strikes have blown up all the bridges and roads. Considering how often (almost always) Israel misses Hizbollah targets and hits civilian ones, one might think that Israeli fire is being guided by US satellites and US military GPS. Don’t be surprised at US complicity. Why would the puppet be any less evil than the puppet master?

Of course, you don’t know these things, because the US print and TV media do not report them.

Because Bush is so proud of himself, you do know that he has blocked every effort to stop the Israeli slaughter of Lebanese civilians. Bush has told the UN "NO." Bush has told the European Community "NO." Bush has told the pro-American Lebanese prime minister "NO." Twice. Bush is very proud of his firmness. He is enjoying Israel’s rampage and wishes he could do the same thing in Iraq.

Does it make you a Proud American that "your" president gave Israel the green light to drop bombs on convoys of villagers fleeing from Israeli shelling, on residential neighborhoods in the capital of Beirut and throughout Lebanon, on hospitals, on power plants, on food production and storage, on ports, on civilian airports, on bridges, on roads, on every piece of infrastructure on which civilized life depends?

Are you a Proud American? Or are you an Israeli puppet?

On July 20, "your" House of Representatives voted 410-8 in favor of Israel’s massive war crimes in Lebanon. Not content with making every American complicit in war crimes, "your" House of Representatives, according to the Associated Press, also "condemns enemies of the Jewish state."

Who are the "enemies of the Jewish state"?

They are the Palestinians whose land has been stolen by the Jewish state, whose homes and olive groves have been destroyed by the Jewish state, whose children have been shot down in the streets by the Jewish state, whose women have been abused by the Jewish state. They are Palestinians who have been walled off into ghettos, who cannot reach their farm lands or medical care or schools, who cannot drive on roads through Palestine that have been constructed for Israelis only. They are Palestinians whose ancient towns have been invaded by militant Zionist "settlers" under the protection of the Israeli army who beat and persecute the Palestinians and drive them out of their towns. They are Palestinians who cannot allow their children outside their homes because they will be murdered by Israeli "settlers."

The Palestinians who confront Israeli evil are called "terrorists." When Bush forced free elections on Palestine, the people voted for Hamas. Hamas is the organization that has stood up to the Jewish state. This means, of course, that Hamas is evil, anti-Semitic, un-American and terrorist. The US and Israel responded by cutting off all funds to the new government. Democracy is permitted only if it produces the results Bush and Israel want.

Israelis never practice terror. Only those who are in Israel’s way are terrorists.

Another enemy of the Jewish state is Hizbollah. Hizbollah is a militia of Shia Muslims created in 1982 when Israel first invaded Lebanon. During this invasion the great moral Jewish state arranged for the murder of refugees in refugee camps. The result of Israel’s atrocities was Hizbollah, which fought the Israeli army, defeated it, and drove it, with its Satanic tail between its legs, out of Lebanon. Today Hizbollah not only defends southern Lebanon but also provides social services such as orphanages and medical care.

To cut to the chase, the enemies of the Jewish state are any Muslim country not ruled by an American puppet friendly to Israel. Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the oil emirates have sided with Israel against their own kind, because they are dependent either on American money or on American protection from their own people. Sooner or later these totally corrupt governments that do not represent the people they rule will be overthrown. It is only a matter of time.

Indeed Bush and Israel may be hastening the process in their frantic effort to overthrow the governments of Syria and Iran. Both governments have more popular support than Bush has, but the White House Moron doesn’t know this. The Moron thinks Syria and Iran will be "cakewalks" like Iraq, where ten proud divisions of the US military are tied down by a few lightly armed insurgents.

If you are still a Proud American, consider that your pride is doing nothing good for Israel or for America.

On July 20 when "your" House of Representatives, following "your" US Senate, passed the resolution in support of Israel’s war crimes, the most powerful lobby in Washington, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), quickly got out a press release proclaiming "The American people overwhelming support Israel’s war on terrorism and understand that we must stand by our closest ally in this time of crisis."

The truth is that Israel created the crisis by invading a country with a pro-American government. The truth is that the American people do not support Israel’s war crimes, as the CNN quick poll results make clear and as was made clear by callers into C-Span.

Despite the Israeli spin on news provided by US "reporting," a majority of Americans do not approve of Israeli atrocities against Lebanese civilians. Hizbollah is located in southern Lebanon. If Israel is targeting Hizbollah, why are Israeli bombs falling on northern Lebanon? Why are they falling on Beirut? Why are they falling on civilian airports? On schools and hospitals?

Now we arrive at the main point. When the US Senate and House of Representatives pass resolutions in support of Israeli war crimes and condemn those who resist Israeli aggression, the Senate and House confirm Osama bin Laden’s propaganda that America stands with Israel against the Arab and Muslim world.

Indeed, Israel, which has one of the world’s largest per capita incomes, is the largest recipient of US foreign aid. Many believe that much of this "aid" comes back to AIPAC, which uses it to elect "our" representatives in Congress.

This perception is no favor to Israel, whose population is declining, as the smart ones have seen the writing on the wall and have been leaving. Israel is surrounded by hundreds of millions of Muslims who are being turned into enemies of Israel by Israel’s actions and inhumane policies.

The hope in the Muslim world has always been that the United States would intervene in behalf of compromise and make Israel realize that Israel cannot steal Palestine and turn every Palestinian into a refugee.

This has been the hope of the Arab world. This is the reason our puppets have not been overthrown. This hope is the reason America still had some prestige in the Arab world.

The House of Representatives resolution, bought and paid for by AIPAC money, is the final nail in the coffin of American prestige in the Middle East. It shows that America is, indeed, Israel’s puppet, just as Osama bin Laden says, and as a majority of Muslims believe.

With hope and diplomacy dead, henceforth America and Israel have only tooth and claw. The vaunted Israeli army could not defeat a rag tag militia in southern Lebanon. The vaunted US military cannot defeat a rag tag, lightly armed, insurgency drawn from a minority of the population in Iraq, insurgents, moreover, who are mainly engaged in civil war against the Shia majority.

What will the US and its puppet master do? Both are too full of hubris and paranoia to admit their terrible mistakes. Israel and the US will either destroy from the air the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Iran so that civilized life becomes impossible for Muslims, or the US and Israel will use nuclear weapons to intimidate Muslims into acquiescence to Israel’s desires.

Muslim genocide in one form or another is the professed goal of the neoconservatives who have total control over the Bush administration. Neocon godfather Norman Podhoretz has called for World War IV (in neocon thinking WW III was the cold war) to overthrow Islam in the Middle East, deracinate the Islamic religion and turn it into a formalized, secular ritual.

Rumsfeld’s neocon Pentagon has drafted new US war doctrine that permits pre-emptive nuclear attack on non-nuclear states.

Neocon David Horowitz says that by slaughtering Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, "Israel is doing the work of the rest of the civilized world," thus equating war criminals with civilized men.

Neocon Larry Kudlow says that "Israel is doing the Lord’s work" by murdering Lebanese, a claim that should give pause to Israel’s Christian evangelical supporters. Where does the Lord Jesus say, "go forth and murder your neighbors so that you may steal their lands"?

The complicity of the American public in these heinous crimes will damn America for all time in history.

COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration.

Original is HERE

Sid,

Thanks for posting that piece. Strong words indeed.

There'll be hell to pay when Americans eventually realise how they've been decieved into blindly supporting Israel's every move, regardless of its morality and damage to America's credibility in the wider global community. Over the last 40 years or so Israel and its multitude of influential supporters in America seem to have cleverly embedded within the American psyche the idea that what's good for Israel must be good for America. There seems to be some kind of prevailing paradigm, which stretches from the intelligensia down to the person in the street, that criticism of Israel is somehow immoral, regardless of how outrageous Israel's actions become. There's a similar situation here and in Europe but its nowhere near as strong, IMO. European leaders regularly criticise Israel, mostly with justification. I guess if I lived in America there's a chance I might subscribe to the 'Israel is on God's side' argument too. But from here in Australia, America's endless pandering to Israel sticks out like the proverbial dog's balls. It might also explain the reluctance of American members of this Forum (with a few notable exceptions) to express their concerns about an ally who has clearly slipped over the edge. They don't want the anti-Semite tag, or any other label inferring immorality.

Edited by Mark Stapleton

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Another 57 dead from the bombing of a building in Qana. Connie Rice told to get lost (she denies it of course). Israeli PM says Israel might need 'another ten to fourteen days' to achieve its aims. Nice going Israel, you murderous scum.

How about the 411 members of Congress who voted in favor of Israel's continuance of hostilities, against 8 against. So much for those who say Israel doesn't control the US Congress.

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m25251&l=i&...size=1&hd=0

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Here are some photos of the first (1996) and second (2006) Qana massacres (link). What an anniversary.

Edited by Owen Parsons

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The most interesting move was the demotion of Jack Straw. The reason for that is that Straw has made it clear that he would resign if Blair supported the bombing of Iran. Blair has taken Bush’s advice and sacked Straw.

It could now be argued that the removal of Straw was about Israel’s policy in the Middle East. Straw is the first minister to criticise government policy by claiming that Israel’s bombing of the Lebanon was “disproportionate”. Meanwhile, Margaret Beckett, the new foreign secretary, has loyally supported the Bush line. Her husband, Leo, has also enjoyed the regular trips abroad.

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Here's a piece that suggests that controlled demolition of sorts was used on the building in Qana, hours after the Israeli attacks on the area.

http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Diplomacy/8997.htm

Bring down a building, killing innocent people (or people brought in who were already dead), and blame it on someone else? Who has ever heard of such a thing?

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Here's a piece that suggests that controlled demolition of sorts was used on the building in Qana, hours after the Israeli attacks on the area.

http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Diplomacy/8997.htm

Bring down a building, killing innocent people (or people brought in who were already dead), and blame it on someone else? Who has ever heard of such a thing?

Looks like crap to me. Perhaps the reason that "[t]heir faces were ashen gray" would be because they were, I dunno, buried under the rubble. The "unexplained 7 to 8 hour gap" appears to be an IDF fiction, with no substantiating evidence. Another report on the same site notes that "ome villagers, however, dispute that the collapse occurred at that time, saying that extensive damage occurred in the wee hours of the morning." [source] What did they say? I'm going to quote from a Haaretz article appropriately entitled "Qana villagers refute IDF claims building fell hours after strike":

Lebanese villagers in Qana who were witness to the bombing, however, say that the building's collapse occurred in the wee hours of the night.

Witnesses at the scene corroborated the IDF claim that the strike on the building, which is located in the Hariva neighborhood of Qana, was carried out at 1:00 A.M. After the initial strike, some of the building's residents exited in an attempt to survey the damage, in effect saving themselves.

A few minutes later, IAF planes struck the building once again, causing the walls to collapse on the residents who did not vacate, killing them in the process.

Arab media began reporting on the incident after dawn Sunday, approximately seven hours after the strike. The reports did not note, however, that the building collapsed a short time prior to Arab journalists' arrival on the scene. [link]

Where is all this apologism for Israel aggression coming from, Ron?

Edited by Owen Parsons

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Where is all this apologism for Israel aggression coming from, Ron?

This is not apologism. Destroying the building and blaming it on the Israelis would be a smart move by Hezbollah, considering the fact that they don't mind killing innocent people. I don't know if Hezbollah did it or not. I do find it hard to believe that the residents survived one attack, then died right after that in another attack "in their sleep," as if they sleep through such bombardments.

My basic view of the Israeli/Arab conflict, given its history, is simple: A pox on both their houses.

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Where is all this apologism for Israel aggression coming from, Ron?

This is not apologism. Destroying the building and blaming it on the Israelis would be a smart move by Hezbollah, considering the fact that they don't mind killing innocent people.

Hezbollah's armed wing has a policy of avoiding contact with civillians (for reasons that are primarily tactical, not humanitarian). Read the Salon article I posted a page back.

I don't know if Hezbollah did it or not. I do find it hard to believe that the residents survived one attack, then died right after that in another attack "in their sleep," as if they sleep through such bombardments.

The Qana survivors didn't say their compatriots died "in their sleep." This is just a CNN reporter's vague impression of the bodies, which isn't all that valuable as evidence.

Edited by Owen Parsons

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Hezbollah's armed wing has a policy of avoiding contact with civillians (for reasons that are primarily tactical, not humanitarian). Read the Salon article I posted a page back.

Salon is contradicted by accounts that Hezbollah wears civilian clothes in order to immediately disappear into civilian buildings after launching rockets. This would hardly be the way to avoid civilian contact.

Here is a group of Hezbollah fighters, dressed as civilians, posing proudly in a civilian area:

hezbollah.jpg

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Hezbollah's armed wing has a policy of avoiding contact with civillians (for reasons that are primarily tactical, not humanitarian). Read the Salon article I posted a page back.

Salon is contradicted by accounts that Hezbollah wears civilian clothes in order to immediately disappear into civilian buildings after launching rockets. This would hardly be the way to avoid civilian contact.

Here is a group of Hezbollah fighters, dressed as civilians, posing proudly in a civilian area:

hezbollah.jpg

I'd have to know the source of the photograph, but the fact that (some) of the fighters pictured are wearing civillian clothes doesn't actually mean that this is because they operate among civillians. I'd also note that two of the men in plain clothes are rather overweight and don't really look like their duties primarily involve combat and the other is operating the artillery. The men with guns, who would be the ones expected to run off into the crowds, are dressed for combat.

Also, this Guardian report has detailed testimony from survivors who were actually in the building at the time, and it dovetails perfectly with the Haaretz article. Here's a small excerpt, which serves as a short summary:

At about one in the morning, as some of the men were making late night tea, an Israeli bomb smashed into the house. Witnesses describe two explosions a few minutes apart, with survivors desperately moving from one side of the building to the other before being hit by the second blast. By last night, more than 60 bodies had been pulled from the rubble, said Lebanese authorities, 34 of them children. There were eight known survivors. [link]

Is Hezbollah dictating all of this eyewitness testimony, which just happens to refute the IDF's bogus and baseless contention? :D

Edited by Owen Parsons

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Here's a piece that suggests that controlled demolition of sorts was used on the building in Qana, hours after the Israeli attacks on the area.

http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Diplomacy/8997.htm

Bring down a building, killing innocent people (or people brought in who were already dead), and blame it on someone else? Who has ever heard of such a thing?

In the Fog of War, who knows what really happens on the ground?

I'd be more receptive to Israeli claims that the building in Qana did not collapse as a consequence of Israeli aerial bombings if

  1. it was one atypical incident of massive loss of civilian life caused by Israeli bombs - not one case among many, both in this lopsided 'war' and in wars past, and
  2. the Israeli spin doctors are not so actively promoting the story that the reason for attacking the Qana building was the presence of Hezbollah forces in the basement - a claim promoted with accompanying surveillance videos.

Can Israeli propagandists please get their story straight about the Qana 2 massacre?

Regarding casualties, about ten days ago, at the end of the first week of Israel's 2006 bombing assault on the Lebanon, a Jewish Australian called Deborah Miller was interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Her tale of woe from northern Israel helped counter-balance the emerging stories of massive Lebanese civilian casualties.

Here's an extract from the transcript::

TOM IGGULDEN: Australians are also returning from the other side of the conflict. This woman arrived home from Israel today. Three people died in the village she was studying in after it was attacked by a Hezbollah rockets.

DEBORAH MILLER: There are air-raid shelters, but no-one really knew where they were and a lot of them were locked and we had absolutely no warning. Absolutely xxxx terrifying. I'm very glad to be home.

Now, I freely admit that I do not have access to perfect information. I may have missed relevant reports. But with the aide of the internet and Google, I've been unable to verify that THREE peopel were killed by that date in Safed as a consequence of Hezbollah attacks by July 21st. ONE death in Safed is reported in other media sources. THREE deaths appear to be absent from accounts other than the ABC.

We know the village in question is Safed because of reports such as THIS and THIS.

Did Ms Miller exagerate the number of deaths in Safed by 200%? Did the reporter, Tom Iggulden, report inaccurately, by design or accident? Or have I missed reports of THREE rocket attack deaths in Safed?

It's hard to say. References are welcomed. Further information may shed more light on this minor subplot in the overall war, including the propaganda war.

When I called Lateline about its 21st July report, I was initially given polite assistance, but once it emerged that I entertained any doubts about its accuracy, the staffer became remarkably hostile and aggressive. Rather peevishly, he refused to provide reporter Tom Iggulden's email address so I could follow up the matter without additional effort. One would have thought accuracy would be of foremost importance to 'our' public broadcaster, along with 'balance'.

I was sustained by the unspoken assumption that, in this case at least, it is still lawful in Australia to query civilian casualty figures asserted by Zionists and their sympathisers.

Now I'm not so sure. Perhaps I missed a clause or two buried deep inside Australia's new armada of 'anti-terrorism' laws?

Edited by Sid Walker

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The photo is from Australia's Herald Sun.

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,,...5007220,00.html

Thanks for that. I think my points about the photo and, more importantly, the numerous eyewitness accounts from survivors of the Qana massacre which refute the IDF's lie stand. In other news... here's a Reuters article reprinted under the the clever title "Making the desert bloom" on Norman Finkelstein's site:

Oil Spill Adds Ecological Crisis to Lebanon's Agony

July 28, 2006 | REUTERS Story by Lin Noueihed

BEIRUT - Along Lebanon's sandy beaches and rocky headlands runs a belt of black sludge, 10,000 to 30,000 tonnes of oil that spilled into the Mediterranean Sea after Israel bombed a power plant.

Lebanon's Environment Ministry says the oil flooded into the sea when Israeli jets hit storage tanks at the Jiyyeh plant south of Beirut on July 13 and 15, creating an ecological crisis that Lebanon's government has neither the money nor the expertise to deal with.

"We have never seen a spill like this in the history of Lebanon. It is a major catastrophe," Environment Minister Yacoub al-Sarraf told Reuters.

"The equipment we have is for minor spills. We use it once in a blue moon to clean a small spill of 50 tonnes or so. To clean this whole thing up we would need an armada ... The cost of a full clean-up could run as high as US$40-50 million."

The spill is especially threatening since fish spawn and sea turtles nest on Lebanon's coast, including the green turtle which is endangered in the Mediterranean, local ecologists say.

Carried by a north-easterly wind, the spill has travelled 70-80 km up the coast of Lebanon, which has been bombarded by Israel for 16 days in a war against Hizbollah.

An Israeli warship damaged by a Hizbollah missile on July 15 may also have spilled diesel oil into the sea, according to the Environment Ministry website (www.moe.gov.lb).

At Beirut's Sporting Club, seven men in navy overalls perch on the edge of a man-made inlet skimming sludge, using buckets on the end of sticks and pouring it into plastic containers.

The ground around them is black, as are their forearms and clothes. The air is thick with acrid fumes that sting the eyes and irritate the throat.

The team is part of a pilot clean-up commissioned by the Environment Ministry. Another mop-up is underway at the San Antoine Sandy Beach Resort in northern Lebanon.

MARINE LIFE DEAD

"It arrived the day after they hit the Jiyyeh power plant. The worst has passed now. A couple of days ago the whole coastline was black," said Walid Abu Nassar, surveying the damage to the Sporting Club, which he runs.

"First they tried to pump it out but that didn't work, now this. These are crude methods but Lebanon has no other way."

Lebanon has turned to oil producer Kuwait for help. A plane load of equipment is due to arrive from Kuwait via Syria by the end of the week, Sarraf said.

But one of the main problems is that an Israeli air and sea blockade in place since the war began on July 12 is hampering both the clean-up and the delivery of equipment.

"To really clean it up we need access to the sea, which we don't have," Sarraf said. "We need more equipment and mobilisation but for that we need the hostilities to end."

The migratory season is over so birds should not be badly affected and some oil may evaporate or decompose, but spills can smother or poison sea life, the Environment Ministry says.

Even if Lebanon is able to mop up, the marine ecosystem could take years to recover, local environmentalists say.

Commercial fishing and tourism has been at a standstill since the war began because of the air and sea blockade.

"July is hatching season for turtle eggs and baby turtles have to reach deep water as fast as possible to avoid predators. With the oil in their way, they will not survive," Wael Hmaidan, a local environmental activist said.

"The oil spill, part of which has settled on the sea floor, threatens blue fin tuna, which is an important but overfished commercial fish, as well as shark species."

Story by Lin Noueihed

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

Edited by Owen Parsons

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