Robert Fisk is all over this like stink on a monkey.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure he knows what Israel used in Lebanon.
Did Israel use a secret new uranium-based weapon in southern Lebanon this summer in the 34-day assault that cost more than 1,300 Lebanese lives, most of them civilians?
But scientific evidence gathered from at least two bomb craters in Khiam and At-Tiri, the scene of fierce fighting between Hizbollah guerrillas and Israeli troops last July and August, suggests that uranium-based munitions may now also be included in Israel’s weapons inventory – and were used against targets in Lebanon. According to Dr Chris Busby, the British Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, two soil samples thrown up by Israeli heavy or guided bombs showed “elevated radiation signatures”
Sneaky, sneaky Jooooz! So, Robert, let ’em have it. Talk about what the weapons used in Khiam and At-Tiri were!
Dr Busby’s initial report states that there are two possible reasons for the contamination. “The first is that the weapon was some novel small experimental nuclear fission device or other experimental weapon (eg, a thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation flash … The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting conventional uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than depleted uranium.”
What?! What the hell is Busby talking about? Small, nuclear fission device (nuclear bomb)? Certainly that would have alerted people when the device exploded, right? Even a 500T North Korean special registered a 4 on the seismographs, surely a similar explosion would have had people in Turkey on guard? Now, if it were just working off of the thermobaric properties of ignited DU (burning about 2000 C, enough to consume local oxygen at a frightening rate), then sure, I’ll buy it. But a little nuke? Come on.
As for the second, a uranium penetrator with an enriched uranium shell? What!? Let’s take a bomb and instead of using the material that will not irradiate our troops, let’s use the stuff that will and is 10,000 times more expensive than depleted uranium. What a good idea!
So, Fisk does what any good journalist does– he changes the subject of his article!
I saw two dead babies who, when taken from a mortuary drawer in West Beirut during the Israeli siege of the city, suddenly burst back into flames. Israel officially denied using phosphorous again in Lebanon during the summer – except for “marking” targets – even after civilians were photographed in Lebanese hospitals with burn wounds consistent with phosphorous munitions.
He brings this up because Israel wasn’t forthcoming about using weapons they’re allowed to use– phosphorus munitions. Sneaky Jooooz. And as for baby spontaneous combustion– I find that claim odd, to say the least.
Asked by The Independent if the Israeli army had been using uranium-based munitions in Lebanon this summer, Mark Regev, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said: “Israel does not use any weaponry which is not authorised by international law or international conventions.”
But even if it’s perfectly OK for them to use it, it’s still wrong for them to use it. Because they are sneaky Joooooz. And Americans too.
American and British forces used hundreds of tons of depleted uranium (DU) shells in Iraq in 1991 – their hardened penetrator warheads manufactured from the waste products of the nuclear industry – and five years later, a plague of cancers emerged across the south of Iraq.
Are the cancers DU related? Or perhaps related to poor conditions? Did Saddam poison them? Was it fuel leaking to their water?
No need for Fisk to investigate. Why bother? The Jooooz are sneaky that way!
Yet why would Israel use [depleted uranium] when its targets – in the case of Khiam, for example – were only two miles from the Israeli border? The dust ignited by DU munitions can be blown across international borders, just as the chlorine gas used in attacks by both sides in the First World War often blew back on its perpetrators.
This particular statement blew my mind. DU particles = chlorine gas? So, the sneaky Joooooz are using something like chlorine gas on the Lebanese? It’s a WMD!
While he has a point about aerosol particles of DU being produced when the shells hit a hardened target, the uranium is dispersed harmlessly over a wide area relatively quickly. An increase in DU concentration in the local area is so minor that the health effects are minimal, especially given that DU’s radioactivity falls well within safe exposure limits. What’s more worrisome is heavy-metal poisoning by uranium. But that fear is mitigated by dispersal and dilution.
But you can’t pass up an opportunity to say the Jooooz were using WMDs, can you?
The soil sample from Khiam – site of a notorious torture prison when Israel occupied southern Lebanon between 1978 and 2000, and a frontline Hizbollah stronghold in the summer war – was a piece of impacted red earth from an explosion; the isotope ratio was 108, indicative of the presence of enriched uranium. “The health effects on local civilian populations following the use of large uranium penetrators and the large amounts of respirable uranium oxide particles in the atmosphere,” the Busby report says, “are likely to be significant … we recommend that the area is examined for further traces of these weapons with a view to clean up.”
Again, why would Israel use an enriched uranium weapon on such a small area? Could it be a nuclear bunker buster? I’ll have more on this at the end of the article.
This summer’s Lebanon war began after Hizbollah guerrillas crossed the Lebanese frontier into Israel, captured two Israeli soldiers and killed three others, prompting Israel to unleash a massive bombardment of Lebanon’s villages, cities, bridges and civilian infrastructure. Human rights groups have said that Israel committed war crimes when it attacked civilians, but that Hizbollah was also guilty of such crimes because it fired missiles into Israel which were also filled with ball-bearings, turning their rockets into primitive one-time-only cluster bombs.
Fisk likes the term “cluster bomb”. I’m not sure he knows what it is. Globalsecurity.org is a great place to learn about such items. It’s much better than, say, a news desk at the Independent. As for rockets filled with ball-bearings, those aren’t cluster bombs. Technically, they’re rockets with an AP warhead (anti-personnel). A cluster bomb that would disperse mines would be a cluster-bomb, and those draw scrutiny from the international community because they kill far more civilians than military personnel. Fuse-based munitions detonate when they hit the ground or after a set amount of time after being released from a weapon. Sometimes they malfunction and leave “live” ammunition for civilians to pick up. That is also “bad”, and the use of those weapons have been limited by US aircraft.
But Hezbollah rockets? Not cluster bombs. Just rockets fired indiscriminately into civilian areas. At least the Israelis were targeting Hezbollah fighters inside of neighborhoods, as the Hezbollah “freedom fighters” used the local civilians as shields against Israeli “aggression“.
Back to Fisk:
Many Lebanese, however, long ago concluded that the latest Lebanon war was a weapons testing ground for the Americans and Iranians, who respectively supply Israel and Hizbollah with munitions.
Again– what? We are fighting a war in Iraq. You think we could find weapons to test there. Such an opinion just highlights the misinformation people in the Middle East get. I’m sure Fisk isn’t helping matters, either.