[Marxism] FW: Use of US antipersonnel weapons against civilians

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Fri Aug 25 10:48:43 MDT 2006

The Israelis repeatedly denied using cluster bombs, but the evidence is so
overwhelming that they can't deny it any longer.

They got these from...well, guess who....and now that they were caught using
them...guess who is trying to cover its red-white-and-blue ass.



Inquiry Opened Into Israeli Use of U.S. Bombs

Published: August 25, 2006

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 - The State Department is investigating whether Israel's
use of American-made cluster bombs in southern Lebanon violated secret
agreements with the United States that restrict when it can employ such
weapons, two officials said.

The investigation by the department's Office of Defense Trade Controls began
this week, after reports that three types of American cluster munitions,
anti-personnel weapons that spray bomblets over a wide area, have been found
in many areas of southern Lebanon and were responsible for civilian

Gonzalo Gallegos, a State Department spokesman, said, "We have heard the
allegations that these munitions were used, and we are seeking more
information." He declined to comment further.

Several current and former officials said that they doubted the
investigation would lead to sanctions against Israel but that the decision
to proceed with it might be intended to help the Bush administration ease
criticism from Arab governments and commentators over its support of
Israel's military operations. The investigation has not been publicly
announced; the State Department confirmed it in response to questions.

In addition to investigating use of the weapons in southern Lebanon, the
State Department has held up a shipment of M-26 artillery rockets, a cluster
weapon, that Israel sought during the conflict, the officials said.

The inquiry is likely to focus on whether Israel properly informed the
United States about its use of the weapons and whether targets were strictly
military. So far, the State Department is relying on reports from United
Nations personnel and nongovernmental organizations in southern Lebanon, the
officials said.

David Siegel, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, said, "We have not been
informed about any such inquiry, and when we are we would be happy to

Officials were granted anonymity to discuss the investigation because it
involves sensitive diplomatic issues and agreements that have been kept
secret for years.

The agreements that govern Israel's use of American cluster munitions go
back to the 1970's, when the first sales of the weapons occurred, but the
details of them have never been publicly confirmed. The first one was signed
in 1976 and later reaffirmed in 1978 after an Israeli incursion into
Lebanon. News accounts over the years have said that they require that the
munitions be used only against organized Arab armies and clearly defined
military targets under conditions similar to the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967
and 1973.

A Congressional investigation after Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon found
that Israel had used the weapons against civilian areas in violation of the
agreements. In response, the Reagan administration imposed a six-year ban on
further sales of cluster weapons to Israel.

Israeli officials acknowledged soon after their offensive began last month
that they were using cluster munitions against rocket sites and other
military targets. While Hezbollah positions were frequently hidden in
civilian areas, Israeli officials said their intention was to use cluster
bombs in open terrain.

Bush administration officials warned Israel to avoid civilian casualties,
but they have lodged no public protests against its use of cluster weapons.
American officials say it has not been not clear whether the weapons, which
are also employed by the United States military, were being used against
civilian areas and had been supplied by the United States. Israel also makes
its own types of cluster weapons.

But a report released Wednesday by the United Nations Mine Action
Coordination Center, which has personnel in Lebanon searching for unexploded
ordnance, said it had found unexploded bomblets, including hundreds of
American types, in 249 locations south of the Litani River.

The report said American munitions found included 559 M-42's, an
anti-personnel bomblet used in 105-millimeter artillery shells; 663 M-77's,
a submunition found in M-26 rockets; and 5 BLU-63's, a bomblet found in the
CBU-26 cluster bomb. Also found were 608 M-85's, an Israeli-made

The unexploded submunitions being found in Lebanon are probably only a
fraction of the total number dropped. Cluster munitions can contain dozens
or even hundreds of submunitions designed to explode as they scatter around
a wide area. They are very effective against rocket-launcher units or ground

The Lebanese government has reported that the conflict killed 1,183 people
and wounded 4,054, most of them civilians. The United Nations reported this
week that the number of civilian casualties in Lebanon from cluster
munitions, land mines and unexploded bombs stood at 30 injured and eight

Dozen of Israelis were killed and hundreds wounded in attacks by Hezbollah
rockets, some of which were loaded with ball bearings to maximize their

Officials say it is unlikely that Israel will be found to have violated a
separate agreement, the Arms Export Control Act, which requires foreign
governments that receive American weapons to use them for legitimate
self-defense. Proving that Israel's campaign against Hezbollah did not
constitute self-defense would be difficult, especially in view of President
Bush's publicly announced support for Israel's action after Hezbollah
fighters attacked across the border, the officials said.

Even if Israel is found to have violated the classified agreement covering
cluster bombs, it is not clear what actions the United States might take.

In 1982, delivery of cluster-bomb shells to Israel was suspended a month
after Israel invaded Lebanon after the Reagan administration determined that
Israel "may" have used them against civilian areas.

But the decision to impose what amounted to a indefinite moratorium was made
under pressure from Congress, which conducted a long investigation of the
issue. Israel and the United States reaffirmed restrictions on the use of
cluster munitions in 1988, and the Reagan administration lifted the

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