July 27, 2006

Hezbollah's White Phosphorus Lies

It was only a matter of time before Hezbollah and their gullible dupes in the media began applying the Terrorist Propaganda Cook Book to the present war in Lebanon, accusing Israel forces of using chemical and other "illegal weapons" against civilians.

The Sydney Morning Herald was all too willing to print these suspiciously vague allegations:

Killed by Israeli air raids, the Lebanese dead are charred in a way local doctors, who have lived through years of civil war and Israeli occupation, say they have not seen before.

Bachir Cham, a Belgian-Lebanese doctor at the Southern Medical Centre in Sidon, received eight bodies after an Israeli air raid on nearby Rmeili which he said exhibited such wounds.

He has taken 24 samples from the bodies to test what killed them. He believes it is a chemical.
Cham said the bodies of some victims were "black as shoes, so they are definitely using chemical weapons. They are all black but their hair and skin is intact so they are not really burnt. It is something else."
"If you burnt someone with petrol their hair would burn and their skin would burn down to the bone. The Israelis are 100 per cent using chemical weapons."

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud has repeatedly accused Israel of using phosphorus bombs in its offensive.

Human Rights Watch, which has accused the Israeli army of using cluster bombs in populated areas of southern Lebanon, said it had not verified claims that Israel had used phosphorus.

"We are investigating but we haven't confirmed anything yet. We have seen phosphorus used before and we have seen it in the artillery stocks of the Israeli army in the north," said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.

"Phosphorus shells do have a legitimate use in illuminating the battlefield at night. The offensive use of phosphorus would be a violation of international conventions."

If these charges seem to be familiar, it is because they are an echo of the exact same kind of charges popularized in a fraudulent documentary called Fallujah, the Hidden Massacre, from Italian Rai News24, an offshoot of communist-dominated channel Rai 3, directed by Sigfrido Ranucci.

I thoroughly debunked the half-truths and lies of this film back in November in a series of posts:

Rai's White Phosphorus Fraud

The Lies of Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre, Part 1

The Lies of Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre, Part 2

The Lies of Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre, Part 3

The well-documented and irrefutable lies in Ranucci's film begin in the opening credits and do not stop until the final credits are over.

Hezbollah seeks to use these same dark libels without a shred of any evidence supporting their allegations, other than claims made by Lebanese doctors and government officials. Let's look at the claims made by the Lebanese doctor in the Sydney Morning Herald article again:

Bachir Cham, a Belgian-Lebanese doctor at the Southern Medical Centre in Sidon, received eight bodies after an Israeli air raid on nearby Rmeili which he said exhibited such wounds.

He has taken 24 samples from the bodies to test what killed them. He believes it is a chemical.

Cham said the bodies of some victims were "black as shoes, so they are definitely using chemical weapons. They are all black but their hair and skin is intact so they are not really burnt. It is something else."

Almost these exact same descriptions are used to describe many of the bodies shown in Fallujah, the Hidden Massacre. Chris Milroy, professor of forensic pathology at the University of Sheffield (England), had this to say about those bodies:

He reported that "nothing indicates to me that the bodies have been burnt". They had turned black and lost their skin "through decomposition. "

The simple fact of the matter is that the war in Lebanon has been going on for 16 days, and those people killed more than a few days ago would quickly begin to decompose in the summer heat. Conditions vary from place to place, but it is quite possible and perhaps even probably that those killed by primary blast efects from bombs or artillery fire and left in the streets would be black through decomposition, not the affects of some sort of "mystery weapon."

The classification of injuries caused by an explosive blast fall into four classifications:

  • primary
  • secondary
  • tertiary
  • quaternary

A thorough description of these kinds of injuries is available here.

Primary blast injuries—those caused by the pressure wave of a conventional military explosives, typically affecting soft tissues within the body but leaving little or no visible wound on the body—are highly consistent with the bodies described by the Lebanese doctor, providing that as ABC alluded to, bodies are often unrecovered for days.

This is the exact same kind of injury that killed Jordanian terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Had he not been recovered immediately—say, a major conflict was erupting around his body and it could not easily be recovered for days or even weeks—there is a quite distinct chance that if the environmental condition in his area were favorable, then his body would have been recovered, "all black but... hair and skin... intact," precisely as Dr Cham saw in Lebanon.

Now, let us look again at the specific white phosphorus comments made in this SMH article:

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud has repeatedly accused Israel of using phosphorus bombs in its offensive.

Human Rights Watch, which has accused the Israeli army of using cluster bombs in populated areas of southern Lebanon, said it had not verified claims that Israel had used phosphorus.

"We are investigating but we haven't confirmed anything yet. We have seen phosphorus used before and we have seen it in the artillery stocks of the Israeli army in the north," said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.

"Phosphorus shells do have a legitimate use in illuminating the battlefield at night. The offensive use of phosphorus would be a violation of international conventions."

White phosphorus munitions, despite the way they are described in this article, are not illegal, are not banned by any international treaty, and have perfectly legitimate military uses.

They are primarily used for smoke screens, but because of their incendiary nature, they are also useful against flammable targets. Hezbollah's rockets—more than 2,000 of which have been fired into Israel with up to an estimated 8,000 more remaining in Lebanon—are highly flammable, and a viable target for WP munitions.

White phosphorus shells are also useful as a psychological weapon against entrenched position. The U.S. forces in Fallujah used a combination of white phosphorus and proximity-fused high explosive shells to clear terrorist positions, as described here:

In a tactical trick called a "shake 'n bake," American mortars or howitzers would drop several white phosphorus shells as close as possible to an entrenched enemy position. The white phosphorus-saturated felt wedges would then deploy and fall to the ground, where some could potentially burn terrorists hiding in trenches and spider holes, but it would almost certainly obscure their vision, no matter what kind of cover they were under.

The terrorists, knowing that American forces preferred to use the dense smoke of white phosphorus to screen attacks, would panic, fearing they were about to be overrun. As the evacuated their entrenched ambush positions, high explosive shells were the fired to kill the insurgents flushed out in the open.

White phosphorus munitions are a normal part of the inventory for NATO forces, among others, and there is nothing illegal in their use. Some have complained that white phosphorus weapons are illegally being used against civilians. Would it be more palatable of these civilians were killed with other munitions?

The simple fact of the matter is that Hezbollah, by purposefully integrating their positions into civilian neighborhoods, place the lives of Lebanon's civilians in danger. Lebanese Shiites that support Hezbollah and allow Hezbollah to build bunkers, storehouses, and sniper nests in their homes should not be surprised or appalled when the Israeli military targets that position.

The arguments are recycled, the evidence contrived; there is no credible evidence that chemical or white phosphorus weapons are being used to target Lebanese civilians, and it is telling that the media are all too willing to be led down this same path of lies again.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 27, 2006 12:20 PM | TrackBack

cy, are you deleting my comments?

Posted by: Johnny at July 27, 2006 06:20 PM

Wuzzamatta Johnny? Can't handle the fact that thread-jacking is frowned upon.

All - remember that in today's world propaganda is very much a tool during a war. Remember just the other week when Israel bombed the Foreign Ministry Building in Palestine? It was in the middle of the night in a down town area. Yet the videos from the source showed ambulance after ambulance pulling up in front of the hospital and disgorging full loads of women and children. They all got out and walked into the emergency room. This was followed by serious looking doctors "examining" the little kids. Not a single apparent injury to any of them - adults and children alike. Pure propaganda footage. Same in Iraq. Now we see it from Lebanon. Just has to be publicly debunked and then they will move on to another

Gee what party does that sound like here in this country?

Posted by: Specter at July 27, 2006 08:56 PM

Johnny, I emailed you a warning about threadjacking. Perhaps you should read your mail, or as likely, quit using someone else's email address?

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 27, 2006 10:28 PM

"irrefutable lies"? Methinks that's an error.

Posted by: Bob Smith at July 28, 2006 02:59 AM

Can't they come up with some fresh lies? Using pre-debunked ones seems well...kinda lame and not very creative at all.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at July 28, 2006 04:41 AM

Can't they come up with some fresh lies? Using pre-debunked ones seems well...kinda lame and not very creative at all.

Part of the goal for propaganda is to wear down the opposition. The pattern is to make a lie, repeat it for a while until the refutation is widespread, and then move to the next lie. Eventually, the first lie is used again -- yes, it's been refuted, but the True Believers never abandoned it and the casual audience hasn't heard the counter. The people making the counter-argument will probably restate their case, but not as vigorously -- they're getting tired of it.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Do it enough times and the opposition stops refuting the claims, letting you repeat it at will.

Posted by: Robert Crawford at July 28, 2006 08:40 AM

spector, exactly right, watch the videos, not the voice overs, two completely different stories.

Posted by: ray robison at July 28, 2006 05:42 PM

And for those with the "Where there's smoke, there's fire" philosophy, repeated accusations lend more credibility to the claims. "Why would it keep coming up if there's nothing to it?"

Posted by: Amber at July 28, 2006 10:13 PM

Is this a lie from HRW?

Human Right Watch on its website, reports that cluster bombs have been used against civilian populated areas in Lebanon since July 24.

Notably, it is certain that at 3:00 pm on July 19, in the village of Blida, with such type of weapons, a 60-year old woman, Mariam Ibrahim, was killed while 12 others including seven children, were wounded.

HRW has also taken photos of this type of munitions in the Israeli arsenal used on the Lebanese front. It stresses that these are weapons that are “unacceptably inaccurate and unreliable” to be used in areas populated by civilians.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of HRW, is categorical: “They should never be used in inhabited areas!”

Posted by: cl at July 29, 2006 12:36 AM

Human Rights Watch believes that cluster munitions should never be used, even away from civilians, unless their dud rate is less than 1 percent.

Basically, HRW doesn't like cluster munitions period. End of story. Whooptie freaking doo.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at July 29, 2006 09:19 AM

When it comes to HRW, they'd complain if the Israeli's were beating Hezbollah with foam pool tubes, citing a study that they cause cancer in lab rats. Screw HRW. They used to be credible some years ago, but now they're just another pandering anti-Semetic lobby.

Notice that they don't bitch that the cluster bombs are most likely being used to detonate booby-trapped areas. Notice they don't complain about Hezbollah firing thousand of rockets into Israel targeted at civilians.

The munitions that Hez--, I mean HRW photographed were standard artillery shells for the M-109 SP howitzer, and are quite reliable and accurate.

Quite frankly, I don't tend to give HRW very much credibility at all.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 29, 2006 09:34 AM

Civilians are still dying aren't they? 600 and counting. Hardly genocidal, but where does one draw the line? More like exacting vengeance and collective punishment.

Posted by: Tariq Walid at July 29, 2006 03:44 PM

The line is easily drawn. Israel stops bombing when Hezbollah dies or is cast out be the Lebanese Shia.

Vengence, Tariq? Be damn glad Israel is not out for vengence, or they would have already laid waste to every Hezbollah-loving Shia in Lebanon. It is quite within their power, and quite frankly, Tariq, for all their years of encouraging suicide bombers and cheering the deaths of Israeli citizens that merely want to live in peace, I'd say that they've earned every bomb they have recieved, and many, many more.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 29, 2006 06:37 PM

Lovers of death will never have their thirsts quenched. How much blood do you think Israel has the right to spill? I guess the Bible tells you that everyone non-Israelite in the Middle East is to be killed, so you don't feel a thing when they die. Have you seen the photos of charred bodies? I guess you can easily explain the weirdness of their deaths, the unexplainable things that doctors are seeing. But you haven't explained anything yet - you've only ridiculed and pshawed. Download this photo, blow it up and explain it.
And there are lots more like it.
Read this and look at the pictures
and remember to feel nothing. Dismiss it as fakery. But remember, if a Jewish man was suffering and writing this stuff you would care very much. You know that’s the truth, so ask yourself honestly, “why?” Why do I believe and care when it’s a Jew, but dismiss and feel nothing if it’s a non-Jew?
Why were these bodies burned to the bone yet their hair and their clothes were not? Only exposed skin areas were burned, and their faces look horrified and in terrible pain. Can you explain the irregularities of these deaths? Please do. I hear in this thread that NO evidence has been presented except that of Lebanese doctors. I take it that means that anyone Lebanese cannot be trusted. But you would surely reverse that opinion if those doctors said something that agreed with your position. So I think your position is one of blind hatred and ignorance.
Those charred bodies. They're fine with you, aren't they? All that silly talk about white phosphorus. Come ON. How silly, right? Those children died in the NORMAL way, burned to a crisp in NORMAL explosions by NORMAL bombs given to Israel by the USA. All perfectly normal. Those children deserve to die (55% of the 700 dead so far are under 15 years of age), right? So, really does it matter to you if they died of white phosphorus or by NORMAL bombs? Why would you care, as long as they're dead? Why even fuss about this white phosphorus thing? Really. As if NORMAL bombing without white phosphorus is going to make Israel look any prettier right now. We're just splitting hairs. Do you figure depleted uranium is better?

Oh my goodness Hizbollah is lobbing missiles into territory that used to belong to Lebanon but which was stolen by Israel! Oh my goodness Hizbollah has kidnapped TWO ISRAELI SOLDIERS!!! Let's not talk about the 18 year illegal occupation of Lebanon by Israel, during which hundreds of Lebanese were tortured and hundreds of others remain under illegal military arrest in Israel. Oh let's not talk about the THOUSANDS of Palestinians under illegal arrest in Israel, in secret military prisons, with no formal charges against them and no hope of a trial or fair hearing EVER. No let's only think about the TWO (oh my god!) Israeli military men who have been "kidnapped". Let's forget that every one of Israel's illegal prisoners was kidnapped from their own lands and taken to Israel. Instead, let's “retaliate” and murder every Lebanese child we can find, using our bomber planes and our tanks and our navy and our army, and lets also bomb the life out of any UN people who might be watching and reporting (while pretending it was a mistake when we shot at it from planes for six hours, ignoring all pleas, before finally bombing the whole building), and let's destroy hospitals, roads, bridges, ancient buildings, whole towns, ALL of Lebanon, just to show them what Israel is all about. All let's be sure to tell everyone in the world that we're the victims once again, being "held hostage" (yes, the largest military in the Middle East, fully funded by the USA, with tanks, warships, helicopters, the fourth largest nuclear arsenal on the planet, six hundred thousand soldiers plus the conscripted services of every Jew in the world if we want), held hostage by a bunch of guerilla fighters with no planes and no equipment except for a few missiles which we pretend are awesome weapons that we've never encountered before.
Go Israel! See how she protects herself.
And please note that the Israeli Army has issued censorship orders about how this war may be presented by Israel's filmmakers, television producers, newscasters and print media. I’m sure you will have no problem with the military telling the media what they are allowed to report to you. But one of the things they've been forbidden to talk about is Israel's use of "unique or experimental weapons".
(see entry #6 under General Guidelines)
Perhaps, since everyone at your site has absolutely ruled out the use of white phosphorus, someone could explain what OTHER kinds of "unique and experimental" weapons the IDF might be using that we aren't supposed to hear about.

Posted by: Tony at July 29, 2006 09:43 PM

Tony, have you gone off your medications?

Of course you haven't- that was doubtlessly satire, as it included every single historically-certified anti-Joooo libel extant.

Not only that, your post also deftly employed every rhetorical device favored by the Angry Left™, except for the string of exclamation points that devolves into "1"s when the lefty commentor prematurely lets go of the shift key.

Brilliant, man...absolutely flipping brilliant.

You should be a blogger.

(Wink and a nod to Delftsman, a Munuvian like yourself, Cy!)

Posted by: Darth Bacon at July 30, 2006 05:10 AM

No matter how you interpret this current "war", irrespective of misleading propaganda and erroneous media reports, the timeline and events are highlighting just how incompetent and inappropriate the israeli government and IDF's approach has been.

They may as well have conducted a recruitment drive with free cookies for Al Qaeda and Hezbollah among others, as they only seem to know how to create more animosity inside and around themselves, all they have to do is stop treating palestinians (among others now) like 3rd class citizens, no matter how much it hurts.

Regardless of who fired or aimed a missile/rocket at us last, making friends and working towards a compromise is the only way we can ever have lasting peace, even if we have to sit down and lose lives in the effort of walking the high moral ground, which is what is preached but clearly not put into practice by many nowadays in a world corrupted by the so called "War on Terror".

I never did like the word, but do we really have to twist its meaning into promoting whatever deluded hawkish agenda happens to be simmering inside some administrations, it is an unwinnable war when the target is effectively well trained disgruntled civilians, strongly united by circumstances that have little trouble duping any conventional military force, as history has proven time and time again.

I pray some magical pixie dust enlightens the power brokers soon because allowing this to continue will only ensure future suffering for us all.

Posted by: Captain Obvious at July 30, 2006 10:15 AM

The "lovers of death" in the Middle East, Tony and Captain Obvious, are the Muslim nations surrounding Israel. Every single nation surrounding Israel is guilty of trying to destroy it. Every single one has tried to push the Jews into the sea. Apparently the education systems in Australia and Canada where you boys are from is deficient, or perhaps your real names are more like Ali and Mohammed?

I have seen the photos of the bodies. They are no different than the bodies of every other civilian killed since aerial strategic bombing was invented. The difference, is, of course, that those killed in strategic bombing in earlier wars were not often right on top of military targets. Hezbollah purposefully puts their missiles, command structure, etc in civilians neighborhoods so that civilians will be killed.

The fact that you condemn Israelis for the deaths of civilians in these pinpoint strikes reveals you as intellectually dishonest... not that this was ever in doubt.

As for some of the claims you make, Tony, from the conspiracy theory sites you linked, the depleted uranium claim is perhaps the most hilarious thing I've ever read. Depleted uranium is used in specific anti-armor weapons, primarily helicopter chain guns and anti-armor sabot rounds as what is essentially a lawn dart on steroids. Your idiot expert "Dr. Doug Rokke" must be a doctor of what, philosophy? He knows so little about munitions as to be laughable, and he is easily proven to be a liar. He says GBU 28s use a DU warhead. GBU 28 bombs are nothing more than old howitzer barrels packed with conventional explosives and equipped with tracking and navigation equipment to make it a "smart" bomb. You are an idiot that quotes from well-known and debunked liars.

Captain Obvious, while you weren't paying attention, the Israelis pulled out of Lebanon, gave the Palestinians Gaza and portion of the West Bank, and how did both Hamas and Hezbollah respond? They thought they smelled weakness and decided to attack. Again.

The Palestinians are grief whores, an a culture they are rotten to the core. They have devolved to the point that they cannot function without being victims. Merely look at the breakdown and fighting between Hamas and Fatah when Israel said about Gaza "You run it." They fell apart into squabbling camps little better than cavemen with RPGs.

You make believe that Israel will not let Arabs live in Israel, when Israelis Arabs are accepted in Israeli culture. The big difference between Israeli Arabs and Palestinians is that the Palestinians want to recreate the Holocaust, and wipe out Israel. They've said so repeatedly, for almost 60 years. Quite frankly, their can never be a pasting peace as long as their are Palestinians, which is why Egypt, TransJordan (now Jordan) Syria and Lebanon refused to take in the Palestinians.

This fight will not end until Israel is eradicated, or Muslim culture grows up or dies.

I don’t think either is likely any time soon.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 30, 2006 12:19 PM

Israel does not need to be eradicated, it simply needs to engage in a monumental diplomacy effort internally and with the rest of the world in an attempt to find a compromise that is more tolerable than constantly bombarding each other with attacks, via military or terroristic means.

It is clear both sides have their jaded perspectives and emotive arguments as to why fighting must continue, the root causes of fear, paranoia and resentment need to be addressed. Nearly all are built on ignorance, conceit, deception and phobia's.

Fighting "terrorists" with armaments will not and can not defeat them, far too simplistic in thinking. The root causes for resentment, anger and misunderstanding need to be addressed, all parties constantly say what angers them and why, but the atmosphere is too charged for either to stop and listen, to even consider alternate means for resolution.

The eradication talk is more emotional than premeditated, unfortunately people are so terrified they react instinctively, not intellectually.

If Ireland managed to get to where it is today, from where it was the past 40 years, it is clear things can change from seemingly untenable positions. A populace eventually gets tired of premature death, fear and destruction, dialog channels will open when people stop acting and start listening.

Currently I am 50/50 on this current crisis, it could be a fantastic opportunity for the world to actually press for a global solution to what has been a long festering global problem, or it could continue with the posturing, attacks and pre-emptive campaigns that will only recruit further hatred and fear.

I just hope the world decides that this time the Israel problem needs to be brought firmly back into focus or terrorism will always have a rational reason to exist; nobody really wants to live in a world like this. If we continue to condone and endorse violence as a legitimate means to solve problems, we are only feeding into the problem and our own paranoia, self defence is one thing, being so terrified that we have to hit them first only illuminates our weakness.

Best of luck to the UN with this one, if only the power of veto did not exist, because the whole world bar a couple want the violence to stop and some talking to happen. I know talking has not resolved things in the past and the results can take generations to appear, but that is peace, scarred angry people need to grow old and die unfortunately, then hopefully the youngsters can see a rosier picture.

Posted by: Captain Obvious at July 30, 2006 01:20 PM

Well you boys are just prrof that Drawin might be wrong.. there is ni linear progression: some just end up like younenadertahls who ahev never left America.

Palestinians are Semites. I hate to disbuse you but using the trem annti semtitism to refer only to jews is hirtoricallya nd ahthropologically wrong. If the Jews drop a bomb on Palestine they atoo are being anti semitic.. morons.

Posted by: mekong Babe at August 1, 2006 09:36 PM