Newspaper publishes claims Israel used chemical weapons Posted by: McQ
on Thursday, July 27, 2006
I'll preface this by saying you should recall the claims made against the US concerning the use of chemical weapons in Fallujah back in November of 2005.
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Lebanon is claiming Israel has been using some sort of chemical weaponry in the southern part of the country:
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."
Two points. First, it isn't mentioned how these bodies were obtained or where. They were 'received' in Sidon. So there is, at the moment, no chain of evidence, for lack of a better word, that they were killed by Israelis. Secondly, there is a nation, very close by, who would indeed use chemical weapons if it had a chance. It is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that if chemical weapons were used they were provided by Syria and administered by Hezbollah in order to establish this sort of claim.
Obviously it would be absolutely one of the stupidest things Israel could do which is why, if it turns out to be chemical weapons I'd lean more toward my theory than to believing Israel did such a thing.
One more point. As usual Human Rights watch has it wrong:
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."
First: The offensive use of phosphorus wouldn't be in violation of international conventions. That's because secondly, white phosphorous is not, let me say that again, not used "in illuminating the battlefield at night". WP is not an illumination method. Magnesium is what is burned in illumination shells.
WP is used as an obscurant for screening movement (it produces thick clouds of white smoke which can be used to create a screen between your troops and the enemy when your troops are trying to mask their movement). It is also doctrinally used to drive combatants out of ditches and foxholes (and unsurprisingly it is mixed with HE).
Both of those uses are offensive uses.
Meanwhile the speculation builds:
Television footage shows some bodies, such as those of 20 civilians killed when an Israeli missile hit the van in which they were fleeing the border village of Marwaheen, blackened in the way Cham describes. No one knows what killed them.
"We are seeing abnormal burns, different from wars we've seen in the past. The corpses of these victims are shrinking to half their normal size. You think it is the corpse of a child at first but it turns out to be a grown man," said Raed Salman Zeinedine, director of Tyre Government Hospital.
"We've never seen anything like it but what the causes are I don't want to speculate. We have no scientific answer."
No one knows what killed them? Well if a missile hit the van, that would be a pretty safe bet. And if you've ever seen a burned human body, one which has been in a significant fire, they are much smaller in size, many times making one think of a child instead of an adult. This, of course, isn't news and why a director of a hospital wouldn't know that is rather surprising.
Israel's statement on the claims:
"We use only weapons and ammunition which will best hit our targets and cause least collateral damage," said army spokesman Captain Jacob Dallal.
"It could be that a body is burned from fire or the force of an explosion, but between that and suggesting we do something illegal under international law are two different things."
Indeed, but just as we saw with Fallujah in '05 you can count on the claims and charges to build. Most will be built on pure speculation and misinformation such as that offered by Human Rights Watch in this case. But that won't stop their spread nor will it prevent these claims from being accepted at face value by those who want them to be true whether they are or not.
I like the idea of random use of chem weapons in limited quantities. No massive chem attacks, no, instead a very guided attack against, as one example, a vehicle.
No one outside of the vehicle killed or injured by the ’chemical’, only those in the vehicle. No residual effects in the area, no de-con for the hospital staff or ambulance crew Man, those Israeli’s (joooooooooooossssss!) are awesome. When they say
"We use only weapons and ammunition which will best hit our targets and cause least collateral damage,"
they aren’t kidding. Think of it, chemical weapons that only target the area occupied by a single vehicle, no after effects! Wow! Talk about reducing collateral damage!
You’d almost think it was a standard munition. Clever clever clever.
This, of course, isn’t news and why a director of a hospital wouldn’t know that is rather surprising.
Someone ship this guy the first 30 pages of the novel 761, it’ll clue him in on the effects of intense fire on the human carapace. IF the bodies were shrunken in size that would, to me, imply that the bodies were exposed to an intense fire, not just an explosion. The kind of explosion and fire associated with diesel and high explosive burning, when a tank "brews up." What were these civilians transporting?
"Phosphorus shells do have a legitimate use in illuminating the battlefield at night.”
This is not quite true, unless you intend to exacerbate the darkness with smoke. Phosphorus shells are usually used for smoke, either to obscure or mark an area. Sometimes the smoke is used to flush out occupants of tunnels or trenches, as the fumes are an eye and nasal irritant.
My guess is that that the Israelis are using multiple artillery pieces to fire at this particular area, and one of them fired a phosphorus shell to mark, with smoke, where it’s shells were going (i.e. to differentiate it from the rounds of the other artillery pieces).
The ironic part of this story may be that these unfortunate people may have been hit by a shell that was meant to keep the artillery firing as accurately as possible.
This is not quite true, unless you intend to exacerbate the darkness with smoke.
That’s correct. Illumination is provided by burning magnesium in illumination rounds, not phosphorus. White phosphorus is an obscurant and, when mixed with HE is used to force the enemy out of ditches or foxholes. It is an authorized munition and is acceptable for use in offensive operations.
I am reasonably familiar with chemical weapons, but I know of none that turns the skin black. Is my ignorance showing, or have those nasty Israelis invented a new one? That would also explain Looker’s observations. Clever, those Jews.
I hope we don’t have to go through the white phosphorous thing again. In case anyone needs it, and to save time, search for "white phosphorous", and the article is from Nov. 8, 2005, by McQ.
Heh heh, what the media forgets is that the Great Generation G.I.s in Europe were the masters of using WP. And we used a lot: hundreds of thousands of shells. Our guys made the Germans fear it. We even used it to blind enemy tank crews (that is a war crime.)
For researched reports, articles and references on this subject, please see : Index on Illegal US Weapons in Lebanon, http://indexresearch.blogspot.com/2006/07/index-on-illegal-us-weapons-in-lebanon.html. Thank you.