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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 09:52 PM
Original message
Phosphorus use is a war crime
Published on Friday, January 9, 2009 by the Times Online/UK
Gaza Victims' Burns Increase Concern Over Phosphorus
by Michael Evans and Sheera Frenkel
JERUSALEM - Photographic evidence has emerged that proves that Israel has been using controversial white phosphorus shells during its offensive in Gaza, despite official denials by the Israel Defence Forces.

The pale blue 155mm rounds are clearly marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made white phosphorus munitionThere is also evidence that the rounds have injured Palestinian civilians, causing severe burns. The use of white phosphorus against civilians is prohibited under international law.

The Times has identified stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells from high-resolution images taken of Israel Defence Forces (IDF) artillery units on the Israeli-Gaza border this week. The pale blue 155mm rounds are clearly marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made WP munition. The shell is an improved version with a more limited dispersion of the phosphorus, which ignites on contact with oxygen, and is being used by the Israeli gunners to create a smoke screen on the ground.

The rounds, which explode into a shower of burning white streaks, were first identified by The Times at the weekend when they were fired over Gaza at the start of Israel's ground offensive. Artillery experts said that the Israeli troops would be in trouble if they were banned from using WP because it is the simplest way of creating smoke to protect them from enemy fire.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/01/09

And the U$A is probably supplying it!
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 09:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. Depends on who says so. "U.S. admits using phosphorus as weapon in Iraq"


U.S. admits using phosphorus as weapon in Iraq

Updated Wed. Nov. 16 2005 2:31 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

U.S. troops used white phosphorus as a weapon against insurgents in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, a spokesman for the U.S. military has admitted.

"It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants," spokesman Lt. Col Barry Venable told the BBC.

U.S. officials had earlier insisted that the substance, which can burn flesh down to the bone, had been used only sparingly to provide smokescreens and illuminate battle scenes in Fallujah.

White phosphorus is highly flammable and ignites on contact with oxygen. If the substance hits someone's body, it will continue burning until deprived of oxygen.

more...

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/200...
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 10:04 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. They are all violating international law
and should be locked up.
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Baby Snooks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. The hypocrisy...
This is a hot topic on a Jungian forum I belong to - we really have a problem looking at ourselves in the mirror. Even on DU.

I was told I could not use a word that is used in the header on this. It is "inflammatory." Not as inflammatory as the phosphorous weapons.

The definition of "illegal weapons," and "illegal acts," depends on who is using the illegal weapons while committing the illegal acts and more importantly who they are using the illegal weapons on while committing the illegal acts.

We are a shameful nation. Truly shameful.
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Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Indeed, it is no wonder why our country's image has been so tarnished
Most people don't realize the horrible things we have done as a country, but they still understand that we have done bad, bad things.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 10:01 PM
Response to Original message
2. What on Earth does one say in response to such real Horror?!!!?!?
There are no words for this, except that we must come together somehow to fight whatever it is about us that does this.

:-(
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Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
3. The more we learn about the IDF, the more reason to not trust their statements
They denied using WP, just like they try to justify bombings mosques, UN schools, ambulances, and civilians sleeping in their homes. They have as little credibility as FOX news at this point.
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liberalmuse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
4. Yes it fucking is.
I used to be an NBC NCO. That shit burns unless you take away all oxygen. Bury it. But if you unearth it and introduce a little bit of oxygen, it will burn your skin the fuck off. Christ, I can't believe anyone is still using this barbaric shit.
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wildbilln864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 10:28 PM
Response to Original message
8. absolutely! k&r! nt
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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 10:29 PM
Response to Original message
9. I knew some people from WWII
who just had small exposure (they were children then and are probably dead by now) and the bits of WP in their bodies would flare up every once and awhile and was very painful> The last I heard from them was in 1990. The WP cannot be removed.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 10:39 PM
Response to Original message
10. Air burst M825A1 offers very poor smoke concealment.
While it's alleged to be a smoke or incendiary munition, its use as an anti-personnel weapon is proscribed.
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excess_3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 11:01 PM
Response to Original message
11. certain civilians, would be completely legit targets
impossible for us to know, legit or not
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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-11-09 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. But wp is a weapon condemned
by the Geneva Convention!
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excess_3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-11-09 09:43 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. not. perfectly OK to use WP against military targets, along with
(non-soldier) civilian fighters
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-11-09 10:57 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Not sure where people get that idea. Geneva Conventions ban no weapons
Nothing seems to kill that meme, though.
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The Second Stone Donating Member (603 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-11-09 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. civilians are never legit targets
for white phosphorus or weapons that are legal by the use of war. Civilians may not be targeted.
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okiru109 Donating Member (135 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-09-09 11:04 PM
Response to Original message
12. says who?
why discriminate in means of killing and maiming... that is just racist!
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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-12-09 05:29 AM
Response to Original message
17. Things one sees from The Hague (Gideon Levy)
<snip>

"When the cannons eventually fall silent, the time for questions and investigations will be upon us. The mushroom clouds of smoke and dust will dissipate in the pitch-black sky; the fervor, desensitization and en masse jump on the bandwagon will be forever forgotten and perhaps we will view a clear picture of Gaza in all its grimness. Then we will see the scope of the killing and destruction, the crammed cemeteries and overflowing hospitals, the thousands of wounded and physically disabled, the destroyed houses that remain after this war.

The questions that will beg to be asked, as cautiously as possible, are who is guilty and who is responsible. The world's exaggerated willingness to forgive Israel is liable to crack this time. The pilots and gunners, the tank crewmen and infantry soldiers, the generals and thousands who embarked on this war with their fair share of zeal will learn the extent of the evil and indiscriminate nature of their military strikes. They perhaps will not pay any price. They went to battle, but others sent them.

The public, moral and judicial test will be applied to the three Israeli statesmen who sent the Israel Defense Forces to war against a helpless population, one that did not even have a place to take refuge, in maybe the only war in history against a strip of land enclosed by a fence. Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni will stand at the forefront of the guilty. Two of them are candidates for prime minister, the third is a candidate for criminal indictment.

It is inconceivable that they not be held to account for the bloodshed. Olmert is the only Israeli prime minister who sent his army to two wars of choice, all during one of the briefest terms in office. The man who made a number of courageous statements about peace late in his tenure has orchestrated no fewer than two wars. Talking peace and making war, the "moderate" and "enlightened" prime minister has been revealed as one of our greatest fomenters of war. That is how history will remember him. The "cash envelopes" crimes and "Rishon Tours" transgressions will make him look as pure as snow by comparison.

Barak, the leader of the party of the left, will bear the cost of the IDF's misdeeds under his tutelage. His account will be burdened by the bombing and shelling of population centers, the hundreds of dead and wounded women and children, the numerous targetings of medical crews, the firing of phosphorus shells at civilian areas, the shelling of a UN-run school that served as a shelter for residents who bled to death over days as the IDF prevented their evacuation by shooting and shelling. Even our siege of Gaza for a year and a half, whose ramifications are frighteningly coming into focus in this war, will accrue to him. Blow after blow, all of these count in the world of war crimes.

Livni, the foreign minister and leader of the centrist party, will be remembered as the one who pushed for, legitimized and sat silent through all these events. The woman who promised "a different kind of politics" was a full partner. This must not be forgotten.

In contrast to the claims being made otherwise, we are permitted to believe that these three leaders did not embark on war for electoral considerations. Anytime is good for war in Israel. We set out for the previous war three months after the elections, not two months before. Will Israel judge them harshly in light of the images emanating from Gaza? Highly doubtful. Barak and Livni are actually rising in the polls instead of dipping. The test awaiting these individuals will not be a local test. It is true that some international statesmen cynically applauded the blows Israel dealt. It is true America kept silent, Europe stuttered and Egypt supported, but other voices will rise out of the crackle of combat.

The first echoes can already be heard. This past weekend, the UN and the Human Rights Commission in Geneva have demanded an investigation into war crimes allegedly perpetrated by Israel. In a world in which Bosnian leaders and their counterparts from Rwanda have already been put on trial, a similar demand is likely to arise for the fomenters of this war. Israeli basketball players will not be the only ones who have to shamefully take cover in sports arenas, and senior officers who conducted this war will not be the only ones forced to hide in El Al planes lest they be arrested. This time, our most senior statesmen, the members of the war kitchen cabinet, are liable to pay a personal and national price."

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1054578.html
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