Press Security Concerns in Lebanon

Problems of reporting from a war zone:

Among broadcasters there is a concern about how our small convoys of cars full of equipment and personnel look from the air. There is a risk Israelis (eyes in the sky: drones, satellites) could mistake them for a Hezbollah convoy headed closer to the border and within striking distance of Israel. So simply being on the road with several vehicles is a risk.

Plus, when we fire up our broadcast signals it is unclear what we look like to Israeli military monitoring stations. If there are a number of broadcasters firing up signals from the same remote place, the hope is that the Israelis would identify it as media signals, and not Hezbollah rocket electronics, and thus avoid being a target.

Posted on July 26, 2006 at 5:56 AM

Comments

AnonymousJuly 26, 2006 6:57 AM

Funny, no concern for how press looks to Hezbollah, only to Isrealis. Damned press has tried and convicted the Jews from every possible angle, regardless of the ruthless hate and evil flowing on the other side of this conflict, or how many arabs are killed by Hezbollah et al.

VasuJuly 26, 2006 7:03 AM

@Anonymous
dude, you are making a huge leap by saying hezbollah may have 'monitoring stations' or any such device.
I don't think I am qualified to make an assessment on the good/bad of hezbollah, but everyone by now should know that their equipment/technology is pretty primitive. Their tactics include *and are limited to* blowing themselves up and such, nothing more.
I really doubt this has anything to do with Jews. Really, stop crying wolf..

bobJuly 26, 2006 7:12 AM

Or even a US vessel offshore or BUFF cruising at 48kft recognizing the press "signature" and tossing in a radio-homing missile under cover of "fog of war". Surely the "we blew up the pentagon ourselves" crowd would climb on this one. [not that I necessarily object to the idea, but would think we have far more surplus attorneys than journalists :-) ]

historyguyJuly 26, 2006 8:17 AM

Attacking the press or any other entity (like a UN observer post, perhaps) that could inform the world about situations on the ground is not outside the tactics employed by IDF. The USS Liberty attack is the exemplar for this, and there is investigatin underway as to how the clearly marked UN post was hit with what appears to be a dedicated attack (i. e. it may not have been simply a stray bomb from a larger attack in the immediate vicinity).

Hizbollah weaponry and technical capabilities are primitive in comparison to IDF, so there is not a high likelihood thay have electronic surveillance equipment and anti-radiation (the electro-magnetic kind of radiation, of course) weapons like the IDF and other modern military forces.

So, does the press have anything to worry about from the IDF? History says, "Maybe." But, this is a different world from June 8,1967. It would be very difficult for the IDF to pull off another USS LIberty-like tactic with the sheer volume of eyes, ears and other net-enabled sensors of the world media trained on the area of conflict.

GabrielJuly 26, 2006 8:23 AM

Maybe someone should tell Hezbollah to properly mark their convoys, with army green color for example, so that they can be distinguished from civilian vehicles...

hawkJuly 26, 2006 9:04 AM

One comment... Who cares what the journalist's complaints are? They're journalists because they commit to facing danger to "get the news". That's the cost. If they don't like their odds, they can go elsewhere.

dbhJuly 26, 2006 9:07 AM

Unfortunately, a more likely tactic for Hizbollah would be to mark their cars with "CNN" on top in order to 1) avoid getting hit, or 2) generate press casualties/"atrocities".

AnonymooseJuly 26, 2006 10:05 AM

@hawk:

Without journalists, all we know about the conflict is where the craters are, and what Israeli and Hezbollah propoganda machines churn out. Journalists, while by no means completely unbiased, give you a more neutral point of view, and can give the world as a whole a better understanding of the conflict.

Or at least skew it the way their editors want it to go.

pigletJuly 26, 2006 10:22 AM

"One comment... Who cares what the journalist's complaints are? They're journalists because they commit to facing danger to "get the news". That's the cost. If they don't like their odds, they can go elsewhere."

Targeting the press is considered a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Nobody cares a shit nowadays about those conventions, nowadays you can bomb schools, hospitals, churches, ambulances, UN peace keepers, whatever you like, as long as the USA says its okay. On the other hand, if the USA call you a terrorist, you are committing a crime even when you are capturing uniformed enemy soldiers. Still, theoretically, those conventions still exist. The USA have bombed Al Jazeera in Afghanistan and Iraq about thre times, they have killed journalists at the Palace Hotel, you remember that? In the Yugoslavia war 1999, Nato bombers deliberately targeted Yugoslavian television, something that even in World War II never has happened. Israel in Lebanon is also targeting the press infrastructure, TV broadcasting infrastructure. They are not apologizing for that. Israel has been known to shoot at journalists in Gaza. They know what they are doing: for them, publicity is rarely a good thing.

"Funny, no concern for how press looks to Hezbollah, only to Isrealis. Damned press has tried and convicted the Jews from every possible angle" What a bullshit. The press has nothing to fear from Hezbollah, Hezbollah doesn't target the press. Why should they? They want the world to see those pictures of children burnt, blood-soaked or torn to pieces. http://fromisrael2lebanon.com/

AgainstWarCrimesJuly 26, 2006 10:25 AM

Please go to http://julywar.epetitions.net and sign the Save the Lebanese Civilians Petition and forward this invitation to your friends.

Lebanese civilians have been under the constant attack of the state of Israel for several days. The State of Israel, in disregard to international law and the Geneva Convention, is launching a maritime and air siege targeting the entire population of the country. Innocent civilians are being collectively punished in Lebanon by the state of Israel in deliberate acts of terrorism as described in Article 33 of the Geneva Convention.

http://julywar.epetitions.net

http://fromisrael2lebanon.info/

hawkJuly 26, 2006 10:50 AM

@Anonymoose

Respectfully noted, although your comment does not address any of the points in my remark.

My point was not that Journalists are not a needed group within society, which they most definitely are. My comment was more along the lines of a military member complaining that they're being sent to war, or a plumber complaining about things that they find in drainage pipes. That is the job that they have sought, that they have chosen of their own free will.

There is no military draft, and there's certainly not a journalism draft.

Their concerns, while no doubt justifiable, are irrelevant.

Journalists: Deal, or quit.

(PS. And yes, I have served in the military and continue to serve in the reserves. Fighting a war, no matter one's personal opinion, is part of the job. And that's a hell of a lot more danger than any reporter deals with.)

AnonymooseJuly 26, 2006 11:42 AM

@hawk

Point well taken--I realized after I had posted that I had, indeed, misread your remarks.

I don't necessarily see this as "journalists whining about their jobs", but "journalists expressing concern about their safety". Obviously they're not safe--they're in a war zone--but the article seems to be more about their trying to figure out a way to mitigate the situation rather than a "woe is me" complaint. But perhaps I misread that as well.

cat blackJuly 26, 2006 11:55 AM

It's an interesting question: would the IDF bomb a car marked "CNN" or not? AFAIK, vehicles marked "UN" are usually spared (the odd observer's station not withstanding). So why doesn't Hezbolla drive vehicles marked "UN" to avoid attack? I'll tell you why, because any UN soldier who catches an armed faction driving around pretending to be UN will shoot them on sight, no questions asked, and for obvious reasons.

Now, if the journalists were to paint "CNN" on their vehicles, Hezbollah would of course immediately do the same, forcing the real journalists to either leave the stage... or shoot the fakesters. Niether of which is appealing. So they take their chances.

On that topic, isn't it against the Geneva Conventions for armed combatants to blend with civilian populations? I suppose the idea would be to NOT deliberately drag unarmed civilians into a struggle by using them as cover. But Hezbolla is at least as interested in causing civilian casualties as preventing them

pigletJuly 26, 2006 12:16 PM

"Now, if the journalists were to paint "CNN" on their vehicles, Hezbollah would of course immediately do the same"

That remark is disgusting. There is no history of Hezbollah ever having done anything like that. There is one sign that is absolutely protected by international law, namely the Red Cross. Using the Red Cross as a cover for military operations would be a disgusting war crime. Attacking a Red Cross is also a disgusting war crime. Hezbollah has not done any of this. Israel has.

"The ambulance headlamps were on, the blue light overhead was flashing, and another light illuminated the Red Cross flag when the first Israeli missile hit, shearing off the right leg of the man on the stretcher inside. As he lay screaming beneath fire and smoke, patients and ambulance workers scrambled for safety, crawling over glass in the dark. Then another missile hit the second ambulance.
Even in a war which has turned the roads of south Lebanon into killing zones, Israel's rocket strike on two clearly marked Red Cross ambulances on Sunday night set a deadly new milestone.

Six ambulance workers were wounded and three generations of the Fawaz family, being transported to hospital from Tibnin with what were originally minor injuries, were left fighting for their lives. Two ambulances were entirely destroyed, their roofs pierced by missiles."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1828142,00.html

pigletJuly 26, 2006 12:25 PM

"On that topic, isn't it against the Geneva Conventions for armed combatants to blend with civilian populations?" It is. "I suppose the idea would be to NOT deliberately drag unarmed civilians into a struggle by using them as cover. But Hezbolla is at least as interested in causing civilian casualties as preventing them".

Do you hafe proof for that? Israel is claiming that Hezbollah is hiding among civilians, that they hide rockets under beds, etc. But have they presented any proof for that claim? If they have verified that there are weapons in a civilian building, then attacking that building would be legal. However it is not legal to attack any and all civilian buildings on the suspicion that maybe there are weapons. Hezbollah's rockets have a range of 3-4 kilometers. They are certainly not fired from Beyrouth or other cities that Israel has bombed. Hezbollah are Shiites but Israel has attacked Christians and Sunnis, they have attacked clearly civilians infrastructure, they have attacked dairy farms and factories. Otoh it seems that hezbollah has hardly been hit at all. After all that bombing and killing, Hezbollah is still capable of firing at Haifa, with rockets of a few kilometers range! Are the Israeli military so incompetent? I don't believe it.

pigletJuly 26, 2006 12:28 PM

"' Brigadier General Dan Halutz, the Israeli Chief of Staff, emphasised that the offensive . . . was open-ended. “Nothing is safe (in Lebanon), as simple as that,��? he said. '

In other words, Halutz, who is also said to have threatened ten for one reprisals, is openly declaring that he will commit war crimes if he wants to. Nothing is safe? A Christian school in the northern village of Bsharri? A Druze old people's home in the Shouf mountains? A Sunni family out for a stroll in the northern port of Tripoli? He can murder all of them at will, Halutz says."

Juan Cole www.juancole.com

hawkJuly 26, 2006 12:28 PM

@Anonymoose

Perhaps I, as well, have misread the article as more of a complaint as opposed to a practical request for advice on how to avoid being targeted.

Recently I've sent invitations to friends to join LinkedIn. I often wonder how I'm going to convince other security experts that the invitation is a real email and not a spam message.

Would something along the lines of "THIS IS NOT SPAM" (about 50x) convey the truth, or just convince the recipient further that it really is spam?

I suppose the same dilemma would be faced with a large "CNN" logo.

Can anyone think of a genuinely inventive way to increase or ensure trust in such an untrusting situation?

Regarding equipment and electronic signatures of broadcasting equipment, although I'm not specifically an expert in this arena, it would be hard to imaging military equipment using the same kinds of frequencies as commercial broadcasting equipment. Who would want a TV station to be able to redirect a missile? I'm sure they're as safe from misidentification caused by broadcasting equipment as they can be.

I think that the media could be safest by trying in earnest to communicate with both sides as to there whereabouts in an attempt to side step any danger.

Perhaps even convoy notifications could be relayed to both sides?

pigletJuly 26, 2006 12:31 PM

"I think that the media could be safest by trying in earnest to communicate with both sides as to there whereabouts in an attempt to side step any danger."

That's what they are doing anyway, and still they are not safe. If the UN isn't safe, why should CNN be?

"According to a detailed timeline of the incident provided by an unidentified UN officer and reported by CNN, the first bomb exploded around 200 yards from the post at 1.20pm (11.20am UK time) yesterday.Unifil observers then telephoned their designated contact with the Israeli military, who assured them the attacks would stop. Over the next several hours, nine more bombs fell close to the post, each one followed by a call to the Israeli military, the UN officer said." (The Guardian)

wkwillisJuly 26, 2006 12:48 PM

It has been for some years more dangerous to be a journalist than a soldier. And far more dangerous to be a war correspondant than a soldier in a combat zone.

pigletJuly 26, 2006 12:59 PM

hawk, I don't know what kind of joke you are trying to make. Right now I assume you are a troll and won't feed you any more.

DBHJuly 26, 2006 1:05 PM

@piglet: there is abundant proof that Hizbollah is firing their missiles from civilian neighborhoods, the missile tracks themselves tell the story. Much of the civilian damage is in fact artillary counter-fire. Hamas has chosen this tactic as well, firing from civilian neighborhoods instead of open fields.

The IDF appears to report casualties somewhat accurately, while there is also a lot of evidence that Arab 'terrorists' in the past have not, maybe many more are dead than have been mentioned. Furthermore, since the 'terrorists' haven't done the IDF the courtesy of wearing a uniform, it is probably difficult to count the civilain v. 'militant' dead in the heat of battle. The reconciliation after hostilities will tell the story, as usual.

Has Israel hit other targets? Certainly. Is it justifiable? Arguable. But we need to get the facts before having that argument. If I was living in Israel and getting missiles, which have no guidance system and hence have NO capability of reliably hitting a military target, lobbed at me, I would want something done NOW.

one more timeJuly 26, 2006 1:12 PM

@piglet

from your comments I understand that you do not see the whole picture.
Red Cross - In countless occasions suicide bombers (with their bombs on them) were captured travelling in red cross ambulances in Gaze strip and other areas.
UN - the UN forces in lebanon have been active in helping the Hizbulla in his terror acts against Israel, specificaly 6 years ago in the kidnapping of the 3 soldiers. (and no, I do not think that the attack of the UN station was needed, and I do believe that it wasn't on purpose).
The israeli forces have withdrawn from all of south lebanon according to the UN resolution. Hizbula did not follow that resulotion.
the Hizbula crossed the israeli border - the one that the whole world agree upon - into israeli territory, killed and kidnapped israeli soldiers.

The attack took place without any provocation by israel (other than its mere existence)

This is followed by a relentless attack on israeli cities, killing many innocent people.

The IDF attack have targeted all of the Hizbula property, and they have been using the civilians as cannon-fodder.

to sum it up - even the french & the saudi are supporting this campign ...
dismantle hizbula and we could all live in peace.

pigletJuly 26, 2006 1:17 PM

"it is probably difficult to count the civilain v. 'militant' dead in the heat of battle"

Especially if the victims are children, as is the case for about one third of victims.

"Much of the civilian damage is in fact artillary counter-fire." Cite evidence for that claim.

"The IDF appears to report casualties somewhat accurately" I am not aware of any Lebanese casualties reported by IDF. How should they know how many dead are buried under the buildings they just reduced to rubble? They have no way of knowing. But we do, because the Lebanese government is reporting them, and those figures are not disputed by anybody, afaik not even by Israel, and we know because the pictures are broadcast world wide. Btw the Lebanese government is a democratically elected government endorsed by the international community (including at the time GWBush). The propaganda trick of name-calling ("Arab terrorists") just doesn't work in that context.

"Has Israel hit other targets? Certainly. Is it justifiable? Arguable." Let's get it straight. Knowingly hitting civilian targets without any connection to military operations is a war crime. This is not arguable, unless you want to flush the whole body of international law down the toilet. Also, please comment on what Gen. Halutz said. "Nothing is safe". You can't spin that around.

bobJuly 26, 2006 1:22 PM

Radio frequencies are designated by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) under the umbrella of the UN. All signatories agree to use the frequencies in the bands designated from a design standpoint, and modifiying a transmitter out-of-band is no simple task.

So, for example, civilian aircraft use double-sideband AM within the frequency band 118-135 MHz for voice communications and navigational aids between 108-118 MHz. No other services are authorized in those bands. Military aircraft use the 225-400 MHz band. Amateur Radio has (a number of operating modes) authorized within 144-148 MHz and any other service would be prohibited there. There are even bands reserved for Radio Astronomy (which basically means no transmitters of any kind so you can listen for ET, or Jodi Foster as necessary).

There are different frequency allocation regions in the world, similar to DvD regions; as well as different allocations for government and non-governmental services.

A frequency band authorized for civilian terrestrial space services (ie ground-based satellite uplink) would probably be a bad choice for the military to design a missile control link, when there are frequency bands reserved for that purpose. I suspect that the frequency, amplitude, bandwith and modulation type of a satellite signal would tell a military SIGINT post rather quickly that it was an uplink and not a weapons tracking signal.

hawkJuly 26, 2006 1:25 PM

@piglet

Honestly, no troll. If you've read my previous posts you would realize that.

While I would agree that combat journalism is extremely dangerous, it is inherently the nature of combat journalism.

I guess the reason that you seem to think I'm a troll is that I haven't addressed the horror of the Geneva Convention not being honored by |insert government, faction, etc| with regard to keeping journalists "as safe as possible" on the front lines of a growing conflict.

I would agree with any here that violation of the Geneva Convention is a gross horror and that the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) should be strictly adhered to. I honestly don't believe that any discussion that occurs on any blog, no matter how distinguished the originating author may be, will change what is happening. My only hope is that the International community would do its part in ensuring that the governments found guilty of violations will be held accountable.

It would seem, however, that you have missed my point as well. Combat journalism is DANGEROUS. Get it? Now the reporters have to decide whether the story is worth their lives. It's actually really simple, of course, that's a pragmatic view.

pigletJuly 26, 2006 1:27 PM

"Red Cross - In countless occasions suicide bombers (with their bombs on them) were captured travelling in red cross ambulances in Gaze strip and other areas." That is bullshit.

"UN - the UN forces in lebanon have been active in helping the Hizbulla in his terror acts against Israel, specificaly 6 years ago in the kidnapping of the 3 soldiers." Again, bullshit. Disgusting.

"the Hizbula crossed the israeli border - the one that the whole world agree upon - into israeli territory, killed and kidnapped israeli soldiers." Whatever you may say, this was a military target and perfectly legal in war. Israel's response was, and is, not legal.

"This is followed by a relentless attack on israeli cities, killing many innocent people." Correct, but this happened after the Israeli bombing, and if 17 are "many innocent people" (which they are), then 400 are "twenty times many innocent people". It is simply disgusting that you suggest only Israeli civilian dead count, but Arabs do not. This is pure racism and nothing but racism.

pigletJuly 26, 2006 1:31 PM

"I would agree with any here that violation of the Geneva Convention is a gross horror and that the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) should be strictly adhered to. I honestly don't believe that any discussion that occurs on any blog, no matter how distinguished the originating author may be, will change what is happening." Of course not. Still, I'm not in the mood for ";)" :(

VickiJuly 26, 2006 1:31 PM

Yes, combat journalism is dangerous. That doesn't mean the journalists are there because they want danger, nor does it mean they shouldn't take reasonable steps to mitigate the danger. The "let's try not to look like fighters" that the article talked about is a sensible safety precaution, as is making sure that your vehicle's brakes are sound and wearing your seatbelt. You might die anyway, but you're more likely to die if you look like combatants and your vehicle isn't in good condition.

hawkJuly 26, 2006 1:35 PM

@piglet

It seems that this issue is very dear to you. I'm sure you have personal connections into this conflict that are effecting you greatly.

All the same, I just want you to realize that I'm taking a completely pragmatic view on the specific issue of combat journalists trying to figure out what to do.

What's the proverb, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen"? I think it applies here.

VickiJuly 26, 2006 1:41 PM

You're right. What does one do when they've tried there best and are still unable to safely accomplish a mission? You either risk the dangers, or you decide that the mission is not worth the risk. That's the place that I believe journalists are now at. That's a very personal decision and I wish them the best of luck whatever their decisions shall be.

hawkJuly 26, 2006 1:42 PM

@Vicki

So sorry to use your nick, I meant to direct the comment to you. My apologies!

You're right. What does one do when they've tried there best and are still unable to safely accomplish a mission? You either risk the dangers, or you decide that the mission is not worth the risk. That's the place that I believe journalists are now at. That's a very personal decision and I wish them the best of luck whatever their decisions shall be.

one more timeJuly 26, 2006 1:47 PM

@ piglet
"Also, please comment on what Gen. Halutz said. "Nothing is safe". You can't spin that around."
Well you can spin it - you did just that.
The real meaning of the word was to stress the fact that the IDF will not let the hizbula avoid the consequences of its actions.
Why haven't you mention the hizbula? its unprovoked attack?
the lebanese are paying dearly for their democratly-elected goverment unwillingness to deal with hizbula - with a hizbula minister inside it.

I always admired those who can shape the facts to their according to their will ...

Frank McGowanJuly 26, 2006 1:54 PM

@Vasu
" dude, you are making a huge leap by saying hezbollah may have 'monitoring stations' or any such device."
Are you serious? They can't receive radio or tv signals? I'm sorry, but that's pretty hard to swallow.

"I don't think I am qualified to make an assessment on the good/bad of hezbollah, but everyone by now should know that their equipment/technology is pretty primitive. Their tactics include *and are limited to* blowing themselves up and such, nothing more."
They used a Chinese designed and Iranian built "Silkworm" anti-shipping missile with radar target acquisition and terminal homing to attack the Israeli ship. Not exactly a bomb vest. Neither are the purported 13000-20000 Russian designed Katyusha rockets Hez. are said to have on inventory. These are not "advanced" as rocket weapons go, but Hez. are not exactly throwing stones here. Neither are the Katyushas being targetted on Israeli troop concentrations on the Lebanses border. Rather, Hez are shooting at cities, typically large concentrations of civilians...

"I really doubt this has anything to do with Jews. Really, stop crying wolf.."
Perhaps you should read a bit about Hezbollah and their stated aims.

This is not exactly the "poor little freedom fighters" vs "big bad Israel" struggle that some are apparently attempting to portray it.

derfJuly 26, 2006 2:01 PM

If you deliberately enter an area where bombs are falling, don't complain. It's your own fault if one falls on you. Bombs don't care if your vest is blue or not.

The same goes for "innocent Lebanese civilians". If you have a rocket launcher in your backyard, you have no expectation of safety just because you don't pay dues to hezbollah.

pigletJuly 26, 2006 2:13 PM

one more time: "Why haven't you mention the hizbula? its unprovoked attack?"

I have "mention" the following:

"the Hizbula crossed the israeli border - the one that the whole world agree upon - into israeli territory, killed and kidnapped israeli soldiers." Whatever you may say, this was a military target and perfectly legal in war. Israel's response was, and is, not legal.

"This is followed by a relentless attack on israeli cities, killing many innocent people." Correct, but this happened after the Israeli bombing, and if 17 are "many innocent people" (which they are), then 400 are "twenty times many innocent people". It is simply disgusting that you suggest only Israeli civilian dead count, but Arabs do not. This is pure racism and nothing but racism.

I can repeat this again if you insist.

"Nothing is safe" is as unambiguous as it goes, and the guy has not only said it, he has also done it. He has blown up ambulances, churches, UN posts, refugee convoys, dairy farms, airports and sea ports, populated city areas and whatever else there was to blow up. He has forced 800'000 civilians out of their homes. All in response to the capturing of two uniformed soldiers. None of this had anything to do with Hezbollah rockets. The only strategy is to hold 3 million civilians hostage to achieve a military advantage. Now that Israel is actually engaged in fighting on the ground with Hezbollah, they complain bitterly that soldiers are being killed. Those are not only criminals, they are also cowards.

pigletJuly 26, 2006 2:14 PM

"If you deliberately enter an area where bombs are falling, don't complain. It's your own fault if one falls on you. Bombs don't care if your vest is blue or not.

The same goes for "innocent Lebanese civilians"."

derf, you are a fascist.

hawkJuly 26, 2006 2:27 PM

@derf

You are EXACTLY right. Thank you for summarizing my position.

@piglet

At this point, you need to withdraw from commenting. You haven't contributed an original thought for quite some time.

It's often cited that one sees what one sees within themselves. Perhaps you are the troll.

pigletJuly 26, 2006 2:29 PM

"If you are a doctor in a war zone driving wounded civilians in a Red Cross ambulance, don't complain if a bomb falls on you. It's your own fault.

If you are a UN peace keeper in an official UN post in Lebanon and bombs fall on you, don't complain. It's your own fault.

If you are a five year old child living in a Beirut suburb highrise and bombs reduce your home, your family and yourself to rubble, don't complain. It's your own fault. Why were you born Arabic? Stupid you." Thanks, derf, for having explained modern war.

pigletJuly 26, 2006 2:32 PM

"You haven't contributed an original thought for quite some time."

That is an interesting point. Actually, when discussing a topic like the war in Lebanon, I am interested in facts and not in "thoughts". I am waiting for anybody who disagrees with me here to point out a single factual error in my posts. What you are producing here is nothing but wishful thinking. You are not ready to face the facts because you know they don't match your ideology.

C. C.July 26, 2006 2:36 PM

@ one more time

" the Hizbula crossed the israeli border - the one that the whole world agree upon - into israeli territory, killed and kidnapped israeli soldiers. "

Don't believe everything you here from the good ol USA media.

The original news story from other news site state the Israel soldiers were captured within Lebanon borders. Even the original story on MSNBC stated such, but was later changed to the Israel version.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/7/25/92027/5840

As to the Red Cross trucks being stolen in the past, and therefore ok to shoot at. Can't these guys hold off on the missle barrage for two seconds, pick up the phone and call the Red Cross and ask whether they dispatched an ambulance to that area?

Take the red pill. Everything you know is a lie.

hawkJuly 26, 2006 2:37 PM

@piglet

You have deviated so far from the original content of the above article that your comments have no relevance to the discussion thread. To be honest, I don't care who's in the right or wrong in the Middle East. I DON'T CARE. Easy as that, huh? I've only commented on the original article and have provided my opinion as to a feasible solution for a journalist's problem.

aadJuly 26, 2006 2:41 PM

@hawk:

How can "the International community would do its part in ensuring that the governments found guilty of violations will be held accountable" if Israel kills all the reporters?

That is precisely why Israel is applying as much laser-guided "heat" as possible to get journalists and observers "out of the kitchen." It's no accident. It's a murderous strategy to cover up their crimes.

Of course, with no one to document the bloodshed, it's also easier for us to sleep at night, remain ignorant and take the word of government / military officials and ABCNNBCBSFOXNEWS instead of seeking out truly alternative information sources.

hawkJuly 26, 2006 2:53 PM

@aad

Thank you for assisting me in making my point. Don't you think a journalist would consider documenting inappropriate use of military power as something of import? If that is how the journalists see the situation, than maybe that is worth the risk of being there. But that's the journalist's call. They have that _choice_. Tell the whole world that you're being shot at. Televise the call to XYZ military group that you're at coordinates A by B. Leave the SATLINK up and the cameras rolling as you're bombed. Now that is evidence! Joe Journalist, is it worth it? Make the call and do what's right! But don't complain about your own choices.

one more timeJuly 26, 2006 3:32 PM

@C.C.
read those articles once more - you are misinformed and misleading (deliberately?)

@piglet & all the rest
this debate is futile, you listen only to yourself and you do not try to address any idea that is presented to you other than your own.
I hoped that the problem is with the goverments, that if the real ppl talked, then the peace would come for sure.
now I must say I am losing this hope - you seem as numb as your goverment.
so sad ...

Take care and have a good day.

WoodyJuly 26, 2006 3:35 PM

"Especially if the victims are children, as is the case for about one third of victims."

Children make GREAT fighters for radical groups. They're easily brainwashed, they're agile, nimble, and can easily sneak into positions to do what they've been told is the right thing to do.

And they blend in, due to a western view that children aren't soldiers/warriors. And when the retaliation fire hits, boy does it make good news for the side that uses the children.

Do I agree with this? Hell no. Does it happen? All the time. Look at the number of images that come out of the mid-east and Africa where genocide of various flavors is taking place. There's the pic of the 10yo kid firing the AK-47. Nearly knocks him over, but he's doing it. Why? Idealism, and that he's been told continuously since birth that "they" are the enemy and need to be eradicated.

***

The Geneva Conventions gets very difficult to enforce (from my point of view), when one side is a military, and the other side is un-uniformed guerilla fighters. History shows that in these kinds of situations, a lot of civilians get killed, and lots of guerillas easily masquerade as civilians. The line between them is very, very, very blurry.

Vietnam was full of this, and look at the US's own revolutionary war. The colonists were able to easily pick off the red-coat wearing British soldiers without taking many casualties in response. Only in open battle were the casualties more even-sided.

And this is what's happening here. A Hezbollah fighter can drive into a neighborhood, launch a couple rockets, and move on to the next neighborhood.

The Lebonese people definitely do not appreciate the existence of Hezbollah in their country, but don't have the military (or armed citizenry, which comes with it's own dangers at this point in time) to expell them.

Under US Law, the situation that Lebanon is in would be considered "Aiding and Abetting" a known criminal, if it was a murderer that was living in a house with someone else. Or, it would be viewed as the murderer having taken the people that live in the house as hostage. Depends on how complicit the people in the house were with the actions of the murderer.

Unfortunately, the Lebanese gov't is very unlike to try to work with Israel to expell Hezbollah. First due to Hezbollah being part (extreme minority) of the gov't, and second, because they politically/culturally/religiously don't like Israel. A common enemy doesn't always make allies, or at least allies for very long (see Russia wrt to WWII and then the cold war).

Does it suck? In both places. But that's not the point of this story.

***

The authentication of non-combatants in a situation like this is very difficult, and an interesting security problem. Especially when you try to consider how it can be used by a unscrupulous (or at least opportunistic) side.

If there are known insignias that can be worn/displayed to convey free travel, and non-violence to those wearing/displaying them, what's the authentication measure on those insignia?

You show up near a battlefield with a UN logo on the roof of your van. Who can authenticate that? A bomb lobbed near you, but not too near you to actually hit can be an interesting (although not very thorough) test of that, if the assumption is a non-combatant would "run", for having gotten too close to the action that they are supposed to be observing.

If there is precedent for trying to use the cover of a non-military aid organization to move fighters, missles, or evade lines/checkpoints, how do you authenticate them?

You can have a call-in system, "Red Cross, we see two of your ambulances in a really suspicious location, can you confirm that they're where they're supposed to be?", but what happens when the drivers get lost? That happens often enough in the US, when the roads aren't getting destroyed due to the fighting, and the buildings for landmarks don't get knocked down between runs to pick up wounded civilians.

And how do the aid organizations authenticate the people that they're picking up? If they find a wounded, uniformed soldier, do they pick them up, or leave them for the military? (I honestly don't know). But if they're transporting wounded fighters with wounded civilians, that might be considered aiding and abetting.

Not wearing uniforms is "playing dirty", and it costs a lot to the civilians in the area, especially if some of the civilians are sympathetic to the fighters (or at least ambivalent to the Israelis).

It's very difficult for Israel to sit and get hit over and over with rockets, and not be able to retaliate, as the people launching the rockets are hiding in crowds of non-combatants.

It requires an amazing amount of technology to find those rocket launchers, and an equal amount of precision application of firepower to only hit them.

You need to detect the rocket at launch, get a very high resolution photo of the launch itself (or immediately afterward), to find the launching fighter, and then need to track that fighter while you direct in a precision strike on them.

But what do you do when they go hide in a building? Level the building? Do nothing and wait for them to come out later on (with a change of clothes, disguise, etc.) after civies have come/gone a few times?

pigletJuly 26, 2006 3:58 PM

Woody, you have written more stuff than anybody has ever written in this forum but there is not a single verifiable fact in your whole sermon. "Children make GREAT fighters for radical groups." This is completely irrelevant to Israel's bombing campaing in Lebanon. Not even the most crazy Israeli would claim that those children lying under the rubble in Beirut and elsewhere are "fighters for radical groups". And remember no rockets are being fired from Beirut so that pathetic excuse "rockets under the bed" doesn't stand either.

It is a waste of time going through the rest of your post. It's just another racist hate post. You'd never dream of making arguments like that if the victims were not Arabs. In fact, the argument you are making is the same as terrorists are making. They would say that all Israelis are legitimate targets because they support a government that is committing occupation crimes. All Israeli adults are army reservists, all settlers are combatants etc. They might very well say that all Americans are legitimate targets because their taxes are paying for the bombs that are killing children in Lebanon. This is of unacceptable but it is the same sort of argument that is made against the Lebanese allegedly supporting terrorism.

www.fromisrael2lebanon.com/

I obviously don't respond to trolls here (no more time) but I repeat from above:
"I am waiting for anybody who disagrees with me here to point out a single factual error in my posts. What you are producing here is nothing but wishful thinking. You are not ready to face the facts because you know they don't match your ideology."

ModeratorJuly 26, 2006 4:38 PM

Please don't debate the politics of the war here. Yes, it's important, but this isn't the place.

AndrewJuly 26, 2006 10:23 PM

To drag the discussion kicking and screaming back to security for a minute:

There's been a history of people inconveniently dropping bombs, etc. on people putatively immune from attack, such as the USS Liberty, the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia, and now this UN observer post.

I don't think it's an authentication issue. The Liberty was flying a large US flag from the stern! The Chinese embassy was well marked on tourist maps, let alone no-bomb lists that are consulted as part of the generation of an Air Tasking Order. I don't think there's any doubt that the UN observer post was well known to the Israeli military and that a command decision was made at the highest levels that the eye in question needed to be poked with a sharp stick.

So it's not authentication -- it's deterring the responsible parties through various techniques (the belief that such acts immediately end their careers would be a nice start . . .)

I personally think the U.N. should commit an non-violent but warlike act in retaliation . . . such as providing to the world (and Hezbollah) free damage assessment photography in Lebanon and Israel. Both sides can use this, of course, but on balance it will favor Hezbollah because they can't get anything in the air.

Perhaps this will cause Israel to think twice about killing UN observers.

AnonymousJuly 26, 2006 10:28 PM

@piglet: "the Yugoslavia war 1999, Nato bombers deliberately targeted Yugoslavian television, something that even in World War II never has happened."

I wonder why... Maybe television wasn't too popular around fourties?

Davi OttenheimerJuly 26, 2006 10:55 PM

"everyone by now should know that [hizbullah] equipment/technology is pretty primitive"

Hmmm, that comment strikes me as very odd. One of the biggest differences in this Hizbullah operation from others was their use of a sophisticated radar-guided anti-ship missle. And I don't know if you've noticed but Israeli tanks are being destroyed.

That's the opposite, actually, of what you are saying. Everyone thought Hizbullah did not have sophisticated technology but they have demonstrated that clearly is no longer the case.

I wrote more about the proliferation of arms here:
http://davi.poetry.org/blog/?p=490

"Here is a Forbes article that mentions that they were captured in Lebanon."

What? Are you kidding? Hizbullah attacked a border patrol and then entered Israel to abduct the victims.

The news is complicated, but hopefully everyone can at least figure out that Hizbullah crossed a border because they had planned to kidnap Israelis and force negotiations for the release of a particular Lebanese man who is in an Israeli prison.

I don't see why people object to Anyonymous suggesting that there are two sides to this story. It's not widely reported but here is some data from northern Israel:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3281843,00.html

"Since the onset of the current confrontation on the northern border, 15 days ago, 1,402 rockets have been launched at Israel, the Northern District Police's spokesperson reported. Nineteen civilians have been killed and 1,262 wounded, including 46 who are still hospitalized. Many of the injured suffered from shock. [...] On Tuesday, rocket attacks on the north took a heavy toll. Daa Abbas, a 15-year-old girl from the Druze town of Mrar, was killed from a direct hit to her home. Daa was watching television at the time, along with her mother and seventeen year old brother."

Clearly it is not safe to be in either northern Israel or south Lebanon. Reporters can't exactly hold up their credentials to stop a rocket from falling on them.

"the hope is that the Israelis would identify it as media signals, and not Hezbollah rocket electronics, and thus avoid being a target"

Sounds like it is more the exception than the rule and there is actually hope of not being targeted when the Israelis are attacking. That seems different to me than indescriminate Hizbullah rockets falling from the sky on civilians. Not that I'm trying to defend either, but there are certainly two sides to this conflict.

Incidentally, I did some research on the man the Hizbullah say they really want released from prison in exchange for Israeli lives. I started to get curious why noone seems to give in-depth analysis on the Hizbullah demands for his release:

http://davi.poetry.org/blog/?p=521

Oh, and as far as the UN role as an observer in Lebanon, don't forget they didn't exactly win a lot of confidence in 2000 after they hid evidence and "mishandled Hizbullah video" of kidnapped Israelis:

http://www.mia.org.il/archive/010805jp.html

another_bruceJuly 27, 2006 12:55 AM

i suspect vicki and hawk are the same person and there's some sock puppetry going on here. this person seems unable to distinguish between the point that war journalism is dangerous (duhh!) and the more relevant point that it's unseemly for an american ally to use weapons acquired from america to intentionally target war journalists, u.n. observers, lebanese civilians, etc.

Davi OttenheimerJuly 27, 2006 1:00 AM

""UN - the UN forces in lebanon have been active in helping the Hizbulla in his terror acts against Israel, specificaly 6 years ago in the kidnapping of the 3 soldiers." Again, bullshit. Disgusting."

Actually, it's a valid argument. I provided the link above that shows the Israeli MIA report. Here is the official UN report:

http://www.un.org/News/dh/latest/videorpt.htm

"Helping" is probably too strong a word, but the UN itself admitted to withholding important information about the soldiers who were kidnapped by the Hizbullah:

"Other senior officials, notably the Force Commander and the Director, were aware of the existence of the 8 October videotape but chose not to make it known to the Israeli authorities. In their view, they did not feel that the United Nations was under any obligation to do so, nor did the tape contain information on the condition of the abducted soldiers."

Video becomes so critically important when kidnapping is involved, it is hard to understand why a UN official would deny it exists. If it did not contain information relevant to the welfare of the soldiers, then what's the harm of the UN confirming its existence? The press allowed to video the hostages could put themselves in an especially compromising situation, it seems.

I also think it important to note that the Israeli soldiers kidnapped in 2000 were taken *after* the Israeli unilateral withdrawl from Lebanon to comply with the UN Security Council Resolution 425.

I don't know if you would say this is the politics or the security of the situation, but the Hizbullah found a fundamental flaw in the situation in southern Lebanon because they ignored UN Security Council Resolution 1559 that required them to either disband or leave the country while Israel gave up the occupied territory that served as a buffer to Israel.

Seems obvious to me that hostile forces left at arms-length from each other are bound to have skirmishes and disputes because they are in such close quarters; even more so when one side says they will continue to pick-off and kidnap border patrols until all their demands are met.

Davi OttenheimerJuly 27, 2006 1:10 AM

@ another_bruce

I don't understand the leap from "could mistake" in the actual story that Bruce cited to your "intentionally target" claim.

As the second paragraph states very clearly, the journalists are worried because "it is unclear what we look like to Israeli military monitoring stations" and they express "the hope is that the Israelis would identify it as media signals".

That implies the opposite of "intentionally target", no?

Clive RobinsonJuly 27, 2006 5:41 AM

@Davi Ottenheimer

"I don't understand the leap from "could mistake" in the actual story that Bruce cited to your "intentionally target" claim."

Ask the familes of the 4 dead UN observers and the Secretary General of the UN.

Basically there was a UN command post in south Lebanon that has been known about by the Israelis for atleast 20 years. The Israelies started sheling it and the UN observers contacted the Isreali Military many times over several hours to tell them to stop targeting them. It got so bad that representations where made to the Israeli Government through Political channels.

The Israeli reponse send in an air strike with bunker busting bombs to make the problem go away....

According to the Israelis this was a "mistake"

According to the Unite Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan who said that the Israelis

"apparently deliberate targeting"

of the U.N. post in southern Lebanon was unaceptable and demanded an Israeli investigation into the incident.

You chose whose wording is correct, but the result is the same atleast 4 Dead UN Observers. Also several Countries at the meeting in Rome have indicated they are not putting in peace keepers untill Israeli military forces are under control...

Which has been read by the Isreali Justice Minister Haim Ramon as,

"We received yesterday at the Rome conference permission from the world... to continue the operation,"

So expect gallons more blood of inocent people to flow into the ground of Lebanon.

pigletJuly 27, 2006 8:39 AM

Davi, the claim about the UN helping terrorists is bogus, and you know it. Your own post makes the point clear so I think it's hardly honest to repeat a claim that you know is not true:

'"Helping" is probably too strong a word, but the UN itself admitted to withholding important information about the soldiers who were kidnapped by the Hizbullah:

"Other senior officials, notably the Force Commander and the Director, were aware of the existence of the 8 October videotape but chose not to make it known to the Israeli authorities. In their view, they did not feel that the United Nations was under any obligation to do so, nor did the tape contain information on the condition of the abducted soldiers."'

Without knowing all the details of the case, I think the UN is right to emphasize that it is neutral and shouldn't be seen helping one party in a war. I should also mention that Israel has a record of accusing everybody who is not unconditionally partisan of "collaborating with terrorists". Whether the UN, Human Rights Watch, European and other governments who refuse to be 100% pro-Israel, even human rights advocates inside Israel - they have all been accused of supporting terrorism. I specifically remember when a couple of years ago Canada, of all countries, was accused of financing terrorism. This line of argument is sick and disgusting and I'm always surprised when the so accused stay polite instead of telling Israel to fuck off.

pigletJuly 27, 2006 8:45 AM

"It's not widely reported but here is some data from northern Israel:"

Davi, this data is widely reported. Don't worry about that.

"Clearly it is not safe to be in either northern Israel or south Lebanon." Nor is it safe to be in north Lebanon, east Lebanon or west Lebanon. It isn't safe to be in Beirut or in Tripolis. It isn't safe to be in a Shia region nor in a Sunni region nor in a Christian region. It isn't safe to be man, woman or child. It isn't safe to be an ambulance driver, a UN peace keeper or a soldier of the regular Lebanese army - you know, that army that Israel expects to patrol the Southern border. *"Nothing is safe"*. Let us all repeat: *Nothign is safe*.

"' Brigadier General Dan Halutz, the Israeli Chief of Staff, emphasised that the offensive . . . was open-ended. “Nothing is safe (in Lebanon), as simple as that,��? he said. '

In other words, Halutz, who is also said to have threatened ten for one reprisals, is openly declaring that he will commit war crimes if he wants to. Nothing is safe? A Christian school in the northern village of Bsharri? A Druze old people's home in the Shouf mountains? A Sunni family out for a stroll in the northern port of Tripoli? He can murder all of them at will, Halutz says."

Juan Cole www.juancole.com

pigletJuly 27, 2006 10:39 AM

Follow-up to "the UN helping terrorists":

"It was not the first time United Nation's Interim Force In Lebanon had come under fire. In one of the most violent incidents the peacekeepers have faced in Lebanon, a UN compound at Quana near Tyre was shelled by Israeli forces during heavy fighting with Hezbollah in 1996, and 106 Lebanese civilians taking refuge there were killed, and four UN soldiers were seriously wounded.

Over three decades UNIFIL has drawn resentment from both Israel, which accuses it of turning a blind eye to Hezbollah attacks across its border, and Hezbollah, which sees it as a base for spying on its activities..." (Toronto Star)

Clive RobinsonJuly 27, 2006 11:29 AM

@piglet

"Halutz, who is also said to have threatened ten for one reprisals, is openly declaring that he will commit war crimes if he wants to"

Do not be surprised by this, by their own admission the Israel military supported by their Government has committed numerous acts of "War Crimes" as defined by various international conventions.

In fact they have commited worse examples of ethenic cleansing over the past 40 years than the Serbians etc (who are being dragged up on War Crimes Charges). They frequently illeagaly over fly other Nations and run military incursions as well whilst declairing any kind of retaliation as an act of war.

And before the "Your an Anti-Semitic" accusers get up on their hind legs I will point out that the information is in the public domain, and has not been denied by the Government of Israel.

In fact if you have looked into the latest out pourings from Official Israelie spokes persons you will find it extreamly difficult to see any truth in them. For instance the bombing of Electricity Power stations to prevent the movment of captives by night ??? get real.

Likewise the indescriminate bombing of civilian built up areas well away from the boarder that supposedly might harbour rocket launch sites for long range rockets. The energy required to launch a rocket over 100KM with a warhead sufficient to cause the damage seen in Israel would cause considerabel damage for upto 100meters diameter, and lesser damage at three times that distance in an urban area. It's most definatly not the sort of thing you do in a built up residential area consisting of blocks of flats...

This kind of outpouring of mis-information fro mIsraelie spokes persons has always been the case since the mass lies and mis-information campaign of the Six Day War (that Israel inflicted on nearly defensless Palistiniens and US personell, whilst claiming that Israel was the victim of an attack).

The simple fact is that the Israelies are destroying civilian infrestructure deliberatly which has no military value. This is without a doubt a serious War Crime, for which they should be brought to account.

Most Journalists appear frighted to question it as they are affraid they will be branded "Anti-Semitic". So Isreal appears (at least from ther media perspective) to get away with it which only encorages them further.

The US however have decided it is better to let Israel wipe out as much of Lebanon as they see fit. Oh and will rush as much arms and amunition and other high tech wepons as needed for them to prosecute an unjustifiable case of ethnic clensing and War Crimes.

It has become clear that for whatever reason U.S. policy in the regeion is to supply as much weponary to Israel as is required to ensure that they are without question militarily the dominante nation in the area.

You might care to re listen to the outporings of Ms C. Rice as the Official U.S. spokes person if you think I am imagining this...

As long as the US Government carries on like this nobody in the rest of the world will take them seriously, and it will be impossible for there to be peace in the area.

nemoJuly 27, 2006 12:08 PM

From the Globe and Mail (globeandmail.com) an article by Canadian Retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie

"The penultimate paragraph of Major Hess-von Kruedener's e-mail is prophetic, to say the least: "The closest artillery has landed within two metres of our position and the closest 1,000-pound aerial bomb has landed 100 metres from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but has rather been due to tactical necessity."

This is what we call "veiled speech" in military jargon. It means hiding the truth in lingo that outsiders would not necessarily understand. What he is saying translates roughly as: "We have Hezbollah fighters all over our position engaging the IDF and using us as shields. They will probably stay, hoping that the IDF won't target them for fear of hitting us."

Surprising? Not really. "

Major Hess-von Kruedener is the Canadian who lost his life in the bombing of the UN post. The e-mail was a few weeks old.

Many people have a simplistic view of the modern battlefield, imagining a level of situational awareness and precision in targeting that belongs into a sci-fi movie or a computer game but has nothing to do with real battlefield. Things get broken, people get killed, deliberately or by mistake, that's why they call it a war

nemoJuly 27, 2006 12:21 PM

@Clive Robinson

"Likewise the indescriminate bombing of civilian built up areas well away from the boarder that supposedly might harbour rocket launch sites for long range rockets. The energy required to launch a rocket over 100KM with a warhead sufficient to cause the damage seen in Israel would cause considerabel damage for upto 100meters diameter, and lesser damage at three times that distance in an urban area. It's most definatly not the sort of thing you do in a built up residential area consisting of blocks of flats..."

you have read this where?

"The simple fact is that the Israelies are destroying civilian infrestructure deliberatly which has no military value."

Oh please! And the US bombings of German industry in WW2 had "no military value". Bridges, and roads don't make transport easier and the only things being sent from Syria to Lebanon is humanitarian aid.

Everyone is entitled to at least one opinion ( politicians get two :) but proclaiming such nonsense as fact is disgraceful.


"This is without a doubt a serious War Crime, for which they should be brought to account."

Please cite me the article of any of the Geneva conventions which would support your argument.

It's a war, things ( and yes people ) get blown up. If one side refuses to wear a uniform and uses civilians as shields, who's fault is it, when those civilians end up dead?

pigletJuly 27, 2006 12:48 PM

"Things get broken, people get killed, deliberately or by mistake, that's why they call it a war"

Great. That's what all war criminals in the history of the world have always maintained. What a superb excuse for the bombing of residential neighborhoods far away from the front line. Your moral relativism (or is it mere racism?) is sickening. "People get killed", that's no different from the terrorist mind set.


pigletJuly 27, 2006 12:52 PM

"Please cite me the article of any of the Geneva conventions which would support your argument."

You have given your ignorance away. Here are the articles:

' The Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibits "collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism ..." (Article 33). According to Article 147 of the Convention, "extensive destruction ... not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly," hostage-taking and "torture or inhuman treatment" are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and constitute war crimes. All state parties to the Convention are required to search for and ensure the prosecution of perpetrators of grave breaches of the said Convention.

Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions codifies the principle of distinction, a customary rule of international humanitarian law: "In order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operation only against military objectives." (Article 48). International Humanitarian Law strictly prohibits attacks against civilians and civilian objects. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) includes as war crimes: "Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities", and "Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects" (Article 8 2 (b) (i) and (ii)). '

"Oh please! And the US bombings of German industry in WW2"
Can you cite a single example of an arms factory or similar that Israel has bombed in Lebanon, rather than dairy farms and the like?

pigletJuly 27, 2006 1:15 PM

"The Israeli military's radio station in south Lebanon today warned that the army "will totally destroy any village from which missiles are fired toward Israel"."

That's a war crime. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits "collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism ..."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1831570,00.html

Frank McGowanJuly 27, 2006 3:30 PM

While reading this thread, I've tried to not comment further because the moderator has correctly pointed out that most of this thread is *completely* off topic BUT

@piglet
Did you read the excerpts of the Geneva Conventions that you posted here? If so, you must see that it undercuts most of your previous arguments by showing that while *some* (we can argue elesewhere over the fraction) of the Israeli actions may qualify as war crimes, nearly all of the Hezbollah actions also qualify.

Where is your outrage over that?

Further, by not taking decisive action to prevent actions amounting to war crimes from within its territory, is not Lebanon guilty of whatever Hezbollah has done from within Lebanon?

You seem to be outraged that USA supplies some of the weapons Israel uses. OK; that's fair, I guess.

But are not Syria and Iran also guity for supplying weapons of war to non-uniformed, non-state actors i.e. unlawful combatants?

Where is your outrage over that?

Davi OttenheimerJuly 27, 2006 11:23 PM

"Among broadcasters there is a concern about how our small convoys of cars full of equipment and personnel look from the air."

You know, this actually reminds me of a story about police using air support for speeding tickets.

Someone I knew was pulled over many years ago while driving on the open road across a desert. He asked "Why me? There were at least five other cars in the convoy and we were all doing the same speed for tens of miles. Why not stop them?"

The officer replied "You're driving a big silver van. Much easier to spot, track and find. Here's your ticket. Drive safely."

So you can take a guess whether he next sold the van or reduced his speed in the hope to avoid another ticket.

Davi OttenheimerJuly 27, 2006 11:37 PM

"Davi, the claim about the UN helping terrorists is bogus, and you know it. Your own post makes the point clear so I think it's hardly honest to repeat a claim that you know is not true"

Actually, I don't mean to argue a point that Annan himself condemned. It is clear to me how someone can claim that the UN assisted in the death of a kidnapped victim, in the same way that people are often held responsible by police for aiding a crime if they refuse to cooperate in an investigation that could save a life.

When searching for information about a kidnapped person, a person who denies the existance of information is very different than someone who says information is not relevant or that there is no obligation to show it.

My comment about the press in this situation was meant to suggest that I see differences between:
1) denying something was ever recorded on tape
2) saying details are definitely not relevant to current events and there's no need to show a tape
3) refusing to show a tape regardless of what might be on it

ModeratorJuly 28, 2006 7:59 AM

@me:
"Please don't debate the politics of the war here."

Well, *that* didn't help much. I can't really blame anyone for not being able to stay away from this, so I'm closing the thread for now. Apologies (and thanks) to those who did post on-topic.

Comments on this entry have been closed.

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