Friday, January 09, 2009

Times UK - Proving the use of White Phosphorus

While Anderson Cooper is very busy enjoying the buzz and coverage of his Puppy Debate, the Times-UK finally exposed the IDF and its use of White Phosphorus

It's sooo easy to cover govermental gathered schells without asking the same government about this kind of weapons - which happen to be ILLEGAL to use agaisnt civilians -. If they could now find the cluster bombs with depleted uranium.

From The Times
January 8, 2009
Gaza victims' burns increase concern over phosphorus

The pale blue 155mm rounds are clearly marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made white phosphorus munition

Michael Evans, Defence Editor and Sheera Frenkel in 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.
There 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.
There were indications last night that Palestinian civilians have been injured by the bombs, which burn intensely. Hassan Khalass, a doctor at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, told The Times that he had been dealing with patients who he suspected had been burnt by white phosphorus. Muhammad Azayzeh, 28, an emergency medical technician in the city, said: “The burns are very unusual. They don't look like burns we have normally seen. They are third-level burns that we can't seem to control.”
Victims with embedded WP particles in their flesh have to have the affected areas flushed with water. Particles that cannot be removed with tweezers are covered with a saline-soaked dressing.
Nafez Abu Shaban, the head of the burns unit at al-Shifa hospital, said: “I am not familiar with phosphorus but many of the patients wounded in the past weeks have strange burns. They are very deep and not like burns we used to see.”
When The Times reported on Monday that the Israeli troops appeared to be firing WP shells to create a thick smoke camouflage for units advancing into Gaza, an IDF spokesman denied the use of phosphorus and said that Israel was using only the weapons that were allowed under international law.
Rows of the pale blue M825A1 WP shells were photographed on January 4 on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border. Another picture showed the same munitions stacked up behind an Israeli self-propelled howitzer.
Confronted with the latest evidence, an IDF spokeswoman insisted that the M825A1 shell was not a WP type. “This is what we call a quiet shell - it is empty, it has no explosives and no white phosphorus. There is nothing inside it,” she said.
“We shoot it to mark the target before we launch a real shell. We launch two or three of the quiet shells which are empty so that the real shells will be accurate. It's not for killing people,” she said.
Asked what shell was being used to create the smokescreen effect seen so clearly on television images, she said: “We're using what other armies use and we're not using any weapons that are banned under international law.”
Neil Gibson, technical adviser to Jane's Missiles and Rockets, insisted that the M825A1 was a WP round. “The M825A1 is an improved model. The WP does not fill the shell but is impregnated into 116 felt wedges which, once dispersed [by a high-explosive charge], start to burn within four to five seconds. They then burn for five to ten minutes. The smoke screen produced is extremely effective,” he said.
The shell is not defined as an incendiary weapon by the Third Protocol to the Convention on Conventional Weapons because its principal use is to produce smoke to protect troops. However, Marc Galasco, of Human Rights Watch, said: “Recognising the significant incidental incendiary effect that white phosphorus creates, there is great concern that Israel is failing to take all feasible steps to avoid civilian loss of life and property by using WP in densely populated urban areas. This concern is amplified given the technique evidenced in media photographs of air-bursting WP projectiles at relatively low levels, seemingly to maximise its incendiary effect.”
He added, however, that Human Rights Watch had no evidence that Israel was using incendiaries as weapons.
British and American artillery units have stocks of white phosphorus munitions but they are banned as anti-personnel weapons. “These munitions are not unlawful as their purpose is to provide obscuration and not cause injury by burning,” a Ministry of Defence source said.
Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian war surgery specialist working in Gaza, told The Times that he had seen injuries believed to have resulted from Israel's use of a new “dense inert metal explosive” that caused “extreme explosions”. He said: “Those inside the perimeter of this weapon's power zone will be torn completely apart. We have seen numerous amputations that we suspect have been caused by this.”

Copyright 2008 Times Newspapers Ltd.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Debunking the Spin: not an easy thing to do for Anderson Cooper and CNN

It´s a fact: Israel won´t allow jounalists into Gaza.

What CNN and Anderson Cooper says in his own blog:

¨The problem is that in not allowing international journalists into Gaza, Israel is guaranteeing that the only pictures from the Palestinian side are the ones Hamas wants the world to see. Press control by Hamas is heavy-handed. Hamas controls who reports from there and where they can go. While pictures of wounded children being brought to hospital are clearly encouraged, we rarely see images of Hamas fighters, or their rockets being fired into Israel.¨

Playing along or being the spin doctor? That is such a desconstructed and cheap way of diminishing the work of other journalists. I always thought that THE New York Times, Associated Press, Reuters, and AFP were serious media outlets. Many journalists know those are the places to be in order to gain respectability - not celebrity - as a journalist. Contrary to CNN they have bureaus within GAZA, sent or contracted journalists in the West Bank. People who have to live the hard task - just like the CNN people in Iraq - of living in a war zone. Far from the commodities of a 5 star hotel near the IDF headquarters where the press releases and summited videos are hand delivered.

Another thing that Cooper descunstruct is the FACT that wire services publish a lot of content, and the photo editors and desk editors purchase the images and stories THEY want to publish according to their editorial line. To say: ¨we rarely see images of Hamas fighters, or their rockets being fired into Israel ", well.. google and yahoo news are your friends. Blame the media outlets not the news services that are working their bids.

From AP Masked Palestinian militants from Islamic Jihad run with homemade rockets to put in place before later firing them into Israel on the outskirts of Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008. (AP Photo/Ashraf Amra)

Masked Palestinian militants from Islamic Jihad place homemade rockets before later firing them into Israel on the outskirts of Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008. (AP Photo/Ashraf Amra)

Why is Anderson Cooper and CNN even suggesting that NYT´s TAGHREED EL-KHODARY or others are mouth pieces for Hamas? I know its a competitive business, and it must suck for them to have a reporter from a newspaper or wire service giving first hand accounts. Witnessing the destruction, but targeting your peers and doubting their accounts calling all the media controlled mouth pieces? Or is just because they are not westerners? Islamofobia?

What is the difference? CNN is giving plenty of air time to the Israeli govenment and only presenting what the Israelis what them to present. Who is doing the spin? Who is the mouthpiece? Even his reports about the damage from the Hamas rockets can´t compare to the ones done by CLUSTER BOMBS and WHITE,PHOSPORUS. Why CNN US won´t even mention the fact - denounced by the UN as reported by the BBC- that the IDF is known for using illegal weapons? Don´t talk about the consequenses of their use and the danger they become after the battle engagement ends?
Anderson Cooper´s report , Lethal Rockets, is almost a copycat of the one he did during the Lebanon-Israel conflict. Anderson Cooper and team showing their range...

Then he stated: “We'd come to get a look at the damage and had hoped to talk with a Hezbollah representative. Instead, we found ourselves with other foreign reporters taken on a guided tour by Hezbollah. Young men on motor scooters followed our every movement. They only allowed us to videotape certain streets, certain buildings. Once, when they thought we'd videotaped them, they asked us to erase the tape. These men are called al-Shabab, Hezbollah volunteers who are the organization's eyes and ears.”

Doesn´t that have an eerie similarity of what Israel is allowing how and what to report today? When we see reporters in Israel running like sheeps towards the site where a rocket has landed? Why haven´t they interviewed moderate Israelis that are strongly opposing the conflict WITHIN Israel. CNN´s silence for access? Islamofobia?
Anderson, just grant me a wish... can you please do a story - think about equal time - about the cluster bombs? ehh I know... nevermind.

Today AP distributed this report. Worth Reading.
AP Gaza reporter finds hometown in rubble

By IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writer Ibrahim Barzak, Associated Press Writer

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – I live alone in my office. My wife and two young children moved in with her father after our apartment was shattered. The neighborhood mosque, where I have prayed since I was a child, had its roof blown off. All the government buildings on my beat have been obliterated.
After days of Israeli shelling, the city and life I have known no longer exist.
Gaza City, with some 400,000 people, stopped supplying water when the fuel ran out for the power station driving the pumps. We listen to battery-run radios for news, even though the outside world watches what's happening to us on television. Grocery stores are closed and food is scarce.
Hospital officials say more than 600 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's military operation to crush Hamas, the radical Islamic movement that rules Gaza. Many are civilians.
Three days after Israel began its airstrikes on Gaza on Dec. 27, my apartment building was shaken by bombs aimed at a nearby Hamas-run government compound.
My brother took a picture of the room where my boys, 2-year-old Hikmet and 6-month-old Ahmed, once slept. Their toys were broken, shrapnel had punched through the closet and the bedroom wall had collapsed. I don't know if we will ever go back.
The Israeli army issued a video of the bombing of the Hamas compound, which it posted on YouTube. I can see my home being destroyed, and I watch it obsessively.
On Tuesday, I stood outside my apartment building but didn't dare to enter. I was worried the remains of the nearby Hamas compound might again be shelled without warning.
Driving back to central Gaza City, I took the road where Gaza's two main universities are. It was covered with shards of glass, telephone cables, electricity wires and flattened cars. This road was once crowded with students, taxis and street vendors. It was always noisy and jammed.
The only shop I found open was a pharmacy run by my friend Eyad Sayegh. He's an Orthodox Christian, and I stopped to wish him a Merry Christmas — Eastern churches celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7.
Eyad told me he forgot it was Christmas.
All the landmark buildings I covered as a reporter have vanished.
The colonial-era Seraya was the main security compound for the succession of Gaza's rulers — the British, Egyptians, Israelis, the Palestinian Authority and then the rival Palestinians of Hamas.
We used to fear the Seraya, where the central jail was. Now it's rubble.
Of the presidential office overlooking the sea only a few walls remain. For many Gazans it was a symbol of our statehood, even though President Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads the Fatah movement, hasn't been there since Hamas seized control of the territory in June 2007.
Someone planted a Palestinian flag on the building's remains. The huge gate at the western entrance still stands, giving an illusion of something big behind it.
And across the city, the Parliament house is half destroyed.
On Jala Street, one of Gaza's main roads, I saw about 30 boys around a leaky irrigation tap on a traffic island. They were clutching empty soft drink bottles and jerry cans, trying to fill them with water.
Samir, who is 9, told me his family has no water at home and he wanted to bring enough for a bath because he and his brother smell.
So do most people in Gaza right now.
In my father-in-law's building, residents throw out bags of spoiled food. With no power, refrigerators don't run and fresh food quickly rots.
Shortages are getting worse, leading to unusual gender equality in the bread lines. I saw about 150 men and women gathered to buy bread — but standing in separate lines. The men complained the women, normally so deferential to men, kept pushing, so now they have two lines.
There are few cars on the roads, and most of those are media cars, ambulances and vehicles packed with civilians. Some look like they are fleeing, with mattresses tied to the roofs, but who knows where they can go.
Israeli helicopters fly overhead. I hear blasts in the distance. The roads have been ripped apart by explosives.
I drive into downtown Gaza, trying to prove to myself I can still do something I have done so often before — drive through my city.
I reach the Catholic school I attended, where my late father used to bring me every day. The building is undamaged. I stand in front of it, wondering if I will ever walk my children to this school.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Breaking the Silence on Gaza and Anderson Cooper

I´m torn with the idea of Anderson Cooper covering the conflict. Penhaul and the CNN international crew has done such an extraordinary job. Reporting with no BS, nor official spins.
I can already make the rundown of his coverage.

1. Anderson is going to be as partial and bias as with the Lebannon war becoming the mouth piece of the Israeli Government.

2. Anderson will focus and focus and focus about the Hamas Rockets and will Ignore, Ignore and IGNORE the Cluster Bombs with uranium and the White Phosphorus gas that is being used by the IDF - which by the way are illegal -.

Caption: It landed right here

Anderson Cooper examines the damage in an Israeli marketplace where a rocket launched by Hamas landed.

How he compare that with THESE?

3. Will Anderson Cooper call the thousands of harmed and hundreds of death - particularly children - part of the Hamas proganda staging?

4. Will he even bother interview one of his supposed favorite charities Doctors Without Borders about how they can't reach Gaza?
5. Sure there will be a 3 minute "Reporters Notebook" of how innocent animals - like dogs and cats - are being used as shields by Hamas ( I'm being way cynical here!! but actually a Boston newspaper just did it! ) or how humane Israel is towards the wounded pets injured by Hamas rockets ... it made me sick!

Over a year ago The Jerusalem Post published a letter from Mordechai Eliyahu to Olmet -in which he states: "If they don't stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand," "And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don't stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop."

The core of the issue was presented by the israeli general Moshe Dayan: "The declaration of the State of Israel in 1948 was at the expense of ethnically cleansing 513 Palestinian villages, creating over 700,000 Palestinian refugees and expropriating their lands, homes and businesses in 78% of Palestine … There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former (Palestinian) population."

I doubt that Anderson Cooper might present the crisis in a balanced context. I doubt that he won't even be capable of not inserting himself in the story, making it as always, all about him and the photo ops. In this time of economic crisis and massive lay offs - including CNN -, he should have stayed in NY and just read the teleprompter and save the travel expenses. There are better and more capable reporters from CNN already in the area.
This is a time of No spin, No bias, No bull.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

New Interview

Click to enlarge

Just curious, what section did you first think you'd find this magazine in?

Monday, April 07, 2008

more R&K

Those of you who can't watch morning shows on weekdays, I hope you enjoy watching Anderson co-hosting Regis and Kelly last week. I join others in wishing Anderson complete and fast recovery.






Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Be strong Cooper!

I know we have neglected the blog for several months, but we decided to break our sebatical in order to wish Anderson Cooper the best recovery ever. Cancer is no joke. And with cancer outburst running in his family is something even more serious. Thank God he must have access to top medical care, a luxury many cancer patients don't have and can only hope and dream to afford.

Be this a reminder that cancer does not discriminate. It is still an epidemic that is no longer a priority for many. Remember to do your anual check ups, colaborate or donate to cancer treatment centers. Do your share. Be safe, be healthy, be strong.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

What's cooking, Anderson?

To the joy of political junkies like me, CNN plans two more debates at the end of February if nominees will not be determined by then. No word so far if Anderson will host one of them. Can't say I enjoyed Anderson's moderating of this week's debate, but I enjoyed him co-hosting Regis and Kelly yesterday. Interesting that ABC's leading news anchor Charlie Gibson was Kelly's guest just a day before. If you missed Anderson's appearance, watch it right here!







Don't think for me. Don't assume what I want to hear or read. Give me facts. Give me reasons. But not yours. Bring me debate. Enlighten me. Today, accountability is masked behind anonymity; bylines are hidden by zeros and ones. Everyone publishes; everyone is "in the know." Ethics are non-existent. Speculation is king. The truth is masked and a hostage. Empowered by our minds, WE ARE THE FREAKSPEAKERS!


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