Amnesty International has accused Israel of committing war crimes by deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure in Lebanon. The human rights group criticized Israel for destroying homes, bridges, roads, supermarkets, water treatment plants and fuel tanks.
Meanwhile the United Nations has revealed that Israel dropped cluster bombs on at least 170 villages and other places in south Lebanon. Many of the cluster bombs failed to initially explode and still pose a danger. The devices are known to have killed eight people and wounded at least 25 since the ceasefire began. We’ll have more on cluster bombs later in the show.
The UN Development Agency is reporting that Lebanon’s 15-year economic and social recovery from civil war has been wiped out over the past month. The UN estimates the Israeli attack caused fifteen billion dollars in damage. About 35,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. 80 bridges and 94 roads were destroyed or damaged.
On Tuesday a top United Nations official said it could be months before the international force is in place.
In Beirut, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora accused Israel of breaking the 10-day-old ceasefire.
Greenpeace Lebanon has revealed that the oil spill off the Lebanese coastline has spread into the seabed and could threaten marine life for years. Oil on the seabed is so thick that it can be physically picked up by divers. The spill occurred six weeks ago when Israel bombed an electric power plant. Up to 15,000 tons of fuel oil leaked out but the Israeli military blocked any cleanup for a month. Zeina Al-Hajj, Greenpeace coordinator in Beirut: “What we have seen is miles and miles of oil suffocating the seabed. This is an indication that the contamination from the oil spill has spread beyond the shore and beyond the water coastline and into underwater. And that is an indication of the urgency needed to deal with this disaster.”
In the Occupied Territories, the Palestinian parliament held a special session on Tuesday in solidarity with the abducted and detained members of the Palestinian Legislative council. Since June, Israel has detained almost one quarter of the members of the Palestinian Parliament. All of the detained lawmakers are members of Hamas. On Tuesday an Israeli military court charged Palestinian parliament speaker Aziz Dweik with being in a terrorist organization.
The Iraqi government has decided it will establish its own commission to investigate the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl by US soldiers. On March 12, soldiers broke into the home of the teenager, Abeer al-Janabi. According to military records, a U.S. soldier named Steven Green, herded Abeer’s mother, father, and five-year old sister into a room and shot them dead with an AK-47 rifle. Green and another soldier then raped Abeer, shot her, and set her body on fire in an apparent effort to cover up the crime. The Iraqi government investigation is going ahead despite U.S.-imposed rules that prevent the Iraqi government from prosecuting crimes committed by U.S. service members.
The number of U.S. troops in Iraq has increased to 138,000. But the military is facing a tough time finding enough soldiers to fight.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Marines announced it is beginning an involuntary recall of inactive service members to return to duty and go to Iraq and Afghanistan. This marks the first involuntary recall by the Marines since the early days of the war. As many as 2,500 inactive Marines will be initially recalled.
Meanwhile a new CNN poll has found opposition to the war in Iraq has reached a new high. 61 percent of Americans say they oppose it. Just 35 percent favor the war.
In Baghdad, an Iraqi Kurd told Saddam Hussein’s genocide trial today that she was horribly burned and lost three children after aircraft bombed her mountain village with chemical weapons. The woman, Adiba Owla Bayez, said that she suffered two miscarriages after the 1987 attack. On Tuesday, another Kurd, Ali Mustafa Hafa described the day his Kurdish village was attacked.
Iran has indicated it is willing to negotiate with Western nations over its nuclear program but Tehran gave no sign that it would freeze its uranium enrichment program. Tuesday marked the deadline for Iran to respond to a series of trade incentives offered by the United States and other countries.
Meanwhile Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations, urged the international community to focus not on Iran’s nuclear program but Israel’s.
In Illinois, an environmentalist who spoke up at a recent public hearing has found himself the target of an FBI investigation. On July 25, Jim Bensman attended a public meeting on the proposed construction of a bypass channel for fish at a dam on the Mississippi River. Bensman has been a longtime critic of the system of locks and dams. At the public meeting Bensman suggested the dam could be destroyed. It was an idea that the Army Corps of Engineers had publicly mentioned as an option. Less than a week later an FBI agent called Bensman to determine if he was a terror threat.
Conservative commentator and former Republican presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan is calling for an immediate moratorium on all immigration. Buchanan claims such a measure is needed in order to keep the United States a predominantly white country. He writes in his new book “If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built.”
In New York, 20 Jewish activists staged a die-in at Penn Station to protest Israel’s actions in Lebanon and Gaza. Dressed in black, the activists lied down outside the train station during morning rush hour. In California, 20 people were arrested outside the San Francisco Jewish Center.
In Oaxaca Mexico, fears are rising that the police will raid a dozen radio stations that were seized on Monday by striking teachers. On Tuesday several thousand people marched in silence carrying the coffin of Lorenzo San Pablo Cervantes. The architect was shot dead yesterday outside one of the radio stations where he was volunteering. Freelance Journalist John Gibler is in Oaxaca. He describes the tense scene on the streets: