Clusters of Hypocrisy 38

Sky News is reporting as its lead story that Gadaffi forces are using cluster bombs, fired as mortar rounds. They tell us that this will strengthen the hand of those calling for regime change. The layers of hypocrisy here are so thick it is hard to peel them back. But here are just a few:

The United States has the largest stocks of cluster bombs in the world and refuses to join the international ban

The United Kingdom joined the ban but entered a secret deal for US cluster bombs to be stored on British soil

“Middle East Peace Envoy” Tony Blair throughout his period as Prime Minister blocked UK agreement to a cluster bomb ban and until 2009 cluster bombs were manufacturedon a large scale at Raytheon in Northern Ireland

The cluster bombs being used by Gadaffi are Spanish and were sold to him with the active collusion of the Spanish government

Israel used more than a million cluster bombs in Southern Lebanon without a word of condemnation from Sky News. Sky are reporting that Gadaffi has used “at least three” as its lead headline.

There was no Sky News condemnation of the widespread use of cluster bombs by Israel in Gaza in 2009.

The use of cluster bombs by Gadaffi forces is wrong, and Human Rights Watch were right to break the story. But hypocritical whipping up of indignation, with the purpose of promoting a war that will kill many more people, is also wrong. Even more so when the wesrtern position on cluster bombs is so monumentally hypocritical.


Gadaffi Cluster Bombs” is also the lead story on the BBC

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38 thoughts on “Clusters of Hypocrisy

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  • somebody

    Very well said Craig. The amount of propaganda being spewed out for this war out is unbelievable, especially from the BBC. I had a sleepless night and this cluster bomb report was prominent throughout the night on the World Service (now subsidized by the US State Dept incidentally)., We also had Olga Guerin who having arrived by boat to Misrata was laying it on thickly.. Her special 'tragegy' voice was employed. Nobody is being blown to smithereens, incinerated or maimed by the USUKNATO weaponry of course and there is NO mention of their use of depleted uranium.

  • Suhaylsaadi

    Tony Blair as 'Middle East Peace Envoy' is about as Orwellian a job title as I've ever heard! Blair is himself a human cluster-bomb: wherever he goes, the tools of war will accompany him. With his increasingly skeletal visage, he reminds one of the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse.

    Hypocrisy is the byword, it seems. I note that Al Jazeera also is foregrounding the cluster bombs story with none of the extremely relevant information which Craig has provided here. As predicted and feared, the Libyan 'campaign' has now explicitly exceeded any mandate originally bestowed. Bad, bad, bad. Nothing new.

    It seems that some of the uprisings have been hijacked, instrumentalised, controlled or stymied. And of course, entirely predictably, many of the rulers are incapable of flexibility. Let's see what happens in Syria.

  • WikiSpooks

    Monumental hypocrisy indeed – together with monumental deception; The two primary characteristics of US/UK/NATO when selling so called "Foreign Policy" and pre-planned wars to largely well-meaning but infinitely gullible western populations.

    Here is further evidence of careful pre-planning – rehearsal even – that pre-dated any Libyan 'Rebel' disturbances

    And the REAL story behind the Cameron/Sarkozy/Obama joint statement (as distinct from any putative EU/NATO/US 'statements')

  • mark_golding

    More than two million cluster bombs were dropped during the second invasion of Iraq by the US and UK (Human Rights Watch):

    A growing number (3,570 to date UNICEF-UNDP) children (a THIRD of all victims) are maimed or killed due to cluster bomblets since 2003. It is believed, according to the Landmine Impact Survey from 2006, that 1,730 square kilometres of land in Iraq are contaminated, affecting more than 2.6 million Iraqis in some 4,000 communities across the country.

    And Sky News cares Jack.

    We care.

    We cannot bring children back to life – We CAN voice are opinion on this terrible hypocrisy and Murdoch's muted 'News' reporting.

    I have created the Facebook group – 'A Murdoch-free Press' please join – A ‘war’ on News Corp and its corrupt and undemocratic monopoly on the media commands mass support.

    Jeremy Hunt will make a final decision regarding the BSkyB merger on April 26th when Parliament returns after the Easter recess. He can be contacted here:

    [email protected]

    01428 609 416

    2 Royal Parade
    Tilford Road
    GU26 6TD

    Please write to him – I have created a standard letter/email within the Facebook Group. Can we make this –

    'A Very British Coup' – please

    Alisha's curiosity thought the glistening little tin can with a parachute hanging from the branch of a tree was a toy. She lost her hand when it exploded and her face was badly scarred but she survived. I received a letter from her mother some years ago – Alisha had hung herself – the pain from ridicule had been too much for her – She was 17yrs old.

  • Ivan K.

    I don't see a good reason to take this story as true.

    "Misurata’s population is roughly 400,000. In nearly two months of war, only 257 people — including combatants — have died there. Of the 949 wounded, only 22 — less than 3 percent — are women. If Khadafy were indiscriminately targeting civilians, women would comprise about half the casualties."

  • Ivan K.

    Craig, I wanted to ask you something. You said that you think the intervention in Libya originated as part of the politics of containment … hmm, let me quote: "to rein in and then take control of the Arab spring."

    That’s a compelling view. The expert on the video below says that there is only one kind of intervention that achieve that aim – a permanent military occupation. Would you agree?

    • mark_golding

      Ivan K – Obama has no mandate for all out war in Libya – you know that and I know that. The jury is still out on the legality of the Iraq war therefore the American administration will not put itself under criticism from the UN.

      We are playing a 'game' with a man who knows the tricks of the West – Hey Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was Britains 'soul mate' after 911 secretly providing terrorist hungry countries (UK/US) with information on Islamic extremists in the east of Libya, according to leaked diplomatic cables and intelligence sources via WikiLeaks.

      Gaddafi and his regime/supporters/foreign fighters will be difficult or almost defeat. His tactics are not to bomb civilians, instead he is bombing Farms, Dairies and food preparation factories to starve the masses and uses nightly raids by his 'hit men' on suspected rebels, murdering complete families and recovering the bodies, while imprisoning and torturing anyone with anything useful, such as locations of hidden arms, communications equipment and laser designators given to the rebels by NATO forces.

      Why have special forces not murdered Gaddafi? MI6 have close contact with him and are pulling information on CIA spawned jihadists and 'other' Islamic fighters that form part of the rebel insurgency. All is not what it seems – nothing is simple – but when we are in a position to know that extreme Islam will not envelope Libya and upset our Middle East plan, then and only then, Gaddafi is history, much like Saddam but this time with an explosion rather than a rope.

  • spectral

    The article is just funny and I don't want spend too many words on racist, Anglophone HRW. As someone who served army on this weapon for 13 months, and had misfortune to spent time in real war, being wounded by this shell, all I can say is this: there is no significant difference between ordinary mortar shell and the cluster one in condition of the urban warfare. There are equally deadly and lethal.

    This article is intended for those (link provided below) who are spending lot of time in Wall Marts, and similar stores in US and Europe, participating in the ritual called "democracy", and who cheers "the highest priests" known as a charismatic leaders. One of the latest examples from the arsenal of social themes and games called: How to distract its constituents, is ubiquitous weeding of that royal couple. The New Reality show is on the way…

    Actually, there is nothing deadliest than ordinary mortar (or any explosive devices) shell if landed on a hard (asphalt, concrete) surface. This article has been written somewhere in office in NY city, Langley, or Washington in war fanning purpose and demonize regime in Tripoli which is in accordance with political aim of the Western world and their Arab tyrant allies. Those aim being enacted and announced at recent meetings in Berlin, and despicable buffon-state of Qatar.

    Last night I read Joshua Landis blog and interestingly he commented on same article, the one from the Guardian, that I posted here the other day as blatant and glaring example of an imperial propaganda.

    So, "humanitarian intervention" story and this article are two side of the same policy: Removing Qaddafi from throne and installing compliant regime akin to those in Gulf of Persia. Interestingly, same info is published at, if I read this correctly the Mullah are also joining the party, given reactionary character of Teheran's regime doesn't surprise me at all. Tehran and the West have more in common than they think.

    This guy dissect the al-Baida Massacre and the rest of propaganda behind the Libya war.

  • CanSpeccy

    "The use of cluster bombs by Gadaffi forces is wrong"

    I don't see why. That is, I don't see why killing someone with a cluster bomb is any worse than killing them with, say, white phosphorus or napalm, or just a piece of lead.

    I understand that unexploded bomblets may pose a hazard to non-combatants long after the conflict, but the same is true of any kind of unexploded ordnance. And DU weapons pose a hazard to everyone for all time.

    But in any case, the time delay in the collateral damage seems unimportant. It could have been of no comfort to civilians in Gaza or Fallujah hit by white phosphorus to know that combatants were suffering the same hideous fate at the same time.

    What needs to be recognized is that when people start wars, and in this case it appears that the war was started by covert CIA and probably French and British operations in Libya, people, including non-combatants get killed, often in horrible ways.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Spectral – surely when you post:-

    " The article is just funny and I don't want spend too many words on racist, Anglophone HRW. As someone who served army on this weapon for 13 months, and had misfortune to spent time in real war, being wounded by this shell, all I can say is this: there is no significant difference between ordinary mortar shell and the cluster one in condition of the urban warfare. There are equally deadly and lethal. "

    So if they are – and both are functionally effective ( as you are saying) – then why not fully endorse use of one and bomb with the other – as practical poltical sell to the global populace?

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Mark – MIGHT IS RIGHT?

    " Why have special forces not murdered Gaddafi? MI6 have close contact with him and are pulling information on CIA spawned jihadists and 'other' Islamic fighters that form part of the rebel insurgency. All is not what it seems – nothing is simple – but when we are in a position to know that extreme Islam will not envelope Libya and upset our Middle East plan, then and only then, Gaddafi is history, much like Saddam but this time with an explosion rather than a rope."

    • mark_golding

      Courtenay – the comment is purposely derisive (towards the corporate media rubbish and lies they ARE PAID to print) and a certain amount of cynicism on my part – sorry. – I want everyone to realise that clear as day this is the furthest thing to a so-called humanitarian intervention/war. Hypocrisy at its worst using Spanish cluster bombs yes AND UK weapons used against protesters in Bahrain while the West green lights the Saudi thugs killing indiscriminately. I really am sick of it and helpless.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Suhaylsaadi

    "Hypocrisy is the byword, it seems. I note that Al Jazeera also is foregrounding the cluster bombs story with none of the extremely relevant information which Craig has provided here."

    It seems to me from onset of this operation that Al HJazeera has been co-opted and plays a useful functional role in advancing the war agenda – just as the BBC – CNN do.

  • mike cobley

    Yes, the furor over cluster bombs is pure Daily Mail shriek tactics – if someone is dead from an ordinary shell or plane-delivered missile, well sod me, they're still just as dead, aint they. From Afghanistan to Libya I've felt that aerial bombing is a cowardly and inevitably negligent manner of going after someone – drop tons of explosive ordinance from 20thousand feet and innocent people will die due to a mysterious property that you never hear mentioned on the BBC or suchlike outlets, to whit – blast radius. Pinpoint accuracy, when the payload has a blast radius of, say 50 or 100 feet? – dont make me laugh.

  • banquo21

    The "alleged" use of "cluster bombs" is due to a NT Times reporter leading the HRW people to some "fragments". These "fragments" of the cluster bombs indicate that they were manufactured by the Spanish arms company.

    This evidence was found some 24 hours after an "aid" sip arrived in Musrata with reportedly 400 tons of "Aid". There is no evidence other than the fragments "found"

    The alleged use of cluster bombs is from a report< the HRW report, which says that the "cluster bombms" exploded in mid air showering the inhabitants of Masurata. The type of weapo,n allegedly used, has an "impact" fuse. This type of fuse requires the "Cluster bomb" to hit the ground prior to dispersal of the "bomblets"

    The Libyan government has requested proof from the HRW but as yet has received none.

    This is yet another "media" propaganda piece from the NATO led murderers.

  • technicolour

    Cluster bombs lie around for years, like mines, look like toys, and attract children. I guess that's one of the points. And yes, 'we' make them. 'We' also use depleted uranium tipped weapons; mini Hiroshimas. Of course, since Hiroshima, I see, is now being used to market Mazda.
    Mazda – Spirit of Hiroshima TV advert

    Suggestions are that DU is being used in Libya:

    The insanity of normality, as a friend of mine used to say.

  • conjunction

    The consensus on this blog seems to be that the rebel opposition was started by Al Quaeeda, and has since been cynically supported by the US and NATO with the unstated desire to control Libyan oil.

    This conveniently allows people to wash their hands of any positive attempt to formulate solutions except weak references to the African union, whose contributions so far have been attractive only to Gadaffi. (cont)

  • conjunction

    (cont) It should be remembered that the rebel army was started after Gaddaffi started bombing peaceful demonstrators.

    It would be amazing if some Al Quaeeda operatives didn't get involved in any rebel movement in in Arab dictatorships.

    The Guardian today quotes clear evidence of substantial injuries to civilians

    'Paulo Grosso, an Italian anaesthetist from the NGO Emergency, said the hospital where he is based, 2km from the frontline, had seen an average of 10 deaths and 40 wounded people each day. Most were civilians, including children. "We are seeing gunshot wounds, injuries from shelling and bomb explosions," he said. Twenty-three civilians were killed on Thursday alone. The hospital was suffering a critical shortage of nurses, he said, as the Filipino staff had fled.'

    It is also pointed out in that article that there would be more civilian casualties if it wasn't for the fact that all the civilians had vacated huge areas of the city. If you're going to oppose the western intervention, at least have some respect for the facts.

  • David Halpin

    Dear Conjunction,

    Facts are few and far between. Did the Libyan government 'bomb' the rebels before they started using weapons? The State Broadcaster has reported civilian casualties day by day but NO reports of deaths or maiming have been allowed to leak from the Ghaddafi side.
    I agree with Mike Cobley and Banquo. I add that HRW is damaged goods. Link to it and you will find 3 partisan articles, the most egregious being from Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director. Title 'The Security Council Has At Last Lived Up To Its Duty'. Mar 18, 2011

    No mention by him of :-

    "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations…Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter."

    UN Charter – 1: Purposes and Principles

  • mark_golding

    Hypocrisy indeed – The British government condemns human rights violations in Iran on it's Iranian Embassy web site. An Embassy web-site is a portal to encourage visitors to the UK and a source of information for British visitors to Iran, not a vehicle for propaganda.

    More effort should be made by the UK government to encourage Israel to declare it's nuclear WMD and join the NNPT not attempt to strangle the scientific advancements of other countries and threaten them with preemptive strikes while promoting UAV and foreign army incursions into sovereign states that have killed many innocent civilians and allowing tyrant leaders who are 'useful' to Western imperialism in the Middle East to slaughter their own people.

  • Mark Metcalfe

    Apologies – I put this comment in the wrong place so here it is in the correct thread.

    Regarding the story about Gaddhafi using cluster munitions:

    Libya isn't listed by Human Rights Watch as possessing this NATO cluster-bomb weapon (the MAT-120).

    It is fired from the 120mm breach loaded AMOS (advanced mortar) system – probably from a Swedish or Royal Marines 'Combat Boat 90' off the coast of Misrata.

    You can see them in action here:

    Human Rights Watch, the New York Times and Juan Cole etc. have fallen for it – I wonder whether they will issue a correction.

    It is a war crime – and one which the evidence suggests was committed by NATO.

    I have asked HRW why they assume the munitions were fired by Libyan forces.

    If these munitions were fired by NATO forces, that would be known by Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron and might help explain their recent very unusual letter, which was issued without consultation with other members of the coalition and after the presence of these munitions was revealed.

    • Clark

      Mark, have you got a link for that Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron letter please? HRW's reply would be appreciated, too, if/when you get one.

      • Mark Metcalfe

        Hi Clark – It was published on the Telegraph site –

        I've not heard back from HRW yet – but will share their response as soon as they reply, which they should do soon, of course.

        They and their man on the spot (Fred Abrahams) have been under pressure from Israel.

        • Mark Metcalfe

          I've been looking into the Spanish angle and at the manufacturer (Instalaza) to see if they exported to Libya. The munitions found in Misrata were dated 2007 and the Spanish govt ceased issuing any export licences on 11 June 2008.

          The site has Spanish export data for arms in the form of their national reports. Licenses were issued by Spain to Libya in category 4, which includes bombs and missiles, in 2007 and an export was made in 2008 in this category. The amounts were for 3 licenses in 2007 valued at a total of 3,823,500 Euros and actual exports under 2 licences of 3,839,21 Euros in 2008. There is no detail on these shipments and what they consisted of or who the companies were (although detail is separately given on dual-use equipment in 2008 – radars and lab equipment).

          In 2008, 3 licenses were denied consisting of 17,300 cluster bombs and the technology to export them (total 77,300,000 Euros) which may well represent Instalaza trying to sell off their technology and stocks in response to the forthcoming ban on cluster munitions.

          So this information is consistent with the idea that M-120 munitions may have in fact been exported to Libya. On the surface this might weaken the theory that NATO fired (rather than just provided) the cluster munitions – but in fact it doesn’t.

          If this is a false flag operation and the intention of special forces is to strengthen the case for escalation of the conflict, the use of cluster munitions of a type which can be shown to have been exported to Libya, would be essential.

          Even if the sole intention is to provide fire-support to help the rebels, the use of these munitions is perfect cover – as any civilian casualties can be easily blamed on the loyalist forces.

          It should also not be forgotten that Robert Gates has said that cluster bombs are

          “legitimate weapons with clear military utility,”

          and he is particularly keen on the kind of cluster weapons the M-120 represents. In fact he signed the policy on July 9 2008 that all cluster bombs in the US armoury should be of a similar type to the M-120 by 2018.

          As Pentagon spokesperson Almarah Belk put it at the time – these kind of bombs set "new standards in safety" as 99% of them explode on contact.

          What is a certain is that Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian and UK marines trained on the C90s and exercises were held late last year.

          If the bombing was done by NATO, any information on this will be being covered up very rapidly – and if you type "British Dutch marines evaluate" into Google you will see a possible indication of this. (i.e. a missing page at…/british,-dutch-mari... )

  • somebody

    Read this commenr on medialens about a book "Dead Men Risen" by Toby Harnden .Reviewed in the Mail on Sunday today, it deals with the presence of the Welsh Guards in 2009 in another of our theatres of war, almost forgotten by the media at the moment.

    It seems that 'adventure' is the watchword. 'War is an essentially amusing activity,' observes Lieut-Col Charlie Antelme.' It is a truth that civilians find hard to grasp."

  • mark_golding

    Despite a news black-out in Bahrain it is clear that demostrators on the streets of Bahrain are being killed and an SSB amateur contact in Bahrain suggests more than 200 protestors have been murdered and many more violently suppressed and imprisoned thus losing their jobs causing whole families to suffer – yes – children and babies starving.

    The silence from this Conservative coalition must raise questions about Britain's role in the region and compromises the government's credentials as an advocate for democracy. (puke)

    So why the silence?

    I put that question to the external intelligence community and got bull-shit back. Britain cannot act IN ANY WAY to help the people of Bahrain because Iran through it's proxy Hezbollah is the source of the Shia uprisings against the Sunni Monarchy that has close connections to our own. What utter crap!!

    Britain is helpless because of the Saudi/American/Israel toxic alliance and Saudi Arabia just happens to be the worlds largest exporter of oil with the money to buy copious amounts of military hardware from Britain. This Saudi regime is an unstable mix of ferocious religious zealotry and hypocritical monarchial decadence. It has no interest in or agenda for democracy and its partnership with Britain and America and Israel means it can smash into Bahrain using a British sledge hammer and murder, torture and maim innocent protestors with impunity.

    Agent Cameron turns a blind eye and vacillates because he has been TOLD to despite his hypocritic talk of civil rights, political pluralism and democracy.

    Go to hell Cameron and Hague you are mere corrupt puppets serving the industrial military complex.

  • DRE

    Reminds me of the bullshit peddled prior to the Iraq invasion. The Guardian carried a good few articles about what a cad Saddam and his sons were just to get the feminists on board. Nice fairy story about three ships circling in the arabian sea with allegedly chemical weapons on board came and went with trace or examination. Expect to see the likes of Lawson and Coughlin as well as the BBC in full effect over the next few weeks.

  • somebody

    Big anti-Gaddafi push on BBC tonight. We had Olga Guerin and a BBC reporter from Misratah, Baroness Amos UN Humanitarian Affairs followed and then Mitchell who has been in Washington with the US gangsters-in-charge.

    This is Craig on the hypocrisy of Valerie Amos. How dare she pretend that she cares about the Libyans.

    This on what the creepy Mitchell gets up to.

  • mark_golding

    "…the cosiness of the alliance between Bush, Blair and their acolytes." – And they sit in their bath-chairs chatting with top lawyers on how best to avoid the handcuffs Reed Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch, has promised to slap on these purveyors of torture, treachery and murder. Thanks for dusting the archives – somebody.

  • mark_golding

    While the daughter of prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja seized and brutalised in a dawn raid leads a mass Bahraini hunger strike –
    – Bahrain's government has intensified its crackdown against its citizens protesting in Britain by cancelling the scholarships of at least a dozen more students who demonstrated against the government.

    I believe the existence of Gulf Cooperation Council forces from Saudi requested by the Bahrain monarchy is ILLEGAL for two reasons :

    1. The Bahrain government is unelected by the people

    2. The Council's mandate for military help from its members is against a FOREIGN invasion *not* an internal peoples revolution/uprising.

    I have therefore written to the United Nations Security Council asking them to issue a UNSC resolution to protect the people of Bahrain using the same procedures that were agreed and enforced in Libya.

    Saudi forces are killing civilians, damaging the infrastructure, striking schools and mosques and torturing protesters.

    I ask all prominent international lawyers to back my proposal and IN AN EFFORT to raise the awareness of the brutality in Bahrain I sincerely ask British citizens to work through social networks in order to break the silence of the British government towards the atrocities in Bahrain.

    Thank-you so much for any help you can give me.

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