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August 9, 2006

Political Maps

Beirut-Map

(click to expand)

Earlier this week, the AP began distributing this “before” and “after” set of bomb damage in Beirut.

It’s one thing to consider the asymmetrical nature of warfare, or the wrenching destruction of infrastructure and human lives.  My focus here, however, is to consider the framing of “bombing data” by the media, highlighting how that presentation implies its own political, perceptual and editorial implications.

In a previous post, a BAGreader made the following comment:

If you search in the net – and there is a lot to find – you will see that Israel is not “bombing benevolently.” Aerial pictures show clearly that just very few blocks in the Hisbollah main residential area have been destroyed (just 1% of Beirut)….  It is part of the Hisbollah propaganda to talk of “area bombing”. If you compare the aerial pictures of German cities in ‘44 or ‘45 as shown in evidenceincamera.uk.org with the aerial pictures of Lebanon of today you might get an impression [of the] difference.

I can’t speak for the 1% statistic, or whether Hezbollah has accused Israel of area bombing.  I do have a number of questions about these visuals, however.


First, what was the purpose of “desaturating” the “after” shot?  Besides depriving the viewer the opportunity of an apples-to-apples comparison, removing the color overlays its own lifeless, deathly quality onto the information.  (Typical associations would include black-and-white WWII area bombing photos.)

Red-Roofs

Second, the monochromatic effect “chalkens” the picture, making it hard to decipher how much “undermining” comes from the bombing as opposed to the effect of the presentation.  Notice, for example, how hard it is to tell if the building with the red roof in the lower left of this pic — and especially, the adjacent red-roofed building inside the bounded area — still exist.  Because things start to blend together, it’s particularly difficult to register structures still intact inside or adjacent to a bombing footprint.

A third problem is that the two images are not equivalently scaled.  The shot on the right gives a tighter view of this rectangular neighborhood bound by the four roads.  The shot on the right captures less width, instead offering more area north-to-south.  (You can determine this by looking at the greater width of the east-west road at the bottom of the shot, and how much more neighborhood is visible below.  By focusing on an area that is more “bounded,” the tendency — from a cognitive standpoint — is to extrapolate this degree of damage to the adjacent segments and, potentially, to the city as a whole.

… Which brings up another problem with the image.  Lacking additional context, the viewer can’t help but assume this locale was randomly selected.

Nyt-Beirut-Map

(click to expand)

This impression disappears immediately, however, if you see the multimedia version the NYT put up.  (That is, if you take the time to click for the labels.)  With the added info, it’s now no coincidence two different media outlets feature this same real estate.  What is referred to by the AP caption as simply an “area of Beirut, Lebanon” is now identifiable as the home base and central hub of Hezbollah.

To find the Multimedia piece, go to the Middle East page and look for the “Multimedia” section with the map thumbnail in the 3rd column.



(image 1: AP Photo/GeoEye.  July 12, 2006 and July 31, 2006. Via YahooNews.  image 2: NYT/GeoEye.  July 12, 2006 and July 31, 2006. nyt.com.)

  • Pedro

    Looks like I have the honour of making the first comment again…
    There are a few caveats I would like to point out:

    • There doesn’t seem to be any bad will in the cropping of the image. Satellite images are rarely taken from the same angle and whoever arranged the photos took care to align the top quarter, which match almost perfectly. In any case, the destruction image shows a larger area which would mean more was bombed than what we see in the first shot.
    • There is much talk in the blogsphere about this photo only being 1% of Beirut. Why aren’t we getting any pictures of intact neighbourhoods to prove that there are, indeed, other intact 1% shots out there? This would mean so much more than words…
    • The labeling onthe NYT graphic “Main area of Hezbollah offices (before attacks, this area was fenced off and surrounded by guards)” doesn’t sound like a label but more like an excuse or exculpation, as to somehow diffuse the destruction quite obvious in the image. I guess this is the most political aspect of all these images — and has nothing to do with the images themselves.
    • Do we have any proof that this area was not residential? It has two schools and a hospital just nearby. Furthermore, judging by the size of the buildings, it’s a _huge_ area. Are there any pictures (ground-level or satellite) showing it actually being fenced-off?

    Again, additional pictures (counter-evidence?) would mean so much more than words, especially in trying to make the opposite point than the pictures themselves quite blatantly suggest…
    Cheers
    Pedro

  • http://www.keirneuringer.blogspot.com Keir

    Washing out the image is very annoying and counter-journalistic. I noticed that as soon as I saw it. The NYT graphic undermines its own purpose (to excuse, as Pedro points out), at least for viewers armed with a few facts. To wit:
    Television stations are not fair play. That’s a war crime. Civilian transportation infrastructure is not fair play. That’s a war crime. Places of worship have never been fair play. And while the main area targeted (which seems to be about the size of New York’s financial district) may have been the central hub for Hezbollah, certainly—as with NY’s financial district on 9/11, for example—there were more “support staff” then “bad guys”. The enemy hires cleaning ladies too, I suppose.
    PS: is it just me or does the washed out version from the AP sort of look like a flooded city?

  • error27

    The bag nailed it. These pictures were obviously selected because they were the worst hit sections of Beruit and they were the worst hit because that’s where Hezbollah was.
    On the other hand, I doubt the fading was on purpose. It’s possible, that if they had had a better photo available that would just show more damage.
    The truth is that war is a horrible thing. It’s always worse than it’s portrayed in the media and you can never be the same again after…

  • David McCarthy

    ONLY 1%, ONLY 1%!!!!
    If 1% of New York, Washington, LA was bombed like this you wouldnt be saying ONLY.
    Anyway, of course the media will show the worst hit area, what else would it show, what else would concievably be newsworthy. “and were reporting today from a completely unharmed neighbourhood in northern Beirut, apparently theres terrible damage elsewhere but we thought you’d like to see this UNbombed school its nice garden”
    And as Error27 above and so many others have so consistently pointed out: its always much worse than even the worst Pictures.

  • ummabdulla

    Isn’t this the area also referred to as “Dahiyeh” (suburbs) – in the southern suburbs? This is the area which has been pounded, day and night, for several weeks now, so this is the area that people would want to see before and after images of. I wouldn’t have assumed that this was a random choice; I just assumed it was that area. Most of the images we see of bombings, dead bodies, etc., from Beirut are from this area.
    Some of the buildings are for Hezbollah, and most are just apartment buildings housing families, including many who had fled from Southern Lebanon, only to be killed here. The place is known as “the suburbs”; it’s a residential area housing mostly Shia Muslims.
    I agree that the pictures should both have the same coloring; that would make a big difference. I also agree that they should have been cropped to be the same areas exactly, but I don’t think it makes that much difference.

  • http://www.searchformajorplagge.com MichaelDG

    I’d like to comment on the effectiveness and morality of bombing what the Israelis call “terrorist infrastructure.” My initial reaction to the Israeli tactic of bombing roads and bridges has been that it is wrong- it puts great strains on the civilians throughout Lebanon. It makes it difficult for them to flee the fighting, it presents the threat of food and water shortages; it will make it harder for Lebanon to return to the road of a civil society. However, looking back at the historic example of WW II, we see that the Americans and British carpet bombed German cities for 3 years, killing over 1 million German civilians. Yet throughout the strategic bombing campaign German military industrial output was maintained, even into 1945. It was only in the last weeks of the war, when the Allies switched to tactical fighters seeking out and destroying locomotives throughout Germany, that German war production and military ability ground to a sudden halt. This essentially ended the war and put an end to the carnage in Europe. The lesson that I take from this is that strategic bombing was a military and moral failure, and that air campaigns should be limited to specific tactical targets meant to choke off an enemies ability to wage war. Thus, tactical bombing of key infrastructure could be effective in choking off Hezbollah’s ability to wage war, and result in much fewer civilian deaths than strategic bombing.
    With this in mind, I continue to be very ambivalent about the Israeli bombing campaign in Beirut. It is impossible for us to know which buildings house Hezbollah offices, and then we are faced with the question of whether bombing a military office placed in the middle of a residential building is moral or not. Who is the war criminal, the terrorists who place their facilities among civilians, or the military that shoots at an enemy who has placed themselves in the middle of women and children? We see that the Israelis are bombing any areas that are known to house Hezbollah facilities and tragically this results in the destruction of both military and civilian buildings, with the horrible loss of life that this would invariably cause. I do think that these photos show that the Israeli bombing campaign is indeed specific to limited areas where Hezbollah facilities are located, yet we know that these areas are also filled with their families and neighbors who have no control over where Hezbollah places their weapons and offices.
    I might add, that in my mind Hezbollah is conducting a carpet bombing campaign to the best of its ability in Israel, shooting weapons that cannot be directed at any specific target which fall almost randomly on anyone on the other side of the border. I thought that Nasrallah showed his true colors yesterday when he called for Haifa’s Israeli Arabs to leave the city, not wanting to shed Muslim blood. In other words, he only wants to kill Jewish civilians.

  • Pedro

    Ok, in an attempt to de-politicise the satellite images, I played around with them a bit and made this little animation:
    http://people.vis.ethz.ch/~pedro/beirut-anim.gif
    I grayscaled both images and adjusted the levels for them to be as similar as possible. The images do not match completely, since there is a bit of warping between both of them.
    Note also that the “before” image was probably shot earlier in the day and therefore the shadows are longer. Note also the complete absence of traffic in the “after” shot.
    Hope this contributes in a positive way! If anybody has a tool to slow down the animated gif, be my guest — GIMP couldn’t do it :(
    Cheers
    Pedro

  • Pedro

    Me again…
    Here’s the whole map of Beirut, captured on July 31. This gives an idea of the size of the neighbourhood in question.
    link
    Note that this image is still missing the bombing of the past 10 days…
    Cheers
    Pedro

  • Pedro

    Ok, this is the last one, I promise… I went to maps.google.com to see if I could get some more detail on the “before” situation and got this.
    You can zoom-in pretty close and I can not, for the best of me, see the NYT fences supposedly making this neighbourhood an enclave.
    Cheers
    Pedro

  • http://www.searchformajorplagge.com MichaelDG

    Pedro,
    Nice job!
    These arial photos really help give me a better perspective on the extent of the bombing campaign. We still have the question of how much bombing has been done outside the neighborhood in question, and does the little red box on the left cover about 1% of Beirut when zoomed to show the bombed neighborhood or more? While the limited extent of the damage is on one hand reassuring that the Israelis are not bombing Beirut to the ground, it is still shocking how many civilians have been killed when even a few mostly evacuated blocks are bombed.

  • Mike Ross

    Jeesh, don’t be so quick to jump to the comclusion that someone at the Times is pushing an agenda.
    There’s a distinct possibility that the B&W photo was taken from a different source (a source that only returns panchromatic images).
    Not all satellites have multispectral sensors. Not all available consumer-level images in war-torn areas are of high resolution, either…
    Perhaps the two images came from different satellites, and what we’re seeing is images that haven’t been adjusted much, other than to crop them to approximately the same geographic area. In this case it’s probably more honest to leave them that way, rather than to try to photoshop them to look the same.
    You make the comparison with the photos you’ve got, not the photos you wish you had.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Just because it’s a satellite image we lose our ability to think? If you want to see a clearer image, go to *the source,* for crap’s sake!
    Image of the Week: Beirut, Lebanon
    GeoEye’s OrbView-3 satellite captured this image of Beirut, Lebanon July 31, 2006.
    Caption: Note damage from Israeli attacks at the Beirut International Airport and the suburb of Haret Hreik, home of Hezbollah’s headquarters, just northeast of the airport.
    http://www.geoeye.com/gallery/default.htm
    There you can see what 1% looks like: It looks like a fucking pancake.
    Then, do a little reading about who is feeding you this imagery:
    Headquartered in Dulles, Va., GeoEye is the world’s largest commercial satellite imagery company, delivering the highest-quality, most accurate imagery and products to better map, measure, monitor and manage the world. GeoEye was formed as a result of ORBIMAGE’s acquisition of Space Imaging in January 2006. The company is the premier provider of geospatial data, information and value-added products for the national security community, strategic partners, resellers and commercial customers. GeoEye operates a constellation of three Earth imaging satellites – OrbView-2, OrbView-3 and IKONOS – and possesses an international network of more than a dozen regional ground stations, a robust image archive, and advanced geospatial imagery processing capabilities that are unmatched in the satellite imagery industry. Its products are the cornerstone of the remote-sensing industry enabling a wide array of applications including intelligence gathering for national security and defense, mapping, local government planning, and natural resources and environmental monitoring.
    http://www.geoeye.com/newsroom/default.htm
    Comparing today’s imagery to WW II imagery is invalid, at least in the hands of nonexperts like us. Only someone with some expertise in reading aerial imagery of urban infrastructure can effectively make such comparisons. So far no one here has impressed me with any expert readings on anything.
    Carry on, boys. There’s more research that needs to be done before this discussion can take off.

  • Lightkeeper

    If I am correct, Lebanon’s total population is just under 4 million.
    From the most recent figures, there are now 1 million refugees that have been created by Israel’s bombing campaign.
    This is not 1%. No matter how many pictures may proclaim otherwise.

  • smiley

    Notice, for example, how hard it is to tell if the building with the red roof in the lower left of this pic — and especially, the adjacent red-roofed building inside the bounded area — still exist.

    Do you mean the building with the tiny rectangle of red on the roof, next to (south of?) the soccer field? Of course the big red thing in the pic isn’t a building, the 18-yard boxes are pretty clear. Using that as a guide, I think you can see the roof outline of the building immediatley south of the field pretty clearly…

  • ummabdulla

    “I thought that Nasrallah showed his true colors yesterday when he called for Haifa’s Israeli Arabs to leave the city, not wanting to shed Muslim blood. In other words, he only wants to kill Jewish civilians.”
    Some of the Arabs in Northern Israel are Muslim; others are not. What he says is that he doesn’t want to kill Arabs. That doesn’t mean he’s trying to kill civilians; apparently there are many military installations in Northern Israel, many of them located in Arab areas. (And the Arab areas often don’t have bomb shelters or sirens.) Their missiles aren’t as precise as Israel’s, but it looks like Hezbollah is aiming at military targets, which is why most of the Israelis killed have been soldiers.
    In any case, all civilians in Northern Israel have been warned. Does that make it OK to hit them? Or does that only work the other way around?

  • http://www.jaxxattaxx.com/ black dog barking

    The latest version of Google Earth includes a nifty measuring tool. The bombed out region is roughly .5 miles on a side. If it were square its area would be .25 sq miles. Beirut (Bayrut) is approximately 6 miles by 4 miles, 24 sq miles, about 100 times the size of the target neighborhood. 1% is a reasonable approximation.
    BTW, those flattened regions in the after shot were densely packed multistory buildings a couple of weeks ago. In my part of the world we’d have called them high rises.

  • readytoblowagasket

    To get some perspective about how little the New York Times is actually showing us with its grainy satellite images of a small corner of Beirut, here’s a map showing Israeli bomb strikes throughout Lebanon:
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14227.htm
    or here:
    http://dominionpaper.ca/weblog/2006/07/map_bombing_lebanon.html
    To get a perspective of the size of the oil spill along the coast of Lebanon that has now reached Syria, here are some satellite images of it:
    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/aug2006/2006-08-08-01.asp
    http://www.zki.dlr.de/applications/2006/lebanon/lebanon_2006_en.html

  • mugatea

    Dropping
    bombs
    from
    planes
    onto
    people
    is
    wrong
    .

  • mugatea

    Dropping
    bombs
    from
    planes
    onto
    people
    is
    wrong
    .

  • mugatea

    My comment
    took so long to load
    I thought the tubes were clogged
    with trucks.
    Hit stop
    guess it did not –
    Three times >
    Bombing sucks.

  • Stacia

    I agree with Mike Ross about the reason the 2nd image is black and white. When I use Google Groups, for example, and zoom into my town, the photos are a couple years old but nice and clear, in color. When I start to leave the city limits, though, the photos are still in color but fuzzy and grainy, obviously taken with a different camera/satellite. Further out the photos become clear but black and white, yet as far as I can tell, they are relatively recent. I don’t see that there’s an agenda necessarily with the 2nd photo. Given the nature of satellite photography, the photo could have been given to the media in black and white. The media didn’t necessarily greyscale it for effect.
    I also notice a large street going through the lower portion of the area the NYT labels as Hezbolla headquarters. I’m not saying this wasn’t fenced off, but I’m somewhat concerned as to HOW it was fenced off with that road going right through it. The photos you showed are close enough that they could reveal a boundary/fence, but it doesn’t, and I see Pedro has also had trouble finding the fenced area in other photos.

  • jt from BC

    The bomb sites shown in Lebanon stop at July 29th, that’s 12 days ago !! no wonder the US had to speed up delivery of missiles to Israel.
    There is a time line of this war @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_2006_Israel-Lebanon_conflict#_note-1

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    As I look as Google Earth right now, I can see that this particular area of the city was densely packed and had high road traffic. That could account for the large number of cassualties in the area. It is also not in the southern part of the city (that where the airport is) but right smack in the middle of the city, what you might call downtown:
    33°51′15.65″N
    35°30′34.50″E
    I have to admit that it was much easier to find the area with the correct color references.

  • jt from BC

    Human Rights Watch report and recommendations
    Fatal Strikes Israel’s Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon
    http://www.hrw.org/reports/2006/lebanon0806/

  • itwasntme

    What I think these photos show best is an attempt to kill mosquitos with bombs.
    Trying to fight a guerrilla war with conventional weapons and tactics will never get the desired results, and always get undesired ones.
    Hezballah is a terrorist group that doesn’t care if they kill innocents. Israel is a legitimate government that should take care to protect innocents. There has to be some difference between terrorist slimeballs and real governments, but that distinction is blurring both in Israel’s policies and ours (US)

  • readytoblowagasket

    mugatea, I loved the effect of your double post!
    I remember when the satellite images of post-Katrina New Orleans were released to the public, I surfed around and found (right-wing) blogs with retired military guys who went through each and every image (thousands) to find data. When they found the submerged school buses, for example, they counted the buses, figured the number of seats per bus, and determined how many citizens *could have been* carted out of town to safety in one trip (hundreds). They analyzed the imagery in amazing ways because of their expertise.
    I am no aerial photography/satellite imagery expert, so I can only take the Beirut images so far. In the original GeoEye images that Pedro and I both found links for (http://www.geoeye.com/gallery/default.htm —  you have to scroll around and zoom in and out to see more than the airport), I can see the shadows of the buildings still standing look like they are several stories tall. I can’t tell if they are 3 or 5 or 10 stories, however. In the original GeoEye image, I can also see how densely packed the neighborhood is. When I fly into New York, the approach for landing often swings out over the ocean then heads back over Brooklyn. I get to see my own neighborhood from the air, which looks about as densely packed as some of the Beirut neighborhoods, including the ones bombed.
    My apartment building is 4 stories, 16 total apartments, 1-3 people per apartment. If the building collapsed in the night, 32 people would be harmed. The poor quality of the NYT *does* matter because we can’t see clearly how many buildings have actually been flattened. Even if only 10 apartment buildings like mine collapsed, that’s several hundred people killed or injured. Certainly more than 10 buildings have been destroyed in Beirut, and we don’t know how many people were in each building. I have read that because the air strikes were ceaseless, people couldn’t remove bodies from many of the destroyed buildings.
    Yes, the Times interactive piece *is* manipulative because it is negligently incomplete. But then anything called “Pummeling Hezbollah” (which seems like wishful-thinking) is going to be one-sided. It gives only the information from the IDF’s point of view (but what *is* all the rest of the rubble?) — we’re shown the success of the bombing campaign by Israel. Here’s where Hezbollah’s headquarters were. Not here’s where the (our) bombs totally missed Hezbollah and totalled an apartment full of people.

  • ummabdulla

    I don’t know where the 1% figure comes from, but I’m looking at this map of the Beirut area, and it may be that this neighborhood (about in the middle of the map, spelled Harat Hurayk) isn’t even actually within the city limits. If the yellow part is Beirut, and Mount Lebanon (Jabal Lubnan) is another region, then this area in Mount Lebanon.
    I think I read that these suburbs were built up after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, as Shia Muslims fled the South. I can’t find where I read that, though, so I’m not sure. But since Hezbollah is from this community, and provides many social services to the community, it only makes sense that their buildings and TV station would be there; it’s not a matter of using the civilians as human shields.
    (Interesting to see how close the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps are…)
    To the right and up a little is the neighborhood which was bombed the other day, spelled Ash Shiyyah on this map. It may be that all around there is called the southern suburbs, and Harat Hurayk is one neighborhood which has been especially targeted because of the Hezbollah organizations there.
    To comment on RTBAG’s post, one difference is that theer are probably large families in these apartments. I just read about Ali Rmeity, who lost 15 members of his family in the Ash-Shiyyah bombing (they spell it Chiah).
    (Here are some photos of the bodies wrapped for burial after that attack.)
    In this picture of a bombing of the southern suburbs, the buildings look like they’re about 10 stories.
    Just for some perspective: The last I read, there have been 120 Israelis killed, of whom 82 were soldiers and 38 civilians. The Lebanese death toll is over 1000, almost all civilians; one-third of them were children.
    While we hear of “barrages” of rockets into Israel – i.e., between 100 and 200 a day, Lebanon is hit with thousands of Israeli bombs, rockets, missiles, whatever (more powerful and “smarter” than Katyushas) every day.

  • inLA

    ummabdulla, the whole map that you linked to represents ‘Greater Beirut’, that now includes the ’suburbs’ (people now refer to the whole area as Beirut and it extends all the way to Ba’bda). In the old days, the grey area (including Harat Hurayk and Ash Shiyyah) used to be called ‘The suburb’ (Dahieh in Arabic) and the name stuck.

  • http://solarray.blogspot.com gmoke

    You might want to look at the before and after pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for image comparison. It would be good to remember those two cities so near the anniversaries of their atomic bombings. Especially when we seem to have an administration that isn’t loathe to use such weapons again.
    Please note that depleted uranium has been used in the Balkan wars of the 1990s, Gulf War I, and Gulf War II, our present Iraq war. The USA has also supplied DU weapons to Israel for use in Lebanon.
    By my count, that makes up to five nuclear wars already and the century is still so young!

  • readytoblowagasket

    Online the NYT interactive pics are easier to see without the labels, actually. A screen was added that darkened the image overall so that the labels would show up against the busy background (other options would have been to darken just a patch for the words and leave the rest of the image alone, or to keep words off the image altogether and use arrows or numbers). Darkening reduces the contrast, of course, making the before and after comparison much more muted, much less dramatic.
    I see now that the caption for the Times says at least 127 buildings were leveled in this section of the city (the Times must have ex-military on staff). Also provided is a map of Manhattan (to scale) for comparison; to my eye, the area of Beirut affected in this image is much larger than the area of the World Trade Center site (WTC was much taller, of course).

  • http://profile.typekey.com/error27/ error27

    No good will come out of this war… Rice is mad like a frothing dog to say that peace to born out of the death of children. Lebenon was just starting to heal before the war… These are not birth pains.
    No good will come to Hezbollah. No good will come to Syria and no good will come to America. There will only be pain and death and high oil prices.

  • ummabdulla

    Thanks, inLA. I was hoping someone would come by who knows Beirut.

  • ummabdulla

    Hmmmm… MSNBC has these before and after photos, with labels. (It’s turned in a different direction than this one, though.) They identify Hezbollah offices between the Al-Manar TV and the highway overpass that was bombed, which aren’t mentioned in the NY Times graphic.
    On the other hand, where the NY Times identifies an area that had Hezbollah offices, fenced in and guarded, the MSNBC one doesn’t say anything.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/sodoherty/ Simon

    Any chance you get the pictures of the airports hit? The Dams? We can draw lines around them too.
    Incidently your not going to see any more damage to Beruit. Lebanon said they would turn Tel Aviv into a car park if Israel attack Beruit again.
    This breakdown of pictures is annoying tbh. I keep seeing posts from various people trying to prove that people aren’t dying because they can prove that a picture may or may not be fake or 1-2 people get caught trying to play up to the press.
    I see on the TV now that Hezbollah have said they will honour the ceasefire at the deadline posted while Israel have said “aahh, we will think about it’.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/sodoherty/ Simon

    The second picture was saturated because it came from GeoEye looks like.
    Nice link there readytoblowagasket, if you look at other areas of the map you can clearly see that the attacks where mainly to disable Beruit. For example take a look at the airport. Every runway is bombed, there is a structure to the right of the main building looks like its been bombed too.
    I doubt very much there were mobile missile launchers from these locations and Hezbollah don’t have an airforce.

  • Chimproller

    Bagnews – right off the AIPAC speaking points!
    Nice job!
    http://fpwatch.blogspot.com/2006/08/aipac-americas-powerful-israeli-lobby.html

  • http://www.searchformajorplagge.com MichaelDG

    Chimproller,
    Actually, I think it was GeorgeF, the retired German army officer who brought up these aerial photos and this topic. Could your conspiratorial theories include an German AIPAC agent in Hamburg?
    If someone wants to discuss a topic of general interest, he should not be accused of being an agent from the dark forces of one side or the other. I for one appreciate a forum with multiple points of view.

  • Chimproller

    Who said anything about a conspiracy? Who said anything about ‘dark forces’? Why put words in my mouth? This isn’t AM talk radio.
    If you are sharing talking points with obvious partisans (whomever they are), don’t get mad at me for pointing out your lack of objectivity. Just trying to keep it real.

  • AA

    Browsing the net I came across the discussion you all made over the destruction in Beirut.
    Have you done that discussion over the destruction of Israeli cities? take Qiryat Shemona for example – a city of about 25,000 people that was bombed with about 1000 (one thousand!!!) katyusha missiles within the 33 days of the war. Even if there was a military base within this city (and there isn’t) wouldn’t less than 1000 missiles were enough?
    To add to that, the cities of the northern Israel are a target of constant bombing from the southern area of Lebanon – it did not happen only during this war but every time the Hezbollah people felt like.
    As for the comments that Arabic cities do not have shelters or sirens just some facts that you should know:
    Since 1992 when Israel was attacked by Sadam Hussein and the cities of Israel were bombed – there is a law according to which each new house that is built MUST have a sheltered room that should be safe for regular bombing or biological weapon. Many of the houses in the Arabic cities are built illegally and they “skip” this law because it increases the cost of building (special walls, special windows, inspection of the state etc.). As for public shelters, the city authorities should build it from the money that is collected from the citizens of the city. The Arabic cities are the ones that have the lowest percentage of city taxes payments so they are in constant deficit – I don’t think that building shelters was one of the city priorities.
    As for sirens, there are ones in each and every city/village. The “problem” is that the same system is used to note the Memorial Day for soldiers and for the Holocaust victims. The Arabic citizens did not want to hear it so they completely disconnected the system.
    I can go on with more details – like thousands of Israeli people that were forced to leave their houses and don’t have places to go back too, children that were born under bombing and lived in shelters in the north of Israel, hospitals in Zefad and Naharia that were bombed by Hezbollah as well as so many schools.
    4000 missiles only on cities were not just mistake or not so accurate weapons. Hezbollah have the exact maps and locations of whatever military facility they have claimed to bomb – all the 4000 missiles fell accidentally on civilian targets? Give me a break.
    One of your writers claimed that “…it looks like Hezbollah is aiming at military targets, which is why most of the Israelis killed have been soldiers…” This writer has the wrong facts. It is true that more soldiers were killed than civilians in Israel but that is not because Hezbollah targeted the military bases in the north of Israel.
    As long as Israel ground forces did not enter Lebanon there were no military casualties – all were civilians. All the soldiers that were killed were killed either in face to face battle with Hezbollah fighters or from anti-tank missiles INSIDE LEBANON TERITORRY!
    Airports, roads and bridges were destroyed because it was a way of sending weapons to Hezbollah from Syria even during the war.
    I think it is time to stop thinking that a war can be sterile and a nice adventure. If citizens are enabling the existence of a terrorist group within them they should not be so surprised that their house were bombed.
    Israeli citizens were not surprised by the bombing of the Hezbollah – they knew it would come as it did before for so many years.
    I hope that you’ll read my very long respond carefully. I am not trying to convince anyone I just don’t think that most of the people have enough information.

  • ummabdulla

    So Kiryat Shemona, right on the border, got “about 1000 (one thousand!!!) katyusha missiles within the 33 days of the war”. There were places in Lebanon that were hit with thousands (thousands!!!) of missiles within a few hours.
    You say that there was no military activity there, but I find that hard to believe. I saw news reports from there where the journalist had to shout over the noise from what was obviously military activities – e.g, tanks rolling by and artillery. They couldn’t explain the noise due to Isareli censorship.
    Also, the famous photo of the Israeli girls writing messages on missiles was taken in Kiryat Shemona. The girls walked out of the shelter for a break and found missiles and soldiers – what were they doing there? Besides hiding among civilians…
    “I can go on with more details – like thousands of Israeli people that were forced to leave their houses and don’t have places to go back too, children that were born under bombing and lived in shelters in the north of Israel, hospitals in Zefad and Naharia that were bombed by Hezbollah as well as so many schools.”
    Are you claiming that thousands of Israelis have had their homes destroyed? I don’t think so… And hospitals and schools were destroyed in Israel? Again, I don’t think so…
    As for children staying in bomb shelters – bomb shelters that were well-equipped and smoetimes well-decorated – I have a hard time getting too upset when I see what Lebanese children had to shelter them against the bombs. (Or Arabs in Israel, but according to you, they didn’t want any protection.) I saw one BBC report where they showed some teenaged girls at some kibbutz; they said they had to go into the shelter for sometimes a few hours a day, and the reporter was very sympathetic, and then they showed us the shelter and it was like a girls’ club, with a bunch of teenaged girls playing pool. Sorry, but I didn’t shed any tears over them.
    “All the soldiers that were killed were killed either in face to face battle with Hezbollah fighters or from anti-tank missiles INSIDE LEBANON TERITORRY!”
    Apparently you missed the news of the 12 Israeli reservists who were congregating – with their equipment and ammunition – in a parking lot outside the gate of the Kfar Giladi kibbutz (hiding among civilians again). They heard the sirens but ignored them.
    “I am not trying to convince anyone I just don’t think that most of the people have enough information.”
    I think that you are trying convince someone, but with all due respect, you don’t have enough information to be credible.

  • AA

    I thank you so much for taking the time to read it all and respond in details.
    You have a misconception regarding the location of the army forces in Israel. It is NEVER within a city or within civilians’ houses. Israel is a very small country (do you know the size of Israel) and the army bases can not be miles away from civilians. Even the 12 that were killed were certainly not inside civilians houses. The fact that they did ran to a shelter is their stupidity.
    I don’t think the people in Israel should apologize about having beautiful shelters – you know why they are decorated? Because they had to spend so much time there over the years that they have decided to decorate them.
    No one has shown the old or sick people that could not run away from the Hezbollah bombs. Not all shelters are decorated or air conditioned.
    You say I don’t have the information that you think you have. I don’t know where you have spent your summer but I have been in Israel for 25 out of the 33 days of fighting.
    You have written:”… Are you claiming that thousands of Israelis have had their homes destroyed? I don’t think so… And hospitals and schools were destroyed in Israel? Again, I don’t think so…” you might not think so, and I know so. The hospitals in Nahariya and Zefad were bombed and parts were destroyed. “Unfortunately” no one was killed or injured because all patients were moved to the basement (Naharia suffer from constant bombing for several years so they prepared for that). I am sure that dead people in hospital make good pictures but if you plan ahead and have alternative hospital in the basement you are the villain…
    Don’t believe me read that article of the Jerusalem post : http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1154525826088&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
    Or look for yourself on the internet. At least be strong enough in your beliefs to look at what has happened in both sides and than be so firm in your opinions.
    You can also see what people think about the conflict other than the usual ideas that are being said by Muslims about Israel. Try these links:
    http://www.video.exposetheleft.net/video/brigitte-gabriel.wmv
    http://switch5.castup.net/frames/20041020_MemriTV_Popup/video_480×360.asp?ai=214&ar=1050wmv &ak=null
    I don’t say that there were no innocent people that were killed in Lebanon – but in a war people get killed on both sides. Is the Lebanese blood more valuable than the Israeli and vice verse?
    Israeli people are used to live under a threat – suicide bombs aimed only against civilians in markets, restaurants buses etc – are you not going “…shed any tears over them.”? If not, why? Because they are Israeli children that have nice restaurants?
    I think it is not a question of which side suffers more. I think we should see what causes the war and who.
    Again, I would like to thank you for responding.

  • ummabdulla

    “Israel is a very small country (do you know the size of Israel) and the army bases can not be miles away from civilians.”
    Well, gee, AA, couldn’t the same be said of south Lebanon?
    “I don’t think the people in Israel should apologize about having beautiful shelters”
    I don’t think they should apologize either, and I’ve never said that. Unfortunately, they’re not very good neighbors, so they can expect to need shelters. But I don’t think that journalists should get all teary-eyed about them having to spend time in these shelters. It’s certainly better than the Lebanese getting killed in their homes or on the road trying to flee, and there’s just no comparison.
    “No one has shown the old or sick people that could not run away from the Hezbollah bombs.”
    Actually, I saw plenty of pictures and news reports about old and handicapped people who couldn’t flee, along with relatives who stayed to take care of them. And others who had no way out, or no fuel for their cars. Some just decided that if they were going to be killed, they’d rather be at home than sleeping in a park in Beirut, or taking refuge somewhere and being killed there – or on the way to there. And reports of Red Cross and other volunteers who tried to go down and rescue some of these people, but were denied permission from Israel.
    Now that people are going back to the South, they’re finding a lot of these people, especially elderly people, climbing out of destroyed buildings who’ve been absolutely terrified for a month.
    In any case, what gives Israel the right to tell people, “Get out or we’ll kill you”? Does Hezbollah have that right to tell Israelis to get out or be killed?
    “I don’t know where you have spent your summer but I have been in Israel for 25 out of the 33 days of fighting.”
    And have you been getting all of your news from the Israeli media? That would explain your one-sided information. Oh, and I see you look on the Internet, too… but MEMRI isn’t exactly an objective source.
    “Is the Lebanese blood more valuable than the Israeli and vice verse?”
    The point is that in the U.S. media, at least, Israeli blood is certainly seen as more valuable. Some of these people don’t even accept that many Lebanese civilians died, and if they did, well, they deserved it, and it was their own fault anyway. They hate their children and put them there to be killed, so they could take pictures. Or they were sleeping with Katyushas under their beds.
    I saw Larry King one night, and it was Israel as “us”. Their text at the bottom of the screen said “1000 civilians dead in Israel and Lebanon”. That’s a tad misleading, since at the time it was something like 980 Lebanese and 20 Israelis. While Lebanese are digging through the rubble with their bare hands trying to get people out, I see some tearjerking report about teenaged Israeli girls who have to go into their bomb shelter for an hour, to play pool. It is incredibly one-sided, and inaccurate. If it was any other country that had this wrong view, it wouldn’t matter, but as your government well knows, the U.S. has a lot of power and can make things happen.
    Anyway, I’m getting tired of trying to argue against the propaganda machine.

  • ummabdulla

    Here are some photos for you, AA.
    A Lebanese woman taking refuge in the lavatory of her damaged home waits to be rescued at Bint Jbail, east of Tyre (Soure), during the first day of ceasefire August 14, 2006.
    Lebanese women mourn near the temporary grave of their relative, who was killed during an Israeli air strike, inside a house at Bint Jbail, east of Tyre, during the first day of ceasefire August 14, 2006.
    A Lebanese woman mourns near the temporary grave of her son, who was killed in an Israeli air strike during the conflict between Israel and Lebanon’s Hizbollah, inside her home during the first day of ceasefire, at Bint Jbail, east of the southern port city of Tyre (Soure) August 14, 2006.
    An injured Lebanese woman lies in her damaged house as she waits to be rescued during the first day of ceasefire, at Bint Jbail, east of the port city of Tyre (Soure) August 14, 2006
    A Lebanese Red Cross volunteer removes the jewelery from the body of an unidentified woman, to hand them back to her relatives, as they try to recover bodies from under the rubble of a house, destroyed by the month-long Israeli forces bombardment, in the southern village of Ainata, close to the town of Bint Jbail, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006
    Lebanese photographer Wael Ladki carries an elderly woman found alive in the rubble of her house in the southern border town of Bint Jbeil.
    There are also pictures at gettyimages of elderly and handicapped people who stayed in their village in southern Lebanon. I don’t know how to link to the individual photos, but you can go here and then search on “bint jbeil” (no quotes) for the past 7 days.

  • IsawIt

    readytoblowagasket (Aug 10) wondered if it was 3 or 5 or 10 stories. When I walked through the area last month most buildings are 10 or 11 floors. Families live there and 3-4 children or more are common out here. The best way to describe is densely packed public housing averaging 10 floors.

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