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Mar-17-2012 00:23printcomments

How Many Violations of US Arms Laws Are Too Many?

It depends whether the miscreant enjoys “We will always have your back regardless”…. status
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Washington Post Pentagon reporter George Wilson interviewed Lamb in Washington in late 1982, & said this Janet Lee Stevens / Franklin Lamb research photo convinced the Reagan administration to ban shipments of American cluster bombs to Israel for nearly 6 years. Pres. Reagan reportedly told Rep. Paul Findlay that when he saw this photo and read the Pentagon report he was furious with Israeli PM Begin for lying to him.

(BEIRUT Al-Manar) - On March 6, 2012, the US Congressional Research Service released a report to the US Congress concerning Restrictions on the use of American weapons by recipient countries.

For those who have followed the subject there was not a whole lot new in the CRS study, yet it is instructive in identifying Israel once again as far and away the most egregious violator of virtually every provision of every US law which purports to regulate how American weapons are used.

In accordance with U.S. law, the U.S. Government is mandated to enforce strict conditions on the use against civilians, of weapons it transfers to foreign recipients.

Violations of these conditions can lead to the suspension of deliveries or termination of contracts for such defense items, and even the cutting off of all aid to the violating country.

Section 3(a) of the 1976 US Arms Export Control Act (AECA) sets the standards for countries to be eligible to receive American arms and it also sets express conditions on the uses to which these arms may be put.

An expert from the Mines Advisory Group inspects an unexploded Israel cluster bomb in the Lebanese village of Ouazaiyeh, Lebanon, 2006. Photo: AP/Mohammed Zaatari

Section 4 of the AECA states that U.S. weapons shall be sold to friendly countries “solely” for use in “legitimate self-defense, for use in “internal security,” and to enable the recipient country to participate in “collective measures requested by the United Nations for the purpose of maintaining or restoring international peace and security.”

Should the President or Congress determine pursuant to section 3(c)(3)(A) of the Arms Export Control Act that a “substantial violation” by a foreign country of an applicable agreement governing an arms sale or grant has occurred, then that country is automatically ineligible for further U.S. military hardware.

This action would also terminate provision of credits, loan guarantees, cash sales, and deliveries pursuant to previous sales or grants.

Other options include suspension of deliveries of defense items already ordered and refusal to allow new arms orders.

The United States has only once used such an option against Israel.

American researchers documented scores of US cluster bomb canisters including the one pictured above during the summer of 1982 in Beirut and shared the serial numbers with the US Navy in exchange for information on how the Lebanese public could reduce the dangers from unexploded cluster bomblets. Meetings were sometimes held in the summer of 1983 with US ordinance disposal experts at the Beirut airport based US Marine barracks. One Marine was killed by an M-43 "birdie" in this period while examining the wing tipped device shown in the photo

Questions raised by researchers in Beirut during the summer of 1982 and by Washington Post journalist Jonathan Randal regarding the use of U.S.-supplied military equipment by Israel in Lebanon in June and July 1982, led the Reagan Administration to determine on July 15, 1982, that Israel “may” have violated its July 23, 1952, Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement with the United States (TIAS 2675) and the AECA.

The pertinent language of the 1952 agreement between Israel and the United States states:

The Government of Israel assures the United States Government that such equipment, materials, or services as may be acquired from the United States … are required for and will be used solely to maintain its internal security, its legitimate self-defense, or to permit it to participate in the defense of the area of which it is a part, or in United Nations collective security arrangements and measures, and that it will not undertake any act of aggression against any other state.

Alarm centered on whether or not Israel had used U.S.-supplied antipersonnel cluster bombs against civilian targets during its carpet bombing West Beirut during the nearly three month siege.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee held hearings on this issue in July and August 1982.

The author shown in West Beirut in early July 1982 collecting unexploded US cluster bombs that Israel dropped on civilian targets in Lebanon. Stevens and Lamb traded the Pentagon 36 pages of serial numbers from US bomb canisters and other US ordnance in exchange for the Pentagon allowing the Indian Head Maryland Navy ordnance center to give Lamb the then classified relevant CBU manuals showing how to defuse them. These manuals helped the PLO distribute posters in the camps showing residents and security forces how to disarm them. The FBI decided against prosecuting Stevens and Lamb bringing nearly 50 lbs. of highly exposive material into the United States and the Reagan Administration learned much about how far down the stockpile of American weapons Israel was operating from.

On July 19, 1982, the Reagan Administration announced that it would prohibit new exports of cluster bombs to Israel.

This prohibition was lifted by the Reagan Administration in November 1988 under US Israel lobby pressure on the White House designed to assist the Presidential campaign of George H. W. Bush against Senator Walter Mondale.

The facts of this case which manly centered on events in Lebanon are instructive.

During the 1973 Ramadan war, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, watching Arab forces advance on Israel troops following the October 6 Egyptian and Syrian offensive, and being advised by the Israeli Defense Ministry of a pending disaster, threatened President Nixon with Israel using nuclear weapons unless the US rescued Israel.

Nixon’s immediate response was to order a massive air lift to Israel of US arms stockpiled for use in Vietnam at Clark air force base near Subic Bay, Philippines.

The base commander at Clark immediately resigned because being on the defensive in Vietnam, he advised Washington US troops needed those weapons.

Included were eight types of US cluster bombs including the M-42, M-46,CBU-58 A/B, APAM (BLU) 77/B, MK 20 “Rockeye”, MK 118 and he M-43 “Birdie” as the U.S. Marines in Beirut referred it in late 1982 and 1983.


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During a late June 1982 meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Begin, Reagan was handed a note from George Shultz. Based on the information he had in hand, Reagan directly told Begin that the US had reliable information than Israel was using American weapons against civilians in Lebanon.

At this point according to Reagan, Begin became very agitated.

He lowered his glasses and while glaring at Reagan and shaking his index finger said, “Mr. President, Israel has never and would never use American weapons against civilians and to claim otherwise is a blood libel against every Jew, everywhere.”

Following their meeting Reagan told Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, as reported by Weinberger and by various biographers of Reagan that “I did not know what the term “blood libel” meant, but I know that the man looked me straight in the eyes and lied to me.”

The original Secretary of State George Schultz suggestion to Regan of Israel using two types (the M-42 and the CBU-58) of American cluster bombs was soon changed to the charge that Israel in fact used all eight types of American cluster bombs Nixon had sent to Meir.

Proof of the use of the eight types of US cluster bombs was delivered to an assembly of US Pentagon and other officials in late July 1982 at the Indian Head Ordnance facility on the Potomac River in Southern Maryland on instructions from the late American Journalist Janet Lee Stevens to this observer.

Substantive and still preserved demonstrative and physical evidence, including photographs and US cluster bombs, some of which still were filled with the high explosive minol, that were carried in my suitcase, that had been gathered from around West Beirut by Janet and her research team that included Palestinian fighters delegated by Yassir Arafat and Khalil al Wazir (Abu Jihad) some Marabatoun fighters, as well several Amal milita as well as this observer to aid with the task.

The US / Israel lobby accurately considers American arms control laws as meaningless. The prohibitions against Israel’s use of American weapons against civilians have not, are not and in all likelihood will never be enforced against Israel given the regime’s continuing occupation of much of the US government.

It’s high time for true American patriots to take back their country and rejoin the community of nations on the basis of equality and mutual respect for all, entangling and corruptive alliances with none.

___________________________________
Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director of the Sabra Shatila Foundation. Contact him at: fplamb@sabrashatila.org. He is working with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign in Lebanon on drafting legislation which, after 62 years, would, if adopted by Lebanon’s Cabinet and Parliament grant the right to work and to own a home to Lebanon’s Palestinian Refugees. One part of the PCRC legislative project is its online Petition which can be viewed and signed at: petitiononline.com/ssfpcrc/petition.html. Lamb is reachable at fplamb@palestinecivilrightscampaign.org.

Franklin Lamb’s book on the Sabra-Shatila Massacre, International Legal Responsibility for the Sabra-Shatila Massacre, now out of print, was published in 1983, following Janet’s death and was dedicated to Janet Lee Stevens. He was a witness before the Israeli Kahan Commission Inquiry, held at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in January 1983.




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