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Thursday, August 31, 2006

MISSILE STORY II

Today’s editorial in the Australian:

In his report in the Media section today, Chulov stands by the original account.

No, he doesn’t. With thanks to readers, here follows a comparison of Martin Chulov’s two pieces on the Red Cross ambulance attack.

First Piece:

Two ambulances travelling in convoy were fired on by an Israeli Apache helicopter as they sped to the besieged port city of Tyre.

Second Piece:

The damage done was consistent with ruined cars and vans that I saw elsewhere in Lebanon and earlier in Gaza, which had been hit by a missile fired from a drone.

Question: How does Chulov know those ruined cars and vans had been hit by missiles fired from drones? And if he is so certain of the effects of such an attack, why did he write that the ambulances had been attacked by an Apache helicopter, even after inspecting them?

First Piece:

One of the Israeli rockets pierced the centre of the large red cross marked on the roof of one of the ambulances, as if it was used as a target.

Second Piece:

A large explosion thundered into Shalin’s ambulance.

The precise original claim becomes much fuzzier. A crucial matter, this. If the Israeli rocket – fired from a drone, or helicopter, or wherever—didn’t pierce the ambulance, it calls into question allegations of deliberate targeting. By the way, how does a “large explosion” thunder into anything?

First Piece:

The convoy was struck by two rockets fired from an Apache helicopter, just before midnight, severely injuring all six people on board.

Second Piece:

The Israeli-made drones have many types of missiles, but the most regularly used has a small warhead designed for use in urban areas. It aims not to kill anyone outside a small zone and rarely leaves a calling card outside its target.

An ambulance is considerably smaller than the small urban zones this weapon was presumably designed for. Yet this warhead was barely able to take someone’s leg off – in a direct hit. People standing nearby (if they were standing, and not driving; see next item) suffered no injuries at all.

First Piece:

Mr Shalin was spared more serious injuries by the armoured vest he was wearing and the driver’s canopy that protected him from a direct hit … he remembers nothing after the flash and bang of the missile then the crunch of the crash as his ambulance veered off road.

Second Piece:

Shalin was lifting the rear ramp of the ambulance when the missile hit. His colleague was stepping into the side door. The concussion wave from the missile easily dispersed through the open spaces. Shalin was protected as he fell under the ramp.

Shalin has moved from driving the ambulance to lifting a ramp – which may or may not exist. It’s sweet that the concussive blast from this mini-missile carefully drapes a protective metal covering over potential victims. In light of all these changes – remember, Chulov interviewed the same source for both pieces – this line from the driver is compelling:

“Everything I said happened that night did happen,” he said.

Posted by Tim B. on 08/31/2006 at 01:58 AM
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