"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Russia uses Cluster Bombs on civilian targets in Georgia

Human Rights Watch have reported that Russian aircraft dropped RBK-250 cluster bombs, each containing 30 PTAB 2.5M submunitions;

1. On the town of Ruisi in the Kareli district of Georgia on August 12, 2008. Three civilians were killed and five wounded in the attack.

2. On the same day, a cluster strike in the center of the town of Gori killed at least eight civilians and injured dozens, Human Rights Watch said. Dutch journalist Stan Storimans was killed. Israeli journalist Zadok Yehezkeli was seriously wounded and evacuated to Israel for treatment after surgery in Tbilisi. An armored vehicle from the Reuters news agency was perforated with shrapnel from the attack.

HRW interviewed victims, doctors, and military personnel in Georgia. They examined photos of craters and video footage of the August 12 attack on Gori.

HRW has also seen a photo of the submunition carrier assembly and nose cone of an RBK-250 bomb in Gori. A video of an attack on Gori showed more than two dozen simultaneous explosions during the attack, which is characteristic of cluster bombs. Two persons wounded in Gori described multiple simultaneous explosions at the time of the attack. Craters in Gori were also consistent with a cluster strike.

Asked about reports of the use of cluster bombs, deputy chief of Russia's General Staff, Colonel-General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, told a news conference "We never use cluster bombs. There is no need to do so." Another report from RIA Novosti says he said,""We did not use cluster bombs, and what's more there was absolutely no necessity to do so."

Then he accused Georgian troops of planting mines in Tskhinvali as they retreated from the South Ossetian capital .

Georgia has already filed a 33 page complaint at the International Court of Justice who have issued a Press release

Georgia claims :

These efforts, culminated on 8 August as Russian ground forces, warships and airplanes launched a fullscale invasion of Georgia in support of ethnic separatists in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
At the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions in May, diplomats agreed on a draft treaty banning the use, manufacture, and stockpiling of cluster munitions .

No representatives were sent to the conference from the US, China, Russia, Israel, India, or Pakistan, whose governments collectively make up the world's largest producers and users of cluster bombs. Unexpectedly on the morning of May 28 the British government announced it was willing to give up cluster munitions that it had used in recent years in Iraq. See BBC film of Cluster bombs in use.

"We have decided we will take all our types of cluster bombs out of service," Mr Brown told reporters in London. Which is a very carefully worded statement as the stockpiles will remain - because they are not "in service".

American officials did not attending the treaty talks . However they spent a great deal of high powered effort in world capitals to undermine the treaty. Diplomats in Dublin reported part time pionao player US Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice and even President George W. Bush had been telephoning their counterparts around the world to promote the US opposition to the treaty.

Expert analysts of the treaty say it will require the United States to remove its stockpiles of cluster munitions at several military bases around the world, a measure that Washington had firmly opposed.

A loophole allows continued military and other cooperation between parties and non-parties to the treaty, which must still be ratified by individual signatory nations before entering into full effect.

In May 2008, 107 nations agreed to a total ban on cluster munitions, the Russians neither particpated nor signed but in a statement on the matter in June (Anatoly Antonov, Director, Department for Security Affairs and Disarmament, Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation, June 6 2008) - aimed at Western allies they condemned other nations’ use of cluster bombs acknowledging the harm they cause to civilians:

“Of course, we welcome the intention of a whole array of nations to renounce the use of cluster munitions as a means of warfare. We understand the motives behind this decision. During the recent armed conflicts in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon the indiscriminate use of individual types of weapon, primarily western-made CMs, led to serious civilian casualties and injuries. This has turned the problem into a key issue facing the international community….

…we are convinced that the main causes of CM-related humanitarian problems lie, first and foremost, on the plane of their improper use and of departure from the principles and norms of IHL, especially when they were used in places where large numbers of civilians congregate

It is worth remembering - " In March and April (2003). U.S. and British forces used almost 13,000 cluster munitions, containing nearly 2 million submunitions, that killed or wounded more than 1,000 civilians" ("The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq," Human Rights Watch, Dec. 12, 2003).

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