FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What’s NATO Ever Done?

by JOHN LaFORGE

Wondering why anyone would confront NATO’s summit in Chicago this month? A look at some of its more well-known crimes might spark some indignation.

Desecration of corpses, indiscriminate attacks, bombing of allied troops, torture of prisoners and unaccountable drone war are a few of NATO’s outrages in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere. On March 20, 2012 Pakistani lawmakers demanded an end to all NATO/CIA drone strikes against their territory. As reported in The New York Times, Pakistan’s foreign secretary Jalil Jilani said April 26, 2012, “We consider drones illegal, counter-productive and accordingly, unacceptable.” On May 31 last year, Afghan President Hamid Karzai gave what he called his “last” warning against NATO’s bombing of Afghani homes, saying “If they continue their attacks on our houses … history shows what Afghans do with trespassers and with occupiers.”

While bombing Libya last March, NATO refused to aid a group of 72 migrants adrift in the Mediterranean. Only nine people on board survived. The refusal was condemned as criminal by the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog.

NATO jets bombed and rocketed a Pakistani military base for two hours Nov. 26, 2011—the Salala Incident— killing 26 Pakistani soldiers and wounding dozens more. NATO refuses to apologize, so the Pakistani regime has kept military supply routes into Afghanistan closed since November.

The British medical journal Lancet reported that the US-led unprovoked 2003 bombing, invasion and military take-over of Iraq—which NATO officially joined in 2004 in a ‘training’ capacity—had resulted in over 665,000 civilian deaths by 2006, and 200,000 in the UN-authorized, 1991 Desert Storm massacre led primarily by the US with several NATO allies.

On April 12, 1999, NATO attacked the railway bridge over the Grdelica Gorge and Juzna Morava River with two laser-guided bombs. At the time, a five-car civilian passenger train was crossing the bridge and was hit by both bombs. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accused NATO of violating binding laws that require distinction, discrimination and proportionality.

NATO rocketed the central studio of Radio Televisija Srbije (TRS) in Belgrade, the state-owned broadcasting corporation, on April 23, 1999 during the Kosovo war. Sixteen civilian employees of RTS were killed and 16 wounded when NATO destroyed the building. Amnesty Int’l reported that the building could not be considered military, that NATO had violated the prohibition on attacking civilian objects and had therefore committed a war crime.

Headlines chronicle NATO’s crime spree 

“U.S. troops posed with body parts of Afghan bombers.” Los Angeles Times, April 18, 2012

“Drones At Issue…: Raids Disrupt Militants, but Civilian Deaths Stir Outrage.” New York Times, March 18, 2012

“G.I. Kills 16 Afghans, Including 9 Children In Attacks on Homes.” New York Times, March 12, 2012

“NATO Admits Airstrike Killed 8 Young Afghans, but Contends They Were Armed.” New York Times, Feb. 16, 2012

“Informer Misled NATO in Airstrike That Killed 8 Civilians, Afghans Say.” (Seven shepherd boys under 14.) New York Times, Feb. 10, 2012

“Video [of U.S. Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters] Inflames a Delicate Moment for U.S. in Afghanistan.” New York Times, Jan. 12, 2012

“Commission alleges U.S. detainee abuse.” Minneapolis StarTribune, Jan. 8, 2012

“Six Children Are Killed by NATO Airstrike in Afghanistan.” New York Times, Nov. 25, 2011

“American Soldier Is Convicted of Killing Afghan Civilians for Sport.” New York Times, Nov. 11, 2011

“Pakistan: U.S. Drone Strike Kills Brother of a Taliban Commander.” New York Times, Oct. 28, 2011

“Afghanistan officials ‘systematically tortured’ detainees, UN report says.” Guardian, & BBC Oct. 10; Washington Post, Oct. 11, 2011

“G.I. Killed Afghan Journalist, NATO Says.” New York Times, Sept. 9, 2011

“Cable Implicates Americans in Deaths of Iraqi Civilians.” New York Times, Sept. 2, 2011

“Civilians Die in a Raid by Americans and Iraqis.” New York Times, Aug. 7, 2011

“NATO Strikes Libyan State TV Transmitters.” New York Times, July 31, 2011

“NATO admits raid probably killed nine in Tripoli.” St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 20, 2011

“U.S. Expands Its Drone War to Take On Somali Militants.” New York Times, July 2, 2011

“NATO airstrike blamed in 14 civilian deaths.” St. Paul Pioneer Press, May 30, 2011

“Libya Effort Is Called Violation of War Act.” New York Times, May 26, 2011

“Raid on Wrong House Kills Afghan Girl, 12.” New York Times, May 12, 2011

“Yemen: 2 Killed in Missile Strike.” Associated Press, May 5, 2011

“NATO Accused of Going Too Far With Libya Strikes.” New York Times, May 2, 2011

“Disposal of Bin Laden’s remains violated Islamic principles, clerics say.” Associated Press, May 2, 2011

“Photos of atrocities seen as threat to Afghan relations.” St. Paul Pioneer Press, March 22, 2011

“Missiles Kill 26 in Pakistan” (“most of them civilians”) New York Times, March 18, 2011

“Afgans Say NATO Troops Killed 8 Civilians in Raid.” New York Times, Aug. 24, 2010 

“A dozen or more” Afghan civilians were killed during a nighttime raid August 5, 2010 in eastern Afghanistan, NATO’s officers said. Chicago Tribune, Aug. 6, 2010

“Afghans Say Attack Killed 52 Civilians; NATO Differs.” New York Times, July 27, 2010

In June 2008, NATO bombers attacked a Pakistani paramilitary force called the Frontier Corps killing 11 of its soldiers. New York Times, Nov. 27, 2011

“Afghans Die in Bombing, As Toll Rises for Civilians.” New York Times, May 3, 2010

John LaForge works for Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog and anti-war group in Wisconsin and edits its Quarterly.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sandes Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Honduras Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Gilbert Mercier
Donald Trump: Caligula of the Lowest Common Denominator Empire?
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Robert Dodge
On President Obama’s Hiroshima Visit
Andrew Moss
Bridge to Wellbeing?
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
May 26, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Stage of Capitalism: Germany’s Assault on the IMF
Pepe Escobar
Hillary Clinton: A Major Gold-Digging Liability
Sam Pizzigati
America’s Cosmic Tax Gap
Ramzy Baroud
Time to End the ‘Hasbara’: Palestinian Media and the Search for a Common Story
José L. Flores
Wall Street’s New Man in Brazil: The Forces Behind Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail