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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail