Stop NATO Updates on Libyan war: 4 April 2011

4 April 2011 — Stop NATO

Libyan War In Third Week As NATO Takes Command

Six Warships, 600 Marines: Britain Deploys Task Force To Libya
Why NATO Cannot Be Trusted
Mounting Alarm Over U.S. Use Of Depleted Uranium Arms In Libya
Impact Of Depleted Uranium Ammunition In The War On Libya
Today It Is Libya, Tomorrow It Is You: Namibian MPs
Italy To Open “Embassy” In Eastern Libya
New York Times: U.S. Ready To Abandon Yemen’s Saleh

Six Warships, 600 Marines: Britain Deploys Task Force To Libya

www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/news/Task-force-set-Med/article-3404716-detail/article.html

The Herald

April 4, 2011

Hundreds of West Country Royal Marines and naval personnel heading for Libya

Hundreds of Royal Marines and naval personnel are preparing to head to the Mediterranean as the crisis in Libya escalates.

A task force of about 600 Royal Marines and at least six ships are about to leave for the region, massively enhancing the UK’s military strength there.

The Trafalgar class submarine HMS Turbulent, and Type-22 frigate, HMS Cumberland – both Devonport-based – are already stationed in the Med off Libya.

Yesterday, The Sunday Times reported that Britain was sending a “task force” of marines and naval ships to Libya this week on a “humanitarian” mission.

The task force would include up to 600 marines from Taunton-based 40 Commando to protect ports where humanitarian supplies would be unloaded.

The newspaper said the ships, including Devonport-based assault ship HMS Albion, were due to leave Plymouth either today or tomorrow, initially for Gibraltar. The marines will fly out to Gibraltar this week, it said.

Yesterday, Foreign Secretary William Hague denied the report, insisting they were actually “preparing for an exercise elsewhere”.

Despite Mr Hague’s denials, a task force of ships – including Albion – is due to sail for the Med shortly.

The assault ship is part of the Royal Navy’s Responsive Force Task Group, which is deploying this month on Operation Cougar, the first phase of which will run in the Mediterranean until June.

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Why NATO Cannot Be Trusted

www.neurope.eu/articles/Why-NATO-cannot-be-trusted/105631.php

New Europe

April 3, 2011

Why NATO cannot be trusted

David Cronin

What do bagpipes have to do with the war in Libya? On NATO’s website, you can read about Marc Forterre, a French colonel and avid piper, whose musical instrument was mistaken for a weapon by airport staff in Addis Ababa. It would make a charming vignette, if it wasn’t for how the tale segues into editorialising about how the alliance helps the African Union to conduct its own military operations.

This celebration of trans-continental harmony is deceitful. It omits any acknowledgment of how most African governments are at odds with NATO over its attacks on Libya – and with good reason. Apologists for the war maintain that it is based on the “responsibility to protect”, a concept usually abbreviated as R2P. Yet by examining past comments of James Jones, the decorated general who was Barack Obama’s national security adviser until November last, we might get a more accurate explanation. “As commander of NATO, I worried early in the mornings about how to protect energy facilities and supply chain routes as far away as Africa, the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea,” Jones said in 2008. (It is instructive that he joined the board of Chevron earlier that year).

Though the main tenets of R2P look laudable, the background of its chief proponent Gareth Evans can only arouse suspicion. When he was Australia’s foreign minister in 1989, Evans signed the Timor Gap Treaty with his then Indonesian counterpart Ali Alatas. This enabled the theft of oil resources off East Timor, where 250,000 people died in one of the twentieth century’s most brutal occupations.

Just as the motives of a sham humanitarian like Evans should be questioned, doubts must be cast on Obama’s sincerity when he defended bombing Libya on the pretext “we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale”. Could the haste with which the West intervened not have more to do with Libya boasting Africa’s largest proven oil reserves? And were Western leaders and their chums in BP and Total not jittery over threats made by Muammar Gaddafi in 2009 (and reiterated in the past few weeks) to nationalise those resources?

Yes, it may be too reductionist to describe what is happening in Libya as another war for oil. The truth is probably that it is not only a war for oil but also to assert the control of America and its European stooges over Africa.

Having already declared war in Europe (Serbia) and taken charge of one in Asia (Afghanistan), it was perhaps logical that NATO would soon stretch its imperial tentacles into Africa. In 2007, Africom, its command for operations in Africa, was set up. “Factsheets” churned out from Africom’s headquarters in Stuttgart bragged of support for health, education and water projects. Yet that mask of charity belies a remark made by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, then NATO’s secretary-general, the previous year, when he said the alliance was willing to use warplanes to secure oil and gas supply routes from Africa.

No war is fought for noble motives. If you really think that Sarkozy or Obama wished to protect civilian lives, study the eyewitness account signed by Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian doctors working in Libya on 24 March. They document how dozens of innocent people were killed and maimed by NATO bombs falling on residential areas of Tajhura, a suburb of Tripoli. The onslaught led to the roof collapsing in the maternity ward of a hospital, causing numerous miscarriages.

This serves as a reminder of how NATO bombed Serbia in 1999. On that occasion, a children’s hospital in Belgrade’s embassy district was targeted. As Michel Chossudovsky, a Canadian economist, points out on the website Global Research, sleeping babies were spared by the alliance’s missiles. Generators were hit instead, depriving incubators of power.

Moreover, there is a distinct possibility that the consequences of NATO’s actions will continue to be felt in Libya long after the bombs have stopped falling, especially if those bombs were coated with depleted uranium (DU). While the Pentagon has said it has no reports that the substance is being used, the A-10 Warthogs flown by the US Air Force are equipped with guns designed to fire DU-tipped munitions.

I called a NATO spokesman to ask if the alliance has any policy or rules on depleted uranium. “The jury is still out scientifically on what the ramifications and dangers of using it are,” the spokesman told me. That appears to me as a flimsy attempt to justify the unjustifiable. While it may be impossible to prove that the upsurge of childhood cancer found in Iraq following the First Gulf War (1991) was linked to DU, there is ample circumstantial evidence to suggest it can have lethal consequences. Jawad Khadim al-Ali, an Iraqi doctor, is among those to have found an abnormally high incidence of cancer in parts of Basra where intense bombardment took place.

If you still need reasons why NATO should not be trusted, check out Rolling Stone’s new account of what young soldiers serving with the alliance got up to in Afghanistan. After Andrew Holmes, a corporal, nonchalantly shot dead an unarmed farmer, his squad leader presented him with the man’s finger as a trophy.

“Our values are firmly based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO’s secretary general and former Danish premier, said at the end of March. How are those values compatible with rewarding a murderer?

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Mounting Alarm Over U.S. use of Depleted Uranium Arms In Libya

www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/mounting-alarm-over-us-use-of-depleted-uranium-arms-in-libya-1.1094257

Sunday Herald (Scotland)

April 3, 2011

Mounting alarm over US use of depleted uranium arms in Libya

By Rob Edwards Environment Editor

The countries involved in air strikes on Colonel Gaddafi’s forces in Libya are coming under pressure to ban the use of toxic depleted uranium (DU) weapons because of the dangers they could pose to civilians.

The US has refused to rule out the use of DU shells in Libya, though it claims not to have fired any so far.

“I don’t want to speculate on what may or may not be used in the future,” the US air force spokeswoman, Paula Kurtz, said yesterday.

The US admitted using A-10 tankbuster aircraft designed to destroy armoured cars and tanks, and which are capable of firing 3,900 armour-piercing DU-tipped shells per minute.

Kurtz insisted that the A-10s had not been loaded with DU ammunition. “Weapons with depleted uranium have not been used in Libya,” she said.

But critics say that the US has sometimes been economical with the truth about the use of DU weapons. “We continue to seek a cast-iron guarantee that depleted uranium has not been used and will not be used in Libya,” said Kate Hudson, the general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. “The US has a long history of only admitting to deploying this radioactive material months or years after it has been used.”

DU is a radioactive and chemically toxic heavy metal which has been used by UK and US military forces in armour-piercing shells fired in the Gulf, Balkans and Iraq wars, and is thought to be in use by around 18 other countries. When DU weapons burn, they release a hazardous dust.

Prime Minister David Cameron said that DU has not been used and will not be used in Libya, but the Ministry of Defence insists that DU remains part of its armoury.

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Impact Of Depleted Uranium Ammunition In The War On Libya

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24116

Global Research

April 3, 2011

The Impact of Depleted Uranium Ammunition in the War on Libya

UK Uranium Weapons Network and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

UK campaigners issue joint statement on use of depleted uranium in Libya

The UK Uranium Weapons Network and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today issued a joint statement of concern over the possible use of depleted uranium in Libya.

31 March 2011 – ICBUW Campaigners from the UK Uranium Weapons Network and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today expressed their growing alarm at the possibility that highly toxic and radioactive depleted uranium (DU) weapons have been used in Libya. The inhalation of DU particles, spread when the weapons hit their target, is thought to be linked to the sharp increases in cancer rates and birth defects reported in affected areas.

On Monday (28th March) the US Admiral William Gortney told the press that: “We have employed A-10s and AC-130s over the weekend” [note 4]. It is believed that six A-10s from 81st Fighter Squadron, which are typically armed with DU rounds, have been deployed [note 5].

A-10 gunships are designed to attack tanks, armour and other ground targets with their primary weapon – a cannon capable of firing either DU or high explosive rounds at a rate of 3,900 a minute. As armoured vehicles are being targeted it seems likely the cannons are loaded with the PGU-14 30mm armour piercing incendiary round, which contains a 300 gram DU penetrator. Strafing runs from A-10s can typically see hundreds of rounds being used, resulting in many kilograms of DU being fired.

A-10s were used against armoured targets in the Balkan and Iraq conflicts in the 1990s and 2003 and were responsible for the majority of DU used in Iraq and all that fired in the Balkans. Other US warplanes may also have deployed DU rounds – see note 8 for details.

Previously Admiral Gortney had suggested that only precision guided ammunition (i.e. bombs, not cannon rounds) was being used and stated that “At this time, [he was] not aware of any use of depleted uranium” [see note 7]. However it is now known for certain that the A-10?s cannon was used against two small boats on the evening of 28th March in an encounter involving the Libyan Coast Guard vessel Vittoria [note 6]. This means the Pentagon’s earlier assurance on the type of weapons used no longer stands and thus their comments regarding DU use are in doubt.

After MPs raised concerns over the potential use of DU in Libya, David Cameron told the Commons that “we do not use those [depleted uranium] weapons and are not going to use those weapons.” [note 9] Whilst British DU weapon systems are land-based, campaigners are demanding the UK push all coalition countries to rule out the use of DU.

John McDonnell MP said: “Whilst I welcome the Prime Minister’s assurance that British forces will not use depleted uranium weapons in this conflict, I am concerned that our allies may still do so. These weapons have the potential to cause long term health risks to civilian populations recovering in post-conflict zones – we have seen cancer and birth defect epidemics in Iraqi cities where it is believed that these weapons have been used.

“I have written to the Prime Minister asking for his assurance that he will do all he can to persuade our allies to refrain from using this weapon in Libya, and assure us that the government will add depleted uranium weapons to the list of other weapon systems that have been banned on humanitarian grounds, such as cluster munitions and landmines.”

Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: “Depleted uranium weapons are weapons of indiscriminate effect – the cancers and birth defects they are thought to cause cannot be ‘targeted’ at troops. Using them in built up areas in effect targets civilians. This runs counter to everything the coalition has claimed about protecting civilians. This would mark the first DU use in conflict in more than eight years and would be an appalling step backwards. It is completely unacceptable – indeed illegal – to use weapons that cause long-term damage both to civilians and the wider environment for years after the conflict. Britain must demand clarity from the US and all coalition partners that DU is not, and will not be used in Libya.”

Lev Eakins, spokesperson for the UK Uranium Weapons Network, said: “The stated purpose of the military action is to protect Libyan civilians. This will not be achieved if depleted uranium weapons are used as they have the potential to harm civilians for decades to come. The coalition of states involved in this action should immediately give an assurance that depleted uranium will not be used and we call on the UK government to dissuade its allies from using them.”

For further information and interviews please contact either the UK Uranium Weapons Network (Dave Cullen) 0161 273 8293 or Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (Ben Soffa) 020 7700 2350

For further details on the weapons and platforms involved, see www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/a/397.html

The UK Uranium Weapons Network is a grouping of 15 organisations working to achieve a ban on the use of depleted uranium weapons in the UK uwnetwork.wordpress.com The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere. www.cnduk.org

US Department of Defence News Briefing, 28th March, Vice Admiral Gortney www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4803

A-10 reference site: warthognews.blogspot.com/2011/03/10cs-have-attacked-libyan-regime-forces.html

US Navy press report: www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=6347?=0

US Department of Defence News Briefing, 25th March, Vice Admiral Gortney www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4799

Concern also remains that US AV-8B Harrier aircraft have also used DU. In the past the AV-8B has fired PGU-20/U Armour Piercing Incendiary DU rounds from their rotary cannon – see www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/a/396.html. A US Marines press release on the 20th March stated that AV-8B Harriers from the 26th Marine Expeditionary unit, based on USS Kearsarge attacked ground forces and air defences in Libya. While dropping aerial munitions is more likely to have taken place than the cannon being used in strafing runs, it remains possible that these aircraft have deployed, or will deploy, DU weapons. See www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=6227?=0

David Cameron, House of Commons, 21st March www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2011-03-21a.700.0#g705.2 It should be noted that the only weapon platform that uses DU weapons in the British arsenal is the Challenger II tank, which is not deployed, or expected to be deployed in this conflict. It is therefore uncertain if the PM was referring to just this conflict, or any future conflict and urgent clarification is being sought. www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/a/398.html

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Today It Is Libya, Tomorrow It Is You: Namibian MPs

www.namibian.com.na/news/full-story/archive/2011/april/article/mps-criticise-nato-strikes-on-libya/

The Namibian

April 4, 2011

MPs criticise Nato strikes on Libya

By: CATHERINE SASMAN

“TODAY it is Libya, tomorrow it is you,” warned the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Loide Kasingo, criticising Nato’s attack on the beleaguered Gaddafi regime in Libya.

She said “one’s enemy” that “never sleeps” and is “planning day and night how to keep Africa in perpetual tutelage” has come up with the International Criminal Court (ICC) “just to target some African leaders and other leaders” who do not “dance to their tunes”.

She said the Rome Statute which established the ICC should be reviewed, and suggested that Namibia consider withdrawing from the ICC.

Kasingo was supported in her views by the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Albert Kawana, who accused the ICC of double standards.

The Minister of Finance, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, rhetorically asked if foreign powers do not use double standards when they freeze the personal assets of African leaders while “stealing” African resources.

The Third Secretary of the Egyptian Embassy in Namibia, Omar Elrifia, said the country would support the ongoing activities of the enforcing forces…

The Nigerian Ambassador to Namibia, Adegboyega C. Ariyo, said his country similarly supported the UNSC resolutions, arguing that the resolutions do not call for the killing and destruction of the Libyan people on either side of the conflict.

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Italy To Open “Embassy” In Eastern Libya

www.adnkronos.com/IGN/Aki/English/Politics/Libya-Italy-recognises-rebel-leaders-as-Libyan-govt_311864680835.html

ADN Kronos International

April 4, 2011

Libya: Italy recognises rebel leaders as Libyan govt

Rome: Italy, Libya’s biggest trading partner, on Monday became the second European government to formally recognize Libyan rebels as their country’s legitimate government.

Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini made the announcement during a Rome press conference with Libyan rebel representative Ali Issawi.

“We’ve decided to recognise the Libyan National Council,” he said, referring to the leadership arm of the Libyan rebellion.

France’s recognition of the rebel leaders last month emboldened them to confront Muammar Gaddafi’s well-armed military on the battle field. Supported by airstrikes carried out by warplanes belonging an Amercian-European coalition, the rebels have gained territory.

Frattini said there is no diplomatic solution for end the conflict, leaving Gaddafi no choice but to give up power.

“The regime in Tripoli doesn’t have a future and Libya has lost its legitimacy, “ Frattini said, adding that Gaddafi and his family must leave Libya.

Frattini said Rome would open an office in rebel-held territory and formally recognize [the rebels].

Libya on Sunday sent an envoy to Greece to discuss an exit from the fighting with rebels who aim to topple Gaddafi’s 41-year old rule and the Nato military coalition that is supporting them with airstrikes.

Libyan deputy foreign minister Abdelati Obeidi was then due to visit Turkey and Malta.

“The regime of Tripoli is sending people to Greece to make proposals. The proposals are not credible. It is not possible to accept them,” Frattini said in an apparent reference to a visit by a regime envoy to Athens.

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New York Times: U.S. Ready To Abandon Yemen’s Saleh

en.trend.az/regions/met/arabicr/1855134.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

April 4, 2011

Report: US no longer backs Yemeni president

The United States has begun privately advocating for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office, the New York Times reported Monday, outlining a shift in policy of Washington toward the longtime US ally, dpa reported.

Unnamed sources in the US and Yemeni governments told the newspaper that President Barack Obama’s administration now believes Saleh cannot institute reforms and that his hold on power is tenuous.

US officials have not publicly criticized the Yemeni leader, who has been seen as a key ally in US efforts to fight terrorism even as protests demanding his ouster turned violent. But they have begun pushing behind the scenes for a transitional government in the country at the tip of the Arabian peninsula, the newspaper said.

Over the weekend, the Yemeni opposition parties sought to end the unrest with a plan under which Saleh would step down and his powers be transferred to the vice president. But Saleh Sunday demanded an end to weeks of sit-ins and said he would not be forced out.

Security forces have repeatedly attacked protesters calling for Saleh’s ouster, with at least 52 dead and hundreds injured so far. Demonstrations began in Yemen in February…

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