Stop NATO News Updates 8 May 2011: NATO Ships Leave 63 African Refugees To Die At Sea In Mediterranean

8 May 2011 — Stop NATO

  • NATO Chief: 150,000 Foreign Troops To “Stay The Course” In Afghanistan
  • NATO Ships Leave 63 African Refugees To Die At Sea In Mediterranean
  • 50 Days Of Air War Over Libya: Latest NATO Air Missions
  • NATO Military Operation: Escalation In Bombing Campaign, “Boots On The Ground”
  • NATO Seeks To Disintegrate Libya: Official
  • Rasmussen: NATO To Strengthen Ties With Japan
  • Azerbaijani Army Prepared To Launch New Caucasus War
  • Pakistan Tells U.S. To Drastically Curtail Military Presence
  • Syria: Hundreds Protest Against U.S. Intervention

NATO Chief: 150,000 Foreign Troops To “Stay The Course” In Afghanistan

www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iE8gM8nqSGOuPGZvlB17q5ZtLiDw?docId=CNG.42018502043ba9252f3fa2fe6c31dce7.12e1

Agence France-Presse

May 8, 2011

Allies to ‘stay the course’ in Afghanistan: NATO chief

WASHINGTON: Osama bin Laden may be dead but NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Sunday that western powers will “stay the course” in Afghanistan amid growing calls for the decade-old war to end.

“International terrorism still poses a threat toward our countries,” Rasmussen told Fox News…

About 150,000 foreign troops – 100,000 of them US forces – are deployed in Afghanistan in a protracted counter-insurgency campaign…

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NATO Ships Leave 63 African Refugees To Die At Sea In Mediterranean

www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2011/0509/1224296491527.html

Irish Times

May 8, 2011

63 refugees left to die at sea after Nato aircraft carrier fails to respond

-”There was an abdication of responsibility which led to the deaths of over 60 people, including children. That constitutes a crime and that crime cannot go unpunished just because the victims were African migrants and not tourists on a cruise liner.”

Dozens of African migrants were left to die in the Mediterranean Sea after European and Nato military units apparently ignored their cries for help.

A vessel carrying 72 passengers, including several women, children and political refugees, ran into trouble in late March after leaving Tripoli for the Italian island of Lampedusa. Despite alarms being raised with the Italian coastguard and the boat making contact with a military helicopter and a Nato warship, no rescue effort was attempted.

Nearly all of those on board eventually died from thirst and hunger after their vessel was left to drift in open water for 16 days.

“Every morning we would wake up and find more bodies, which we would leave for 24 hours and then throw overboard,” said Abu Kurke, one of only nine survivors. “By the final days, we didn’t know ourselves . . . everyone was either praying or dying.”

International maritime law compels all vessels, including military units, to answer distress calls from nearby boats and to offer help where possible. Refugee rights campaigners have demanded an investigation into the deaths, while UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has called for stricter co-operation among commercial and military vessels in the Mediterranean in an effort to save lives.

“The Mediterranean cannot become the wild west,” said spokeswoman Laura Boldrini. “Those who do not rescue people at sea cannot remain unpunished.”

Her words were echoed by Fr Moses Zerai, an Eritrean priest in Rome who runs the refugee rights organisation Habeshia, and who was one of the last people to be in communication with the migrant boat before the onboard satellite phone ran out of battery.

“There was an abdication of responsibility which led to the deaths of over 60 people, including children,” he claimed. “That constitutes a crime and that crime cannot go unpunished just because the victims were African migrants and not tourists on a cruise liner.”

The vessel, with 72 people on board, set sail from Tripoli on March 25th, carrying 47 Ethiopians, seven Nigerians, seven Eritreans, six Ghanaians and five Sudanese migrants. Twenty were women and two were small children, one of whom was just a year old. The boat’s Ghanaian captain was aiming for the Italian island of Lampedusa, but after 18 hours at sea, the small vessel began running into trouble and losing fuel.

The account from witness testimony, survivors and other individuals who were in contact with the boat’s passengers paints a harrowing picture of a group of increasingly desperate people condemned to death by a combination of bad luck, bureaucracy and the apparent indifference of European military forces who had the opportunity to attempt a rescue.

The migrants initially used the boat’s onboard satellite phone to call Fr Zerai in Rome, who in turn contacted the Italian coast guard.

The boat’s location was narrowed down to about 100km outside of Tripoli; coast guard officials assured Fr Zerai that the alarm had been raised and all relevant authorities had been alerted.

Soon afterwards a military helicopter with the word “army” on its side appeared above the boat. The pilots, who were wearing military uniforms, lowered down bottles of water and packets of biscuits and gestured to passengers that they should hold their position until a rescue boat came to help. The helicopter then flew off, but no rescue boat ever arrived.

No country has yet admitted to sending the helicopter that made contact with the migrants.

A spokesman for the Italian coastguard said: “We advised Malta that the vessel was heading towards their search and rescue zone and we issued an alert telling vessels to look out for the boat, obliging them to attempt a rescue.” The Maltese authorities denied they had any involvement with the boat.

At some point on March 29th or 30th, the boat was carried near to a Nato aircraft carrier – so close that it would have been impossible to be missed.

According to survivors, two jet aircraft took off from the ship and flew low over the boat while the migrants stood on deck and held the two starving babies aloft into the air, but from that point on no help was forthcoming. Unable to manoeuvre any closer to the carrier, the migrants’ boat drifted.

Shorn of supplies, fuel or means of contacting the outside world, they began succumbing to thirst and starvation.

Following extensive enquiries to ascertain the identity of the Nato carrier, the conclusion is that it was likely to have been France’s Charles de Gaulle, which was in the Mediterranean on those dates.

French naval authorities initially denied that the ship was in the region at that time. After being shown news reports which indicated this was untrue, a spokesperson declined to comment.

For the migrants, the failure of the Nato ship to mount any rescue attempt proved fatal; over the next 10 days almost everyone on board died.

“We saved one bottle of water from the helicopter for the two babies and kept feeding them even after their parents had passed [died],” said Mr Kurke, who survived by drinking his own urine and eating two tubes of toothpaste, “but after two days, the babies passed too,”

On April 10th, the boat washed up on a beach near the Libyan town of Zlitan near Misrata. Of the 72 migrants who had embarked at Tripoli, only 11 were still alive and one of those died almost immediately on reaching land.

Another survivor died shortly afterwards in prison, after Gadafy forces arrested the migrants and detained them for four days.

====

50 Days Of Air War Over Libya: Latest NATO Air Missions

www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_05/20110508_110508-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

May 8, 2011

NATO and Libya

JFC Naples, SHAPE, NATO HQ

Air Operations

Since the beginning of the NATO operation (31 March 2011, 08.00GMT) a total of 5663 sorties, including 2262 strike sorties have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 07 May: 153

Strike sorties conducted 07 May: 58

Key Hits

08 May: In the vicinity of Zintan: 4 Ammunition Storages, 1 Anti-Aircraft Gun.

In the vicinity of Ajdabiyah: 2 Tanks.

In the vicinity of Misurata: 3 Tanks, 1 Military Vehicle.

In the vicinity of Hun (south of Sirte): 12 Ammunition Storages, 20 Vehicle Storages, 8 Headquarters Compound Buildings.

In the vicinity of Brega: 8 Military Vehicles.

Arms Embargo Activities

A total of 20 ships under NATO command are actively patrolling the Central Mediterranean.

16 Vessels were hailed on 07 May to determine destination and cargo. 2 boardings (no diversion) were conducted.

A total of 852 vessels have been hailed, 34 boardings and 5 diversions have been conducted since the beginning of arms embargo operations.

====

NATO Military Operation: Escalation In Bombing Campaign, “Boots On The Ground”

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24680

Global Research

May 8, 2011

NATO Military Operation: Escalation in the Bombing Campaign, “Boots on the Ground”

by Michel Chossudovsky

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization confirmed on May 7, 2011 a total of 5510 sorties since March 31st. This figure does not include the strike sorties undertaken from the 19th to the 30th of March.

Out of 5510 sorties, 2204 are classified as “strike sorties”, involving the bombing of one or more targets.

NATO identifies only a few of the targets out of several thousand strike targets.

There is evidence that NATO is also striking civilian targets including government buildings and residential areas.

According to NATO, “a total of 20 ships under NATO command are actively patrolling the Central Mediterranean.”

Meanwhile, there are confirmed reports of foreign troops on the ground.

NATO has acknowledged the presence of 20 British, 10 French and 10 Italian special forces. Other reports suggest that the number of foreign troops and intelligence operatives are larger than those which are being reported.

In mid-April, Britain sent in military advisers. US intelligence operatives were already deployed: “This deployment is fully within the terms of UN [Security Council Resolution] 1973, both in respect of civilian protection and its provision expressly ruling out a foreign occupation force on Libyan soil,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said. “Our officers will not be involved in training or arming the opposition’s fighting forces.”

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NATO Seeks To Disintegrate Libya: Official

english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9002181192

Fars News Agency

May 8, 2011

Senior Politician: NATO Seeks to Disintegrate Libya

TEHRAN: A senior Libyan politician warned of NATO’s suspicious moves in his country, saying that the West is seeking to prolong the war in Libya in a bid to disintegrate the North African country to plunder its rich oil resources.

“We know that the NATO coalition seeks its own interests by prolonging the war and wants to divide the country into several parts, but the Libyan nation is opposed to this option,” Secretary-General of Libya’s National Movement Meftah Lamloum told FNA on Sunday.

Lamloum expressed his deep suspicion about NATO’s goals in Libya, and cautioned that the western countries are seeking to plunder the country’s rich oil resources.

He further opposed foreign military intervention in his country, and underlined that the crisis in Libya can only be settled by the Libyan people.

Many civilians have reportedly been killed since the Western coalition unleashed a major air campaign against the Libyan regime forces on March 19 under a UN no-fly zone mandate.

The Western military alliance has refused to apologize for the deadly bombardments.

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Rasmussen: NATO To Strengthen Ties With Japan

www.theparliament.com/latest-news/article/newsarticle/nato-chief-wants-stronger-ties-with-japan/

The Parliament

May 5, 2011

Nato chief wants stronger ties with Japan

By Martin Banks

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the secretary general of NATO, says he wants to see strengthened partnership relations between Japan and the organisation he heads.

The former Danish prime minister was speaking after a meeting with Takeai Matsumoto in Brussels.

Matsumoto had earlier met senior EU officials, including commission president José Manuel Barroso.

[Rasmussen] said that, based on a new partnership policy which emerged from a meeting of NATO foreign ministers last month, he would like to strengthen the partnership between Japan and NATO.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Rasmussen also said that that a contribution from Japan was “essential” for reconstruction in war-torn Afghanistan.

Matsumoto, meanwhile, expressed his appreciation to the international community for the sympathy shown to his country after the devastating earthquake and the offer of assistance from Rasmussen.

He said, “Japan wants to establish creative reconstruction in the future.”

He said that Japan also welcomed a strengthening of the current partnership between his country and NATO.

According to a spokesman for Matsumoto, the two men also exchanged views on the situation in Libya.

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Azerbaijani Army Prepared To Launch New Caucasus War

en.trend.az/news/karabakh/1872927.html

Trend News Agency

May 7, 2011

First Deputy Speaker: Azerbaijani army capable of fulfilling its tasks in very short period of time

M. Aliyev

Baku: The Azerbaijani army is capable of fulfilling its tasks in a very short period of time, the First Deputy Speaker, Chairman of the Committee on Security and Defense of the Azerbaijani parliament Ziyafet Askerov told journalists today.

“If Azerbaijan’s peace negotiations will be unsuccessful, then its statement to liberate lands will be not just rhetoric, but a reality. Today Azerbaijan’s military budget and its general budget, as well as the technical training of the armed forces and the combat readiness of soldiers make it possible to say that we can liberate our lands in a very short period of time,” Askerov said.

He said there is again some hope that the negotiation process can yield any result.

“But if we see that the Armenian side is engaged in new [unclear] and negotiates just for the sake of negotiations and stalls for time, then we believe that the Azerbaijani army is capable of fulfilling its tasks in a short period of time,” Askerov said.

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Pakistan Tells U.S. To Drastically Curtail Military Presence

english.ruvr.ru/2011/05/08/50014695.html

Voice of Russia

May 8, 2011

US military told to curtail Pakistan presence

Pakistan has told the United States to drastically curtail the American military presence on Pakistani soil.

The generals warned on Sunday that another incursion of the type that destroyed bin Laden would trigger a complete revision of defence cooperation with the US.

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Syria: Hundreds Protest Against U.S. Intervention

news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-05/09/c_13865025.htm

Xinhua News Agency

May 9, 2011

Hundreds protest U.S. intervention in Syrian affairs

DAMASCUS: Hundreds of Syrians on Sunday staged a sit-in before the United States embassy in Damascus to protest U.S. intervention in Syria’s internal affairs, the state SANA news agency reported.

The protesters shouted slogans to refute the “double standards policy” of the U.S. and said U.S. intervention would only “ strengthen the unity of the Syrian people,” according to SANA.

The U.S. administration imposed sanctions on three top Syrian officials and Syria’s intelligence agency over what it said [is] a crackdown on protests.

Syria is already under U.S. sanctions because it has been designated a “state sponsor of terrorism” by the U.S. State Department; however, the new sanctions extend the penalties to individuals.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that “the U.S. is looking at boosting sanctions it has already imposed on Syrian leaders.”

Syria has been wracked by more than seven weeks of protests amid calls for sweeping reforms. The Syrian authorities blamed the violent incidents on “armed terrorist groups.

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