9 February 2012 — Stop NATO
- British MPs: NATO Death Toll In Libya ‘Cannot Be Counted’
- Video And Text: CIA Drone Carnage Targets Pakistani Civilians
- NATO Warplanes To Continue Baltic Patrols To 2018
- Argentina To Appeal To UN Against British Military Buildup
- Deputy Prime Minister: Russia Needs Compact, Mobile, Armed-To-Teeth Military
- As Mideast Crisis Mounts, Azerbaijan Mulls New Caucasus War
- Azerbaijan Most Militarized Nation In South Caucasus, 15th In World
- U.S. To Deliver Second Ship To Philippines
British MPs: NATO Death Toll In Libya ‘Cannot Be Counted’
International Business Times
February 8, 2012
Nato Death Toll in Libya ‘Cannot be Counted’
By Shane Croucher
-’If they told the truth, they would never be able to fight another war, because the truth directly contradicts everything they say about these wars and would condemn their actions beyond any kind of repair.’
Britain has no way of knowing how many civilians died in the Libyan conflict as a result of Nato bombing, a group of MPs has admitted.
The defence select committee issued its findings after an inquiry into operations in Libya that led to the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Committee members heard evidence from several witnesses, including former defence secretary Liam Fox and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, chief of air staff.
‘We accept that the coalition forces did their best to prevent and minimise civilian casualties and we commend them for this approach,’ the MPs said in their report.
‘Nonetheless, it is at least possible that some civilian casualties were caused by coalition actions. In the absence of observers on the ground it is impossible to say whether, despite the best efforts of coalition forces, any civilian casualties were caused by coalition action and if so how many.’
Anti-war campaigners were highly critical of the report.
‘This is typical of the British defence establishment and also, more broadly, the US and Nato’s attitude to civilian casualties in wars they start,’ said Chris Nineham, spokesman for the Stop the War Coalition.
‘They are not interested.’
One investigation by the New York Times found that at least 70 civilians were killed by Nato bombs, including 29 women and children.
Nineham said violence dramatically increased as a result of Nato’s intervention in the country.
‘Clearly, what happened is the direct opposite of what they claimed. Their intervention increased the level of killing and led to tens of thousands of people dying,’ he said.
‘If they told the truth, they would never be able to fight another war, because the truth directly contradicts everything they say about these wars and would condemn their actions beyond any kind of repair.’
Video And Text: CIA Drone Carnage Targets Pakistani Civilians
February 8, 2012
Legal framework required to stop CIA drone carnage
?IA drones are attacking funeral processions and civilian and Taliban rescue teams in Pakistan. A staggering report exposing the practice has outraged NGOs and legal experts, who are demanding international laws to govern drone warfare.
The investigation is a follow-up to last summer’s report issued by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, says Chris Woods, the author of the report.
‘We’ve uncovered evidence that the CIA has repeatedly been targeting civilian and Taliban rescuers at the site of previous drone strikes [in Pakistan],’ Woods told RT. ‘We identify by name 48 civilians killed in such attacks. We also identify two funerals deliberately attacked by the CIA…The Bureau also names five civilian mourners killed in a separate strike.’
The journalist noted that the data refer to incidents that took place in the course of the past few years of Barack Obama’s presidency.
‘Fifty-two civilian and 32 Taliban rescuers are reported killed in the strikes. The investigation is supported by eyewitness testimonies,’ he added.
The use of drones outside a declared war zone by the United States is seen by many international legal experts as setting a dangerous precedent. They question the legality of such attacks and call for a global legal framework that would regulate the use of drones, provided that other nations, including Russia and China, as well as America’s allies, have similar technology.
Christof Heyns, the UN Special rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, has already called for an inquiry into the findings.
‘Our concern is how far does it go? Will the whole world be a theater of war?’ he asked. ‘Drones in principle allow collateral damage to be minimized, but because they can be used without danger to a country’s own troops, they tend to be used more widely.’
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit with a federal court on Wednesday demanding to force the Obama administration release intelligence and other records pertaining to the drone attack in Yemen, in which three US citizens died last year.
‘The government’s self-serving attitude toward transparency and disclosure is unacceptable,’ the ACLU said in a statement. ‘Officials cannot be allowed to release bits of information about the targeted killing program when they think it will bolster their position, but refuse even to confirm the existence of a targeted killing program.’
A senior US counterterrorism official has accused the Bureau of supplying ‘misinformation.’ He slammed the report saying that ‘targeting decisions are the product of intensive intelligence collection and observation.’
‘Let’s be under no illusions — there are a number of elements who would like nothing more than to malign these efforts and help Al-Qaeda succeed,’ the official told The New York Times, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Chris Woods noted that a number of senior US military officers said they were extremely uncomfortable that the presidential administration was performing such operations through the CIA. He is also worried the CIA hitting civilians is not merely chance.
‘Our most recent report shows the CIA drones have been deliberately targeting rescuers and funerals,’ he said. ‘If anyone is fair game simply due to their proximity to militants, that raises profound issues about the legality of modern warfare.’
The CIA is not bound by laws of war or the Geneva Convention and cannot be brought to account for its actions.
NATO Warplanes To Continue Baltic Patrols To 2018
February 8, 2012
NATO to continue policing Baltic airspace until 2018
Brussels: NATO countries have agreed to continue policing the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania until 2018, diplomats said Wednesday.
NATO has been carrying out the task since 2004 when the three Baltic states…joined the military alliance.
Baltic airspace policing is politically sensitive, because it takes NATO jets close to the borders with Russia.
In a statement, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday’s decision was a demonstration of ‘the alliance’s commitment to collective defence and solidarity for all its members.’
It also ‘exemplifies the kind of cooperation among allies that will become increasingly important in the future, as we reconcile our security requirements with budgetary realities,’ he added.
Under the arrangement, fourteen countries are taking turns to police the Baltic airspace.
They are: Belgium, Denmark, Britain, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, the United States, Poland, Turkey, Spain, Romania, the Czech Republic, Portugal and France.
With most NATO members under pressure to slash defence budgets as part of efforts to reign in public debt levels, Rasmussen is pushing them to pool and share remaining military resources in order to make them stretch further.
Argentina To Appeal To UN Against British Military Buildup
Xinhua News Agency
February 8, 2012
Argentina seeks UN help to demilitarize Southern Atlantic
BUENOS AIRES: Argentine President Cristina Fernandez on Tuesday accused Britain of militarizing the Southern Atlantic, vowing to ask the UN for help to remove British troops from the region.
It is disturbing that Britain maintains a military presence in the waters around the Malvinas islands, known as the Falklands in Britain, Fernandez said, adding that the British deployment risks triggering war games in the region.
She said her government would present once again its arguments to the UN De-colonizing Committee in June, and expressed the belief that with these arguments the sovereignty of the Malvinas would be given to Argentina.
International courts have on numerous occasions ruled against Argentina’s sovereignty claim.
Tensions between Argentina and Britain over the islands have recently increased as the 30th anniversary of a 1982 war that saw Argentina defeated by Britain is approaching.
Prince William’s posting at the islands and Britain’s reported deployment of an advanced warship to the waters have also stoked the tensions.
Also Tuesday, the president signed a decree to fully declassify a report on the sensitive events regarding the 1982 war. She said that she made the decision because the Argentine people have the right to know more of what led up to the war.
Deputy Prime Minister: Russia Needs Compact, Mobile, Armed-To-Teeth Military
Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 9, 2012
Russian Army Must ‘Instill Fear in Enemies’ – Rogozin
NOVOSIBIRSK: The Russian defense industry must produce only those types of weaponry that would allow the Armed Forces to operate effectively in the conditions of modern warfare, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.
‘The production of weaponry must reflect the fact that modern wars will be brief and unpredictable in nature, they will not rage on for years,’ Rogozin said on Wednesday at a meeting with defense industry officials.
‘We need a very compact, mobile, armed to the teeth army and fleet that instill fear in our enemies, and strategic nuclear forces that would ensure our [national] security,’ he said.
Rogozin insisted that Russia must abandon the model of arms procurement used during the Soviet era because at that time the production of weaponry got out of control and ate up enormous resources.
‘The Defense Ministry used to order a wide range of military equipment without even knowing what it was for,’ he said. ‘Today, it’s all scrap metal – we cannot use or sell it.’
Rogozin, who oversees the Russian defense industry, is facing a formidable task of streamlining the development and production of weaponry in the country.
He proposed on Wednesday to create a strong link between the designers of weaponry, manufacturers and the military to ensure the effectiveness of a new arms procurement model.
As Mideast Crisis Mounts, Azerbaijan Mulls New Caucasus War
Trend News Agency
February 7, 2012
Azerbaijan doesn’t rule out other means to liberate occupied territories
Baku: If the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not settled through negotiations, Azerbaijan will have to liberate its occupied territories by other means, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev said at his meeting with Turkish Chief of the General Staff, General of the Army Necdet Ozel, the press service of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
During his meeting with the Chief of the General Staff, the Azerbaijani Defense Minister noted if efforts of the OSCE Minsk group, aimed at settling the conflict, would not yield any concrete results Azerbaijan will have to liberate its occupied territories by other means.
The minister said that’s why Azerbaijan strengthens its armed forces.
During the meeting Mr Abiyev informed Mr Ozel on the military-political situation in the region and the problems created by the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The importance of further deepening of Azerbaijani-Turkish military cooperation was also discussed at the meeting. The contribution of Azerbaijani-Turkish military relations to cooperation both within NATO and in a bilateral form was especially noted.
Azerbaijan Most Militarized Nation In South Caucasus, 15th In World
February 9, 2012
Azerbaijan most militarized country in South Caucasus
According to a global military index, Azerbaijan is the 15th most militarized country in the world, out of 149 ranked countries.
The index is calculated by the Bonn International Centre for Conversion, which compares military expenditure with GDP, and studies the amount of heavy weaponry available to a nation’s forces.
U.S. To Deliver Second Ship To Philippines
The Philippine Star
February 9, 2012
US government to hand over second ship to Philippines
By Jose Katigbak
WASHINGTON: The US government will hand over a second Coast Guard cutter to the Philippines with the aim of improving the country’s maritime security in light of heightened tension in the South China Sea, a congressional hearing was told.
Republican Rep. Ed Royce told a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs hearing on US-Philippine relations that the congressional review process for transferring the Coast Guard cutter Dallas will be finished this week, and the ship should soon be on its way to Manila. Another aging US cutter, the Hamilton, was transferred to the Philippines last May.
‘I am pleased to report that the congressional review process for another ship – Coast Guard cutter Dallas – wraps up this week. It should soon be on its way to Manila,’ he added.
The US has sought to boost the Philippines’ ability to maintain its maritime security because of its ally’s concern over assertive Chinese behavior in disputed waters of the South China Sea.
Royce admitted the Philippines had been largely ignored in US foreign policy for some time but said things were starting to change.
He pointed out that this was the first congressional hearing focused solely on Phl-US relations in many years.
While the United States has no territorial claims in the region, the top US diplomat for East Asia, Kurt Campbell, reiterated that the US has a national interest in such claims’ peaceful resolution and the freedom of navigation in seas that carry about half the total tonnage of world trade.
The ship, commissioned in 1967, was transferred under a program that offers ‘excess defense articles’ to foreign partners in support of US national security and foreign policy objectives.
Last year, the US transferred the Coast Guard cutter Hamilton to the Philippines. Now renamed BPR Gregorio del Pilar, the cutter serves as the flagship of the Philippine Navy.
‘In the coming months, we hope to transfer a second Coast Guard cutter to the Philippines, as well as support other improvements in its surveillance and detection capabilities,’ Campbell said.
He said the Philippines and the US were constantly looking to enhance their security relationship to better address the range of regional security challenges of interest to both.
‘We are making sure that our collective defense capabilities and communications infrastructure are operationally and materially capable of deterring provocation from the full spectrum of state and non-state actors,’ Campbell said.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, an arch critic of China, praised the joint US-Philippine efforts to fight Islamic militants in the southern Philippines. For the past decade, hundreds of US forces have helped equip and train Filipino forces there.
The Philippine military welcomed the support given by US lawmakers to the Obama administration’s plan to boost its ties with the Philippines.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said the backing of US lawmakers would help boost the AFP’s capability to fulfill its mission.
With AP, Alexis Romero