|24 REASONS TO OPPOSE NATO|
from Rick Rozoff at emperors-clothes.com:
(1) NATO is a creature of the Cold War and should be abolished, not expanded.
(2) NATO's official military doctrine reserves for itself the right to use nuclear weapons despite the fact that in 1996 the World Court made such use, or threat, illegal. NATO's "first use" nuclear weapons policy means it is willing to use nuclear weapons even when none have been used against them. The use of nuclear weapons contravenes International Humanitarian Law because civilian deaths would be massive and indiscriminate. NATO's nuclear weapons also pose the risk of environmental catastrophe, including the global holocaust of "nuclear winter." NATO's nuclear weapons policy also contravenes the Nonproliferation Treaty (to which all NATO members are signatories) that requires all states to press quickly to abolish nuclear weapons. NATO member states (US, UK and France) now have more than 9,000 nuclear warheads in active service, about 60% of the world's nuclear arsenal. These three NATO states have committed some of their nuclear weapons to NATO for its use in war. NATO itself maintains between 60 and 200 nuclear weapons at airbases in Western Europe. NATO's nuclear weapons and the threat of their use are a means of coercion and intimidation, especially against states that do not possess these weapons.
(3) NATO's powerful core members (the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Spain) have a long history of controlling vast empires. Former colonies of these NATO countries -- today's Third World -- still suffer from tragic economic inequalities resulting from hundreds of years of imperialism imposed by nations that are now members of NATO. Transnational corporations controlled by economic interests in NATO countries continue to dominate these former colonies under a neoliberal economic system now labeled "corporate globalization."
(4) According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, about 80% of the world's total military equipment was produced by NATO members in 1996. The following NATO members are among the world's top ten military producers: the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Canada. The U.S., U.K. and France alone contributed about 70% of world's total arms production for that year.
(5) After the disappearance of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, NATO became increasingly irrelevant and needed a reason for its continued existence. NATO therefore escalated its efforts to foment ethnic wars in the Balkans in order to create excuses for its own military interventions in the region. NATO's interventions -- so-called "humanitarian wars" -- were then sold to the public as a means of settling conflicts between ethnic groups. NATO's real purpose is to expand the colonial spheres of influence of its member states and their corporate allies.
(6) NATO waged a war of aggression against Yugoslavia that was illegal under its own Charter and various international laws.
(7) NATO forces used 1,200 warplanes and helicopters to fly 35,000 combat missions against Yugoslavia. It dropped 20,000 bombs and missiles containing 80,000 tons of explosives on that country. Contrary to international law, NATO targeted civilian infrastructure, including over 1,000 targets of no military significance, such as: schools, hospitals, farms, bridges, roads, railways, waterlines, media stations, historic and cultural monuments, museums, factories, oil refineries and petrochemical plants.
(8) NATO's illegal bombing campaign severely impacted the health of Yugoslavia's civilian population. Thousands of civilians were killed, at least 6,000 were injured and countless others, especially children, suffered severe psychological trauma.
(9) According to the UN Environmental Program, NATO's bombing campaign triggered an ecological catastrophe in Yugoslavia and the surrounding region.
(10) In its war against Yugoslavia, NATO used weapons that are prohibited by the Hague and Geneva Conventions and the Nuremburg Charter, such as depleted uranium missiles that are radioactive and highly toxic weapons with long-term, life-threatening health and environmental consequences, and anti-personnel cluster bombs designed to kill and maim (that contravene the "Ottawa Process on Landmines" because many "bomblets" do not explode during initial impact). NATO continues to stockpile these prohibited weapons for use against civilian populations in future wars.
(11) After its bombing of Yugoslavia, NATO refused to disarm the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) as required by United Nations resolution 1244. Instead, NATO converted the KLA into the Kosovo Protection Force supposedly to maintain peace and order in NATO-controlled Kosovo. Under the watchful eye of 40,000 NATO troops, the revamped KLA terrorists ethnically cleansed the area of 250,000 people who were not of Albanian heritage (as well as some ethnic Albanians loyal to Yugoslavia). During NATO's occupation, 1,300 citizens have been killed and another 1,300 have been reported missing. Kosovo's remaining minorities have no freedom of movement, live in ghettoes and face frequent terrorist attacks and property destruction.
(12) NATO appointed Agim Ceku, an alleged war criminal, as commander of the Kosovo Protection Force. Ceku, an Albanian Kosovar, led the Croatian army's "Operation Storm" that ethnically cleansed the Serbian population from their ancestral lands in Croatia. If the Hague were to pursue an indictment of Ceku, and other such terrorists, it would be a major embarrassment to their NATO bosses.
(13) As an occupying colonial power, NATO forces helped to enforce the cancellation of election results in Bosnia, shut down the offices and transmission towers of media stations that were critical of NATO's presence and seized the assets of political parties that refused to cooperate with them.
(14) The exploitative behavior rampant in military culture is exemplified by the actions of NATO troops based in the Balkans. For example, NATO troops fuel the demand for prostitution in both Bosnia and Kosovo. The women who service NATO troops live in deplorable conditions and are frequently held against their will by local captors. When evidence of UN or NATO involvement in this trade has surfaced, implicated officers have been discharged and sent home but no criminal proceedings have ever been initiated against them.
(15) NATO has been a prime source of destabilization in Macedonia by giving military assistance to Albanian terrorists there. The London Times (June 10, 2001) reported that NATO's appointee to the Kosovo Protection Force, Agim Ceku, sent 800 KLA troops to Macedonia to aid the nascent Albanian insurgency there. This June, NATO troops intervened to evacuate KLA fighters when Macedonian forces closed in on the rebels near Aracinovo. German media reports state that NATO's evacuation was ordered because 17 former U.S. military personnel -- hardened by years of Balkan fighting and working for a private U.S. mercenary group -- were among the KLA terrorists. NATO has also used diplomatic means to pressure the Macedonian government to succumb to Albanian demands.
(16) NATO's aggressive policy of expansion into Eastern Europe severely threatens international stability. With NATO's annexation of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland now complete, Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia have declared an interest in joining the NATO juggernaut. NATO has also set its sights on penetrating even further into former Soviet spheres of influence by trying to encompass Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and the Ukraine. NATO's intention to press beyond the former borders of the Soviet Union is dangerously confrontational and risks provoking war with Russia.
(17) NATO's expansion into Central and Eastern Europe is a means of integrating the military forces within those countries under NATO (and largely U.S.) control As military units within NATO, the armed forces of new NATO member states must submit to demands for standardization of military training, weapons and other military equipment. Requirements that new members standardize their military equipment to NATO's exacting specifications is a tremendous boon to U.S. and European military industries that profit greatly from these expanded export markets.
(18) New NATO member states may also lose sovereignty over other important aspects of their armed forces, such as the command, control, communications and intelligence functions, which also risk being subsumed under the auspices of NATO standardization.
(19) The reasons for NATO's expansion eastward are largely economic. For instance, NATO's military access and control over Eastern Europe helps Western European corporations to secure strategic energy resources such as oil from the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. The U.S. and Western European corporations will greatly benefit from NATO's control of the oil corridor through the Caucasus mountains. NATO wants its troops to patrol this pipeline and to dominate the Armenian/Russian route to the Caspian Sea. The Caucasus also link the Adriatic-Ceyhan-Baku pipeline with oil-rich countries even farther east, in the former Soviet Central Asia republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Billions of dollars in oil may someday flow through these corridors to Western Europe for the benefit of Western-based oil companies.
(20) NATO's growth is not only a provocation to Russia, it also threatens the security of China and other Asian states that may respond in kind by increasing their military spending, thus diverting resources from the essential needs of their citizens. NATO's expansion may eventually provoke an anti-NATO alliance in Asia, further destabilizing peace and leading to possible future wars.
(21) As part of the "NATO Defence Capabilities Initiative," NATO member states have committed themselves to increase their military abilities for "power projection, mobility and increased interoperability." This will require significant additional military expenditures. European NATO countries have already increased their expenditures for military equipment by 11% in real terms since 1995. Meanwhile, military budgets in the U.S. and Canada have also increased over the past two years. The military budgets of NATO countries amounted to about 60% of the world's total military spending (US$798 billion) for the year 2000. Rather than focusing on such genuinely humanitarian priorities as providing food, housing, health care, education, environmental protection and public transportation for their populations and the rest of the world, NATO is intent on increasing their military budgets for future interventions even farther afield.
(22) The testing and training conducted by NATO to prepare for war, also has numerous negative impacts on people and the environment. NATO's war preparations include military exercises, the training of pilots and the testing of weapons and warplanes. For instance, low level flight training areas and bombing ranges in Nitassinan threaten the traditional lifestyle of many in the Innu Nation. Their unceded territory in Quebec and Labrador is being turned into a military wasteland by NATO test flights. NATO nations also carry out dangerous bombing practices on Vieques Island, off Puerto Rico.
(23) In the late 1940s-early 1950s, at the bidding of the CIA, NATO helped to set up secret paramilitary, anti-communist cells in at least 16 European states. Originally called Operation "Stay Behind," this network of guerrilla armies was created to fight behind the lines in case of a Soviet invasion. It was codified under the umbrella of the Clandestine Co-ordinating Committee of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (which became NATO). These clandestine armies were condemned by the European Union in a resolution (Dec. 22, 1990) that blamed the CIA and NATO for their 40 year role in overseeing this covert operation. Widely known by the code name for the Italian campaign (i.e., "Operation Gladio") these organizations, which the EU feared may still have been operating in 1990, were accused of illegal interference in political affairs, conducting terrorist attacks, jeopardizing democratic structures and other serious crimes.
(24) Key NATO representatives have interfered with internal electoral/political developments in Europe. Although recent elections in Albania were fraught with irregularities and fraud (ballot box stuffing, ghost voters, selective disenfranchisement) NATO General Secretary George Robertson pronounced the election fair and legitimate. Earlier this year, another NATO spokesperson openly threatened that if the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (the party of former premier Vladimir Meciar) entered a coalition government, Slovakia would not be welcomed into NATO or allowed early European Union membership.