What is the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) doing about US/NATO atrocities?

US war crimes in Iraq

– By Shenali Waduge –

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. No cries for accountability, no Resolutions, no fact-finding missions and no Pillai statements. That is to be expected. We would all honor fair play. That however is lacking in Sri Lanka’s case.

Libya was said to be a humanitarian operation to free the people of Libya from Gaddafi. In reality it turned out not so and Libya was said to have been bombed to the stone age. The quickly compiled 200page UNHRC report on US/NATO intervention lacked clarity and avoided NATO war crimes. On February 15, 2012, NATO’s Legal Adviser Peter Olson wrote a strong letter to the Chair of the Commission that NATO’s “violations” during the conflict was not to be mentioned ““We would be concerned, however, if ‘NATO incidents’ were included in the Commission’s report as on a par with those which the Commission may ultimately conclude did violate law or constitute crimes.” and Navi Pillay says naught.

Why has our Foreign Minister not brought these arguments at least to the forefront of discussions? Sri Lanka knows it is targeted but we must fall with dignity not through servility which the foreign minister always advocated. It is a humiliation to the entire nation and an insult to our armed forces. Every area that we have been unjustly targeted we should have shown by examples how the UN/UNHRC has done otherwise in relation to bigger and more powerful states.

Since the creation of the UNHRC in 2006, 32 Resolutions have been brought against Israel (comprising 48% of all Resolutions). By 2007, 9 Resolutions even condemned Israel but then US is there to veto Resolutions against Israel. While films get VIP status against Sri Lanka on the halls of the UN/UNHRC the decision to allow a Hamas politician to address a NGO event was responded to critically by Israel’s PM “”He represents an organization that indiscriminately targets children and grown-ups, and women and men. Innocents – is their special favorite target.” Israel has now severed ties with the UN and not a hum.

Headlines chronicle US/NATO’s crime spree – NO Resolutions have been brought against the US or NATO states and UNHRC report after Libya’s intervention will reveal the hypocrisy that prevails.

US/NATO crimes in Iraq

US used 120,000 sorties and 265,000 bombs dropped in Iraq in 1991. From 1991 to 2003 41,000 sorties and 27,000 bombs dropped. US bombing of Iraq has left a legacy of deformed Iraqis. In 1991 Radioactive residue from the 800 tons of bombs and 1 million rounds of ammunition used was soon showing up in babies born with huge heads, abnormally large eyes, stunted arms, bloated stomachs and defective hearts. In 2010, the University of Ulster reported that increases in congenital birth defects, leukemia and infant mortality in Falluja were higher than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. While insurgents are armed to ensure there will never be peace in Iraq whilst private paramilitaries guard all foreign investments as they plunder Iraq.

· “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

President Bush ordered the destruction of facilities essential to civilian life and economic productivity throughout Iraq (starting 16 January 1991 and continued for 42 days without any Iraqi defense resistance or fire). 110,000 air sorties against Iraq, dropping 88,000 tons of bombs, nearly seven times the equivalent of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. 93% of the bombs were free falling bombs, most dropped from higher than 30,000 feet. Of the remaining 7% of the bombs with electronically guided systems, more than 25% missed their targets, nearly all caused damage primarily beyond any identifiable target. Most of the targets were civilian facilities. The Pentagon later conceded that only seven percent of all bombs used against Iraq were the so-called “smart bombs.” These weapons hit their targets about 80 to 90 percent of the time, while their “dumb” counterparts missed their targets 75 percent of the time. In the end, 70 percent of the bombs dropped on Iraq missed their intended targets. Witnesses to the destruction said that the Coalition bombing leveled entire blocks of civilian homes….

Among the facilities targeted by US forces and destroyed were:

· electric power generation, relay and transmission;

· water treatment, pumping and distribution systems and reservoirs;

· telephone and radio exchanges, relay stations, towers and transmission facilities;

· food processing, storage and distribution facilities and markets, infant milk formula and beverage plants, animal vaccination facilities and irrigation sites;

· railroad transportation facilities, bus depots, bridges, highway overpasses, highways, highway repair stations, trains, buses and other public transportation vehicles, commercial and private vehicles;

· oil wells and pumps, pipelines, refineries, oil storage tanks, gasoline filling stations and fuel delivery tank cars and trucks, and kerosene storage tanks;

· sewage treatment and disposal systems;

· factories engaged in civilian production, e.g., textile and automobile assembly; and historical markers and ancient sites.

Tens of thousands of people have died from dehydration, dysentery and diseases caused by impure water, inability to obtain effective medical assistance and debilitation from hunger, shock, cold and stress. The destruction of civilian facilities left the entire civilian population without heat, cooking fuel, refrigeration, potable water, telephones, power for radio or TV reception, public transportation and fuel for private automobiles. It also limited food supplies, closed schools, created massive unemployment, severely limited economic activity and caused hospitals and medical services to shut down. As a single illustration, Iraq consumed infant milk formula at a rate of 2,500 tons per month during the first seven months of 1990. From November 1, 1990, to February 7, 1991, Iraq was able to import only 17 tons. Its own productive capacity was destroyed. Many Iraqis believed that President Bush intended that their infants die because he targeted their food supply. The Red Crescent Society of Iraq estimated 3,000 infant deaths as of February 7, 1991, resulting from infant milk formula and infant medication shortages. The US has violated the UN Charter, Hague and Geneva Conventions, Nuremberg Charter and the laws of armed conflict – Navi Pillay, any comments? Sri Lanka took on the LTTE after it closed the sluice gates in Mavil Aru denying water and means of livelihood to thousands of civilians.

US/NATO crimes in Afghanistan

The 9/11 bombing of the US was used as an excuse to militarily intervene in Afghanistan though the hijackers were mostly Saudis and none was an Afghan.

· “U.S. troops posed with body parts of Afghan bombers.” Los Angeles Times, April 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

· “Raid on Wrong House Kills Afghan Girl, 12.” New York Times, May 12, 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

· “Afghans Say Attack Killed 52 Civilians; NATO Differs.” New York Times, July 27, 2010

· “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 Die in Bombing, As Toll Rises for Civilians.” New York Times, May 3, 2010

US/NATO crimes in Libya

· “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

· “Libya Effort Is Called Violation of War Act.” New York Times, May 26, 2011

· “NATO Accused of Going Too Far With Libya Strikes.” New York Times, May 2, 2011

· Gerald A. Perreira, “British Intelligence Worked with Al Qaeda to Kill Qaddafi,” Global Research, March 25, 2011

In July 2011, NATO aircraft bombed Libya’s main water supply facility, which provided water to approximately 70 percent of the nation’s population.

British Special Forces played a key role in steering and supervising Libya’s “freedom fighters” to victory.

US/NATO crimes Somalia

· “U.S. Expands Its Drone War to Take On Somali Militants.” New York Times, July 2, 2011

US/NATO Crimes in Yemen

· “Yemen: 2 Killed in Missile Strike.” Associated Press, May 5, 2011

US/NATO crimes in Pakistan

· “Missiles Kill 26 in Pakistan” (“most of them civilians”) New York Times, March 18, 2011

· 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

· Did the US troops not enter Pakistan without Pakistani Govt knowledge and kill an unarmed Osama bin Laden including his unarmed son watched by the US President, the US Secretary of State and numerous other US military personnel?

The US/NATO crimes is nothing even the common man is not aware about. When organizations tasked to keep peace hide their crimes whilst going after smaller nations it spells doom for a world supposedly working towards peace.

When nations of the West are experiencing economic downfall we know that it is looking once again to the East to continue the second phase of their plunder – Asia and Africa will always be the targets as they are rich in resources STILL.

It is a pity that neither Russia or China are interested to bring any Resolution against the US/NATO for their crimes. It is a pity that there are some Sri Lankans who also join the bandwagon of destabilizing Sri Lanka showing little love for their motherland or even appreciation for the armed forces that sacrificed their lives to save the nation. Material and monetary benefits often gets the better of people unfortunately.

If the world is truly concerned about justice then the one’s pointing fingers need to first be investigated.