By Hans Vogel
Among the most interesting news items of the past weeks have been those reporting that US officials were forced to admit the US was indeed supporting terrorists in Syria and Iraq. These confessions must have been music to the ears of all those who were branded as "conspiracy theorists" for saying exactly that over the past few years.
The situation in Syria boils down to this: the US and its "allies" have created bands of terrorists that are instructed to topple Assad, in order for the US to replace him with a pliable puppet. Russia, backed by Iran and China has finally decided to put an end to this crooked madness. It is a modern-day version of the tale of the Emperor's new clothes.
How odd for NATO to express concern for the broader effects of Russian air strikes in Syria and for civilian casualties. What about NATO's own track record, I wondered. What about the effects and civilian casualties caused by NATO air strikes over the past decade and a half?
Why not start in the Netherlands, the most pliant US vassal in Europe? (a distinction it shares lately with the Ukraine).
I asked the Defence Ministry in the Hague to provide the official NATO figures on civilian deaths as a result of its bombing of Yugoslavia (1999), Afghanistan (2001-2014) and Libya (2011). The Defence Ministry spokespeople (they all have "spokespeople" these days) did not know and referred me to the Foreign Ministry. There they did not know either and told me to ask the official Dutch representative in Brussels. After almost a week, I received somewhat of an answer: "as far as I know, no figures can be given for civilian casualties of NATO operations. It is almost impossible to keep track of these since on the one hand it is difficult to determine how many victims are made by each side, and on the other hand, when there are no "boots on the ground", to identify civilian victims..." Vincent Roza, officlal spokesman for Marjanne de Kwaasteniet, the Dutch Permanent Representative at NATO, went on to say that NATO "does its utmost to limit the number of civilian casualties, but cannot guarantee there will not be any of these."
Mr. Roza urged me to ask NATO directly. This I did, but NATO will not answer. This does not surprise me. Do you get an answer from a Mafia boss when you ask him how many people he has ordered killed? Of course, there are unofficial estimates of what NATO did to the civilians in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya, but these are estimates and NATO will always deny such figures. Yet, because of NATO's silence, we have only the unofficial data.
In Yugoslavia, NATO killed some 2.000 civilians, wounding many thousands more; some 40.000 homes were destroyed or damaged, 300 schools and 20 hospitals were bombed or shot to shreds. Some 200.000 Serbs were forced to leave their homes in Kosovo. I fail to see in what way and to what extent NATO did "its utmost to limit the number of civilian casualties." It looks as if NATO, invoking the "responsibilty to proctect" (R2P) took it to mean R2B, the "right to bomb." In fact, "Operation Allied Force" as the bombing of Yugoslavia was officially called, was a misnomer as well: "Operation Allied Farce" would have been a better name.
In Libya, NATO wrought considerably more havoc and killed more civilians. Some say 30.000, other sources mention figures of 60.000 and higher. As in Yugoslavia, power plants were destroyed, as well as water installations, so as to make life unbearable for civilians. And of course schools, hospitals and many other structures without which a decent life is not possible. "Operation Unified Protector," NATO called its handiwork in Libya. What a clever way to add insult to injury! "Operation Unfounded Pretention" would have been better.
Afghanistan has received a longer NATO R2B treatment and has become irreparably destabilized as a result. Civilian deaths are counted in the tens of thousands and living circumstances are so difficult that Afghans are running to Europe by the thousands to find a better life.
How many civilians would NATO have "protected" by killing them? One hundred thousand? Two hundred thousand? One thing is certain: many, many thousands. NATO won't even tell how many. The Dutch government cannot or will not tell either. What better proof does one need for NATO's utter contempt for human life? NATO and its members kill and maim wherever their insolence will take them, but they cannot tell how many people they kill. A bunch of sloppy killers indeed. I'll bet the Mafia are a lot more meticulous and Mafia leaders know exactly how many people they kill. If the Mafia is good at anything, it is at bookkeeping. Therefore, striking surgically and precisely is the name of their game and I am sure they do their "utmost to limit the number of civilian casualties." Moreover, the Mafia is an organization that relies heavily on honor. NATO and its staff apparently do not have an idea of what honor means. If they did, they would not dare criticize Russia for its actions in Syria.
The bottom line, however, is that NATO is clearly a criminal organization. A very big, multinational criminal organization that kills indiscriminately, keeps no books and knows no honor. It is built on hypocrisy and sustains itself with lies. Therefore, NATO is doing damage to the very concepts it purports to defend and uphold: freedom. Democracy and human rights.
And worst of all, NATO essentially makes the taxpaying citizens of its member states accessory to murder.