Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nato Afghan summit in Bonn


Pakistan has officially pulled out of a crucial NATO summit due to be held this weekend in Bonn, the Rhineland city formerly the capital of Western Germany until 1990. The Pakistan government has come under enormous pressure from an outraged population following last Friday's killing of 24 soldiers on the border with Afghanistan by American helicopters supposedly attacking Taliban fighters in the area.

Those who have been insisting that Pakistan’s traditionally close relations with Afghanistan haven’t changed with the Karzai government  has some serious explaining to do today, as the Washington Post has quoted a top member of the Afghan police force, identified only as a “police general” as praising the US  night  attack on a Pakistani military base.

“That’s the best thing America has done in 10 years here,” the general was quoted. The late night attack killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, and continued for nearly two hours despite repeated calls for a ceasefire. Afghan officials have been claiming that the Pakistani forces attacked the US troops on the ground, prompting the air strike. US officials haven’t made any such allegations, however, and the Pakistani government says the troops at the post were sleeping when the attack began.

The latest comments come as Afghan puppet President Karzai is attempting to convince the Pakistani government to reverse its decision to boycott the upcoming  Bonn Conference on Afghanistan.  Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani says they won’t reconsider because Pakistan can’t possibly play a role in the Afghan situation so long as the US continues to ignore their sovereignty with such attacks.

Pentagon spokesman George Little declined comment today on the Friday night attack against a Pakistani military base in Mohmand Agency, saying it was “too soon” to issue statements about the killings. “No one at this point has the complete narrative on what happened. I think it is important that we wait for the investigation,” Little insisted. Such a stance has been common in past strikes in Afghanistan with massive, embarrassing death tolls.

But, while stories about massacring Afghan civilians usually get pushed to inside pages with a lack of US official commentary, the Pakistani government is continuing to be critical of the deaths in this case, giving the story legs that will likely make it impossible for the Pentagon to just dismiss it. Pakistan has termed the attack “unprovoked” and says that US warplanes kept bombing for nearly two hours despite calls for a ceasefire. Though the US has only expressed “regret” formally, anonymous officials have claimed the killings were “self-defense.”

More NATO mayhem

At least three women were killed today and two men were wounded when NATO helicopters attacked a civilian neighborhood in Kandahar Province’s Zhari District, according to the provincial governor’s office. NATO has so far declined comment on the attack one way or another to the press, but the governor’s spokesman said they had acknowledged the incident to their office.The attack is the second major NATO strike on the district in as many weeks, as an attack last week on Zhari killed nine civilians, including six children.

There was no indication of any activity around the area that would be expected to lead to “air support” being called in, and the governor’s office says at least four rockets were fired at the civilian houses.

Pakistan says the killer air strikes violated its sovereignty. Nato has apologised, calling the deaths tragic. Pakistan has cut crucial Nato supply lines through its territory to Afghanistan. NATO spokespeople say the military command is investigating what happened.The boycott decision came amid mounting public anger in Pakistan and growing demands from opposition parties to sever ties with the US.


 No To NATO Protest & Conference in Bonn
 on 3rd - 5th December

The No-to-NATO Coalition and other Peace Associations, are organising a 3 days of Protests and meetings in Bonn on Decemeber 3rd-5th.The occasion is to oppose the international NATO/US/EU gathering on Afghanistan that will take place during the same 3 days in the same city.

The programme of events is attached below.

(for more information see:

International Conference For a Self-Determined Afghanistan

Location: LVR State Museum Colmantstr. 14-16, Bonn Germony


Coalition of Protesters against Petersberg II

No to War No to Nato Network

Time Table:

Friday, 2 December:

8.30 to 10.00 Breakfast-discussions on current issues: Afghanistan-NATO-Justice

With activists of the German peace movement and international guests: Arielle Denis (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, F), Kate Hudson (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, GB), Christine Hoffmann (pax Christi, GER), Monty Schädel (DFG-VK, GER), Reiner Schmitdt (Interventionistische Linke, GER)

11.00 to 12.30 “International Solidarity is the Tenderness of the Peoples”:
Abolish Wars – Shape the Future

With: Alexander Buzgalin (Rus), Joseph Gerson (American Friends Ser-vice Committee, USA), Malalai Joya (AF), Tomas Magnusson (International Peace Bureau, SWE), Alyn Ware (Right Livelihood Award Laureate, NZ)

Moderation: Arielle Denis (ICAN, F)

12.45 to 14.00 Working Groups I

Convenient Killing: Armed Drones and the ‘Playstation’ Mentality Coordination: Stijn Van Beve (pax christi, NL)

The Arab Spring and the Peace of the Region Coordination: Erhard Crome (Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Ger) Speakers: Claudia Haydt (EL, Ger), Mamdooh Habashi (Eg)

The Comprehensive Approach: “Linked Security” - a new Strategy for Development? Coordination: Claire Chastain (Collectif National Unitaire OTAN-Afghanistan, FR) / Lucas Wirl (NatWiss, Ger)

Wars and international law using the Example of Afghanistan Coordination: Otto Jäckel (IALANA, Ger) Speaker: Karim Popal (AF/ GER)

Refugees from Afghanistan Coordination: Pro Asyl: Karl Kopp (Ger)

Perspectives for Peace from the Viewpoint of Resistance Coordination: Halim Karim (Committee for Peace and Freedom in Afghanistan)

Army, Education, Youth Coordniation: Kai-Uwe Dosch (DFG-VK, Ger)

14.00 to 15.00 Joint Action Lunch

16.45 to 18.00 Working Groups II

Liberation through self-liberation - left strategies against dicta-torship and occupation Coordination: Heike Hänsel (Die Linke, Ger) Speaker: Malalai Joya (AF)

NATO-Strategy for Afghanistan: Liberal Imperialism Coordination: Erhard Crome (Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Ger) Speakers: Matin Baraki (AF /

Ger), Jürgen Wagner (IMI, Ger)

Feminism and Militarism Coordination: Kristine Karch (No to war no to Nato Women‘s Net-work, Ger)

Turkish Foreign Policy: Inbetween Shrewdness and Megalomania Coordination: Ulf Petersen (Kampagne TATORT Kurdistan, Ger)

Wars against Nature or Peace with Nature Coordination: Lucas Wirl (NatWiss, Ger) Speakers: Jürgen Schneider (Ger)

Arms deals Coordination: Monty Schädel (DFG-VK, Ger)

 18.00 to 19.00 Final Panel: Gathering Results and Suggestions

Moderation: Christine Hoffmann, Monty Schädel

Information on the conference

Contact IALANA Office Berlin

Phone: +49 30 206 54 857 / Fax: +49 30 206 54 858 / Email:

Accomodation Overnight accomodation can be self-organised at

For private accommodation please contact:

Registration / Fax: +49 30 206 54 858

Information on actions

Saturday 3. December

Nationwide demonstrations against Petersberg II

11.30 Opening-demonstration on Kaiserplatz (Near by Central Station Bonn)

Monday 5. December

09:00 Protest actions at Petersberg and at the Conference Center

11.55 Protest demonstration near by the Conference Center

Further Information


IRISH Foreign Minister  and deputy Premier, Eamonn Gilmore has failed to honour his
Labour Party conference promise that International Law would be enforced by the incoming Labour/Fine Gael government then being formed. US Military planes continue to land and transit Shannon and Irish airspace in violation of Irish law and the Geneva conventions.

Shannonwatch and their supporters from all over Ireland have maintained a monthly protest at the gates of the airport since the Iraq invasion by Anglo-American forces in 2003.

A welcome development was the members of the U.S. organization Veterans For Peace who took part in a vigil at Shannon Airport action on Sunday, November 13th, at 2 pm. The vigil is organised by Shannonwatch to demand an end to the ongoing US military use of the airport, and to express opposition to the ongoing US occupation of Afghanistan. It will also call for action to be taken against landing US aircraft that are involved in renditions, illegal assassinations and other human rights abuse.

"Two-thirds of Iraq and Aftghanistan veterans do not believe these wars and occupations have done any good," says Gerry Condon, one of the representatives of Veterans For Peace who demonstrated at Shannon.  "We want all the troops to come home now and we want an end to drone bombings and torture too". "As an Irish American, I am really upset to see Irish neutrality being trampled upon by the US military.  Shannon Airport should not be used to ferry troops and weapons to war, or for CIA torture flights.  I hope the Irish people are as outraged as I am, and will join our protest at Shannon today at 2 pm."

Senior DFA Official fails to answer questions on Shannon Airport abuses:

The Director of the Human Rights Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs (Ireland), Colin Rafter, seems unwilling to answer questions about human rights abuse at Shannon Airport. When questioned on the subject of rendition flights at a talk at the University of Limerick (UL), he simply refused to answer.

Mr Rafter was in UL on 16th November to talk about Ireland and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) - Lessons, Domestic and International. He dealt with some of the issues raised at the UPR such as the Magdalen Laundaries and slopping out of prison cells by prisoners. And he referred a few times to the "CAT" (Convention Against Torture), but without explaining that the T in CAT means torture.

When he asked for questions, Edward Horgan, a member of Shannonwatch, obliged. Edward explained that Shannonwatch had made a submission to the UPR process (available here) and pointed out that torture was facilitated at Shannon and being ignored. He noted that Shannonwatch have been monitoring CIA associated aircraft at Shannon Airport, and that it is firmly established that at least 7 such aircraft were refuelled there either just before or just after they were involved in the rendition of specific prisoners. He also said that CIA associated planes were likely to be still using Shannon Airport without any checks or inspections, and that Shannonwatch are also monitoring US military planes, some of which may well be transporting US special forces involved in targeted assassinations.
Edward also pointed out that the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Human Rights Unit in particular have specific duties under the Convention Against Torture and its Irish enabling legislation. These obligations included preventing Irish territory from being used to facilitate such human rights abuses. He said it was clear that they had failed to do so, and were continuing to fail to do so. And finally he asked Mr Rafter, as the senior civil servant in charge of the Department of Foreign Affairs Human Rights Unit, to explain their failures in these matters.

The Director of the Human Rights Unit's reply was simply to say he had come to address a group of students, and that he was not going to deal with that issue. It is an absolute disgrace that despite all the evidence of Shannon Airport's involvement in renditions, that a senior civil servant will still refuse to even discuss the issue. Is it because he has been told by the Minister not to discuss it? Or because he knows there is no defence for the appalling failure of his Department and successive Irish governments to investigate and end rendition flights through Ireland?  Mr Rafter puts himself in the position of aiding and abetting criminal activity by ignoring such serious human rights abuse as forced disappearances and torture.


Baile Átha Cliath/Dublin

30 Samhain/November 2011.


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