In preparation for COAT's "No to NATO: Festival of Creative NonViolence"
(on Oct. 6, in Ottawa -- see our "Call to Dis Arms" below),
I've produced a list of "Reasons to Oppose NAT0."
I hope you'll find this helpful in raising public awareness, organizing
protests and/or pushing to get Canada (or other) states out of NATO.
Please feel free to suggest ways to improve the list.
Richard Sanders, Coordinator,
Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)
REASONS TO OPPOSE NATO:
(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. 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."
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
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
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
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
(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
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
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
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
(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
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
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
(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
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
states have committed themselves to increase their military abilities for
"power projection, mobility and increased interoperability."
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
(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
areas and bombing ranges in Nitassinan threaten the traditional lifestyle
of many in the Innu Nation. Their unceded territory in Quebec and
is being turned into a military wasteland by NATO test flights. NATO
nations also carry out dangerous bombing practices on Vieques Island, off
(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
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")
organizations, which the EU feared may still have been operating in 1990,
were accused of illegal interference in political affairs, conducting
terrorist attacks, jeopardizing democractic structures and other serious
(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
another NATO spokesperson openly threatened that if the Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia (the party of former premier Vladimir Meciar) entered a
coalition government, Slonakia would not be welcomed into NATO or allowed
early European Union membership.
FREE SAMPLE COPY OF OUR
MAGAZINE EXPOSING NATO'S CRIMES
The next issue of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade's quarterly
magazine, Press for Conversion!, will elaborate on the above list of
reasons to oppose NATO. We'll gladly mail a free sample copy of that
upon request. This offer is applicable to folks in Canada who haven't
previously received a free issue. If you're interested, email us your
street address in Canada before September 15.
(If you're outside Canada, send US$5 to COAT at the address below, or buy
an annual subscription for US$17. Folks in Canada can also buy a copy
Cdn$5, or subscribe for Cdn$20.)
CALL TO DIS ARMS!
Calling all Activists!
>>>>>> NATO PA* is coming to Ottawa! October
5-8, 2001 <<<<<<
Please join us in building towards the:
"No to NATO! Festival of Creative NonViolence"
Saturday, October 6, at 1 p.m.
Gathering at the US Embassy (MacKenzie Ave.)
JOIN THE FESTIVITIES! Celebrate the diversity of creative nonviolence!!
Here are some ideas we're discussing. We need your help to turn these
other ideas into reality:
> large puppets and street theatre
> symbolic conversion of police barricades around NATO mtgs. into prison
walls to contain war criminals
> poetry/spoken word/musical performances
> speaker phone/sound system creating a live connection to anti-NATO
activists around the world
> radical cheerleaders, the Raging Grannies and the Grumbling Gramps (?)
> interfaith peace service
> distribution of free vegetarian food
> civil disobedience to attempt citizens arrests of NATO war leaders
> boycott of corporations sponsoring/supporting the NATO visit
> projecting images of NATO's war against Yugoslavia (slides, videos) onto
exterior walls of significant buildings
GET BUSY! Start preparing for Olympics of nonviolent action!
We are inviting activists from far and wide to come together to build this
celebration of peacemaking! We would like to see as many creative
activities as possible to counter NATO's warmaking. Let's demonstrate to
NATO, corporations, governments, the general public and the media, that
there is a vibrant, dynamic, diverse and lively movement opposed to
militarism and corporate globalization. Please work with others to take
a project (large or small) to prepare the most imaginative action,
performance or display that you can muster! Embrace your spirit of
creativity and nonviolence to send the message loud and clear: We are
holding NATO leaders accountable for their crimes against peace and humanity!
A FEW THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO:
> Help to promote this Festival.
> Ask organizations to endorse the Festival.
> Urge groups to bring their creative energies, props and performances to
> Ask unions, NGOs and individuals for donations to COAT (see address
> Join our list to organize nonviolent responses. Send the message
subscribe no_to_nato to <firstname.lastname@example.org
> Attend a planning meeting: Tuesday, August 28, 7;30 p.m., 91A Fourth
> Meet locally to bring buses, cars, trains, unicycles and your creative
talents to Ottawa.
MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms
A national peace network supported by
organizations across Canada
541 McLeod St., Ottawa
Ontario K1R 5R2 Canada
613-231-3076 Fax: 613-231-2614
Web site: <http://www.ncf.ca/coat
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Help build opposition to NATO PA meetings in Ottawa, Oct. 5-8, 2001!
Join the "no_to_nato" list serve:
Send the message: subscribe no_to_nato to
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