View Full Version : NATO blood money

Jan Klimkowski
02-28-2010, 01:37 PM
Each Afghan life seems to be getting "cheaper".

Nato draws up payout tariffs for Afghan civilian deaths

Nato commander committed to reducing number of casualties but toll continues to rise

Average compensation paid by Britain to bereaved families falls from 7,300 to 2,900

Mark Townsend, defence correspondent The Observer

Twenty compensation claims relating to the killing of innocent Afghan civilians during operations by the UK armed forces are being investigated by the Ministry of Defence.

In the past, Britain has paid an average of 7,300 for every civilian death in war, although the last figures available, for the year ending April 2009, show that figure had fallen to 2,900.

The issue of compensation for civilian casualties has moved to the top of the political agenda as Nato commanders place an increasing emphasis on securing the support of the Afghan population. Officials are already negotiating to establish a standard system of compensation payments among member states operating in Afghanistan.

Sarah Holewinski, executive director of Civic (Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict), said: "We've been working to get a uniform system set up for four years now, and we are hopeful that nations are finally prepared to push this through."

Britain still offers one of the most generous schemes to Afghan civilians. The US, for instance, pays a maximum "condolence" payment of 1,660 for civilian casualties, while Germany opts for a system of community aid rather than payments to individuals.

It is understood that payouts have been made to the relatives of 12 Afghans killed in a US rocket attack in the south of the country two weeks ago, signalling a new impetus among Nato forces to atone swiftly for mistakes.

Holewinski said: "There are signs that they are increasingly recognising that it must dignify and recognise civilians."

She hoped that the reduction in British compensation payments was an anomaly. The figures reveal that, during the year to April 2008, the MoD paid 73,000 for the deaths of 10 Afghan civilians. The next year, however, it paid only 32,000 to compensate the families of 11 dead Afghans. The trend was also mirrored in the size of payments to Afghan civilians who had been injured.

The 22 injured Afghans received an average of 1,400 in the year until April 2008, but an average of 1,060 during the following year. By contrast, injured British troops are entitled to a maximum tax-free lump sum of 570,000.

A significant increase in the number of legal claims lodged by Afghan civilians against the government is also evident with the volume of complaints for damage to property rising from 35 to 700 20 times higher over the past two years. Payouts to damaged property trebled to 360,000 during the same period.

The number of legal claims lodged by Afghan civilians against the government stood at 2,120 between April 2008 and 2009. Of these, 736 have been settled with figures ranging from 18 to 9,500. The average settlement is 572.

An MoD spokesman said: "We have strict procedures, frequently updated in light of experience, intended to both minimise the risk of casualties occurring and to investigate any incidents that do happen. Compensation claims brought against the Ministry of Defence as part of the International Security Assistance Force are considered on the basis of whether or not the department has a legal liability to pay compensation. Where there is a proven legal liability compensation is paid."

Efforts to agree an official Afghan compensation scheme run parallel with last week's confirmation by General Stanley McChrystal, commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, that he has ordered troops to limit night raids in an effort to win over the local population. His directive followed mounting complaints from Afghans who were enraged over foreign soldiers bursting into their homes as they slept.

Nader Nadery, a commissioner at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, said: "After civilian deaths, night raids had become the second biggest issue for Afghans."

An inquest into one night raid in Narang district, eastern Afghanistan, in which eight boys from one family were killed, is continuing, with Nato officials keen to pinpoint the source of the faulty intelligence that led to the blunder. The Observer has been told that McChrystal's directive stemmed directly from the incident. The family involved have yet to receive compensation for the attack, which is believed to have involved covert US and Afghan forces.

A report by the New York-based Open Society Institute, which promotes democracy, has identified 98 civilians who were killed during night raids in 2009. The report also flagged allegations of ill-treatment, aggressive behaviour and cultural insensitivity.

"Afghans gave accounts of international forces tearing or chopping the Qur'an with an axe, taking women away in helicopters and returning them dead, and shooting babies or children at point- blank range," the report states.

Although McChrystal has focused his military strategy on reducing civilian casualties, the toll continues to mount. Last Sunday a Nato air strike killed 27 civilians, including several women and children, in Uruzgan province, southern Afghanistan, prompting a public apology from McChrystal.


Then again, the Bush/Cheney regime's lawyer, John Yoo, when asked whether the Americans could "massacre a village" if it was considered "militarily necessary", replied: "Sure".

For NATO, all humans, and all human life, are clearly not equal.


Magda Hassan
03-01-2010, 05:18 AM
The death of one (white NATO soldier) is a tragedy the death of a thousand (brown people) is a statistic.

David Guyatt
03-01-2010, 09:40 AM
The death of one (white NATO soldier) is a tragedy the death of a thousand (brown people) is a statistic.

Throughout my life this has always been the case. It says something for the narrow, self serving attitudes inculcated and promulgated by our beloved Fuhrer's, that this is still the case.

Jan Klimkowski
03-01-2010, 03:34 PM
"Dusky" natives, indeed. Thomas Pynchon cuts straight through to the imperialist bone in his masterwork, Gravity's Rainbow.

The Herero are an African people who were the subject of a practice genocide by the Germans in Sud-West Afrika at the turn of the Twentieth Century. This is documented but suppressed history, and some of the evidence is linked in the thread here:


The great artist Pynchon then weaves them into his plot:

In Gravity's Rainbow, a few of the Herero survivors are taken to Germany in the decades after the genocide: as servants, for experimentation, to be trained as Uncle Thomas and returned?... (There is some historical evidence for this.)

It's 1945. A band of Hereros are loose in the Zone of collapsed Nazi Germany, children of their history.

They still call themselves Otukungurua. Yes, old Africa hands, it ought to be "Omakungurua", but they are always careful - perhaps it's less healthy than care - to point out that omu- applies only to the living and human. Otu- is for the inanimate and the rising, and this is how they imagine themselves. Revolutionaries of the Zero, they mean to carry on what began among the old Hereros after the 1904 rebellion failed. They want a negative birth race. The program is racial suicide. They would finish the extermination the Germans began in 1904.

A generation earlier, the declining number of live Herero births was a topic of medical interest throughout southern Africa. The whites looked on as anxiously as they would have at an outbreak of rinderpest among the cattle. How provoking, to watch one's subject population dwindling like this, year after year. What's a colony without its dusky natives? Where's the fun if they're all going to die off? Just a big bunch of desert, no more maids, no more field-hands, no laborers for the construction or the mining - wait, wait a minute there, yes it's Karl Marx, that sly old racist skipping away with his teeth together and his eyebrows up trying to make believe it's nothing but Cheap Labor and Overseas Markets.... Oh, no. Colonies are much, much more. Colonies are the outhouses of the European soul, where a fellow can let his pants down and relax, enjoy the smell of his own shit. Where he can fall on his slender prey roaring as loud as he feels like and guzzle her blood with open joy. Eh? Where he can just wallow and rut and let himself go in a softness, a receptive darkness of limbs, of hair as woolly as the hair on his own forbidden genitals. Where the poppy, and cannabis and coca grow full and green, and not to the colors and style of death, as do ergot and agaric, the blight and fungus native to Europe. Christian Europe was always death, Karl, death and repression. Out and down in the colonies, life can be indulged, life and sensuality in all its forms, with no harm done to the Metropolis, nothing to soil those cathedrals, white marble statues, noble thoughts.... No word ever gets back. The silences down here are vast enough to absorb all behavior, no matter how dirty, how animal it gets...

Some of the more rational men of medicine attributed the Herero birth decline to a deficiency of Vitamin E in the diet - others to poor chances of fertilization given the peculiarly long and narrow uterus of the Herero female. But underneath all this reasonable talk, this scientific speculating, no white Afrikaaner could quite put down the way it felt... Something sinister was moving out in the veld: he was beginning to to look at their faces, especially those of the women, lined beyond the thorn fences, and he knew beyond logical proof: there was a tribal mind at work out here, and it had chosen to commit suicide... Puzzling. Perhaps we weren't as fair as we might have been, perhaps we did take their cattle and their lands away... and then the work-camps of course, the barbed wire and the stockades... Perhaps they feel it is a world they no longer want to live in. Typical of them, though, giving up, crawling away to die... why won't they even negotiate? We could work out a solution, some solution...

It was a simple choice for the Hereros, between two kinds of death: tribal death, or Christian death. Tribal death made sense. Christian death made none at all. It seemed an exercise they did not need. But to the Europeans, conned by their own Baby Jesus Con Game, what they were witnessing among these Hereros was a mystery potent as that of the elephant graveyard, or the lemmings rushing into the sea.

Gravity's Rainbow, p317-8

Peter Lemkin
03-01-2010, 05:20 PM
The death of one (white NATO soldier) is a tragedy the death of a thousand (brown people) is a statistic.

Throughout my life this has always been the case. It says something for the narrow, self serving attitudes inculcated and promulgated by our beloved Fuhrer's, that this is still the case.

As everyone has pointed out [correctly, IMO] part of it is racism and 'religionism', pure and simple; but there is also the feeling of 'Empire' and the different treatment and even value [or shall we say humanness] of those in or outside the 'Empire'. I was always puzzled as a child when the NYT would have a headline such as, 'Plane crashes in Egypt, ten Americans dead' [no mention - or in the last paragraph how many Egyptians and others might have died! Sickening and sadly GROWING in America - not melting away.....we are heading back, as David hinted, toward the evil values of the German Reich. Those who are students of history over the last 75 years or so will know the reasons why and the interconnections of persons, corporations, profit motive and philosophy [sic] that have made this so.......very sadly for all on this Planet.