Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 29, 2009

U.S. General Craddock Orders Illegal Killing

According to the German SPIEGEL, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) U.S. General John Craddock directed the troops in Afghanistan "to attack directly drug producers and facilities throughout Afghanistan."

He did not qualify that by saying only those drug producers where evidence proves that they are financing the resistance or the Taliban. If ISAF would follow the order that would be open warfare by its troops on the large part of the Afghan population that lives by farming opium.

Craddock's direct subordinate is the German army general Egon Ramms who commands the NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum in The Netherlands and the ISAF forces in Afghanistan.

Ramms rejected the order, in writing, as illegal.

That alone would not be astonishing. Ramms recently gave an interview in the German magazine Stern (in German) about ISAF's mission (my translation):

Q: Where is what the U.S. military leadership refers to as the "kinetic aspect": the fighting and killing of the Taliban?

It can be no end in itself to bomb villages or to shoot at civilians. We shoot back when we are attacked. In essence, we only need to control the population centers were the people are concentrated. We do not need to cover the whole country side, but project security where the majority of the people live.

Q: How does this relate with the American dispatches which take pride to present the figures of how many insurgents they killed?

That contradicts any humanitarian thinking. We kill insurgents not as an end in itself! The counting of fatalities or the dispatches about them are the wrong approach.

That allegedly had his boss, U.S. General Craddock, miffed. The recent order and its rejection could be seen as a fight in that context.

But the Craddock order was also rejected by U.S. General David McKiernan, the commander on the ground responsible for ISAF and the separate U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

A classified letter issued by McKiernan's Kabul office in response claims that Craddock is trying to create a "new category" in the rules of engagement for dealing with opposing forces that would "seriously undermine the commitment ISAF has made to the Afghan people and the international community ... to restrain our use of force and avoid civilian casualties to the greatest degree predictable."

Craddock's order is clearly illegal with regards to international law. There is no U.N. mandate to fight drugs by military means in Afghanistan and there are binding political decisions by all ISAF participant countries to not touch the drug business when it is not directly financing the Taliban.

The U.S. recently widened its rule of engagement for its separate, non-ISAF force in Afghanistan. But Craddock's boss, Secretary of War Gates limited that to cases where evidence is available:

"And I have signed off on a change in the rules of engagement for our own forces that essentially say the same thing. If we have evidence that the drug labs and drug lords are supporting the Taliban, then they're fair game."

Politicians in German and Afghanistan are up in arms about the Craddock order and politicians in other ISAF countries will surely follow. But instead of reacting to the outrage and the political damage it does to the coalition and the Afghanistan operation, Craddock now ordered a leak investigation.

A motive for that leak? Didn't Petraeus want the SACEUR job?  My bet is Craddock will be retired pretty soon.

Posted by b on January 29, 2009 at 18:12 UTC | Permalink

Comments

I would suggest that Hamid Karzai does have some friends, after all ....

Posted by: outsider | Jan 29 2009 18:19 utc | 1

General Craddock will probably use the argument that he was giving US taxpayers twice their money's worth by doing double duty as a mighty warrior against both the illegal drug trade and Islamic terrorism.

Posted by: Cynthia | Jan 29 2009 19:14 utc | 2

I realise that some who still have a capacity to be shocked will be shocked by this revelation, but I have to admit to having studied too many of the empire's nice little wars over the last few decades to feel anything much about this latest revelation other than a sort of polite interest in what techniques will be used to divert the amerikan public away from the truth about Craddock's activities.
On reflection I suspect that most amerikans have become numbed and they probably think shooting suspected drugs traffickers on sight is commendable. That is foreign drugs traffickers that they have been indoctrinated to regard as 'narco-terrorists'. The most prevalent variety indigenous to amerika, the species that wears pinstripes and overwhelms physicians with gratuities is natch not to be included in this group. On the contrary they are the role model many amerikans prolly hope their children aspire to becoming, so that they can afford to pay for their parents expensive 'golden years'.

Yet despite how it will play 'back home' I suppose the truly awful thing about Craddock's order is the impunity with which he openly delivered it, to an officer in a foreign although allied army. I suppose his prior experience with Álvaro Uribe's school of the americas trained murderers and torturers must have led him to believe that all subordinate allies had been 'read into' the program, still it does indicate that Craddock is that classic example of bureaucracy (the amerikan military is just another bureaucracy, even if a particularly lethal one) a man promoted beyond his level of competence. There is only one solution to that problem. promote him higher, up outta harm's way.

Judging by the way that Craddock's superiors responded, rescinding the order then reissuing it with more resources to the solely amerikan controlled forces in Afghanistan, the 'kill all independant dealers' order comes from the top. That means Craddock will get promoted out of the job in a few months, just long enough so that if some member of the somnolent media does ask, to be able to spin the B.S. that his shift was nothing to do with this 'blackeye' but soon enough to quietly tell the europeans that it was.

There are a few peripheral issues; for example is this move to secure the smack monopoly an attempt to counter any moves by the new administration or the 'bleeding hearts' in congress to shut down elements of military intelligence?

Remember how shrub moved a lot of tasks previously undertaken by Langley to the Pentagon, although I suspect that the CIA wasn't required to shut down any branches just relinquish their seat at prez briefings.

The dems always seem to get on with the CIA better than the rethugs who like uniforms I suppose, so if the military is worried about some roles being taken back off of them, it would be established imperial protocol (remember how the CIA invented crack after congress prohibited them from trying to stop the Nicaraguan revolution) to just stop billing amerikan taxpayers and keep performing the tasks but now fund them from narcotics proceeds.

I betcha there are more than a few NATO officers extremely pissed that Ramms blew the whistle. The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a global narcotics cartel must only come along once in a career-time for any main-chancing staff officer.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 29 2009 20:06 utc | 3

narcotics seem to have followed US policies for quite a while
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2000/01/heroin.html

Posted by: outsider | Jan 29 2009 21:00 utc | 4

DOD, the tantalising link doesn't work, not for me anyways.

Drugs make some people rich and some people dead -- it's an industry that feeds on greed and need. The drug lords feed off the addicts and drug law enforcement feeds off the drug lords -- it's a death spiral.

The only exit I can see is that the shit was freely available at a price that killed the business. Fat chance of that -- it's the political equivalent of shooting yourself in the head

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Jan 29 2009 21:06 utc | 5

@Chuck Cliff sorryabout that, I must proof read more try this

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 29 2009 21:38 utc | 6

Drugs make some people rich and some people dead -- it's an industry that feeds on greed and need. The drug lords feed off the addicts and drug law enforcement feeds off the drug lords -- it's a death spiral.

Slightly OT but, yeah. Only I see the most nefarious of drug pushers (statistics of deaths support this) as the pharm companies management and major investors. Or as debs states it:

The most prevalent variety indigenous to amerika, the species that wears pinstripes and overwhelms physicians with gratuities is natch not to be included in this group.

The problem with poppy derivatives and for that matter coca or cannabis or any other derivative of nature’s offerings is they don’t make money for the ruling elites. Just for their henchmen or competing black market gangs.

Posted by: Juannie | Jan 29 2009 21:38 utc | 7

@outsider narcotics seem to have followed US policies for quite a while They sure have. Even though I was far too young when I started uni(16)to get much out of the course, I was very lucky that one of my first lecturers at Auckland Uni was a bloke by the name of Alfred W McCoy who was (at the time he was teaching in Auckland) working on the seminal study of drugs and amerikan foreign policy The Politics of heroin in Southeast Asia.

I have to disagree with Juannie who contends that profits from black market trafficking of drugs is strictly chump change for the lackey's. Huge amounts of money can be at stake in these enterprises and with that money goes the thing that the empire values most highly, power. Sure by the time it reaches the coffers of a bush, bliar or berlusconi, the ackers has been washed around the planet many times, but the numbers that the wedges of cash money to be pulled out of a successful long running spider can reach, is into the tens of billions, far more than the most corrupt CEO of Pfizer (total turnover in 2006 $48 billion) or Merk (T.O. 2006 $22 billion) could ever hope to coin out of the dodgiest deal.

There will be some fella quietly admiring his private art collection or eating baby's cheek for breakfast who made more out of a coke conspiracy than even Donald Rumsfeld pulled on his Gilead stock, with the "Great bird flu scare" scam.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 29 2009 23:10 utc | 8

debs

mccoy remains an expert. rigorous as hell. like raul hilberg & norman finklestein in that respect. i think he teaches in florida

i remember reading that book quite young & understanding how corruption was welded into the bodypolitic of australia

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 30 2009 0:19 utc | 9

With or without a brasshat advocate, there will always be entrepreneurs (like this one, by whom this commenter had the honor of being assaulted) to chase public or informal bounties. Hard to say whether this administration will rely as heavily on such wet work - Dem presidents still remember what happened when Castro lost patience with the exploding cigars and stuff.

Posted by: ...---... | Jan 30 2009 1:55 utc | 10

idema is a psychopath but not singular - it seems american amred forces are made in his model

perhaps he'll start a magazine in the soldiersoffortune style -'wacky warriors' with articles by mme tzipi livni on 'tewwowising tewwowists'

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 30 2009 2:20 utc | 11

Elmer Fudd with hair and tits.

Posted by: ...---... | Jan 30 2009 2:36 utc | 12

The London Times confirms the SPIEGEL story:

Major Marty O’Donnell, an Isaf spokesman, said: “We don’t comment on leaked or classified documents.” However, the substance of the story was independently confirmed to The Times by Western officials in Kabul.

Posted by: b | Jan 30 2009 4:24 utc | 13

This link for you:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/4229198/Shipping-rates-hit-zero-as-trade-sinks.html


Shipping rates hit zero as trade sinks
Freight rates for containers shipped from Asia to Europe have fallen to zero for the first time since records began, underscoring the dramatic collapse in trade since the world economy buckled in October.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor Last Updated: 3:39PM GMT 14 Jan 2009

Posted by: Dede | Jan 30 2009 6:49 utc | 14

Did anybody note this item, that "some banks" have kept their liquidity with (illegal) drug money?

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Jan 30 2009 6:50 utc | 15

Just to note:

Reuters, AFP and XINHUA picket the story up. Associated Press or any other U.S. agency did not.

Follow up SPIEGEL story in English: Order to Kill Angers German Politicians

The content of the order is explosive. It is "no longer necessary to produce intelligence or other evidence that each particular drug trafficker or narcotics facility in Afghanistan meets the criteria of being a military objective," Craddock writes in the guidance.
...

Posted by: b | Jan 30 2009 11:19 utc | 16

And of course the usual response -- NATO's outrage that the document had been leaked. We weren't supposed to know, I guess.

Nato chief calls for probe into leaked Afghan document

Friday, January 30, 2009
BRUSSELS: Nato Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called on Thursday for an inquiry into the “unacceptable” leaking of confidential military documents on how to deal with Afghan drugs smugglers.

“The secretary-general considers it is unacceptable that confidential documents have been leaked,” his spokesman, James Appathurai, said. “He is calling for an immediate investigation into the matter, which will be pursued vigorously,” he said.

Earlier, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that Nato’s top military commander had sparked a row among the top brass with “guidance” for opium dealers to be killed even without proof of ties to Taliban-led insurgents.

Citing a classified document, Spiegel said in its online edition that US General John Craddock wanted troops in the 50,000-strong military alliance “to attack directly drug producers and facilities throughout Afghanistan.”

Posted by: Ensley | Jan 30 2009 15:16 utc | 17

BRUSSELS, Jan 30: Nato Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called on Thursday for an inquiry into the “unacceptable” leaking of confidential military documents on how to deal with Afghan drugs smugglers.

“The secretary-general considers it is unacceptable that confidential documents have been leaked,” his spokesman, James Appathurai, said. “He is calling for an immediate investigation into the matter, which will be pursued vigorously,” he said.
http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=19983

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 30 2009 15:17 utc | 18

NATO commander tones down drug lord orders

BRUSSELS (AFP) — NATO's top commander has accepted suggestions from two generals to tone down orders for tackling drug lords and laboratories in Afghanistan, an alliance spokesman said Wednesday.

US General John Craddock came under fire after telling commanders that he wanted troops in the 50,000-strong NATO-led security force "to attack directly drug producers and facilities throughout Afghanistan."

His "guidance" -- a first step before issuing orders -- for handling such people was leaked to German news magazine Der Spiegel, and sparked an internal security probe at NATO.

"The discussion within the chain of command has now been completed," NATO spokesman James Appathurai told reporters at alliance headquarters.

He said that Egon Ramms, the German leader at NATO Command in the Netherlands, which is currently in charge of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and ISAF commander David McKiernan, had been consulted.

"The guidance provided up the chain from General Ramms and General McKiernan was accepted by General Craddock," he said.

"ISAF forces will be able to engage against narcotics facilities and facilitators where they provide material support to the insurgency."

Posted by: b | Feb 6 2009 14:32 utc | 19

In this AJ series, beginning today, the US in Afghanistan defines a "terrorist" as a man carrying a gun.

Dining with terrorists: Death of the freedom fighter

Posted by: Hamburger | Feb 6 2009 15:17 utc | 20

20 -

And thus is a "target".

Posted by: Hamburger | Feb 6 2009 15:25 utc | 21

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