Black Sea Buildup: NATO Warships Dock In Romania

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

September 17, 2014

STANDING NATO MARITIME GROUP TASK UNIT 02 SHIPS VISITED CONSTANTA, ROMANIA

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CONSTANTA, Romania: Last weekend under the banner of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) Task Unit 02 (TU02), HMCS TORONTO, ESPS ALMIRANTE JUAN DE BORBON and ROS REGELE FERNIDAND have completed their 4 days visit to Constanta, Romania. The port visit served to reaffirm the Alliance’s commitment to maritime defence and security and reassure Black Sea NATO Allies.

“Our ships were honoured and humbled to be a part of NATO’s maritime visit to the historic city as Constanta, Romania,” said Commander Jason Armstrong, Commanding Officer of HMCS TORONTO and Commander of SNMG2 Task Unit 02 (SNMG2 TU02). “Our presence here serves to reaffirm NATO’s strong support and commitment to Alliance solidarity.”

The port visit initiates the following week’s maritime patrols and exercises between participating nations that will increase the interoperability, flexibility and understanding amongst NATO and partner nations.

Story by: MARCOM Public Affairs Office and HMCS Toronto PAO.

Background information:

SNMG2 is a multinational, integrated maritime force – made up of vessels from various allied nations, training and operating together as a single team. The Group is permanently available to NATO to perform a wide range of tasks, from participating in exercises to crisis response and real world operational missions. The Force is employed in the Mediterranean area but, as required, will be available anywhere NATO requires it to deploy to, like in Indian Ocean in Operation Ocean Shield.

Composition of the Force varies as naval units are provided by NATO contributing nations on a rotational basis while Command of the Force rotates amongst Nations. COMSNMG2 reports to the Commander of Allied Maritime Command.

SNMG2 carries out a continuous programme of operational training and conducts port visits in and out of the Mediterranean and elsewhere, in both NATO and non-NATO nations. These include ports in nations that are part of the Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative programmes.

NATO has two Standing Maritime Groups (SNMGs) and two Standing Mine Countermeasure Groups (SNMCMGs). The Groups provide the Alliance with a continuous maritime capability for NATO Response Force (NRF) operations, non-NRF operations and other activities in peacetime and periods of crisis and conflict. The primary role of these Forces, as standing elements of their respective NRF, is the full integration and participation in the NRF, providing maritime support to operations.

Other missions that are applicable to both SNMGs and SNMCMGs include establishing Alliance presence, demonstrating solidarity, conducting routine diplomatic visits to member, partner and non-NATO countries, supporting transformation and providing a variety of maritime military capabilities to ongoing missions.

NATO Forces currently in SNMG2:

TASK UNIT 01: USS LEYTE GULF (CG 55) – UNITED STATESTCG KEMALREIS (F 247) – TURKEYFGS NIEDERSACHSEN (F 208) – GERMANY
TASK UNIT 02: HMCS TORONTO (FFH 333) – CANADA (currently deployed in the Black Sea)ALMIRANTE JUAN DE BORBON (F 102) – SPAIN (currently deployed in the Black Sea)ROS REGELE FERDINAND (F 221) – ROMANIA (currently deployed in the Black Sea)

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Mark Twain: Epitome of war, the killing of strangers against whom you feel no personal animosity

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Mark Twain: Selections on war

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Mark Twain
From The Private History of a Campaign That Failed (1885)

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There was a veiled moonlight which was only just strong enough to enable us to mark the general shapes of objects. Presently a muffled sound caught our ears and we recognized the hoof-beats of a horse or horses. And right away, a figure appeared in the forest path; it could have been made of smoke, its mass had such little sharpness of outline. It was a man on horseback, and it seemed to me that there were others behind him. I got a hold of a gun in the dark, and pushed it through a crack between the logs, hardly knowing what I was doing, I was so dazed with fright. Somebody said “Fire!” I pulled the trigger, I seemed to see a hundred flashes and a hundred reports, then I saw the man fall down out of the saddle. My first feeling was of surprised gratification; my first impulse was an apprentice-sportsman’s impulse to run and pick up his game. Somebody said, hardly audibly, “Good, we’ve got him. Wait for the rest!” But the rest did not come. There was not a sound, not the whisper of a leaf; just the perfect stillness, an uncanny kind of stillness which was all the more uncanny on account of the damp, earthy, late night smells now rising and pervading it. Then, wondering, we crept out stealthily and approached the man. When we got to him, the moon revealed him distinctly. He was laying on his back with his arms abroad, his mouth was open and his chest was heaving with long gasps, and his white shirt front was splashed with blood. The thought shot through me that I was a murderer, that I had killed a man, a man who had never done me any harm. That was the coldest sensation that ever went through my marrow. I was down by him in a moment, helplessly stroking his forehead, and I would have given anything then, my own life freely, to make him again what he had been five minutes before. And all the boys seemed to be feeling the same way; they hung over him, full of pitying interest, and tried all they could to help him, and said all sorts of regretful things. They had forgotten all about the enemy, they thought only of this one forlorn unit of the foe. Once my imagination persuaded me that the dying man gave me a reproachful look out of the shadow of his eyes, and it seemed to me that I could rather that he had stabbed me than he had done that. He muttered and mumbled like a dreamer in his sleep about his wife and his child, and, I thought with a new despair, “This thing that I have done does not end with him; it falls upon them too, and they never did me any harm, any more than he.”

In a little while the man was dead. He was killed in war, killed in fair and legitimate war, killed in battles as you may say, and yet he was as sincerely mourned by the opposing force as if he had been their brother. The boys stood there a half-hour sorrowing over him and recalling the details of the tragedy, and wondering who he might be and if he was a spy, and saying if they had it to do over again, they would not hurt him unless he attacked them first. It soon turned out that mine was not the only shot fired; there were five others, a division of the guilt which was a great relief to me since it in some degree lightened and diminished the burden I was carrying. There were six shots fired at once but I was not in my right mind at the time, and my heated imagination had magnified my one shot into a volley.

The mans was not in uniform and was not armed. He was a stranger in the country, that was all we ever found out about him. The thought of him got to preying on me every night, I could not get rid of it. I could not drive it away, the taking of that unoffending life seemed such a wanton thing. And it seemed an epitome of war, that all war must just be the killing of strangers against whom you feel no personal animosity, strangers who in other circumstances you would help if you found them in trouble, and who would help you if you needed it…

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Black Sea: U.S., NATO Train Ukrainian, Georgian, Allied Navies For War

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
September 16, 2014

International Exercise Sea Breeze 2014

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The Multinational International Maritime Exercise “Sea Breeze 2014” was held in Ukraine. Together with the Navy of NATO member and partner nations as well as those from the Black Sea regional countries, Maritime Defence Department officers of General Staff of GAF participated in the drills.

The goal of the annual multinational training was to provide maritime security and to enhance interaction and coordination among the Navy of Black Sea and NATO partner countries. The Georgian officers along with the foreign military were carrying out coordination between the ground forces and the vessels, as well as force controlling and management from the administrative HQ of the Odessa NAVY base.

The Ukrainian vessel ,,H.SAHAIDACHNIY” took part in the exercise. A Georgian army officer side by side with the foreign military was engaged in the process of planning communications, search and rescue, force protection and navigation operations. Towards the end of the exercise, the representatives of Maritime Defence Department of GS were awarded certificates for successfully fulfilling the coordinating officers` duties. The US-Ukrainian International Multinational Exercise „Sea Breeze 2014“ is held annually.

Together with the Georgian officers, 2000 troops from Ukraine, the United States, Canada, France, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Turkey and Rumania were involved in the training. The following vessels also participated in the drills: Vessel ,,ROSS” (USA); Frigates ,,TORONTO” (Canada), ,,ADM DE BORBON” (Spain), ,,E.SEBASTIAN” and ,,R.FERDINAND” (Rumania); Corvette ,,BUYUKADA” (Turkey); Vessel ,,H.SAHAIDACHNIY” (Ukraine)) and other types of ships.

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Top NATO Commander: Georgia Has War Interoperability With Bloc

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
September 16, 2014

Top NATO Commander Praises Georgia’s Interoperability with the Alliance

Tbilisi: NATO’s top military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said on September 15 that Georgia has done “an extremely good job” of becoming interoperable with NATO.

Responding a question of NATO enlargement, Gen. Breedlove, who is NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of U.S. forces in Europe, said some of the nations aspiring to join the Alliance, among them Georgia, have improved their “programs of engagement.”

Commenting on military component of NATO integration of aspirant nations, Gen. Breedlove said that some of the countries, “like Georgia, have done an extremely good job of becoming interoperable with NATO and deploying with NATO.”

“Georgia has deployed at a very constant and high level its forces in support in Afghanistan and in other places,” he said.

“So what I see is nations continue to move towards their goal or have already probably in some cases met the military expectation that we have for their entry into NATO and now some of the more political issues are being worked out by the political leadership of NATO,” Gen. Breedlove said.

He made the remarks at the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank’s event, discussing NATO Wales summit results, during which he spoke about a new rapid response force of the Alliance and laid out plan how to improve NATO Response Force.

“I don’t want to sound too positive, but what we thought was going to be the ceiling of what we could get at Wales, became the floor of what we can expect in the future,” he said.

He said that one of the main issues on the agenda of the NATO summit in Wales was “how we address revanchist Russia.”

Asked about reassurances to those countries, which are not yet NATO members, Gen. Breedlove said that this is an issue, which the West has to consider.

“There are nations, which are outside NATO – which are between us [NATO and Russia]. How does the Western world approach those nations and what are the expectations of all the neighbors east and west as to what their action should be in those nations, what are accepted international norms – I think this is first principle conversation, then you can begin to look at… what are those assurances that we can give these nations,” he said. “Right now there is no NATO policy what to do in those nations that find themselves outside the Alliance.”

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Top NATO Military Commander: Maintain U.S. Troops In Europe Against Russia

September 16, 2014 1 comment

U.S. Department of Defense
September 16, 2014

Breedlove: U.S. Reconsidering Troops Reductions in Europe
By Nick Simeone

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2014 – NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe said today that Pentagon leaders are reviewing decisions to scale down U.S. military forces in Europe in light of the changing security environment on the continent triggered by Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and Moscow’s ongoing support for rebels in the east.

“I have talked to leadership here about a function to re-address those decisions,” Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove told reporters during a Pentagon news conference, just days after NATO leaders met in Wales to discuss the alliance’s response to the crisis in Ukraine. “Because those sequester decisions were clearly made before Russia-Crimea, I see this building now moving towards a review of those decisions,” Breedlove said, referring to the automatic cuts imposed on defense spending by the budget sequester law.

In the years since the end of the Cold War, the number of U.S troops based in Europe has dropped from several hundred thousand to around 64,000 today, with the majority of those remaining based in Germany.

“I am very emphatic that we should cease further decrease of forces in Europe,” Breedlove added. “Quite frankly, the forces that are forward in Europe now are working at full speed as part of their normal rotations into Afghan and other requirements.”

At the same time, the United States has been rotating additional forces into Poland and the Baltic states to reassure allies who feel threatened by Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine. Those operations will continue, Breedlove said, until permanent adaptions called for at this month’s NATO summit are implemented.

Breedlove characterized the ceasefire between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian government as tenuous at best….

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NATO Arms Deliveries To Ukraine “Already Under Way”

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Polish Radio
September 15, 2014

NATO arms deliveries to Ukraine ‘already under way’

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NATO countries are supplying Ukraine with weapons, its defence minister says, as US-led military exercises involving 15 countries are set to begin near the Ukrainian border with Poland, Monday.
Ukrainian

Moscow on 12 Serptember accused the European Union of undermining the peace process in eastern Ukraine, hours after the bloc imposed new sanctions on large Russian energy and defence companies.

“I have no right to disclose any specific country we reached that agreement with,” Ukrainian defence minister Valery Heletey said on Sunday, “but the fact is that those weapons are already on the way to us,” the Ukrainian Unian news agency reports him as saying.

“To stop Putin we need weapons,” he said.

Poland’s defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak, however, earlier expressed his “surprise” after a Ukrainian presidential advisor said last week that arms deliveries had been discussed at the recent NATO summit in Wales.

Minister Siemoniak did say, however, that the Kiev government was free to agree arms deals with whom it chooses and Poland would comply if a request was made.

“If Ukraine expresses willingness to place an order, our defence industry will certainly be ready to comply,” he said.

Meanwhile, troops from 15 nations, including Poland, will begin training exercises near Lviv, western Ukraine, on Monday.

Around 1300 soldiers from Azerbaijan, Britain, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland Romania, Spain and the US will be taking part in the ‘Rapid Trident 2014′ exercises, ending on 26 September.

The annual exercise, to take place in the Yavoriv training centre near Ukraine’s border with Poland, was initially scheduled for July, but was delayed due to escalating fighting in the east of the country between Ukraine armed forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Despite a ceasefire agreed on 5 September, fighting has continued in the Donetsk region, with its troops repelling an attack on a regional airport over the weekend.

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National Radio Company of Ukraine
September 16, 2014

Rapid Trident 2014 exercise officially open at Yavoriv military range in Lviv region

The Rapid Trident 2014 international tactical exercise officially opened at the Petro Sahaidachny Army Academy’s International Peacekeeping and Security Center International Center in Lviv region on September 15.

“These exercises are the largest event of military cooperation between Ukraine and its partners this year. Representatives of 15 countries arrive for the exercises, and they will be attended by about 1,200 soldiers and about 140 pieces of equipment,” the exercise commander from the Ukrainian side, Colonel Oleksandr Sivak, said.He said that the exercises were earlier planned for July, but had been moved to September due to the anti-terrorist operation.

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Poland: U.S. To Lead Large-Scale War Games With NATO Allies

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
September 15, 2014

Multi-nation military exercise scheduled for Sept. 24 in Poland

WARSAW: The multi-nation military exercise “Anaconda” will begin in Poland on Sept. 24, with the participation of 12,500 soldiers, including 750 from abroad.

According to Polish Press Agency (PAP), the equipment to be used include more than 120 armored personnel carriers, 50 rocket launchers, anti-craft sets, 17 vessels, including submarines, and 25 aircraft, including helicopters, fighters, and multi-purpose aircraft.

Exercises will be conducted on land, in water and in the air, including a combined defense operation.

Besides Poland, soldiers attending the exercises will also come from eight countries, namely the Czech Republic, Estonia, the Netherlands, Canada, Lithuania, the United States, Hungary and Britain.

The exercises will last 10 days with a whole cost totalling around 62 million Polish zloty (around 19 million U.S. dollars).

The “Anaconda” exercise is conducted every two years. In the 2012 version, around 11,500 soldiers participated.

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Sinclair Lewis: Get us into war just to grease their insane vanity and show the world that we’re the huskiest nation going

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Sinclair Lewis: For the first time in all history, a great nation must go on arming itself more and more…for peace!

Sinclair Lewis: It Can(‘t) Happen Here

Sinclair Lewis: General: State of peace far worse than war

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Sinclair Lewis
From It Can’t Happen Here (1935)

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“Well, all the birdies in their nest agree. My friend, Mrs. Pike, ought to know that freedom of speech becomes mere license when it goes so far as to criticize the Army, differ with the D.A.R., and advocate the rights of the Mob. So, Lorinda, I think you ought to apologize to the General, to whom we should be grateful for explaining to us what the ruling classes of the country really want. Come on now, my friend – jump up and make your excuses.”

He was looking down on Lorinda with sternness, yet Medary Cole, president of Rotary, wondered if Doremus wasn’t “kidding” them. He had been known to. Yes – no – he must be wrong, for Mrs. Lorinda Pike was (without rising) caroling, “Oh yes! I do apologize, General! Thank you for your revelatory speech!”

The General raised his plump hand (with a Masonic ring as well as a West Point ring on the sausage-shaped fingers); he bowed like Galahad or a head-waiter; he shouted with parade-ground maleness: “Not at all, not at all, madame! We old campaigners never mind a healthy scrap. Glad when anybody’s enough interested in our fool ideas to go and get sore at us, huh, huh, huh!”

And everybody laughed and sweetness reigned. The program wound up with Louis Rotenstern’s singing of a group of patriotic ditties: “Marching through Georgia” and “Tenting on the Old Campground” and “Dixie” and “Old Black Joe” and “I’m Only a Poor Cowboy and I Know I Done Wrong.”

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Said Doremus, “Hm. Yes, I agree it’s a serious time. With all the discontent there is in the country to wash him into office, Senator Windrip has got an excellent chance to be elected President, next November, and if he is, probably his gang of buzzards will get us into some war, just to grease their insane vanity and show the world that we’re the huskiest nation going. And then I, the Liberal, and you, the Plutocrat, the bogus Tory, will be led out and shot at 3 A.M. Serious? Huh!”

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Ukraine: U.S., NATO Launch War Games In Day 154 Of War

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
September 15, 2014

Ukraine launches joint NATO exercise as fighting continues in east
By John Vandiver

U.S. Army paratroopers on Monday began nearly two weeks of exercises in Ukraine, where soldiers from the Vicenza, Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade are working alongside more than 1,000 troops from other NATO member countries.

Rapid Trident is the first major combat exercise on Ukrainian soil since Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in March and subsequent incursions into eastern Ukraine, where a tenuous cease-fire is in place after months of heavy fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists.

The long-planned exercise, initially scheduled for the summer, was pushed back as Ukraine dealt with the unfolding crisis in the eastern part of the country, where sporadic fighting continues.

During Rapid Trident, troops from the U.S., Ukraine and 13 other countries will conduct a series of drills aimed at bolstering combat capabilities. Areas of focus include countering roadside bombs and tactics for effectively running convoys and patrols in hostile environments.

In addition to sanctions imposed by the U.S. and European Union, NATO has taken steps to increase its readiness and military response time to reassure nervous allies on or close to Russia’s borders, in particular Poland and the three Baltic states.

Soldiers from the 173rd have conducted numerous exercises in those countries in recent months, as U.S. European Command has boosted its presence in the region.

Rapid Trident, which will conclude on Sept. 26, is taking place at the International Peace Keeping and Security Center in Yavoriv, which is in western Ukraine, far from the tensions in the east.

The participating countries are Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain and the U.S.

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Caucasus, Caspian: NATO To Build Military Bases In Azerbaijan?

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Today’s Zaman
September 13, 2014

Will NATO build military bases in Azerbaijan?
Nazila Isgandarova

Intensified tension between Ukraine and Russia and regional instability continue to jeopardize the security of the oil resources of the Caspian Sea and important oil and gas routes. It also triggers the “security vacuum” in the region, which in turn invites rival powers to come along and occupy it.

Therefore, the threat in the region has two dimensions: the threat to the oil supply routes and the prospect of rival powers coming into the region. In this regard, growing competition in the South Caucasus between Russia and the Western powers is another important aspect of Azerbaijan’s security.

The main question is who will fill the security vacuum in the region. Some analysts anticipate that the conflict in Ukraine may result in NATO’s establishment of military bases in Azerbaijan. This speculation is doubted by many analysts due to Russia’s open and explicit position on NATO’s expansion in the South Caucasus.

However, similar doubts were also expressed when NATO showed interest in actively participating in the region in 1995-2000. Their main argument was based on NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana’s statement after a meeting with Armenian President Robert Kocharyan in Brussels that “the alliance was not thinking of deploying any troops in the region.” However, the regional actors, i.e., Azerbaijan, did not exclude the fact that NATO was interested in the security of the pipeline.

NATO’s formal involvement in the Caucasus began as early as 1990 with the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). Almost immediately, as the South Caucasian states became North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) members in 1992, this forum touched upon the conflicts in the region. For instance, the participants of the ministerial meeting of June 5, 1992, paid significant attention to the set of regional problems in the South Caucasus, and in 1994, NATO launched the Partnership for Peace (PfP) project. NATO’s other program, Individual Partnership Action Plans, was launched at the November 2002 Prague Summit and was open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relations with NATO.

In both projects, NATO’s primary task in the region was to adapt its political and military infrastructure to new threats. NATO was able to shift from a realist-based military alliance, which was primarily tasked with protecting the survival of the Euro-Atlantic democracies from communism, to a security alliance geared to managing instability and other nontraditional threats to peace and prosperity across Europe,..

Furthermore, due to NATO’s passive presence in the region, such involvement contributed to a new dilemma in the region that relates to the Western concern about the rapidly developing security relationship between Russia, Iran, China and India in the region.

The relationship with Moscow and Tehran is more problematic. Russia and Iran have identical foreign policy positions regarding the Caspian Sea region; therefore, the alliance between them attempts to block NATO influence in the area and monopolize energy corridors from the Caspian region to Europe, and most important, to prevent NATO’s intervention to protect the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline.

However, recent speculations that NATO may build military bases in Azerbaijan suggest that the issue of security in the South Caucasus has an importance that goes beyond the regional location of the area. NATO’s involvement is important because instability in the area may result in the interruption of oil supplies to other parts of the world. Hence, instability in the region may have grave economic consequences and bring about the danger of regional war.

The security question has been intensified because of the position occupied by the area as regards oil production. It cannot be ignored that oil extracted from the Caspian Sea represents an alternative to the Gulf area for the West. In addition, the oil resources of the Caspian Sea have the potential to contribute to the economic prosperity, energy security and stability of the region.

Therefore, after the conflict in Ukraine, the interest of other parts of the world, particularly, the West and Russia, in Caspian Sea oil and gas has brought a state of confrontation between the US, Russia and Iran in the region. The rivalry between the West and regional powers such as Russia and Iran has created a sense of potential threat to the oil supplies to the West through the BTC. The West and Russia try to demonstrate their military presence in the region. In this way, threats and risks to the Caspian Sea region come from international or regional instability.

Thus, the search for security in the South Caucasus involves international and regional actors. The regional states and the Western companies in the Caspian Sea rely on NATO to reduce these threats and risks in the region.

In conclusion, the security implications in the South Caucasus include the Caspian’s importance in the context of the West’s energy security. Azerbaijan and Georgia have high expectations of NATO to address the security challenges in the region, but NATO and its member countries still do not have a clear strategy and appropriate methods to address these security challenges.

*Nazila Isgandarova is a Toronto-based researcher and author of “The Nectar of Passion.”

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Ukraine: U.S. To Launch 15-Nation NATO Military Exercise

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

September 15, 2014

EXERCISE ‘RAPID TRIDENT 2014′ STARTS IN THE UKRAINE

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U.S. paratroopers in Rapid Trident 2011

‘Rapid Trident’, a pre-planned, annual exercise that is part of the U.S. European Command’s (EUCOM) joint exercise program. Rapid Trident is designed to help boost interoperability between Ukrainian, US and other Allied forces. This year’s exercise will involve command post exercises, patrolling, counter-IED training and a field training exercise. Approximately 1,300 military personnel from 15 nations including Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the U.S., as well as NATO observers, will participate in the exercise.

The exercise will be conducted near Yavoriv at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre (IPSC), approximately 60 kilometres from the city of L’viv in north-western Ukraine. The IPSC is a regional centre of excellence designed to support multi-national training and exercises with regional and bilateral partners.

‘Rapid Trident 2014’ will consist of a multinational field training exercise (FTX). In preparation for the FTX, units will undergo one week of situational training exercises (STX) that focus on FTX key tasks such as countering improvised explosive device(s), convoy operations and patrolling. There are no live fire exercises scheduled for Rapid Trident 14.

‘Rapid Trident’ is an annual exercise, and was planned well before the current situation in Ukraine. The last Rapid Trident exercise was held in July 2013. It is not a NATO led exercise but Alliance nations do participate. U.S. European Command, based in Germany, is the lead entity for the exercise.

Story by: EUCOM Public Affairs Office.

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U.S. and Ukrainian paratroopers during Rapid Trident 2011

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Georgia: U.S. Marine Commandant Discussed Ukrainian War

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

The Messenger
September 12, 2014

General F. James Amos visited MoD

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Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps General F. James Amos paid a two-day official visit to Georgia.

First Deputy Chief of Defence Brigadier General Vladimer Chachibaia and Deputy Minister of Defence Tamar Karosanidze hosted the U.S. General. Georgia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States Archil Gegeshidze and the United States Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland attended the meeting as well. The sides discussed significance of the Wales Summit and Substantial Package for Georgia.

During discussions, special attention was attributed to Georgia’s participation in the ISAF operation and engagement in the Resolute Support” mission from 2015.

General F. James thanked the Georgian side for its contribution to the NATO operation in Afghanistan as well as expressed desire about maintaining a close cooperation between the U.S. Marine Forces and the Georgian military in future.

The sides discussed different aspects of bilateral cooperation plan between Georgia and the United States. The rehabilitation program being implemented for the Georgian military was also highlighted.

Brigadier General Vladimer Chachibaia expressed his gratitude to General F. James Amos for his support of the program.

One of the topics of discussion was also a regional security and Ukrainian crisis. At the end of the meeting Brigadier General Vladimer Chachibaia granted “Golden Fleece” Order to the American visitor for his special contribution provided to strengthening relationship in defence area between Georgia and the United States and his firm support demonstrated towards Georgia. The American General was awarded under the Order N 01/09/02 of the Georgian President. Within the frames of the visit to Georgia, General F. James has already held a meeting with Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili.

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“Current Security Situation”: NATO Starts Military Exercises In Latvia

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

September 15, 2014

NATO NATIONS AND PARTNERS PLAN AND EXERCISE CRISIS OPERATIONS AT THE STRATEGIC LEVEL

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SHAPE, Mons, Belgium: Between 15–26 September 2014, STEADFAST PYRAMID and STEADFAST PINNACLE 2014 will be conducted by Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Riga, Latvia. It will bring together NATO’s newly appointed senior personnel and selected staff to establish a common benchmark level of understanding about NATO’s operations planning processes.

Exercises Steadfast Pyramid and Pinnacle serve as building blocks in the preparation of ACO commanders and their staffs by exercising command and control during the planning, preparation and conduct of current and future operations.

“These exercises are excellent examples of NATO’s enduring commitment to our Baltic members”, said General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, adding, “One of the outcomes of the recent NATO Summit in Wales is that nations have once again reaffirmed their commitment to fulfil all three of the core tasks set out in our Strategic Concept: collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security, the first of which, collective defence, has acquired a renewed relevance in view of recent security developments to the East of NATO.”

Exercises are a pivotal part of NATO’s Planning Cycle, as such they allow for the development of a plethora of work strands from operational capabilities to effective force integration. As a result of the Ukraine crisis, the North Atlantic Council has approved a package of immediate assurance measures to reinforce Alliance cohesion and support for collective defence. To which exercise Steadfast Pyramid and Pinnacle are very much at the forefront of this new initiative.

“In the current security situation, it is more than important as ever before that NATO top military leadership enhances analytical, planning and decision making skills by challenging themselves within exercise scenarios and issues that are actual in the arena of contemporary security policy”, says Raimonds Vējonis, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Latvia.

While adopting operations to better build security, the current NATO Command Structure remains robust, agile and able to undertake all elements of effective command and control for simultaneous challenges.

The training audience will consist of 47 participants from 15 countries, including Finland and Sweden. Using the Crisis Operational Planning Directive, they will develop plans to solve a realistic collective defence problem. This manner extends the staff’s appreciation of what the commander is responsible for, as well as the importance of staff assessments and advice to the commander.

For the first time since 2011, exercise Pinnacle will play host to the Commander of the Latvian National Guard, as a participant.

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Nathanael West: Not their fault, they thought they had bombed a hospital

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Nathanael West: One live recruit is better than a dozen dead veterans

Nathanael West: They haven’t the proper military slant

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Nathanael West
From Good Hunting (1938)

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GERALD
(To JARVIS)

This is exciting – my first experience under fire!

JARVIS

We’re going splendidly!

FIZTSIMMONS
(Snapping)

We always get this far!

GERALD

It gives you a queer sensation not to hear the firing…

FITZSIMMONS

Cup your hand over your ear…

(GERALD does so)

That humming noise…like a swarm of bees.

GERALD
(Excited)

Yes…I hear it!

FITZSIMMONS

That’s the war.

***

FITZSIMMONS

Sounds like a German…a Taub bomber…

GRACE
(Not frightened)

Oh, will he drop something on us?

HARGREAVES

No – certainly not – we have an unwritten agreement with the enemy – we don’t bomb each other’s staffs.

(Suddenly there is a tremendous explosion – a part of the ceiling falls with a crash)

HARGREAVES
(Great indignation)

The barbarians!

AD LIB FROM THE OFFICERS

The dirty Boches!
Scoundrels!
Bombing staff headquarters!
Unheard of!
What treachery!
The blackguards!

(FITZSIMMONS rushes to door and shouts outside as others mill around)

AD LIB

The dirty dogs!
Ill-mannered louts!
What’s the war coming to!

HRAGREAVES

Are they mad – bombing the staff!

(FITZSIMMONS appears at the door again)

FITZSIMMONS

It’s not their fault!

HARGREAVES

What!

FITZSIMMONS

We forgot to take the red cross off the roof! They thought the place was still a hospital.

Categories: Uncategorized

Keep Space for Peace Week Actions Still Open

September 14, 2014 Leave a comment

October 4-11, 2014

 

Keep Space for Peace Week

International Week of Protest to

Stop the Militarization of Space

Stop Drones Surveillance & Killing

No Missile Defense

No to NATO

End Corporate Domination of Foreign/Military Policy

Convert the Military Industrial Complex

Deal with climate change and global poverty

 

List in formation

  • Aberporth, West Wales (Sept 21) CND Cymru has a demonstration at the drones testing centre totally in the spirit of Keep Space for Peace Week. heddwch@cndcymru.org

  • Andover, Massachusetts (Oct 9) Vigil in front of Raytheon, 350 Lowell St (Rte 133) 7:00-8:00 am. Merrimack Valley People for Peace brian@quirk.ws

  • Bath Iron Works, Maine (Oct 4) Vigil across from administration building on Washington Street (Navy Aegis destroyers outfitted with “missile defense” systems built at BIW) 11:30-12:30 am   Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm (207) 763-4062

  • Beale AFB, Marysville, California  (Sept 29-30) Monday 3:00 pm No drones protest.  On Tuesday 6:00-8:00 am Protest resumes, with non-violent direct action.  For information:http://www.occupybealeafb.org/

  • Berlin, Germany (Oct 4) Fly Kites, Not Drones! Gather in front of the German Parliament at 11:00 am and fly kites to make clear that we do not want to be threatened by drones and we do not want people anywhere to be threatened by drones. Then at 15:00, we will meet in parks throughout the city and fly kites to continue our protest. kampfdrohnen.aechten.berlin@gmx.de

  • Berlin, Germany (Oct 3-5) Anti-War Conference Berlin at Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte. An initiative of scientists and journalists against militarization in Germany and in the member states of European Union and NATO. The conference will focus on new dimensions in the preparation and conduct of war through the use of information technology, media propaganda and recently developed weapons such as drones.http://antikriegskonferenz.de/

  • Birmingham, England (Oct 6) – Queens College 7:30 pm No drones vigil in Queens Chapelpenny.dcn@gmail.com

  • RAF Croughton, England (Oct 5) Rally at U.S. satellite communication base, March to main gate 1 mile – starts Croughton village 12.00 midday, Returns 3:00 pm, Oxfordshire Peace Campaign, oxonpeace@yahoo.co.uk

  • Fort Meade, Maryland (Oct 4) The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore will go to the National Security Agency to protest illegal surveillance and its involvement in drone strikes at 10:30 AM. Contact Max Obuszewski at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at Verizon dot net.

  • RAF Fylingdales, England (Oct 11) Walk around the US and NATO missile ‘defence’ radar on the North Yorkshire moors. Meeting at Eller Beck at 1pm – see www.yorkshirecnd.org.uk  and check with info@yorkshirecnd.org.uk  or phone 01274730795 for details in case of inclement weather.

  • Gangjeong village, Jeju Island, South Korea (Oct. 4-11)  Will have some education and protest events which will be connected to daily protest mass, human chain and evening culture event during Keep Space for Peace Week. Sept. 21, The International Peace Day, Oct. 4, the International No Drone day, and Oct. 7, the Remembrance Day on the invasion of Afghanistan will also be observed, The South Korean government plans to introduce Global Hawk and THAAD whose range will cover parts of China and Russia. Otherwise, this April, the so called Asia-biggest Aerospace museum was opened on Jeju Island. More details will come later. Please contact armha5156@gmail.com

  • Indore, India (Oct 9) Protest meeting “Space for Peace and Not for War” at Indore in the State of Madhya Pradesh by Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development Studies. Dr.Tapan Bhattacharya will be the Organiser.  jnrao193636@gmail.com

  • Kennebunk, Maine (Oct 3-5) The 29th Annual New England Gathering of War Tax Resisters will feature a field trip to the vigil at Bath Iron Works on Oct 4, a reading of “Project Unspeakable”, and a talk on “How Expensive Space Technology is Used to Coordinate Warfare On the Planet.” rawnjason@gmail.com

  • King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (Oct 11) Noon – 3pm, large MQ-9 Reaper Drone Replica Display and kite flying in front of Lockheed Martin (L-M) at intersection of Mall & Goddard Boulevards.   L-M is making a killing in drone war and surveillance technology, building the remote-controlled unmanned planes and satellites that direct the drones and launch their deadly Hellfire missiles which L-M also builds. For more info Brandywine Peace Community, (610) 544-1818 brandywine@juno.com  or www.brandywinepeace.com

  • Kyotango City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan (Oct 4) Mass meeting against the construction of US ‘missile defense’ X- band radar base in Ukawa Gymnasium (former school, near construction site) at 14:00.. Organized by Citizen’s Coalition for No US Base in Kyoto. Contact Atsushi Fujioka fujioka@ec.ritsumei.ac.jp

  • Leicester, England (Oct 8) Drone Cafe at Green Oasis, London Road, Information about drones 2-6 pm followed by music and poetry 6–7:30 pm. More details from Penny on 07414 465695 penny.dcn@gmail.com

  • London, England (Oct 11) Conference at Friends House, ‘Afghanistan, the forgotten war and Britain’s legacy’ organised by Voices for Creative Non Violence UK and the Drone Campaign Network. Brilliant speakers and focus groups including Kabul street kids, skyping with Afghan women peace volunteers, the Afghanistam diaspora and much more. 10:00 am – 4.30 pm  penny.dcn@gmail.com

  • Los Angeles, California (Oct 3) Freeway banner drop against drones during rush hour (5:00 pm).  Meet at Albertsons (3443 S. Sepulveda Blvd) parking lot and walk to freeway overpass on Palms Blvd.

 

  • Maine Walk for Peace & a Sustainable Future (Oct 11-20) Peace walk led by Nipponzan Myohoji from Rangeley to North Berwick. The walk will protest the growing militarization of the Maine economy and will call for conversion to sustainable production to help deal with climate change. Sponsored by Maine Veterans For Peace.   www.vfpmaine.org

  • Menwith Hill, England (Oct 11) Demonstration at NSA Spy Base in Yorkshire focused on drones in particular and US missile defense in general. 6-8 pm.   Sponsored by CAAB mail@caab.corner.org.uk  or 01423 884076

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota  (Oct 11) The WAMM Ground All Drones Committee is sponsoring a “Fly Kites Not Drones” action from 1:00-3:00 pm. Meet at the Roberts Bird Sanctuary Shelter located adjacent to the Lyndale Park Peace Garden and just north of Lake Harriet. Kites will be provided to decorate and fly in the nearby Rose Garden along with distributing No Killer Drone stickers and flyers. More info: call WAMM 612.827.5364 or email groundalldrones@gmail.com or wamm@mtn.org

  • Nagpur, India (Oct 4) Demonstration “Space for Peace and Not for War” by the students of Matru Sewa Sangh Institute of Social Work. Nagpur, Maharashtra State. Prof. Jyoti Niswade will be the organizer  jnrao193636@gmail.com

  • Nagpur, India (Oct 5) Mass Squatting (sitting in protest) “Space for Peace and Not for War” by the S.E.C. Rly Pensioners Assn and Progressive Railway Women’s Organisation at Nagpur, State of Maharashtra. (Ms. Seema Sondiya and Mrs. J. Saraswati are the organizers) jnrao193636@gmail.com

  • Nagpur, India (Oct 6) “Space for Peace and Not for War” Rally of students of National Institute of Social Work, Nagpur in the State of Maharashtra. jnrao193636@gmail.com

  • Nagpur, India (Oct 11-12) National Youth Conference on “Peace, Disarmament and Development” is being organized at Nagpur University. Students, Lecturers and Professors and other public figures will attend this conference. ISSUES TO BE DISCUSSED: Causes of wars, Role of Imperialism and NATO in waging wars, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Destruction of Hiroshima & Nagasaki by nuclear weapons, Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space, Vision for 2020, UN Space Treaty, UN Moon Treaty, Non-Aligned Movement, UN and World Peace, Disarmament & Development, Global Military Expenditure and Human Development, Millennium Development Goals etc. jnrao193636@gmail.com

  • Olympia, Washington (Sept 27) Holly Gwinn Graham in concert at Traditions Cafe informing about space week and inviting actions and participation in vigiling during the week tohollygg@comcast.net

  • Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, Colorado (Oct 7) Citizens for Peace in Space will be joined by Sisters Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert for vigil at (north gate) of Air Force Space Command base from 4:30 – 5:30 pm. They were part of the group of sisters who did an action at the Peterson open house in 2001. If you need a ride let us know.  lwirbel@aol.com

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Oct 4) Death Walk Against Drones, noon – 1:00 pm at 12th & Market St. in downtown. Wear black, white masks provided.  Contact: Marge Van Cleefmvc@igc.org

  • Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada (Oct 9) The Making Peace Vigil is planning on handing out flyers related to Keep Space for Peace Week in downtown. sgerardm@gmail.com

  • Shenstone, England (Oct 10) Vigil for worship at Elbit Systems drone engine factory, Shenstone near Lichfields at 10:45 – 11:45 (5 minutes walk from train station going away from village) penny.dcn@gmail.com

  • Stockholm, Sweden (Oct 4) Standing demo in front of parliament, Mynttorget.

11.00-13.00 Banners and handing out leaflets against ‘nEUROn’ drone which will be launched in 2015 in the north of Sweden at North European Aerospace Test Range. nEUROn is an experimental Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle being developed with international cooperation, led by the French company Dassault Aviation along with Switzerland, Spain, and Greece. Contact: Agneta Norberg lappland.norberg@gmail.com

  • Stuttgart, Germany (Oct 4) Protest against Drones and AFRICOM  at 02:00 pm at AFRICOM Headquarters. More information to come!

  • Tucson Arizona (Oct 4) Vigil at Davis-Monthan AFB drone base at 10:00 a.m. (Craycroft gate at Golf Links Rd.) Contact Felice or Jack Cohen-Joppa at nukeresister@igc.org  (520)323-8697

  • Tucson Arizona (Oct 7) Vigil at Raytheon Missile Systems (making Star Wars “kill vehicles”, pilotless drones, cluster bombs, cruise missiles and much more) from 7 – 8  a.m. (Hermans Rd. entrance to the plant, 3rd traffic light south of Valencia on Nogales Highway, the extension of South 6th Ave.) Contact Felice or Jack Cohen-Joppa at nukeresister@igc.org  (520) 323-8697

 

·       Vandenberg AFB, CA (Oct 1) Vigil at space warfare base from 3:30 to 4:45.  Contact Dennis Apel at  (805) 343-6322

·       Volk Field, Wisconsin (Oct 4) Air National Guard Base 90 minutes north of Madison. They train pilots to fly Shadow drones used for surveillance and target acquisition.  Vigiling at the gates for 2 1/2 years.  Plan to go to a rest area on Interstate about 10 miles south of Volk Field.  There is a lot of traffic there and we will leaflet and talk to people about what is happening at Volk Field.  Joyfirst5@gmail.com

·       Washington DC (Oct 6) Vigil at the Pentagon from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. Art Laffin artlaffin@hotmail.com

·       Washington DC (Oct 10) White House vigil from Noon – 1:00 p.m. Art Laffinartlaffin@hotmail.com

·       Weld County, Colorado (Oct 4) Protest vigil at Minuteman III nuclear missile M-8 silo on the 12th Anniversary of Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II.  We join all the other lovers of space, land, water and air people and creatures who know and trust that peace is possible. Sisters Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert will be joining us there.  They were part of the Plowshares action at that location in October 2002.  Carpooling from 420 Mesa Road in Colorado Springs at 8:30 am  to join others for a noon vigil.  Let us know if you can go and if you might be able to drive. lwirbel@aol.com

 

-       Keep Space for Peace Week is co-sponsored by the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, KnowDrones.com and the Drone Campaign Network (UK)

 

-       October 4 is also a Global Action Day Against the Use of Drones for Surveillance & Killingand is being sponsored by a host of groups around the world.  See more athttp://globaldayofaction.nationbuilder.com/

 

Resources:

 

·        Download our full-size space week poster at: http://www.space4peace.org/actions/Keep%20Space%20for%20Peacer%20Poster%202014.pdf

 

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
globalnet@mindspring.com
www.space4peace.org
http://space4peace.blogspot.com/  (blog)

Categories: Uncategorized

Humphrey Cobb: War never settled anything except who was the strongest

September 14, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Humphrey Cobb: Hallucination of fantastic butchery; too much for one man to bear

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Humphrey Cobb
From Paths of Glory (1935)

Assolant looked into the binoculars and failed to control the start which Dax had hoped to surprise from him by the sight he had prepared. The telescopic lenses seemed to spring the mass of bodies right into his face. The bodies were so tangled that most of them could not be distinguished one from the other. Hideous, distorted and putrescent, they lay tumbled upon each other or hung in the wire in obscene attitudes, a shocking mound of human flesh, swollen and discolored…

***

“What about the unborn children?”

“What about them? I wish I was an unborn child this minute…”

“That’s because we’re going to attack tomorrow.”

“D’you think you’re doing anyone a favor by creating them out of nothing for the very doubtful joy of living a life of misery and pain in the world of men, the most savage of the predatory animals?”

“It’s nature’s law. I’ve got nothing to do with it.”

“Take this war,” Langlois continued. “Do you think our parents would have had us if they had foreseen the things they were sentencing us to?”

“Probably. There have always been wars and there always will be. They’re part of life, like disease, storms, death…”

“It takes a fool to make war, if you judge by those who are making this one. The attack they’re pushing us into now, it’s just plain murder. Look at what the Boches did to the Tirailleurs. Anyway, war never settled anything except who was the strongest.”

“Well, that’s something.”

“It’s not enough.”

Categories: Uncategorized

The Devil Quotes Scripture To Drag Ukraine Into NATO, Europe Into War

September 13, 2014 3 comments

Ukrinform
September 13, 2014

Yatseniuk says about NATO membership, remembering Bible

The Prime Minister of Ukraine visits NATO
Yats and Ras (the Iscariot boys)

KYIV: Only the NATO membership can protect Ukraine from Russian aggression.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk said within the frames of the 11th Annual Meeting of Yalta European Strategy YES, held in Kyiv, a Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“We must clearly recognize that, in these particular circumstances, NATO is the only way to protect Ukraine,” Yatseniuk said.

According to him, not all NATO members are satisfied with this position of Ukraine.

“In the short term, NATO is not ready to accept Ukraine, but the Bible says: if knocking on the door – the door will open. So we decided to knock,” the head of the government said.

Yatseniuk is sure that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to take over the entire territory of Ukraine: “I clearly understand what the ultimate goal is. He seeks to take not just Donetsk and Luhansk, he wants to take the whole of Ukraine. “

However Yatseniuk noted that “this will never happen, we will fight for our Ukraine.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Caucasus, Central Asia Chief: NATO Plans For Georgia To Join Bloc

September 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Azeri Press Agency
September 13, 2014

James Appathurai: “NATO members think that Georgia should join the alliance”
Rufat Ahmadzadeh

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Baku: The NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai expressed his satisfaction with results of Wales summit, APA reports quoting Gruziya online website.

According to him, though there were arguments on final statement, regarding Georgia, every one shared same position.

“All NATO members think that Georgia should join the alliance and this country will absolutely reach its goal. However, this should happen in a short-run. NATO members Georgia has all elements for joining the alliance. At the same time, national annual program and NATO-Georgia commission are already new package for cooperation. This package will accelerate Georgia to join the alliance”, Appathurai added.

Categories: Uncategorized

(Reprint) Northeast Europe, greatest potential for world, nuclear war

September 13, 2014 1 comment

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/baltic-sea-flash-point-for-nato-russia-conflict/

Stop NATO
February 27, 2009

Baltic Sea: Flash Point For NATO-Russia Conflict
Rick Rozoff

Since the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003, the third war by major Western powers against defenseless nations that had not threatened any other country (Yugoslavia in 1999 and Afghanistan in 2001 being the previous examples) in a four-year span, speculation has been rife as to which country would be the next target of military attack and where the next war would ensue.

So accustomed has the world become to expecting if not accepting wars, serial and gratuitous, to occur in the natural order of things that the discussion has centered not so much on whether war should be waged or whether it will be but solely on which nation or nations will be the next victim or victims of an unprovoked military onslaught.

In such an environment of international lawlessness and heightened alarm over military threats, otherwise minor contretemps and even fears of a neighbor’s and potential adversary’s intents can spark a conflict – and a conflagration.

The world has been on edge for a decade now and a form of numbing has set in with many of its inhabitants; a permanent condition of war apprehension and alert has settled over others, particularly those in areas likely to be directly affected. Over the past six years the worst and most immediate fears have centered on the prospects of three major regional conflicts, all of which are fraught with the danger of eventual escalation into nuclear exchanges.

The three are a renewed and intensified Indian-Pakistani conflict, an outbreak of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula and an attack by the U.S., Israel or both in unison against Iran.

The first would affect neighbors both in possession of nuclear weapons and a combined population of 1,320,000,000.

The second could set Northeast Asia afire with China and Russia, both having borders with North Korea, inevitably being pulled into the vortex.

The last could lead to an explosion in the Persian Gulf and throughout the Middle East, with the potential of spilling over into the Caspian Sea Basin, Central and South Asia, the Caucasus and even the Balkans, as the U.S. and NATO have strategic air bases in Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and, at least for the time being, Kyrgyzstan that would be employed in any major assault on Iran, and the latter would retaliate against both land- and sea-based threats as best it could.

In the event that any of the three scenarios reached the level of what in a humane and sensible world would be considered the unthinkable – the use of nuclear weapons – the cataclysmic consequences both for the respective regions involved and for the world would be incalculable.

Theoretically, though, all three nightmare models could be geographically contained.

There is a fourth spot on the map, however, where most any spark could ignite a powder keg that would draw in and pit against each other the world’s two major nuclear powers and immediately and ipso facto develop into a world conflict. That area is the Baltic Sea region.

In 2003, months before NATO would grant full membership to the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Russian Defense Minister at the time, Sergei Ivanov, warned that such a development would entail the deployment of NATO, including American, warplanes “a three-minute flight away from St. Petersburg,” Russia’s second largest city.

And just that occurred. NATO air patrols began in 2004 on a three-month rotational basis and U.S. warplanes just completed their second deployment on January 4 of this year.

Had history occurred otherwise and Soviet warplanes alternated with those of fellow Warsaw Pact nations in patrolling over, say, the St. Lawrence Seaway or the Atlantic Coast off Nova Scotia, official Washington’s response wouldn’t be hard to imagine or long in coming.

A 2005 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council confirmed that the U.S. maintained 480 nuclear bombs in Europe, hosted by six NATO allies, Belgium, Britain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey.

More recent estimates indicate that over 350 American nuclear weapons remain in Europe to the present time.

If the six above-mentioned nations continue to host nuclear arms, what would new NATO members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – the first and third currently governed by former U.S. citizens, presidents Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Valdas Adamkus, respectively – deny the Pentagon?

In the interim between the accession of the three Baltic states and former Soviet republics into NATO and now, the Alliance as a whole and the U.S. in particular have expanded their permanent military presence within all three nations: Estonia and Latvia which both border the main body of Russia and Lithuania which abuts the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

All three nations have been tapped for expeditionary deployments in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, where their complete NATO integration is effected through combat zone training and, as is the case with Estonian forces recently, direct participation in active combat operations in Afghanistan.

Along with the agreement reached by Washington to station interceptor missiles in Poland – on the Baltic coast, only 200 kilometers from the Russian border – NATO’s absorption of three nations directly bordering Russia and within a short striking distance of both St. Petersburg and Moscow itself has belied the U.S.’s promise in 1990 not to expand NATO “one inch eastward” and created a situation for Russia that, were it reversed, the U.S. and its NATO allies would consider intolerable and a veritable casus belli.

After a series of computer attacks in Estonia in early 2007, which the authorities in Tallinn blamed on hackers in Russia and then the Russian government itself, the accusations dutifully taken up by Western officials and media through open assertion or repeated insinuation, NATO announced that it was establishing a so-called Cyber Defense Center in the nation’s capital.

The operation, now called the Cyber Defence Center of Excellence, was accredited in November of 2008 and “activated as an International Military Organisation by a decision of the North Atlantic Council.” (1)

One person’s defense is another’s aggression – wars after all are declared and waged by what call themselves departments and ministries of defense – and what in fact NATO has initiated is a cyber warfare center with the means for conducting intelligence gathering, sophisticated surveillance and when the need arises the immobilizing of the enemy’s communications, command and control systems.

Shortly after the cyber attacks in Estonia in May of 2007, U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne first invoked what will be the main theme of this article in asserting: “The Russians have denied that this was their action, contrary to all the evidence. However, the good news is the attacks didn’t shut down this small country. But it did start a series of debates within NATO and the EU about the definition of clear military action and it may be the first test of the applicability of Article V of the NATO charter regarding collective self-defense in the non-kinetic realm.” [2]

Six months earlier ranking Senator Richard Lugar, at the time chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued this demarche to Russia:

“Article 5 of the NATO charter identified an attack on one member as an attack on all. It was also designed to prevent coercion of a NATO member by a non-member state….[A]n attack using energy as a weapon can devastate a nation’s economy and yield hundreds or even thousands of casualties, the alliance must avow that defending against such attacks is an Article 5 commitment.” [3]

The main paragraph of NATO’s Article 5 reads:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

The only time in NATO’s sixty year history the article has been invoked and acted upon is after the attacks in New York City and Washington, DC on September 11, 2001. (Though it was used on a smaller scale in 2003 to dispatch Patriot missiles and AWACS to Turkey on the eve of the war against Iraq.)

Article 5 was the pretext NATO used to justify its role in the invasion of Afghanistan in October of 2001, NATO’s first ground war and its first war in Asia.

A war now in its ninth calendar year and set to escalate further as the tenth approaches and one which has served as the pretext for NATO also launching attacks inside Pakistan and stationing its military in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to follow.

Notwithstanding attempts by NATO and assorted Western government officials to portray it otherwise, for example as a vague pledge for mutual support in the event of natural catastrophes, Article 5, as the language above demonstrates, is an obligation to take collective military action by all twenty-six member states – including those which account for half the entire world’s military spending and those with five of the world’s eight largest military budgets, NATO states collectively having spent $1.049 trillion of the $1.470 trillion allotted for arms worldwide last year – against any state deemed to pose a threat to any member.

Article 5 is a war clause.

Not a defense against armed aggression but a mechanism for waging war under whichever rubric and for whatever ostensible reason the bloc or any individual member of it chooses.

As evidenced above, it is openly being discussed in reference to cyber attacks and energy concerns. NATO has also identified such disparate topics as food shortages, water wars, piracy, poaching, drug trafficking, terrorism, failed states and uranium smuggling as examples of alleged strategic mutual threats to Alliance members and the bloc as a whole.

The above catalogue of reasons for NATO activating its mutual military assistance article was enumerated prior to August 8, 2008 when Georgia unleashed its military, armed and trained and advised by the Pentagon and NATO, on South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers based there, in a move calculated to coincide with the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing that same day.

Having failed in its blitzkrieg drive to the Roki Tunnel to head off Russian reinforcements preparatory to launching a parallel invasion of Abkhazia, the Saakashvili regime turned to the U.S. and NATO to bail it out.

The first to arrive in the Georgian capital to pledge support to the aggressor were the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine on August 12 while the war was still raging.

The talk in the main Western capitals at the time was of the applicability of NATO’s Article 5 to candidates in addition to full members of the Alliance.

Although the three Baltic states were overtly aiding and encouraging one of the belligerents, in fact the initiator of the war, and although the chief of the Georgian Defense Ministry International Relations Department Nino Bakradze acknowledged on August 14 that fifty Latvian mercenaries had enlisted in the Georgian army to fight Russia (4), Western government and media sources engaged in an hysterical campaign to convince the world that the Baltic states and Ukraine were only minutes away from Russian invasions, with Moscow’s tanks on the outskirts of Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius and Kiev.

At this point and for months afterward the threat of employing NATO’s Article 5 was resounding broadcast in Western capitals.

Representative samples include:

In a joint column in the Wall Street Journal just two weeks after the war ended U.S. Senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham wrote:

“Contingency planning for the defense of all member states against conventional and unconventional attack, including cyber warfare, needs to be revived. The credibility of Article Five of the NATO Charter – that an attack against one really can and will be treated as an attack against all – needs to be bolstered.” [5]

A month later U.S. President Georgia Bush said, “It’s important for the people of Lithuania to know that when the United States makes a commitment through, for example, Article 5 of the treaty, we mean it.” [6]

In New York City at the time, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski “said NATO must get back to the basics of exerting its role as a military organisation in light of the war [in the Caucasus],” reminding his audience that “as the Atlantic alliance we have nukes too.” [7]

In announcing that he and all twenty-six NATO ambassadors would visit Georgia to demonstrate and provide support to Saakashvili, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was joined by Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, who added: “Members of NATO states are confident Article 5 works. In this context NATO’s visibility in Estonia has importance. Today we see it in the form of the airspace guarding operation. There should be more such elements in the future.” [8]

American NATO ambassador Kurt Volker “said Nato was firmly committed to defending the Baltic states from attack because they were signatories to the alliance’s Article 5, which commits countries to come to the defence of fellow members.” [9]

NATO spokesman James Appathurai said “NATO states back a U.S. call to show the alliance is prepared to defend Baltic members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from any attack after Russia’s intervention in Georgia” and in the same press report Kurt Volker said, “We will have to make sure…that the Article 5 commitment is realizable, not just as a political matter, but as a military matter too.” [10]

The U.S. State Department’s Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried, visiting Lithuania in October, said “Lithuania is a NATO member, and NATO is a serious organization, and Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which provides for collective security, is a serious obligation,” and speaking as it were ex officio for the Alliance further affirmed that “NATO is now authorized to do what it should do: to revise how the Alliance is ready to fulfill its obligations under Article 5.” [11]

While also in the capital of Lithuania, the U.S.’s top military commander, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, reiterated that “NATO’s commitment under Article Five for mutual defence is a very real commitment and it is one that NATO, I am confident, would stand up to.” [12]

In meeting with Pentagon chief Robert Gates in November of last year, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip was confident that “NATO will operate under the principle of Article 5 of the alliance’s treaty, which states that an attack on one ally is treated as an attack on all,” and added “NATO has plans to defend all members of the alliance.” [13]

The Pentagon’s Press Secretary Geoff Morrell characterized Gates’s own position as wanting to “send a very strong signal of his support for Ukraine and the Baltic States and our other NATO allies from Eastern Europe that the United States stands firmly behind them.” [14]

A month before NATO Supreme Allied Commander (and top military chief of the Pentagon’s European Command) General John Craddock had dropped the final veil and, in recounting that “Prior to the Russian incursion in Georgia, Nato members had refused to draw up plans to fight the Russian military in Eastern Europe,” but now he “has asked for the political authority to draw up contingency defence plans at a Nato meeting in Budapest later this week.”

Indeed “Nato’s top military commander has demanded the authority to draw up detailed military plans to defend former Soviet bloc members for the first time since the alliance expanded eastward” and he “has already proposed that Estonia, the Baltic state that has a 20 per cent Russian speaking minority, should be the first country to undergo a formal military risk assessment.” [15]

Craddock has taken the call by the Polish foreign minister recorded above to its logical conclusion – to actively prepare NATO for war in Europe, namely on its northeast frontier – one which has been intensified evenly more dangerously this year at the Munich Security Conference this month and since.

This year’s acceleration of those plans will be detailed after a brief chronicle of how NATO has matched its pronouncements with actions.

During the last few months alone the following initiatives have been added to NATO’s buildup in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania:

- In mid-September General Roger Brady, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and NATO air forces chief, visited Lithuania and inspected its main airbase.

- At the same time NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was in the Baltics to inspect the Alliance’s naval exercise Open Spirit 2008 and to meet with officials of the three nations, during which trips he stated “NATO is a very flexible organisation and our planning system is also very flexible” in reference to “Baltic fears over Russia.” [16]

– In late October Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was in Lithuania meeting with President Valdas Adamkus, where “Adamkus expressed confidence that NATO is a guarantee of security for the Baltic states, while Mullen spoke of the United States as a reliable ally of Lithuania….” [17]

– Also in October NATO conducted the Strong Shield 2008 war games in Lithuania which trained over a thousand troops from the three Baltic states for the Baltic Battalion to be assigned to the NATO Response Force.

- NATO warplanes from the U.S., Poland and Denmark conducted the Quick Reaction Alert exercises over Baltic skies.

- In the same month the American warship USS Doyle joined a Lithuanian counterpart for joint naval drills in the Baltic Sea.

- In November NATO held the Viking ‘08 military exercises in Latvia to train and integrate NATO and Partnership for Peace forces.

- Days later the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency confirmed that it would provide Lithuania with advanced air radar.

- Still in November, the US 493rd EFS [Expeditionary Fighter Squadron] deployed to the Siauliai airbase in Lithuania “to provide air policing for the independent and democratic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to fulfill NATO air defense commitments in the region.” [18]

– At the end of the month the Czech Republic stated that its newly acquired supersonic Jas-39 Gripens would be tested out in the Baltic in “the biggest Czech military mission in modern history.” [19]

– In the beginning of last December it was reported that “The Baltic states are interested in entering into talks with Nordic nations about the basis for a regional defense strategy under the so-called Nordic-Baltic 8 format” and that the “Baltic governments are working on a common air-defense solution with NATO.” [20]

– On the same day it was reported that Lithuania called for the extension of Baltic patrols by NATO warplanes for another decade, until 2018, and issued a draft that included the call for “the deployment of allied forces: and “Sea, airport and other infrastructures necessary for or incoming back-up forces in Lithuanian territory”. [21]

– A week later the U.S. hosted the 2009 BALTOPS exercise, which gathered together delegations from Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the United States – that is the expanded Baltic front against Russia – with the head of the German naval delegation saying, “Normally, we don’t train with the United States, so this is the only time we have training with Americans inside the Baltic. It’s a very important thing.” [22]

– On the same day NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer met with Latvian President Valdis Zatlers and NATO spokesman James Appathurai pledged an “increase of NATO presence and visibility in both Ukraine and in Georgia. The same is about Latvia you know, we’re going to increase NATO visibility in Latvia including air policing and training, military training, and also military exercises.” [23]

– Later in the month the U.S. Air Force and NATO dispatched engineers for the expansion and upgrading of Lithuanian air basing capacities with an American Air Force officials stating, “This base is undergoing an evolution and as new NATO partners, we can help them expand to allow more aircraft to occupy this space. The airbase will be a first-rate, top-of-the-line fighter base once everything’s complete.” [24]

At the 2009 Munich Security Conference British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said:

“NATO provides a commitment to collective defence. The Article 5 Guarantee and the integrated military structures reassure each and every one of our Allies that their borders are inviolable.”

Neither Europe nor the world required a further reminder of the fact, but Miliband’s words foreshadowed a concrete implementation for NATO military plans in Europe as two weeks later his government proposed “that Nato member states should set up a standing force of 3,000 troops that would be permanently committed to defending the Alliance’s collective territory from any future attack.” [25]

At last week’s NATO defense ministers meeting in Krakow, Poland Britain’s Defence Secretary John Hutton argued “that [a] standing force should be created to underpin Nato’s Article 5 commitment to the mutual defence of any member state that finds itself under threat” and “that the creation of the standing force would be reassuring to Nato’s eastern European members – above all the Baltic states….” [26]

American expatriate and current Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves had anticipated Hutton by two weeks when at the Munich Conference he advocated:

“No longer can we assume that international aggression, (as opposed to the civil wars of the Balkans) is excluded as a possibility in Europe….We can and must revisit the assumptions held in the past 17 years about the use of military force in Europe and we must follow our own legislation to ensure that we not become politically hostage to energy supplied by an outside power….NATO itself must deal with the new paradigm of in area armed aggression….”

Between the Munich and the Krakow gatherings NATO’s Baltic clients performed their appointed roles with Lithuanian Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene stating she plans to tell her American counterpart Robert Gates “that Lithuania would like to see NATO and the United States expand their presence in the Baltics, considering the nervousness that has followed Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August.” [27]

Not since the end of World War II, since the advent of the nuclear era, have major powers, ones moreover united in the world’s first global military bloc, so openly brandished plans for military action in Europe and just as indisputably named their intended target.

NATO has been pounding a steady, relentless drumbeat for the activation of its collective military plans in the Baltic Sea region and all it will take to bring that about is something as otherwise insignificant as the crash of an Estonian government website or Western proxies in Ukraine refusing to pay standard market prices for Russian natural gas. Nothing more.

1) NATO, Allied Command Transformation, November 13, 2008
2) Air Force Link, June 1, 2007
3) International Herald Tribune, November 28, 2006
4) Interfax, August 14, 2008
5) Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2008
6) Associated Press, September 29, 2008
7) Reuters, September 26, 2008
8) Trend News Agency, September 13, 2008
9) Financial Times, September 4, 2008
10) Reuters, September 3, 2008
11) Interfax, October 3, 2008
12) Reuters, October 22, 2008
13) U.S. Department of Defense, November 12, 2008
14) Voice of America News, November 11, 2008
15) Daily Telegraph, October 7, 2008
16) Reuters, September 12, 2008
17) Interfax, October 22, 2008
18) United States European Command, November 20, 2008
19) Czech News Agency, November 25, 2008
20) Defense News, December 3, 2008
21) Permanent NATO mission priority for Lithuania
Baltic Times, December 3, 2008
22) United States European Command, December 10, 2008
23) NATO, December 10, 2008
24) United States European Command, December 19, 2008
25) Financial Times, February 18, 2009
26) Ibid
27) Associated Press, February 11, 2009

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Margaret Fuller: America, with no prouder emblem than the Dove

September 13, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

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Margaret Fuller
From Fourth of July (1845)

Margaret_Fuller_by_Chappel

The bells ring; the cannon rouse the echoes along the river shore; the boys sally forth with shouts and little flags, and crackers enough to frighten all the people they meet from sunrise to sunset. The orator is conning for the last time the speech in which he has vainly attempted to season with some new spice the yearly panegyric upon our country; its happiness and glory; the audience is putting on its best bib and tucker, and its blandest expression to listen.

And yet, no heart, we think, can beat to-day with one pulse of genuine, noble joy. Those who have obtained their selfish objects will not take especial pleasure in thinking of them to-day, while to unbiassed minds must come sad thoughts of national honor soiled in the eyes of other nations, of a great inheritance risked, if not forfeited.

Much has been achieved in this country since the Declaration of Independence. America is rich and strong; she has shown great talent and energy; vast prospects of aggrandizement open before her. But the noble sentiment which she expressed in her early youth is tarnished; she has shown that righteousness is not her chief desire, and her name is no longer a watchword for the highest hopes to the rest of the world. She knows this, but takes it very easily; she feels that she is growing richer and more powerful, and that seems to suffice her.

These facts are deeply saddening to those who can pronounce the words “my country” with pride and peace only so far as steadfast virtues, generous impulses, find their home in that country. They cannot be satisfied with superficial benefits, with luxuries and the means of obtaining knowledge which are multiplied for them. They could rejoice in full hands and a busy brain, if the soul were expanding and the heart pure; but, the higher conditions being violated, what is done cannot be done for good.

Such thoughts fill patriot minds as the cannon-peal bursts upon the ear. This year, which declares that the people at large consent to cherish and extend slavery as one of our “domestic institutions,” takes from the patriot his home. This year, which attests their insatiate love of wealth and power, quenches the flame upon the altar.

***

We know not where to look for an example of all or many of the virtues we would seek from the man who is to begin the new dynasty that is needed of fathers of the country. The country needs to be born again; she is polluted with the lust of power, the lust of gain. She needs fathers good enough to be godfathers — men who will stand sponsors at the baptism with all they possess, with all the goodness they can cherish, and all the wisdom they can win, to lead this child the way she should go, and never one step in another. Are there not in schools and colleges the boys who will become such men? Are there not those on the threshold of manhood who have not yet chosen the broad way into which the multitude rushes, led by the banner on which, strange to say, the royal Eagle is blazoned, together with the word Expediency? Let them decline that road, and take the narrow, thorny path where Integrity leads, though with no prouder emblem than the Dove. They may there find the needed remedy, which, like the white root, detected by the patient and resolved Odysseus, shall have power to restore the herd of men, disguised by the enchantress to whom they had willingly yielded in the forms of brutes, to the stature and beauty of men.

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Ukraine Case: U.S. Leads NATO Allies In Special Operations War Games

September 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
September 12, 2014

Jackal Stone brings elite forces together in Germany
By John Vandiver

U.S. special operations forces and partners from nine other countries began a major exercise in Baumholder, Germany, on Friday as part of an effort to forge closer ties between the U.S. and Europe’s most elite fighting forces.

About 900 U.S. special operators and support personnel are taking part in this year’s Jackal Stone, which is among Special Operations Command Europe’s largest exercises.

“As partner nations, we share a commitment to promote peace and stability and seek opportunities to improve our interoperability,” Maj. Gen. Gregory J. Lengyel, SOCEUR commander, said at the start of the exercise. “Jackal Stone 14 provides the opportunity for personnel of all participating nations to engage in realistic and challenging training to build experience, cooperation and teamwork.”

In all, about 1,500 troops are participating in the exercise, which ends Sept. 23. The event, a standard SOCEUR program, involves multinational airborne drills and field training. Training locations in Germany include military facilities at Baumholder, Hohenfels, Grafenwöhr and Spangdalem. Den Helder, a military location in the Netherlands, will also be used.

This year marks the first time Jackal Stone has been held in Germany, said Lt. Col. Nick Sternberg, a SOCEUR spokesman. The goal is to take advantage of the country’s extensive training facilities, including those in Baumholder, where troops on Friday conducted a series of combat skill drills.

Participating countries include the Netherlands, which is co-sponsoring the exercise with the U.S., the Czech Republic, Finland, Great Britain, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Slovenia.

“This exercise helps to prepare participants to operate successfully in a joint, multinational, integrated environment,” a SOCEUR news release said.

Exercise scenarios are not related to any real-world events but are designed to “portray realistic and relevant security challenges,” the command said.

While planning for Jackal Stone began nearly a year ago, the training comes amid concern over Russian aggression in Ukraine. In recent months, SOCEUR has increased its training missions across Europe as part of broader efforts by the U.S. and its allies to reassure NATO members in eastern Europe.

Stars and Stripes reporter Michael Abrams contributed to this report.

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NATO, Ukraine Complete Black Sea Military Exercise

September 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
September 12, 2014

Ukraine, NATO military exercise ends in Black Sea

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KIEV: The “Sea Breeze-2014″ military exercise concluded in southern Ukraine, the country’ s Defense Ministry said Thursday.

The drills, which were held under the NATO’ s Partnership for Peace program in northwestern part of the Black Sea, involved around 2,000 troops from Ukraine, the United States, Spain, Canada, Romania and Turkey, the ministry’ s press service said in a statement.

Representatives of four other countries, including France, Norway, Georgia and Sweden watched the exercises as observers.

The naval and air maneuvers, which started on Monday, were aimed at “establishing and ensuring the safety of navigation in a crisis area.”

During the drills, the troops practiced their skills in overseeing navigation and rescuing a crashed ship.

A total of 12 ships, including seven from the Ukrainian side as well as planes and helicopters of Ukraine’ s naval aviation participated in the exercises.

The “Sea Breeze” military exercises have been conducted annually in Ukraine since 1997, except for the years of 2006, 2007 and 2009.

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Caucasus: Azerbaijan, Turkey To Conduct Massive War Games

September 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Azeri Press Agency
September 12, 2014

Azerbaijani Armed Forces to conduct large-scale exercises with participation of military units of Turkish Armed Forces

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About 30 000 personnel, more than 250 armored vehicles, more than 150 plants of missile and artillery troops, about 20 aircrafts, 15 helicopters, air defense units and anti-aircraft missile brigades will be involved in the exercises

Baku: In accordance with the plan approved by Azerbaijani President, Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev, all military branches of the Armed Forces will conduct large-scale tactical exercises in phases with the participation of military units of the Turkish Armed Forces from September 13 to 20.

Defense Ministry’s press service told APA that the first phase envisages the study of interaction and coordination among all forms of intelligence agencies, special-purpose forces, Air Forces, including air defense troops.

The second phase will cover organization and conduction of offensive operations by formations and military units of ground forces under different conditions, as well as in mountainous areas, employment of tactical air landing, raid and front groups, fulfillment of tasks for comprehensive coverage of operations.

About 10,000 reservists will be involved in the training camp in order to check the level of implementation of the mobilization tasks of the formations and units during the exercises under the instruction of the Supreme Commander. Practical exercises on how to use weapons and military equipment during the preparation for fighting and exercises on combat shootings and moral-psychological and combat readiness will be implemented.

In the third phase, combat shootings from infantry and tank units, rocket and artillery units, anti-aircraft missiles, combat aircrafts and helicopters and practical rocket launches and bombing will be carried out.

About 30 000 personnel, more than 250 armored vehicles, more than 150 plants of missile and artillery troops, about 20 aircrafts and 15 helicopters of the Air Forces, air defense units and anti-aircraft missile brigades armed with modern air defense complexes will be involved in the exercises.

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NATO Command Structure In Romania, Black Sea A NATO Lake

September 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Romanian News Agency
September 8, 2014

President Basescu: We will have NATO command structure in Romania

A NATO command structure will operate in the territory of Romania, President Traian Basescu announced after the alliance summit on Friday.

‘We will have a NATO command structure. In the documents that are not meant for the public, Romania features as a state that will offer facilities for a NATO command of acceptable dimensions’, Basescu explained.

‘Romania has two Romanian-American military bases, one in Kogalnicean [southeast] and one in Deveselu [southwest]. The rest of them are temporary garrisoning, exercises, field trainings, military maneuvers. The action plan enlarges the alternative and continuous military presence in Romania. On Romanian territory, we now have around 1,400 American troops, including 600 marines, elite soldiers. This effective will increase; it will be flexible, adapting to day-by-day situations. The important thing is that there’s a plan; the source of these troops and the fact that they can be deployed immediately and they are already equipped for any type of action are known,’ he explained.

Basescu added that Romania has the entire infrastructure ready to this effect.

‘It is a direct offer made by President Obama at the Summit: the creation of a training centre and naval exercises in the Black Sea, to be held with the navies of Romania and Bulgaria. This centre will be continuously supplied with US Navy ships. Today, actually, a destroyer entered the port of Constanta [southeastern Romania]. The Black Sea is acknowledged in the Summit documents as especially important for the Euro-Atlantic security; this is the broadest statement on the Black Sea,’ the president pointed out.

NATO messages – solidarity to members, freedom not for free

The NATO Summit foretold next missions after Afghanistan, and events over the past months created the conditions for the Alliance to act firstly as an organization fulfilling its fundamental mission of defending its members, President Traian Basescu declared on Friday.

‘This Summit has demonstrated that there’s no head of state or government not understanding the fundamental mission of NATO, that is defending its own members. I’d say that it’s a Summit of solidarity, one which revived the organization and sent a strong signal that upon any risk, no matter how small, for the members of the NATO alliance, the whole organization is ready to act on Article 5,’ Basescu asserted.

According to him, NATO’s second message was that freedom does not come free of charge.

Basescu also declared that Romania has reached all its goals at the NATO Summit in Wales.

‘We had a series of goals; all of them were met. It was a relatively lengthy inter-institutional work launched on the last year’s decision of CSAT [Supreme Council for Country's Defence] urging the Alliance to set up contingency plans for Romania. I’d like to thank our ambassador to NATO, who was our contact person and negotiator within NATO institutions. The Summit has adopted 20 documents, of which 5 are public and 15 not public, [but] secret,’ the president announced.

Black Sea to become NATO lake

Following the two days of the NATO summit in Newport, Wales, Romanian President Traian Basescu announced that Romania will host a regional command of the Alliance.

Following are some other comments he made to the media on Friday night.

‘I do not trust the truce signed today [between the government of Ukraine and the secessionists]. On the contrary, I do not see a favourable evolution for the territorial integrity of Ukraine. I’m afraid that pieces of its south are also going away into a larger Transnistria.’

NATO has called Romania to take over the guard of airports of Kandahar and Kabul in Afghanistan. The mission would require 400 soldiers. The president said Romania already contributes 200 troops, 200 instructors and 20 military police officers to Operation Resolute Support, and the new mission should be discussed in the Supreme Council for National Defence.

States highly dependent on Russian natural gas difficultly adapt to the need of sanctions against Russia, the president asserted. Asked to comment a bespoken remark he made some time ago, about the Black Sea being ‘a Russian lake’, he reminded his warning, ‘Gazprom [the big Russian natural gas supplier] is more efficient than the Red Army.’ As for the Black Sea, ‘We will turn it into a NATO lake.’

NATO did not commit to military support to Ukraine, but will create several mutual funds, with Romania coordinating a segment concerning the cyber security of Ukraine, Basescu also mentioned. Romania did not commit to supply weapons to Ukraine, he asserted, but specified ‘If it would have committed, I wouldn’t tell you; but it didn’t.’

The Republic of Moldova was included in two programmes, one for a platform of interoperability of Moldovan and NATO troops, and the other for building the country’s defence capabilities, which involves NATO member states, including Romania, participating in war games alongside the Moldovan army, the president explained.

Romania needs to allocate 2 percent of its GDP to defence, which would allow the country to ‘meet all expectations’. Basescu mentioned that Romania committed for this level for 2017, but the term could be advanced.

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Upton Sinclair: What it costs a woman to keep the world at war

September 12, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Upton Sinclair: How wars start, how they can be prevented

Upton Sinclair: The lost people are those who go to be shot, killed in big war (Dante through Vanzetti)

Upton Sinclair: War’s one-sided boost to the economy

Upton Sinclair: World war as a business enterprise

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Upton Sinclair
From Boston (1928)

1_2-Sinclair-young-man

There came days when the trip to her work and back again were infernal experiences, recalling those regions of Dante where the lost souls are frozen solid in ice. But in the great poet’s story it is possible to see the damned, while here they stumbled through pitch darkness, at half past six in the morning and the same hour in the evening. Cornelia would get her coat buttoned tight over a sweater and the family would pin her shawl over her head and ears, leaving just a peep-hole for the eyes and nose. Then with her hands in her mittens, and these tucked under her shawl, she would start the long journey, with Brini’s big hand grasping her under the arm. They would go staggering through snow-drifts, sliding on the ice and packed sleet; her hands would be half frozen, yet she would have to jerk them out to catch Brini and keep from breaking her bones. The pitiless winds would howl and buffer her and stab through her clumsy garments: the whirling snow would blind her – yet there was not much danger of getting lost, there being a stream of bundled figures plodding to the same goal. In was January of 1916, and out across the storm-lashed ocean the ships were being sunk, so there must be more cordage to keep the world at war. Any woman who failed to complete the journey twelve times per week would not have her pay-envelope with the six dollars on Thursday night…

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Kiev Regime Continues Arms Buildup For 150-Day War

September 11, 2014 1 comment

Interfax-Ukraine
September 11, 2014

Ukrainian Defense Ministry expects to receive 145 military hardware items by end of 2014

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The Ukrainian Defense Ministry expects to be supplied with 145 items of military hardware, including planes, helicopters, and armored vehicles, by the end of 2014, Ihor Odnoralov, a deputy director of the Defense Ministry department for development and procurement of weapons and military hardware, said at a news conference in Kyiv on Thursday.

“We expect to receive 145 items of military hardware by the end of the year. These are planes, helicopters, and armored vehicles. We also expect over 500 domestically-manufactured firearms, about 2,000 thermal imagers, and about 200 special communications devices,” Odnoralov said.

The Defense Ministry has received UAH 6.9 billion out of the UAH 11.7 billion allocated for its needs in the 2014 national budget and has spent UAH 3.2 billion, he said.

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NATO Military Commander In Iceland: Russia Now An Enemy

September 11, 2014 2 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

September 11, 2014

SACEUR VISITS ICELAND

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Reykjavik, Iceland Wednesday 10 September 2014. SACEUR General Phil Breedlove, visited Iceland where he met with both Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson and Foreign Minister Sveinsson. At the meeting with the Foreign Minister, SACEUR discussed recent events in Ukraine and how the posture of Russia has led to all NATO allies having to re-evaluate the relationship with Russia.

At a meeting with the press in Reykjavik, SACEUR, stated “Among other things that the paradigm of how we think about relationships in Europe has changed.” He added “That we thought that the times where a border would be changed by force was over in Europe, and now we see that that is not the case.”

Iceland Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson (left) with SACEUR General Phil Breedlove at the press conference after the meeting. Photo courtesy: Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

SACEUR moreover stated “For the past twelve years, NATO has been making decisions about basing, where our forces are, how our forces are deployed, based on Russia as a partner. However, what we see now is that we have to re-evaluate our force presence, our basing, our posture for a Russia that is determined to not be a partner and how that will affect us in the future.”

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Azerbaijan, Israel To Supply NATO Nations With 100 Drones

September 11, 2014 1 comment

Azerbaijan News Agency
September 11, 2014

Minister: Azerbaijan to supply one of NATO member countries with 100 drones
Ramiz Mikayiloglu

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Baku: “Currently, 51 production units on defense industry are operating in Azerbaijan. 5 new plants and 7 production units will be commissioned by the end of this year”, Minister of Defense Industry Yaver Jamalov told journalists, APA reports.

Jamalov said that these plants will carry out a serial production of 40-46mm grenade launchers. Ammunition for grenade launchers will be manufactured as well.

“Plants for production of M-6, M-12 explosives and U-25 ammunition will be operated. At the same time, a mass production of bullets for small firearms having bores 5,45 mm to 30 mm will be conducted. All these are of great importance to our army”, he said.

The minister noted that ammunition for tanks and artillery will be manufactured by the end of the first quarter of 2015: “We will almost fully meet the need of our army for artillery ammunition”.

Jamalov said negotiations are underway with the companies participating in ADEX-2014.

“I think that as conclusion of the exhibition, we will reach an agreement on delivery of these companies’ technologies to Azerbaijan”, the minister said.

He said the ministry is currently participating in tenders abroad.

“We won the tenders on grenade throwers and ammunitions with various calibers in Turkey and on mortars in several countries,” he said.

Jamalov also added: “Azerbaijan is currently producing drones in a unit jointly established with Israel. This year Azerbaijan, aside from its Armed Forces, plans to supply one of NATO member countries with 100 drones”.

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William Dean Howells to Henry James: The most stupid and causeless war

September 11, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

William Dean Howells: Editha

William Dean Howells: Spanish Prisoners of War

Henry James: Beguiled into thinking war, worst horror that attends the life of nations, could not recur

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From letters of William Dean Howells to Henry James
Members of the Anti-Imperialist League

WilliamDeanHowells

April 17, 1898

Of course I am distracted by the noises of the most stupid and causeless war that was ever imagined by a kindly and sensible nation. If there could be anything worse than the Zola trial it would be our behavior to Spain…The strange thing is that nobody, except the newspapers and the politicians, want war. It will set every good cause back and heaven knows when people will want to read novels again; one jingo journal has amusingly promised the public relief from mine if the war comes.

July 31, 1898

We are in sight of peace. Our war for humanity has unmasked itself as a war for coaling stations, and we are going to keep our booty to punish Spain for putting us to the trouble of using violence in robbing her.

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Defense Chief: NATO Arms Georgia For Next War With Russia

September 10, 2014 1 comment

Civil Georgia
September 9, 2014

Alasania: Georgia will be able to Procure Air Defense, Anti-Tank Systems

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Tbilisi: Georgian Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, said that de facto arms embargo, when Georgia’s western partners were reluctant of selling defensive weapons to Tbilisi after the August, 2008 war with Russia, is now already over.

Praising “substantial package” that NATO has offered to Georgia at the summit in Wales last week, Alasania said that, among other issues, it also gives Georgia possibility to procure air defense and anti-tank systems, but it would require, he said, more defense funding.

“In order for the Ministry of Defense and the armed forces perform their duties properly, they need defensive weapons,” Alasania said in an interview with Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 TV’s political talk show on September 9.

“We can say that this issue was stuck since 2008, it was not openly an embargo, but everyone was refraining from handing over or selling defensive arms to Georgia – now this issue has been put to an end in a positive sense. It is directly written in the Georgia-NATO package that NATO-member states should give Georgia possibility to procure defensive weapons and it specifies – air defense, anti-tank capabilities, which Georgia needs to defend itself from possible aggression,” the Defense Minister said.

“I said it when the U.S. Defense Secretary [Chuck Hagel] visited Georgia and I want to stress it again that this new stage of cooperation is not directed against anyone. We are only talking about self-defense capabilities [sic], which Georgia needs in order to have our airspace shielded and in order for our armed forces to be capable to confront adversary adequately,” he said.

“These capabilities will become available for Georgia stage-by-stage,” Alasania added.

But he stressed that in order it to happen Georgia should invest more in defense budget.

“Others will not create army for you. Other countries and NATO can give us instruments for that. So it is important to realize that it is mainly up to us to take steps for increasing our defense capabilities – we have all the instruments available for that,” the Defense Minister said.

During a hearing in parliament in July, Alasania told lawmakers that the Defense Ministry would seek 11% increase in its budget next year.

GEL 660 million is allocated to the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in 2014; the same amount of funding was allocated in 2013.

Alasania also said that Georgia current policy towards Russia “not to give Moscow any pretext for dragging us into any kind of escalation” is “pragmatic”, which is also welcomed by Tbilisi’s western partners.

“Our policy is to develop our defense, to go irreversibly towards NATO and the EU and at the same time to try not to let Russia drag us into escalation. It does not depend only on us, so we should be ready for everything. Our government will not let it happen to meet potential aggression in a way like we did in 2008. So our efforts are directed towards having all the necessary defensive capabilities so that in the event of escalation the Georgian soldiers can defend the territory and the society,” Alasania said.

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149-Day Conflict: Kiev Says, If You Want Peace, Prepare For War

September 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
August 10, 2014

Truce should be used to strengthen positions of Ukrainian security forces – defense minister

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Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletei has said he does not rule out that the ceasefire could end, and refutes allegations of militants holding over 2,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war.

“There is a political decision on the truce. We, as the military, are guided by the rule: ‘If you want peace, prepare for war.’ This period for us is an opportunity for reinforcement in all directions: from logistics to engineering structures under construction, and the strengthening of human resources. The truce for us is preparations for the possible processes that may occur as a result of a ceasefire violation,” he told reporters before an expanded government meeting with the participation of the president in Kyiv on Wednesday.

When asked whether the Defense Ministry does not rule out the possibility of the end of the ceasefire, Heletei said: “In any case, we have no right not to exclude such a scenario. That is, we are preparing, and this ceasefire for us means to prepare for defending our positions in Luhansk and Donetsk regions.”

He also denied allegations by militants that they allegedly hold over 2,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war.

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Enhanced NATO Partner Australia To Provide Arms To Ukraine

September 10, 2014 1 comment

Interfax-Ukraine
September 10, 2014

Australia to send batch of military equipment for Ukrainian armed forces, ready to allocate $1 mln in humanitarian aid via ICRC – Abbott
 

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott have discussed bilateral cooperation by phone, the press service of the Ukrainian president has reported.

“Australia will consider the possibility of deepening military and technical cooperation and, as a first step, will send to Ukraine a batch of military equipment and means of heat insulation. Australia is also ready to start programs on the education, training and equipping of Ukrainian troops,” the presidential press service quoted Abbott as saying on Wednesday.

He also said that the Australian government was ready to allocate $1 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“The Australian prime minister praised the actions of the Ukrainian president on the implementation of a peace plan and his efforts for the introduction of a ceasefire regime,” reads the report.

Abbott also thanked Poroshenko for the actions of the Ukrainian side in overcoming the consequences of the tragedy with the downed Malaysian Boeing, on board which there were also Australian citizens.

Poroshenko, in turn, thanked Abbott for the timely help and support.

Abbott also said he intended to make an official visit to Ukraine. He said that according to a preliminary agreement, Australia would open an embassy in Kyiv, which will start operating soon.

“This will help facilitate the receipt by Ukrainian citizens of consular services, and now Ukrainians will be able to travel to Australia more easily,” reads the report.

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Mediterranean Dialogue: NATO Naval Chief Meets With Moroccan Navy

September 10, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

September 10, 2014

MARCOM CHIEF OF STAFF DISCUSSES PARTNERSHIP AND COOPERATION WITH ROYAL MOROCCAN NAVY

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CASABLANCA, Morocco: Saturday 6 June 2014, in conjunction with a port visit by Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group TWO (SNMCMG2), Chief of Staff, NATO Allied Maritime Command, Rear Admiral Giorgio Lazio met with Vice Admiral Mohamed Laghmari, Inspector of the Royal Moroccan Navy, and his staff to discuss numerous issues of shared importance. Morocco stands as a privileged partner of NATO for its participation in the Mediterranean Dialogue and NATO’s counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR.

Taking advantage of an operational brief received by the Royal Moroccan Navy Staff, the two officers had the opportunity to stress again how necessary it is to cooperate in order to face emerging security challenges in the Mediterranean area, and agreed that possible actions to enhance the current common effort in ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR could include visits of Royal Moroccan Navy officers on board NATO ships and at HQ MARCOM in Northwood, UK.

MARCOM and the Royal Moroccan Navy are also exploring additional opportunities for training and exercises to improve interoperability and strengthen relationships among the naval forces.

“Vice Admiral Laghmari and his staff were very gracious hosts during our visit, and our frank and open discussions provided valuable insight into our common interests in the maritime domain,” said Rear Admiral Lazio. “We are striving to enhance our partnership with the Royal Moroccan Navy and our partners in the Mediterranean Dialogue, and this visit provided a unique opportunity to identify pragmatic steps toward achieving that goal.”

Story by: MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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James Fenimore Cooper: Oppression and injustice the natural consequences of military power uncurbed by restraints of civil authority

September 10, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

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James Fenimore Cooper
From The Spy (1821)

Cooper

The convenience, and perhaps the necessities, of American arms, in the neighborhood of New York, had induced them to employ certain subordinate agents, of extremely irregular habits, in executing their lesser plans of annoying their enemy. It was not a moment for fastidious inquiries into abuses of any description, and oppression and injustice were the natural consequences of a military power that was uncurbed by the restraints of civil authority. In times, a distinct order of the community was formed, whose sole occupation appears to have been that of relieving their fellow-citizens from any little excess of temporal prosperity they might be thought to enjoy, under the pretence of patriotism, and the love of liberty.

***

The intruder was a man still young in years, but his lineaments bespoke a mind long agitated by evil passions. His dress was of the meanest materials, and so ragged and unseemly, as to give him the appearance of studied poverty. His hair was prematurely whitened, and his sunken, lowering eye avoided the bold, forward look of innocence. There was a restlessness in his movements, and an agitation in his manner, that proceeded from the workings of the foul spirit within him, and which was not less offensive to others than distressing to himself. This man was a well-known leader of one of those gangs of marauders who infested the county with a semblance of patriotism, and who were guilty of every grade of offense, from simple theft up to murder. Behind him stood several other figures clad in a similar manner, but whose countenances expressed nothing more than the indifference of brutal insensibility. They were well armed with muskets and bayonets, and provided with the usual implements of foot soldiers…

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Over 200 Military Exercises Next Year: NATO Uses Ukraine War To “Organize Global Approach”

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment

North American Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

September 5, 2014

Engaging NATO’s Future Leaders in Wales

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NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), General Jean-Paul Paloméros gave a keynote speech at the 2014 Future Leaders Summit in Wales September 4. The theme was “Future NATO and Dynamic Transformation.”

Addressing an event that brings together current Alliance leaders, emerging leaders from NATO countries and experts in international security, SACT especially focused collective defence, interoperability, cooperation with partner nations and the future of NATO.

Advocating for maintaining a formidable bond with partner nations, General Paloméros expressed his desire to ensure NATO continues to work closely with nations who stand with the Alliance, when facing future and current security challenges.

He stressed the importance of viewing those challenges from a global perspective, saying every nation could play a role in preparing for current and emerging threats.

What the Ukraine crisis showed us is that we need to organise this global approach,” said General Paloméros. “That could be the next step in the role of NATO and the partnership of these nations; how we make sure everyone can play a role within this environment and how we make sure there is a global strategy to approach the major problems of this century.”

SACT also talked about his Command’s role in preparing NATO for the future. Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is responsible for providing a transformative training plan to enable its military force the flexibility to respond to any crisis in a short time.

“We have focused very much in the last two years on preparing our forces…,” he said. “We have been able to log more than 50 exercises – national exercises with NATO exercises – since June 2014. Next year, we are counting more than 200 exercises with NATO and the Nations together. This is a great achievement if you look at the situation as it was five years ago.”

General Paloméros told the audience military strength alone could not solve all of NATO’s problems. He concluded by praising the leaders’ thoughtful contributions saying, “our people are our best assets. The future starts now. It starts with you and you are an essential part of the future.”

The Future Leaders Summit, hosted by the Atlantic Council alongside the 2014 NATO Summit, serves as a major public diplomacy event to focus global attention on NATO, the United Kingdom and Wales, and also to provide a high-profile venue for current and aspiring Alliance leaders to engage one another and the public.

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American General Inspects Georgian Proxy Forces

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
September 9, 2014

Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson meets Georgian military

ISAF IJC Commander Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson visited Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan. The US General invited the military servicemen of Special Mountain Battalion of GAF to have dinner with him and thanked them for their contribution to the ISAF mission. After the dinner he presented five Georgian servicemen with memorable gifts.

Together with the U.S. General “South Regional Command” Michel Bills also met the Georgian military unit deployed at Kandahar Air Base.

The Special Mountain Battalion of GAF is in the phase of ending the ISAF mission. The Battalion personnel is responsible for fulfilling full-spectra security operations. Special Mountain Battalion will come back home in several weeks.

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Georgia: Military Air Show With American Flags

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
September 9, 2014

Air Show held at Alekseevka Air Base

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The week dedicated to the memory of the US-Georgian Aircraft Designer Alexander Kartvelishvili (Kartveli) was opened today. On the first day of the week Air Show was held at the Alekseevka Mixed Air Base. L-39 “Albatros”, Su-25 “Mimino” and AN-2 aircrafts of Aviation and Air Defence Command of GAF took part in the event. UN-1H “Iroquois” military helicopters also were presented in the show.

The paratroopers opened the air-show at the Alekseevka airdrome. When jumping from the helicopters, they unfolded Georgian and the US flags. The air crew performed difficult flight maneuvers, with the show elements that are usually used in combat operations, including military survival operations, air strikes as well as when repulsing an attack.

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Minister of Defence Irakli Alasania, Chief of the General Staff of GAF Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze and top brass of the MoD and the GS attended the event. Among the invited guests were also the representatives of legislative and executive organs, Diplomatic Corps and the Union of Armed Forces of Georgia. Attendance at the show was free for the interested persons too.

A photo exhibition was held for the invited guests at the air base territory. The photo material reflecting Aircraft Designer`s life activity and his aircraft models were displayed at the exhibition. The visitors also had the opportunity to view the models of the aircrafts designed by the youth of Military Scientific-Technical Centre “Delta”. Military Orchestra of Ministry of Defence of Georgia accompanied the air show musically.

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Drang Nach Osten: Merkel Threatens Russia With “Consequences”

September 9, 2014 1 comment

Ukrinform
September 9, 2014

Merkel: Russia’s involvement in Ukrainian conflict obvious

NBC News
German TV Shows Nazi Symbols on Helmets of Ukraine Soldiers

KYIV: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that sanctions are the only means of influence on Russia, which supports terrorists in Ukraine.

The chancellor said this in today’s interview with German radio station rbb-Inforadio, Deutsche Welle reported.

“The sanctions are the only means of pressure on the Russian Federation. Russia’s direct involvement in the Ukrainian conflict in very, very obvious, and its actions cannot be left without consequences.

However, the German government has no doubt that this conflict cannot be resolved by military means,” Merkel said.

She said that sanctions against Russia would be in effect until the end of the conflict in Donbas. “But introducing them, we must also make it clear that as soon as the situation gets normalized, means of punishment will be lifted,” she said.

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U.S., Lithuania, NATO Allies In 17-Nation, 6,000-Troop Drills

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Army Europe
September 9, 2014

WHAT IS SABER JUNCTION?
Saber Junction 14 prepares U.S., NATO allies and European partners to conduct unified land operations through the simultaneous combination of offensive, defensive and stability operations.

Steadfast Javelin II

Saber Junction 14 is a U.S. Army Europe led, U.S. European Command directed, multinational, multiservice exercise that involves more than 5,800 personnel from 17 countries in several locations in Europe. Each year the exercise provides joint and combined multinational training on a large scale, with thousands of U.S. and partner nation forces and hundreds of aircraft spread across Europe synchronized in a single security cooperation effort.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade and Lithuania’s “Iron Wolf” mechanized infantry brigade are the primary partners who will train side by side during the exercise, along with forces from USAREUR’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment and U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard elements.

Saber Junction is the primary venue with which the Army conducts Decisive Action training in Europe. It is structured to build expeditionary capabilities and prepare brigade-level Army and allied units for worldwide contingencies through exercises such as airborne operations and the joint and combined seizure of a notional enemy airfield in Latvia by providing follow-on forces.

The exercise gives Army units an opportunity to collaborate with U.S., NATO and European partners on concepts such as interoperability and decisive and sustainable land operations through the simultaneous combination of offensive, defensive and stability operations. At the same time it serves as one of the Army’s primary venues for assuring America’s European partners of continued U.S. commitment to NATO, regional security and stability.

STEADFAST JAVELIN II

A portion of Saber Junction has transitioned into a NATO military exercise called Steadfast Javelin II, Sept. 2-8. Steadfast Javelin II will involve vehicles, aircraft and Soldiers from nine different nations and take place across five NATO countries including Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Steadfast Javelin II is designed to dynamically demonstrate NATO’s commitment to its fundamental purpose to safeguard the freedom and security of its members and partners. Steadfast Javelin II will be led by NATO’s Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) and will facilitate the training of more than 2,000 multinational Soldiers in unified land operations and interoperability.

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NATO Completes War Games In Baltic Region

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum

September 8, 2014

NATO Exercise Steadfast Javelin II tests Allied interoperability

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NATO-led Exercise Steadfast Javelin II wrapped up on Monday (8 September 2014) after a week of intensive training which involved over 2,000 troops from 10 Allied nations. The exercise, which took place in Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, focused on strengthening interoperability between air and ground forces through airborne and air assault missions. “With this exercise NATO sent the clear message that it is committed and ready to protect member nations’ territory at any time,” General Hans-Lothar Domröse, Commander Joint Forces Command Brunssum (JFCB) said.

Air and ground forces gathered at Ramstein Airbase in Germany at the start of the exercise on 2 September to begin planning, rehearsals and the loading of equipment ahead of the training missions. Around 500 paratroopers were dropped on 6-7 September over Lielvarde Airbase, in Latvia, to take control and clear the airfield of enemy forces as part of the exercise. Around 160 paratroopers, plus Howitzer artillery, were dropped in a similar operation in Lithuania. The drops were combined with air-assault raids which took place in Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, to see how well NATO air and ground troops work together.

At the Wales Summit, NATO leaders agreed that the Alliance needs to ensure its forces remain modern, robust and capable to meet current and future challenges. They agreed to set up a new high readiness force and agreed to enhance and reinforce training and exercises.

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NATO To Hold Special Forces Exercise In Lithuania, Poland

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

September 9, 2014

SPECIAL FORCES TRAIN FOR CERTIFICATION IN EXERCISE NOBLE JUSTIFICATION 14

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The allied Field Training Exercise (FTX) ‘Noble Justification-14’ will take place on military training areas in Poland and Lithuania during September this year. It is a certification for NATO Special Operations Component (SOC) before taking over combat readiness duties within the NATO Response Forces in 2015 (NRF 2015). Altogether, about 1700 soldiers from 15 countries will take part in the exercise.

Special Operations Component Command (SOCC) staff will provide the direction supported by the Polish Special Operations Centre in Cracow. 5 Special Operation Task Groups (SOTG’s): 3 land SOTG’s (Polish, Dutch and Lithuanian) 1 maritime and 1 air (both Polish) will take responsibility for conducting practical tasks assigned by SOCC.

The Certification team will be provided by JFC Naples with Major General Piotr Patalong, Polish Special Forces, as the Exercise Director. Testing interoperability and other multi-national techniques will be a key aim of the exercise and will further assist Poland’s readiness to provide the framework nation within the Special Operations Component in 2015.

Story by: SHAPE Public Affairs Office.

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Defeat of Ukraine army brings ceasefire, but underlying political conflicts unresolved

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment

RogerAnnis.com
September 8, 2014

 

 

Defeat of Ukraine army brings ceasefire, but underlying political conflicts unresolved

By Roger Annis, published on Truthout, Sept 8, 2014

Map DonetskA ceasefire in the war in eastern Ukraine was announced in Minsk, Belarus on Sept. 5. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko made a simultaneous announcement in Wales where he was a special guest at the summit meeting of the NATO military alliance.

A 12-point agreement was signed in Minsk by representatives of the Kyiv government and the Peoples Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Also signing were former Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma, Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and Heidi Tagliavini of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The text of the agreement has been published in Russian, here. An unofficial translation to English is here. Terms include a cessation of military hostilities, exchanges of prisoners of war and release of people illegally detained, humanitarian aid and reconstruction assistance, and most importantly, recognition of political autonomy for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the southeast of the country.

The autonomy provision presumably obliges the withdrawal of Ukrainian military and fascist paramilitary forces from southeast Ukraine. But it’s not clear if that will happen, including from the important cities of Mariupol and Slavyansk.

An unresolved conflict

The ceasefire and the political autonomy that is recognized are considerable political achievements for the rebellion in southeast Ukraine. For the past four and a half months, the people of the region have resisted a brutal, military offensive launched by the governing regime in Kyiv. Only a few weeks ago, the military offensive was threatening to encircle the large cities of the region and crush self-defense forces.

On August 27, rebels launched a counter-attack along the Black Sea coast and at several locations inland, delivering what eyewitnesses are calling a “catastrophic” defeat of Kyiv forces (more on that below).

Both sides in the conflict are militarily exhausted, meaning prospects for the ceasefire holding in the short term are good. But there are many reasons to doubt that it will hold over the longer term. The main reason is that the signators on the Kyiv side and their international backers are expressing little support for it.

NATO says it will proceed with more sanctions on Russia, showing no sign of relenting in its propaganda war claiming that Russia has “invaded” Ukraine.

An aide to President Poroshenko, Yuri Lytsenko, says that five NATO countries—the U.S., France, Italy, Poland and Norway will provide advanced arms to Ukraine. According to Associated Press, NATO’s response to that inconvenient news leak is to say that while the alliance itself will not send weapons to Ukraine, “individual allies may choose to do so”.

The fascist paramilitaries that comprise an important component of Kyiv’ military forces say they have no loyalty or commitment to the ceasefire. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is already speaking of reimposing “martial law” in southeast Ukraine at the first sign of breakdown of the ceasefire

On the other side, what is the reaction of the people of southeast Ukraine to the news? Many will be thankful if the bombardments from Kyiv stop. But they have endured five months of shelling, occupation and carnage brought upon them by Kyiv and it’s difficult for them to see any future in such a country. At least three leaders of the self-defense forces—Paul Gubarev, Igor Strelkov and Alexey Mozgovoi– have expressed skepticism about the agreement. All this means that patience with the inevitable provocations and violations of the ceasefire by Kyiv and its fascist allies will be very thin.

An example of the political challenge for Kyiv is provided in a report in The Guardian on Sept. 4 from the Black Sea port city of Mariupol, Donetsk region. The city has been under Kyiv’s control, and yet, “Many in Mariupol, especially among the workers of the city’s two giant steel plants, remain ambivalent towards the government in Kiev and some openly support the Donetsk rebels, suggesting the possibility of a messy battle if an assault on the city does take place.”

It’s doubtful that many of the one million or more people made refugees by the war will return home amidst ongoing uncertainty, including the fact that the economic interests driving the war are still hell-bent on their course.

A stunning military setback for Kyiv

Details are only just emerging of the stunning military losses by the Ukraine army and rightist militias after self-defense forces launched a broad counter-attack on August 27. Tim Judah reports in the New York Review of Books on Sept. 5:

The scale of the devastation suffered by Ukrainian forces in southeastern Ukraine over the last week has to be seen to be believed. It amounts to a catastrophic defeat and will long be remembered by embittered Ukrainians as among the darkest days of their history.

Judah writes of seeing lengthy columns of tanks and other armoured vehicles utterly destroyed as they sought to retreat from advanced positions where they risked being surrounded.

The UK Telegraph published on Sept. 2 a similarly grim description of the Ukraine army and militia setback.

The rebel victory and the ceasefire it prompted have come at an exceptionally high human cost on both sides. Exact casualty figures of Ukraine’s army and militias are kept secret. Kyiv’s figures speak of nearly 1,000 military deaths and thousands of injuries since it launched its “anti-terrorist operation” in late April. But unofficial casualty figures are in the tens of thousands.

The war crimes committed by Kyiv have taken an enormous toll on civilians. Unable to capture large cities, the regime instead rained artillery on them over several months. Thousands of residents have died or suffered injury. Many thousands of homes and apartments have been damaged or destroyed, as have factories and coal mines. Life support systems such as water, electricity, communication and medical services have been heavily damaged or destroyed. Among the targets of shelling have been schools and hospitals.

Shelling of Donetsk on Sept 4, 2014

The cities of Donetsk and Luhansk have seen about half of their populations of 1.1 million and 450,000, respectively, flee for safety. The latest figures on refugees by the UN Refugee Agency place the number of war refugees inside Ukraine at more than 260,000–double the number of one month earlier. The agency cites Russian government figures that more than 816,000 Ukrainians have fled to that country this year.

The cost of reconstructing all that has been destroyed is in the billions of dollars.

A crazed war of austerity and authoritarianism

The war is an effort to crush resistance to the neo-conservative government which came to power in Kyiv late February. The new regime embarked on an abrupt, about-turn for the country, announcing it would sign an austerity, economic agreement with Europe and thereby throw the country’s industrial and agricultural production open to the vagaries of the international capitalist market. Another condition of any agreement with Europe (and the U.S.) is deep cuts to social spending, which the government began to make months ago.

Industry in the east is heavily dependent on trade with Russia and especially vulnerable to “free trade” competition from western Europe. This explains why anti-austerity rebellion took deeper hold there, compared to the more agricultural western Ukraine. The agreement with Europe was signed in June.

The austerity and related war drive is accompanied by harsh crackdowns on democratic rights. These include bans on media and internet expression, bans on political parties, notably the Communist Party of Ukraine, and a measure that gives police the right to shoot on sight anyone deemed to be a “separatist”.

Antiwar or anti-conscription protests by families and friends of conscripted soldiers have been on the rise ever since Kyiv imposed a third round of military conscription in July. A remarkable video interview with a Ukrainian soldier recently captured by self-defense forces describes the harsh conditions of service of conscript soldiers and the increasing disaffection with a war neither they nor their family and friends want:

Anger and bitterness by protesters and soldiers at having their worst fears about the war realized are going to reap a terrible whirlwind of recrimination against the government and other supporters of the war in the weeks and months ahead.

And the grim news is not only military. Ukraine’s national treasury is now largely dependent on loans from the IMF and other international financial institutions.Writing in Forbes magazine on Sept. 5, Mark Adomanis says the cost of the war and the scale of the destruction it has caused guarantees that Ukraine will enter into financial default:

Even with substantial international assistance, Ukraine is going to owe a lot of money to a lot of different people and it isn’t going to have the means necessary to pay this money back.

It’s also worth taking a second to remember that the “reforms” demanded by the IMF primarily amount to harsh austerity measures (primarily cuts in gas subsidies) that are massively unpopular among Ukrainians and that will have a hugely negative impact on the population’s living standard, which isn’t very high to begin with. There’s a reason that Yanukovych and every other post-Soviet Ukrainian leader has obstinately refused to implement these reforms (Ukrainians hate them!) and it doesn’t take a particularly active imagination to devise a scenario in which the reforms backfire and ultimately cause the onset of yet another political crisis.

The government faces an acute challenge in preparing the country for winter. Its reckless confrontation with Russia has compromised the natural gas supply Ukraine was receiving from there, at cut-rate prices, no less. And its war has severely damaged coal production. Several months ago, the provisioning of hot water in many cities of western Ukraine was cut in an effort to conserve fuel stocks for winter.

Prior to the ceasefire, many of the vital forces of the rebellion said their aim was the creation of a new state. They call it ‘Novorossia’, an historic term for the lands on the Black sea coastline stretching from the present day Russian border westward to the city of Odessa (not including Crimea). CNN reporter Diana Magnay captured actutely the popular sentiment in the direct war zone when she spoke to victims of shelling in Donetsk on Sept 1. One city resident told her, “We are Ukrainians, but these people in Kyiv kill us. We are not brothers, so we probably need our own country.”

But the prospects for realizing that project are daunting. There is the military firepower of Kyiv to contend with, including its powerful, foreign backers. Political opinion among the varying populations of the region is not universal–only in Donetsk and Luhansk is there likely a majority support for secession. Even there, discontent with the political rule of the rebels has been considerable.

And contrary to the claims of Kyiv and NATO propagandists, Russia has never supported any version of a sovereign state in eastern and southern Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin expressly stated just weeks ago that a political settlement in southeast Ukraine should preserve the unitary state of Ukraine.

An entirely new element may come into the political picture as a result of Kyiv’s military defeat—a rise of opposition in western Ukraine to the austerity policies and ascendance of extreme, right-wing nationalism that propelled the war. Prospects for socially progressive alliances across the east-west divide would make a secession option less desirable or inevitable to the population in the east.

Russia’s role and interests

The dramatic change in the military balance created by the rebel offensive raises important questions about Russia’s exact role and designs.

Contrary, again, to the Kyiv and NATO propagandists, there is next to no evidence that the Russian army personnel played a direct role in the decisive rebel offensive. Rather, as openly acknowledged by rebel forces, rebel fighters received intense training during the past several months and there has been a significant influx of volunteer fighters from Russia.

Heavy weaponry obtained by rebels reportedly played a key role in the counter-attack, as did military protection of the border (thus facilitating the movement of rebels). Border protection is the source of NATO’s sharpest condemnation of Russia–it wants Russia to police and curb the autonomy movement, something akin to how Egypt collaborates with Israel and the U.S. in restricting the movement of people and goods to and from the Palestinian territory of Gaza. But Russia’s rulers have nothing to gain and much to lose in bowing to imperialism’s dictats. The Russian public strongly supports the rebel movement and expects their government to defend it.

Kyiv and NATO have repeatedly rejected Russia’s modest proposals to end the conflict, leaving no doubt that their goal is to crush the revolt. Such an outcome would leave Russia with even less leverage to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO. For Russia, Ukraine in NATO would be nothing short of catastrophic. Military aid to the resistance could forestall such an outcome.

The U.S. and Britain, in particular, left Russia with little to lose from a shift to increased support to the rebels. Regardless of the restraint that Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced to rebel fighters, regardless of their statements that Russia had no territorial designs on southeast Ukraine and wanted the war settled, the Western press still demonised Russia and Western governments continued to ramp up sanctions. So Russia had little to lose from doing something that it was accused of doing anyway—covertly assisting rebel fighters to avert a harsh defeat.

An important consideration for Russia over what to do was the extreme vulnerability of Kiev’s war effort. In July and August, Kyiv waged a relentless drive to cripple or destroy the rebellious southeast. Some territorial gains were made, but the large cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Horlivka could not be taken. The army and its allied militias were poorly led and provisioned, and morale was sinking. By the middle of August, they were badly extended and highly vulnerable to counterattack.

Simultaneously, the economic situation in the country is rapidly deteriorating. A rebel counteroffensive could show the impossibility of a Ukrainian victory while encouraging domestic resistance to the anti-Russia, war course.

The fact that the ceasefire was signed before cities such as Mariupol and Slavyansk were retaken by rebel forces suggests the Russian government’s approach is to tip the military balance just enough that neither side achieves a decisive victory.

What does the future hold?

The ceasefire agreement leaves a great many uncertainties over the future. But much has been learned throughout the region over the past six months and prospects are good for new forms of struggle for social justice and national self-determination to take hold across the east-west divide.

Antiwar protests, for example, have continued in Ukraine following the ceasefire announcement. The population of southeast Ukraine has already taken measures to curb the economic domination of the billionaires who own the large industries in the region. Considering the elite’s support to Kyiv’s war, anti-oligarch measures are likely to deepen. This will appeal to others in Ukraine as the austerity program of President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk bites deeper. It will also be noticed in Russia, where the economic elite and its corrupt capitalism are not popular. (Coincidentally, the regional government in Crimea has recently seized and will put up for sale the assets of Ukraine’s most notorious, right-wing billionaire, Ihor Kolomoisky.)

Russia’s cautious role in events, including pressuring for an inconclusive ceasefire, will have many in eastern Ukraine casting a much more critical eye over its role and interests.

Above all, the hawkish threats of NATO and the global capitalist interests it represents are a powerful catalyst for all the peoples of eastern Europe and Russia to unite against the twin policies of austerity and war. That will be a positive outcome to an otherwise tragic, five months of war. A movement of international solidarity with Ukraine can play a key role in blocking a return to war and facilitating popular reconciliation and antifascist, social justice struggle.

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Sinclair Lewis: General: State of peace far worse than war

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Sinclair Lewis: For the first time in all history, a great nation must go on arming itself more and more…for peace!

Sinclair Lewis: Get us into war just to grease their insane vanity and show the world that we’re the huskiest nation going

Sinclair Lewis: It Can(‘t) Happen Here

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Sinclair Lewis
From It Can’t Happen Here (1935)

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The General was short and globular, and his red face was smooth as a baby’s bottom and adorned with white-gold-framed spectacles. But he had the military snort and a virile chuckle.

“Well, sir!” he guffawed, on his feet, shaking a chummy forefinger at Mrs. Gimmitch, “since you folks are bound and determined to drag the secrets out of a poor soldier, I better confess that while I do abhor war, yet there are worse things. Ah, my friends, far worse! A state of so-called peace, in which labor organizations are riddled, as by plague germs, with insane notions out of anarchistic Red Russia! A state in which college professors, newspapermen, and notorious authors are secretly promulgating these same seditious attacks on the grand old Constitution! A state in which, as a result of being fed with these mental drugs, the People are flabby, cowardly, grasping, and lacking in the fierce pride of the warrior! No, such a state is far worse than war at its most monstrous!

“I guess maybe some of the things I said in my former speech were kind of a little bit obvious and what we used to call ‘old hat’ when my brigade was quartered in England. About the United States only wanting peace, and freedom from all foreign entanglements. No! What I’d really like us to do would be to come out and tell the whole world: ‘Now you boys never mind about the moral side of this. We have power, and power is its own excuse!’

“I don’t altogether admire everything Germany and Italy have done, but you’ve got to hand it to ‘em, they’ve been honest enough and realistic enough to say to the other nations, ‘Just tend to your own business, will you? We’ve got strength and will, and for whomever has those divine qualities it’s not only a right, it’s a duty, to use ‘em!’ Nobody in God’s world ever loved a weakling – including that weakling himself!

“And I’ve got good news for you! This gospel of clean and aggressive strength is spreading everywhere in this country among the finest type of youth. Why today, in 1936, there’s less than 7 per cent of collegiate institutions that do not have military-training units under discipline as rigorous as the Nazis, and where once it was forced upon them by the authorities, now it is the strong young men and women who themselves demand the right to be trained in warlike virtues and skill – for, mark you, the girls, with their instruction in nursing and the manufacture of gas masks and the like, are becoming every whit as zealous as their brothers. And all the really thinking type of professors are right with ‘em!

“Why, here, as recently as three years ago, a sickeningly big percentage of students were blatant pacifists, wanting to knife their own native land in the dark. But now, when the shameless fools and the advocates of Communism try to hold pacifist meetings – why, my friends, in the past five months, since January first, no less than seventy-six such exhibitionistic orgies have been raided by their fellow students, and no less than fifty-nine disloyal Red students have received their just deserts by being beaten up so severely that never again will they raise in this free country the bloodstained banner of anarchism! That, my friends, is NEWS!”

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Two Days In Tbilisi: Pentagon Immediately Implements New NATO Program

September 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
September 8, 2014

Official Visit of U.S. Defense Secretary Come to End

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Two-day long official visit of U.S. Secretary of Defense to Georgia has come to an end today. Chuck Hagel has already left Georgia. Deputy Defense Minister Mikheil Darchiashvili, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland and Defense Attaché, Colonel Mathew Dimmick saw U.S. Defense Secretary off.

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania hosted the U.S. counterpart. Pentagon Chief held meetings at Georgian MoD, with Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili and President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

At the meeting held at the Georgian MoD, Secretary of Defense reiterated importance of the US-Georgia partnership and expressed willingness to continue enhanced cooperation with Georgia in the defense area. He gave a positive appreciation of the Substantial Package and pledged support in its implementation.

U.S. Secretary of Defense also visited National Training Center “Krtsanisi” and delivered speech to the Georgian military and U.S. Marines. He thanked the Georgian people for their contributions and sacrifices over the last decade.

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Ministry of Defence of Georgia
September 7, 2014

The US Secretary of Defense at the Heroes` Memorial

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In the framework of an official visit to Georgia, the United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel went to see the memorial of heroes who had fallen in the fight for the unity and territorial integrity of Georgia. Secretary Chuck Hagel held a minute of silence to pay tribute to the memory of the Georgian heroes and those ones who died in action in international missions and laid wreath on the memorial.

The US Defense Chief also talked with the military servicemen who had been wounded in 2008 August War and in international missions.

Among the memorial visitors were Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania, Deputy Minister Mikheil Darchiashvili, Chief of the General Staff of GAF Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze, other MoD and GS officials as well as the US Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland and the US delegation members. They also paid tribute to the remembers of the Georgian heroes.

The MoD military brass band performed Georgian and American state anthems.

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Latvia: NATO Rehearsal For War With Russia

September 8, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum

September 8, 2014

EXERCISE STEADFAST JAVELIN-II AIRBORNE ASSAULT VISITED BY COMMANDER JFC BRUNSSUM

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General Hans-Lothar Domröse, Commander Joint Forces Command Brunssum (JFCB), visited Latvia last Friday 5 September 2014 to attend to the exercise ‘Steadfast Javelin-II’ distinguished visitors day. He met with the senior officials and observed a number of exercise serials first hand. This included a night-time parachute jump by more than 400 NATO paratroopers onto Lielvārde Air Base that was followed by the seizure of the airfield and the landing of Stryker armoured vehicles.

In an interview General Domröse stressed the importance of exercises such as ‘Steadfast Javelin-II’ as platforms that enhance and maintain military interoperability – critically, amongst NATO member and partner nations under the framework of what the Alliance calls the ‘Connected Forces Initiative.’

Underlining NATO’s rock solid commitment to collective defence the General said: “With this exercise NATO sends the clear message that it is committed and ready to protect member nations’ territory at any time.” With specific reference to the Baltic States and Poland he added: “The Alliance is capable and willing to defend the countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland should the need arise.”

Exercise ‘Steadfast Javelin-II’ is a NATO exercise involving over 2,000 troops from 10 nations. It is being conducted simultaneously in Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The exercise focuses on increasing interoperability and synchronizing complex operations between allied air and ground forces through airborne and air assault missions.

Story by: JFCB Public Affairs Office.

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Black Sea: NATO Warships Join U.S.-Ukraine Exercise

September 8, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

September 8, 2014

NATO SHIPS TAKE PART IN MULTINATIONAL SEA BREEZE EXERCISE

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Spanish frigate SPS Almirante Juan de Borbon

Three ships from Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO Task Unit 02 (SNMG2 TU.02) arrived in the Black Sea Saturday to take part in the multinational ‘Sea Breeze 2014’ military exercise, which started Monday 8 September. The aim of NATO’s participation in the exercise is to demonstrate Allied commitment to collective defence and to strengthen NATO’s ability to work with partner navies.

The event will test maritime interdiction operations, communications, search and rescue, force protection and navigation. The United States and Ukraine are organizing the annual exercise ‘Sea Breeze’ which will run from 8-10 September 2014. This year’s participants include Ukraine, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, and the United States. NATO is represented by the Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto, the Spanish frigate SPS Almirante Juan de Borbon and the Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand. The three ships are under the command of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two Rear Admiral Brad Williamson. SNMG2 is part of NATO’s four Standing Maritime Forces.

In response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, NATO has increased its air patrols over the Baltic countries and increased naval patrols in the Baltic Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. The NATO Summit in Wales last week (4-5 September) agreed to form a new rapid reaction force and to further step up exercises in Eastern Europe to enhance the collective defence of Allies.

Story by: MARCOM Public Affairs Office.

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Ukraine: U.S., NATO Allies Start Black Sea Military Exercise

September 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
September 8, 2014

Ukraine, U.S. to hold Sea Breeze exercise in Black Sea on Sept 8-10

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Ukraine and the United States are to hold the Sea Breeze exercise in the northwestern sector of the Black Sea on September 8 to 10, the Ukrainian Navy’s press center announced.

The exercise will focus on techniques of conducting an international operation to maintain safe navigation in a crisis-ridden region.

Besides Ukraine and the U.S., the exercise will involve Spain, Canada, Romania and Turkey. Twelve warships and logistics vessels will take part in the maneuvers, including five Ukrainian warships and two Ukrainian coastguard boats. The Ukrainian Navy will also provide aircraft and helicopters.

Georgia, Norway, Sweden and France will send observers to the naval maneuvers.

The crews will practice skills in overseeing merchant navigation in selected zones, searching for and spotting trespasser ships, as well as checking and rescuing skills.

The drill will proceed under the supervision of the Ukrainian Navy’s acting Deputy Commander for Combat Training, Captain First Rank Oleksiy Neizhpapa, and U.S. Navy Capt. James Aiken, who is deputy director of the exercise.

The Ukrainian Navy’s press service said that the drill would not have a land phase. Visits to the ports of Odesa or other Ukrainian ports are not envisioned.

The drill is part of the program for bilateral cooperation between the Ukrainian and U.S. military and complies with the Ukrainian president’s decree of March 25 2014. The naval maneuvers will be held in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace program. Eleven Sea Breeze exercises were held between 1997 and 2013.

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Pentagon Chief Backs Georgia’s New NATO Status

September 8, 2014 1 comment

U.S. Department of Defense
September 7, 2014

Hagel: U.S. Backs Georgia’s New NATO Standing, Boosts Defense Support
By Cheryl Pellerin

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WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made his first official visit to Georgia today following his participation at the NATO Summit in Wales, meeting with government and military leaders and congratulating the U.S. military partner on its new status as an enhanced NATO partner.

Hagel began his 16th international trip Sept. 3; a six-day visit that included participation in the NATO Summit in Wales last week and meetings with government and military leaders in Georgia and Turkey.

Meeting with the defense minister

This morning, after an official welcoming ceremony at the Ministry of Defense in Tbilisi, Hagel met with Defense Minister Irakli Alasania. During a press conference that followed the meeting, both reaffirmed their nations’ close defense partnership and the shared goal to build even stronger military ties.

“I also expressed the gratitude of the American people for the … significant contributions Georgia has made to operations in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Over more than a decade of fighting together, our two militaries have forged a deep and enduring friendship and a strong and vibrant partnership,” Hagel said.

In 2012, the U.S. and Georgian presidents agreed to an enhanced defense cooperation program to accelerate Georgia’s defense reforms and modernization, increase Georgia’s level of NATO interoperability and improve the nation’s defense capabilities.

As a result of the agreement, the United States and Georgia have increased cooperative training events and dialogues among subject matter experts.

Because Georgia is a committed and dependable U.S. partner, the defense secretary said, the Defense Department fully supports Georgia’s defense modernization efforts and will continue to help the nation fulfill its Euro-Atlantic aspirations — including membership in NATO.

New NATO status

Hagel and Alasania discussed how the substantial package of measures for Georgia that NATO leaders endorsed at the Wales summit will strengthen the country’s relationship with NATO, Hagel added. These include expanded defense capacity-building efforts, more joint training exercises and enhanced interoperability capabilities.

Georgia was one of five nations to achieve the new elevated status of NATO enhanced-opportunities partners, and Hagel said the United States would make a substantial contribution to the new alliance effort and to continuing bilateral U.S.-Georgia capacity-building efforts.

Today the minister and I discussed the necessary steps for Georgia to acquire the U.S. military helicopters that they have requested,” Hagel said, adding that Georgia’s new status would help the nation advance its preparations toward NATO membership.

Russia

Hagel said the deepening ties between NATO and Georgia are especially important given the “dangerous and irresponsible actions of President [Vladimir] Putin toward Ukraine.”

Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea, which the United States does not recognize, the secretary noted, “and the ongoing military campaign that Russia is mounting in eastern Ukraine, pose grave threats to regional stability, as had its actions inside Georgia’s internationally recognized borders.”

The United States continues to call on Russia to fully withdraw its forces from Georgia’s borders, Hagel said, adding that the United States welcomes the restraint Georgia has shown in this situation.

“Russia’s actions here and in Ukraine pose a long-term challenge that the United States and our allies take very seriously. But President Putin’s actions have also brought the United States and our friends in Europe, including Georgia, closer together,” Hagel said.

Battling terrorism

“We will need a close partnership to counter another key security challenge – the growing threat of violent extremism,” the secretary added.

Hagel said he and Alasania discussed ways Georgia could play an important role in a partnership with the United States, Iraq and coalition partners to destroy the ISIL threat.

“This is a galvanizing moment for NATO and our partners,” Hagel added. “I believe that the summit in Wales put us on the right path to respond to President Putin’s challenge over the long term, as well as the threat of ISIL.”

After the press conference, Hagel made his way to a meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, stopping first at Heroes Square to lay a wreath.

Heroes Square

Heroes Square, built in 2009, honors those who died protecting Georgia’s territory. Etched into the main monument, a tall pillar of marble and methacrylate, are the names — about 4,000 in total — of Georgian military cadets who died fighting the Red Army in 1921, the leaders of an anti-Soviet revolt in 1924, and those who died during military actions in Abkhazia in 1992-1993 and in the five-day war in South Ossetia in August 2008.

Across the street, facing the obelisk, an eternal flame is flanked by an honor guard of two soldiers.
Afterward, Hagel met with the prime minister at the State Chancellery and later in the day at the President’s Palace with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby provided readouts of the meetings.
In his meeting with the Georgian president, Hagel thanked Margvelashvili for his leadership and for the contributions Georgia continues to make in Afghanistan and other peacekeeping missions.

Georgia in Afghanistan

Georgian armed forces members have served in Afghanistan since 2004. The first full Georgian unit deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. Georgia is the largest non-NATO troop contributor to the International Security Assistance Force, with more than 10,000 soldiers having operated with Marines in Helmand Province.

To date, 29 Georgian soldiers have died and 276 have been wounded during their service in Afghanistan. Beyond 2014, Georgia has agreed to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces and has pledged financial assistance.

Meeting with the defense minister

Kirby said Hagel also praised the efforts of Defense Minister Alasania in helping the two militaries maintain a strong defense relationship, and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to working with Georgia on a range of bilateral and alliance initiatives.

The two leaders discussed a host of regional security issues, the admiral said, including Russia’s continued aggression inside Ukraine and the threat its actions pose to the regional and international order, and the threat posed by ISIL in the Middle East.

Common concern

One concern was common to Hagel’s meeting with Margvelashvili, and earlier in the day with the prime minister, Kirby said; the problem of foreign fighters flowing into Syria to join extremist groups and the threat those fighters represent to their homelands.

Hagel updated Margvelashvili and Gharibashvili on U.S. efforts to build a coalition of nations willing to contribute to continued operations inside Iraq and against ISIL, Kirby added. And the secretary thanked the Georgian leaders for their willingness to consider ways to support that initiative.

“In both his meetings this afternoon,” the admiral said, “Secretary Hagel pledged to continue the close dialogue and cooperation between our two countries.”

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James Whitcomb Riley: Sang! sang on! sang hate – sang war -

September 8, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

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James Whitcomb Riley
Song of the Bullet

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It whizzed and whistled along the blurred
And red-blent ranks; and it nicked the star
Of an epaulette, as it snarled the word -
War!

On it sped – and the lifted wrist
Of the ensign-bearer stung, and straight
Dropped at his side as the word was hissed -
Hate!

On went the missile – smoothed the blue
Of a jaunty cap and the curls thereof,
Cooing, as a dove might do -
Love!

Sang! sang on! sang hate – sang war -
Sang love, in sooth, till it needs must cease,
Hushed in the heart it was questing for -
Peace!

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From Who Bides His Time (1883)

Who bides his time, and fevers not
In the hot race that none achieves,
Shall wear cool-wreathen laurel, wrought
With crimson berries in the leaves;
And he shall reign a goodly king,
And sway his hand o’er every clime
With peace writ on his signet-ring,
Who bides his time.

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Georgia: Pentagon Opens Southern Front

September 7, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
September 7, 2014

Meeting with Georgian Military and U.S. Marines

Within two-day official visit to Georgia, U.S. Secretary of Defense visited National Training Center “Krtsanisi”. Defence Minister of Georgia Irakli Alasania, Chief of General Staff of GAF, Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze and the top brass of MoD hosted the honorable guest at the Center.

Georgian Defence Minister introduced his U.S. counterpart to the soldiers and expressed gratitude to Chuck Hagel for visiting Georgia: “We are especially proud that our guest – United States Secretary of Defense was a military man himself and was wounded in a combat operation. I’d like again to warmly welcome the Secretary of Defense of United States and would like to reiterate that he should be feeling himself as he is at home being here in Georgia”.

U.S. Secretary of Defense delivered speech to the Georgian military and U.S. Marines. He thanked the Georgian people for their contributions and sacrifices over the last decade.

While addressing Chuck Hagel emphasized three main priorities for the U.S. as a state: “Minister, thank you very much. Georgian hosts and fellow soldiers – thank you for what you do and for your friendship and partnership. Thank you our marines – we are very proud of you, we are very proud of what you do and what you represent and how you do your job. You are important ambassadors for our country, of out alive and you do as much as any group of people to build bridges all over the world with other nations, with another people. I want you to know that President Obama asked me to do – tell you hello, but also wanted me to express deep gratitude for what you do. Particularly, I am pleased to be here with my friend – the Georgian Defence Minister but actually met him many years ago when I was here as a representative of the United States Senate. I know that he is commitment to his country and people of Georgia. I know that he is commitment to American people friendship and partnership. I think mostly you know Minister and I have just arrived from the NATO Summit in Wales. I believe a great deal was accomplished. I think a great deal was accomplished to enhance and expand the relationship among the NATO countries with Georgia. I want to share couple of thoughts with you and then we will take up questions. The primary priorities that President Obama places on our country, I place on Department of Defense are these: First – people, every institution is only as good as people – to take care of your people capabilities. Second – we can ask our marines and Georgian Soldiers to go and come back without capabilities at the edge that you must have. Third – an enhancement and an enlargement and focus on partner building, partner capability building. I know Georgian friends share the same priorities – people, capabilities and partners. I believe if there was every time in the world that partnership is going to be very important. Important not just for the threats we face today but future unknown threats. That is importance of today’s partnerships. Well, I came to Georgia right after the NATO Summit for many reasons. But a primary reason was to emphasize to our Georgian partners, to people of Georgia how the United States values your relationship. So I very much appreciate my day here that I have spent time this morning with the Defence Minister. This afternoon I will meet with the President and Prime Minister to have opportunities that President Obama wants to share – we share our thinking and take continued the reassurance commitments of our partnership and the expansion of that partnership. I feel much better to be around with U.S. marines”.

Following his speech, U.S. Secretary of Defense answered the questions asked by Georgian and U.S. military. At the end of the event, the U.S. honorable guest presented the Georgian military and U.S. marines with the coins of U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Categories: Uncategorized
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