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Missile Shield To Middle East Mayhem: U.S. Planning Broad Conflict?

May 31, 2012 3 comments

RT
May 31, 2012

Is US preparing for broad Middle East conflict?

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Today, it does not seem too far-fetched to suggest that Barack Obama was foisted upon the world stage to rebrand America’s foreign policy, which had lost most of its credibility and legitimacy under Bush. Ironically, however, with the benefit of hindsight, Obama has turned out to be far more dangerous than his reckless predecessor.

America’s hyperactive impetuousness when it comes to getting its military invested around the world, combined with its determination to build a European missile defense shield, lends itself to the theory that something sinister is afoot.

Reminiscent of the US attack on Iraq in 2003, America seems to be gearing up for a military move on Syria…

[W]hen the Middle East situation is viewed according to the sum of its parts, which include the US missile defense shield over the fence from Russia’s backyard, it looks as if the US, Israel and NATO may be pushing hard for a broad military offensive in the Middle East.

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Does US intransigence on European missile defense, increasing chaos in Syria and a lack of progress in resolving the Iranian standoff point to the eventual outbreak of full-blown violence across the Middle East?

­But first, before jumping headlong into the Middle East, a little background from Russia’s perspective is required.

With the arrival of Barack Obama to the White House four years ago, many in Moscow genuinely believed there would be a normalization of relations between the two former Cold War opponents. There is no crime in dreaming, right?

After all, George W. Bush’s almost-eight-year “War on Terror” kept Russia, as well as the entire world, in constant suspense as to what kind of stunt Washington would pull next. They were rarely disappointed. Not only did the Bush administration walk away from the 40-year-old ABM Treaty with Russia, it announced the creation of a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

Shortly after Obama was elected president, he announced that he had “shelved” the Bush plan for missile defense. Suddenly, the clouds in the Russian-US relationship were dispelled, but briefly. Then it was announced that the US would build a sea-based version instead; Moscow was duly informed that it need not apply to participate in the project. Now, Russian generals are sounding the alarm that the system – still in its earliest stages – may eventually compromise the nation’s nuclear deterrent.

Today, it does not seem too far-fetched to suggest that Barack Obama was foisted upon the world stage to rebrand America’s foreign policy, which had lost most of its credibility and legitimacy under Bush. Ironically, however, with the benefit of hindsight, Obama has turned out to be far more dangerous than his reckless predecessor.

Let’s face it, nobody had any false expectations about Bush; he was, as they say, the real deal. Obama, on the other hand, was marketed as the very embodiment of change. The marketing campaign was a huge success, and America’s first black president even went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize while US troops were hunkered down on two fronts.

Fast forward to 2012: Obama has failed to see through a single campaign promise in the realm of foreign affairs. The Guantanamo Bay detention facility remains open for business, drone missile attacks are killing at a deadlier rate than under Bush, while even the simple promise of “sitting down and talking with America’s enemies” has failed to materialize.

Although the Iraq War was declared finished last year, tensions remain high across the Middle East where US naval forces are on high alert.

Meanwhile, to all intents and purposes, the fabled reset with Russia appears to be on life support. US and Russian leaders still go through the diplomatic motions, but Washington is behaving as if it does not want a serious, fully-fledged relationship with Moscow. Little surprise, then, that so many observers in Moscow are speculating that the “reset” was nothing more than a stage-managed event designed to make Russia believe that Washington was serious about a partnership. As the missile defense system gets bolted down in former Warsaw Pact real estate, Washington refuses to provide any sort of legal guarantees.

The United States will never give legally binding guarantees that its missile defense system is not aimed against Russia, said Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, former head of the Fourth Central Research Institute of the Russian Defense Ministry.

“The question of creating the European missile defense system at any stage, be it the first one or fourth, lies in the sphere of political differences,” the expert said. “The Americans and NATO will never provide legally-binding guarantees that the US missile defense system is not aimed against Russia, including the technical specifications of counter missiles, because that would slow down the development of their missile defense system.”
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From missile defense to Middle East mayhem

America’s hyperactive impetuousness when it comes to getting its military invested around the world, combined with its determination to build a European missile defense shield, lends itself to the theory that something sinister is afoot.

Reminiscent of the US attack on Iraq in 2003, America seems to be gearing up for a military move on Syria, especially after reports of a massacre in Houla, where 108 civilians, many of them women and children, were murdered. Undeniably, the event was horrific in its sheer brutality, but the question has yet to be answered: who were the killers? The Syrian government blames “professional terrorists” for the massacre. But as was the case prior to the “preemptive strike” on Iraq, the US does not seem interested in hearing both sides of the story in Syria.

“Those who triggered this and ignited this massacre were seeking to ignite a confessional and sectarian confrontation between the populations in that area,” Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters following a meeting of the Security Council. “So, those who did it are professional criminals, professional terrorists.”

According to Jaafari, these “terrorists” seek to “instigate a sectarian confrontation in the area,” which could lead to developments “more dangerous than what you have seen so far.” The goal of these individuals, he said, is to undermine a peace plan set forth by special envoy Kofi Annan.

Iran’s Press TV conducted an interview with Syed Ali Wasif, from the Society for International Reforms and Research. Wasif argued it was unlikely that Syrian forces would attack innocent civilians in a region that has shown strong support for the government.

“This was a premeditated, pre-orchestrated component of NATO foreign policy…with regard to this premeditated action and this murder, killing a hundred people there,” Wasif argued. “How could the Syrian government kill its own people when [those killed in the massacre] represent the Alawites…and all other pro-Syrian people?”

Meanwhile, Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, spoke of “consequences” for Syria for failing to live up to its commitments, even before the identity of the killers could be established.

“The Syrian government has made commitments. It’s blatantly violated those commitments, and, I think it’s quite clear, as we have said for many weeks if they continue to do so there should be consequences,” Rice said, without offering any advice on how Syria should move forward while terrorists are sabotaging the process. Rice’s comments suggest that the United States is selectively viewing the turmoil in Syria from the perspective of the opposition forces, which amounts to taking sides with their objectives.

America’s behavior seems inconsistent with that of an impartial, objective observer; it is behaving like a third party to the turmoil with a lot to gain should the Syrian government fall. Instead of waiting for an official investigation to determine the identity of the culprits in the Houla massacre, the US is instigating the situation by tossing rhetorical grenades, needlessly provoking the situation. After all, there are many actors in the region who stand to gain in the event that Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad is removed from power. Israel, a strong ally of the United States, would certainly benefit from such a scenario. Presently, the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks to be on a collision course with Iran over the latter’s nuclear program. Tehran says it is developing a nuclear energy program for its civilian sector, but Israel and the United States suspect the Islamic Republic of attempting to build a nuclear weapon.

In the event that Israel decides to go to war with Iran, there is the strong possibility that Syria will come to the aid of the Iranians one way or another. A war with Syria now, with the assistance of the United States, would dramatically reduce such a possibility and protect Israel’s flank in the event of war.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defense Minister, expressed his opinion on military involvement in Syria just this week.

“The events in Syria mean the world must take action, not only by talking, but by acting,” Barak, said on Thursday. “These are crimes against humanity, and it is impossible that the international community stand aloof.”

Ali Laridjani, speaker of the Iranian parliament, warned that an attack on Syria would have dire consequences that would most likely extend to the “Zionist regime.”

“US military officials probably have a poor understanding of themselves and regional issues because Syria is in no way similar to Libya, and [the effects of] creating another Benghazi in Syria would spread to Palestine, and ash rising from the flames would definitely envelop the Zionist regime,” Laridjani stated.

“It seems that the United States and the West are seeking to pave the way for a new crisis,” the Iranian official added.

In conclusion, when the Middle East situation is viewed according to the sum of its parts, which include the US missile defense shield over the fence from Russia’s backyard, it looks as if the US, Israel and NATO may be pushing hard for a broad military offensive in the Middle East. After all, in the event of a war in Iran, for example, there is no telling what the results will be.

There is a high possibility of not only Syria, but also Hezbollah in Lebanon getting involved, not to mention the Palestinians. Although it would be impossible to predict the domino effect that would follow in the event of such an altercation in the already troubled Middle East, it may go far at explaining Uncle Sam’s tremendous obsession with installing a missile defense system in Europe.

Why the United States, in direct opposition to the spirit of the much-trumpeted “reset”, does not want to enlist Russia’s valuable assistance in such an ambitious project, however, is an altogether different question that Russia is certainly pondering. Meanwhile, the Russia-US reset wobbles on.

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U.S. Ready To Attack Syria Outside UN?

May 31, 2012 5 comments

RT
May 31, 2012

US ready to act on Syria outside UN?

Video

The US has hinted at taking actions against the Syrian regime bypassing the authority of the UN Security Council. This comes as pressure is piling up on Damascus following massacre in Houla that claimed over 100 lives.

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice has said that if the council does not take swift action to pressure Syrian authorities to end 14-month crackdown on the anti-government uprising, the Security Council members may have no choice but to consider acting outside the UN.

“Members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they are prepared to take actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of this council,” Rice said on Wednesday after the 15-member council met in a closed door session to discuss last week’s massacre.

The United Nations is conducting its own investigation of who exactly is responsible for the bloodshed in the town of Houla. However the US and its allies seem to have come to their own conclusion, saying that the Assad government is solely responsible for the violence.

Rice did not specify what “actions” she meant. However the US and European countries had earlier imposed their own sanction on Syria outside the UN. So there are fears that her words could mean the threat of military action.

The US envoy said the worst but most probable scenario in Syria is a failure of Annan’s peace plan and a spreading conflict that could create a major crisis not only in Syria but also in the entire region.

“The Syrian government has made commitments. It has blatantly violated those commitments, and, I think it’s quite clear, as we have said for many weeks if they continue to do so there should be consequences,” Rice said.

Meanwhile, Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari has stated Wednesday that the massacre in the town of Houla was carried out by “professional terrorists” who were seeking to ignite a sectarian conflict in the country.

“Many Syrian innocents got killed because of this misbehavior of these outsiders. The Syrian people need one clear-cut message that the international community, if there is an international community, is there to help settling the conflict in Syria,” he said referring to last Friday’s violence.

Russia’s envoy tot the UN Vitaly Churkin stated that both the authorities and opposition leaders should understand that the current situation in Syria is unacceptable.

Kosovo pattern in Syria?

Susan Rice’s comment became a disturbing reminder of what happened in 1999 when the US and NATO intervened in the former Yugoslavia without a UN Security Council mandate.

“The precedent is already there – we’ve mentioned Kosovo. It’s exactly what happened – you had an allegation of a massacre, which was the village of Racak; you had a UN decree that was severely bullied by the US ambassador who was leading the observation mission on the ground; you had claims that it was brutal unprovoked massacre of innocent civilians by government troops. Serbia was blamed, presented with the ultimatum and then bombed,” historian and author Nebojsa Malic told RT.

“We have the same pattern repeating itself in Syria.”

Blogger Rick Rozoff believes that the US has warned Russia and China that it will push forward military action no matter what.

“Ambassador Rice is basically telling Russia and China and other members of the Security Council that if they do not go along with Western plans for more stringent sanctions and other actions against Syria, the US and its NATO allies reserve the right to act outside the Security Council as they did with Yugoslavia 13 years ago and launch military actions against Syria,” Rozoff told RT.

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Europe Replaces U.S. As Cheerleader For Military Expansion

Voice of Russia
May 30, 2012

Mars beats Venus: Europe replaces the U.S. as the cheerleader for military expansion
Dmitry Babich

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[B]esides the Russian nuclear potential (still a problem in the eyes of the U.S., since it is the only deterrent to their global ambitions), Americans and Europeans also plan to render defenseless those countries in the Middle East which dare disagree with the Western policies.

“What is interesting is the fact that the perspective of a new missile shield did not move West European nations even an inch closer to abandoning their nuclear deterrents.”

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Europeans seem to have placed themselves at the steering wheel of the international campaign against Syria, showing more and more signs of a belligerent attitude and penchant for military solutions. This new behavior pattern, previously associated with Americans (presumably born under the sign of Mars) took hold of the French and British leaders in the last few days. A rather unexpected turn for the previously peaceful nations, fostering the myth of their being born under the sign of Venus.

Examples? First, Western European leaders unanimously agreed to the deployment of the American-made “missile shield” in Central and Eastern Europe. (In the 1980s, France strongly objected to the “star wars” program of president Ronald Reagan, and its neighbors had at least some reservations about it.) Second, Paris and London became the most vocal supporters of “punishing” Syrian president Bashar Assad for the slaughter of civilians in the Syrian town of Houla, for which they put the blame squarely on the Syrian government.

Numerous newspaper reports make the previously missing connection between the anti-missile shield and the newly pro-active stand of Western European nations in the Middle East. French scholar Bruno Tertrais, senior research fellow at the Foundation for Strategic Research, explains that Europe will need its portion of the anti-missile shield in order to be able to intervene militarily in the Middle East – with total impunity.

“There is no more talk about diverting a massive Soviet nuclear attack,” Mr. Tertrais writes in Le Figaro. “Our objective is to prevent the countries of the Middle East from being in a position to make a strike against the territory of NATO alliance. If Middle Eastern nations had such a capability, it could make Western leaders hesitate if faced with a need to defend our interests in the region or to intervene there in the framework of an international mandate.”

No other attitude could be more clear – and more dangerous. So, besides the Russian nuclear potential (still a problem in the eyes of the U.S., since it is the only deterrent to their global ambitions), Americans and Europeans also plan to render defenseless those countries in the Middle East which dare disagree with the Western policies.

“What is interesting is the fact that the perspective of a new missile shield did not move West European nations even an inch closer to abandoning their nuclear deterrents,” Vladimir Baranovsky, a professor of international studies at Moscow-based MGIMO University, said while speaking to a conference on European security at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO). “Yes, these countries’ combined nuclear potential amounts to just 2.5 percent of the combined nuclear capability of the world’s nuclear powers. But the submarine-based nuclear missiles of, say, Great Britain are highly mobile and capable of a strike against an enemy in any part of the globe. And the West European governments stick to the policy of “deliberate ambiguity” on nuclear issues, not bothering to explain which actions of a potential aggressor could prompt their nuclear response.”

The recent events in Syria, as well as the military campaign against Libya a year ago, have demonstrated how easy it is for a not very big nation to fall out of favor with the EU’s “grand” members. The massacre in Houla was immediately squarely blamed on the Syrian government. Anyone having a hint of doubt in the “pan-European” version of events is immediately ostracized. It became a rule despite obvious discrepancies in Western press reports from Houla, which first blamed the massacre on the government’s heavy arms, such as tanks and artillery, and later switched to “knives and bullets” purportedly used against children by a pro-government militia Shabiha. According to the New York Times, the killers were nonchalant enough to yell “Shabiha with you, Assad” during the murders. A rather strange conduct, to say the least, but enthusiastically accepted by the European public opinion.

“I can’t see the reason for such a lack of desire to check facts,” reflects Nadya Arbatova, the head of the policy research center at Moscow-based IMEMO. “I would remind you, that many European leaders, including former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, received Assad in their capitals – as well as the now dead and silent Ghaddafi. One can’t escape having a feeling that someone is covering up something using indignation over uninvestigated killings as an excuse.”

In his article, Bruno Tertrais notes that “common engagement” of European powers in the missile defense shield, for which they are supposed to make a contribution of 200 million dollars, does not render Europe’s own nuclear deterrence obsolete or unneeded. In Vladimir Baranovsky’s view, the desire to maintain a nuclear “stick” while also getting an impeccable anti-missile “shield” sets a very bad example for potential proliferators of nuclear arms – including Middle Eastern countries. Strong nuclear capability plus total impunity indeed makes up a rather dangerous combination – for any country.

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Obama: Judge, Jury And Executioner

May 30, 2012 2 comments

Voice of Russia
May 30, 2012

Obama – judge, jury, and executioner
Boris Volkhonsky

On Tuesday, The New York Times published a lengthy article that really hit the front pages of most international media. As has been revealed to the newspaper by a number of U.S. counter-terrorism officials (three dozen of Barack Obama’s current and former advisers), the U.S. president personally oversees a top secret process drawing up a “kill list” of terrorists and al Qaeda suspects who should be hunted down and executed by drone missile strikes.

Barack Obama’s meetings with his counter-terrorism advisers take place every Tuesday in the White House. The president requests “baseball cards” of presumptive terrorists or their associates to be presented to him – with pictures and biographies. Then, after some contemplation, he personally decides who should live and who should be the new target of a drone strike. As the newspaper puts it, “Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret ‘nominations’ process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical.”

The strikes take place over a vast territory from Somalia and Yemen to Afghanistan and Pakistan. And the number of strikes has intensified in the last year. Only since April of this year, there have been 14 such strikes in Yemen and 6 in Pakistan.

Most of the people targeted for such strikes are foreign nationals, but occasionally there are American citizens among them, who are “brought to justice” in this extrajudicial procedure. And commentators say that Barack Obama is the first U.S. president who has acquired the right to single-handedly decide to be “judge, jury, and executioner”.

As many observers point out, President Obama realizes that some of the judgments may be based on human intelligence, and as Obama’s chief of staff in 2011 William Daley has put it, “The president accepts as a fact that a certain amount of screw-ups are going to happen.”

Other observers point to the fact that the collateral damage is too high, with innocent civilians becoming victims of the alleged “precision strikes”.

But some counterterrorism officials insist on simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good. “Innocent neighbors don’t hitchhike rides in the back of trucks headed for the border with guns and bombs,” said one of the officials. Therefore they reject all talk about collateral deaths as the militants’ propaganda.

Well, following such logic, all the Pashto population in the area on both sides of the Afghan–Pakistani border may be eliminated. They travel to and from the border quite frequently, and bearing guns is their usual habit (guaranteed, by the way, by the Second Amendment for every American citizen as well).

But what is probably even more important is the evolution of Barack Obama during the three years of his tenure.

It should be noted that before coming into politics Obama had been a liberal law professor. His campaign in 2008 was based on anti-war slogans and promises, like closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, and putting an end to torture. In December 2009, less than a year in his presidential capacity, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – regarded by most observers as a prize for just being “anti-Bush”, rather than accomplishing anything significant on the global arena.

But even by that time he had authorized more drone strikes than George W. Bush had approved during his entire presidency.

One can also wonder whether the policy of drone warcraft is bearing any significant fruit. Yes, a number of militants may be exterminated. But the anti-American sentiment is disseminated all over the Muslim world, enlisting new al Qaeda supporters in the affected countries. It also influences interstate relations, like in the case of Pakistan – the old-time U.S. ally that turned into one of the main obstacles for the U.S. policy in Afghanistan and adjacent regions.

But when you come to think of it, you really find nothing strikingly new in the whole story. The usual habit of double standards, a total neglect for the notorious “human rights” and basic principles of a law-based state, like presumption of innocence and the need for proper treatment of suspects (remember, the eliminated people are not convicts, they are just suspects included in the “kill list” by a mere assumption they might be associated with al Qaeda) – all this is so becoming of a liberal law professor-turned-president.

Boris Volkhonsky, senior research fellow, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies

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China, Russia Offset West’s Actions In Syria

May 30, 2012 2 comments

Global Times
May 30, 2012

China, Russia offset West’s actions in Syria

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If a country is allowed to intervene in another country’s domestic affairs at will, our world will be plagued by a long series of wars driven by subversions of regimes. No matter how history judges them, it will be a nightmare for people of this age.

The West has not really tasted any victory in the post-Cold War era. Although it managed to overthrow a few powerless regimes, the gains were only short-lived, as resentment against the West still exists in these countries. Afghanistan and Iraq are left with no solutions, while Egypt and Libya’s futures hang in the air.

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The Houla massacre may drive the situation in Syria to a new phase. “Only Russia, China can stop carnage in Syria”, an opinion piece published by CNN on Monday, claimed that China and Russia’s support for Bashar al-Assad is the reason for the Syrians’ suffering. This kind of rhetoric is not new. Western media has been taking this tone ever since China and Russia double-vetoed the Syrian resolution in the UN Security Council.

But the reality is quite the opposite. If someone has to take responsibility for Syria’s problems, that can only be the West. It has been adding fuel to the flames since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, driving the situation out of control. Tragedies like the one that recently occurred in Houla are predictable in this messy situation. The US and European powers should primarily be held morally accountable for this.

China and Russia have called for the crisis to be solved by peaceful means, as this is obviously the least painful path toward a transition. Western powers, however, insist that there can be no solution until Assad leaves. This is actually calling for bloodshed, rather than peace. It will force parties in Syria to decide their fate through war.

The West has been dominant in the development of the Syrian situation, while China and Russia act as the balancing power. If the latter are gone, Syria will no doubt slip into a full-scale war. China and Russia care most about peace in Syria. But the West only wants to achieve its political end for Syria and the Middle East, so that it prioritizes the ouster of Assad, while leaving a peaceful outcome behind.

The West’s approach on Syria is forceful. It began with political and economic sanctions aimed at isolating the Assad regime. And at the same time, it gave support to the opposition to create a power shift within the country.

But the regime is not rootless. Half of the Syrian population remains loyal to Assad, and eradicating this support will cost the Syrians dearly. The West’s strategy is built upon Syrians’ flesh and blood. It is a political kidnapping of the destinies of over 20 million people.

If a country is allowed to intervene in another country’s domestic affairs at will, our world will be plagued by a long series of wars driven by subversions of regimes. No matter how history judges them, it will be a nightmare for people of this age.

The West should not expect China and Russia’s cooperation if it insists on dictating its own values and mindsets to the world by any means it can. It will instead find China and Russia standing in its way.

The West has not really tasted any victory in the post-Cold War era. Although it managed to overthrow a few powerless regimes, the gains were only short-lived, as resentment against the West still exists in these countries. Afghanistan and Iraq are left with no solutions, while Egypt and Libya’s futures hang in the air. In these already escalated circumstances, China and Russia should both persuade Assad to refrain from using heavy weapons and prevent or delay the West’s militarization of the opposition. China and Russia never expect any compliment from the West. But both China and Russia know from their heart that their efforts will benefit the Syrian people and the international community’s pursuit of peace.

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Pentagon Consolidates Control Over Balkans

May 30, 2012 1 comment

Stop NATO
May 30, 2012

Pentagon Consolidates Control Over Balkans
Rick Rozoff

Ahead of, during and after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 25th summit in Chicago on May 20-21, the Pentagon has continued expanding its permanent military presence in the former Yugoslavia and the rest of the Balkan region.

The military bloc’s two-day conclave in Chicago formalized, among several other initiatives including the initial activation of its U.S.-dominated interceptor missile system and Global Hawk-equipped Alliance Ground Surveillance operations, a new category of what NATO calls aspirant countries next in line for full Alliance membership. Three of them are former Yugoslav federal republics – Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro – and the fourth is Georgia, conflicts involving which could be the most immediate cause of a confrontation between the world’s two major nuclear powers.

This year new NATO partnership formats have sprung up like poisonous toadstools after a summer rain: Aspirants countries, the Partnership Cooperation Menu, the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme, the Connected Forces Initiative and partners across the globe among them.

The military bloc’s inauguration as an active, aggressive military force in Bosnia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1990s laid the groundwork for the U.S.’s already unmatched military to move troops, hardware and bases into Southeast Europe for actions there and to points east and south: The Middle East, the Caucasus, North Africa and Central and South Asia.

Since 2004 several nations in the east and west Balkans – Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia and Albania – have been incorporated into the alliance as full members and the remainder – Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and the generally unrecognized Republic of Kosovo – have in the first four instances joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and in the last had its nascent armed forces, the Kosovo Security Force, built from scratch by the leading alliance powers.

Macedonia, which would have become a full member in 2009 except for the lingering name dispute with Greece, and Montenegro have been granted the Membership Action Plan, the final stage before full accession, and Bosnia will be accorded the same once the quasi-autonomous Republika Srpska is deemed properly stripped of the last vestige of self-governance.

NATO and the wars waged under its command, not only in the Balkans but in Afghanistan and all but officially in Iraq, have provided the Pentagon the mammoth Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo and three major air bases in Bulgaria and Romania as well as headquarters for new military task forces and jumping-off points for “downrange” operations outside Europe. The U.S. Department of Defense has also acquired subservient legionaries for wars in Asia and Africa and training grounds for American and multinational expeditionary units employed in 21st century neo-colonial wars far beyond the Euro-Atlantic area. Romania will host 24 U.S. Standard Missile-3 interceptors starting in three years.

NATO’s Cooperative Longbow and Cooperative Lancer 2012 command and field exercises started in Macedonia on the second day of the Chicago NATO summit, May 21, and ended on May 29. The largest of four such exercises held within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program – “to train, exercise, and promote the interoperability of Partnership for Peace forces using NATO standards” – to date, this year’s Longbow/Lancer drills included 2,200 troops from several NATO and a dozen Partnership for Peace nations, a total of 25 countries including the U.S.

On May 26 U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Air Forces in Europe launched the Immediate Response 2012 exercise in Croatia with military personnel from the host country, Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro and Slovenia. Macedonia and Serbia sent observers.

A report on the opening of the exercise posted on the website of U.S. European Command appended this paragraph:

“U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia, building teams, assuring allies and deterring enemies. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for U.S. actions such as in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.”

Balkan states Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania and Slovenia deployed troops to Iraq after 2003 and all those nations as well as Montenegro (which became independent in 2006) have troops under NATO command in Afghanistan currently.

NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples has military missions in Bosnia, Macedonia and Serbia.

On May 28 the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff began a two-week disaster management and crisis response exercise, Shared Resilience 2012, in Bosnia. In addition to the U.S. and Bosnia, participating nations include Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia and Slovenia.

Immediately before the NATO summit, the U.S. Marines Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force 2012 held multinational exercises near Constanta, Romania from May 7-18. The Black Sea Rotational Force was established in 2010 and last year doubled the duration of its training exercises in the Balkans, the Black Sea region and the South Caucasus from three to six months annually.

Now spending half the year in the geopolitically vital area, the Black Sea Rotational Force recently announced its mission of building “enduring partnerships with 19 nations throughout Eastern Europe.” The U.S. Marines are being hosted by Romania from April 2 to September 1. Prior to that Black Sea Rotational Force 2012 participated in the Agile Spirit 2012 exercise in Georgia in March.

U.S. Army Europe’s Task Force East, employing Stryker combat vehicles, also operates out of Romania as well as Bulgaria: The Mihal Kogălniceanu Airfield and the Babadag Training Area in the first country and the Novo Selo Training Area in the second. In 2009 Task Force East spent three months training in Romania and Bulgaria, primarily preparing troops from the U.S. and the two host nations for operations in Afghanistan.

This year NATO officially identified Afghanistan and Iraq as military partners, in the category of partners across the globe. Since the end of NATO operations against Libya last October, the bloc’s secretary general and its American ambassador, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Ivo Daalder, have mentioned Libya joining NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership with the other nations of North Africa.

Each NATO military operation over the past 17 years, in Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya, has provided the alliance with bases, centers, troops and logistics for later and for future wars. Air bases in Bulgaria and Romania were employed for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and, as noted above, every Balkan nation but Serbia has supplied troops for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pentagon and NATO military personnel, aircraft, ships and radar in Southeast Europe can be used in attacks on Syria and Iran and in any new armed conflict in the South Caucasus, such as the five-day war between Georgia and Russia four years ago.

The U.S. and its NATO allies are expanding their military presence and infrastructure ever closer to new theaters of war.

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Chicago: NATO Protests Bring Back Memories Of 1968

The DePaulia
May 29, 2012

NATO protests bring back memories of Chicago ’68
By Matt Harder

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Many protesters were there to actually oppose the so-called global military arm, NATO, whom my dad says, “just spreads the U.S. agenda by giving us an excuse to ship out troops for the implementation of Western influence.”

“All I know is that it doesn’t stop…[it] didn’t stop in the ’60s, got lost in the ’70s with consumerism and technology, but now it’s back: ‘Why are you sending people to kill other people?’”

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At Sunday’s NO NATO rally many different perspectives were represented.
It’s come up in many recent discussions that there are stark similarities and differences between the 1968 Democratic convention and the NATO Summit of 2012. The most glaring likenesses are the location and mass numbers of protesters and police. The differences, in short, are the political agendas of the protesters, the police, and the reasons for their presence in the downtown streets of Chicago – the government.

My soon to be 66 year old father, Kent Harder, was 22 when he took a train from Michigan State University to Chicago, where he and his left-wing friend planned to protest the war in Vietnam. The protesters, he says, did not start the violence at the ‘68 Convention.

Last weekend, he watched the major networks’ coverage of NATO endlessly, hoping I was not getting beat up or arrested (I covered both the conference and the protests first-hand). His reaction to the protesters purpose in ’68 goes the same way for NATO. The difference is, at NATO, “there was a diversity of concerns.”

In 1968, not just the youth stood by a unified call for ‘NO WAR,’ but rather, all Americans. The whole world was watching…watching the U.S. send people all over the world for wars, protecting and fighting for its own self-interest. Many others like my dad decided they wanted that unified call to be on the Democrats’ political agenda, immediately. What they didn’t expect was the violence that ensued the rallying speeches in Grant Park.

Although the NO NATO protesters were extremely diverse in their reasons for marching last weekend, the ‘no war’ voices were heard loud and clear. Many protesters were there to actually oppose the so-called global military arm, NATO, whom my dad says, “just spreads the U.S. agenda by giving us an excuse to ship out troops for the implementation of Western influence.”

“They came from the south and started beating people for no reason…I just wanted to get out of there.”

My dad tells the stories of being beaten 3 separate times, and eventually being carried off the streets by mercenary-style triage. They brought wounded protesters to the backs of Marshall Field’s trucks in the Loop alleyways and tended to their wounds.

Despite a few instances of gashes resulting from billy-clubbing, the NATO summit brought significantly less violence on the police’s part. The protesters last weekend, diverse as they were, have been reported to have started the violence, or provoked it in some way. That is still largely in debate. The people, however, unanimously held the police in ‘68, accountable.

The media had no choice on how to cover the events of the Chicago Democratic Convention of ’68 – relay the chaos, raw. Today, the mass media has a choice on how to cover such events because of the fragmentation of the NO NATO Protest, the Occupy Movement, and the Anarchist group/tactic, The Black Bloc. A choice, opposed to the ’68 version of coverage: relay the chaos, raw. For the ones old enough for ’68, the reasons for protest are the same nowadays, but were just more focused then.

Advances in technology have added an interesting dynamic to the coverage of such events, and that is the citizen journalist. Now, with smart phones live-streaming video and taking professional quality photos (amongst those with actual professional grade film equipment), anyone can document true and raw occurrences and hold anybody accountable.

“In ’68, cops attacked protesters, not the other way around. And from what I’ve seen, it was the same [at NATO].

Then, there wasn’t as much preemptive scrutiny from the people, the press, or the government…it became an earmark for the CPD though. NATO had much more supervision, and control. Not to mention the presence of multiple law enforcement agencies. The lack of organization and commitment to a wholly peaceful protest on the ‘NO NATO’ protesters’ part doesn’t help their image in the presence of an outburst in the controlled, military-like atmosphere we saw last weekend.

“All I know is that it doesn’t stop…[it] didn’t stop in the ’60s, got lost in the ’70s with consumerism and technology, but now it’s back: ‘Why are you sending people to kill other people?’”

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Video: Occupy Wall Street on NATO summit and protests

Occupy Wall Street
May 24, 2012

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VIDEO

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Madeleine Albright And The Iraqi Genocide

May 29, 2012 3 comments

Al Ahram
May 24-30

Madeleine Albright and the Iraqi genocide
The first Iraq Genocide Memorial Day was held earlier this month in memory of those who died as a result of sanctions and the US-led invasion, writes Felicity Arbuthnot

“Get some new lawyers”, then US secretary of state Madeleine Albright told UK foreign secretary Robin Cook after he had said that the bombing of the Balkan states was illegal under international law.

On the 16th anniversary of Albright stating her endorsement of half a million dead Iraqi children as being “worth it” to continue the UN sanctions against Iraq, the silent holocaust of Iraq’s children is now to be annually commemorated.

In New Haven in the US on 12 May, the day Albright’s infamous comments were made 16 years ago, a banner was unfurled and a minute’s silence held as the Middle East Crisis Committee, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Tree of Life Education Fund and We Refuse to be Enemies inaugurated the first Iraq Genocide Memorial Day.

Stanley Heller, chair of the Middle East Crisis Committee commented that “this horrific loss of life was ignored for six years until the US ambassador to the UN appeared on [the TV show] ’60 Minutes’ and admitted the deaths of half a million children. We in the Middle East Crisis Committee call for 12 May to be marked as Iraq Genocide Memorial Day.”

Iraq’s children continued to die at an average of 6,000 a month until the illegal US-led invasion of the country in 2003 wrought further disaster. Many hospitals in the country are even today assessed as being even more woeful than they were under the UN embargo, and thus Iraq’s children continue to die in a near-forgotten tragedy of UN-US-UK making.

Soaring rates of cancer among children in Iraq and deformities at birth linked to the weapons used in the 1991 US bombing of the country, and then in 12 years of further bombing and the 2003 war, have exacerbated and compounded an enormous tragedy. Others accused of crimes against humanity end up at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, though only, it seems, if eastern European or African. Meanwhile, Albright has been gathering a bizarre collection of “humanitarian” awards.

One of the strangest is surely the Freedom Award from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) initiated by Albert Einstein, which “responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people survive and rebuild their lives, [offering] life-saving care and life-changing assistance.” Endorsing infanticide hardly falls within the IRC’s loftily stated aspirations.

Two years after her statement on the disposable Iraqi children, Albright, now having abandoned her tarnishing of the United Nations’ founding aspirations by becoming US secretary of state, declared (in February 1998) that “Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.”

A year later, the 1999 razing of much of the Balkans became known as “Madeleine’s war”. The largely unrecognised state of Kosova, carved out of that decimation, is now rated as one of the most corrupt and lawless countries in the region and high in the world ranking, according to December 2011 findings by the NGO Transparency International.

Talking after the virtual destruction of Iraq as a state, its archives and government institutions bombed, looted, or stolen, she told US journalist Jim Lehrer in September 2003 that “I think we actually kept him [former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein] in a strategic box. We bombed very much, if you remember all the maps, always in terms of north and south, covering a great portion of Iraq. I think we had him in the box.”

No mention here that both the bombing and the boxing in were illegal.

As ever, the majority of the bombing victims consisted of Iraq’s children, for whom Albright’s contempt was seemingly boundless: shepherds and goat herders tending the family flocks with no place to hide.

However, one politician with whom she sparred did take a stand against what was happening. Former UK foreign secretary Robin Cook resigned in protest two days before the US-led invasion, his resignation speech in the UK parliament on 18 March 2003 being a searing indictment of double standards in the West’s dealings with Iraq.

There had been a policy of deliberately selective perception, he said, something which could now equally apply to the threats against Iran. “I have heard it said that Iraq has had not months, but twelve years, in which to complete disarmament and that our patience is exhausted,” Cook said. “Yet, it is more than thirty years since [UN] Resolution 242 called on Israel to withdraw from the Occupied Territories. We do not express the same impatience with the persistent refusal of Israel to comply.”

Cook talked of “the strong sense of injustice throughout the Muslim world at what it sees as one rule for the allies of the US and another rule for the rest.” Britain’s credibility was not “helped by the appearance that our partners in Washington are less interested in disarmament than they are in regime change in Iraq,” he said.

“That explains why any evidence that inspections may be showing progress is greeted in Washington not with satisfaction but with consternation: it reduces the case for war.” As some are doing now regarding the situation with Iran, he pleaded that “inspections be given a chance,” saying that the UK was “being pushed too quickly into conflict by a US Administration with an agenda of its own.”

He asked for the halting of the “commitment of troops in a war that has neither international agreement nor domestic support,” ending “I intend to join those tomorrow night who will vote against military action. It is for that reason alone, and with a heavy heart, that I resign from the government.”

On the first anniversary of the 2003 invasion, Cook stated that “it seems only too likely that the judgment of history may be that the invasion of Iraq has been the biggest blunder in British foreign and security policy in the half century since Suez. In truth, we would have made more progress in rolling back support for terrorism if we had brought peace to Palestine rather than war to Iraq.”

Robin Cook died of a heart condition whilst hill walking in Scotland, coincidentally on a swathe of land owned by the duke of Westminster, a UK general and assistant chief of the defence staff, who visited British-held Basra in Iraq a number of times after the invasion.

Today, it is to be hoped that observance of Iraq Genocide Memorial Day will spread worldwide, both in memory of those who were abandoned by the inspiring words of the UN Charter, the numerous hidden casualties, both dead and alive, and as a reminder that for a great swathe of the world, it is the West, and not the rest, that appears to be becoming increasingly despotic.

The writer is a journalist specialising in Iraq and was senior researcher on two award-winning documentaries on the country, John Pilger’s Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday’s Returns.

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Afghanistan: Civilian Deaths Continue Unchecked

Voice of Russia
May 29, 2012

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan continue unchecked
John Robles

In Eastern Afghanistan on Saturday night NATO was involved in another “incident”, as NATO calls them, involving the deaths of large numbers of civilians. This time NATO forces killed a family of eight people, including six children, in the Paktia province.

Many experts say the “incident” threatens to further strain the already tense relationship between President Hamid Karzai and his Western backers. Some analysts claimed Karzai’s recent trip to the NATO Summit in Washington served to slightly smooth the already tense relationship but this latest incident may cause another wave of violence in the country and force Karzai to have to take stronger steps against the “occupiers”.

According to a local government spokesperson in an interview with the AFP the eight people were killed in a NATO air strike and included a husband and wife and their six children.

The official, one Rohulla Samouni, stated that none of the members of the family had ties with the Taliban or other terrorist group. He said NATO aircraft bombed a house. A man named Mohammad Sahfi his wife and their six innocent children were brutally murdered.

— There have been many similar such cases in 2012 in Afghanistan. For example on February 17, 2012, six civilians, including a woman and a child were killed in a NATO night raid in Dewa Gul Valley, in the Chawki district of Kunar province.

—Then on February 8, seven children and a young adult were killed in a NATO airstrike in the village of Geyaba in the eastern Afghan province of Kapisa.

—March 11, 2012 saw at least 16 civilians, including women and children killed after a ‘rogue’ US serviceman entered their homes murdered them.

The war in Afghanistan has already lasted for more than 10 years (2001–present) and killed tens of thousands of Afghan civilians directly as well as the deaths of tens of thousands more indirectly as a consequence of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, crime and lawlessness resulting from the war.

President Hamid Karzai has summoned foreign military commanders and made public statements to warn of the consequences of further Afghan civilian deaths many times.

—”We are not happy. We don’t want any more Afghan civilian casualties.” “This must not occur again.” President Hamid Karzai, July 2002

—”I don’t think there is a big need for military activity in Afghanistan anymore.” “Similarly, going into the Afghan homes – searching Afghan homes without the authorization of the Afghan government – is something that should stop now.” President Hamid Karzai, September 2005

—In May 2006, Afghan President Hamid Karzai summoned the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, to demand an explanation for the deaths of at least 16 Afghan civilians during air strikes.

—In December 2006, a tearful President Hamid Karzai gave a heartfelt speech that brought audience members to tears, Karzai said the cruelty imposed on his people “is too much” and that Afghanistan cannot stop “the coalition from killing our children.”

—”Five years on, it is very difficult for us to continue accepting civilian casualties. It is becoming heavy for us; it is not understandable anymore.” “We are very sorry when the international coalition force and NATO soldiers lose their lives or are injured. It pains us. But Afghans are human beings, too.” President Hamid Karzai, May 2, 2007

—In June 2007, after the deaths of more than 90 civilians in 10 days, President Hamid Karzai accused ISAF and the US-led military coalition in his country of “extreme” and “disproportionate” use of force.

—”Afghan life is not cheap and it should not be treated as such.” “Several times in the last year, the Afghan government tried to prevent civilian casualties, but our innocent people are becoming victims of careless operations of NATO and international forces.” President Hamid Karzai, June 23, 2007

—On October 28, 2007, in an interview on 60 Minutes, Hamid Karzai stated that he had explicitly asked U.S. President George W. Bush to roll back the use of air strikes, which had killed more than 270 civilians in 17 air strikes to date in 2007 alone.

— In August 2008, President Hamid Karzai ordered a review of foreign troops in Afghanistan after 96 civilians were killed in an air strike in Herat.

—”The continuation of civilian casualties can seriously undermine the legitimacy of fighting terrorism and the credibility of the Afghan people’s partnership with the international community.” President Hamid Karzai, September 24, 2008

— On November 5, 2008, Afghan President Hamid Karzai asked U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to put an end to civilian casualties in Afghanistan after an air strike on a wedding party, killing 37 people, including 23 children and 10 women.

— In April 2009, American-led military forces killed 5 civilians, including two children and a nine-month-old baby, in a U.S. night raid in Khost province

—In March 2011, Karzai rejected American President Obama’s and Gen. David Petraeus’ apologies for the killing of 9 Afghan boys ages 7–13 who were collecting firewood. “The apology is not enough,” Karzai said

— In May 2011, Karzai issued a “final warning” as more civilians were killed in NATO airstrikes. He said the Afghan people can no longer tolerate the attacks, and that the U.S.-led coalition risks being seen as an “occupying force”.

The killings go on.

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Karl Kraus: The evolution of humanitarian bombing

May 29, 2012 2 comments

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

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Karl Kraus: Selections on war

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Karl Kraus
From Last Days of Mankind (1918)
Translated by Max Knight and Joseph Fabry

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Schalek: …You are a combatant, and I’d like to find out how its feels. Most of all: how do you feel afterward?

Lieutenant: Well, it is strange. I feel like a king who has suddenly become a beggar. You know, it almost feels like being a king, so high above the enemy city. There they are below – helpless. No one can run away, no one can save himself or hide. You have power over them all. It’s majestic – all else becomes insignificant.

Schalek: I can identify with that feeling. Did you ever bomb Venice?…What, you have scruples? Well, I’ll tell you something. Venice is a problem worth thinking about. We entered the war filled with romantic ideas…

Lieutenant: Who did?

Schalek: We did. We intended to wage it with chivalry. Slowly and after painful lessons we had to change our attitudes. As recently as a year ago, who among us wouldn’t have cringed at the thought of dropping bombs on Venice! And now? Everything has changed. If Venice shoots at our soldiers, we have to shoot at Venice – calmly, openly, and without sentimentality.

Lieutenant: Don’t worry. I’ve bombed Venice.

Schalek: Good for you.

Lieutenant: In peacetime I used to spend my vacations in Venice. I loved it. But when I bombed it from the air – no, I didn’t feel a spark of false romanticism. We all flew home, happily. It was our day of honor – our day!

Schalek: That’s what I wanted to hear! Now your buddies from the U-boats expect me. I trust they are as gallant as you.

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Schalek: …May I touch on a delicate problem? Tell me, what did you feel when you drilled that colossus of a ship into its wet and silent grave with so many human beings aboard?

Officer: My first feeling was one of unmitigated joy.

Schalek: That’s what I wanted to hear! I have now gained a conviction: The Adriatic Sea will remain ours!

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NATO Summit: Desperate Efforts To Maintain Western Hegemony

May 28, 2012 1 comment

South Asia Link
May 28, 2012

NATO Summit: Desperate Efforts To Maintain Western Hegemony
By Dr. Sawraj Singh

The just-concluded North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit in Chicago proved that the West is desperately trying to maintain its hegemony in the world. The 25th Summit was the largest summit and was attended by about 60 countries and organizations, including the 28 NATO members.

Afghanistan dominated the summit and the main thrust of the summit seemed to be that from a primarily European organization, NATO is becoming concerned with global issues. The NATO’s prime concern seems to be maintenance of the unipolar world order, which is based upon western hegemony and domination, and to prevent the emergence of a multipolar world order.

NATO was formed primarily to contain Soviet influence in Europe. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, there is a basic change in the goals of NATO. The rise of China and Asia, and the emergence of different power centers in the world — based upon different cultures — have led NATO to change its strategy and tactics.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, western scholars started to believe that Western democracy (western capitalism) has emerged victorious and the rest of the world is going to accept it. They saw the main conflict occurring between western civilization and Islamic civilization, which was going to resist western democracy. They saw countries such as Russia, China, and India as a middle force which could join either side.

However, subsequent developments have proven that the West was totally wrong in this prediction.

Countries such as China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela have all refused to follow the Western pattern and are following their own pattern. Similarly, the West is now aligning itself with the extreme and dogmatic Islamists against liberal Islamic leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad. The West is also inciting the Sunnis against the Shias, and is lining up with the Saudis against the forces in the Arab world who want more democratic rights for their people.

The main contradiction now seems to be between the West, which is trying to impose uniformity in the world, and the different cultures, which are trying to maintain diversity in the world. The western quest for uniformity is not based upon the concepts of unity and concern for the welfare of the people, but is borne out of its greed to maximize its profits by converting the world into a global market.

NATO has conceded defeat in Afghanistan and will pull its forces out by 2014. The Afghanistan security force will be trained to replace the NATO force. Afghanistan will be given 4 billion dollars for this purpose. NATO will continue to negotiate with the Taliban to transfer power to them.
The growing strain between America and Pakistan has become obvious.

President Obama refused to meet Zardari to discuss the Afghanistan issue. America wants Pakistan to re-open the truck routes which supply NATO forces. Pakistan is reluctant to do this because the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) feels that it may lose the elections because of the issue. A majority of Pakistani people are opposed to this. Pakistan has put forth three conditions:

• America should publicly apologize for killing 26 Pakistani soldiers during the NATO airstrike on November 27, 2011
• America should reconsider its policy of using drones
• America should increase the fee of the trucks from 250 dollars per truck to 5,000 dollars per truck

America has refused to accept these conditions and relations have deteriorated. Further deterioration within the America-Pakistan relations has occurred due to the recent sentencing of Dr. Shakil Afridi, who gave the CIA information leading to the tracking of Osama Bin Laden. Afridi has been sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined $3,500 under the Frontier Crimes Regulations for conspiring against the state.

All of the desperate efforts of NATO to maintain western hegemony are not going to work because this means imposing uniformity, while nature works on the principle of diversity. Different cultures have naturally evolved, and to finish cultural diversity and impose uniformity means going against nature. When man confronts nature, then he is bound to lose. The best thing man can do is to live in harmony with nature.

The present unipolar world order is based upon uniformity, therefore unnatural. The emerging multipolar world order is based upon diversity. Diversity is compatible with nature. Ultimately, the philosophy of co-existence and harmony with nature will prevail.

As far as Afghanistan is concerned, NATO cannot impose a regime there. It is up to the people of Afghanistan to change their own government. Afghanistan is a part of South Asia; therefore, the countries of South Asia should get together and discuss its future. Eventually, forming a South Asian Economic Alliance is the best option for the people of South Asia, including the people of Afghanistan.

Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at sawrajsingh@hotmail.com.

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Stop NATO: Digest for May 24-28

Missile Defense: Is It Working?

The U.S./NATO military encirclement of Russia and China puts a very different framework around the MD issue. Keep in mind the Space Command’s annual computer war game first-strike attack on China (reported in Aviation Week) set in the year 2016. The existence of MD becomes a crucial factor considering China’s 20-some nuclear weapons capable of hitting the west coast of the U.S. In the war game the Space Command launches another new speculative space technology, called the military space plane that is now under development. This system helps to deliver the initial attack on China’s nuclear forces. When China fires its remaining nuclear missiles in a retaliatory strike it is then that the U.S. MD systems, now being deployed throughout the Asia-Pacific region, are used to pick off these nuclear weapons.

Russian military chief Nikolai Makarov didn’t broach the subject of launching preemptive strikes against U.S. MD sites in Eastern Europe several weeks ago because Russia views Obama’s Phased Adaptive Approach as – merely – a corporate pork barrel. At a two-day conference in Moscow, Makarov maintained that third and especially fourth phase deployments (Standard Missile-3 Block IIA and IIB missiles) would be capable of destroying intermediate-range missiles. When they are positioned in the Baltic and Black Sea regions this makes them able to take down Russian ICBMs.

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Video: War Medals Of Dishonor, Battle For Peace At Home

This group of retired servicemen – members of Iraq Veterans Against the War – says the system they were part of is one that throws away billions of dollars on endless wars, yet pinches every extra penny when it comes to those fighting them.

“When veterans come home, 1 in 3 of them will be homeless. We have 18 veteran suicides every single day. Every 36 hours, an active duty soldier kills himself,” said veteran Graham Clumpner.

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Rerun Of Libya: Russia, NATO Disagree Over Syria, Iran

“There are two stumbling blocks – Syria and Iran,” [State Duma member Vladimir] Komoyedov said after a meeting of the NATO-Russia parliamentary commission, held behind closed doors. “We are against a rerun of what happened in Libya. The country was bombed, and nobody knows where it will go further. Any sort of democracy is unheard of there.

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Libya, Africa and AFRICOM

Most worrying for the African continent…is the forward march of AFRICOM – the US military’s African command – in the wake of the aggression against Libya. It is no coincidence that barely a month after the fall of Tripoli – and in the same month Gaddafi was murdered (October 2011) – the US announced it was sending troops to no less than four more African countries – the Central African Republic, Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. AFRICOM have now announced an unprecedented fourteen major joint military exercises in African countries for 2012. The military re-conquest of Africa is rolling steadily on.

The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan showed the West that wars in which their own citizens get killed are not popular; AFRICOM is designed to ensure that in the coming colonial wars against Africa, it will be Africans who do the fighting and dying, not Westerners. The forces of the African Union are to become integrated into AFRICOM under a US-led chain of command.

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Kosovo: NATO’s First “Success Story”

Four years after declaration of independence, unemployment rate ranged between forty and sixty per cent and about 30 per cent of Kosovo’s 1.7 million population lived below poverty line, statistics showed…Most of the people surveyed were unhappy with current economic and social situation and over 80 per cent held the government of prime minister Hashim Thaci responsible, the survey showed.

EULEX is…carrying out an investigation on illegal organs trafficking allegedly performed by high officials of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which started a rebellion against Serbian rule in 1998.

Two houses belonging to Serb returnees were burnt down in the village of Drenovac in Kosovo and Metohija, late on Tuesday…Serb returnees from the village believe that the houses were set on fire “in order to send a clear message to Serbs that they do not belong in Metohija”.

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Chicago NATO Summit: Kissing The Mafia Don’s Hand

T]he summit was an occasion for the US president, much like a mafia don, to receive allies and let them kiss his hand.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was there, having signed a Status of Forces Agreement with the USA that would allow its troops to remain in the country beyond the withdrawal date already set, and reconfirmed by the Senate, of 2014

[T]he USA wants the country settled in a way that the best interests of its corporations, especially oil companies, are protected. That implies that if the Taliban are to make a comeback, they have to be part of an arrangement in which American paramountcy remains, as now, unquestioned.

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NATO In South Asia: Shadow Of Subservience

Anyone who has seen the US battle management systems working in an operational area or even under simulated conditions will laugh at the suggestion that Salala was an accident. It was a pre-mediated, unprovoked and well-planned murder of our soldiers, spread over two hours where each one of them was picked out and targeted.

In a spirited show outside the venue, the anti-war crowd dubbed Nato as the militarised extension of the global 1% after it signed a multibillion-dollar drone contract with Northrop Grumman; a phrase resonating with slogans of the Occupy Wall Street movement where they chanted “We are the 99%!” A group of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans came in to return their medals, a gesture signifying how deeply disenchanted Americans are with the war…

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Why NATO Targets Syria And Iran

It needs to be admitted that NATO has stood by its friends in West Asia and North Africa, namely the monarchies. After having taken out Saddam Hussein, another anti-monarchist, Muammar Kaddafy, was dealt within the same way, while a similar fate has been planned for Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Once the last two anti-monarchial heads of state join Saddam and Kaddafy, NATO believes that their royal friends in the region will be secure…

Despite the rising risk of a repeat of the 2008 meltdown, GCC investors are continuing to keep almost all their funds in financial institutions situated in NATO member-states.

It is this loyalty to the members of NATO that is being rewarded by the military alliance going to battle to rid the region of the principal anti-monarchial regimes there.

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Missile Defense: Is It Working?

May 27, 2012 1 comment

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
May 24, 2012

Missile-Defense: Is it Working?
By Bruce Gagnon
Securing the Peaceful Use of Space for Future Generations
Waterloo, Canada

One of the biggest questions in the space technology world today is will “missile defense” (MD) really work? Recently we’ve seen articles making a case that it does not work and never will. I would suggest that depending on where you are standing, a strong case could be made that MD is working quite well. It’s all a matter of perception and definition.

When looked at from the point of view of the Russians or Chinese one might consider that they view it very differently than some of the critics. Critics see scripted Missile Defense Agency tests while Russia and China see a hyperactive deployment program, which is directly connected to a larger U.S./NATO military expansion ultimately leading to their encirclement.

Critics might see the MD system today largely as a corporate boondoggle while the Russians and Chinese are looking toward 2020 and beyond when new generations of a well funded research and development program (now committed to by NATO’s 28 members) has delivered faster, more accurate and longer range interceptor missiles.

Critics in a sense can help demobilize opposition to the program. Some peace activists think it would be a waste of their valuable time and meager organizing resources to spend energy working against a program that has been labeled by experts as unworkable and an exaggeration. But viewed from a wider perspective, that includes U.S. and NATO military encirclement of Russia as well as the Obama administration’s “pivot” of military operations into the Asia-Pacific, one may see an entirely different picture.

The U.S./NATO military encirclement of Russia and China puts a very different framework around the MD issue. Keep in mind the Space Command’s annual computer war game first-strike attack on China (reported in Aviation Week) set in the year 2016. The existence of MD becomes a crucial factor considering China’s 20-some nuclear weapons capable of hitting the west coast of the U.S. In the war game the Space Command launches another new speculative space technology, called the military space plane that is now under development. This system helps to deliver the initial attack on China’s nuclear forces. When China fires its remaining nuclear missiles in a retaliatory strike it is then that the U.S. MD systems, now being deployed throughout the Asia-Pacific region, are used to pick off these nuclear weapons. Today ground-based PAC-3 interceptor systems are being deployed in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Okinawa. In addition, the SM-3 interceptors on-board Navy Aegis destroyers are increasingly being ported near China’s coast. So China’s experience is that the war-game scenarios – which we presume, they always lose – come alive with each new deployment, each new military base, and each new Aegis destroyer positioned in the region.

Coupled with that is the Strategic Command’s mission of Prompt Global Strike (to hit targets on the other side of the planet in one hour with “non-nuclear” missiles) as another key element in Pentagon first-strike planning.

China will be forced to respond to these moves on the grand chessboard. Its decision to deploy several ballistic-missile submarines demonstrates a deep commitment to make its nuclear forces survivable against U.S. first-strike attack planning. And in turn, Maine’s Congressional delegation, like those from other states, argue that we need to build more Aegis destroyers at Bath Iron Works because China is now expanding its naval forces.

China has long been a strong supporter of Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament. Its reluctance to fully support the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FCMT) is directly linked to U.S. unwillingness to seriously negotiate around PAROS and thus is integrally connected to MD. China feels it can’t afford to forego its option to upgrade or build more nuclear weapons while its coastal region is being sprinkled with MD systems. Chinese leaders nervously view the scene from space satellite imagery as the U.S. essentially doubles its military presence in China’s neighborhood.

China is also concerned about possible developments of space-based MD systems that would undercut its strategic nuclear deterrent in even greater ways. With the infusion of funding for additional research and development that will surely come from a broader NATO-wide participation in MD one can understand China’s consternation.

Russia’s leaders, also long-time supporters of PAROS, are now questioning their continued participation in the new Start Treaty. They maintain that the Start Treaty and future nuclear disarmament negotiations are in jeopardy if the delicate balance between strategic offensive weapons and MD systems is destroyed due to an expanding US/NATO program.

Russian military chief Nikolai Makarov didn’t broach the subject of launching preemptive strikes against U.S. MD sites in Eastern Europe several weeks ago because Russia views Obama’s Phased Adaptive Approach as – merely – a corporate pork barrel. At a two-day conference in Moscow, Makarov maintained that third and especially fourth phase deployments (Standard Missile-3 Block IIA and IIB missiles) would be capable of destroying intermediate-range missiles. When they are positioned in the Baltic and Black Sea regions this makes them able to take down Russian ICBMs.

These concerns largely come from the Obama administration promises to deploy Aegis based interceptors in the Black and Baltic seas in the years ahead.

U.S./NATO now has bases and/or military operations in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Estonia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. At the same time NATO partnerships are expanding into the Asia-Pacific region to include the likes of Australia, Japan, South Korea, and very likely India. NATO expansion throughout Eastern Europe and into Asia-Pacific will further Chinese and Russian fears of containment.

Additionally, when a U.S. interceptor missile launched from an Aegis warship in 2008 struck a falling American spy satellite orbiting 130 miles over the Pacific Ocean, fears that these MD systems could be used as anti-satellite weapons also surfaced.

To be correctly understood MD must be viewed in a much larger context than is presently done by most critics. The current global competition for declining scarce resources is driving much of the world’s conflict today. Canada’s recent announcement that it will spend $35 billion to expand its warship-building program in coming years is clearly connected to the reality of melting ice in the Arctic regions, which makes it possible for oil and gas corporations to drill there. The U.S. is already lining up Canada, Norway and other Arctic allies to stand against Russia in this push-and-shove for control of these resources.

The fact that Russia has the world’s largest supply of natural gas, and significant supplies of oil, indicates one likely reason the U.S. and NATO are military surrounding her.

Haven’t we come to realize by now that the Pentagon’s primary job today is to serve as the resource extraction service for corporate globalization?

In the case of China, while the U.S. can’t compete with its economy, the Pentagon has apparently determined that controlling China’s access to vital resources would give the U.S. the keys to its economic engine.

Historians have made the case for years that even though nuclear weapons have not been used since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they have been strategically utilized in numerous incidents since 1945 as guns pointed at the heads of particular countries.

In the same way the mere threat of MD as a key element in Pentagon first-strike attack planning is a loaded and cocked gun pointed at the heads of Russia and China. Both of these nations have to assume the worst-case scenario and prepare and plan to respond. Perception informs and creates reality.

MD deployments indeed provoke military responses from Russia and China (and Iran and North Korea). Their responses are then used to further demonize those nations in the eyes of the citizens of the U.S. and people around the world. These images of aggressive Russian and Chinese militarists are then used to justify even greater military spending in the U.S. (and among NATO allies) in order to ward off their supposed aggression.

The public in the U.S. knows virtually nothing about the Pentagon surrounding Russia and China with MD systems but they do know that U.S. Secretary of War Leon Panetta hosted China’s Defense Minister at the Pentagon on May 7. The Washington Times reported at the time, “A key issue the U.S. will explore is the objective of China’s ‘very robust and rapid’ military modernization, especially in a region that is ‘at peace,’ a senior defense official told reporters.”

When Russia deployed nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962 there was not much discussion about how well they would work or what their range and explosive capability was? The concern was over their close proximity to the continental U.S and the potential for misunderstanding and over reaction. The mere presence of these Russian systems, so close to the U.S., was almost enough to trigger a deadly nuclear war. In order to close the deal to remove the missiles from Cuba, President Kennedy secretly agreed that it would dismantle all U.S.-built Jupiter IRBMs deployed in Turkey and Italy.

It’s quite amazing that when the situation is reversed, when the U.S. and its NATO allies are literally surrounding Russia and China that we might be surprised that they respond similarly to how the U.S. reacted in 1962.

Given enough time and money it is possible to consider that some kind of MD systems could be made to “work”. If we’ve learned anything over the years it should be that technological advances in weapons development are a guarantee. Humans started out throwing stones at one another and graduated to the club. Then they moved on to the bow and arrow, the Gatling gun, nuclear weapons, stealth bombers, and now space scientists land rovers on Mars. True or not, who is going to believe that MD will “never” work?

The Pentagon always says, “We work on many technologies at once. Some of them work and some don’t. But we make progress along the way and are able to get something to work in the end by adapting various technologies.”

Russia and China see the development of MD and clearly understand the mission configuration. These systems are designed to serve as key elements in Pentagon first-strike planning. Whether one version of MD works or not is less important than the overall decision to build and deploy a first-strike offensive web of weapons systems surrounding Russia and China.

The historically important goal to rid the world of nuclear weapons hinges on serious negotiations and treaties that must include banning weapons from, in, and through space.

To say MD does not work is to miss the larger point. MD is working quite effectively to help destroy the system of international treaties that limits humanity’s mad rush to extinction. The UN’s Conference on Disarmament has largely been frozen for the past 20 years and one key reason is the space technology issue. The U.S. and its NATO allies seek control and domination of space and the Earth below on behalf of corporate interests and investments. Why would the U.S. be so adamant in its refusal to seriously negotiate on PAROS unless it still maintained hopes and plans to create a space-based MD first-strike attack system?

I would hope that critics of MD would use this current controversy over U.S./NATO military expansion eastward to help the public understand the larger issues in play. We miss the key issue of our time when we do not see that MD, and all other military systems being used to surround Russia and China, are obstacles to nuclear disarmament, serious negotiations on PAROS, and true peace.

We have real problems today called climate change and growing global poverty. We cannot afford to stand by and watch the dismantling of international treaties and institutions like the United Nations while U.S. and NATO push an aggressive campaign to further militarize the world. Future generations remind us that we should oppose not just some of the technology systems, but that we stand against the policies of endless war that are tearing the world to pieces.

Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Categories: Uncategorized

Video: War Medals Of Dishonor, Battle For Peace At Home

RT
May 26, 2012

War Medals of Dishonor thrown out

VIDEO

RT speaks to US veterans who feel betrayed by the system that pushed them into fighting America’s false-pretense wars, as the former soldiers throw out their medals which they deem symbols of lies.

Dubbed true patriots, they followed the order to fight their country’s battles. Scott Olsen survived two tours of Iraq, only to be critically injured upon returning home by police clashing with Occupy Oakland protesters.

“To do good work, help other people, to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and to defend our country,” explained Olsen of his reasons for joining the military.

But instead, Olsen — and many others—discovered an ugly truth about the military escapades they were involved in.

Raymond Earl Knaeble IV gave four years to the US Army, and spent five years in Kuwait as a contractor. His experiences changed his perception of America.

“They’re creating the violence. They’re stopping the peace. They’re uprooting the people from their culture, from their communities and killing people in drone attacks,” said Raymond.

This group of retired servicemen – members of Iraq Veterans Against the War – says the system they were part of is one that throws away billions of dollars on endless wars, yet pinches every extra penny when it comes to those fighting them.

“When veterans come home, 1 in 3 of them will be homeless. We have 18 veteran suicides every single day. Every 36 hours, an active duty soldier kills himself,” said veteran Graham Clumpner.

US war veterans are increasingly taking to the streets to challenge what they believe to be false-pretense wars.

“We don’t agree with this illegal occupation that’s being held in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and other foreign countries, because it’s a war not based off terrorism, it’s a war based off other motives – for money, political power, agendas, oil,” said US veteran Raymond Earl Knaeble IV.

Over the weekend in Chicago, dozens of veterans marched the streets, and dumped their war medals by simply throwing them out – in rejection of what those medals signify.

“Our enemies are not 7,000 miles from home. Our enemies are right here and we look at them every day,” said veteran Vincent Emanuele before getting rid of his medals.

In these protests, the veterans were joined by thousands of other Americans also outraged with US wars.

“The American people are angry, they are frustrated and they don’t know which way to turn anymore,” said Afghan war veteran Graham Clumpner.

With presidential elections around the corner, the group of veterans says real change can only come from the bottom up.

“I didn’t expect any changes in 2008 when Obama got elected, and I surely don’t expect any changes now,” said Vincent Emanuele.

Those once taking commands to fight on foreign soil are now taking command of the battle for peace at home.

Categories: Uncategorized

Rerun Of Libya: Russia, NATO Disagree Over Syria, Iran

Itar-Tass
May 26, 2012

Russia, NATO disagree over Syria, Iran

TALLINN: The legislators of Russia and NATO member-countries disagree over ways of settling the situation in Syria and resolving the Iranian problem, the chief Russian delegate, State Duma member Vladimir Komoyedov, told the media on Friday. Komoyedov is leading Russia’s delegation at the ongoing session of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly.

“There are two stumbling blocks – Syria and Iran,” Komoyedov said after a meeting of the NATO-Russia parliamentary commission, held behind closed doors. “We are against a rerun of what happened in Libya. The country was bombed, and nobody knows where it will go further. Any sort of democracy is unheard of there.

As multi-faceted and controversial is the Iranian problem, “including the nuclear component, Iran’s nuclear program.”

Taking part in the session of the NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly, which will last till May 28 are about 300 legislators from 28 member-countries of the alliance and about as many representatives of international organizations, the bloc’s partner states having the status of associated members and observers.

They are considering the construction of a “smart defense” in the light of the ideas produced at the NATO summit in Chicago, cyber security, the situation in the Arab East and NATO’s relations with Russia.

Categories: Uncategorized

Libya, Africa and AFRICOM

May 26, 2012 1 comment

Counterpunch
May 25, 2012

 

An Ongoing Disaster
Libya, Africa and Africom
By Dan Glazebrook

 

The scale of the ongoing tragedy visited on Libya by NATO and its allies is becoming horribly clearer with each passing day. Estimates of those killed so far vary, but 50,000 seems like a low estimate; indeed the British Ministry of Defence was boasting that the onslaught had killed 35,000 as early as last May. But this number is constantly growing. The destruction of the state’s forces by British, French and American blitzkrieg has left the country in a state of total anarchy – in the worst possible sense of the word. Having had nothing to unite them other than a temporary willingness to act as NATO’s foot soldiers, the former ‘rebels’ are now turning on each other. 147 were killed in in-fighting in Southern Libya in a single week earlier this year, and in recent weeks government buildings – including the Prime Ministerial compound – have come under fire by ‘rebels’ demanding cash payment for their services. $1.4billion has been paid out already – demonstrating once again that it was the forces of NATO colonialism, not Gaddafi, who were reliant on ‘mercenaries’- but payments were suspended last month due to widespread nepotism. Corruption is becoming endemic – a further$2.5billion in oil revenues that was supposed to have been transferred to the national treasury remains unaccounted for. Libyan resources are now being jointly plundered by the oil multinationals and a handful of chosen families from amongst the country’s new elites; a classic neo-colonial stitch-up. The use of these resources for giant infrastructure projects such as the Great Manmade River, and the massive raising of living standards over the past four decades (Libyan life expectancy rose from 51 to 77 since Gaddafi came to power in 1969) sadly looks to have already become a thing of the past.

But woe betide anyone who mentions that now. It was decided long ago that no supporters of Gaddafi would be allowed to stand in the upcoming elections, but recent changes have gone even further. Law 37, passed by the new NATO-imposed government last month, has created a new crime of ‘glorifying’ the former government or its leader – subject to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Would this include a passing comment that things were better under Gaddafi? The law is cleverly vague enough to be open to interpretation. It is a recipe for institutionalised political persecution.

Even more indicative of the contempt for the rule of law amongst the new government – a government, remember, which has yet to receive any semblance of popular mandate, and whose only power base remains the colonial armed forces – is Law 38. This law has now guaranteed immunity from prosecution for anyone who committed crimes aimed at “promoting or protecting the revolution”. Those responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Tawergha – such as Misrata’s self-proclaimed “brigade for the purging of black skins” – can continue their hunting down of that cities’ refugees in the full knowledge that they have the new ‘law’ on their side. Those responsible for the massacres in Sirte and elsewhere have nothing to fear. Those involved in the widespread torture of detainees can continue without repercussions – so long as it is aimed at “protecting the revolution” – i.e. maintaining NATO-TNC dictatorship.

This is the reality of the new Libya: civil war, squandered resources, and societal collapse, where voicing preference for the days when Libya was prosperous and at peace is a crime, but lynching and torture is not only permitted but encouraged.

Nor has the disaster remained a national one. Libya’s destabilisation has already spread to Mali, prompting a coup, and huge numbers of refugees – especially amongst Libya’s large black migrant population – have fled to neighbouring countries in a desperate attempt to escape both aerial destruction and lynch mob rampage, putting further pressure on resources elsewhere. Many Libyan fighters, their work done in Libya, have now been shipped by their imperial masters to Syria to spread their sectarian violence there too.

Most worrying for the African continent, however, is the forward march of AFRICOM – the US military’s African command – in the wake of the aggression against Libya. It is no coincidence that barely a month after the fall of Tripoli – and in the same month Gaddafi was murdered (October 2011) – the US announced it was sending troops to no less than four more African countries – the Central African Republic, Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. AFRICOM have now announced an unprecedented fourteen major joint military exercises in African countries for 2012. The military re-conquest of Africa is rolling steadily on.

None of this would have been possible whilst Gaddafi was still in power. As founder of the African Union, its biggest donor, and its one-time elected Chairman, he wielded serious influence on the continent. It was partly thanks to him that the US was forced to establish AFRICOM’s HQ in Stuttgart in Germany when it was established in February 2008, rather than in Africa itself; he offered cash and investments to African governments who rejected US requests for bases. Libya under his leadership had an estimated $150 billion of investments in Africa, and the Libyan proposal, backed with £30billion cash, for an African Union Development Bank would have seriously reduced African financial dependence on the West. In short, Gaddafi’s Libya was the single biggest obstacle to AFRICOM penetration of the continent.

Now he has gone, AFRICOM is stepping up its work. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan showed the West that wars in which their own citizens get killed are not popular; AFRICOM is designed to ensure that in the coming colonial wars against Africa, it will be Africans who do the fighting and dying, not Westerners. The forces of the African Union are to become integrated into AFRICOM under a US-led chain of command. Gaddafi would never have stood for it; that is why he had to go.

And if you want a vision of Africa under AFRICOM tutelage, look no further than Libya, NATO’s model of an African state: condemned to decades of violence and trauma, and utterly incapable of either providing for its people, or contributing to regional or continental independence. The new military colonialism in Africa must not be allowed to advance another inch.

DAN GLAZEBROOK writes for the Morning Star newspaper and is one of the co-ordinators for the British branch of the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine. He can be contacted at danglazebrook2000@yahoo.co.uk

Categories: Uncategorized

Kosovo: NATO’s First “Success Story”

May 26, 2012 1 comment

ADN Kronos International
May 24, 2012

Kosovo: Corruption, joblessness considered biggest problems

               
Pristina: Corruption and unemployment are the biggest problems in Kosovo, a survey by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) published on Thursday showed.

According to the survey, the most corrupt institutions in Kosovo were the privatization agency, Kosovo Energy Corporation, courts and hospitals. The UNDP said public satisfaction with the work of government, president, prime minister and parliament speaker was declining.

Four years after declaration of independence, unemployment rate ranged between forty and sixty per cent and about 30 per cent of Kosovo’s 1.7 million population lived below poverty line, statistics showed.

Most of the people surveyed were unhappy with current economic and social situation and over 80 per cent held the government of prime minister Hashim Thaci responsible, the survey showed.

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ADN Kronos International
May 25, 2012

Kosovo: Israeli arrested for organ trafficking

                   
Pristina: Moshe Harel, an Israeli, suspected of illegal organs trafficking, has been arrested in his home country, special European Union prosecutor in Kosovo Jonathan Ratel said on Friday.

“We have been informed that Moshe Harel was arrested in Israel for organs trafficking and other criminal acts in connection with it and are we now waiting for the confirmation from Israeli authorities,” Ratel told media.

Harel was arrested in Pristina in 2008 on suspicion that he organized an international ring for illegal organs transplants in a clinic in Pristina.

But he fled the country and Kosovo authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest.

Harel, along with Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmz, the clinic’s owner Lutfi Dervishi and several others have been indicted for illegal organs trafficking and the trial is currently going on in Pristina.

The charges have been sought by the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX), which was deployed in Kosovo in 2008, to help local authorities in police and legal matters after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.

Sonmez was arrested in Istanbul last October and the arrest of Harel, who is believed to have masterminded the whole operation, could mark a turning point in the trial. According to the indictment, about thirty illegal transplants were carried out in the “Medicus” clinic for which Harel provided clients and donors.

Donors were promised to be paid 15,000 euros for donating kidneys, while clients were paying up to 100,000 euros, the indictment said. But, according to the indictment, many donors, coming mostly from poor east European countries, were never paid the money.

The scandal broke into open when one donor collapsed at Pristina airport, catching a plane for Istanbul, after his kidney was removed in “Medicus” clinic.

In a related development EULEX is also carrying out an investigation on illegal organs trafficking allegedly performed by high officials of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which started a rebellion against Serbian rule in 1998.

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Tanjug News Agency
May 25, 2012

“Kosovo organ trafficking mastermind arrested”

PRIŠTINA: The suspected mastermind behind an organ trafficking network has been arrested in Israel, EU Special Prosecutor Jonathan Ratel said on Thursday. 

“We have received information that Moshe Harel has been arrested in Israel on organ trafficking and other related offences. We are seeking confirmation with the Israeli authorities,” he told AFP.

If confirmed, the arrest could lead to a breakthrough in the trial of seven people accused of organ trafficking and illegal transplants at the Medicus clinic in Priština in 2008, the French agency said.

Harel was arrested in Priština that year but fled Kosovo after he was released from detention.

Kosovo authorities subsequently issued an international arrest warrant.

According to the indictment, at least 30 illegal kidney removals and transplants were carried out in the Priština clinic in 2008.

The donors were from poor Eastern European and Central Asian countries, who were promised about EUR 15,000 to become organ donors.

The indictment describes the Israeli national as the mastermind of a network for recruiting donors and finding recipients.

The seven suspects on trial include former Kosovo Health Secretary Ilir Rexhaj and Lutfi Dervishi, a prominent Priština urologist, writes AFP.

Another suspect in the case is Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez, accused of having carried out illegal operations to remove organs. He is also indicted in Turkey.

The Kosovo clinic was raided by police in 2008 after a Turkish man collapsed at Priština airport waiting for a flight back to Istanbul after having his kidney removed.

The case is being tried by EULEX, set up to help the local judiciary handle sensitive cases “after the territory (unilaterally) declared independence from Serbia in 2008″, concludes AFP.

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Tanjug News Agency
May 23, 2012

Kosovo: Homes of Serb returnees set on fire

PEČ: Two houses belonging to Serb returnees were burnt down in the village of Drenovac in Kosovo and Metohija, late on Tuesday.

The village is located south of the Ibar River, where Serbs live in isolated enclaves.

Nenad Stašić, who lives in the village, told Tanjug news agency that around midnight fire damaged the houses of Milovan Radosavljević and Arso Stepić, but that no one was inside at that time.

Firefighters arrived around 01:00, but the fire had already destroyed Radosavljević’s house, whereas the second home was damaged to a lesser degree, he said.

Stašić also said that Serb returnees from the village believe that the houses were set on fire “in order to send a clear message to Serbs that they do not belong in Metohija”.

“Last week it was agreed that another 12 houses for Kosovo Serb returnees will be built. This is the message for those people as well that they are not welcome here,” the villager said.

Last year, first seven Serb families returned to Drenovac, five of which live in the village permanently.

Kosovo police (KPS) was expected to send “special units to the scene”, according to Tanjug. Their role would be to conduct an investigation and determine the cause of the fire.

Ministry for Kosovo condemns attacks on Serbs

The Ministry for Kosovo condemned on Wednesday the burning of the homes of Serb returnees in the village of Drenovac in Kosovo and called on EULEX to find the perpetrators.

“We call on all relevant international factors in the province to use their authority to compel the so-called Priština institutions and Kosovo Albanian officials to truly ensure the safety of Kosovo Serbs south of the Ibar, instead of pompously announcing their plan for northern Kosovo, and suppress Albanian extremism instead of encouraging it,” says the release.

The ministry notes it has warned representatives of the international community on several occasions about the constant attacks and the difficult position of Serb returnees in Kosovo, and about the deteriorating situation in Klina in particular.

“The ministry is calling on KFOR to strengthen its presence in returnee villages near Klina and protect Serb lives and property from Albanian extremists. The burning of houses in the village of Drenovac, and other unresolved attacks on returnees reflect Pristina’s position and treatment of Serb returnees and IDPs,” says the release.

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Beta News Agency
May 24, 2012

New provocation from Priština, state secretary says

PRIŠTINA: Forming of the Kosovo government’s Administrative Office for the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica is a provocation, Oliver Ivanović has stated.

“There will not be some special reaction from the Serbian government, especially not in this situation, besides condemnation and qualification of the act as a flagrant provocation that is not aimed at calming down the situation but at upsetting the Serbian population and creating a situation in which incidents will be possible,” he said.

The Serbian Ministry for Kosovo state secretary stressed that the Serbs would not accept such offices and that their founding was an attempt to change the situation in the field ahead of the dialogue which is “more than certain”.

“Such offices will not be accepted by Serbs because they have their local self-government which is functioning solidly. The self-government has its flaws, this could of course be better, but some local self-government imposed by Priština or some international circles certainly will not improve the situation,” Ivanović explained.

According to him, the forming of the office cannot change the position of northern Kosovo Serbs or the position of the future Serbian government in the negotiations with Priština.

The Kosovo government decided on Wednesday to form the Administrative Office for northern Kosovska Mitrovica that will provide service to citizens and coordinate investments in this part of Kosovo.

The Office will include seven directorates and have 55 employees.

Serbs are the majority population in the north and reject both the authority of the government in Priština, and the unilateral declaration of independence made by ethnic Albanians in early 2008.

Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago NATO Summit: Kissing The Mafia Don’s Hand

May 25, 2012 2 comments

The Nation
May 25, 2012

At the Chicago Summit
By M A Niazi

The Nato Summit ended in Chicago without its goals being achieved, but with Pakistan in particular left with a gnawing sense that it was not worth the restoration of Nato supplies solely so that President Asif Zardari could be invited to the summit, where he was unable to cut a dash because, as he was reminded constantly, the Nato supplies had not begun to move.

It almost appeared as if the summit was an occasion for the US president, much like a mafia don, to receive allies and let them kiss his hand. President Barack Obama may not belong to an ethnicity that has the mafia in the background, but since he belongs to Chicago, which has a Mafioso tradition personified in Al Capone, and since the summit was held there, the element was strong, particularly as he is up for re-election at the end of the current year. However, the summit did not deliver enough, except for symbolism that had not only Nato members, but also such non-members as were counted as US allies, present.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was there, having signed a Status of Forces Agreement with the USA that would allow its troops to remain in the country beyond the withdrawal date already set, and reconfirmed by the Senate, of 2014. The US administration wants, probably because it is an election year, to withdraw by 2014. But it also wants to stay beyond then, which it has now got an agreement from the Afghan side to let it do. It wanted to use this as an example to the other Nato members of how they too can continue past the withdrawal date. However, the Nato countries have their individual elections and such important members as France are headed by presidents who have fought their election on a withdrawal platform.

The USA was also not successful in getting as many contributions from the members towards the upkeep of the Afghan army and police as would make it feel secure about its future. It is no longer able to pick up the bill singlehanded, but if the Obama administration is facing budgetary woes because of a financial crisis that same crisis is also putting pressure on other Nato governments, some of which find it difficult to stay afloat, let alone splurge on spending to further American goals. The USA is once again trying to have someone else pay the cost of peace, just as it tried to fight the war with someone else’s money.

The problem is that the USA set itself too many tasks in Afghanistan that were impossible, and the summit should have made it realise that this was so. First, the USA wants the country settled in a way that the best interests of its corporations, especially oil companies, are protected. That implies that if the Taliban are to make a comeback, they have to be part of an arrangement in which American paramountcy remains, as now, unquestioned. Towards this end, the army and police remain important tools. Thus, they are to be dominated by Hazaras, and while Pashtuns are not allowed to exert their majority anywhere, they are particularly stopped here. This is another area where American arrogance is on show. The USA does not want anyone to have a majority in Afghanistan, so it denies that the Pashtuns do. Therefore, any solution it constructs on this assumption is bound to be neither lasting nor stable.

This brings up another impossible goal that the USA set itself: finding an Afghan solution excluding Pakistan. This involved it in even more trouble, for it could have easily precluded the factor that is bound to create trouble for it: India. The USA, in its desire to pander to India’s posturing, gave it a role in a country where it had had none. India’s anxiety to please the USA, and to expand its footprint in the region, may be rooted in its desire to prove that it could be the regional counterweight against China the USA wants, but it was unwise. Wise or unwise, the US was left carrying the bag.

That all made Pakistan loom large at the conference, and the question of whether it would allow Nato supplies to pass through its territory also loomed large, not so much because the members were finding the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) expensive, as because Pakistan’s swallowing of the Salala massacre would show how completely it was in the American pocket. The US Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, just before the summit, converted the whole debate into one about price, giving the impression that lasted the whole summit, that Pakistan was haggling about the new price the USA was supposed to pay per truckload.

One of the things this helped conceal was the American need to have Pakistan on board if it wanted to impose its solution. Its presence at the summit was thus evidence for other Nato members that the USA did have a solution for Afghanistan, and that it was in control of the situation there.

Pakistan, on the other hand, thought that the supplies issue was important. Though it is indeed important, it should not be allowed merely to use it, or its cause, the Salala massacre, merely as a bargaining chip. Its weakness lay in the very point on which the US pressure was brought to bear: the belief by its ruling elite that the USA can determine who rules Pakistan. Because of this, it has determined that it must obey American wishes, and there has been a litany of excuses explaining why the USA should have its wishes obeyed.

However, Washington should realise that unless it achieves closure over Salala, the relationship cannot move forward. Apart from anything else, an apology is necessary. The alternative is an outburst of outrage within a people already made edgy by seemingly never-ending violence, and in the throes of summer heat worsened by electricity shortages. The government simply cannot afford the risk inherent in any popular protest.

Before it is overtaken by events, the Pakistani government should be doing what governments do best: lead. It should be satisfied with having attended the Chicago Summit, and should now turn to making the USA realise that it cannot avoid an apology over Salala, where, after all, its helicopters shot up Pakistani troops so badly that it killed 24 of them, not the other way around.

More so, it should make the USA understand that its not apologising also worked to its benefit in the summit, by showing its other satrapies how firm the USA was, but it was over, and there was more than enough time before the November election for Obama to live down even the most abject apology.

The Chicago Summit made Nato resemble nothing so much as the Delian League, which Athens used to fight against Sparta 2400 years ago, and which consisted of those Greek city-states that were opposed to Sparta (which had its own Peloponnesian League), or allied to Athens. The Nato was originally supposed to fight the USSR (which had the Warsaw Pact), but after the end of the cold war, it needed a new role. It has apparently found that there was no reason for Pakistan to show up here, and certainly not at the price it paid. It should be trying to abandon the US alliance, not maintain it!

The writer is a veteran journalist and founding member as well as Executive Editor of The Nation.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO In South Asia: Shadow Of Subservience

May 25, 2012 1 comment

The News
May 24, 2012

Shadow of subservience
By Taj M Khattak
The writer is a retired vice admiral

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Anyone who has seen the US battle management systems working in an operational area or even under simulated conditions will laugh at the suggestion that Salala was an accident. It was a pre-mediated, unprovoked and well-planned murder of our soldiers, spread over two hours where each one of them was picked out and targeted.

In a spirited show outside the venue, the anti-war crowd dubbed Nato as the militarised extension of the global 1% after it signed a multibillion-dollar drone contract with Northrop Grumman; a phrase resonating with slogans of the Occupy Wall Street movement where they chanted “We are the 99%!” A group of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans came in to return their medals, a gesture signifying how deeply disenchanted Americans are with the war…

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A two-day Nato summit kicked off in Chicago on the future of Afghanistan on 20 May, a day when a solar eclipse turned the sun into a ring of fire from Asia to the west coast of the US. In addition, it was the 210th anniversary of the day when Napoleon reinstituted slavery in some French colonies through the “Law of May 20.” Obama is expected to know a thing or two about slavery, but he looked unperturbed as the long shadow of subservience began to be cast on the proud people of Afghanistan for yet another decade.

It was the 25th Nato summit, the largest-ever, with participation from 61 countries, and the first hosted by the US since 1999. It was intended to discuss the minutiae of the strategy agreed upon in Lisbon in 2010 which called for: a) renewed commitment to fight in Afghanistan; b) a robust agreement on missile defence; and c) more integral cooperation in such emerging threats as cyber security. The next conference is planned in Tokyo to firm up financial commitments for the $4.1 billions annual tab of Nato’s presence in Afghanistan till 2024 and Afghan development projects.

The two issues which dominated the talks were the reopening of Nato’s supply route through Pakistan, and France’s new president’s upholding his election pledge of withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, thus reneging on his predecessor’s commitment on a later timeline. Though the summit has downplayed the effect of a French withdrawal before the Isaf even starts going into a support role, the repercussions can be serious if this trend becomes a voice in other member and partner countries.

On Nato’s supply routes through Pakistan, the Americans were visibly irritated at not being successful in arm-twisting Pakistan after months of engagement when Colin Powell could do this, and much more, with just one long-distance call. For us Pakistanis, it was a sad realisation of how badly we were treated in the past by our selfish rulers and the Americans who profess to be our allies.

Everyone followed the host in Chicago in making Pakistan appear more like a spoiler for blocking supply route than a victim of repeated excesses by a professed ally, and this was distasteful. Anyone who has seen the US battle management systems working in an operational area or even under simulated conditions will laugh at the suggestion that Salala was an accident. It was a pre-mediated, unprovoked and well-planned murder of our soldiers, spread over two hours where each one of them was picked out and targeted. But if Secretary Clinton was on her way to offer an apology and it was Pakistan that wasn’t ready, then we might detach ourselves from domestic politics, show some grace and consider the apology a closed chapter. It is time to move on in life post-Salala after drawing the appropriate lessons.

In a spirited show outside the venue, the anti-war crowd dubbed Nato as the militarised extension of the global 1% after it signed a multibillion-dollar drone contract with Northrop Grumman; a phrase resonating with slogans of the Occupy Wall Street movement where they chanted “We are the 99%!” A group of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans came in to return their medals, a gesture signifying how deeply disenchanted Americans are with the war – just as Obama had posthumously announced a Purple Heart for 30-year-old Lt Thompson who died in Afghanistan a few days ago.

Russia declined an invitation to attend, as its relations with Nato are bedevilled by US plans to deploy anti-missile missiles in Romania and Poland. Russia fears the system can be used against its intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at the US, while Nato maintains, rather unconvincingly, that deployment is against an Iranian threat. Meanwhile, the US is planning to upgrade its estimated 180 tactical nuclear weapons in Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Turkey with precision-guided missiles at a cost of $4 billions, a move critics have described as nuclear escalation by default.

Nato’s weakness as an integrated alliance was exposed during UN-backed operations in Libya: only eight out of 28 members participated in UN-backed operation, with the rest shying away for one reason or another. The continuing financial crisis in the euro zone has hit the alliance hard since the future induction of cutting-edge and expensive military hardware will become difficult. The US has its own plans to cut down defence expenditure by over $800 billions and reduce manpower over the next ten years.

The elections in France and Greece have rejected Germany’s austerity prescription as a solution to the financial crisis in Europe. The up-coming election in the Netherlands is unlikely to lead to any change in its national politics. The G-8 moot held just before Chicago summit supported Greece’s retention in the euro zone. Its exit and meltdown would have cost around $220 billion while retention means approximately $60 billion going down the drain. The hit is being taken mainly by German lending banks due to their greater exposure to risks in agreed MoUs with Greece in the bailout package; British and US banks have negligible exposure, if any. The most significant effect of these elections, however, is that they have blown the bottom out of any future initiatives for bailout packages in Europe.

US support for growth in this roaring debate in Europe at this critical juncture can push Germany towards isolation and possible leadership change, as there are already calls for Chancellor Angela Merkel to call it a day. If the chaos spreads to Spain, as it seems likely to, it can push Britain to seriously consider the ultimate “Yes” or “No” referendum. Accumulatively, it all adds up to Nato’s sapping of political, financial and military stamina for any Iraq-style “reintervention,” should the Taliban appear to recapture political power in Kabul. If Nato had any contingency plans for such an eventuality, they were not discussed in Chicago, at least not in public.

President Zardari rightly stated at the summit that there can be no military solution to the war in Afghanistan. Sadly, he was the only leader voicing this wisdom and it was a measure of the Nato leaders’ arrogance that no one else took up this theme. Zardari knows that Pakistan can’t take another wave of millions of refugees. Elimination of all sources of conflict for prolonged ethnic fratricide in Afghanistan is therefore not only in Afghanistan’s interest but also that of its neighbours. The Chicago summit would have brightened up prospects of peace in Afghanistan if there had been tangible progress in this direction or the Taliban had their address in Qatar for constructive engagement as was agreed previously in principle.

The US should know that there can be no stability, progress or peace in any country where over 40 percent of its population is sidelined and considered an enemy, and Afghanistan is no exception. The problem gets complicated as Pakhtuns in the past have been in power in Afghanistan for nearly as long as America has been independent. Admittedly, successive Pakhtuns rulers have been far from fair to the minorities, but it will serve no purpose if that situation is reversed perpetually for the sake of reversal. A Tajik-dominated army, a motley cabinet of non-Pakhtuns with a figurehead Pakhtun president whose time is up is hardly a solution model for long-term peace in Afghanistan.

Pakistan is genuinely worried at the stunning gap between conclusions drawn for the future of Afghanistan by an arrogant Nato through its set-piece operational methodologies and its medieval adversaries warped in another era in the inhospitable Afghanistan terrain. The continuing uncertainty in Afghanistan and an extended and undesirable Nato presence there only intensifies that worry.

Categories: Uncategorized

Why NATO Targets Syria And Iran

May 25, 2012 2 comments

Pakistan Observer
May 25, 2012

Why NATO targets Syria and Iran?
Geopolitical notes from India
M D Nalapat*

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It needs to be admitted that NATO has stood by its friends in West Asia and North Africa, namely the monarchies. After having taken out Saddam Hussein, another anti-monarchist, Muammar Kaddafy, was dealt within the same way, while a similar fate has been planned for Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Once the last two anti-monarchial heads of state join Saddam and Kaddafy, NATO believes that their royal friends in the region will be secure…

Despite the rising risk of a repeat of the 2008 meltdown, GCC investors are continuing to keep almost all their funds in financial institutions situated in NATO member-states.

It is this loyalty to the members of NATO that is being rewarded by the military alliance going to battle to rid the region of the principal anti-monarchial regimes there.

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The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukio Amano, follows UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s policy of supporting whatever it is that the NATO powers want. In both their home countries, Japan and South Korea, NATO – in the shape of the US military – has been a benign force, defending them against attack by hostile powers. The NATO experience in East Asia has been much less negative for domestic populations than that in West Asia, while South Asia stands in between, except for Afghanistan, where NATO negativism has resulted in the revival of the Taliban and the weakening of forces that could be expected to defend the country against another takeover by the rag-tag militia that is creating panic in NATO headquarters.

Since the past decade, NATO has waged open war in order to alter the status quo. Its battles are not in furtherance of democracy, for it needs to be remembered that locations such as Qatar and Bahrain, where substantial numbers of NATO troops are based, are far from democratic in their governance.

However, thus far, neither Barack Obama nor David Cameron have given any indication of noticing this fact. Instead,they turned their attention first to Iraq and thence to Libya and now Syria, with Iran a permanent target of war plans. After the occupation of Iraq in 2003 and the execution of Saddam Hussein, what was behind the NATO-assisted removal of the Muammar Kaddafy regime?

Although BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera pretended that the uprising was entirely local, now the world knows that special forces from several countries got inserted into Libya and played the dominant role in the defeat of forces loyal to Kaddafy. Neighbouring countries provided weapons, money and training to mercenaries who were inserted into Libya throughout 2011, until the fall of Tripoli. Conspiracy theorists claim that Goege W. Bush and his “Executive President” Dick Cheney invaded Iraq in order to teach Saddam Hussein a lesson for seeking to assassinate the then-U.S. president’s father…

However, it was not for him that Iraq was invaded. Rather, the common link between Saddam Hussein, Muammar Kaddafy, Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is that all four are [or were] opposed to the monarchies that rule the wealthy nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Eliminating Saddam would, it was calculated, strengthen the position of the GCC and other monarchies. It is no accident that while republican Egypt and Tunisia have undergone changes in heads of state, the same has not taken place in Jordan and Morocco, both of which are monarchies.

It needs to be admitted that NATO has stood by its friends in West Asia and North Africa, namely the monarchies. After having taken out Saddam Hussein, another anti-monarchist, Muammar Kaddafy, was dealt within the same way, while a similar fate has been planned for Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Once the last two anti-monarchial heads of state join Saddam and Kaddafy, NATO believes that their royal friends in the region will be secure, even if there be some public protest, as in Bahrain and Jordan.

And their royal friends have stood by the NATO member-states, often at huge financial cost. During the 2008 economic meltdown caused by the greed of NATO-based financial institutions, investors (both public and private) within the GCC lost more than $1.3 trillion, through no fault of theirs.

Despite this, they are still holding nearly $4 trillion in the same financial institutions that have been shown to be unreliable. Should the inevitable fall of Greece and Spain be followed by the collapse of Italy and France, GCC investors alone stand to lose $2.1 trillion dollars in financial assets. Despite the rising risk of a repeat of the 2008 meltdown, GCC investors are continuing to keep almost all their funds in financial institutions situated in NATO member-states.

It is this loyalty to the members of NATO that is being rewarded by the military alliance going to battle to rid the region of the principal anti-monarchial regimes there. A fallout of the tension that such a policy by NATO creates is a steady rise in oil prices. Rather than $30, which is the natural price of crude oil given supply and technological potentialities, it is still about $100 a barrel, entirely because of the tension created by NATO policy towards anti-monarchial regimes in West Asia, principally Iran. Such a spike in oil prices rewards companies based in NATO capitals, as well as in the monarchies.

Even better, it slows down growth in China, thereby preventing that country from overtaking the US. It slows down growth in India as well, but Delhi is collateral damage. The real target of artificially high oil prices is Beijing. Given such geopolitical realities as the need for NATO-based financial institutions to retain the immense deposits made in them by GCC investors, and the negative impact on China of rising oil prices, it would be futile to expect a breakthrough in the Baghdad talks on the Iranian nuclear program. The pressure on Syria and Iran will continue, until NATO’s mission to rid the globe of key anti-monarchy regimes gets fulfilled.

*The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO: Post-Summit Digest

May 24

New Age Colonialism: West Buying Up Third World?

[T]he western powers are left with the one option where they rule supreme: the military. NATO is planning its new global strategy with Libya as the working model. Smothered in rhetoric of “human rights”, “democracy” and “responsibility to protect”, the former colonial powers are planning their new “land grabbing”.

*****

NATO Summit Emphasizes Georgia, Baltic And Balkan States

Saakashvili continued to fawn and even lashed out at the new anti-NATO, Occupy demonstrators, calling them “relics of the past” and saying that the Cold War relic that is NATO was “more relevant now than ever before.” The disconnect was not only evident from the Georgian side. NATO reciprocated.

So get out those checkbooks and keep paying for the war and death that is NATO; after all, they keep shoving their missiles in Russia’s face and keep protecting you against the phantom menaces that they keep telling you are threatening you.

*****

NATO Summit: Everything That Is Wrong With Our Society

The NATO summit put on display how we can and do conjure up foreign and domestic threats to justify government control of our society. For it is fear that justifies not just our obscene military spending, but more importantly, the official violation of our civil and constitutional rights and the concession of political power to corporations.

*****

NATO In Chicago: Another World Without War And Injustice Is Possible

Poverty, inequality and militarism are forms of violence that constitute a vicious circle, which must be broken for the survival of humanity. Each of these evils is fed by the others, all must be challenged. All three are in NATO, a military alliance linked with the interests of several of the richest and most powerful nations.

The increase in military budgets under the pretext of safeguarding peace is an offense to people who lack the bare minimum to live with dignity. NATO, which has never been a defensive alliance, has invaded distant countries such as Afghanistan and Libya, with disastrous effects, and has been extended to the borders of Russia, causing the threat of a new nuclear arms race, and intends to go further, to Africa, East Asia and the Pacific.

*****

May 23

NATO In Chicago: Protests Here To Stay, Warmakers Are Afraid

At the NATO conference, world leaders say they are looking to “wind down” the war in Afghanistan. Apparently, the winding down is scheduled to go on until 2024, as far as U.S. involvement in the war. But the system that creates these wars is not winding down. And that is the problem. That’s also why Chicago’s streets this weekend were alive with dissent.

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Interview: NATO Loses Debate To “Demonstrators”

Audio and text

[T]he real proof of the pudding with NATO is, again in 1991, 21 years ago when the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union both dissolved themselves that NATO, far from retiring, goes into the business of expanding throughout all of Europe and then starts waging war in areas far removed from the North Atlantic and even outside of Europe. This tends to suggest that NATO contained, at the very least, within itself the kernel of military aggression from its very foundation.

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Russia Tests New ICBM After NATO Missile System Launched

A new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) so secret it has no name yet has been successfully tested in Russia, the defence ministry says.

The new weapon is designed to penetrate Nato’s European missile defence shield, Russian defence sources told the Interfax news agency.

The test came days after Nato said its system had reached “interim operational capability”.

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Video And Text: Kucinich Says Peace Is Possible, War Not Inevitable

We should forget about trying to conquer other countries: that’s an old model, that’d an old thinking from hundreds of years ago. We tried that in Iraq – it did not work. We have tried that in Afghanistan – it did not work. We keep trying that in Libya – it does not work. Their people want us to try that in Syria – it will not work. And it is not going to work in Iran, and the sooner that we understand it – the better it is…

*****

May 22

Not NATO’s Kind Of Town

[T]here’s renewed attention to the obscene amounts the U.S. and NATO nations spend on armaments. This at a time when suffering from a lingering economic crisis continues to grow, when cities and states are mired in crisis and slashing public services – and while Obama’s defense secretary is opposing relatively minor spending cuts agreed to in last year’s budget deal.

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Audio And Video: Veterans Return Medals During NATO Summit

As thousands gathered this past Sunday in Chicago for a mass anti-NATO demonstration, close to 50 military veterans who had served in Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan led the march all the way to the NATO summit to give back their medals.

*****

NATO: Big Money, Big Interests And Global Domination

If the over-taxed American people realized that of the almost 50% of their salaries that they are paying in taxes, a large part of it, and the over 65 years of debt that is being passed along to their children, is also being spent not only to fund all of the American war machines and US military adventures all over the world, but it is also being used to provide approximately 79% of the funding for an organization that should have been disbanded over 20 years ago and one that it not even really wanted by the people it is supposed to be protecting in Europe…

*****

Video: NATO Rebrands Occupation Of Afghanistan

“What we’re looking at is a different form of US and NATO presence in Afghanistan,” says political analyst and writer Rick Rozoff.

“It is clear that NATO wants to expand its military presence throughout Central Asia as well as maintaining some sort of presence in Afghanistan.”

*****

NATO: European Interceptor Missile System Up And Running

“The US never attempted seriously to reach a realistic compromise with Russia,” considers political analyst and writer Rick Rozoff. He recalled the American ambassador saying last December that the US is going to deploy interceptor missile systems in Europe “whether Russia likes it or not”.

“That is hardly diplomatic talk,” mocks Rozoff.

*****

Kucinich: NATO Talks A Sham, War In Afghanistan Is Not Ending

“The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is not a benevolent organization. NATO is not about the North Atlantic and it’s not about our collective defense.

“NATO is a cost-sharing organization that finances aggressive military action. By hiding behind the claim that the organization provides for ‘common defense,’ NATO allows us to wage wars of choice under the guise of international peacekeeping. The most recent example was the unconstitutional war in Libya where NATO, operating under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians, instead backed one side in a civil war and pursued a policy of regime change.”

*****

May 21

Turkmenistan: NATO Completes Penetration Of Central Asia

Appathurai said NATO appreciates the effective assistance and support rendered by Turkmenistan in the restoration of social and economic infrastructure of neighboring Afghanistan.

A number of initiatives of the Turkmen side, including the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India construction project (TAPI), are an example.

*****

NATO Weighs In Against Russia On Post-Soviet Frozen Conflicts

“We remain committed in our support of the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova…”

“We continue to call on Russia to reverse its recognition of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia as independent states,” said a joint declaration issued after the NATO summit in Chicago.

The declaration also urged Russia to withdraw its military presence from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, calling them “Georgia’s territory.”

*****

Clinton: All Future NATO Summits Should Be Expansion Summits

NATO should expand its membership at the next summit of the military alliance, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday at the start of a meeting with aspirants Bosnia, Georgia, Macedonia and Montenegro at a summit in Chicago, DPA reported.

“I believe this summit should be the last summit that is not an enlargement summit,” Clinton said.

Categories: Uncategorized

New Age Colonialism: West Buying Up Third World?

May 24, 2012 1 comment

RT
May 23, 2012

New age colonialism: West buying up Third World?
Lode Vanoost

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[T]he western powers are left with the one option where they rule supreme: the military. NATO is planning its new global strategy with Libya as the working model. Smothered in rhetoric of “human rights”, “democracy” and “responsibility to protect”, the former colonial powers are planning their new “land grabbing”.

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Multinational corporations are buying up swathes of land in underdeveloped countries in an unchecked scramble towards new-age colonialism. So-called “land grabbing” sees western powers vying for economic control of the developing world’s resources.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently gathered with members of the corporate elite and NGOs to develop guidelines against “land grabbing”. Matters have been prepared over the last three years, leading to the present guidelines being published at the beginning of May 2012. While in principle a perfectly legitimate idea, it’s best to stay cautious.

Media have used the epithet “historic” to describe this new UN initiative. Days have long gone since the word was used to describe events that had a proven impact over time. These guidelines still have to be proven in practice. Maybe they will lead to substantial changes. My experience with history tells me otherwise.

Once the flashy press brochures are left untouched on some desk and everybody runs off after new pressing issues, then it is time to take a closer look. What exactly are we talking about? Let’s look at this so-called “land grabbing”.

This is what Wikipedia has to say:

“Land grabbing is the contentious issue of large-scale land acquisitions; the buying or leasing of larger pieces of land in developing countries, by domestic and transnational companies, governments and individuals. While used broadly throughout history, land grabbing as used today primarily refers to large-scale land acquisitions following the 2007-2008 world food price crisis…the target locations of most land grabs lie in the Global South, with 70% of land grabs in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Wikipedia being what it is – mostly an excuse for people (like me) too lazy to do real research – one can certainly not suspect it of having leftist tendencies. Precisely that makes their definition interesting. Let’s do some cross-checking.

It starts with a contradiction: grabbing is a fancy word for stealing, but an acquisition implies a legal (and legitimate) interaction between seller and buyer.

Then follows another contradiction. Land grabbing has been a practice “broadly throughout history” but nevertheless it refers to a very recent phenomenon – “large-scale land acquisitions following the 2007-2008 world food price crisis.”

It all takes place in the Global South, 70% of it in Sub-Saharan Africa. For some unfathomable reason, there is no land grabbing in the agricultural plains in the South of France or the midwest of the US. Also, it has to do with “food’ and ‘water”, meant to be produced for the “North” (meaning the affluent in North and South, not the poor).

This definition also tells us it’s all being done by “domestic and transnational companies, governments and individuals”. Considering that big companies in the South are mostly subsidiaries of, or financially linked to western multinationals, the real “domestic” part of it is negligible.

Governments in the “Global South” have some things in common, such as little or no democratic accountability if not outright systemic corruption, small and inadequate budgets and weak institutions. That means most of the time these are governments buying land with loans from these same transnational companies or from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Then there’s the “individuals”, we can safely replace with “extremely wealthy individuals”.

These UN guidelines are non-binding. Governments and multinationals “should” respect women’s rights to the land, “should” not “be complicit” in human rights abuses. There are no formal legal sanctions. What will that mean for Chinese companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo or Canadian ones in Zambia? These guidelines are a polite way of saying: “By the way, these methods that you used to get so wealthy, could you now please not use them anymore?”

I have seen the arable lands left unused East of Kinshasa, stretching for miles and miles next to the roads towards Bandundu paved anew by Chinese contractors – all personal property of the heirs of former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. In his day they were indeed “used” – for exports that is, most certainly not for his own people.

Land grabbing is NOT a new phenomenon. What was colonialism other than land grabbing, where “land” stood for the whole country? Then, when popular resistance in the South (and to a lesser extent the change of public opinion in the North) became too costly, the colonial powers “granted” independence.

More correctly, they had to give back what was never theirs.

We found another way. We financed armed and corrupt dictatorships from Paraguay to Indonesia to maintain the western economic stronghold over the Third World. After lavishing our thug friends over there with abundant loans, that system collapsed as well. Now we insist on democracy (and correct payments of debts on the side), knowing full well that this way these countries will not have the means to decide their own future.

Do not worry, the final “historic” solution is on the way. Le nouveau “land grabbing” est arrivé. Better and more ethical than the previous one. Even the World Bank is there to help, the very same institution that saw no problems in lending to the likes of Indonesia’s Suharto.

Since land grabbing has been going on for so long, why then is it a hot issue today? Well, the former colonial powers have a problem. They do not have the means anymore to compete on the “free market” with the new emerging powers like the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Their population is no longer willing to bear the brunt of new colonial conquest. Basically, western countries blaming China and other countries for their land grabbing are saying: “Shame on you, you are acting as we did!”

So the western powers are left with the one option where they rule supreme: the military. NATO is planning its new global strategy with Libya as the working model. Smothered in rhetoric of “human rights”, “democracy” and “responsibility to protect”, the former colonial powers are planning their new “land grabbing”.

One can never predict the future. So, it could very well be that this time these new UN guidelines will indeed benefit the starving people of the South. I remain skeptical. The NGOs which claim that these guidelines are an important first step are right, at least if they remain within the framework of the prevailing economic system. If you accept that as a given, then these guidelines are a useful tool of reference.

These NGOs are at least naive and fooling themselves or at worse complicit in saying this. As long as the profit motive is the only driving force of our economy, things will turn out as they did. Guidelines will be violated. Multinationals will brush the general interest aside. That is no more a conspiracy than the fact that all water runs to the sea, it is the nature of the beast. It is what multinationals are supposed to do. It is what they will do.

But, we do need to foresee plans for an ever-expanding population, for the food crises of the future, right? Well, people in the Third World are starving now, today, as we speak. They have been doing so for the last fifty years, if not longer. How about dealing with that problem first?

Things are not written in stone. It’s never too late to resist, but we should start by agreeing on one thing: the UN should declare the present land grabbing drive illegal and set binding rules, not guidelines. Unrealistic? Sure, but much less so than maintaining the present lemming drive towards total disaster.

Lode Vanoost is a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives of Belgium. Since 2003 he works as an international consultant, mainly for parliamentary institutions. He writes regularly for the Dutch -language Belgian websites http://www.dewereldmorgen.be and http://www.uitpers.be.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_grabbing

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Summit Emphasizes Georgia, Baltic And Balkan States

May 24, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
May 23, 2012

Georgia, the Baltic countries: big winners at NATO Summit
John Robles

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Saakashvili continued to fawn and even lashed out at the new anti-NATO, Occupy demonstrators, calling them “relics of the past” and saying that the Cold War relic that is NATO was “more relevant now than ever before.” The disconnect was not only evident from the Georgian side. NATO reciprocated.

So get out those checkbooks and keep paying for the war and death that is NATO; after all, they keep shoving their missiles in Russia’s face and keep protecting you against the phantom menaces that they keep telling you are threatening you.

====

At the NATO summit in Chicago, the Baltic countries proved one of the most successful for NATO in its fundraising drive, with the countries announcing that they are going to increase their contributions to NATO’s coffers. Of course all of these billions of dollars are not being given for nothing, which is strange because in reality they are selling their souls to NATO and actually paying the devil for the “privilege”.

In a speech at the North Atlantic Council Barack Obama spoke in golden tones about NATO’s Air Policing Mission over the Baltic States and at the summit it was called “one of the most successful examples of NATO solidarity.” NATO solidarity? We are talking about an organization designed and created against the Soviet Union. What exactly are they so in solidarity over? As they have no real enemy, then which imagined ones? Or just advancing U.S. interests? What does policing the airspace over the Baltic countries have to do with “solidarity”?

The NATO summit actually did some real work, as a total of 13 documents were given the green light. These include the Chicago Summit Declaration and a ten-year plan of enhancements called NATO Forces 2020. The members agreed to implement what they are calling “smart defense” and “connected forces” initiatives aimed at improving the use of joint military, financial and technological assets. Under the “smart defense” program come missile defense systems and the Air Policing mission over the Baltics.

The mission over the Baltics is important for Lithuania, and the president of the country fawned repeatedly over NATO. According to the press service of the Lithuanian president the country had “achieved and reaffirmed all the goals it sought to ensure the security of their country and people.” Again the question pops up, against whom? She also said that Lithuania’s membership in NATO is now real and full-fledged and that they have security guarantees that they will be protected and defended.

Georgia is another story, bending over backward and fawning over NATO. Fawning NATO spokespuppet Mihail Sakashvili could not have been more over the top in his almost groveling manner before NATO. He was ever so grateful and vocal at the mere fact that his country was put in the context of being among the three Balkan NATO aspirant countries.

He said it represented progress and that the aspirant countries would, as everybody knows, join NATO. Despite no real progress he said that Georgia, “had done its homework like the best student in the class that still could make it to the next year…When will we graduate? We don’t know yet,” Saakashvili said. He fawned over Georgia being put “into the basket of Balkan countries,” and that it was a “geographical coup” putting Georgia into the West.

In the summit declaration, the NATO leaders continue to state that Georgia will join NATO but again no one knows when. Regardless of the fact that he is being led around with a carrot, Saakashvili continued to fawn and even lashed out at the new anti-NATO, Occupy demonstrators, calling them “relics of the past” and saying that the Cold War relic that is NATO was “more relevant now than ever before.” The disconnect was not only evident from the Georgian side. NATO reciprocated.

The NATO declaration says that NATO supports reforms in Georgia, in all spheres but as an almost admission to Saakashvili’s status as what many call a dictator, the alliance stresses, “the importance of conducting free, fair, and inclusive elections in 2012 and 2013.” The declaration also mentions Georgia’s “full compliance” with the 2008 ceasefire agreement and Tbilisi’s non-use of force promise, and takes a stab at Russia, calling “on Russia to reciprocate.” NATO repeated, as they did during the 2009 and 2010 summits, that Russia should; “reverse its recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.”

The declaration states that NATO is grateful to Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Georgia, which “aspire to NATO membership…for the important contributions they are making to NATO-led operations, and which demonstrate their commitment to our shared security goals.” Again the document mentions abstract, ambiguous “shared goals”.

For those of you who have been dozing, this may be made clearer by provocative statements preparing the way for increased hostilities with Russia, saying that for the following statement attributed to the “President”: “The Summit repeats NATO’s focus on the military build-up in Kaliningrad and is prepared to strengthen cooperation with Russia, but that Russia is contradicting its declared aspiration to develop a strategic partnership with NATO.”

Little talk of Iran and who the global missile shield is being built against, wink-wink. No mention that Russia has been requesting written guarantees that the intensive militarization along its own borders by NATO is not against its own deterrent. No mention that the US has refused to provide any written guarantees whatsoever, “trust us,” wink-wink. No mention that Georgia invaded South Ossetia and killed Russian citizens and peacekeepers, no mention of anything of substance really, more of a reaffirming-back-patting-feel-good-fundraiser. So get out those checkbooks and keep paying for the war and death that is NATO; after all, they keep shoving their missiles in Russia’s face and keep protecting you against the phantom menaces that they keep telling you are threatening you. What else can they do as they try to stay relevant?

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Summit: Everything That Is Wrong With Our Society

May 24, 2012 1 comment

Lebanon Daily News (Lebanon, Pennsylvania)
May 23, 2012

NATO summit on power and control
By Paul Heise

The NATO summit held in Chicago last weekend reflects everything that is wrong with our society.

The NATO summit put on display how we can and do conjure up foreign and domestic threats to justify government control of our society. For it is fear that justifies not just our obscene military spending, but more importantly, the official violation of our civil and constitutional rights and the concession of political power to corporations.

This fear is then used to justify a growing military alliance even when there is no credible threat. It is the basis for the militarization of our police force, the erosion of our civil liberties and globalization of our economy.

This fear arises because the United States, more than any other country, still lives in the shadow of the Cold War. The culture of fear created at that time and continuing to this day frames our every government action and our federal spending of almost $1 trillion per year on our “security.” The NATO summit is the celebration of that culture of fear and constitutes a show of force.

The governing elite in the industrialized world, and these are the people who attend the summit, have framed their governance task in terms of security, not growth, freedom or peace. It is absurd, but we spend billions of dollars on antimissile batteries in Poland and Romania and the newly dreamed up East Coast Missile Shield to guard against Iran, which is not and never will be a threat.

Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars film fantasies continue to haunt us and cost us. The only thing they guard is the profits of the military-industrial-security corporations and their Congress.

We are supposed to fear not just Russian missiles, Muslim fanatics and the very idea of China but any organized group that protests the militarization and globalization of our society. And there were protesters aplenty in Chicago: the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, National Nurses United, Occupy Wall Street, the Mental Health Movement, Iraqi Veterans against the War, Poverty Agenda, Muslim Peace Council, the Coalition against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Occupy Chicago, the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and many more.

In total, 60 people were arrested, but no one anywhere that I could find, pro or con, gave an estimate for the number of protesters. Now that is really tight control.

Prior to the summit, the FBI and Chicago Police Department regularly announced dire warnings of terrorism, chaos and violence. None of this materialized, but it did intimidate and deter as intended. The best the police could come up with were some guys they accused of making Molotov cocktails – or maybe beer. Most of the detainees have been released; few were charged.

The Chicago NATO Summit was creating fear not only with all the shiny new equipment but also the latest in unconstitutional, but supposedly legal, police tactics. The police can and did use pre-emptive arrest, holding without charges, disappearances and threats of charges of terrorism to create fear. In the far western suburbs no one was allowed to get on the train to the Loop with a backpack or any liquid. Most of the downtown transit stations were closed.

This NATO Summit was, in effect, a show of force. The G-8 Summit about joblessness was more important. It had to be hidden at Camp David in Maryland.

This might be an age of government austerity, but not when it comes to security for a NATO summit. In just the last couple of months, Chicago police have spent more than $1 million on riot gear getting ready for this summit. The city even bought a sound cannon to be used to disperse crowds.

Homeland Security spending is where the real money is, and not just in Chicago. Fargo, N.D., hardly a hotbed of terrorism, used $8 million to arm its police officers with assault rifles and Kevlar helmets in every squad car. They bought an armored truck with a rotating turret for $256,643. Its biggest use is for picnics!

Remember, this money is used to make property and wealth secure, not life and limb or people – unless those people are corporations. This spending creates austerity elsewhere, like in our schools and hospitals.

And just in case you have any doubts about the readiness of our government to manipulate the citizenry, a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 would remove the 1948 ban on dishonest U.S. government propaganda aimed at American citizens.

They will soon be able to legally misinform, that is lie to, the American public to influence public opinion.

A resident of Mt. Gretna, Heise holds a Ph.D. in economics and is professor emeritus of economics at Lebanon Valley College. His column appears every other Thursday. He maintains past columns and can be reached through his blog, paulheise.blogspot.com.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO In Chicago: Another World Without War And Injustice Is Possible

May 24, 2012 1 comment

World Future Online
May 24, 2012

NATO In Chicago: Another World Without War And Injustice Is Possible
By Luis Gutiérrez Esparza

Original in Spanish

CHICAGO: The NATO summit ended in this city with an apparent show of solidarity around President Barack Obama and the U.S. government. Reflecting the globalization of the formerly intended ‘Atlantic’ alliance, which has become a world police and army in the service of transnational Washington and its European allies. The event was attended by special guests such as Jordan, Qatar and Armenia.

In fact, the only agreement was that they agree: not as to the departure of NATO troops that have occupied Afghanistan for ten years, as some want to be fast and short, others, gradual, and the U.S. government prefers a fake response: lets “train” the Afghans with our troops there, as well as large contingents of mercenaries, members of private security companies.

Various civil society groups in the U.S. held a counter-event for ‘Peace and Economic Justice’, on Friday 18 and Saturday 19, in The People’s Church, attended by organizations from around the world to witness the emergence of a global movement against war, militarism, inequality and poverty, which represents the majority of the inhabitants of the planet.

Poverty, inequality and militarism are forms of violence that constitute a vicious circle, which must be broken for the survival of humanity. Each of these evils is fed by the others, all must be challenged. All three are in NATO, a military alliance linked with the interests of several of the richest and most powerful nations.

Participants at the counter-summit spoke up to say that one must “oppose war, embrace peace and demand that imperial compulsion is replaced by the understanding of our global interdependence and the flowering of genuine democracy, which in turn will promote a greater inclusion, equity and justice for all.”

The search for an alternative vision for a more peaceful world is inextricably linked to economic justice, social justice and environmental care. Militarism sustains and strengthens national and international economic systems which are unfair and represents one of the main obstacles to solving the most pressing world problems.

The increase in military budgets under the pretext of safeguarding peace is an offense to people who lack the bare minimum to live with dignity. NATO, which has never been a defensive alliance, has invaded distant countries such as Afghanistan and Libya, with disastrous effects, and has been extended to the borders of Russia, causing the threat of a new nuclear arms race, and intends to go further, to Africa, East Asia and the Pacific.

Because the United States is the main force in NATO, Latin America is also threatened by the alliance. And the decision in Chicago to keep the nuclear option as a valuable resource in case of conflict affects the future of humanity, its very survival, and the ecosphere.

Military budgets that are increasingly generous and their involved wars, along with the austerity policies promoted by the G8, channel more wealth to the 1% overall, and privatization and deterioration of public services is increasing due to unemployment and a steady decline in the quality of life of human beings.

Militarism encourages further corporate globalization, seeking control of natural resources, land and markets, and subverts democracy and human rights. It is a drive bad for migrant workers, who leave their countries in search of a better life. It generates huge profits by selling arms to all stakeholders.

Another world is possible and necessary. One with peace, economic justice, a new dimension of human security and equality among nations in opposition to imperial ambitions. NATO tries to avoid it. The counter-event proposed and promoted it.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO In Chicago: Protests Here To Stay, Warmakers Are Afraid

May 24, 2012 1 comment

OpEd News
May 23, 2012

NATO in Chicago: Protests Are Here to Stay, and the Warmakers are Afraid
By Mark Harris

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At the NATO conference, world leaders say they are looking to “wind down” the war in Afghanistan. Apparently, the winding down is scheduled to go on until 2024, as far as U.S. involvement in the war. But the system that creates these wars is not winding down. And that is the problem. That’s also why Chicago’s streets this weekend were alive with dissent.

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The thousands gathered in Chicago this past weekend to protest the NATO summit and the G8 meeting in Camp David are another sign we are in a new era of social activism. The Occupy movement is not going away. What is disappearing from the American landscape is the old passive acquiescence to an unjust status quo, one in which modern states with impunity spend massive amounts on war and militarism, propping up dictators and corrupt regimes in poorer countries while promoting austerity at home.

The measure of the seismic shift in the political landscape that’s taken place is found not just in the thousands who joined the NATO protests, including National Nurses United (NNU) and the activist fire they brought to their Friday, May 18, rally in Daley Plaza for increased taxes on Wall Street. It’s also seen in the overheated, biased response by the political establishment and mainstream media just to the specter of street protest.

It’s not just the crazed Republicans, either. Early on the Obama administration realized Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s desire to showcase Chicago’s “world class status” (whatever that is) by simultaneously bringing both the NATO summit and the G8 conference to the city was a colossal stupidity. The White House was justifiably worried holding both summits at the same place and time was like drawing a bullseye on everything wrong with a corporate-run world. It would be an open invitation for one massive weekend of protest against the social and political status quo.

The G8 summit was moved to the more remote Camp David, but it didn’t really matter. Wisely, NNU continued with its Chicago rally and call for a “Robin Hood” tax of 50 cents on every $100 in Wall Street financial trading, a measure alone they say could raise $350 billion a year in revenue. That was but the opening salvo to the weekend. The march against NATO on Sunday afternoon drew many thousands, perhaps 10,000 or more, with some observers reporting the crowd stretched for 10 blocks. It was likely far more than the 2,000 or 3,000 marchers cited by the mayor’s office and local media.

At the NATO conference, world leaders say they are looking to “wind down” the war in Afghanistan. Apparently, the winding down is scheduled to go on until 2024, as far as U.S. involvement in the war. But the system that creates these wars is not winding down. And that is the problem. That’s also why Chicago’s streets this weekend were alive with dissent.

Democratic Leaders Miscalculate

Actually, even with moving the G8 event to Camp David, it was a blunder for the Obama administration to bring either global summit to the United States. The weekend of protests only put White House’s complicity in the global specter of war and austerity millions are now resisting in sharp relief. Not so smart for a president up for re-election, and who has to count on the votes of millions of liberal- and progressive-minded Americans.

The Chicago protests also highlight just how tense and repressive the political landscape has become. Every social protest in every American city now is met with a massive, militarized police mobilization. The Chicago police presence even included police brought in from other states, with the National Guard nearby in reserve.

Yet the large majority of the protesters were peaceful. As for the exception of the so-called Black Bloc, their justifiable ire toward the state is largely reduced to running infantile street skirmishes with police. They play into the hands of the mayor’s office, the police, and the alleged journalists in the local broadcast media, the latter of whom just can’t wait to congratulate the police on their “remarkable restraint” and a “job well done.” This they do when not busy reporting with solemn authority the latest dubious “terrorist” plot cracked by the local authorities. It’s at moments like this, when politics heats up, that we realize how much news is just propaganda, the gist of which in this case seems designed to persuade the locals that the crazed protestors are just not like the rest of us.

How skittish and insecure the moneyed political establishment has become. More evidence of this came from Mayor Emanuel’s last-minute effort to deny the permit for the nurses rally at Daley Plaza, moving it to Grant Park ostensibly on logistical grounds that popular musician Tom Morello would draw too big a crowd. Thanks to the nurses refusal to be cowed, that attempt at petty intimidation failed.

More folly was to be found in the paranoid response of some Chicago downtown corporate offices, which Crain’s Chicago Business (May 8) reports were advising employees to “dress like protesters” during the summit, lest they be targeted by crazed mobs of rampaging dissenters. There’s a certain Midwestern, middle-management mentality involved in that advice, one that views protesters as just wackos who don’t like “The Man,” which must mean anybody who dresses nicely and carries a briefcase.

The liberal Democratic mayors who methodically repressed the Occupy Wall Street encampments in city after city last fall, no doubt coordinated with federal assistance, understood something. A living, breathing round-the-clock protest against an unjust political and economic system is intolerable. It’s intolerable because, like their Republican counterparts, the liberal Democratic establishment has few answers to the bleak reality of how hard it has become to make an adequate living or find a decent job or expect a peaceful world or just have some damn hope for the future. Even at its best the “free market” capitalism espoused by both parties cannot offer stability and peace for the majority of the people. But no one in power wants to talk about alternatives.

The spontaneous explosion of the Occupy Wall Street protests last fall was the frustrated spirit of the grassroots organizing that swept Barack Obama into office in 2008 finally set free. Spend any time now with the young Occupy activists, watch their press conferences or read their statements, and it’s clear we’ve entered a new era of social activism, one defined by a lively and energetic resistance to social and economic injustices. Most important, it’s also an era of international social protest, as we are seeing from Egypt to Tunisia, Greece to Spain and elsewhere.

The Specter From Below

In the 1930s President Roosevelt’s New Deal program funded greatly expanded public services, including a government jobs program, despite a federal budget crisis worse than the current crisis. Of course, even then the New Deal didn’t come close to achieving significant reductions in unemployment (the War Deal of the 1940s did that). Today’s liberal saviors by contrast spend their time haggling with right-wing Republicans over the “deficit crisis,” which has its own attendant logic in the bleak specter offered of years of bipartisan-endorsed austerity.

Economist Richard Wolff noted with curt irony the meaning of the current moment in his May 12 economic update for Truthout, “Obama plans to reduce Social Security and never mentions a federal hiring program.” Yet the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost an estimated $3.2-4 trillion (and counting) over the last ten years, according to the 2011 report from Brown University’s Cost of War project.

As Wolff and others have observed, what was different about the 1930s was that capitalism then faced a potent threat from the grassroots, as radical ideas and a mobilized industrial labor movement spread across the nation. A similar social and political threat does not yet quite exist.
Mark T. Harris is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. He is a featured contributor to “The Flexible Writer,” fourth edition, by Susanna Rich (Allyn & Bacon/Longman, 2003). He edits the blog, http://www.PlanetOccupy.org.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: NATO Loses Debate To “Demonstrators”

May 23, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
May 23, 2012

 

NATO loses debate to “demonstrators”

 

Audio: Download
Recorded on May 17
Video of debate
Transcript

 

Hello, this is John Robles. I am speaking with Rick Rozoff, the Manager and Owner of the Stop NATO website and mailing list.

Hello, Rick. Thanks a lot for agreeing to speak with me. We would like to do a summary on the debate you had last night. Do you think the format was fair and who originally was supposed to speak and why do you think they were removed? And do you think you were treated in a proper manner? In the beginning you were called “demonstrators”.

Yeah right, days before the demonstration, as though our role is simply limited to marching and protests and so forth. That wasn’t fair. I assume that it was an inadvertent mistake, though I can assure you that had this been a NATO official, they would have dealt with him with a lot more reverence and deference. But overall I would have to say, given the limitations – the fact that it was held at the Pritzker Military Library and was sponsored by the National Strategy Forum – that they dealt with our side better than we’re accustomed to being dealt with.

The moderator, he made a point of saying that there were only 60 people in the audience? Can you tell us a little bit about the security situation, that was going on there?

It was a very tight security situation, but the venue was small – could only accommodate about 60 people and both sides, as it were, the pro-NATO and anti-NATO forces, were allowed inside, were allowed some 35 people, so that is actually more than 60, isn’t it?. But somehow or another it worked out fairly evenly. The Rev. Jesse Jackson was there, there were international media, but it was a very select audience and kept that way evidently.

We of course, on our end, those opposed to NATO, would have prefered a larger venue, with a larger audience, but these are elite organizations – think tanks and so forth – and they live in their own circumscribed world.

Why do you think the original speakers were taken off the schedule, do you think that was planned?

I am glad you asked that. I’d love to know. As you are aware and as you’ve covered in the past, John, the two pro-NATO spokesmen were to have been the assistant or deputy, whatever he is, Assistant Secretary General James Appathurai and former U.S. ambassador to NATO and State Department official R. Nicholas Burns.

For inexplicable reasons – it was explained to me secondhand – for logistical reasons and problems with the format of the podcast. The fact that it was televised live to a fairly wide audience I think didn’t please the two pro-NATO officials. Subsequent to that we heard a rumor to the effect that two former U.S. ambassadors to NATO, Robert E. Hunter and Kurt Volker, were to appear. They did appear in events sponsored by the same organization, National Strategy Forum, earlier in the day where they premiered a video promoting modern NATO, but they also didn’t show up.

There was nobody countering their view, so they got to say whatever they wanted to. 

Yes, precisely, every other event that’s been held in Chicago except for a small one in a church a couple of months ago has been entirely pro-NATO, and this includes several events today and I am sure several in the interim between now and the summit itself. For example, if your listeners aren’t aware of this – I live in Chicago, of course – there is a branch of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York that used to be called the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, in recent years Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and they brought in Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, they brought in R. Nicholas Burns, the person I mentioned earlier. Albright a few weeks ago went to a high school on the South Side of Chicago to promote NATO. There have been events held throughout elementary schools – grade schools – in Chicago promoting NATO, and in recent days in suburban communities, that is even outside Cook County in Chicago, people have been subjected to a barrage of NATO propagandas, so this was the one real opportunity, not to have our side heard, but to have two people from each side. It was the only balanced discussion to date.

Can you please, for our listeners, we have some people that don’t have a chance to get on the internet or won’t have a chance to, can you summarize the key points, the key arguments for and against, that took place during the debate, please?

Right, I should tell you who the other three speakers were. On our side a very eloquent, well-informed and heroic young woman named Iris Feliciano spoke. She is a member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War but is a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, who had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. [Actually only in Afghanistan.] She stated that she and her colleagues want to meet with NATO officials to express their opposition to, condemnation of, the wars that have been waged in Afghanistan and Iraq. I incidentally met a number of veterans after the affair and one of whom was a young woman who’d been in the U.S. Navy during the war against Yugoslavia in 1999 and she and others intend to return their war medals to NATO during the march on May the 20th.

She has a NATO medal for calling in air strikes and helicopter attacks against Yugoslav forces in 1999. So, there were number of veterans in the audience…but Iris Feliciano was extremely poised, extremely well-informed and offered arguments that were impossible for any decent person to refute.

On the other side, the very jocular and avuncular and so force, were the former U.S. Ambassador to both East and West Germany and reunified Germany, J.D. Bindenagel and one John Allen Williams. These are both people associated with universities in Chicago. Williams is at Loyola University and Bindenagel is now at DePaul University, both Catholic universities in Chicago.

Russian officials frequently talk about NATO not being willing to abandon Cold War thinking and what I really heard from Bindenagel and Williams was, not bellicose and not vicious, but nevertheless a complete Cold War worldview: one where they were celebrating NATO for having stopped Soviet divisions pouring across Europe and suchlike, which wasn’t true at the time and certainly is irrelevant now in the face of global NATO waging wars around the world. But they seem to be locked, frankly, in a time warp, and the veteran, Miss Feliciano, who had spent 10 years on the ground, she knew what she was talking about, she knows what these wars are about and she knows what plight confronts U.S. veterans when they return to the United States, was able to talk about real history rather than academic perspectives on war.

During the debate you mentioned Dmitry Medvedev’s recent statement regarding NATO. How was that taken by the audience?

At the very end of the discussion I made, if I could, an impassioned plea to people. I stated that 25 years after the end of the Cold War, 21 years after the breakup of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, I said: who, 21 years ago would have expected that because of NATO expansion and NATO interference in other countries, that the prime minister of Russia, until recently the president, Medvedev, would make a statement that if countries – he didn’t have to name them, we know who they are, they’re NATO nations – if they continue military interference into the internal affairs of sovereign nations, this could lead to a full-blown war including with nuclear weapons. That’s a rough paraphrase of Medvedev’s statement. And then I acquainted the audience with the fact that the Russian military chief, General Nikolai Makarov, within the last two weeks stated that if the U.S.-NATO interceptor missile system develops to such an extent that it threatens Russia nuclear deterrence capabilities that Russia might be compelled to launch a preemptive strike. And I said, who 21 years ago, who 25 years ago, would have believed that you would ever hear statements like that?

How did the NATO officials react when you said these things?

They weren’t really NATO officials, but they were NATO apologists. A lot of quibbling, a certain amount of red herrings, you know, dragging up Rwanda for example at one point when that was never a NATO operation and there was no prospect of it being and then when that was brought to their attention they did have to acknowledge that that was a poor analogy, but what I find increasingly is the standard NATO argument over the past 17 years that NATO has intervened to prevent genocide, humanitarian crises and so force, and one of the two pro-NATO people raised the United Nations Responsibility to Protect provision. And I mentioned that shortly after NATO marched into the Serbian province of Kosovo in June of 1999, arm-in-arm with the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, that within a couple of years a quarter million ethnic minorities had been driven out of Kosovo – Serbs, Roma, Egyptians, Turks, Gorans and others – who will never return again. And I asked them, where are you humanitarian interventionists now? Where are you Responsibility to Protect people now?

And I also, the pro-NATO spokesmen were attempting to suggest that NATO only intervenes for humanitarian and noble reasons and I reminded them that in every single NATO military operation – in Bosnia and Kosovo and Afghanistan and in Libya – NATO entered on behalf of one group of armed belligerents against another; in other words, they took sides in a civil conflict, and a military alliance whose collective population is 900 million and who last year spent over a trillion dollars collectively on military budgets – with the U.S. accounting for about 2/3 of that, or over 2/3 of that – there’s nothing to be proud of that you defeat a nation like Yugoslavia with 10 million people or Libya with 6.5 million people.

What would you say to NATO’s claim that they contribute to security and stability in Europe?

That statement was made repeatedly by the two people I mentioned – Bindenagel and Williams – stating that “look what a great role NATO has done, Europe is at peace, there’s been no Soviet aggression” and so force. You know, my response to that was, it’s very easy for me to say somebody presents a threat they don’t present and then when it doesn’t materialize say that the only reason it didn’t occur is because I stopped it. And to really believe that a hundred Soviet divisions are amassing on the border of the two Germanys to invade all of Europe is foolhardy and the Soviet Union at the end of World War Two had neither the capacity nor the desire to do anything like that, so it was a false rationale to maintain U.S. military presence in Europe, which remains to this day. And the real proof of the pudding with NATO is, again in 1991, 21 years ago when the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union both dissolved themselves that NATO, far from retiring, goes into the business of expanding throughout all of Europe and then starts waging war in areas far removed from the North Atlantic and even outside of Europe. This tends to suggest that NATO contained, at the very least, within itself the kernel of military aggression from its very foundation.

Ok, on that point, let’s finish up. Anything else you would like to add?

I can only say it was very heartening. It was very encouraging, afterwards the amount of people who came up and spoke to Iris and myself, and particularly the amount of veterans. I must have spoken to a dozen veterans, easily. These are people who are young enough to be my sons. These are people of the age I was when the Vietnam war was raging and they were very well-informed, they were very principled, they were very brave. And veterans like themselves, of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, are going to be leading the march, as you may know, on May 20th. What better refutation of militarism and wars of aggression than to hear it from the soldiers who were forced to fight them?

I think that’s great that veterans are supporting you. That’s super. Anyway, what about demonstrations coming up? I am still interested in predictions on how many people you think are going to be demonstrating?

You know, one always goes out on a limb when you estimate the size of a demonstration, particularly if it’s one you support. But I can only say from what I am reading, what I am hearing, what I am sensing, this is going to be a big demonstration. It will be difficult for me to tell you an exact number but I’d be very surprised if it was not in the tens of thousands.

I know the occupiers are really going all out here as well.
Thank you very much, Rick.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russia Tests New ICBM After NATO Missile System Launched

May 23, 2012 2 comments

RT
May 23, 2012

Russia test-fires AMD-piercing strategic missile

The Russian military have successfully launched a top secret advanced intercontinental ballistic missile. It is designed to counter the American antimissile shield currently being deployed in several regions.

The new weapon is an advanced version of the Topol-M and Yars missiles, already deployed by the Russian Strategic Missile Forces. The experiment was boosted off from the Plesetsk launch site in north-western Russia’s Arkhangelsk region on Wednesday. It delivered its test block to the Kura target range in Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East.

The main purpose of the launch was to confirm feasibility of the design approaches incorporated into the missile, spokesman for the Forces Colonel Vadim Koval told journalists.

The successful test comes after a failed launch of the prototype on September 27, 2011. At the time the missile’s first-stage engine reportedly failed, which resulted in it dropping some 10 kilometers from the launch pad.

The medium-weight ICBM is “one of the military-technical measures, which Russia’s military-political leadership is taking in response to the deployment of a global antimissile defense system by the Americans,” says retired Col.-General Viktor Yesin.

The new missile may be ready for service “soon” and would boost Russia’s nuclear deterrence “in the uncertain situation”, the former head the Strategic Missile Forces’ General Staff told Interfax news agency.

According to military sources, the upgraded design behind the new weapon focused on its fuel formula. The solid propellant has been improved and allows for a faster boost, shortening the initial phase of the flight. During the boosting phase the missile is relatively slow and predictable, which makes it more vulnerable to anti-missiles.

Little detail about the new ICBM has been revealed. Unofficially dubbed Avangard, it is expected to have a MIRV-ed warhead with improved maneuvering and targeting capabilities of the vehicles. Some reports say that rather than having a traditional “bus” delivering each warhead to its target, designers chose to equip them with individual engines. This would allow active maneuvering on the descent phase.

Silo-based and mobile launcher-mounted versions of the missile are currently in development.

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BBC News
May 23, 2012

Russia tests secret missile after Nato shield launched

A new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) so secret it has no name yet has been successfully tested in Russia, the defence ministry says.

The new weapon is designed to penetrate Nato’s European missile defence shield, Russian defence sources told the Interfax news agency.

The test came days after Nato said its system had reached “interim operational capability”.

The missile carried a dummy warhead and was fired 6,000km (3,730 miles).

It was reportedly the second test of the missile, the first in September having failed.

The test came days after Nato activated its new missile shield in Europe.

The alliance announced the new ballistic missile defence system had reached “interim operational capability”.

Moscow has accused Nato of seeking to undermine its nuclear deterrent but the alliance says its shield is aimed at potential rogue states like Iran.

‘In response’

A mobile launcher on the Plesetsk range fired the new missile at 10:15 (06:15 GMT) on Wednesday, defence ministry spokesman Col Vadim Koval said.

The warhead was delivered successfully to its designated area on the Kura range on Kamchatka, he added.

A military source quoted by Interfax said the new ICBM used a “new type of fuel that helps reduce the time required to operate the propellants in the active stage of the rocket’s trajectory”.

Officials believe this makes it more difficult to detect and easier to manoeuvre.

Interfax said the weapon also features individual warheads that can change course to avoid being shot down.

“This is one of the…measures being developed by Russia’s military and political leadership in response to the US deployment of a global anti-missile system,” former strategic forces director Viktor Yesin told Interfax.

Nato says its shield is meant to protect members from a missile fired by a rogue state – understood to mean Iran. It plans to increase its capability by deploying further assets in the years ahead.

However, Russia says the shield upsets the military balance and has threatened to turn its missile launchers on vital Nato sites.

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Xinhua News Agency
May 23, 2012

Russia test-fires new intercontinental ballistic missile

MOSCOW: Russia has test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk space center in the Arkhangelsk region Wednesday, local media reported.

The prototype of the new missile was launched at 10:15 a.m. Moscow time (0615 GMT), Interfax news agency reported, quoting a military official.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Vadim Koval said the new missile, developed for the Strategic Rocket Forces, was launched successfully with a mobile launch vehicle.

The new weapon is “intended to strengthen the capabilities of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces, including its capabilities for overcoming anti-missile defenses,” Koval said.

The missile tested Wednesday had adopted “new technologies and elements” developed in the fifth-generation missile systems, according to the official.

Koval didn’t provide further information on the new missile.

Local media reported the launch was the second such test of the new missile since September.

By using a new fuel to shorten the engine’s boost operation, the missile gains more capabilities to overcome missile defense systems.

Also on Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it has placed a new Voronezh-M long-range missile early warning radar station on duty in the Irkutsk region, which is the fourth new-generation station that has joined service in Russia in the past several years.

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Voice of Russia
May 23, 2012

Russia puts new radar on combat duty

Russia put its new-generation radar Voronezh-M on combat duty in the Irkutsk Region, in Eastern Siberia, earlier today. The radar is a ballistic missile early warning system.

According to the Commander of the Russian Aerospace Defence Troops, Lieutenant-General Oleg Ostapenko, Voronezh-M is a unique station of key importance for missile attack early warning.

The new radar’s effective range is 6,000 kilometres, and it can detect ballistic, space-based and aerodynamic objects, including cruise missiles. One radar can effectively control the flight of up to 500 such objects at a time.

Categories: Uncategorized

Video: Kucinich Says Peace Is Possible, War Not Inevitable

RT
May 23, 2012

US ‘should stop trying to conquer countries’ – Congressman

VIDEO

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We should forget about trying to conquer other countries: that’s an old model, that’d an old thinking from hundreds of years ago. We tried that in Iraq – it did not work. We have tried that in Afghanistan – it did not work. We keep trying that in Libya – it does not work. Their people want us to try that in Syria – it will not work. And it is not going to work in Iran, and the sooner that we understand it – the better it is…

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A war mentality has saturated Washington and arms merchants want to benefit, says Congressman (d) Dennis Kucinich. He opposes sanctions against Tehran that could lead to war, and is sure the US should forget about trying to conquer other countries.

DK: There is an overwhelming sentiment in the Congress to get tougher with Iran. But what is the basis of it? We are being told we should not have any contact with them, we are being told that we should not be negotiating with them, we are being told that we should get ready for war. All that is wrong.

What we need to do is to have direct negotiations. We need to be talking with Iran and we need to stop this vainglorious notion that somehow we can settle our differences with Iran through war.

RT: How many colleagues of yours share your views?

DK: 10-11 out of 435 members. But the American people are not prepared for this country to get into another war. If Mr. Netanyahu wants to pay for war – that’s up to him.I would advise against it because I think Israel’s security would be undermined by an attack on Iran. But the Unites States should not, cannot and must not be dragged into a war by any other country which calls itself our friend. If you are friends with someone, your friends don’t get you into trouble – your friends help you to stay out of trouble. And unfortunately we have some friends that want to get us into trouble.
RT: Your colleagues say: why does the US have to take the first step? Let Iran do it first. What do you think about that – I mean Iranians are not sweet-talkers either.

DK: The United States is taking a lead on this. So, we should take the lead on diplomacy. If Congress sends a message to the world that says “Look, we don’t have to talk to you, we don’t want to negotiate with you, we will wage war on you if you don’t do our bidding. That’s not how you treat people, that’s not the way that you solve things, that’s not the way that you create a safer world. We must use diplomacy.

RT: Diplomacy is making concessions. Why do you think some of your most hawkish colleagues hate the thought of it?

DK: We have to think differently, we have to believe that peace is possible. What we have is the type of thinking coming out of Washington that says “war is inevitable”. When you say “war is inevitable” you actually create a war of self-fulfilling prophecy. We have to stop thinking in terms of war.

RT: Even if Iran makes all the concessions, it seems the sanctions will still be there. Do American policy-makers like being constantly on the edge of war?

DK: Sanctions are another form of war, sanctions are just a step away from shooting. The mindset that exists here in Washington is generally the mindset of brinkmanship going right to the edge. The problem with that is that there’s always room for miscalculation especially when part of the prevailing mentality says “you can’t even have contact with the other side”.

Imagine for a moment, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis if Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy were not speaking to each other. It was the fact that they communicated that caused the crisis eventually to be resolved.

RT: Do you think it’s eventually all about the US wanting to overthrow the Iranian leadership one way or another?

DK: The people of Iran have never let a foreign power determine through invasion what the outcome is going to be. The people of Iran are very concerned when their nuclear scientists are assassinated. How does that happen? Who is doing that? We should forget about trying to conquer other countries: that’s an old model, that’d an old thinking from hundreds of years ago. We tried that in Iraq – it did not work. We have tried that in Afghanistan – it did not work. We keep trying that in Libya – it does not work. Their people want us to try that in Syria – it will not work. And it is not going to work in Iran, and the sooner that we understand it – the better it is, because we’ll look at what our options are.

RT: 70% of Americans say ‘Yes’ to diplomacy with Iran. Do you think the lawmakers hear their voices?

DK: Every member of Congress has improved hearing when we get close to an election. So if we are far away from an election, it sometimes becomes more difficult to hear. And there are other voices: voices of other interest groups, voices of arms merchants, of war contractors, of people who just make money out of a war. They don’t care where the war is and who it hurts – they just want money. Members of Congress have to be wise when they are being plagued by interest groups who may want them to vote in one way, but it would be a way that would be adverse to the interests of the American people.

RT: How happy are people in Congress when it comes to war?

DK: I’ve seen this phenomenon: most Congressmen are relatively placid, peace-loving people. But something happens when we are on the threshold of conflict. I saw this happen when the US government made a decision to bomb Serbia. These people were placid and reasonable, but suddenly this war fever moves in and war fever has a way of inflecting peoples’ thinking – it’s like a virus.

RT: What’s the general mood in Congress with regard to Syria?

DK: It’s mixed. There are members of Congress and Senate who have been calling for intervention. But intervention on whose behalf? The more you look at it, there are so many different groups playing in Syria right now. US intervention could bring about a triumph for Islamic fundamentalism. Just because you intervene, doesn’t mean you are going to get the results that you want. Actually that’s an ironclad rule, that intervention will get the opposite results to what you want!

Categories: Uncategorized

Not NATO’s Kind Of Town

May 23, 2012 4 comments

Newstips
May 22, 2012

Not NATO’s kind of town
By Curtis Black

Mayor Emanuel is congratulating himself for a successful NATO summit – successful mainly because no disasters occurred, though the only real threats seem to have been those manufactured by police.

No doubt the black bloc is also congratulating itself that day-after front pages carried pictures of scuffles with police, rather than veterans returning their medals with members of Afghans For Peace looking on, certainly the most moving and meaningful drama of the weekend.

What would a real accounting of the summit’s costs and benefits look like?

“Obama projects desired image,” the Sun-Times titles one story, but the summit itself had some signal failures.  Two major goals – getting commitments from member states to fund the next phase of the war in Afghanistan, and reopening supply routes through Pakistan – did not pan out.

The protests cast a long shadow over Obama’s attempt to play the summit as a withdrawal from Afghanistan for the domestic audience (while lining up support from other countries for the next phase of the war).

Unfortunately for Emanuel’s legacy, the “Chicago Accord” that he was boasting last week would be signed at the summit – an agreement on how to proceed on Afghanistan – wasn’t to be, Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO points out.

Even the summit’s biggest actual accomplishment – the announcement that NATO’s missile defense system is going online – comes with no noticable benefit and at great cost: major tensions with Russia, whose assistance is needed for the alternative supply route to Afghanistan, Rozoff says.

He points out that the announcement included new plans for satellite technology.  He calls it a fulfillment of Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars dreams, and a dangerous and costly step toward the militarization of space.

Largest anti-NATO protest ever

Meanwhile, NATO was subject to a great deal of negative attention – and Chicago hosted the largest anti-NATO demonstration in the entire history of the alliance, Rozoff said.

(Four city blocks – a half mile – of marchers filling four lanes of State Street probably amounts to at least three times the police/media estimate of 3,000 protestors.)

And there’s renewed attention to the obscene amounts the U.S. and NATO nations spend on armaments.  This at a time when suffering from a lingering economic crisis continues to grow, when cities and states are mired in crisis and slashing public services – and while Obama’s defense secretary is opposing relatively minor spending cuts agreed to in last year’s budget deal.

The media tends to see the protestors as bearing a confusing mish-mash of causes.  But listen to them and you see that they are all connected on a fundamental level. At the Grant Park rally on Sunday, speaker after speaker tied issue after issue to the question of war and militarization.

N’Dana Carter of the Mental Health Movement pointed out that there are 30,000 Illinois National Guard members returning from war who have no access to VA care – and if Emanuel succeeds in closing mental health centers, “there will be no one to take care of them.”

“As long as there is war and poverty, there will be immigrants,” said Tania Unzueta of the Immigrant Youth Justice League.  “And long as there are deportations, there will be resistance,” she said, excoriating Obama for stepping up deportations to unprecedented levels.

“I’m angry because the people in power haven’t been listening to us,” said Angela Walker with ATU Local 998, representing Milwaukee bus drivers.  “We have been demanding an end to these wars for a decade and we’re still there.

“I stand in solidarity with the rights of Afghan women – their rights are not debatable,” she said.  “I am a union worker in Wisconsin – our rights are not debatable.”

Declared Walker: “I’m here because there should not be a single homeless veteran in this country.”

Protests target Emanuel too

Mayor Emanuel also came in for a lot of negative attention.  Many protestors’ signs targeted the mayor; one said “Donate Rahm to Afghanistan.”  Rocker Tom Morello taunted the mayor at the nurses’ rally Friday.  A huge, colorful, spirited crowd marched on his home Saturday, bringing more notice to his draconian mental health cuts, under the banner of “Health Care Not Warfare.”

The larger disparities and inequities in the city did not entirely escape attention, either.  Reporting on Grassroots Collaborative’s “Real Chicago” bus tour, theGuardian noted the irony of NATO promising “peace through security” in a city where, in minority neighborhoods, “neither exists.”  Murders are up in Chicago by 50 percent over last year (a rate nearly twice as high as New York’s), and insecurity correlates closely with race and poverty.  One-third of African American residents live in poverty; black infant mortality is “on a par with the West Bank,” and black life expectancy in Chicago is lower than Egypt’s.

One wonders how Emanuel’s backers – the CEOs who donated millions from their corporate coffers to back this extravanza – feel about the idea now.  Monday morning’s headlines did nothing to burnish the city’s reputation.  The $128 million that summit boosters said would be injected into the city’s economy turned out to be a figment of their imagination.  Downtown restaurants actually reported a “slump.”

And Monday, host committee donor Boeing was shut down by protestors highlighting its arms production and its tax evasion – a level of attention the corporation has avoided during its years in Chicago.  Might Boeing and others like it have been just as happy to have the summit somewhere else?

Expect the next NATO summit to be far, far away.  Perhaps, next time, at an undisclosed location.

Categories: Uncategorized

Audio And Video: Veterans Return Medals During NATO Summit

Voice of Russia
May 22, 2012

Veterans give back their medals during NATO protests
Vasily Sushko

Audio: Download


Photo: EPA

As thousands gathered this past Sunday in Chicago for a mass anti-NATO demonstration, close to 50 military veterans who had served in Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan led the march all the way to the NATO summit to give back their medals.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO: Big Money, Big Interests And Global Domination

Voice of Russia
May 22, 2012

NATO: big money, big interests, global domination
By John Robles

$37 million for public relations for a two-day event, and that is just the amount that has been made public. When this amount of money is being spent one has to ask oneself some serious questions. This amount of money is not spent for public relations when you have something positive to say or sell and in this case that completely applies.

What they are in fact trying to sell to the American public is an organization that is, no matter how you package it, a war machine.

It is not one that can be called a very successful one either, nor is it one that is needed or particularly wanted by the American people. If the over-taxed American people realized that of the almost 50% of their salaries that they are paying in taxes, a large part of it, and the over 65 years of debt that is being passed along to their children, is also being spent not only to fund all of the American war machines and US military adventures all over the world, but it is also being used to provide approximately 79% of the funding for an organization that should have been disbanded over 20 years ago and one that it not even really wanted by the people it is supposed to be protecting in Europe…

With the failure of Afghanistan, possibly the fact that more and more people are becoming aware of NATO’s role in supporting the illegal black market organ trade and drug traffickers in the former Yugoslavia, the ongoing provocations against the Russian Federation, a missile defense shield against an enemy (Iran) that no one really believes is a threat, waning public support for the endless “War on Terror,” a euphemism for the global endless killing of members of the Islamic faith (and anyone else for that matter) who are against US interests, and an economic crisis that sees no end in sight soon, Europeans and their countries are beginning to cut their funding for NATO.

$37 million, in the lead-up to the NATO summit in Chicago. This is the amount that corporate sponsors – and they are many – have publicly admitted to having gathered to promote NATO to the American public. Who are these sponsors? Well the list is long but here are a few of the smaller ones and you may be surprised: Chicago Young Republicans, the National Strategy Forum, the Arab-American Business Association, the Turkish-American Chamber of Commerce, Human Rights Watch (yes, the same one), the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (what!?!). The big corporate sponsors include: General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies, the Atlantic Richfield Company, Xerox, IBM, Security Pacific Bank and State Farm Insurance.

With an annual budget of what some sources calculate at being close to half a trillion dollars ($500 billion) – from the US side approximately $400 billion – this is a hugely profitable cash cow for all of these companies, never mind that their business is death and destruction that is also useful because there are a slew of American companies waiting in the shadows to make billions on reconstruction and lucrative business deals on the new “democracies’ they install.

And that it what it is all about after all: promoting the US position. Advancing US global domination, securing unfettered access to the world’s oil and natural resources, resources needed desperately by a country that consumes more than 48% of the world’s total.

In a recent statement, the R. Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO among his other titles, said the following; “NATO is facing new challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing global economic, political, and security environment,” quoting former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who in 2011 warned of “a dim, if not dismal future” for the transatlantic alliance, unless member states strengthened their cohesion, coordination, and commitments.”

What are the new challenges that he is talking about? Well, in reality, the organization is truly irrelevant as it was originally set up. The changing economics he speaks about are what we have talked about already: Europe is in a crisis and the funding for NATO is not what it used to be, although after 9-11 it has risen to above Cold War levels. Europe does not want to pay for an organization that is clearly failing in Afghanistan and other theaters.

Politically-speaking, NATO should have been disbanded when the Warsaw Pact was dissolved because that was its chief rival, and as for security this is also relevant. The new challenges and opportunities exist more for the US than for NATO as the US seeks to increasingly use NATO to advance its interests: in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Arctic, Africa, the former Soviet area and now, if one follows NATO with even a passing interest, it is clear the US wishes to use its proxy to advance its interests in the Asia–Pacific region and in fact anywhere else where there is oil, in particular, or other resources.

NATO plans to expand globally and is well on its way to doing so. Its vision of a single world military organization able to dominate any country or region in the world and strike any target in the world within minutes is close to becoming a reality. NATO does not answer to the UN nor does it answer to any other international organization. It is not interested in peace or equilibrium in the world. NATO exists to promote and advance the wishes, the policies, the politics, the interests and the position of the US and its subservient allies. It is a US tool of terror, death and destruction and it must be stopped.

Categories: Uncategorized

Video: NATO Rebrands Occupation Of Afghanistan

RT
May 22, 2012

NATO rebrands “occupation” of Afghanistan?

VIDEO

“What we’re looking at is a different form of US and NATO presence in Afghanistan,” says political analyst and writer Rick Rozoff.

“It is clear that NATO wants to expand its military presence throughout Central Asia as well as maintaining some sort of presence in Afghanistan,” he told RT.

“The unprecedented insurgent assault on Kabul in April suggested that the Afghan government cannot even protect its own capital, much less the country as a whole,” Rozoff said.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO: European Interceptor Missile System Up And Running

RT
May 22, 2012

European missile defense shield up and running – NATO

VIDEO

The European missile shield is up and running, says NATO Secretary-General Fogh Rasmussen, who announced its “interim capability” to shoot down incoming missiles. Earlier Russia voiced strong concern over the issue.

The “interim operational capability”declared by Rasmussen at the NATO summit in Chicago on Sunday is the first step to fulfilling the controversial scheme to defend the whole of Europe against ballistic missile attacks. The final stage, planned for 2022, is also set to provide coverage for the United States from Europe.

Moscow has repeatedly stating its concern, demanding legal guarantees from the alliance that the shield will NOT be targeting Russia’s nuclear capabilities.

Rasmussen stressed that NATO must be able to defend itself against missile threats, and said the move “cannot be blocked by Russia”, it’s a NATO decision.

However, NATO leaders have sought to appease Russia’s anger over the system by renewing an invitation to work with the alliance. “We have invited Russia to cooperate on missile defense and this invitation still stands”, Rasmussen told a news conference.“We will continue our dialogue with Russia and I hope that at a certain stage Russia will realize that it is in our common interest to cooperate on missile defense.”

NATO continues to insist that the shield is not aimed at Russia.

“The US never attempted seriously to reach a realistic compromise with Russia,” considers political analyst and writer Rick Rozoff. He recalled the American ambassador saying last December that the US is going to deploy interceptor missile systems in Europe “whether Russia likes it or not”.

“That is hardly diplomatic talk,” mocks Rozoff.

Categories: Uncategorized

Kucinich: NATO Talks A Sham, War In Afghanistan Is Not Ending

May 22, 2012 1 comment

OpEd News
May 21, 2012

Kucinich: “NATO Talks a Sham: War in Afghanistan is Not Ending”
By Dennis Kucinich

Washington D.C. – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement as world leaders meet in Chicago for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit.

“The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is not a benevolent organization. NATO is not about the North Atlantic and it’s not about our collective defense.

“NATO is a cost-sharing organization that finances aggressive military action. By hiding behind the claim that the organization provides for ‘common defense,’ NATO allows us to wage wars of choice under the guise of international peacekeeping. The most recent example was the unconstitutional war in Libya where NATO, operating under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians, instead backed one side in a civil war and pursued a policy of regime change.

“Today, NATO leaders are meeting in Chicago to discuss the future of Afghanistan. The talks are being billed as discussions of plans to end the war. The war in Afghanistan is not ending. These talks are simply about financing the next phase of the war.

“The Strategic Partnership Agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan commits us to the country for at least another decade, despite public support for the war being at an all time low. The United States will pay for half of the estimated $4.1 billion per year cost of supporting 352,000 Afghan army and police officers. Afghanistan’s contribution will be $500,000. The rest will be financed by our “NATO partners.’ It is not surprising that support for the war among NATO members is waning, with France threatening to pull out its troops by the end of this year.

“Our participation in NATO comes at a great financial cost to the U.S. We contribute the majority of funds for NATO’s common budget, including 25% of the military budget. Between fiscal years 2010 and 2012 alone, we contributed more than $1.3 billion to NATO’s military budget. We also incur significant costs through the deployment of our forces in support of NATO missions. According to The Atlantic, the war in Libya cost the United States $1.1 billion.

“NATO was originally founded to provide a strategic counterbalance to the Soviet Union. Its founding purpose no longer exists, but NATO continues to circumvent the authority of the United Nations and to provoke other nations. NATO is an anachronism. Instead of trying to bolster the organization, we should begin serious discussions to dismantle it.”

Dennis Kucinich is a congressman from Ohio. The best way to reach Congressman Kucinich is through the information on his congressional website

Categories: Uncategorized

Turkmenistan: NATO Completes Penetration Of Central Asia

May 22, 2012 1 comment

Trend News Agency
May 21, 2012

Special representative: NATO attaches great importance to Turkmenistan
H. Hasanov

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Appathurai said NATO appreciates the effective assistance and support rendered by Turkmenistan in the restoration of social and economic infrastructure of neighboring Afghanistan.

A number of initiatives of the Turkmen side, including the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India construction project (TAPI), are an example.

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Turkmenistan, Ashgabat: A Turkmen official delegation will take part in a NATO meeting in Chicago, an official Turkmen source said today.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov received NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Central Asia and Caucasus James Appathurai in Ashgabat in June 2011. He stressed that NATO attaches great importance to the cooperation with Turkmenistan.

The parties stressed their intention to continue the traditional cooperation, successfully developing within the NATO program Partnership for Peace.

Appathurai said NATO appreciates the effective assistance and support rendered by Turkmenistan in the restoration of social and economic infrastructure of neighboring Afghanistan.

A number of initiatives of the Turkmen side, including the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India construction project (TAPI) are an example.

Moreover, a meeting was held in Ashgabat about a month ago to prepare for an international conference on Afghanistan, scheduled for June 14, 2012 in Kabul, at the level of foreign ministers of the concerned countries.

The delegations from 15 countries and 14 observer countries, including the delegations from Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Great Britain, Germany, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, UAE, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the U.S, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, France, Japan and the delegation of 10 international and regional organizations, including the UN, EU, NATO, OSCE and others attended the meeting.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Weighs In Against Russia On Post-Soviet Frozen Conflicts

May 22, 2012 1 comment

Trend News Agency
May 21, 2012

NATO calls to avoid steps that undermine regional security in South Caucasus
V. Zhavoronkova

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“We remain committed in our support of the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova…”

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Azerbaijan, Baku: NATO called on parties to the protracted regional conflicts in the South Caucasus and the Republic of Moldova to avoid steps that undermine regional security and stability, a declaration of the North Atlantic Alliance, adopted following the Chicago summit, says.

“We urge all parties to engage constructively and with reinforced political will in peaceful conflict resolution, and to respect the current negotiation formats,” the declaration says.

According to the declaration, the persistence of protracted regional conflicts in South Caucasus and the Republic of Moldova continues to be a matter of great concern for the NATO.

“We remain committed in our support of the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova, and will also continue to support efforts towards a peaceful settlement of these regional conflicts, based upon these principles and the norms of international law, the United Nations Charter, and the Helsinki Final Act,” the declaration says.

Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – Russia, France, and the U.S. – are currently holding peace negotiations.

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Russian Information Agency Novosti
May 21, 2012

NATO: Russia Must Revise Recognition of Abkhazia, S.Ossetia

CHICAGO: NATO member states once again called on Russia on Monday to reverse Moscow’s decision concerning the recognition of the former Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

“We continue to call on Russia to reverse its recognition of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia as independent states,” said a joint declaration issued after the NATO summit in Chicago.

Russia recognized the two breakaway Georgian republics as independent states following a five-day war with Georgia over South Ossetia in August 2008.

“We reiterate our continued support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. We welcome Georgia’s full compliance with the EU-mediated cease-fire agreement and other unilateral measures to build confidence. We welcome Georgia’s commitment not to use force and call on Russia to reciprocate,” the declaration added.

The declaration also urged Russia to withdraw its military presence from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, calling them “Georgia’s territory.”

“We continue to be concerned by the build-up of Russia’s military presence on Georgia’s territory and continue to call on Russia to ensure free access for humanitarian assistance and international observers,” the document said.

After pro-Western Saakashvili came to power in Georgia in 2004, the South Caucasus state has actively been pushing for entry into NATO to which Russia fiercely opposes. After the brief military conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi in 2008, NATO shelved the idea of bringing Georgia into the alliance.
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Azeri Press Agency
May 21, 2012

Nikolay Bordyuzha: “The Collective Security Treaty Organization will help Armenia in case of military intervention”
Farid Akbarov

Moscow: The Collective Security Treaty Organization will render its assistance in case of any military intervention against Armenia, said Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Nikolay Bordyuzha at the press conference in the “RIA-Novosti” International Information Agency, APA’s Moscow correspondent reports.

He reminded that Armenia was a full-fledged member of the CSTO: “As an organization we will render all necessary assistances to our full-fledged member. The other issues and subsequent process of developments will depend on decision of presidents of member states”.

Categories: Uncategorized

Clinton: All Future NATO Summits Should Be Expansion Summits

May 22, 2012 1 comment

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
May 22, 2012

NATO membership should grow at next summit, Hillary Clinton says

NATO should expand its membership at the next summit of the military alliance, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday at the start of a meeting with aspirants Bosnia, Georgia, Macedonia and Montenegro at a summit in Chicago, DPA reported.

“I believe this summit should be the last summit that is not an enlargement summit,” Clinton said. The next meeting of the NATO leaders has yet to be scheduled.

Macedonia is the closest to NATO membership, hindered only by a dispute with Greece over the name of the country. Georgia has also made progress towards accession, but is still expected to resolve differences with neighbouring Russia. Bosnia and Montenegro are working on implementing reforms required by the alliance.

“We know it can be a lengthy and challenging process, but we need to stick with it,” Clinton said.

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Civil Georgia
May 22, 2012

Clinton on Georgia’s NATO Aspirations

Tbilisi: Parliamentary elections this October and presidential election next year are additional opportunities for Georgia to show its commitment to democratic values, Hillary Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, said on May 21.

She made the remarks while speaking at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers with counterparts from four aspirant countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina; Montenegro, Macedonia and Georgia – held on the final day of the two-day NATO summit in Chicago.

Clinton said that this meeting was a reaffirmation of NATO’s commitment to open door policy, adding: “I believe this summit should be the last summit that is not an enlargement summit.”

The U.S. Secretary of State then spoke specifically on each of the four aspirant countries.

On Georgia she said, that the Allies were “very grateful for its contribution” to ISAF and noted that Georgia would become the largest non-NATO contributor to the Afghan operation this fall:

“Georgia has made democratic reforms, and the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections are additional opportunities for Georgia to show the world that it is committed to NATO’s democratic values,” Clinton said.

“We stand firm in our support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We welcome Georgia’s non-use of force pledge, and we call on Russia to reciprocate with its own pledge. We stand by the Bucharest decision and all subsequent decisions on Georgia,” the U.S. Secretary of State said.

The meeting of NATO and aspirant countries’ foreign ministers was chaired by NATO Deputy Secretary General, Alexander Vershbow, who said that these four countries had “a special place among NATO’s partners”.

“Today’s meeting demonstrates how strongly your four countries are linked to the Alliance and how much we want to further strengthen those ties,” Vershbow told the foreign ministers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Georgia.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russia: Syria Destabilization Efforts Expanded To Lebanon

Interfax
May 21, 2012

Forces unable to destabilize Syria turn to Lebanon – ministry

MOSCOW: Forces which have failed to implement their plans to destabilize Syria have turned to Lebanon, which is trying to prevent foreign intervention in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“Moscow is seriously concerned by growing internal tensions in Lebanon. It appears that the forces that have failed to realize their plans to destabilize Syria have turned to the neighboring Lebanon,” the ministry said on its website on Monday.

“They clearly dislike this country’s government course aimed at preventing foreign intervention in Syrian affairs and facilitating a swift peaceful settlement in Syria on the basis of Kofi Annan’s plan approved by the United Nations Security Council, the actions of military and security agencies opposing the attempts at arms smuggling and militant trafficking,” the ministry said.

To attain their goals these forces are trying to stoke tensions among various Lebanese political and sectarian forces, the Ministry said.

“For our part, we are calling on Lebanese politicians to show restraint and high patriotic responsibility at this difficult moment for the country and the region. The Lebanese must not follow the lead of those who would like to sow new seeds of sectarian discord and confusion on their land. We hope that the Lebanese government and Lebanese enforcement agencies, acting strictly within the law, shall take whatever steps necessary to restore calm in the country and preserve civil peace and unity,” the statement said.

An incident at an army base in the Akkar District on May 20 killed the Sunni religious leader Sheikh Abdelwahed and his aide and injured a soldier, the foreign ministry said. The circumstances of this tragic incident are being investigated by the Lebanese authorities.

The incident prompted a strong reaction in the form of riots and road blocks in a number of Sunni-populated areas. In Western Beirut, skirmishes between supporters of the Al-Mustaqbal Movement and the At-Tatyyar Al-Arabi Party continued through the night. Two were reportedly killed and 18 injured.

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Itar-Tass
May 21, 2012

Moscow worried by growing tensions in Lebanon

MOSCOW: The growing internal tensions in Lebanon is raising “serious concerns” in Moscow, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday, May 21.

“It seems that the forces that have so far failed to implement plans aimed at destabilising the situation in Syria have now turned their attention to neighbouring Lebanon. They obviously dislike the policy being pursued by the government of that country in order to prevent foreign interference in Syrian affairs and assist in the speediest peaceful settlement in Syria on the basis of the Annan plan approved by the U.N. Security Council, and the activities of the military and security forces to resist attempts to smuggle arms and traffic in rebels,” the ministry said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich urged Lebanese politicians to “be restrained and show high patriotic responsibility at this critical time for the country and the region”.

“The Lebanese should not follow those who would like to sow seeds of inter-confessional strife and trouble in their land,” the diplomat said.

“We hope that the government of Lebanon and Lebanese security agencies will take all necessary measures, while acting in accordance with the law, to restore calm in the country and preserve civil peace and unity,” he said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Photographs from Chicago anti-NATO march

May 21, 2012 6 comments

*****

Associated Press
May 20, 2012

1:48 p.m. — Rally speaker Rick Rozoff of the Stop NATO website told the crowd that the NATO delegates who are “eating at five-star restaurants and getting their limousine tours of the city” are going to announce an “interceptor missile system” that’s “a threat to the planet” and must be stopped. He was referring to a missile defense system for Europe. – CKJ

*****

From Associated Press

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NATO Must Curb Preoccupation With Military Prowess

Xinhua News Agency
May 20, 2012

Commentary: Time for NATO to curb preoccupation with military prowess

CHICAGO: As NATO leaders are gathering for an annual summit Sunday to discuss issues such as the war in Afghanistan and ways to maintain the alliance’s military might amid tightening budgets, they see a crowd assembled earlier not to salute but to protest.

In the run-up to the summit, demonstrators have staged various rallies in the city to resound the horn that military interventions in recent years by the U.S.-led alliance were actually meant to seek its egoistic interests under dignified disguises.

Those who pursue selfish interests may not be blamed as far as they do not violate the rights of others. For NATO, which has realized some of its strategic goals in recent years at the price of other countries, the lasting protests against NATO should serve as an alarm bell for the bloc to curb its preoccupation with armed might.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, an unrivaled NATO started to police the world while seeking a new role.

In the past two decades, NATO has been actively involved in wars or military conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and most recently in Libya.

These wars have inflicted a heavy toll on both the economies and human lives. According to a report issued recently by a New York-based organization, the eight rounds of NATO bombing on Libya last year has directly caused the deaths of 72 civilians, including 20 women and 24 children.

Aside from causing losses for various countries, the NATO warmongering has also changed the global geopolitical security structure, which has triggered many disputes in the international community and even within the alliance itself.

As a matter of fact, NATO members are still divided on the role of the alliance in the 21st century. Many European members have been cutting down their defense budgets for years as they believed the security of the continent is no longer a source of major concern. Their willingness to pour resources into defense will probably continue to be weak given all the hazards posed by the European debt crisis.

Analysts noted that the chronic Afghan war has eroded the passion of the NATO members and their allies. Some NATO members like Germany chose to stay out of the Libyan conflict last year.

At this Chicago summit, whether French President Francois Hollande will announce his country’s troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of the year as he had pledged at his election campaign has become a hot topic.

Back in 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal, NATO initiated a new strategic concept named “Active Engagement, Modern Defense” at that summit. The leaders agreed to gradually hand over security responsibility to Afghan security forces with the aim of completing the transition by the end of 2014.

It showed that NATO had come to realize that military intervention on its own could not solve problems and, on the contrary, might even create more.

Global political, economic and security situation is changing rapidly, but peace and development remain the main theme of the times.

NATO, which possesses vast political and military resources, should refrain from pursuing its egoistic interests at the expense of others.

Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago: NATO And U.S. Versus Protesters

May 20, 2012 3 comments

Voice of Russia
May 20, 2012

NATO and US vs Protesters
John Robles

Steadfastly continuing the (perhaps not so) new American tradition of stripping the American people of their freedoms, oppressing them and if need be eliminating them altogether, all in the name of safety, security and in order to save them from the evil terrorists hiding behind every tree, those evil Russians, the Iranians and North Korea, Chicago prepares to host a showcase summit for the world’s top war machine, an organization that will soon completely dominate and control the entire planet if the architects behind it have their way.

Do the people in Chicago want the summit? No, but it doesn’t really matter, those in power want it. In the vernacular we will call them the 1%; they are also known as the elites, the globalists and what have you. It doesn’t really matter what you call them, they are those born to privilege who have little value for human life (other than their own of course) and who expertly manipulate and feed off the pain, grief, work, blood, sweat and tears of the common people.

Shamelessly and bloodthirstingly profiteering from the death and destruction of what has become non-stop global war, from the illegal narcotics trade that decimates the poor and what they consider to be undesirable segments of the world’s population, and even from the illegal black market trade in human organs, no matter what stage of the bloody circle you focus on they (the 1%) are there, to benefit and profit. Which is why, in a nutshell, the 99% of us must protest, and stand up, before it is my eye they want, or your kidney, or your baby sister’s liver or they decide we are completely expendable without even bothering to harvest our organs.

Lest I digress, let’s look at what they (the 1%) have planned for the peaceful demonstrators who already have to muster up huge levels of bravery, and in the words of one Occupier I spoke to; “…be ready to sacrifice my body… for the cause.” But before we do let’s look at who all of these preparations are being planned for.

In case you have been on a desert island, in another galaxy, or in a country that just doesn’t give a hoot about what is going on in the US and know nothing about the Occupy movement, let me fill you in real quick.

For decades the US has been on the verge of a complete and total societal breakdown. It had been repressed minorities, immigrants and the poor who have classically gotten poorer as the rich have gotten richer. These segments of the US population were growing more and more difficult to control and events were needed to crack down. 9-11 was that event. Then the election of a Black president kept most of the minorities placated. So the elites, once again emboldened decided to decimate the middle class, classically made up of white Americans, and this gave birth to the Occupy Movement.

The Occupiers are not the radical Black Panthers or the hippies of the ‘60s. They are peaceful, educated and even a little nerdy and are becoming more and more organized and focused. Their addition to the number of discontented masses is dangerous for the elites. Together they may now have the power to cut off the profiteering feeding frenzy that the elites have been on for decades.

How will these educated, discontented, and peaceful groups be dealt with? Well, with what the US government does best, maximum force and violence and the stripping of civil and human rights! Sorry for the rhetorical question. How dare they protest the killing by the elites and their world domination! There will also be an unprecedented campaign of intimidation and “fear mongering” in order to keep the number of protesters to a minimum.

In a preview, the Chicago Police Department, one of the few if not the only police department in the US and perhaps the world as well to have had to call a moratorium on torture, has began arresting these malcontents. Yesiree Bob, they must be stopped.

So far more than 20 people have been arrested with three people who were stopped and intimidated by police being made examples of. Last week Jared Chase, Brent Beterly, and Brian Jacob Church, who arrived in Chicago from Florida, were surrounded by several police squad cars and detained for no apparent reason. They were questioned about why they were in Chicago and what they planned to do during the NATO summit. They happened to record the encounter and posted an edited version on YouTube and then the entire video on the internet.

On Wednesday police raided several homes and apartments overnight and arrested nine activists. Police broke down doors with guns drawn and searched residents without a warrant or consent. After holding them without charges for 48 hours the police released six of those arrested and filed the most serious charges possible against the three innocent Occupy activists from Florida, including possession of explosives or incendiary devices, material support for terrorism, and conspiracy. A gas can and some empty bottles in the car led to the explosives charges.

In an official statement released to the press the National Lawyers Guild, an official US-wide organization of lawyers, Sarah Gelsomino with the NLG and the People’s Law Office said the following: “The National Lawyers Guild deplores the charges against Occupy activists in the strongest degree. It’s outrageous for the city to apply terrorism charges when it’s the police who have been terrorizing activists and threatening their right to protest.”

The media is also being controlled, in a document titled NOT INTENDED FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION. FOR MEDIA GUIDANCE ONLY, the Chicago Police Department has set out rules for the press, targeting independent journalists in particular with passages such as the following: ”…media access generally will be the same as public access. Credentials will, however, allow media personnel access to media-only areas. No ‘cutting’ in and out of police lines will be permitted, or ‘going up against their backs.’ Those who follow protesters onto private property to document their actions are also will be subject to arrest if laws are broken. Any member of the media who is arrested will have to go through the same booking process as anyone else. Release of equipment depends on what part the equipment played in the events that led to the arrest.”

An Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel has used the event to install permanent changes which strip away even more rights and freedoms from the people. The new measures include:

1. Authorization for the Mayor to purchase and deploy surveillance cameras throughout the city, without any type of oversight.

2. Restrictions on public activity, including amplified sound and morning gatherings.

3. Restrictions on parades, including the requirement to purchase an insurance policy worth $1 million and to register every sign or banner that will be held by more than one person.

4. The power to deputize many different types of law enforcement personnel other than the Chicago Police Department.

Protests have been made by the ACLU, Amnesty International and the Occupy Movement.

The summit has also been designated a National Special Security Event (NSSE) by the Department of Homeland Security, thus passing final authority over law enforcement to the US Secret Service.

The Chicago police are armed to the teeth and have even ordered special armor for the horses of the mounted police.

According to Occupy Chicago, they are: “… organizing a week of actions highlighting the violence and oppression of NATO, and calling for the organization to be disbanded.”

Let’s hope for restraint and cool heads from all sides.

Categories: Uncategorized

Day Ahead Of Chicago Summit: Real News On NATO

Newstips
May 19, 2012

Real News on NATO
By Curtis Black

For a larger perspective and real global context regarding the NATO summit itself — beyond official press briefings — there’s no source like the Stop NATO website, profiled here last week.  Recent entries include:

May 19

Video: Nurses lead thousands in anti-NATO march

Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Beijing

A meeting of foreign ministers in Beijing – prelude to an SCO summit June 6-7 (just before the international conference on Afghanistan June 14 in Kabul) – indicated increased cooperation on foreign policy, including united opposition to the U.S./NATO anti-ballistic missile program which is being promoted in Chicago (Russia & India Report).

SCO includes Russia, China, and four Central Asian nations; India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia have observer status (membership requests from India and Pakistan are under consideration); NATO member Turkey is likely to be granted “dialogue partner” status.

SCO countries should be active participants in international discussions on Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said recently.  Moscow and Beijing argue against the continuing presence of foreign troops there.

A draft final declaration was adopted that says “unilateral unlimited expansion of the anti-ballistic missile system may damage international security and strategic stability.”

A consolidated SCO position on anti-ballistic missile systems has the potential to become a significant counterweight to NATO’s plans in this area.

SCO could hinder NATO goals in Afghanistan

Leaders of Central Asia states are invited to the Chicago summit in order to get their agreement to host NATO military facilities to accommodate forces being withdrawn from Afghanistan, but the Shanghai Cooperation Organization presents an obstacle (Trend News Agency).

The presidents of SCO members Kazakhistan, Kyrgystan, and Uzbeikistan have been invited to Chicago but are sending their foreign ministers in their places.

“Now it becomes clear that NATO is not going to leave Afghanistan in the next ten years. In this case, they need the territory of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries to place their own military bases.”
Russia: International Criminal Court must examine NATO bombings in Libya

May 18

Video: Unprecedented Protestor vs. NATO debate

May 17

Russia: Military interference in other countries could lead to nuclear war

“The introduction of all sorts of collective sanctions bypassing international institutions does not improve the situation in the world while reckless military operations in foreign states usually end up with radicals coming to power,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told an international legal forum in St. Petersburg (Novosti).

“At some point such actions, which undermine state sovereignty, may well end in a full-blown regional war and even – I’m not trying to spook anyone – the use of nuclear weapons,” he said.

NATO summit: “Enduring presence in Afghanistan”

One of the major topics in the NATO summit is to “establish a vision for our enduring presence in Afghanistan,” said General John R. Allen, commander of U.S. and NATO force in Afghanistan (Xinhua).

The May 20-21 summit will feature a series of bilateral agreements “that will create a network of strategic partnerships, bilaterally, around the world with Afghanistan,” the general told attendees at the 2012 Joint Warfighting Conference held in Virginia Beach.

“The United States, and our key partner nations, including France, the United Kingdom and Italy, have already signed strategic partnerships with Afghanistan, making a long-term commitment to that country’s security, development and governance,” Allen said. “And soon, other countries will sign agreements as well.”

Foreign forces were originally scheduled to be pulled out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but a U.S.-Afghanistan strategic partnership agreement provides for U.S. forces in Afghanistan well beyond 2014.

A series of U.S. military scandals in the war-torn country this year were widely criticized, including the massacre of 17 Afghan civilians, the burning of Korans, a video of Marines urinating on dead insurgents and photos of soldiers posing with corpses and body parts of failed Afghan suicide bombers.

Mongolia-NATO ties assist Pentagon’s shift to Asia-Pacific

Mongolia will attend the Chicago summit under a new individual partnership status (China Daily).

In March, NATO and Mongolia signed their first bilateral cooperation program under NATO’s new policy of developing more flexible partnerships with countries that engage significantly with international security affairs.

NATO could help Washington accelerate its shifting strategic emphasis to the Asia-Pacific by growing toward the East, said Zhai Dequan, deputy secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.

Mongolia sent contingents to support NATO’s peacekeeping mission in Kosovo in 2005 and 2007 and has provided troops for NATO’s Afghanistan mission since 2010.

May 16

NATO lures in Central Asia

NATO is strengthening its positions in Central Asia, and nations there are thinking of how they can get the most out of the situation (Voice of Russia).

Veterans for Peace call for an end to NATO

“NATO has always been a war-making institution lacking in accountability to the peoples of the nations it claims to represent. But NATO at least once claimed a defensive purpose that it neither claims nor represents any longer.

“NATO has militarized the nations of Europe against the will of their people, now maintains hundreds of nuclear weapons in non-nuclear European nations in blatant violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and is threatening Russia with missile base construction on its borders.

“Having fought aggressive wars in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, NATO remains in Afghanistan, illegally, immorally, and to no coherent purpose. The people of the United States, other NATO nations, and Afghanistan itself, overwhelmingly favor an end to NATO’s presence, while Presidents Obama and Karzai, against the will of their people, work to commit U.S. forces to at least 12.5 more years in Afghanistan.

“NATO provides the United States with a pretense of global coalition and legality. …NATO’s interests are neither democratically determined nor humanitarian in purpose. NATO does not bomb all nations guilty of humanitarian abuses. Nor does NATO’s bombing alleviate human suffering, it adds to it….

“An analysis of NATO’s real motivations reveals a desire to control the global flow of oil, to support dictators who have supported U.S./NATO wars, prisons and torture operations, to back Israel’s expansionist agenda, and to surround and threaten the nation of Iran….”

May 15

NATO Chief: Interceptor missile system to be expanded

For Russia, NATO has started a new arms race

Is there any way to put a brake on this arms race? Yes, of course. At the Russia-Nato ministerial meeting in Brussels, Moscow suggested as a first step that, at its Chicago summit, Nato pledges its  “adherence to the rules of  international law” in its final declaration (Daily Telegraph).

Such a commitment would mean that the alliance would respect the jurisdiction of existing international institutions, and renounce the independent use of force unless it was authorised by a relevant UN Security Council resolution.

Categories: Uncategorized

Video: Nurses Lead Thousands In Chicago Anti-NATO March

May 19, 2012 3 comments

RT
May 19, 2012

Nurses lead thousands in Chicago anti-NATO march
Anastasia Churkina

VIDEO

Thousands of protesters took to Chicago’s streets ahead of the NATO summit due to kick off there on Sunday. National Nurses United teamed up with trade unions and the Occupy movement to form a mass rally in the Windy City.

The NNU members demanded a Robin Hood tax to be introduced on banks’ financial transactions. That demand was rather a supplement to the protest against proposals to cut back nurses pensions.
“We’ve worked 30 years for them and don’t want to get rid of them,” said Deb Holmes, a nurse at a hospital in Worcester.

Former Rage Against the Machine guitarist and Occupy activist Tom Morello performed live at the event.

Despite the largely peaceful nature of the event, one man was arrested for aggravated battery of a police officer.

While marching through the streets a group of several hundred protesters split up from the main rally and rushed through the city shouting all kinds of anti-NATO slogans and making caustic remarks to police officers. Over a dozen of these activists were arrested.

The Friday March has merely been a rehearsal for a really big rally scheduled for Sunday, when the NATO summit opens. The thousands of protesters that continue to arrive in Chicago have put the city in security overkill mode.

NATO in crosshairs of fierce criticism

The hometown of the ruling US President Barack Obama plays host to this year’s NATO summit and the event has turned city police paranoid over security matters in already the most-watched city in the US.

“We’ve got a bunch of peaceful protesters here, and they [police] spent millions and millions of dollars on this week alone. It’s absolutely absurd,” told RT Sam Molik, protester from Occupy Tulsa.

Chicago authorities have spent millions of dollars on new police gear.

NATO critics flocking to the city to stage mass protests make no secret of their negative attitude towards the alliance. Demonstrators want the money pumped into the summit and its security to be spent on real needs.

RT’s Anastasia Churkina interviewed people on the city’s streets and their remarks about NATO have been overwhelmed by bitter resentment.

“NATO is a US-commanded military alliance responsible for wars and war crimes on a global basis,” one woman told RT.

“NATO as an organization no longer has a mandate. Occupy Chicago denies and demands NATO disband. They have no more purpose. They are spending our taxpayer dollars on wars and to bomb and destroy and murder civilians all over the world,” accuses Occupy Chicago press committee member Micah Philbrook.

“There is a pro-peace majority in the United States. We oppose war. We oppose the world’s pre-eminent war-making organization NATO. And we have a human agenda and a humane agenda that has no place for war,” political analyst and writer Rick Rozoff told RT.

Categories: Uncategorized

Can SCO Emerge As Counterweight To NATO?

Russia & India Report
May 16, 2012

SCO as a counter to NATO?
Andrei Ilyashenko

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It’s impossible not to notice that the SCO has gone beyond the scope of regional problems.

At the meeting in Beijing, the draft final declaration of the SCO member states was adopted. According to RIA Novosti sources in the Russian delegation, the document condemns the U.S. anti-ballistic missile program.

A consolidated SCO position on anti-ballistic missile systems has the potential to become a significant counterweight to NATO’s plans in this area.

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Although for many years the SCO treaded cautiously in making foreign policy statements, the organization is evolving.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is in for major changes, judging by the outcomes of the meeting of SCO foreign ministers in China’s capital ahead of the SCO summit scheduled to be held in Beijing on June 6-7.

The SCO was designed in the 1990s as an institution to build up confidence between Russia, China and four Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – primarily in the military sector. The SCO member states were united by the common threat of Islamic fundamentalism, kindled by the dominance of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

However, in the early 2000s, the SCO shifted its focus to combating international terrorism and drug trafficking, as well as cooperation in economic and humanitarian areas. The organization held reasonable, well-balanced positions on international issues and pursued a very cautious policy, never giving analysts reasons to treat it as a serious political, let alone military alliance. India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia joined the SCO as observers, while Belarus and Sri Lanka became “dialogue partners.”

But times have changed, and the SCO has changed along with them. The crises in the Middle East, including those triggered by the Arab Spring, the role that Western countries played there, and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and more importantly, from Afghanistan, called for a major revision to the SCO’s approaches and prompted the organization to step up its foreign policy efforts.

As it appears from the speech Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov delivered at the recent Shanghai meeting, from now on the SCO will formulate a common policy for all its participants if crises should emerge in the region. It appears that the new mechanism will be launched as early as next month, on the eve of an international conference on Afghanistan slated for June 14 in Kabul.

“The situation in Afghanistan and around it raises major concerns. We should actively participate in all international discussions on Afghanistan-related problems, coordinating our positions,” Lavrov said. The SCO will obviously take into consideration the decisions of the NATO summit in Chicago, which will take place during the final week of May and address the situation in that country.

Previous statements by the Russian Foreign Ministry made it clear that the nature of the U.S. and NATO military presence in Afghanistan will top the agenda. Moscow and Beijing argue against the continued presence of foreign troops, whose functions go well beyond mere policing there. Moscow would also like to hear a report on the implementation of the UN resolution that served as the basis for carrying out the military campaign in Afghanistan. The SCO’s consolidated position will substantially support the efforts of Russia and China in this area.

Moscow and Beijing’s demands will be backed even more strongly if the number of SCO member states or associated countries grows. During the recent meeting, Lavrov called for approving the SCO membership requests filed by India and Pakistan. Furthermore, the organization is close to deciding in favor of giving Afghanistan observer status and making Turkey a dialogue partner.

It’s impossible not to notice that the SCO has gone beyond the scope of regional problems.

At the meeting in Beijing, the draft final declaration of the SCO member states was adopted. According to RIA Novosti sources in the Russian delegation, the document condemns the U.S. anti-ballistic missile program. RIA Novosti quotes a part of the document, which reads that unilateral unlimited expansion of the anti-ballistic missile system may damage international security and strategic stability. This statement clearly supports Moscow’s efforts to deter the U.S. anti-ballistic missile plans, which, if implemented, may devalue Russia’s strategic potential. However, China is also interested in deterring the U.S., as its nuclear forces are even more vulnerable.

A consolidated SCO position on anti-ballistic missile systems has the potential to become a significant counterweight to NATO’s plans in this area.

However, judging by the published documents and statements, there are no plans to give the SCO military and defence functions. It is possible, though, as the newspaper Kommersant reported, that some additional instruments are contained in the strategy for further development of the organization, which will have to be approved by the heads of the SCO states. The essence of the strategy remains undisclosed, since it is still under negotiation.

Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago Summit: NATO To Eliminate Russian, Chinese, SCO Obstacles In Central Asia

Trend News Agency
May 18, 2012

Key issue of Chicago NATO summit
Arzu Naghiyev, Trend expert
Edited by RR

Azerbaijan, Baku: A new stage is beginning in the development of NATO, and it is known that the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) are among the obstacles that could hinder this development.

For its part, the United States signed an agreement with the Afghan government under the pretext of security. The treaty called ‘The New Strategic Pact’, includes its execution in 10 years.

Under this agreement, the U.S. government plans to allocate $2 billion to Afghanistan each year.

This means NATO will engage in a large ‘trade’ and if they declare the successful completion of the Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2014, the U.S. understands that it isn’t so in reality, because they see that there is no production.

The country lags behind in its development and authorities have lost their control function outside Kabul.

In this situation, the idea that NATO troops are an invariable force which might create peace in the region is cultivated in the countries of Central Asia (and of course, China and Russia), by which means the fear is spread that the Taliban will head towards the north, that is, in the direction of Central Asia. That is the reason why the leaders of Central Asian states have been invited to the summit in Chicago.

Now it becomes clear that NATO is not going to leave Afghanistan in the next ten years. In this case, they need the territory of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries to place their own military bases.

Since the movement of machinery, equipment and personnel in both directions is very important, the U.S., by getting rid of all the other ‘obstacles’, will try to extend its zone of influence. However China and Russia hinder the United States in achieving this goal’ which means that this obstacle also affects NATO.

The main objectives of the Western leaders, especially the United States, who are waiting for the heads of Central Asian states, is the intention and hope to obtain consent for the creation of new military facilities in the region. It is firstly necessary to place military forces and equipment intended for the withdrawal from Afghanistan and, secondly, to keep the border regions with Afghanistan under close control.

Thus, the key task of the NATO summit in Chicago is to seal the fate of Afghanistan and NATO’s relations with regional states after the withdrawal of the international coalition forces from Afghanistan in 2014 to a single direction.

Although the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are invited to participate in NATO summit to be held on May 20-21, for the first time they do not think they will participate. Their spokesmen supported this information. However it is expected that their foreign ministers will participate in the event. It is still unknown at what level Tajikistan will participate.

President Barack Obama has pursued the goal of immediate meetings of heads of NATO member states in Chicago by transferring the G-8 summit from Camp David to Chicago (May 18 – 19).

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the prime minister will participate in the summit of the ‘Big Eight’ G8, which will be held at Camp David on May 18 -19, but he will join then to participate at the NATO summit.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russia: International Criminal Court Must Examine NATO Bombings in Libya

Russian Information Agency Novosti
May 18, 2012

Russia Wants ICC to Examine All NATO Bombings in Libya

MOSCOW: Russia hopes that the International Criminal Court will consider all cases of NATO airstrikes in Libya that caused civilian casualties, Foreign Ministry human rights spokesman Konstantin Dolgov said in the statement published on the ministry’s website.

“We welcome the decision of ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to consider alleged violations of international humanitarian law,” the statement said. “We presume that the ICC will consider all cases of NATO bombing that caused civilian casualties.”

“The issue of civilian casualties during the NATO Libyan campaign has been repeatedly raised at the UN Security Council and the UN Council on Human Rights.”

“An impartial international investigation into the effects of NATO air strikes during Operation United Protector in Libya is necessary to prevent such tragedies in the future,” the statement said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Video: Unprecedented Protester Versus NATO Debate

May 18, 2012 1 comment

Correction: Hans von Sponeck was Assistant Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq for the United Nations and not NATO.

*****

Coalition Against the NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8)
May 16, 2012

Unprecedented Protester vs. NATO Debate
Is On for Thursday Night

 
CHICAGO: After some difficulties lining up pro-NATO participants, a widely-publicized debate about NATO that may be without precedent is on for 6 PM to 7 PM, Thursday, May 17 at the Pritzker Military Library, 104 S. Michigan Avenue. The debate will be webcast and can be viewed at http://www.pritzkermilitarylibrary.org, will also be available to the media via The Chicago Switch at PML.1

Last week after NATO leaked news about the impending debate and the debaters on its side, those debaters pulled their participation from the event. Anti-NATO forces led by the Coalition Against the NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8), organizers of the big Sunday, May 20th march on the NATO summit, lobbied to have the debate in a much larger venue so that all who wished to witness it in person could do so, but pro-NATO forces refused to participate in such an event. Therefore, there will only be a small, invitation-only audience evenly split between the two sides.

CANG8 insisted also that the event be open to the media, and were successful in reaching agreement on that principle.  Nonetheless, due to limited space at the Pritzker Library, media participants are asked to RSVP, bring photo identification, and a press pass or other documentation indicating which outlet(s) they are representing.

An effort will be made to accommodate all media personnel, but in the event that we run out of space, outlets that have RSVP’d will be given preference. Doors open at 5:30 PM. Outlets are asked to RSVP by sending an email to CCAWR@aol.com

Representing anti-NATO protesters will be Iraq Veterans Against the War Chicago Chapter President Iris Feliciano. Feliciano is served in the Marine Corps on Active Duty from 1996 to 2005 and on Reserve Duty from 2006 to 2010, and served in Operation Enduring Freedom. Also representing the protesters will be Rick Rozoff, an internationally recognized researcher on NATO and author of the Stop NATO website.

Representing the pro-NATO side will be Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel and John Allen Williams, Ph.D. Bindenagel is a former U.S. Ambassador and career diplomat who served in Germany during the end of the Cold War, and was involved in debates on NATO security policy and membership. Williams is Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago. He is a retired Captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve and served with the NATO Inter-Allied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR).

The moderator will be Richard E. Friedman, President of the National Strategy Forum.  Friedman also serves as Counselor to the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security. Mr. Friedman was an Air Force Officer during the Korean War, and served on the Army Science Board.

The CANG8 wishes to thank Mr. Friedman and the National Strategy Forum for approaching us to propose the debate, and then lining up others on the pro-NATO side to engage in it. The National Strategy Forum also kindly opened the pages of its journal, National Strategy Forum Review, to allow CANG8 organizer Andy Thayer publish an article about why he opposes NATO.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russia: Military Interference In Others’ Affairs Can Lead To Nuclear War

Voice of Russia
May 17, 2012

Medvedev warns against interference in other countries’ affairs

       
Military interference in other countries` domestic affairs could lead to a fully fledged war, in which the use of nuclear weapons cannot be ruled out, Russia`s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said addressing the International Legal Forum held in Saint Petersburg.

Mr. Medvedev added that joint sanctions imposed on any country in violation of international law would not benefit the international community, and the consequences of hasty military operations in foreign countries usually lead to the seizure of power by radical politicians.

“Some day such actions which undermine another state`s sovereignty could turn into a fully fledged regional war, so – and I am not trying to frighten anybody – one could not rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a consequence”, Medvedev said.

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Russian Information Agency Novosti
May 17, 2012

Medvedev Warns of ‘Full-Blown Wars’

ST. PETERSBURG: Military intervention in the sovereign affairs of other states may lead to outright war, including nuclear war, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.

“The introduction of all sorts of collective sanctions bypassing international institutions does not improve the situation in the world while reckless military operations in foreign states usually end up with radicals coming to power,” he told an international legal forum in St. Petersburg.

“At some point such actions, which undermine state sovereignty, may well end in a full-blown regional war and even – I’m not trying to spook anyone – the use of nuclear weapons,” he said.

The right of nations to choose their own path of development is a universal value, he said referring to the situation in Syria and the Middle East as a whole ahead of a G8 summit.

A Kremlin aide said earlier on Thursday the Group of Eight industrial nations meeting outside Washington on May 18-19 will begin with talks on Syria and Iran.

Dmitry Medvedev, who is attending the meeting instead of President Vladimir Putin, will hold bilateral talks with U.S. President Barack Obama, Arkady Dvorkovich said.

Categories: Uncategorized
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