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NATO’s Number 2: “Revanchist Russia” Strategic Threat To International Order

September 2, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
September 2, 2014

NATO and Russia: a new strategic reality
Remarks by NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow at the conference on “NATO after the Wales Summit”, Cardiff University

[Edited by RR]

Thank you, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, for that kind introduction. I’m grateful for the invitation to be here on the eve of the NATO Summit. We’ve been preparing for it for a long time, so it’s great to finally be here in Wales.

Yes, we will still be discussing Afghanistan, defense capabilities, partnerships, and the Transatlantic bond, as originally planned. But our Heads of State and Government will gather on Thursday and Friday at a time of unprecedented turmoil on the European continent and beyond. Compared to a year ago, no one is asking whether this 65-year-old Alliance is still needed to ensure our security. But people are asking whether NATO is up to today’s challenges and whether it has the means – and the political will – to meet them.

The main reason, of course, is Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine, which has called into question many of our assumptions about the post-Cold War order. Russia’s actions…pose a real threat to an open, rules-based international system…Russia’s actions leave us no alternative but to make some fundamental choices of our own.

Geopolitics and domestic politics came together in Ukraine. Putin’s pressure on Viktor Yanukovych to reject Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU backfired, provoking the Euro-Maidan rebellion, the flight of Yanukovych to Russia, and Moscow’s aggressive response, which has now caused the worst security crisis in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

What Russia has been doing is sometimes called hybrid warfare, or non-linear warfare, or ambiguous warfare. But whatever you call it, it is warfare, plain and simple. …

And in waging an undeclared war in Ukraine, President Putin has torn up the international rule book and undone the good work both Russia and the NATO Allies have achieved since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Russia has returned to the politics of a previous time – not to Soviet-era, Cold War politics so much as to the politics of spheres of influence and to ethnic-nationalist doctrines of centuries past

One must wonder how long Putin can ride the populist wave as his cronies, and Russian society, begin to experience the very real consequences of his adventurism and as Russia’s international political and economic stock continues to decline.

For NATO’s part, we will do whatever is needed to defend our Allies. At this week’s Summit, we will adopt a Readiness Action Plan to reinforce our ability to deal with any threat. As part of the RAP, we will launch plans to increase the readiness of the NATO Response Force, so it has the capacity to respond in days rather than weeks to a threat of aggression.

We will lay out a plan for the forward presence of command and control and key enablers so that we have the capability to rapidly reinforce our eastern flank, together with plans to regularly exercise that capability.

We will work with Allies, as well as other like-minded organizations, to develop a range of measures, political as well as military, to deal with hybrid attacks.

We are also reviewing our defense plans, threat assessments, intelligence-sharing arrangements and early-warning procedures.

All these measures will not only reassure NATO members, but bolster deterrence in the face of the new strategic challenge posed by Russia.

We must also reverse the decline in defense spending that began after the fall of the Berlin Wall and accelerated during the financial crisis. Over the past five years, total defense spending by NATO nations has fallen by 20%, while Russia’s defense spending has increased by 50%. To the Kremlin, which measures its global standing in military might, NATO appears weak. And it sees an opportunity to act.

Our job now is to correct that perception – to be united in word and deed, and to increase spending on defense.

When it comes to deterrence, it’s not enough for us just to say it. We have to mean it. And President Putin – and potential adversaries elsewhere – have to believe it.

…Clearly, collective defense in the face of a resurgent and revanchist Russia is paramount. But in today’s world, NATO needs to be a strong multi-tasker and a consummate networker…By making sure that our militaries are compatible, we can be far more effective when we need to deploy together…

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is no doubt that the security landscape here in Europe changed this year, and not for the better. How it will look in a year or two is impossible to predict. But I can confidently predict that whatever the future does hold, NATO will be prepared. From its early days, NATO has had to bend and flex to meet any challenge, from any foe: from the military might of the Soviet Union to the Taliban in the deserts of Afghanistan, from bringing stability to the Balkans to preventing piracy off the Horn of Africa, the strength of NATO has always been its endless ability to adapt, and to rise to each new challenge that comes along. I am confident that this week’s Summit, here in Wales, will be no exception.

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Blitzkrieg: NATO To Launch New “Spearhead Force” Against Russia

September 2, 2014 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
September 1, 2014

Rasmussen: NATO to establish quick-response ‘spearhead force’
By John Vandiver

NATO will establish a new “spearhead force” in answer to Russian aggression in Europe that is capable of conducting crisis-response missions in a matter of days, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday.

Leaders from NATO will meet on Thursday in Wales, where much attention will be devoted to adapting the 28-member alliance to counter an increasingly aggressive Russia.

“We will develop what I would call a spearhead within our response force – a very high readiness force able to deploy at very short notice,” Rasmussen said at a news conference in Brussels. “This spearhead would be provided by allies in rotation, and could include several thousand troops, ready to respond where needed with air, sea and special forces support.”

Such a force will require “reception facilities” on NATO territory and pre-positioned equipment and supplies, along with command and control elements and logistics experts, Rasmussen said.

“So this force can travel light, but strike hard if needed,” he said. “We will also look at possible upgrades to national infrastructure. That could include airfields and ports to support reinforcements, if the need arises.”

Rasmussen said it was too early to say how many NATO troops would be on the ground in eastern Europe at a given time or how many bases they would operate out of. Those details would be hammered out after the conference, he said.

While NATO already has a formal Response Force, the multinational unit has been criticized for not being structured to conduct real-world rapid-response operations. The force has mainly been used for conducting training exercises and peacekeeping missions.

After Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove said the alliance must take steps to improve the readiness of its reaction force. The new spearhead force is the result, Rasmussen said.

“It will be (deployable on) very, very short notice,” he said. “We are speaking about a very few days.”

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Germany Treats Ukrainian Troops In Bundeswehr Hospitals

September 2, 2014 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
September 2, 2014

Injured Ukrainians flown to Germany for medical treatment

BERLIN: 20 injured Ukrainian soldiers have arrived in Germany on Tuesday for medical treatment, the German army Bundeswehr said in a statement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to provide the medical aid during her visit to Kiev on August 23.

The 20 injured Ukrainians were flown to Berlin Tuesday afternoon aboard a Bundeswehr Airbus A310 StratAirMedEvac (Strategic Air Medical Evacuation), said the statement.

They will be taken up by the Bundeswehr hospitals in Berlin, Hamburg, Ulm and Koblenz.

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Baltic: Canadian Join German, Portuguese Warplanes In NATO Patrol

September 2, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

September 2, 2014

PORTUGUESE AND CANADIAN FIGHTERS COMMENCE BALTIC AIR POLICING DUTIES IN LITHUANIA

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Pilots and aircrew from Portugal and Canada formally assumed responsibilities for Baltic Air Policing at a ceremony held at Siauliai Airbase, Lithuania on 1 September. They join German crews who recently began patrolling from a base in Estonia and a Dutch team that will begin training with the Polish Air force in a few days.

Several distinguished visitors, together with national and military representatives, attended the official ceremony in Lithuania where Poland and the United Kingdom passed on their Air Policing responsibilities to Portugal and Canada. Last week, Germany replaced Danish fighters in Amari, Estonia and later this week The Netherlands will take over responsibilities from France in Malbork, Poland. A total of 18 fighters under NATO command will be present in Eastern Europe as a part of the Alliance’s assurance measures.

This is the first time the Canadian Air Force is executing this mission in the Baltic States,” said Lieutenant Colonel David Pletz, detachment commander of the CF-18 Hornet fighters in Siauliai, Lithuania. “I look forward to working together with our NATO partners for the next four months and thank the host nation for the terrific support,” he said.

Canadian CF-18 aircraft were previously conducting training and readiness missions with NATO Allies in Romania and have recently relocated these assets to Lithuania. The Canadian fighters will augment the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission from September to December.

“It is an important mission, not only to protect the integrity of NATO’s airspace but also a perfect example of cohesion, reinforcement and solidarity within the Alliance,” said Lieutenant General Joao Lopes Da Silva, Portuguese Air Force Commander. “Together with our NATO partners we’re fully committed to maintain this high readiness force in the Baltic states. With Portugal as the leading Nation, we will exploit this opportunity as much as possible to work, cooperate, train and support the Baltic Nations and our NATO nations Canada, Germany and The Netherlands to increase interoperability and mission efficiency.”

In light of the current situation in Ukraine, NATO Allies have provided additional aircraft to preserve the integrity of sovereign airspace in the Baltic states. These Air capabilities are part of a wide range of military measures that reinforces NATO’s collective defence and demonstrates the strength of Allied solidarity. The four NATO Nations will support NATO Reassurance Measures through the provision of military capabilities for training, exercises, demonstrations and assigned NATO tasks.

“This is undoubtedly a team key effort of all NATO members,” said Lieutenant General Joachim Wundrak, Commander of the Combined Air Operations Center in Uedem.

Story by: Aircommand Ramstein Public Affairs office

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

September 2, 2014 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

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

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

Upton Sinclair: World war as a business enterprise

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Upton Sinclair
From Boston (1928)

Upton Sinclair

Now something more than ordinarily maleficent was befalling these humble wage-workers. It was happening all over the world, but they did not know that – they only knew Plymouth. The cost of everything they bought was going up day by day. Because of the war in Europe, the allied nations were borrowing money in America, and spending it for American goods. Exactly as Josiah Quincy Thornwell had foretold on the night of his death, it was making enormous and incredible prosperity for American manufacturers and stock-speculators; but also it was making higher and higher prices for the poor. And there was no corresponding increase in the wage, so close to the border-line of want; there was no authority charged with the task of calculating living costs, and adjusting earnings to them. The great industries which owned and rented tenements to their workers would raise the rent a dollar or two a month and tell the tenants that this was necessary; but they would overlook what might be necessary for the tenants.

***

The great rich company, the biggest cordage company in the world, which now in the second year of the great war was doing more business and making more money than ever in its history before, sent its officials before the state board to argue that wages of six dollars a week for unskilled women and nine dollars for unskilled men were abundant and generous…

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Not Seen In Europe Since World War II: Kiev Junta Calls Its 139-Day War…War

September 1, 2014 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
September 1, 2014

Ukrainian conflict escalates into “war”: DM

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KIEV: Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Geletey said Monday that the conflict in eastern Ukraine between government troops and pro-independence insurgents has escalated into a “war” .

“A great war came at our doorstep, the war, which Europe has not seen since World War II,” Geletey wrote on his official Facebook page.

Accusing Russia of beginning a “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine, Geletey announced the end of government’s military operation in the east.

“The operation to liberate eastern Ukraine from ‘terrorists’ is over. We must urgently undertake the defense against Russia,” Geletey said.

He blamed Moscow for the escalation of the conflict in Lugansk and Donetsk regions, claiming that Russia “via unofficial channels” has threatened to use “tactical nuclear weapons” against Ukraine.

Geletey estimated that the casualties in the “war” to be numbered in “thousands and even tens of thousands of people” and called for the “consolidation” of the Ukrainian society.

Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow will not militarily interfere in the ongoing Ukraine crisis, urging the United States and the European Union (EU) to help stop Kiev from using heavy weapons.

Lavrov expressed the hope that the Contact Group for Ukraine, which are meeting in the Belarussian capital of Minsk on Monday, primarily dedicate to “an imminent and unconditional ceasefire.”

In mid-April, Ukraine’s military launched offensives against insurgents to regain control over the seized cities and towns in eastern part of the country.

The armed conflict has claimed at least 2,500 lives and displaced thousands of people.

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NATO Chief Present Plan To “Bring Georgia Closer” To Bloc

September 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
September 1, 2014

NATO Chief Lays Out Package to ‘Bring Georgia Closer’ to Alliance

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Tbilisi: Package that NATO plans for Tbilisi at the summit in Wales this week will include establishing “a defense capacity building mission” and training center in Georgia, more Georgian participation in NATO exercises and “occasionally” NATO military exercises in Georgia and expanding NATO liaison office in Tbilisi, according to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

At a meeting in June NATO foreign ministers decided that membership action plan (MAP) would not be extended to Georgia at the summit in Wales; instead, NATO foreign ministers agreed to develop a “substantive” package to help the country move further closer to the Alliance.

Asked at a press conference in Brussels on September 1 what that package would be, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen responded that this package “will definitely bring Georgia closer to NATO.”

“Without going into too many details, I can mention some of the headlines,” Rasmussen said.

We will establish what we call a defense capacity building mission in Georgia with a particular focus on the Ministry of Defense and assist Georgia in continued reforms and modernization of the defense and security sector,” the NATO Secretary General said.

“Next, we will step up our efforts to improve the ability of the Georgian armed forces to work and operate together with NATO forces, including through more Georgian participation in NATO exercises,” he continued.

“Thirdly, occasionally military exercises might also be organized in Georgia in particular with the view to engaging NATO partners in such exercises,” Rasmussen said.

“Fourth, we are also considering the establishment of a military training center in Georgia again with the particular view to engaging NATO partners – that [training center] might also be of regional dimension.

“And finally, we are also considering an expansion of the NATO liaison office in Tbilisi,” Rasmussen said.

“So all in all you will see very concrete measures that will bring Georgia closer to NATO,” he added.

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139-Day War: NATO Pledges “Highest Level” Support To Kiev

September 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Ukrinform
September 1, 2014

NATO secretary general pledges support for Ukraine at highest level

KYIV: NATO and Ukraine will discuss at a summit of the alliance the question of further support amid Russia’s military aggression.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said this on Monday, a Ukrinform correspondent in Brussels reported.

“At the summit, we will meet with President [Petro] Poroshenko of Ukraine and make clear our support for Ukraine, as it is confronted by Russia’s aggression,” he said.

Rasmussen added that the leaders would discuss Ukraine reform priorities and take concrete steps to help the country.

Head of Ukraine’s Mission to NATO Ihor Dolhov told Ukrinform that a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the highest level of heads of state and government would be held as part of the summit.

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Interfax-Ukraine
September 1, 2014

Army will now be a priority for Ukraine – Poroshenko

The Ukrainian Armed Forces will now always be a priority for the state, and the military are rightly becoming the elite of society, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.

“Ukrainian troops now and forever will be the subject of priority attention from the state,” he said at events to mark the Day of Knowledge at Kyiv Bohun Military Lyceum on Monday.

Poroshenko said that those who serve in the Ukrainian Armed Forces “are rightly regaining the status of the elite of society.”

“For the first time since Ukraine’s independence Ukrainian military have become the object of love, support and pride of the whole nation. I know that such solidarity is spreading wings, giving confidence and courage,” he said.

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Readiness Action Plan: NATO Ready For War In Europe, Throughout The World

September 1, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
September 1, 2014

Opening Remarks by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Press Conference held at Residence Palace, Brussels

[Edited by RR]

Good afternoon.

Our Summit in Wales this week will take place in a changed world. It will address the challenges of a changed world. And so I expect it to be a crucial summit in NATO’s history.

This is a time of multiple crises on several fronts. To the east, Russia is intervening overtly in Ukraine. To the south, we see growing instability, with fragile states, the rise of extremism, and sectarian strife.

NATO’s greatest responsibility remains to protect and defend our populations and our territories. We also need the capacity to manage crises. And to work with partners to help build stability.

So at the Summit, we will ensure that the Alliance remains ready, able and willing to defend all Allies against any attack.

We will agree a Readiness Action Plan to make NATO more agile than ever.

The Readiness Action Plan responds to Russia’s aggressive behavior – but it equips the Alliance to respond to all security challenges, wherever they may arise.

We already have a NATO Response Force. This is a multinational force, which brings together land, air, maritime and special operation forces. It can be deployed anywhere in the world, for collective defence or crisis management.

We will now significantly enhance the responsiveness of our NATO Response Force. We will develop what I would call a spearhead within our Response Force – a very high readiness force able to deploy at very short notice. This spearhead would be provided by Allies in rotation, and could include several thousand troops, ready to respond where needed with air, sea and Special Forces support.

This will require reception facilities on NATO territory and pre-positioned equipment and supplies, command and control and logistics experts. So this force can travel light, but strike hard if needed.

We will also look at possible upgrades to national infrastructure. That could include airfields and ports to support reinforcements, if the need arises.

And we will improve our early warning through an upgrade of our intelligence gathering and sharing. We will update our defence plans; and enhance our training schedule with more exercises, of more types, in more places, more often.

The Readiness Action Plan will ensure that we have the right forces and the right equipment in the right place, at the right time. That also means more visible NATO presence in the East for as long as required. And it will make NATO fitter, faster and more flexible to adjust to all kinds of security challenges.

…And we will do what it takes to defend our Allies.

But readiness requires resources.

So in Wales, I expect a commitment to increase defence investments as our economies recover. To spend the right amount of money on the right things – deployable forces, well trained and with modern equipment. So that we share the responsibility of collective defence as we share the benefits.

At the summit, we will meet with President Poroshenko of Ukraine and make clear our support for Ukraine, as it is confronted by Russia’s aggression. We will discuss his reform priorities. And take concrete steps to help Ukraine.

The crises we face reach far beyond our borders. That is why our approach to security reaches beyond our borders too.

We have an unparalleled network of partners around the world. In Afghanistan we built the largest coalition in recent history, with one quarter of the world’s nations. And through our operations, we have become better at working together than ever before.

In Wales, we will further improve the way we train, cooperate and consult with our partners. And strengthen and streamline the way we support countries which seek our help to develop their security institutions. So that we can project stability without always projecting large numbers of troops.

We will also prepare a new chapter in our relationship with Afghanistan, as our combat mission draws to a close.

…We have built up capable Afghan forces of 350,000 troops and police…

We have planned a new mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces from next year and it will be launched once we have the legal arrangements in place.

So, there is still a lot of work to do.

The security landscape can change rapidly, but I am confident that NATO will go forward from the Wales Summit ready to rise to every challenge.

And with that, I look forward to your questions.

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

September 1, 2014 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

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Humphrey Cobb
From Paths of Glory (1935)

This fear of his was, so far as he knew, an idiosyncrasy, one which grew with each step forward he was now taking, one which became more acute every time he had to perform the duty of leading his regiment into the trenches…All he could think of was the compact mass of living, human, vulnerable flesh, strung out for two kilometers or so behind him. All that he could think of was that in another half hour the whole two kilometers of compact, human, vulnerable flesh would be well within range of the German guns. The thought appalled him; it also prevented the saliva from forming in his mouth..

“Flesh, bodies, nerves, testicles, brains, arms, intestines, eyes…” He could feel the mass of it, the weight of it pushing forward, piling up on his defenseless shoulders, overwhelming him with an hallucination of fantastic butchery. A point of something formed in his stomach, then began to spread and rise slowly. It reached level near his diaphragm where it became stationary and seemed to embed itself. He could not dislodge it or budge it up or down, but he recognized it for what it was: the nausea induced by intense fear.

“Three thousand men. My men. To run the gauntlet of open, registered roads with three thousand men. All neatly packeted for the slaughter. It’s too much for one man to bear…Three thousand men, two kilometers of massed flesh. What a target!…”

***

“Flesh, bodies, nerves, legs…” Things were getting all mixed up in his mind. It seemed to be filled with flesh, cloyed with the sweetish smell of flesh that is torn open and over which blood is pouring. It was his flesh, their flesh, lying about still alive, but dying, dying so slowly, dying so fast…

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First Time In Several Years: NATO Warships In North America

August 31, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

August 29, 2014

NATO Naval Task Force Makes Port Call in Hampton Roads

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For the first time in several years, a NATO task force is conducting transatlantic operations in North America.

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) arrived August 26 for a port visit during their Western Atlantic deployment.

This is part of a series of training exercises conducted in conjunction with Amphibious Readiness Group and Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercises (ARG/MEU EX). The group includes SNMG2’s flagship, the U.S. ship USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the German ship FGS Niedersachsen (F208) and the Turkish ship TCG Kemalreis (F 247). Kemalreis is the first Turkish warship to visit the United States in 15 years. Earlier in the deployment, it was also the first Turkish ship to ever visit Canada.

While here in Hampton Roads, SNMG2 will coordinate with representatives from Carrier Strike Group 4 to prepare for upcoming exercises and meet the local military and civilian leadership. Sailors from the three ships will also get the opportunity to explore the local area.

“We don’t get to come over here and exercise the transatlantic part of the Alliance as often as we should,” said SNMG2 Commander, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Brad Williamson during a press conference aboard the Kemalreis. “If you notice, it doesn’t say Europe in NATO, it says the Atlantic.

To be able to come over here and work with the Canadian Navy and the U.S. Navy together with our Turkish and German allies, it’s a rare opportunity to do that.”

NATO itself already has a permanent headquarters in Norfolk with Allied Command Transformation (ACT) which is the only NATO headquarters located outside of Europe, and is home to more than 750 NATO military and civilian staff members.

“The deployment of NATO ships to this part of the world strengthens the transatlantic bond between North America and Europe,” said French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT). “An interoperable maritime force that enables navies from different nations to come together to execute missions on behalf of the Alliance is vital for the security of all. SNMG2 is leading the way in NATO achieving our goal of creating a cohesive and effective Naval force,” he said.

SNMG2 is permanently available to NATO to perform a wide range of tasks, from real world operations to exercise participation. Composition of the force varies as Allied nations contribute assets on a rotational basis.

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Charles Yale Harrison: Selections on war

August 31, 2014 Leave a comment
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U.S., NATO Train Ukrainian Troops In Civil War-Scenario War Game

August 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
August 29, 2014

Anatomy of an attack: A step by step fictional siege in Saber Junction
By Michael Darnell

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HOHENFELS, Germany: More than 5,800 troops from 13 NATO and four partner nations are participating in Saber Junction 14, an annual U.S. Army Europe-led training exercise spread across four countries.

The bulk of the American forces involved in this year’s exercise comes from the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team and the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, while troops from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Sweden and Ukraine make up the non-NATO forces involved.

The training began Aug. 25 at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, with a simulated attack on the fictional town of Boyat.

The attack came from the northeast, heralded only by a single mortar blast. The townsfolk scattered as the sound of gunfire erupted from a wooded ridge 800 meters from the town border. Suddenly, a line of armored vehicles bursts into sight.

Capt. Aljosa Kaucevic, commander of the 1st Company, 20th Infantry Regiment, Slovenian armed forces, was one of the soldiers tasked with the defense of the shantytown.

“In the morning, once we entered the town, we first did a key leader engagement with the local leaders, where the mayor, police chief and the other elders were present. We talked about the situation. I informed them that there is an imminent threat from the Aranian forces — the enemies in this exercise — and that we’re here to provide them security and defend their town.”

In order to do that, Kaucevic’s soldiers had to repel an attack from the JMRC opposing forces team consisting largely of American and Lithuanian infantrymen. Soldiers from both sides wore MILES gear — the Army’s high-tech laser tag system.

U.S. Army instructors tossed flashbang grenades to simulate artillery strikes and grenade launches.

Casualties were marked both with a high-pitched whine from the MILES gear and a laminated card informing comrades of the type of injury that needed to be treated. All throughout the scenario, the Slovenian soldiers had to keep the town’s civilian population — all wearing their own MILES harnesses — alive.

“We accomplished the mission, which was to defend the town against the Aranian attack and to protect the civilian population. We were able to do both, so I view it as a success,” Kaucevic said. “I know as a company and everybody involved that we definitely gained some additional experience here because of the very real situation that has been projected from the civilians on the battlefield and the OPFOR. There is always room for improvement. You never do it perfectly, but I’m proud of my men.”

Saber Junction 14 continues with air-assault missions and mechanized unit rotations through the middle of September, leading up to a massive simulated force-on-force battle.

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Russian Border: Norwegian Tanks To Join Two-Month NATO War Games In Latvia

August 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
August 30, 2014

Norwegian tanks to join NATO exercise in eastern Latvia: media

OSLO: Norway tanks will take part in a NATO exercise to be held in Latvia near the border with Russia, the Norwegian newspaper VG reported on Friday.

In addition, 190 Norwegian soldiers will participate in the exercise.

The exercise is scheduled to last for almost two months and ends in late November.

Last June, 10 NATO member countries staged the Saber Strike ground forces exercise in the the Baltic countries amid heightened tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

The war game, which involved nearly 5,000 troops, was reportedly seen by Russia as a NATO military build-up

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Black Sea: Pentagon Chief To Visit Georgia, Turkey

August 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
August 30, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Defense to Visit Georgia

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Tbilisi: After participating in the NATO summit in Wales on September 4-5, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will visit Georgia and Turkey, the Pentagon said on Friday.

“From Wales, the secretary will next travel to Georgia, one of the United States’ and NATO’s most important and capable partners,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said.

“The Georgian military has been a valued partner of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the secretary looks forward to thanking the Georgian people for their contributions and sacrifices over the last decade,” he said.

“Obviously, Georgia shares our concerns about Russia’s actions in Ukraine, and that will, of course, be at the top of his agenda during that visit,” the Pentagon spokesperson said.

It will be Hagel’s first visit to Georgia as Defense Secretary. He met Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania twice at the Pentagon since August, 2013.

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137-Day War: Pro-Western Ukrainian Quislings Push NATO Referendum

August 30, 2014 3 comments

National Radio Company of Ukraine
August 29, 2014

Rasmussen says Ukraine can get NATO membership

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that Ukraine has the right to decide its military political status.

“We fully respect Ukraine’s decisions as regards Ukraine’s security policy and alliance affiliation,” he said in Brussels on Friday, commenting on the Ukrainian government’s decision to lay before parliament a bill resuming the country’s course towards the Euro-Atlantic integration. “I am not going to interfere with political discussions in Ukraine, but let me remind you of NATO’s decision taken at the Bucharest summit in 2008, according to which Ukraine will become a member of NATO provided, of course, that Ukraine so wishes and provided that Ukraine fulfills the necessary criteria,” he added.
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Interfax-Ukraine
August 30, 2014

Batkivschyna initiates all-Ukrainian referendum on NATO’s membership on Oct 26 – Tymoshenko
 

Batkivschyna leader Yulia Tymoshenko has said that Batkivschyna All-Ukrainian Union is going to launch procedures necessary to carry a nationwide referendum on NATO’s membership.

According to Tymoshenko, the referendum is planned to be held on the same day as the parliamentary elections, on October 26, she told the journalists in Kyiv on Saturday.

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Interfax-Ukraine
August 30, 2014

Kyiv doesn’t ask West to send troops but expects military-technological aid – Poroshenko
 

Ukraine expects the international community to provide it with military-technological assistance rather than foreign military personnel, says Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

“We don’t expect that soldiers from other countries will be fighting in Ukraine…,” Poroshenko said at a news conference following a meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels on Saturday.

At the same time, Ukraine expects “military-technological assistance from the international community,” Poroshenko said.

“Military-technological cooperation, cooperation in exchanging intelligence, and other aspects are certainly a subject of both bilateral consultations, which are taking place in Brussels today, and the president’s position at the NATO summit to take place in early September,” he said.

Ukraine also expects assistance in the form of non-lethal weapons and equipment, and the EU has expressed its willingness to provide such assistance, Poroshenko said.

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http://www.ukrinform.ua/eng/news/poroshenko_in_brussels_says_ukraine_will_ratify_association_agreement_in_september_325787

Ukrinform
August 30, 2014

Poroshenko in Brussels says Ukraine will ratify Association Agreement in September

KYIV:  President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko assured the European leaders that the Verkhovna Rada will ratify the Association Agreement with the EU in September.

The head of the Ukrainian state said after a meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels on Saturday, a Ukrinform correspondent reported.

“During the meeting, I assured that the Verkhovna Rada will ratify the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in September, as we agreed before,” Poroshenko said.

He recalled that ratification would allow the Ukrainian side to begin the temporary application of the provisions of a deep and comprehensive free trade area from November 1, 2014.

Categories: Uncategorized

Edward Bellamy: We have no wars now, and our governments no war powers

August 30, 2014 2 comments

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

American writers on peace and against war

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Edward Bellamy
From Looking Backwards (1888)

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Dr. Leete ceased speaking, and I remained silent, endeavoring to form some general conception of the changes in the arrangements of society implied in the tremendous revolution which he had described.

Finally I said, “The idea of such an extension of the functions of government is, to say the least, rather overwhelming.”

“Extension!” he repeated, “where is the extension?”

“In my day,” I replied, “it was considered that the proper functions of government, strictly speaking, were limited to keeping the peace and defending the people against the public enemy, that is, to the military and police powers.”

“And, in heaven’s name, who are the public enemies?” exclaimed Dr. Leete. “Are they France, England, Germany, or hunger, cold, and nakedness? In your day governments were accustomed, on the slightest international misunderstanding, to seize upon the bodies of citizens and deliver them over by hundreds of thousands to death and mutilation, wasting their treasures the while like water; and all this oftenest for no imaginable profit to the victims. We have no wars now, and our governments no war powers, but in order to protect every citizen against hunger, cold, and nakedness, and provide for all his physical and mental needs, the function is assumed of directing his industry for a term of years. No, Mr. West, I am sure on reflection you will perceive that it was in your age, not in ours, that the extension of the functions of governments was extraordinary. Not even for the best ends would men now allow their governments such powers as were then used for the most maleficent.”

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Pentagon Announces 30-Nation NATO Military Exercise In Europe

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Defense
August 27, 2014

DoD Announces Upcoming NATO, Maritime Exercises
By Amaani Lyle

WASHINGTON: Pentagon officials announced the start of two training exercises this month.

Exercise Combined Endeavor 2014 starts tomorrow and concludes Sept. 12. Exercise Northern Coasts 2014 starts Aug. 29 and ends Sept. 12.

Embarking on its 28th year, Combined Endeavor is a command, control, communications, and computer systems exercise involving 1,200 personnel from approximately 30 NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. It will operate at a main base with virtual forward bases for multi-national collaboration.

In the Baltic Sea, the annual maritime exercise Northern Coasts 2014 includes underwater mine, countermeasure and counter-improvised explosive device training. Forces from at least five countries will participate.

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On Eve Of Summit: NATO Expesses “Strong Solidarity” With Ukraine Usurpers

August 29, 2014 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
August 29, 2014

NATO Secretary General statement after the extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission

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We have just held an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, following the serious escalation of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The meeting was held at Ukraine’s request.

…This is a blatant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It defies all diplomatic efforts for a peaceful solution.

Today, we expressed strong solidarity with Ukraine. At the Wales Summit next week, we will meet President Poroshenko to make clear NATO’s unwavering support for Ukraine.

We condemn in the strongest terms Russia’s continued disregard of its international obligations. We urge Russia to cease its illegal military actions, stop its support to armed separatists, and take immediate and verifiable steps towards de-escalation of this grave crisis.

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Georgia Expects To Join NATO Along With Ukraine

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Rustavi 2
August 29, 2014

Georgian PM expects adequate response from NATO

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The Georgian Prime Minister says the government of Georgia is expecting adequate response from the NATO member nations at the upcoming summit in Wales. According to Irakli Gharibashvili, the government worked hard during the past two years to achieve maximum effect and therefore, they expect adequate response to the work done.

`The package has been worked out. We, the government, have done our best. We were all involved and I was personally involved in the intensive work for reaching the maximum effect. Of course, the conjuncture should be also considered because the Europeans pay great attention to this. We have full support and finally, we are expecting adequate response,` Irakli Gharibashvili said.

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Article Five War Provision: Ukraine Seeks Full NATO Membership

August 29, 2014 6 comments

Interfax-Ukraine
August 29, 2014

Ukraine plans to step back onto path towards NATO membership – PM Yatseniuk

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The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers has submitted a bill repealing the country’s non-bloc status to the Verkhovna Rada.

“In accordance with the decision adopted by the National Security and Defense Council, the government of Ukraine has submitted a bill that repeals the Ukrainian state’s non-bloc status and re-establishes Ukraine’s course towards membership in NATO to parliament for consideration,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said at a government session on Friday.

According to Yatseniuk, the law permits Ukraine to take decisions on membership of any other economic, political and military units as long as they don’t contradict the main aim of Ukraine – membership of the European Union.

He also said that after this law is adopted, Ukraine will be banned from being a member of the Customs Union, the Eurasian Union, or other similar so-called unions, which in fact are just “the Soviet Union under the name of the Russian Federation.”

“We ask the president of Ukraine and Ukrainian parliament to consider it [the bill] urgent, as it [has been deemed so] by the National Security and Defense Council,” the premier said.

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Ukrinform
August 29, 2014

NATO not against Ukraine’s accession – Rasmussen

KYIV: NATO will respect and recognize Ukraine’s possible decision to cancel its non-aligned status and join this military-political alliance.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said this on Friday, a Ukrinform correspondent in Brussels reported.

“We fully respect Ukraine’s decisions as regards Ukraine’s security policy and alliance affiliation… Ukraine will become a member of NATO provided, of course, that Ukraine so wishes and provided that Ukraine fulfills the necessary criteria,” he said, recalling the decision taken at the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008.

As reported, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said that the Ukrainian government had submitted for consideration by parliament a draft law cancelling the neutral status of the Ukrainian state and resuming Ukraine’s course towards NATO membership.

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George Gissing: Lord of Slaughter commands curse of universal soldiering

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment

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

George Gissing: When the next great war comes, newspapers will be the chief cause of it

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George Gissing

From The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (1903)

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Some one, I see, is lifting up his sweet voice in praise of Conscription. It is only at long intervals that one reads this kind of thing in our reviews or newspapers, and I am happy in believing that most English people are affected by it even as I am, with the sickness of dread and of disgust. That the thing is impossible in England, who would venture to say? Every one who can think at all sees how slight are our safeguards against that barbaric force in man which the privileged races have so slowly and painfully brought into check. [T]he revival of monarchic power based on militarism, makes the prospect dubious enough. There has but to arise some Lord of Slaughter, and the nations will be tearing at each other’s throats. Let England be imperilled, and Englishmen will fight; in such extremity there is no choice. But what a dreary change must come upon our islanders if, without instant danger, they bend beneath the curse of universal soldiering! I like to think that they will guard the liberty of their manhood even beyond the point of prudence.

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Near a hamlet, in a lonely spot by a woodside, I came upon a little lad of perhaps ten years old, who, his head hidden in his arms against a tree trunk, was crying bitterly. I asked him what was the matter, and, after a little trouble – he was better than a mere bumpkin – I learnt that, having been sent with sixpence to pay a debt, he had lost the money. The poor little fellow was in a state of mind which in a grave man would be called the anguish of despair; he must have been crying for a long time; every muscle in his face quivered as if under torture, his limbs shook; his eyes, his voice, uttered such misery as only the vilest criminal should be made to suffer. And it was because he had lost sixpence!

I could have shed tears with him – tears of pity and of rage at all this spectacle implied. On a day of indescribable glory, when earth and heaven shed benedictions upon the soul of man, a child, whose nature would have bidden him rejoice as only childhood may, wept his heart out because his hand had dropped a sixpenny piece! The loss was a very serious one, and he knew it; he was less afraid to face his parents, than overcome by misery at the thought of the harm he had done them. Sixpence dropped by the wayside, and a whole family made wretched! What are the due descriptive terms for a state of “civilization” in which such a thing as this is possible?

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German General Becomes First Non-U.S. Head Of Pentagon’s EUCOM

August 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
August 28, 2014

German general becomes first non-US USAREUR chief of staff
By Matt Millham
For the first time since U.S. troops arrived in Europe during World War II, a German general will serve as chief of staff of U.S. Army Europe.

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WIESBADEN, Germany: U.S. Army Europe formally welcomed German Brig. Gen. Markus Laubenthal as its new chief of staff Thursday, beginning what one German official said would likely be the first of many such exchanges between the U.S. and German armies.

Since USAREUR was established after World War II, a foreign officer has never served as chief of staff of the three-star command, headed since late 2012 by U.S. Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr.

Laubenthal’s role in the organization will be much more than symbolic, Campbell said, though U.S. law precludes his successor from seeing some classified information that American officers in the same position would be able to access.

As the U.S. and NATO allies draw down from Afghanistan, military leaders have emphasized the need to continue to work together to maintain the interoperability the various forces have gained over more than a decade of war.

“As we all know, actions speak louder than words,” Campbell said, “and this innovation carries a very strong message regarding our seriousness about a multinational team.”

One U.S. official said it’s estimated that Laubenthal will be able to carry out about 90 percent of the tasks typically performed by a USAREUR chief of staff, who is directly responsible for organizing, directing and supporting roughly 30 senior leaders who make up the command’s staff.

While Laubenthal’s assignment is a first for the German military and USAREUR, Campbell played down its novelty.

The U.S. has been at war alongside Germany and other NATO and partner nations for 13 years, he said, “so having a multinational general on our staff is not really something new, because they’ve seen it in theater, they’ve seen it in combat.

“In fact, I had a Canadian deputy commanding general at III Corps and Fort Hood,” Campbell said. “And we have other multinational officers in service in the United States and in U.S. Army Pacific.”

To those who might question the move, Campbell said: “I would step back and take a look at what we’ve been doing in combat for the last 13 years. We don’t fight it alone, we don’t go alone.”

“What we saw today is really a kickoff,” German Lt. Gen. Jörg Vollmer said after a ceremony at Clay Kaserne welcoming Laubenthal.

Vollmer, the second in command of the German army, said that the Germans are open to assigning an American officer to a similar position within the German army.

Campbell said he first approached the German army’s chief of staff about putting a German general on the USAREUR staff in January 2013, soon after he took command and well before revelations of U.S. spying on Germans came to light. Campbell said he wants to “continue to look for ways that we can grow from this position and use it to leap to other positions at junior grades.”

Laubenthal, who most recently served as a German tank brigade commander and chief of staff for NATO’s Regional Command North in Afghanistan, said he’s a “true believer in the idea of organizing and training” as you would deploy in a military campaign.

“It’s really, really important to work with other nations together as close as you can and even before an operation starts,” he said.

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136-Day War In Europe: Kiev Junta Demands Large-Scale Military Assistance From EU, NATO

August 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Ukrinform
August 28, 2014

Ukraine asks for large-scale military aid from EU

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KYIV: Ukraine has called on the EU to hold an extraordinary session of the European Council on August 30 to introduce further sanctions against the Ukrainian side and provide large-scale military assistance to Ukraine…

Ukraine’s representative to the European Union Kostiantyn Yeliseyev said this on Thursday, a Ukrinform correspondent in Brussels reported.

“Ukraine and the European Union must stop this war. We call for the holding on August 30 of an extraordinary session of the European Council on Ukraine. Enough concessions and pacification to the aggressor! Solidarity should be absolute and unequivocal. It should be materialized into further definite and substantial sanctions, as well as large-sale military and military-technical assistance to Ukraine to stop the aggressor,” he said.

According to Yeliseyev, now is the time when deeds must be replaced by words.

He recalled that since the beginning of Russian military aggression in February, the European Council had adopted 11 conclusions on Ukraine and that the European Parliament had adopted four resolutions calling on Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

“Was not it enough to understand that words mean nothing to the Kremlin?” Yeliseyev said.

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Interfax-Ukraine
August 27, 2014

Kyiv needs NATO help – Yatseniuk

The Ukrainian government plans to endorse a Ukraine-NATO action program for 2014 at its Wednesday session, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said.

“The government will endorse a Ukraine-NATO annual action program today. The president of Ukraine will be present at the NATO summit. NATO is our partner, and we expect our western partners and the alliance to offer practical assistance and to make momentous decisions at the summit on September 4. We need help,” Yatseniuk said at a government meeting on Wednesday.

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Russia Pays Price For Allowing NATO Buildup Along Western Border

August 28, 2014 Leave a comment

RIA Novosti
August 28, 2014

Russia Sees NATO as Partner, Does Nothing to Oppose Alliance’s Baltic Deployment – Expert
Lyudmila Chernova

WASHINGTON: The deployment of NATO forces to new bases in Eastern Europe could have been seen coming as Russia did nothing to oppose the move, and instead refers to the alliance and its member states as “esteemed colleagues,” believes Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop NATO international network.

“The reason why this has occurred is because the Russian government has done nothing to oppose it – not even verbally – instead regularly referring to NATO and its member states as Russia’s ‘valued partners,’ ‘esteemed colleagues,’ etc., etc., ad nauseam,” Rozoff told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

Rozoff underlined that the United States and NATO already have bases, including air bases, in most of the seven nations absorbed into NATO in 2004 at the NATO summit in Istanbul, Turkey: Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

“They also have control of air bases in Hungary and Poland. The air bases in Lithuania and Estonia allow NATO warplanes to strike Russia’s two largest cities in a matter of mere minutes,” Rozoff said.

Next week, NATO members are scheduled to meet in Wales to discuss the alliance’s response to Russia, which it accuses of interfering in Ukrainian affairs.

Earlier, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told European journalists that the alliance intends to deploy forces in Eastern Europe in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and to counter the threat posed by Russia to the Baltic republics, which were previously part of the Soviet Union.

On Sunday, Germany’s Der Spiegel reported that Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia felt threatened by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and feared what they described as Russian aggression.

Ahead of the NATO summit at the end of next week, the four countries have urged the military bloc to mention Moscow as a potential aggressor in its summit communique.

Russia’s Permanent Mission to NATO told RIA Novosti on Monday that Moscow has no plans to participate in any activities during the NATO summit in Wales.

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Robert Graves: Accommodations for a million men killed in war

August 28, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Robert Graves: Selections on war

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Robert Graves
From Good-Bye to All That (1929)

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We packed a few things and rode off in the general direction of Devon. The nights were coldish and, not having brought any blankets, we bicycled by night and slept by day. We rode across Salisbury Plain in the moonlight, passing Stonehenge and several deserted Army camps which had an even more ghostly look. They could provide accommodations for a million men: the number killed in the British and Overseas Forces during the War. Finding ourselves near Dorchester, we turned aside to visit Thomas Hardy

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My mother had me take the trouble to call on the Rector when she viewed the property, and he later asked me to speak from the chancel steps of the village church at a War Memorial service. He suggested that I should read war-poems. But instead of Rupert Brooke on the glorious dead, I read some of the more painful poems by Sassoon and Wilfred Owen about men dying from gas-poisoning, and about buttocks of corpses bulging from the mud. I also suggested that the men who had died, destroyed as it were by the fall of the Tower of Siloam, were not particularly virtuous or particularly wicked, but just average soldiers, and that the survivors should thank God they were alive, and do their best to avoid wars in the future. Though the Church party, apart from the liberal-minded Rector, professed to be scandalized, the ex-service men had not been too well treated on their return, and liked to be told that they stood on equal terms with the glorious dead. They were modest men: I noticed that though respecting the King’s desire to wear their campaign medals on this occasion, they kept them buttoned up inside their coats.

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Ukraine: Nuland’s Marionette Demands NATO Assistance

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
August 27, 2014

Kyiv needs NATO help – Ukrainian PM

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KYIV: The Ukrainian government plans to endorse a Ukraine-NATO action program for 2014 at its Wednesday session, Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said.

“The government will endorse a Ukraine-NATO annual action program today. The president of Ukraine will be present at the NATO summit. NATO is our partner, and we expect our western partners and the alliance to offer practical assistance and to make momentous decisions at the summit on September 4. We need help,” Yatsenyuk said at a government meeting on Wednesday.

Categories: Uncategorized

Finland, Sweden To Become NATO Host Nations

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Finnish Broadcasting Company
August 27, 2014

Finland, Sweden edge closer to NATO host nation status

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Finland and Sweden are expanding their cooperation with NATO. Defence Minister Carl Haglund told Yle on Wednesday that the government plans to sign an agreement on a new type of partnership at next week’s NATO summit in Wales.

The Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet says that the Swedish government will likely decide on Thursday to approve a so-called host nation support agreement with the North Atlantic military alliance NATO. Such a deal would allow the deployment of NATO rapid reaction forces on Swedish soil.

According to Swedish sources, the arrangement would allow NATO forces to use Swedish land, airspace and maritime territory while en route to operations. Sweden would guarantee the troops’ logistical and support operations. This could include providing them with food and ammunition.

Finland could request support in civilian crises

Speaking on Yle Radio 1 on Wednesday morning, former defence minister Seppo Kääriäinen said that Finland has been negotiating on its own host nation support agreement for a decade. The opposition Centre Party MP is now deputy chair of the parliamentary Defence Committee.

Under the envisaged wording, Finland would have the option of providing operational support to NATO forces in various kinds of crisis situations, including purely civilian situations, says Kääriäinen. He points out that Finland would always make the decision whether to request assistance.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Alexander Stubb told Yle that Finland will participate in the next NATO meeting in a different category than in the past, adding that “in concrete terms, it means to a great extent systems shared with NATO and with Sweden. We’re in a special status [as] partnerships are being reconsidered.”

NATO support ticks up

Meanwhile a poll published by Finland’s biggest paper, Helsingin Sanomat, on Wednesday suggests that more Finns now back the idea of full NATO membership.

According to the survey, 26 percent of respondents now support joining NATO – up from 22 percent in a corresponding poll last March. However a strong majority – 57 percent – still say no to membership, with 17 percent undecided.

Sources Yle, Svenska Dagbladet, Helsingin Sanomat

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NATO Moving Military Iron Curtain To Russia’s Western Flank

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
August 26, 2014

NATO’s Eastern Members To Get NATO Troop Rotations

NATO says it is planning constantly manned facilities in NATO-member countries that are east of what formerly was the iron curtain.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview published on August 26 in Britain’s “The Guardian” newspaper that plans call for “a more visible NATO presence in the East.”

Rasmussen said NATO forces other than those from the NATO-member host countries would be rotated at “very high frequency” so that “any potential aggressor” would know an attack would target the entire NATO alliance.

He said the initiative would include positioning supplies to boost NATO’s rapid reaction capabilities.

Poland and the three Baltic states — all NATO members — have called for a stronger NATO presence after Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

NATO currently maintains a headquarters at Szczecin, near Poland’s Baltic coast.

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NATO To Be Able To Deploy Military Forces To Sweden

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

The Local
August 27, 2014

Goverment keen on Nato forces in Sweden

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Nato will soon be able to deploy military forces to Sweden with the government likely to sign an agreement with the military alliance this week, but an expert told The Local that full membership remains unlikely.

Defence Minister Karin Enström told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper that the decision could be approved on Thursday. The move follows months of speculation after the Swedish military requested the government to discuss the matter with Nato last autumn.

Talks are believed to now be complete with both Sweden and Nordic neighbours Finland set to sign up to the deal.

Under the ‘host country agreement’ Nato would be able to carry out military training in Sweden. The agreement would also allow a guarantee that transportation of troops by land, air or sea could be carried out safely.

“We have come very far and it may be a government decision on Thursday,” Enström told the newspaper.

Enström said that the agreement would mean that Nato would not be able to deploy in Sweden against the government’s wishes.

The decision is unlikely to be a precursor to Sweden signing up to become a fully-fledged member of the alliance according to the National Defence College (Försvarshögskolan).

“This is really a case of Sweden wanting to show that they have done their homework and have something to show at the Nato summit in Wales next month,” Magnus Christensson, military strategist at the defence college told The Local.

He added; “Sweden is part of a frontrunner group discussing enhanced opportunities within Nato and this agreement is a part of that. I don’t think we can say this is the latest step to full membership but Sweden is certainly becoming closer to Nato.”

Election favourites the Social Democrats have long been opposed to joining the military alliance. Christensson said Nato wouldn’t be an election issue as he felt none of the parties had anything to gain by making it a topic at the polls.

“In order for Sweden to become a full member of Nato there would need to be a serious threat and right now Russia is making a case for that. Being outside would also need to come at a cost and the Social Democrats would need to change their attitude on the matter completely.”

Sweden has participated in Nato operations since the Bosnian war in the early nineties. In March The Local reported that over a thousand Swedish troops participated in a Nato training exercise close to the Russian border.

In a recent survey one in three Swedes support the prospect of the country joining Nato. Sweden is currently a Nato partner, not a member, will full membership long a bone of contention between the major political parties.

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Interview: U.S. May Use Spy Flights Over Syria To Help Militants

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Press TV
August 27, 2014

US may use spy flights over Syria to help militants: Rick Rozoff

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The United States may use its surveillance flights over Syria to gather intelligence information and provide it to pro-US militants, a peace activist says.

Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop NATO international network, made the remarks during a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday, after US President Barack Obama ordered reconnaissance flights over Syria to prepare for airstrikes on ISIL forces inside the country.

He said that Obama’s authorization of carrying out surveillance flights over Syrian territory “adds another dimension to the US involvement in the ongoing conflict in Syria.”

Rozoff stated that the US is involved in similar activities in Yemen, Somalia and Libya and “one cannot be assured that the United States is not gathering intelligence information for purposes others than strictly striking” ISIL militants “and that the US is not accumulating intelligence which can be provided on the ground to terrorist formations supported by the US, its NATO allies and select (Persian) Gulf states.”

“That’s the first concern that any reasonable person would have,” he stated, adding that the second concern is “the US supposedly bombing, with or without the permission from the government in Damascus, alleged extremist sites inside Syria as well Iraq may while they’re at it” target Syrian government installations.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

“What we have to worry about is that if the US, either with the approval of Damascus or without it, begins the campaign of surveilling ISIL forces on the ground, it could get out of hands, and the US can certainly overstep its mandate as it has known to be done,” he noted.

“So we have this added degree of danger following the duplicity of US involvement in Syria. The best thing, of course, is the US should stay out of the Middle East entirely,” Rozoff emphasized.

The ISIL has captured large swaths of territory across northern Iraq after seizing the city of Mosul on June 10.

The militants, who have posted pictures of their atrocious acts against Iraqi citizens online, have vowed to continue their offensive towards Baghdad.

However, the United States has used the situation as a pretext to increase its military presence in the Arab country and the Middle East region and exert pressure on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to form what Washington calls an “inclusive government”.

A recent report shows that the ISIL terrorists were trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012. The report said that the militants were initially trained at the time as part of covert aid to the militants operating inside Syria.

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Georgian Armed Forces: NATO’s Proxy In The Caucasus

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defense of Georgia
August 26, 2014

“Defence Integrated Program” Revision

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“Defence Integrated Program” 2015-2018 was reviewed at Defence Ministry of Georgia today. Deputy Defence Ministers Mikheil Darchiashvili and Alex Batiashvili led the meeting. Deputy Chief of General Staff of the GAF, Colonel Giorgi Kbiltsetskhlashvili and the representatives from the various structural units of the MoD attended the meeting as well.

The meeting aimed to prioritize the programs, subprograms and program elements of “Defence Integrated Program”, as well as to define estimated budget.

Mikheil Darchiashvili highlighted the importance of programming budget in the direction of transparency and NATO interoperability. He also outlined that the successful fulfillment of the process under NATO commitments will be a significant step forward.

The representatives of the various departments form the MoD and General Staff presented to the top brass the program budget calculations of 2015, plans for development and priorities according to the directions of their supervisor.

Deputy Defence Minister Alex Batiashvili summed up the meeting. He evaluated the progress achieved in the direction of resource management reformation and emphasized the importance of rational and effective allocation of financial resources.

“Defence Integrated Program” was elaborated for the first time. The document will be the basis for the development of defence program for 2015 and coming years. The program aims to develop defence resource planning system accordingly western standards and principles. The program budget is one of NATO’s main demands. CUBICs officials and experts from other partner countries headed by Bill Craven consulted the MoD representatives while elaborating the “Integrated Defense Program”.

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Georgian Defense Chief Visits Troops In Central African Republic

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
August 27, 2014

Defence Minister meets the Georgian Company deployed in Central African Republic

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Minister of Defence of Georgia Irakli Alasania pays an official visit to the Central African Republic. Among the delegation members are Chief of the General Staff of GAF Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze and Deputy Minister Varlam Avaliani.

The MoD leadership met Batumi Separate Light Infantry Battalion personnel fulfilling the peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic under the aegis of EU. The Battalion members thoroughly informed the visitors about the situation on the ground and the tasks being performed by them. Irakli Alasania and Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze addressed the military and stressed attention on the importance of the mission. Minister wished the soldiers successful accomplishment of the mission and safe return to the motherland.

Within the frames of the visit to the Central African Republic, meetings are scheduled with the Chief of UN peacekeeping operations and UN Secretary General`s Special Representative.

Batumi Separate Light Infantry Battalion was deployed to the Central African Republic in June. The Georgian solders are fulfilling the mission in Bangi city. The aim of the mission is to provide security and stability in the area of responsibility. The Company also carries out patrolling at the nearby area of the Airport.

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Maxim Gorky: Perfidious Albion at war

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Russian writers on war

Maxim Gorky: Selections on war

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Maxim Gorky
From The Specter (1938)
Translated by Alexander Bakshy

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“You must not be offended, Mr. Creighton, but of course you realize that the English are not very well liked, and deservedly so. A hundred and two years ago, at Waterloo, your soldiers finally extinguished the blaze of the French Revolution. You take pride in this dubious service to a Europe which you prevented from becoming united states. For I am convinced that exactly that union was Napoleon’s objective. During these hundred years you, ‘an aristocratic race,’ the nation of compromise, the people of unsurpassed hypocrisy and supreme indifference to the fate of Europe, you, the amusingly conceited people, have succeeded in enslaving so many nations that it is said five Indians work for every Englishman – and this is exclusive of others whom you have enslaved.”

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“I knew an Arab scholar once, who said: ‘An Englishman in Europe is a fox; in the colonies he is the beast which no name fits.’ You regard the Germans as highwaymen and brutes. But it was your government which helped the Prussians to rout the French, which supported them against Austria, which supported Bismarck…”

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Poland: U.S. Air Force Completes Military Exercise

August 26, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Forces Africa

August 26, 2014

Deployed Airmen conclude operations at Powidz AB, Poland
By Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
USAFE/AFAFRICA Public Affairs

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POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland: With a flurry of grass and dirt, a C-130J Super Hercules touched down on a grass runway at Powidz Air Base, Poland, kicking off its final week of deployed operations within the country, Aug. 25, 2014.

For more than 75 Airmen deployed from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, this was their home-away-from-home for 60 days.

“Throughout this deployment the Airmen here represented America’s forward presence, postured alongside our proven, indispensable European partners,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Barry King II, 37th Airlift Squadron detachment commander at Powidz. “The visible support we bring to Europe allows us to strengthen our interoperability through regular combined training exercises.”

During their time in Poland, Airmen honed their operational skills and worked together to ensure the C-130’s were ready and able to conduct low-level flight training at improved and unimproved landing zones, as well as partner with U.S. Army and NATO Service members for cargo and personnel airdrops. Aircrews worked around-the-clock, generating 150 flying missions that accounted for more than 330 hours in the air.

“This has been a tremendous opportunity for our Airmen to demonstrate their shared commitment to peace and regional security, alongside our NATO partners,” said King. “Since 2012, the 37th Airlift Squadron has held training events like this in Poland. We are proud and honored to continue the tradition.”

“Our time in Poland has afforded us a unique opportunity to conduct training focused on maintaining joint readiness, ensuring our collective security and protecting our global interests,” said King. “The benefits of training with other nations in deployed locations, like Poland, far outweigh the benefits that come from training independently. The experience gained by our Airmen alone is absolutely essential to maintaining our commitment to a Europe that is whole, free and at peace.”

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Georgian Regime Prepares For NATO Summit

August 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Rustavi 2
August 25, 2014

Working meeting with the President

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The President of Georgia today held a preparatory meeting for the NATO Summit in Wales – the meeting was attended by Defence Minister Irakli Alasania, National security Secretary Irine Imerlishvili, Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani and State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Davit Dondua.

The President listened to the report by the senior officials regarding the preparatory activities.

The NATO Summit will be held in Wales on 4-5 September. The delegation of Georgia will be led by President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

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Rustavi 2
August 26, 2014

NATO does not recognize Abkhazia `elections`

The NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen has made a special statement regarding the so-called presidential elections held in Georgia`s breakaway Abkhazia last Sunday.

`NATO does not recognise the election held on 24 August in the Georgian region of Abkhazia. This election does not contribute to a peaceful and lasting settlement of the situation in Georgia. NATO Allies do not recognise the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia as independent states.

The Alliance reiterates its full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders`, the statement says.

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Rustavi 2
August 26, 2014

PM assigns Cabinet to assist Ukrainian colleagues

The Prime Minister of Georgia has assigned the Cabinet to provide maximum support to their colleagues in Ukraine. Irakli Gharibashvili addressed the ministers at the meeting of the government this morning.

`It will be reasonable if we provide humanitarian assistance to our Ukrainian friends,` Irakli Gharibashvili announced.

He also questioned Health Minister Sergeenko about the details of his decisions to take Georgian doctors to Ukraine. The delegation is due to leave for Kiev tomorrow and assist their colleagues in treating the people injured in the battles against the separatists.

Minister Sergeenko will be accompanied by the Chief of the Emergencies Department, Zurab Utiashvili.
Concurrently, several senior authorities, including the representatives of the Ministry of Finance are expected to arrive in Tbilisi. Georgian colleagues will share their experience of overcoming crisis in specific sectors.

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Going Global: NATO Commander Addresses Death Merchants

August 26, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

August 16, 2014

SACT Addresses Industry Leaders at “Going Global Defense Initiative” Event

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NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros addressed industry and business representatives as keynote speaker at the Kick-off Workshop for Virginia’s Going Global Defense Initiative held in Norfolk, Virginia, August 14.

The Going Global Defense Initiative, launched by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), is an effort to mitigate the impact that defence spending cuts have on Virginia’s economy. The VEDP focuses on assisting Virginia businesses in capturing export opportunities overseas.

Norfolk is home to Allied Command Transformation (ACT), the only permanent NATO headquarters located outside of Europe. The command oversees NATO’s military transformation ensuring the organisation is capable of effectively taking on future security challenges.

General Paloméros talked to the business leaders about cooperative effort of NATO and industry, and how their support for the Alliance was vital to ACT’s success, saying “the Allies recognise that in our current strategic context, we are facing new needs in terms of knowledge, no longer developed within the Defence realm. Today, Academia and Industry are leading in these areas of interests.”

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Baltic Sea: NATO Maintains Expanding Fleet Of Warplanes

August 26, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Air Command

August 26, 2014

ALLIANCE SOLIDARITY IN THE BALTIC REGION CONTINUES

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Ramstein, GERMANY: As NATO’s current Baltic Air Policing (BAP) rotation draws to a close at the end of August, outgoing fighter detachments are working hard to prepare hand over responsibilities and tasks.

The 36th rotation of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing will commence in September with six Portuguese F-16 fighter aircraft deploying to Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania to execute the mission as the lead nation. Canada, Germany and The Netherlands will be augmenting the mission.

The official BAP handover/takeover ceremony will take place at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, on 1 September 2014. The outgoing nations; Poland, United Kingdom, Denmark and France will pass responsibility for the Baltic airspace to the four incoming nations.

Four Canadian CF-18s will operate from Siauliai Air Base alongside Portugal. Germany will deploy four Eurofighters to Ämari Air Base, Estonia, and the Netherlands will have four of its F-16s at Malbork Air Base, Poland. All assets will be used to ensure 24/7 availability of Quick Reaction Alert (Intercept) forces to secure the airspace over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

NATO’s BAP is a standing peacetime mission and has been conducted since April 2004. As the Baltic States do not have their own means to provide air policing of their territory, they have been assisted by other NATO members to preserve the integrity of their sovereign airspace in peacetime, and to ensure their collective security. So far, 14 NATO nations have supported this mission.

In line with NATO’s extensive assurance measures, Allies have offered additional assets under the NATO Air Policing framework since April 2014.

Story by HQ AIRCOM Public Affairs Office

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An Ode To NATO’s War Against Libya

August 26, 2014 Leave a comment

The Hindu
August 26, 2014

An ode to NATO’s mission in Libya
Hari Narayan

On October 20, 2011, a low-resolution video shot in Sirte, Libya went viral. It showed a motley mob of about 20 mutineers shouting what sounded like insults at a 69-year-old Bedouin — their prized ‘catch’. The old man’s face was bloodied; he looked dumbfounded and was perhaps making an attempt to beg for mercy. Moments later, the aged captive was dead, his body used as a trophy.

The old, khaki-clad Bedouin was Muammar al-Qaddafi. Though both his life and his 42-year rule in Libya were marked by eccentricity, his death could not but evoke empathy. NATO’s mission creep — a spin-off from the powers granted to it by U.N. resolution 1973 — was complete.

Toppling Qaddafi by Christopher S. Chivvis — who was with Pentagon at that time and currently works for the U.S.-government-funded think tank RAND Corporation — is an ode to the intervention. Though it does express scepticism in a few chapters, its overall tone is one of approval and, at places, celebration. Long on technical details and short on depth, it reads more like a military template for future interventions than a genuine soul-searching effort.

Chivvis puts on the back-burner an honest attempt at understanding the uprising while expecting the reader to genuflect to the restraint practised by the U.S. as it decided to step back and allow France and Britain to dominate the mission. This, even as it supplied the bulk of the arms.

Some questions the book could have addressed include: Why did the rebels decide to script such a grisly death for Qaddafi — a patriarch clearly in his autumn? Was his overthrow the result of foreign conspiracy, considering that he had antagonised quite a lot of regimes due to his fiercely independent foreign policy? Was Libya really on the verge of genocide when the West decided to intervene?

A report by the International Crisis Group (ICG), Making sense of Libya (released on 6th June 2011, much after the intervention began), provides some answers. It revealed that the revolt’s original authors were not native Libyans in Benghazi but those from the Libyan diaspora, vocal opponents of Qaddafi’s style of functioning who had been responsible for his vilification in the western media.

Hugh Roberts, ICG’s North Africa Project Director during the uprising, gave a comprehensive analysis in his article, Who said Gaddafi had to go? (London Review of Books, November 17, 2011). The essay proves a sober counter to Chivvis’s celebratory monograph.

Roberts’s essay answers most of the questions Chivvis’s book doesn’t. In the Cold War years, Libya had been of strategic interest to the U.S. primarily because of its location along the coast of Mediterranean, providing it a vital link between Europe and North Africa and North Africa and West Asia. Up to the discovery of oil in 1960, the primary source of revenue for Libya was from the Wheelus Air Base, which was once called by a U.S. Ambassador as “a little America … on the sparkling shores of the Mediterranean.” Having once had about 4,600 Americans, it was rendered defunct once oil was discovered and a Qaddafi-led coup happened in 1969.

Roberts also deals with the minutiae when he points out that the conflict was more internecine than international — it was between the Arab villages and Berber hamlets; between militias from the mountains and those from the coast; and between the light-skinned Libyans and their black neighbours.

So, was Libya another Afghanistan where tribal identities triumphed over national ones? Or was it converted into an anarchy along Afghan lines post-intervention?

Dirk Vandewalle, in his book A history of modern Libya, expounds that just like many other countries in Africa, Libya was a creation of convenience for colonial powers. The United Kingdom of Libya was created in 1951 by integrating three distinct regions – Cyrenaica (east), Fezzan (southwest), and Tripolitania (west) — without a binding force.

Libyans had suffered vicious suppression at the hands of their Italian colonisers, who tried to create an extension of metropolitan Italy in Tripolitania, settling Italians while massacring natives. This only fostered tribal loyalties and created distrust toward political institutions.

Though Qaddafi’s interests lay in keeping Libya politically inactive, his government’s generous redistribution of oil revenues did create an effective welfare state. As per a UNICEF (2009) report, Libya had a literacy rate of 95 per cent for males and 78 per cent for females and a life expectancy of 74. It had a Human Development Index (HDI) ranking of 55, out of 182 countries considered, ahead of most sub-Saharan and many Asian countries.

It would be more persuasive to say that the Libyan civil war was a conflict created by history — between the culturally and economically disparate western and the eastern regions — best resolved politically by Libyans themselves, with diplomatic support from outside, which the ICG offered. However, NATO was more intent on scripting a change its way.

Chivvis is so absorbed in the details of NATO’s military manoeuvres that, even with the benefit of hindsight, he gets his facts entirely wrong. This becomes particularly bewildering in the final chapter, written when the negative repercussions of the intervention were being felt.

For instance, Chivvis still maintains that Qaddafi government killed “several hundred civilians” prior to the intervention. Hugh Roberts had invalidated this as early as 2011 by citing Human Rights Watch, which said that as late as on February 21, when the genocide bogey had reached its peak, the total death toll was 233. Compared to this, the total death toll in Tunisia was 300 and that in Egypt was 846.

Chivvis claims that the intervention offered hopes for protesters in the other conservative regimes in the region against brutal crackdown. This after the West chose to overlook protests in Bahrain — where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is stationed — when the Sunni-minority monarchy crushed the non-violent Shia demonstrators.

Chivvis also makes the ludicrous claim that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad would have suppressed his population earlier and more violently had NATO not intervened. He completely ignores the fact that it was NATO’s misadventure in Libya that strengthened al-Qaeda-linked elements in Syria. This in turn led to the birth of Islamic State (IS), an ultra-jihadist group that the U.S. is currently fighting in Iraq.

Chivvis occasionally engages in plainspeak. Like when he emphasises the positive fall-out of the intervention on the U.S. arms industry. Citing an unclassified document, he says that the U.S. went on to sell $261 million worth of ammunition and spare parts to its allies. This while ‘leading from behind!’

And, finally, he admits, in passing, the ambivalence the rebels gradually started to feel toward NATO’s intentions, when the latter started dictating the course of action. One of them even went on to question if NATO’s aims were ‘different’ to their own.

The ICG document proved to be prescient in its outlook when it said that with an escalation of hostilities, the outcome “… may be not a transition to democracy but rather a potentially prolonged vacuum … that could aggravate an already serious humanitarian crisis.”

About a year after Qaddafi’s death, another video, graphic in its details, emerged. It pertained to the death of Christopher Stevens, U.S. ambassador to Libya, killed when its consulate in Benghazi, the birthplace of Libya’s uprising, was attacked. A fringe terrorist organisation strengthened by the intervention, ansar al-Sharia was blamed. From one grisly murder to another, Libya’s faux-revolution had come a full circle.

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Finley Peter Dunne: A great nation at war (in the vernacular)

August 26, 2014 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

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Finley Peter Dunne
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League
From Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War (1898)

FinleyPeterDunne

On War Preparations

“Well,” Mr. Hennessy asked, “how goes th’ war?”

“Splendid, thank ye,” said Mr. Dooley. “Fine, fine. It makes me hear-rt throb with pride that I’m a citizen iv th’ Sixth Wa-ard.”

“Has th’ ar-rmy started f’r Cuba yet?”

“Wan ar-rmy, says ye? Twinty! Las’ Choosdah an advance ar-rmy iv wan hundherd an’ twinty thousand men landed fr’m th’ Gussie, with tin thousand cannons hurlin’ projick-tyles weighin’ eight hundherd pounds sivinteen miles. Winsdah night a second ar-rmy iv injineers, miners, plumbers, an’ lawn tinnis experts, numberin’ in all four hundherd an’ eighty thousand men, ar-rmed with death-dealin’ canned goods, was hurried to Havana to storm th’ city.

“Thursdah mornin’ three thousand full rigimints iv r-rough r-riders swum their hor-rses acrost to Matoonzas, an’ afther a spirited battle captured th’ Rainy Christiny golf links, two up an’ hell to play, an’ will hold thim again all comers. Th’ same afthernoon th’ reg’lar cavalry, con-sistin’ iv four hundherd an’ eight thousan’ well-mounted men, was loaded aboord th’ tug Lucy J., and departed on their earned iv death amidst th’ cheers iv eight millyon sojers left behind at Chickamaha. These cav’lry’ll co-operate with Commodore Schlow; an’ whin he desthroys th’ Spanish fleet, as he does ivry Sundah an’ holy day except in Lent, an’ finds out where they ar-re an’ desthroys thim, afther batterin’ down th’ forts where they ar-re con-cealed so that he can’t see thim, but thinks they ar-re on their way f’r to fight Cousin George Dooley, th’ cav’lry will make a dash back to Tampa, where Gin’ral Miles is preparin’ to desthroy th’ Spanish at wan blow,–an’ he’s th’ boy to blow.

“The gin’ral arrived th’ other day, fully prepared f’r th’ bloody wurruk iv war. He had his intire fam’ly with him. He r-rode recklessly into camp, mounted on a superb specyal ca-ar. As himsilf an’ Uncle Mike Miles, an’ Cousin Hennery Miles, an’ Master Miles, aged eight years, dismounted fr’m th’ specyal train, they were received with wild cheers be eight millyon iv th’ bravest sojers that iver give up their lives f’r their counthry. Th’ press cinchorship is so pow’rful that no news is allowed to go out; but I have it fr’m th’ specyal corryspondint iv Mesilf, Clancy th’ Butcher, Mike Casey, an’ th’ City Direchtry that Gin’ral Miles instantly repaired himsilf to th’ hotel, where he made his plans f’r cr-rushin’ th’ Spanyards at wan blow. He will equip th’ ar-rmy with blow-guns at wanst. His uniforms ar-re comin’ down in specyal steel protected bullyon trains fr’m th’ mint, where they’ve been kept f’r a year. He has ordhered out th’ gold resarve f’r to equip his staff, numberin’ eight thousan’ men, manny iv whom ar-re clubmen; an’, as soon as he can have his pitchers took, he will cr-rush th’ Spanish with wan blow. Th’ purpose iv th’ gin’ral is to permit no delay. Decisive action is demanded be th’ people. An’, whin th’ hot air masheens has been sint to th’ front, Gin’ral Miles will strike wan blow that’ll be th’ damdest blow since th’ year iv th’ big wind in Ireland.

“Iv coorse, they’se dissinsions in th’ cabinet; but they don’t amount to nawthin’. Th’ Sicrety iv War is in favor iv sawin’ th’ Spanish ar-rmy into two-be-four joists. Th’ Sicrety iv th’ Three-asury has a scheme f’r roonin’ thim be lindin’ thim money. Th’ Sicrety iv th’ Navy wants to sue thim befure th’ Mattsachusetts Supreme Coort. I’ve heerd that th’ Prisident is arrangin’ a knee dhrill, with th’ idee iv prayin’ th’ villyans to th’ divvil. But these diff’rences don’t count. We’re all wan people, an’ we look to Gin’ral Miles to desthroy th’ Spanish with wan blow. Whin it comes, trees will be lifted out be th’ roots. Morro Castle’ll cave in, an’ th’ air’ll be full iv Spanish whiskers. A long blow, a sthrong blow, an’ a blow all together.”

“We’re a gr-reat people,” said Mr. Hennessy, earnestly.

“We ar-re,” said Mr. Dooley. “We ar-re that. An’ th’ best iv it is, we know we ar-re.”

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Bulgaria: U.S., Bulgarian, Romanian, Serbian Troops In Ukraine-Type War Game

August 25, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Marine Corps
August 22, 2014

Platinum Lion: Multilateral exercise strengthens humanitarian response, combat readiness
By Sgt. Derrick K. Irions, Marine Corps Forces Africa

Novo Selo, Bulgaria: Following 11 days of unabated multilateral training, military forces from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and the U.S. operated side-by-side during the final exercise of Platinum Lion 14-2 Aug. 11 at the Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria.

During the seven-hour humanitarian scenario, an escalating conflict between two socially-divided urban towns resulted in a deployment of peacekeeping entities.

Confusion, uprisings, chaos and casualties added to the realism and complexity of the exercise meant to evaluate the overall interoperability of the four participating nations.

“The exercise was based on a real-life event in Africa,” said Capt. Jordan Schultz, company commander with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, referring to a similar peacekeeping operation that he and his Marines had prepared for in the past.

The final exercise began with a humanitarian scenario that required quick reaction times and precise maneuvers to resolve the ongoing strife, adding that the four nations performed their respective assignments at a level higher than anticipated, according to Schultz.

“There was a situation during the FEX when a rival villager attempted to infiltrate our village to tactically acquire some of our water,” said Cpl. Zachary Ruppert, the villager role player and a team leader with 3rd Bn., 8th Marines. “If it weren’t for the Romanians, who were providing a good security buffer, myself and the other villagers were going to hold him captive and threaten an attack on the opposing village in retaliation for stealing what little resources we had. The Romanians did exactly what the circumstance required. They detained the thief and defused the situation.”

The practical application exercise gave the participating units an opportunity to showcase the knowledge, techniques and tactics that were taught during the foregoing days.

Exercise Platinum Lion is an annually-scheduled engagement focused on enhancing regional stability and security through multilateral training including: combat life saver, non-lethal systems, fixed-site security and convoy operations.

Military engagements like Platinum Lion continue to bolster relations with regional ally and partner nations, enhance interoperability and provide the capability for contingency response in correlation with directives issued by U.S. European Command.

“This exercise is far from unimaginable, these types of engagements can and do actually happen,” said Ruppert. “This exercise offers each participating nation a chance to identify and address mistakes in a training environment rather than react to them in a real-world emergency situation where it could be the difference of life and death.”

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U.S., NATO Allies Train Eastern European Adjuncts For War In Europe

August 25, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Army
August 25, 2014

U.S. Army Europe conducts exercise Saber Junction
By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

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WIESBADEN, Germany: Exercise Saber Junction, one of U.S. Army Europe’s premier training events, is scheduled to take place from today through Sept. 11, at several locations throughout Europe.

The exercise will include participation from 16 different nations, more than 5,800 personnel, and is designed to prepare U.S. and multinational Soldiers for decisive and sustainable land operations.

Saber Junction will feature a number of dynamic events designed to challenge the participants including airborne operations, conventional warfare scenarios as well stability and defensive operations, and support of civil authorities operations.

Multinational partners participating in this exercise include the following NATO allies: Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, United Kingdom, and the United States; and the following NATO Partnership for Peace nations: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Sweden.

This exercise demonstrates U.S. Army Europe’s commitment to the collective security of the nation’s NATO allies, and support for the United States’ partners in Europe.

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Getting Warfighters To The Fight: NATO Shifts From Kyrgyz To Romanian Air Base

August 25, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Air Force
August 22, 2014

Romania air base replaces Transit Center Manas
By Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel, Air Forces Central Public Affairs

MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania: “It’s so green here,” is often the first words uttered from service members as they step off an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III after arriving from Afghanistan or other deployed locations.

Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, located 25 miles northwest of the Black Sea city of Constanta, started operations in February 2014 and has already processed more than 85,000 troops.

“It’s all about getting warfighters to the fight and getting them home when it’s all said and done,” stated U.S. Army Col. Ronald D. Brown Jr., the 21st Sustainment Command assistant chief of staff. “We’ve handled up to 2,000 Soldiers a day. Having a great relationship with our host nation in conjunction with taking what we’ve done in previous operations has streamlined it into what we have here.”

The ability to conduct operations at Kogalniceanu AB gives combatant commanders flexibility and responsiveness moving equipment, supplies and troops into and out of the U.S. European Command and U.S. Central Command areas of operations.

It takes an efficient team of almost 600 people, including approximately 140 Airmen, to sustain the operations, which has shipped more than 2,100 tons of baggage in addition to military equipment, served hundreds of thousands of meals and inspected almost 61,000 body armor plates.

The base has quickly become a favored location for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, who have previously been to Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan…

Since only weeks after September 11, 2001, troops have passed to and from Afghanistan through Manas. Without a new lease in Kyrgyzstan, the U.S. was forced to find a new location to ferry troops. With an inter-service relationship and infrastructure already built in Romania, it quickly became the top choice for transit operations.

“The working relationship dynamic is absolutely amazing here; everybody works together very well,” Blea said. “If one aspect fails, then we all fail because we are all working toward a common goal.”

The new operation comes with several advantages. The annual operating cost is approximately $18 million, which is 77 percent less than Manas. The average time it takes to process personnel deploying into theater is 36 hours, which is 12 hours less; and 40 hours to redeploy to home stations, which is 32 hours less than Manas.

“Time on the ground between when a Soldier or Marine lands is significant to the overall picture,” Brown said. “This operation is expeditionary in nature meaning we could collapse this operation if needed. Time and efficiency are saved based on how we conduct operations here. (Kogalniceanu AB) is the next evolution in how we conduct passenger transit.”

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Romania: Permanent NATO Military Base May Follow Interceptor Missiles

August 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Romania Insider
August 25, 2014

PM on Romania’s objective for upcoming NATO summit: A clear NATO military presence in the region

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One of Romania’s main objectives for the upcoming NATO summit in Wales is to obtain the commitment for “a clear NATO military presence in Romania”, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said on Monday, August 25. He didn’t mention if this would mean more NATO troops stationed in Romania of a permanent NATO military base in the country.

“Romania’s objectives are clear and established by all the state’s institutions, and these are a clear military presence of NATO in Romania, and a very clear commitment for all the Eastern (European – e.n.) flank to ensure security and partnership in the region,” Ponta said.

“It is extremely important that Romania, which proved to be a trusted NATO partner to know that the efforts of the Alliance are clearly channeled towards ensuring security in this region and towards a clear support for new candidates for EU accession, for Ukraine, for Moldova, for Georgia and for commitments related to their security,” he added.

Romania will be represented at the NATO summit in Wales, on September 4-5, by President Traian Basescu, but also by defense minister Mircea Dusa and by foreign affairs minister Titus Corlatean.

Corlatean declared earlier this year that Romania hopes to have a permanent NATO military base together with a more substantial U.S. military presence in the country. The U.S. military presence will be strengthened after the Deveselu military base, which hosts the American antimissile system, will become functional, which is expected for 2015.

On 4 to 5 September 2014, Wales will host the largest gathering of international leaders ever to take place in Britain as the UK hosts the NATO summit. American President Obama, German Chancellor Merkel, and French President Hollande are expected to attend along with leaders and senior ministers from around 60 other countries.

The summit comes as NATO draws down from its longest ever mission in Afghanistan and against a backdrop of instability in Ukraine, which is expected to be the main discussion theme.

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Kiev Chieftain Touts 133-Day “Patriotic War of 2014″

August 25, 2014 1 comment

Ukrinform
August 25, 2014

ATO to go down in history as Patriotic War of 2014 – Poroshenko

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KYIV: The events of recent months will go down in history as the Patriotic War of 2014.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said this in his speech on Independence Square in Kyiv on August 24 on the occasion of Ukraine’s Independence Day.

“The events of recent months have become a real war for us though it hasn’t been declared. Probably, it will go down in history as the Patriotic War of 2014. The war against foreign aggression and for Ukraine, for its will, dignity and glory, for the people. For Independence,” he said.

“I am confident that the battle for Ukraine, for independence will end up successfully for us due to the nationwide solidarity multiplied by courage and heroism of our warriors,” Poroshenko said.

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

August 25, 2014 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Sinclair Lewis: It Can(‘t) Happen Here

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

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The handsome dining room of the Hotel Wessex, with its gilded plaster shields and the mural depicting the Green Mountains, had been reserved for the Ladies’ Night Dinner of the Fort Beulah Rotary Club.

Here in Vermont the affair was not so picturesque as it might have been on the Western prairies. Oh, it had its points: there was a skit in which Medary Cole (grist mill & feed store) and Louis Rotenstern (custom tailoring – pressing & cleaning) announced that they were those historic Vermonters, Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, and with their jokes about imaginary plural wives they got in ever so many funny digs at the ladies present. But the occasion was essentially serious. All of America was serious now, after the seven years of depression since 1929. It was just long enough after the Great War of 1914-18 for the young people who had been born in 1917 to be ready to go to college…or to another war, almost any old war that might be handy.

The features of this night among the Rotarians were nothing funny, at least not obviously funny, for they were the patriotic addresses of Brigadier General Herbert Y. Edgeways, U.S.A. (ret.), who dealt angrily with the topic “Peace through Defense – Millions for Arms but Not One Cent for Tribute,” and of Mrs. Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch – she who was no more renowned for her gallant anti-suffrage campaigning way back in 1919 than she was for having, during the Great War, kept the American soldiers entirely out of French cafés by the clever trick of sending them ten thousand sets of dominoes.

Nor could any social-minded patriot sneeze at her recent somewhat unappreciated effort to maintain the purity of the American Home by barring from the motion-picture industry all persons, actors or directors or cameramen, who had: (a) ever been divorced; (b) been born in any foreign country – except Great Britain, since Mrs. Gimmitch thought very highly of Queen Mary, or (c) declined to take an oath to revere the Flag, the Constitution, the Bible, and all other peculiarly American institutions.

The Annual Ladies’ Dinner was a most respectable gathering – the flower of Fort Beulah. Most of the ladies and more than half of the gentlemen wore evening clothes, and it was rumored that before the feast the inner circle had had cocktails, privily served in Room 289 of the hotel. The tables, arranged on three sides of a hollow square, were bright with candles, cut-glass dishes of candy and slightly tough almonds, figurines of Mickey Mouse, brass Rotary wheels, and small silk American flags stuck in gilded hard-boiled eggs. On the wall was a banner lettered “Service Before Self,” and the menu–the celery, cream of tomato soup, broiled haddock, chicken croquettes, peas, and tutti-frutti ice-cream – was up to the highest standards of the Hotel Wessex.

They were all listening, agape. General Edgeways was completing his manly yet mystical rhapsody on nationalism:

“…for these U-nited States, a-lone among the great powers, have no desire for foreign conquest. Our highest ambition is to be darned well let alone! Our only gen-uine relationship to Europe is in our arduous task of having to try and educate the crass and ignorant masses that Europe has wished onto us up to something like a semblance of American culture and good manners. But, as I explained to you, we must be prepared to defend our shores against all the alien gangs of international racketeers that call themselves ‘governments,’ and that with such feverish envy are always eyeing our inexhaustible mines, our towering forests, our titanic and luxurious cities, our fair and far-flung fields.

“For the first time in all history, a great nation must go on arming itself more and more, not for conquest – not for jealousy – not for war – but for peace! Pray God it may never be necessary, but if foreign nations don’t sharply heed our warning, there will, as when the proverbial dragon’s teeth were sowed, spring up an armed and fearless warrior upon every square foot of these United States, so arduously cultivated and defended by our pioneer fathers, whose sword-girded images we must be…or we shall perish!”

The applause was cyclonic. “Professor” Emil Staubmeyer, the superintendent of schools, popped up to scream, “Three cheers for the General – hip, hip, hooray!”

All the audience made their faces to shine upon the General and Mr. Staubmeyer – all save a couple of crank pacifist women, and one Doremus Jessup, editor of the Fort Beulah Daily Informer, locally considered “a pretty smart fella but kind of a cynic,” who whispered to his friend the Reverend Mr. Falck, “Our pioneer fathers did rather of a skimpy job in arduously cultivating some of the square feet in Arizona!”

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Baltics, Poland Build Bases To Host NATO Troops For War In Europe

August 24, 2014 1 comment

Azeri Press Agency
August 22, 2014

Baltics and Poland need more military infrastructure: Latvia

Baku: The Baltic states and Poland must invest in military infrastructure so they can host troops from other NATO nations for training or in case of crisis, Latvia’s defense minister said on Friday, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine have alarmed Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – like Ukraine, former Soviet republics with Russian-speaking minorities.

NATO’s 28 leaders are expected to discuss plans to reassure Poland and the Baltics at a summit in Wales on Sept. 4-5.

Germany’s Angela Merkel, during a short visit to Latvia on Monday, pledged NATO would defend the Baltic states, although it would not send permanent combat troops.

“Any country, including the Baltic states, also Poland, have to strengthen their infrastructure … so they can host additional troops for training and crisis situations,” Latvia’s Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis told Reuters.

In Latvia’s case that would mean investments in Adazi base for ground troops, Lielvarde air base and Liepaja naval base, he said, adding he hoped NATO would contribute to the spending.

Latvia and Lithuania spend respectively just 0.9 and 0.8 percent of GDP on defense but have pledged to meet the alliance’s target of 2.0 percent by 2020.

“There is no direct military threat at the moment, but we have to develop our armed forces, we have to create infrastructure, we have to be ready to host representatives of NATO countries if there suddenly is a military aggression,” the minister said.

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Giovanni Verga: The Mother of Sorrows

August 24, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Giovanni Verga:
From The House by the Medlar-Tree (1890)
Translated by Mary A. Craig

verga

In the group…there were two soldiers of the marine corps, with sacks on their shoulders and their heads bound up, going home on leave…They were telling how there had been a great battle at sea, and how ships as big as Aci Trezza, full as they could hold of soldiers, had gone down just as they were…

“It seems to me that those fellows are all mad,” said Padron Cipolla, blowing his nose with great deliberation. “Would you go and get yourself killed just because the King said to you, ‘Go and be killed for my sake’?”

***

The day after the rumor began to spread that there had been a great battle at sea, over towards Trieste, between our ships and those of the enemy. Nobody knew how many there were, and and many people had been killed…The neighbors came with hands under their aprons to ask cousin Maruzza whether that were not where Luca was, and looked sadly at her as they did so. The poor woman began to stand at the door as they do when a misfortune happens, turning her head this way and that, or looking down the road towards the turn…

At last someone was charitable enough to tell him to go to the captain of the port, who would be certain to know all about it. There, after sending him from Pilate to Herod and back again, he began to turn over big books and run down the lists of the dead with his finger. When he came to one name, La Longa, who had scarcely heard what went on, so loudly did her ears ring, and was listening as white as the sheet of paper, slipped silently down on the floor as if she had been dead.

“It was more than forty days ago,” said the clerk, shutting up the list. “It was at Lissa. Had not you heard of it yet?”

They brought La Longa home in a cart, and she was ill for several days. Henceforward she was given to a great devotion to the Mother of Sorrows, who is on the altar of the little chapel; and it seemed to her as if the long corpse stretched on the mother’s knees, with blue ribs and bleeding sides, was her Luca’s own portrait, and in her own heart she felt the points of the Madonna’s seven sharp swords. Every evening the devotees, when they came to church for the benediction, and Don Cirino, when he went about shaking the keys before shutting up for the night, found her there in the same place, with her face bent down upon her knees, and they called her, too, the Mother of Sorrows.

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Kerry: Ukrainians Can “Choose” Path Dictated By Washington

August 23, 2014 1 comment

Interfax-Ukraine
August 23, 2014

US supports right of all Ukrainian people to choose own path – greeting from Kerry

U.S. State Secretary John Kerry on behalf of U.S. President Barack Obama and the people of the United States congratulate the people of Ukraine as Ukraine celebrates the 23rd anniversary of its independence on August 24.

“During my most recent visit to Ukraine, I was inspired by the remarkable strength of the Ukrainian people. I walked down Instytutska Street and paid my respects to the heroes of the Euromaidan. I saw the barricades, the burned tires, and the bullet holes in the street lamps. But I also saw the flowers and the photographs of the people who gave their lives for Ukraine. I spoke to the men and women of Kyiv who told me of their commitment to a more prosperous, peaceful future for all Ukrainians,” reads a greeting posted on the Web site of the U.S. Department of State.

“Since your independence, and especially over the past tumultuous year, the people of the United States have stood proudly with the people of Ukraine as you seek a more peaceful, democratic, prosperous, and European future. Whether in Kyiv, Crimea, or Donetsk, the United States is firmly determined to support the right of all Ukrainian people to choose your own path,” reads the greeting.

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine also greeted Ukraine. The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine wished Ukrainians a Happy 23rd Independence Day. The embassy presented the Ukrainian National Anthem in 17 of the languages spoken by staff at our Embassy in Kyiv posted in Youtube.

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

August 23, 2014 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

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

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

Upton Sinclair: World war as a business enterprise

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Upton Sinclair

From Boston (1928)

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“You learn little bit,” said Vanzetti, “I maka you onderstand heem Italian. No can make Engleesh, spoil beutifool sound. You hear heem – listen, Miz’ Cornella.” He began to recite, lingering over every syllable, sounding all the vowels broad and long, as the Italians do:

Per me si va nell città dolente;

Per me si va nell’ eterno dolore;

Per me si va tra la perduta gente.

Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore.

“He sadda man,” said Vanzetti; “never soocha sorrowful man live on eart’. He called it l’inferno – lika you say American, ‘hella,’ but not for curse-word, Miz’ Cornella, you know what the priesta teach, da place for punish badda men.”

“I understand.”

But you no believa da priest, it is all same hella here, what badda men maka for poor man, killa da people in war. You reada Dante, you no t-ink inferno, you t’ink Italia, you t-ink America, here, now. So he say” – and the speaker repeated the verses, and painfully worked out their English equivalent:

By me to go into da sadda city;

By me you go into da endless sorrow;

By me you go among da losta people.

Joostice it move-èd him, my great maker.

It is a fact that much great poetry has been written in the dialects of the poor and humble; it is a fact that Dante’s own dialect was that, until he made it a world-language. But Cornelia did not know this, and did not realize that the Italian ditch-digger was making good poetry of his own. She only knew that she was managing to understand what his teacher meant to him: “Perduta gente, Miz’ Cornella – it is not people what deny the priest and go hella, it is people what is poor and no got friend, go for be shot, and kill-èd in bigga war. Dat is perduta gente, losta people; for soocha people it maka me tears in da heart.”

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