Voice of Russia
December 5, 2013
Ukrainian sovereignty is not up to NATO
What one might call “the clash of civilizations” has once again raised its head and never been clearer than it currently is Ukraine. This Western-provoked clash between what one might broadly call “East and West” was seen most recently in Syria and fortunately for the Syrian people the East won that round. The battle has also been seen recently in Iran with Russia also spearheading attempts to reign in those whose only instrument to bring about their own selfish aims is force. In Ukraine the intentions and the modus operandi of the West are once again exposed and right there in plain sight for anyone who is more than casual observer to see.
Ukraine was quiet simply the cherry on top of the US/EU/NATO geopolitical cake and pulling Ukraine into western clutches would have all but cemented US/NATO’s takeover of Eastern Europe. Since the end of the Cold War Ukraine has been one of the primary focus points for US government/NATO overt, and more importantly, covert efforts in undermining the influence of Russia in Europe (a continent it makes up 40% of) and in taking over regions and countries that once were under the umbrella of the USSR.
Rather than taking to the streets and believing everything they are told by the West and its agents in Ukraine the citizens of that country might be better served by learning more about the real intentions of the West for their country and questioning why it is that NATO and the EU are so indignant and even hysterical that their government has made a decision that will advance and enhance Ukraine’s security, economy and sovereignty and make it force to be dealt with by the West.
At a ministerial meeting of the OSCE held in Kiev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the West’s reaction to Ukraine’s refusal to sign an association agreement with the EU “hysteria”, and that it of course what it is. The US/EU/NATO need Ukraine, much more than the Ukrainians need them. This is a fact and one that must be brought home to the Ukrainian people.
The US with its bankrupt economy, the EU with its continuing financial crisis and NATO with its voracious insatiable appetite for new countries and locations where to base their war machine and which continues to operate under an outdated and destabilizing agenda of surrounding Russia with their military infrastructure as if the reason for their creation still exists, all need Ukraine far, far more than Ukraine needs them.
Foreign Minister Lavrov said at the OSCE meeting in Kiev: “This situation is connected to some Europeans’ hysteria, which was caused by the fact that Ukraine exercised its sovereign right in deciding not to sign an agreement that Ukrainian experts and the administration found unprofitable at this stage. Our position is very simple: to sign this agreement or not is a sovereign choice that should be made by Ukraine. We will evaluate the consequences of this choice for us and, naturally, draw conclusions, if need be, depending on Ukraine’s choice,” Lavrov said, adding “We support steps aimed at bringing this situation into the constitutional field.”
Yes, it is a sovereign decision for Ukraine and it is also an economic and political decision if Ukraine decides to open its economy and markets to western interference regulation and manipulation, obviously something the leaders in Kiev decided to take a serious look at when they finally did the math and realized that the billion or so dollars over seven years that the country would gain was not worth the hundreds of billions they would lose over the same period if they cut ties with other economic unions and organizations.
Does the West support Ukraine’s growth, strength and sovereignty? No. Of course not. It has long been clear that western “democracy” drives have been nothing but instruments to obtain access to markets, exploit workforces and seize resources at the least possible cost.
Russia on the other hand does support Ukraine’s sovereignty and even at its own expense is calling for rule of law, constitutionality and for the ocoutnry to decide what is better for its own future. As Mr. Lavrov said: “It is surprising, to put it mildly, to shout that we are backing the peaceful protests against your decision not to join our economic structure.”
Russia’s calls for rule of law, non-interference, sovereignty and self-determination have been the hallmarks of Russian diplomacy for more decades and even despite the close spiritual, cultural, historical, ethnic and even territorial ties between the two countries, Russia is still calling for the sovereignty of Ukraine to be respected, something that would be unheard of in the West.
One must ask the questions as well, why it is that NATO would issue statements about plans by a government to sign or not to sign an economic agreement? The answer to this is quite simple if we realize the relationship that exists within US/EU/NATO and with regard to their policies in Europe. In simple terms the EU is the carrot to be waved in the faces of the hungry, NATO is the stick to which the carrot is tied and the US is the imperialist master who will crack the stick on the head of anyone who covets the carrot and then does not follow instructions.
Ukraine must realize, as almost all European countries have admitted and realized, the EU is an organization the joining of which requires a tremendous loss of sovereignty on all levels, and in the final, EU membership almost requires NATO membership which in effect cements the loss of sovereignty once and for all.
So of course the West (US/EU/NATO) are going to scream and shout and hold their breath and be indignant and talk about sanctions and rule of law and freedom and democracy and all of the things they do when a country does not do what they like, but at the end of the day it is all about sovereignty, and for Ukraine, sovereignty does not lie in surrendering to the West.
If you doubt these words here is some more food for thought: A prominent Russian lawmaker and the Chief of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian Parliament Alexei Pushkov has pointed out inconsistency between NATO’s reaction to the recent crackdown on Ukrainian protesters in Kiev and similar police violence in the US.
“NATO has condemned the use of ‘excessive force’ against Kiev demonstrators. But it was probably OK to beat anti-NATO protesters in Chicago,” said Mr. Pushkov.
Sergei Lavrov has also stated he was amazed by the fact that NATO believed itself to be in a position to issue statements on Ukraine’s domestic affairs and quite frankly, we are too.
The views and opinions expressed here are my own I can be reached at Robles@ruvr.ru.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
December 5, 2013
The Innovation Hub: Join the Conversation
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam Bennett, NATO ACT Public Affairs
Do you have an idea that could revolutionise the way NATO conducts business? Do you have a need that only NATO can fill? Or, are you an expert that wants to lend a helping hand toward transforming NATOs future capabilities? Then the Innovation Hub is the right tool for you.
The Innovation Hub is a community of experts collaborating on designing innovative solution to NATO issues. The experts come from NATO, Academia, Industry, think tanks, and non-governmental organisations – and will welcome anyone willing to address NATO challenges.
A member can initiate a discussion at any time through the Collaboration Platform found at http://innovationhub.sogeti.com/drupal/ which is used as the main online tool. This is where the community interacts through forums, open and private groups and brainstorming to collectively draft possible solutions for products on the Innovation Hub. During the process of designing solutions the community can interact through video conferencing, physical meetings, live streaming, chatting and tweeting.
There are many products currently under development from the Innovation Hub, such as the improvement of NATO use of Social Media, 11 Science & Technology objectives, and the further development of the Medical Assessment and Collaboration Tool.
To date, the Innovation Hub delivered the Human Environment Capability conceptual framework, the NATO Social Media user training concept, and has launched the Extended Hand Program.
The Extended Hand Program is a cross-cultural skills development tool that organises video conversations between NATO cadets and people from areas of interest such as; Iran, China and Afghanistan. Each conversation is coached by an expert facilitator who ensures that cadets maximise the interaction to develop cross-cultural skills. This program is about to deploy a vast network over Afghanistan to allow NATO personnel to keep contact with the Afghans in support of the ISAF transition. One node of this network is located in Norfolk (ACT Innovation Hub at Old Dominion University) where ODU ROTC cadets can be put in contact with students in Afghanistan on a daily basis.
The Innovation Hub has already proven be a useful tool for NATO and its partner countries. For more information or to sign-up please see the following links:
December 5, 2013
Drug production in Afghanistan grows 40 times during NATO operation – FSKN
MOSCOW: The global illegal drug trade is annually estimated at $800 billion, Federal Drug Control Service head Viktor Ivanov told a conference in Moscow.
“The drug market is estimated at $800 billion a year. Drug production in Afghanistan presents the biggest danger for Russia and Eurasia,” he said.
“Drug production in Afghanistan has grown 40 times since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom,” Ivanov continued.
“I think it is important to state that the world has two planetary drug production centers: heroin is made in the eastern hemisphere and cocaine is made in the western hemisphere,” he said.
Voice of Russia
December 5, 2013
Russian lawmaker slams NATO statement over Ukraine crackdown
A prominent Russian lawmaker and the chief of the foreign affairs committee in the Russian parliament has pointed out inconsistency between NATO’s reaction to the recent crackdown on Ukrainian protesters in Kiev and similar police violence in the US.
“NATO has condemned the use of ‘excessive force’ against Kiev demonstrators. But it was probably OK to beat anti-NATO protesters in Chicago,” Duma MP Alexei Pushkov tweeted overnight.
The tweet comes after Russia’s foreign policy chief Sergei Lavrov said he was amazed by the fact that the military alliance believed itself to be in a position to issue statements on Ukraine’s domestic affairs.
EU will not support Yanukovych in 2015 presidential elections – Duma deputy
The European Union will not support Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in the 2015 presidential elections in Ukraine, says State Duma international affairs committee head Alexei Pushkov.
“The signal is clear: in the run-up to the 2015 elections in Ukraine, the EU stakes on the opposition and is preparing a substitution for Yanukovych. Wait for new Maidans [a symbol of protest activities in Ukraine],” Pushkov said on Twitter on Friday.
Contrary to expectations, Ukraine did not sign an association agreement with the EU at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius on Friday.
Speaking earlier to Interfax, President Yanukovych said, “The Eastern Partnership summit was undeniably very important for us in terms of understanding and in terms of visualizing the future for Ukraine.”
“We received an answer today that the doors to the European Union are open and that we have the time that we should use to find an answer as to conditions on which Ukraine may make the next step,” Yanukovych said.
EU cannot reconcile itself with Ukrainian big fish escaping European net – Russian MP
Head of the Duma International Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov has accused the European Union of politicizing the Ukrainian issue.
“The subject of Ukraine was politicized not by Russia but the European Union where the Eastern Partnership from the start was regarded as a means of expanding its geopolitical influence,” he twitted on Wednesday.
He said that Russia unlike the EU is prepared for trilateral talks with Kiev and Brussels.
“Not Russia but the EU is opposed to trilateral talks. The EU cannot reconcile itself with the fact that the Ukrainian ‘big fish’ is swimming away from ‘the European net’,” he added.
On November 21 the Ukrainian government decided to suspend work on the Associating Agreement with the European Union and declared its determination to significantly improve trade and economic relations with Russia and CIS countries.
After that the EU said that the decision had been made under Russia’s pressure.
Pushkov fears “EuroMaidan” rallies’ harmful effects on Ukrainian economy
A surge in the activity of the Ukrainian opposition protesting against the government’s decision not to sign the association agreement with the European Union in November may trigger a new slump of the Ukrainian economy, State Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov supposed.
“In 2004 the Kyiv Maidan rallies brought Yushchenko and the Orange forces to office, which caused an economic collapse. The new Maidan rally demands an alliance with the EU. That will cause a new slump,” Pushkov wrote on Twitter on Monday.
The Ukrainian government decided on November 21 to suspend preparations for signing the association agreement with the EU and declared its intention to significantly improve trade and economic relations with Russia and CIS countries.
The decision led to numerous rallies of supporters of Ukraine’s European integration in Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine on Sunday and Monday.
Voice of Russia, Interfax
From The Crowning of a King (1937)
Translated by Eric Sutton
“Sophie, do you know what she was like? She was good. A good sort. A fine creature. The best we can produce. Why couldn’t she survive all this horror? She had stood it for four years. Wasn’t it possible to get through what was left of it? It couldn’t have lasted much longer – of course it couldn’t. And then she wanted to have a baby, because there was going to be peace long before Christmas, and then our life would really begin; and then she had to catch this influenza, and go to her grave, and take the child with her. A pretty grave of clean yellow sand; you saw it. But it would have been better to have stayed above the earth. Or so we used to think. But now I’m not so sure, Sophie. Every day a whole army goes down beneath it. Perhaps it is more agreeable to take a header out of existence and leave these good folk to themselves?”
“Not more agreeable,” replied Sophie in a deep and ringing voice. “It is nothing.”
“So you think, and I think so, too. We were taught differently in our catechism, but we don’t believe all that now, even if we ever did. I don’t know what made us so sceptical. My father used to think that the machines could not get on without the older forces. The piston-rod of a locomotive, an electric sweeper, and the telephone accustomed mankind to a totally different level of thought. And the machine-gun, the quick-firing gun, and the gas shells did the rest. And yet, you see, something within does long for the survival of the good, and that longing seems to persist in us, like the appendix; a longing that the good and beloved hearts among us may be spared. As it was doubtless her wish to care for us, and fight for us, and stand beside us all through life. And we naturally wanted the same thing. It is so frightfully hard when all that is suddenly thrust outside reality; it hurts so frightfully! It must be like losing a hand, something that was there and belonged to you from the first day of your life, the thing that grips with the five moving fingers. And then one morning it is gone, and you can’t button your coat with it anymore.”
“…And on one point you were wrong, Adjutant, only I did not want to interrupt you: it is not true that men love war. Headmasters love war, so do country parsons, and the ladies of the Patriotic Women’s Associations. But take a vote today in the trenches or the hospitals, among the peasants hereabouts or the townsfolk of Küstrin or Berlin, and how many companies could you form out of the remnants?”
The horrible thing about it all was, as he kept on emphasizing, not what he experienced in detail, what he saw and heard and had been told. The horrible thing was that beneath the ordered German reality, this Service world with its stern notions of legality and Prussian soldierly tradition, there was an underworld of lawlessness, brutality, deliberate exploitation of the weak, full of contemptuous violence, that made mock of the defenceless and looked with gusto on the helplessness of prisoners. That was the aspect that the occupying power presented from beneath, from a place where public supervision and control did not exist. And it seemed to him just as evil that a minority of knaves and brutes could carry on such a regime while the majority of decent people – even in that camp they were a majority – dared make no other protest than ignore what they saw.
“And have you ever thought, Sir, of all the cheerful obedience, all the true admiration and affection lavished on you, that turned a very ordinary young student into a convinced soldier? And when you, and those like you, were already putting a strain on the country that it could not bear, and my own father was warning of what was going to happen to me, I stood up for you, Sir; because you were what you are, my eyes were not opened. But now the spell is broken. I have been bitterly deluded, and so has Germany; and all that remains of the dreams of youth is the conviction that you are a dangerous and disconcerting luxury that we cannot afford, nor have you the faintest notion of the ruin caused by your antics. Have you the right, then, to punish anyone? You don’t understand the simple truth: that your fatherland is defended by an army of civilians, that fatherland which you are stripping of all that is worthy of defence. And when things go wrong, you retire on a pension.”
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
December 4, 2013
Serbian Chief of the Defence General Staff visits JFC Naples
Story by Allied Joint Force Command Naples Public Affairs Office
Naples, Italy: The Chief of the Serbian Armed Forces General Staff, General Ljubiša Diković, paid an official visit to the Allied Joint Force Command Naples headquarters in Lago Patria on Tuesday 3 December till Wednesday 4 December 2013.
The Commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Admiral Bruce W. Clingan, met with Gen. Dikovic to highlight the cooperation between the Serbian Armed Forces and JFC Naples, as well as showcase the proficiency of the headquarters. The two officials discussed ways that NATO could further assist the Serbian Armed Forces in defense reform and implementation of the joint partnership goals.
He also received a detailed orientation of the organization, tasks and missions of JFC Naples and a tour the new Lago Patria base. Furthermore, he obtained a firsthand impression of the members’ duties in a NATO multinational operations headquarters. Gen. Diković also met with the JFC Naples Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Cooperation and military partnership, Brig. Gen. Richter, to discuss ways that JFC Naples could further assist the Serbian Armed Forces. He also visited the Senior Serbian National Representative, who has been serving in JFC Naples since August 2013.
The visit of General Dikovic was in the framework of the efforts by the operational level command JFC Naples to foster mutual understanding and cooperation with NATO partner nations.
Voice of Russia
December 4, 2013
Why NATO issues statement on Ukraine? – Lavrov
Moscow is surprised by NATO’s statement against the use of force in dispersing demonstrations in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
He also urged outsiders not to interfere in the Ukranian domestic policy. During the meeting with NATO Secretary General, Sergei Lavrov also spoke about Iran’s nuclear issue and situation in Trascaucasia region.
“I don’t know why NATO should issue such statements, and I don’t know why NATO Secretary General Mr. Fogh Rasmussen should answer the question as to whether Russia could send troops to Ukraine – I don’t know why such questions should be asked. And, in my view, this produces a distorted picture, and such signals may cause an absolutely incorrect understanding of what is going on in some distorted and inflamed minds,” Lavrov said at a press conference following a Russia-NATO Council session in Brussels on Wednesday.
“We presume that this is Ukraine’s internal affair,” he said.
Voice of Russia
December 4, 2013
Moscow is against interference in situation in Ukraine from outside – Lavrov
Moscow expects that Ukrainian politicians will turn the situation in the country back onto the constitutional track, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
“I expect that Ukrainian politicians will find a way to turn the situation back onto the constitutional track. We support this and call on everyone not to interfere in this situation,” Lavrov said at a news conference in Brussels on Wednesday.
Voice of Russia, Interfax
Trend News Agency
December 4, 2013
Georgia expects serious consideration of its future in NATO at next alliance summit
By Nana Kirtzkhalia
Tbilisi: At the next NATO summit Georgia expects serious consideration of its future in the alliance, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili said in an interview with Rustavi-2 TV Channel.
Discussions are underway on this issue, according to the president.
“In the autumn of 2014 at the NATO summit, we expect from our partners quite serious consideration of Georgia’s future in NATO,” Margvelashvili said.
Georgia held democratic elections, initialed an association agreement with the EU, which will play a great role in Europeanization of the country, he said.
Signing of the agreement is intended to protect Georgian citizens’ rights and the country’s integrity, the president said.
Margvelashvili stressed that this document will give Georgia a lot, as well as creating opportunities for rapprochement with Europe – it will simplify the visa regime, and then allow entry to the visa-free regime.
Voice of Russia
December 4, 2013
“NATO is worse than an atavism, it is a threat to 21st century security”– Rick Rozoff
The West and the United States through its military wing, NATO, which has expanded into a global military force, continues to attempt to expand its influence into the former Soviet Space. Although NATO, which is struggling to stay relevant, should have been disbanded at the same time that the Soviet Union collapsed and the Warsaw Pact was dissolved, continues to expand worldwide. Recently the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Serbia gave a speech in which he called Serbia’s membership in NATO a red line for the Russian Federation.
With events in Ukraine and continued war games, which envision military operations against regular army forces in the Caucasus, and the continued building and expansion of the US missile shield even though the supposed purpose of that shield, the Iranian nuclear program, is no longer a threat, NATO continues to show itself as a threat to regional and international security and continues to operate apparently with the goal of existing only to expand itself so as to be, as the US Pentagon recently stated, an “effective tool for the projection of US force worldwide”. The Voice of Russia spoke to Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list about these issues and more.
Hello, this is John Robles, I’m speaking with Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.
Robles: Regarding these statements by the Russian Ambassador to Serbia, regarding NATO, and he mentioned the possibility that Serbia could become a member of NATO. That sounds unbelievable to me. I mean, first they invade, they destroyed the country, they’ve occupied it and now they are going to annex it? Is this a realistic possibility?
Rozoff: It’s that paradox, or the appalling prospects thereof, of Serbia ever becoming a full member of NATO, was pointed out by the Russian ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Chepurin, speaking at the Belgrade Academy for Diplomacy and Security, saying it would (and I am quoting him): “It constitute utter stupidity if somebody from Serbia were to crawl over [presumably roll over] and beg (to join NATO), after the bombing that incurred damages worth over US $120 billion” with Serbia in 1999 during the 78 day bombing campaign by NATO”.
So his statement to the Serbs where it would be an act of masochism and tearing up the last shred of national dignity, of course, to do that. However, he actually went on in a very strong language. I mean this is not considered to be diplomatic, I suppose, in the Western world.
I’ll quote him if you don’t mind. He says: “That’s the red line that in no way suits Russia” [that is Serbia joining NATO]. And he goes on: “NATO was created against the Soviet Union, which is long gone, and it is absolutely unclear what NATO stands for now,” and directing himself to his Serbian audience the Russian ambassador went on “Or do you really want to go to war in Iraq, Libya, or Syria?” Those were his words.
Clearly, the war against Libya two years ago was conducted by NATO. The intended war against Syria, which was only blocked through Russian diplomatic intervention, would have been a NATO – partially at least – NATO operation and what is not generally acknowledged is the war in Iraq in many ways was also a NATO war, in that 23 of the current 28 members of NATO sent troops to Iraq, there was NATO Training Mission – Iraq and so forth so there was involvement, so his comment is well-taken.
And then lastly, rhetorically if you will, talking about NATO to his audience in Belgrade the Russian ambassador stated that NATO represents – this is a paraphrase in the Serbian account of it – “an atavism from the last century,” that is an evolutionary throwback to the era of the Cold War,” that is the best characterization, the most charitable one that I can think of.
In fact that new NATO, the new post Cold War global expeditionary warfighting NATO is something worse that an atavism from the last century, it is a threat to 21st century security. So we have to keep that in mind.
Is it a realistic prospect? We have to recall that with various quisling governments in Belgrade over the past decade, that not only has Serbia joined the so-called Partnership for Peace program, which was used to groom the new members of NATO that have joined since 1999 – those are 12 new states, all of them in Eastern Europe – but that almost the same day, perhaps a day earlier than the news item in the Serbian media that I mentioned there was a NATO report about a military exercise going on in Germany.
It was actually reported by the Pentagon’s website, the US Department of Defense’s website under the title “NATO Envisions Post-ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] Train, Advise and Assist Mission” that is building on the 12 years of warfare in Afghanistan and the integration of military forces in over 50 nations under NATO command, NATO’s now moving into – I’m quoting from the article – “the full spectrum of conflict internationally.”
But it’s interesting to note that they talk about a particular training held at the Hohenfels training area in Germany by the Pentagon – and I’m quoting from the article – “the training brought US forces and those of Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia and Sweden together.”
So here we have Serbian troops being trained by the Pentagon for NATO missions abroad including what is all but almost explicitly identified as being the “next war”, or “wars”, after that in Afghanistan. So it’s not such a far-fetched improbable prospect that Serbia could be dragooned openly or otherwise into NATO.
This comes at the very same time, I think yesterday, where one of the major newspapers in Sweden announced that Sweden is contributing war planes for the NATO Response Force, which is the international global strike force for the Western military bloc.
So we see the countries being integrated into that rapid response force are Sweden, Finland, Ukraine and Georgia, meaning three of those four countries border Russia and Sweden is not terribly far.
So you’re seeing countries that are either part of the former Soviet Union, and historical Russia for that matter, Ukraine and Georgia, or countries that have maintained neutrality during the Cold War are now being dragged not only into NATO, into NATO’s broader military nexus but also into its international military strike force.
Robles: Can you comment then on the red line? Who else was drawing red lines all the times in the last couple of years? How can you comment on the recent war games by NATO in Germany where they were apparently, according to the statements on the US Army’s web site, training for war against regular army forces in the Caucasus? Who else would that be and then if you would give us your opinion on Ukraine please?
Rozoff: That’s a very good connection you’ve made. The red line of US President Barack Obama in reference to the alleged or supposed use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, that being the casus belli, that being the reason for which Obama and not only the US military but its NATO allies would go to war.
Robles: Hilary Clinton, didn’t she run around all the time saying there were red lines?
Rozoff: Yes, that’s visual hallucinations perhaps, she was seeing colorful geometrical designs that didn’t exist. No, she did, you are correct.
She was also throwing down the gauntlet, let’s use this metaphor, I think that’s probably a little bit more apt, and her commander-in-chief Obama, of course, also had his red lines, but it’s worth noting as you pointed it out that the Russian ambassador to Yugoslavia used the same expression.
I think in both instances, disingenuously from the American point of view where clearly what happens inside Syria poses no direct or even indirect threat to US national security interests. However, that countries historically close to Russia, geographically close to Russia, joining a US-led military alliance that is currently building a missile shield system along Russia’s western border poses an immediate threat to Russian national security, so it’s false equivalence, the Russian claim that it’s a genuine red line that can’t be crossed is legitimate. The Americans, including the infamous Hilary Clinton, who may very well be the next commander-in-chief of the US armed forces, let us remember, her statements that the events on Ivory Coast or in other parts of the world represented a red line were just irresponsible and reckless use of rhetoric.
Getting back to the military exercise we are talking about, the identified scenario was “active combat operations in the Caucasus”, and this a quote by a US military official who kind of let the cat out of the bag, stating that in the post-Afghan war period once again, that the new globalized expeditionary NATO was now engaging in a fictitious, “strictly fictitious” he insists, but nevertheless Caucasus-based war games scenario.
And you’re correct, there is no other conceivable adversary in that part of the world except from Russia, just as the recently concluded the Steadfast Jazz 2013 war games, military exercises in Latvia and Poland, could not have been aimed at any country other than Russia.
The locations where the games are being held, the scenarios, you know, in Scandinavia and for that matter in the Black Sea, the inescapable conclusion is that these are war games scenarios aimed prospectively or potentially against Russia, and I don’t know how that can be missed by anyone else.
Which I guess is a good way of segueing into the question of Ukraine; having a lengthy border with Russia, as do Georgia and Finland and these are again three out of four non-full NATO members states that have been integrated into the NATO Response Force, the other again being Sweden, which as we had occasion to talk about recently is now contributing warplanes for the response force and which contributed Gripen warplanes for the six-month NATO war against Libya in 2011. This is supposedly neutral Sweden, which incidentally also has 500 troops in Northern Afghanistan engaged in combat for the first time in 200 years in the history of Sweden, in combat operations.
So what we are seeing is that despite the economic crisis and despite the step-back or step-down by the US around Syria, at least for the moment, that plans for constantly expanding NATO’s role globally are not in abeyance and are still being pursued.
Now the news in the West, and I imagine in the East as well about Ukraine seeming to reject (the current government, that of Victor Yanukovich in Kyiv), rejecting plans to join the EU, thereby unleashing violent so-called protests by Orange Revolution-type, US operatives in the streets of Lviv and Kyiv.
Robles: Weren’t these the same US-backed and funded opposition that caused that Orange Revolution?
Rozoff: Right, which in turn was based on and led by the leaders of the so-called Rose Revolution in Georgia the year preceding that and ultimately back to the so-called revolution in Yugoslavia in 2000, a group called Otpor, financed by think-tanks and foundations and government agencies in the US.
We’ve even seen some of the phraseology and so forth of the so-called Maidan Square revolution of 2004 in Ukraine cropping up again, and these are young people, very Western-oriented, Western-funded, no question about it, and almost fascistic street thugs, but of a more middle-class background than the traditional guttersnipe sort.
What we have to acknowledge is that even if the current government in Ukraine is fighting pressure exercised under what’s called the Eastern Partnership initiative of the European Union, with the full blessings of the US of course, an initiative that first saw the light of day in 2008 on the initiative of Sweden and Poland as a matter of fact – Poland a NATO member and Sweden now a NATO partner – to wean away from Russia its non-Central Asian fellow former Soviet republics which are: Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine in Eastern Europe, and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in the Caucasus. And to using the lure, or the bait, of the European Union to effectively pull them out of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) with other former Soviet republics, but also ultimately to pull Armenia and Belarus, which are members of the only post-Soviet security bloc, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and to wean those countries away from that ultimately towards absorption into NATO, because we have to realize that the EU is often the carrot and NATO is the stick. But in the case of Ukraine and the Eastern Partnership the intent is to get Ukraine into NATO and the European Union can sugar-coat the pill perhaps.
Your listeners have to note, if they aren’t already aware, is that after popular protests halted the exercise for one year, at least over the last two years the US and NATO have resumed their annual Sea Breeze military exercises in Ukraine, in the Black Sea, dangerously close to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and that Ukrainian ships are no participating in two NATO – permanent – NATO naval operations, one in the Mediterranean Sea and one in the Indian Ocean: that is Operation Active Endeavour in the first instance and Operation Ocean Shield in the second.
The first is already in its thirteenth year, that is NATO has arrogated to itself the right to conduct permanent naval patrols in the Mediterranean Sea and this has been going on since November of 2001, and in the case off Horn of Africa and the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean, Operation Ocean Shield, increasingly Ukraine, as well as Georgia, Finland and other nations are being integrated into the command structure of NATO even though formally they are not full NATO members.
Ukraine, like Serbia, to jump back to that, not only is a member of the Partnership for Peace program, which we have talked about being the mechanism by which the US groomed 12 new Eastern European nations as full NATO members, but they have also been granted what’s called an Individual Partnership Action Program, which is the next to the last step in terms of becoming a full NATO member, the penultimate one is the Membership Action Plan, and it’s that which they are really grooming Georgia, Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and other countries so that they become full NATO members. The US has never given up on that hope.
End Part 1
That was part one of an interview in progress with Rick Rozoff the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list. You can find part two on our website in the near future at Voice of Russia dot com.
December 4, 2013
US seeks ‘carte blanche’ in Afghanistan
The United States is putting pressure on Afghanistan in order to continue its military presence in the country for “the indefinite future”, said Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO International.
“The North Atlantic Treaty Organization in conjunction with the United States is simply trying to exercise as much pressure as it can over the very weak and isolated government in Kabul so as to be able to get carte blanche to continue military presence and activities in and around Afghanistan for the indefinite future,” Rozoff told Press TV on Tuesday.
The United States has increased the pressure on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a security deal with Washington.
The US State Department said on Monday that failure to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) will put Afghans at risk.
In addition, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called on Karzai to sign the BSA, and warned him against risking an end to the “Afghan mission” if he does not sign it before the year’s end.
However, Rozoff said, “the NATO is simply following the US lead because Washington has recently threatened the government in Kabul that unless it, the Karzai government, sign a bilateral security agreement acceptable or favorable to the United States, which included immunity from prosecution,” it would withdraw US troops from the country.
The controversial security pact will determine how many American soldiers would stay in Afghanistan after the planned withdrawal of foreign forces at the end of 2014. It will also grant legal immunity to American soldiers who remain in Afghanistan, something that has turned into a sticking point.
On November 19, Karzai rejected a key provision of the security pact, under which the US military forces are allowed to raid people’s homes.
From The Train Was on Time (1949)
Translated by Richard Graves
Life is good, he thought. At least it was good. Twelve hours before I die I realize that life is good. That is too late. I have been ungrateful to Providence. I have denied the existence of human happiness. And now I know that life was good. He turned red with embarrassment, fear and ruefulness. Yes, I actually denied that human happiness existed and that life was good. I have an unhappy life – a frustrated life, as they call it. I have suffered every second I have worn this ghastly uniform. They have destroyed me with their deadly army chatter and they have made me literally shed my blood on their battlefields. I have been wounded three times, once at Amiens and again down at Tiraspol and the last time at Nikopol. And I’ve seen nothing but filth and blood and excrement and smelled nothing but dirt, and heard nothing but groans of misery and bawdy talk.
Nineteen hundred and forty-three – what a dreadful century that will be! What horrible clothes the men will be wearing. They will glorify war and wear dirt-coloured clothes when they go to war. We did not glorify war. We thought of it as an honourable craft, though we were not always sure of receiving our pay, and while we were at work we wore bright clothes – just like a doctor, a mayor or a prostitute. But these soldiers of the twentieth century will wear frightful clothes and will glorify war and go into battle for their countries. A terrible century – nineteen hundred and forty-three…Every death in war is a murder – a murder for which someone is responsible.
Everything seemed cold and inevitable as it always does by night in wartime, full of menace, full of mocking cruelty – filthy dug-outs on the battle field, the cellars of countless cities cowering with fear – one conjures up a picture of these dreadful nights which by four in the morning have reached their peak of horror – these unspeakably terrible wartime nights.
December 3, 2013
Northrop Grumman begins building NATO drones in Moss Point
April M. Havens
MOSS POINT, Mississippi: Many NATO countries have “a crying need” for the capabilities that will be provided by five unmanned aircraft being built by Northrop Grumman Corp., NATO’s Jim Edge said today.
Edge, with NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Management Agency, gathered with other leaders Tuesday at Northrop’s Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point to celebrate the start of fabrication on the first drone.
“The NATO forces are counting on our success,” he told attendees that included Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Col. Giancarlo Filippo, who is with the Italian delegation to NATO.
“Operations in Libya and Afghanistan and those over the waters off the coast of eastern Africa all prove that there’s a crying need for this type of capability,” Edge said. “We need this capability. Mississippi is making history as far as I’m concerned.”
In May 2012, Northrop secured a $1.7 billion contract to build five of the unmanned aircraft for NATO.
The Alliance Ground Surveillance system will provide NATO with unprecedented near real-time terrestrial and maritime information gathering, leaders said, and the drones will contribute to NATO’s joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability.
Edge said the drones will be “very capable, very high tech and very robust.”
The aircraft are modeled after Northrop’s Block 40 Global Hawk drones and come equipped with an advanced ground surveillance radar sensor.
“With the ability to fly up to 60,000 feet and for more than 30 hours, the NATO AGS system is uniquely suited to support NATO missions worldwide,” said Jim Culmo, vice president of Northrop’s high-altitude, long-endurance enterprise.
Fifteen nations – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States – are paying for the system, but all 28 alliance nations will support the program long-term.
Filippo echoed that the capabilities provided are “very crucial” to NATO. Italy will be the host country for the drones, which will be stationed at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily.
Mississippi workers should be proud of their role in producing the aircraft, Filippo said.
The Moss Point center will build fuselages for the aircraft, as it does for the Air Force’s Global Hawk program and the Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program, among other programs.
The governor agreed that the Unmanned Systems Center workers perform “stellar” work and said he is thankful for Northrop Grumman’s ongoing presence in Mississippi.
“As governor of the state of Mississippi, I’m going to make sure that we continue to move forward in the area of unmanned vehicles,” Bryant said. “Mississippi must be positioned … to take a leading role in that economy. Make no mistake, unmanned systems are the future, not only when it comes to military applications … but for a host of commercial applications as well.”
Culmo noted that other countries – South Korea, Japan and Australia in particular – are also interested in the Global Hawk system and want to purchase them in the future.
December 3, 2013
NATO condemns crackdown in Ukraine
NATO foreign ministers have condemned “the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators in Ukraine,” their comments coming after police broke up protests in central Kiev over the weekend. Police are said to have used truncheons, stun grenades and tear gas to break up protests in central Kiev on Saturday.
In a joint statement released Dec. 3, the foreign ministers said Ukraine should “fully abide by its international commitments and … uphold the freedom of expression and assembly.”
“We urge the government and the opposition to engage in dialogue and launch a reform process,” they added.
Ukraine’s prime minister, Mykola Azarov, had earlier the same day apologized to protesters for the police crackdown, but opposition lawmakers failed in their attempt to pass a vote of no confidence in the country’s government.
The motion secured the support of 186 lawmakers in the parliament in Kiev, short of the 226 required for its passage, allowing a pause for breath following several days of mounting calls from campaigners for the government to resign.
The turmoil in Ukraine was sparked by the decision by the president, Viktor Yanukovych, not to sign an association agreement with the European Union that would have strengthened trade ties with the 28-member bloc.
Yanukovych has gone ahead with a visit to China, leaving Azarov to deal with the fallout from weekend rallies that saw more than 300,000 pro-EU campaigners assemble in Kiev’s Independence Square. Government offices have been blockaded by activists, preventing staff from going to work, and tents have been put up in the city center.
“On behalf of our government, I would like to apologize for the actions of our law enforcement authorities on [Independence Square]. The president and the government deeply regret that this happened,” Azarov said in comments reported by the BBC.
Although the government apologized for the crackdown, they also suggested there were sinister forces behind the upsurge in anger.
“We reach out our hand to you, push away the intriguers, the intriguers seeking power and who are trying to repeat the scenario of 2004,” said Azarov, referring to the “Orange Revolution” of late 2004 and early 2005 in which huge public protests led to the rerun of presidential elections that Yanukovych had won amid allegations of fraud. Viktor Yushchenko won the rerun polls, only for Yanukovych to secure the presidency after elections in 2010.
While he cited a lack of financial incentives as being the main issue behind his stalling on the EU deal, Yanukovych is thought to have stepped back from signing the agreement over concerns that relations with Russia could be harmed
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, whose administration has been looking to bring Ukraine into a customs union, recently branded the proposed pact with the EU a “major threat” to the economy in his country and in recent days he criticized the protests in Kiev as being “a rampage.”
Amid the widescale backlash over his decision to shelve the EU agreement, Yanukovych contacted the European Commission President Juan Manuel Barroso on Dec. 2 asking for talks to be restarted over certain aspects of the proposed deal. Barroso cave a cautious response, saying that the association agreement was not up for renegotiation.
December 3, 2013
Georgian FM Meets U.S. Secretary of State in Brussels
Tbilisi : Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, met U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, in Brussels on December 3.
Panjikidze said after the meeting that “all the issues of bilateral relations”, as well as Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and relations with Russia were discussed.
The meeting was held on the sideline of NATO foreign ministerial meeting, which is held in the NATO headquarters on December 3. NATO-Georgia Commission will hold a meeting on foreign ministerial level on December 4.
Foreign Minister Panjikidze said that the U.S. Secretary of State has welcomed Georgia’s initialing of Association Agreement with the EU and “expressed hope that this agreement will be signed soon”, which, Panjikidze said, will also “give a new impetus to trade dialogue” between Georgia and the U.S.
“We also spoke about Russia, Georgia’s positive steps towards Russia, Russia’s response to these positive steps and Abashidze-Karasin talks. But at the same time we noted with regret that despite of this positive dynamic, Russia continues placing barbed wire fences [along the breakaway South Ossetia’s administrative boundary line], which may seriously impede confidence building between Georgian and Abkhaz, as well as Georgian and Ossetian people,” Panjikidze said.
“We also spoke about possible pressure, which Russia may exert on Georgia before we sign the Association Agreement [with the EU],” she said.
“NATO is one of the key topics of our dialogue with the United States; we spoke about our expectations; of course the decision of  NATO Bucharest summit [that Georgia will one day join the Alliance] stands and [NATO] stated at the Chicago summit [in 2012] that two elections were ahead of Georgia, which were tests for democracy. I repeat it often that I hope the 2013 presidential election was our last test in democracy, because it was genuinely European election, free and fair. I stressed on progress made by Georgia over the past one year… and expressed my hope and desire that at 2014 NATO summit will bring concrete result for Georgia,” the Georgian Foreign Minister said.
Georgia’s ambassador to the U.S., Archil Gegeshidze, who attended the meeting said that Secretary Kerry “pledged to visit Georgia no later than spring” 2014.
Speaking about the agenda of two-day NATO foreign ministerial meeting, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that NATO-Georgia Commission will discuss “how to further enhance our cooperation after successful elections processes.”
“I welcome Georgia’s clear determination to pursue the path of reforms, and its aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration. And I welcome the fact that Georgia and Moldova initialled their association agreements with the European Union last week in Vilnius. NATO’s position is very clear. It is every country’s sovereign right to choose its own path, and its own affiliations. Our goal is a Europe whole, free and at peace, and sharing common values,” Rasmussen said.
December 3, 2013
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State to visit Georgia
Tbilisi: Victoria Nuland, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, will visit Tbilisi on December 6 as part of her trip which also includes visits to Belgium, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia.
In Tbilisi she will meet senior government officials and opposition leaders to discuss bilateral and regional issues and Georgia’s path toward Europe and will also participate in a disability rights event, the Department of State said on Monday.
Before Tbilisi Nuland will visit Brussels, where she will accompany Secretary of State John Kerry to the NATO ministerial meeting; after Brussels she will accompany Kerry to Moldova. Nuland will be in Ukraine for OSCE ministerial meeting in Kiev on December 5. After visiting Tbilisi, Nuland will head to Moscow.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 3, 2013
Foreign Ministers agree partners are key to Alliance’s future
On the first day of their meeting in Brussels, NATO Foreign Ministers discussed priorities for the Summit to be held next year in the United Kingdom. They agreed that the Alliance must invest in the right capabilities and in strong partnerships, in order to remain robust and ready to respond to future security challenges. They also committed to reinforce the transatlantic link and to prepare to open a new chapter in NATO’s engagement with Afghanistan.
“In ISAF we have built one of the biggest coalitions in recent history, including one quarter of the world’s nations”, the Secretary General said. “This shows how significant partners have become over the last two decades to our success as an Alliance. They add value to our operations. They provide insight to our consultations. And they enable NATO to foster change, and build peace and security in Europe and beyond. Simply put: we need partners. And partners need NATO”, he added.
Foreign Ministers discussed how to keep strong political ties and regular consultations with partners who want to consult with NATO and who are able to act together with the Alliance. They noted that the NATO’s experience in twenty years of operations shows that building defence capacities in unstable parts of the world is a way to bolster security and to project stability through cooperation.
“We are already working with a number of countries to help them build democratic and accountable security structures. To clear the damage caused by conflict. And to strengthen transparency and good governance”, the Secretary General said. “Libya is a prime example where this can be useful. And our efforts in response to the Libyan government’s request for support are taking shape, in close coordination with those of other international actors”.
Foreign Ministers agreed to continue discussing how to help countries beyond the Alliance build their own capacities as the Alliance prepares for the Summit in the United Kingdom.
Voice of Russia
December 3, 2013
John Kerry meets with NATO, snubs Ukraine for Moldova, heads to Israel
US Secretary of State John Kerry is currently on a whirlwind tour which is to see him visiting NATO headquarters in Brussels, Moldova, Israel and the State of Palestine, destinations which may for the casual observer seem unrelated but which are all important and key locations in the framework of expanding and cementing US influence (albeit waning) and hegemony both in Europe and the Middle East.
Kerry’s current trip, from a geopolitical perspective, is just another in a long series of step in what is the diplomatic equivalent of what US/NATO have been engaged in militarily since the end of the cold war, namely attempting to establish US influence in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and in the long term the world and at all costs diminish the influence of the Russian Federation, which continues growing in economic and political strength.
The fact that the relationship between the EU and the US is so intertwined that the EU appears to do almost nothing without consulting the US first is a matter not spoken of in the western media but one which may come to the fore as more and more Europeans realize that they have been for lack of a better word “annexed” by the US.
The almost total loss of sovereignty by the EU as a whole, as it has become more and more influenced by the US, and by each member country as well, was recently underlined by spying revelations that were brushed under the carpet and the continuing expansion of NATO into countries that were once non-aligned, neutral or part of the “Eastern Bloc”.
It is important to underline and consider if one is to have an intelligent discussion over the implications of any US/EU/NATO moves in Europe that while Russia’s European territory makes up a whopping 40% of the European continent, US/EU/NATO continue to attempt to keep Russia out of the European loop and behave as if Russia is not part of Europe.
Belgium December 3, 2013
On Tuesday Kerry is scheduled to meet with NATO foreign ministers in what the West is saying is a meeting that will focus on the refusal by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign security agreements with US/NATOwhich will guarantee a US/NATO presence in Afghanistan after the scheduled 2014 withdrawal of US/NATO forces from the country.
Of course the insistence by Karzai on maintaining some modicum of sovereigntyis being propagandized by the West as a threat to the future of Afghanistan etc., the move is of course a blow to the geopolitical plans of Washington. As Ukraine was supposed to be the crowning jewel in US/NATO’s Eastern European crown, Afghanistan was supposed to be the same in Central Asia.
The plain fact of the matter is that if Afghanistan allows for the US/NATO to maintain their presence, after being invaded and attacked under the false pretext of somehow being in collusion with the events of 9-11, the country will in fact be cementing the loss of their own sovereignty and allowing themselves to be used as an important piece in US/NATO plans for global expansion. The reality, and this must be made clear, US/NATO are not in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people, they are there to advance their own agenda in spreading worldwide.
Moldova December 4, 2013
The stopover in Moldova was seen as necessary by the US State Department as Moldova, along with Georgia, recently gave up a large and significant part of their sovereigntyby recently signing the so-called “Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements after the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius on November 29th.
Kerry’s visit to Moldova while on the surface odd as the small country has not signed any agreements with the US itself, is a bold and open admission to the fact that the EU has merely become a proxy of the US.Another fact ignored by the western mass media yet one that should have caused a resonance among EU diplomats.
The four hour visit and the second stop on Kerry’s tour, hailed by the West as one of historic importance, and the first visit of a US Secretary of State in two decades, while being hailed by Moldovans who have been chasing the carrot of EU integration, in fact shows how desperate the US really is. While Moldovans and Georgians have failed to read the fine print in the agreements they recently signed, or consider the long-term implications, the fact is that they have opened up their economies and markets to manipulation and profiteering by the US and in this regard their proxy the EU.
The US does nothing and hails no one if their own interests are not being advanced and given the sorry state of the EU and in particular the US economically, with a debt of over 200 trillion (in reality bankrupt), any country that currently enters into any sort of economic agreement with the US would be advised to very carefully analyze the fine print before the give up their sovereignty and bite the carrot of “EU integration”.
Moldova is one of the poorest countries in the Europe and has a population of only 3.5 million, which of course made it an easy target for the US/EU and their integration carrot.
While Moldova and Georgia have failed to maintain their sovereignty and pursue independent policies, something hailed by the US as “brave decisions”, Ukraine recently slammed on the brakes on the same Eastern Partnership Agreement, apparently after someone read the fine print and did the math, something the Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin recently characterized by saying the following: “… everyone has an imagination that is shattered when it meets the reality,” mentioning Ukraine as an example, which “met the reality when it was supposed to sign the free trade agreement with the EU.”
“There was an impression that each year tens of billions of euros would be arriving to Ukraine from the EU, while in fact it was about one billion over seven years. The damage from severing the free trade with Russia would have been a hundred times greater.” he said.
The figures about how much the EU and the US stand to gain economically are purposefully obfuscated and almost impossible to find but given that US/EU would do nothing that does not benefit them directly, the figures must be great, if the visit by Kerry is any clue.
Ukraine is important to mention because originally Kerry was scheduled to meet with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Ukraine during his tour but that visit was conveniently cancelled after Ukraine refused to sign the “Eastern Partnership” Agreements. According to the US Department of State there were “scheduling” problems.
Israel December 4, 2013
Sometimes it is stunning how the western propaganda machine works seamlessly with the US Government even creating heretofore unheard of facts to support the most questionable self-serving moves by the US, something so cleverly done that one has to completely remove oneself from the loop sometimes to see it. In this case I am talking about Kerry’s statements on the eve of his visit regarding global anti-Semitism being on the rise and the need for Israel’s voice to be heard everywhere.
The hypocrisy here is unbelievable and just goes to once again show the “special relationship” Israel and the US have, which is aimed at advancing their own agendas. Of note: recently Israel was complaining about the State of Palestine voting for the first time in the UN and has been indignant on the nuclear deal reached with Iran, openly claiming that such an agreement grants Iran legitimacy as a state, while ignoring its own illegitimacy and its illegal expansion of its own territory.
Kerry’s global anti-Semitism comments came after the much propagandized restoration of ties with the UN Human Rights Council, a body which barred Israelor which Israel withdrew from, depending on who is reporting the matter.
Israel, which sees itself as part of Europe and the EU,with sitting observers and intelligence ties to EU countries and organizations, was allowed to join the European and Others Group in Geneva (WEOG) after being barred by Arab countries in the Asian regional body from participating due to its human rights record.
Kerry is expected to discuss the Iranian agreement with Israel and of course the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Whether a US-brokered-breakthrough in the peace process will occur is possible especially given the admission and warning by Kerry recently that Israel will find itself increasingly isolated if it does not find a way to peace. Given the fact that the key stumbling block to the peace process is Israel’s continuation of illegal settlement activities and Washington’s staunch support of Israel, this isolation will of course carry over to the US.
Kerry recently stated: “If we do not find the way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel, there will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel that has been taking place on an international basis.”
According to Ibrahim Sharqiehfrom the Brookings Doha Center: “This process of isolation, in fact, has already begun. Just weeks ago, UNESCO suspended the voting rights of Israel and the United States, “two years after both countries stopped paying dues to the UN’s cultural arm in protest over its granting full membership to the Palestinians.”
It is unclear besides Israeli settlement activities exactly what Kerry is to discuss with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas but there is no doubt that reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is as important for Kerry, given his upcoming presidential aspirations as it is for Obama, given his lackluster terms as president. Reaching such a historic agreement would definitely be a plus for both of them.
Despite all of the apparent good intentions, it continues to be Israel’s obtuse, illegitimate and relentless settlement activities on Palestinian territory that can in no way be supported under international law and by international players without bringing their own legitimacy into question.
The State of Palestine, while demonized is beyond a doubt in the right when it comes to demanding the cessation of illegal Israeli settlement activities on its territory and until Israel respects the rule of law it and withdraws from the sovereign territory of Palestine it is unlikely there will ever be peace.
What Kerry plans to offer to President Mahmoud Abbas is surely something that is of great interest if it does not include a cessation to Israel’s illegal expansion and encroachment on the territory of the State of Palestine.
Seemingly unrelated but perfectly timed to gather Russia’s reactions and intelligence US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, is scheduled to visit Moscow from the 8th-10th of December.
Her visit will come after meetings in Georgia, on December 6th and in Ukraine on December 5th with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the aforementioned meeting cancelled by Kerry after Ukraine’s decision not to sign the “Eastern Partnership” Agreements.
U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa
December 3, 2013
US Air Force participates in first Israeli Blue Flag exercise
By Senior Master Sgt. Dwayne Gordon
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
UVDA AIR FORCE BASE, Israel: The U.S. Air Force participated in the first Israeli Blue Flag exercise at Uvda Air Force Base, Israel, Nov. 24-28.
Blue Flag is the largest multinational aerial warfare training exercise hosted by the Israeli Air Force. The exercise included forces from the U.S., Israel, Italy, and Greece. Its objectives were to improve operational capabilities and combat effectiveness of the participating nations, and to foster…combat experience.
“It was an outstanding experience for the more than 170-person U.S. Air Force team,” said Lt Col John Orchard, 492nd Fighter Squadron commander, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, and U.S. Air Force Blue Flag commander. “The Israelis provided an excellent training environment, which offered us the opportunity to learn from each other, and to take advantage of good airspace, surface threat replicators, and challenging scenarios. It was a real pleasure integrating with our Israeli, Italian and Greek partners who all offer unique tactical, strategic and cultural perspectives.”
The exercise allowed for the partnering nations to integrate their tactical capabilities to complete a specific mission. It also further strengthened the relationship and military partnership.
“This was a very good opportunity for the participating nations to work on efficiencies, to practice becoming more logistically sound, and how to get our forces from point A, to point B,” said Capt. Matthew Kuta, 492nd FS pilot, RAF Lakenheath. “It also provided us training on how to actually operate together to continue to provide stability to the area.”
The U.S. Air Force deployed aircraft and support personnel from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, and a Combat Communications team from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The aircraft were F-15Es from the 492nd Fighter Squadron.
Prior to the start of the exercise, the visiting nations had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the airspace and flying procedures. The training week offered four days of flying and preparation.
“Blue Flag week one was dedicated as training and warm-up towards the actual exercise that took place during week two,” said Kuta. The airspace, mission duration, and some of the procedures were a little different to us. After the training week, we were ready to go.”
During the exercise, a realistic war scenario was created which employed a friendly, multinational force (Blue Force) against an enemy aggressor force (Red Force). A simulated threat environment was created which caused for the partnering forces to use careful integration and critical analysis to engage the enemy and survive. The exercise included air-to-air and air-to-surface simulated missions.
The Red Force invaded friendly airspace simulating opposing air forces tactics, attempting to engage specific targets and all approaching aircraft. Their actions caused for the Blue Force to take action and attempt to eliminate the threat. The combined force merged their tactics, techniques, and procedures to form a dominate team that effectively terminated attacks by the adversary Red Forces.
Although these partnering air forces have trained separately together before, this was the first opportunity for the Israeli Air Force to conduct a multinational exercise of this magnitude in their country.
“We successfully completed the biggest multinational exercise in Israel’s history,” said a senior Israeli Air Force source.
“The exercise required many preparations by air and ground crews, long before the partnering air forces landed in Israel. This has helped Israel improve its general air defense capabilities while learning together and cooperating with global allies,” the source said.
The U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, visited the exercise location along with a delegation of observers from different countries. The observers were able to witness some of the action to determine if their country would be interested in participating in future Blue Flag exercises. Israel plans to conduct the exercise every two years.
“Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood,” said Shapiro. “We need the best equipped, best trained forces as possible to protect our people and our security. We also need allies and we have great allies here, all training together and reinforcing a partnership that gets stronger with each passing year.”
The U.S. armed forces routinely participate in training exercises with NATO and other partner nations to improve interoperability and preparedness. However, this exercise offered a unique experience for the U.S. Air Force to train in unfamiliar airspace, with great partners.
December 3, 2013
NATO foreign ministers to discuss Ukraine crisis
The crisis in Ukraine will be discussed at the upcoming NATO meeting of Foreign Ministers.
As an alliance spokesman told Interfax in Brussels on Tuesday, “though Ukraine as such is not formally on the agenda of the Foreign Ministers meeting, we expect that Ukraine will come up in the discussions today on NATO partnerships.”
As reported, the NATO foreign ministers will convene at the alliance’s headquarters on December 3-4. Meetings of the NATO-Russia Council and the NATO-Georgia Commission will be held on the sidelines of the session.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Interfax earlier that the NATO-Ukraine Commission would not meet for obvious reasons.
Voice of Russia
December 3, 2013
NATO foreign ministers to confer on Ukraine
NATO foreign ministers will confer on Ukraine during their upcoming session. An alliance spokesman said on Tuesday they expected the Ukrainian issue to be discussed even though Ukraine was not on the agenda. The NATO foreign ministers will convene at the alliance’s headquarters on December 3-4. Meetings of the NATO-Russia Council and the NATO-Georgia Commission will be held on the sidelines of the session.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Interfax earlier that the NATO-Ukraine Commission would not meet for obvious reasons.
NATO foreign chiefs to tackle Ukraine turmoil
Foreign policy chiefs of 28 NATO member countries are due to meet in Brussels today to discuss the ongoing unrest in Ukraine.
This came today in a Russian media report citing an undisclosed insider source who spoke from the alliance’s headquarters in Belgium.
According to the leak, Ukraine is not part of NATO’s official agenda, although the source said the current situation in the Eastern European country would be up for discussion at the debates on NATO relations with its partners.
NATO chief Rasmussen appeals for peace in Ukraine
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen appeals to all parties involved in current events in Ukraine to refrain from violence and the use of force at all cost, he said in an official statement on December 1.
“I appeal to all parties to refrain from violence and the use of force at all cost. Violence and force are not the way to resolve political differences in a democratic society. I urge everyone to proceed in accordance with constitutional and democratic norms,” the statement reads.
NATO fully respects all Ukrainians and the democratic ideals of the Ukrainian nation.
“I call on Ukraine, as the holder of the Chairmanship in Office of the OSCE, to fully abide by its international commitments to respect the freedom of expression and assembly,” the statement says.
As “many Ukrainians continue to show their strong support for their country’s closer relations with the European Union, it is the right of people everywhere to express their views in a democratic way,” Rasmussen says.
Voice of Russia, RIA, Interfax, kyivpost.com
December 3, 2013
China angered by U.S. violations of expanded air defense identification zone
MOSCOW: China has warned the United States that it must stop violating its air defense identification zone, which was expanded recently, said Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui.
“The Chinese foreign and defense ministries have strongly warned the United States that it must fix its mistakes immediately and cut inappropriate rhetoric short,” the Chinese ambassador said at a press conference at Interfax on Tuesday.
“We did that [created a special air defense identification zone], because the American side, disregarding the limits of our airspace, continues flights over it,” the Chinese diplomat said.
The Chinese Defense Ministry announced a week ago that it was installing a special air defense identification zone over the East China Sea in order to maintain the operation of the country’s air defense system. From now onwards, all aircraft set to fly over this zone are obliged to inform China in advance, to present the flight plan and to maintain communication with China’s corresponding agencies during the flyover.
The Defense Ministry also said that the zone included the disputed Senkaku Islands, also known as Diaoyutai Islands, a part of a territorial dispute between China and Japan.
The U.S. and Japan condemned this decision. Washington described this move as an attempt to change the status quo in the region and sent two unarmed B-52 bombers to the zone. Japanese and South Korean planes flew over the zone, too.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
December 2, 2013
NATO Ready To Establish Afghan Bases, But Only After Pact Is Signed
A senior NATO official says the trans-Atlantic alliance is prepared to sign a long-term strategic pact with Afghanistan, but only after Kabul concludes a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Washington.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the NATO official told RFE/RL on December 2 that, under the proposed agreement, NATO would establish four bases in Afghanistan after most international forces leave at the end of 2014.
The topic is likely to be discussed at a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels starting on December 3.
The status of the BSA is up in the air after Afghan President Hamid Karzai last week demanded Washington help kick-start peace talks with the Taliban and stop U.S. military raids on Afghan homes before agreeing to sign the deal.
Washington wants Karzai to sign the agreement promptly.
From The Cornerstone (1953)
Translated by Edward Hyams
The noon air lay ponderous on the blackened stones of the houses.
The hamlet had recently been burned and the acrid smells of charred skins and smoldering wool were still apparent; here and there, on the piles of rubbish in front of the houses, rotten straw still smoked. Perched on a slope among rocks, the little black township breathed out the heat of death into the blue air, already heated by the sun…
The stony way climbed and turned about grey rock with moss growing in its crevices. Vultures hovered in the blue sky. The pilgrims went down towards the Uzès road with the idea of following the bank of the Gard to strike the Rhône again at Beaucaire. From time to time they could see armed bands in the valley below, famished rovers moving swiftly towards Nîmes and Montpellier in the hope of pillages or employment as soldiers. When he knew they were so near, even the old man crossed himself and held his breath…
The drinking-trough for sheep lay a little aside from the road; beside the meager trickle of water which overflowed the stone trough the grass grew more thickly. Flocks must have passed that way quite recently, for the stream was muddy and the grass trampled and there were mule and goat droppings and the marks of wheels. No doubt the peasants of the burned village had taken this road.
A man with his head bent towards his knees was seated on a large stone which had been rolled up to the trough. His feet were soaking in the mud of the stream. At the sound of voices he sat upright with difficulty and began, in a cracked voice and a whistling accent, to chant:
“Beati misericordes quoniam ipsi misericordia consequentur – Beati misericordes.”
His eyes were covered with a dirty bandage of yellow linen and his grey beard hung in locks down beside his neck. His long garment of good black wool was covered with mud and torn on one shoulder.
“What bird have we here?” Riquet said. He stopped to fill his gourd, when the man, extending two long, swollen hands, seized him by the lapel of his coat and clung to it, still chanting his “Beati misericordes.”
“Hey, old Lazarus, let go! We’ve nothing to give you. You’ve chosen a fine place for your begging!”
“Have pity on the blind,” the other mumbled, “noble lords, noble ladies, good people, brothers in Christ, for the love of the Holy Virgin, Queen of Paradise, a bit of bread for pity’s sake.”
“Blind?” Ansiau said, and his hand went to his wallet.
“Wait,” Riquet said, “he’s no more blind than I am. Let go, I say, old Cut-purse! I know this kind of blindness. He’s not even good at it; there’s others do it better. I’d be quite as blind with a bandage over my eyes. It’s a lucrative trade and it costs nothing to learn.”
“Riquet,” Ansiau said, “a man would surely not do that where there is no one about. The poor old man is blind. Lead me to him, I am going to cut him a slice of bread.”
But Riquet was confident in his judgment. At the word bread the man stretched out his arms before him and was groping about in the air with open hands.
‘He’ll be worth a good laugh,” Riquet said. “All right, old man, never mind the play-acting or it will be the worse for you; those tricks will cost you a beating!” With a swift movement he ripped the bandage from about the man’s eyes.
The other did not even cry out, but uttered a kind of gulp followed by a sigh, then raised his hands towards his head but without even daring to cover his face. Where his eyes hand been were two dark red cavities, clots of dried pus were stuck to his eyelids, a thread of blood trickled from a scab which had been torn away with the bandage. Auberi crossed himself and huddled against Ansiau.
“Poor man!” he said, “his eyes have been put out.”
Beyond Saint-Hippolyte the sky was red; the bush was on fire; from sacked castles women and children, with bundles and water-pots on their backs, were making their way down to the road. Wounded lay at the roadside displaying their festering sores and holding out a hand for a bit of bread or a drop of water…Great vultures glided about the encampment, perhaps in hopes of a meal – that summer, like the two preceding it, had been good ones for them; there was no want of carrion.
The earth, at least, must hold some memory of so much pain, of the martyrdom of so many men; and it is earth, indeed, that remembers them best, since it is earth that keeps their bones. And now, here he was, alone among these bones, come to watch over them; alone with the vultures.
They, the vultures, had enjoyed fine feasting indeed, if you counted only the ten thousand men-at-arms left unburied. On flesh, baptized and circumcised alike, they had fed and grown fat, so that now they must have little taste for other meat.
“Remember, my son, what Our Lord said to the rich young man: commit not adultery, kill not, steal not, do not bear false witness, wrong no man, honor thy father and thy mother; and the young man, greatly your superior, had already accomplished these things. Only then did our sweet Lord tell him to sell all he had and to follow Him, and the young man, albeit so righteous, fell back in the face of such a decision. Now, you have committed all the sins which this man had not committed. For you have lusted after a married woman, you have become a soldier, consequently a murderer, you are rich with goods which belong to the poor, and you honor not your father…”
Vultures hovered about him, as they had over the field of the dead at Acre. Then their wings seemed to draw circles, to close like pincers. Endless circles of vultures with white and empty eyes swooped down to crush him from all sides. He still had an instant to think: “Such are men – I am a vulture. God is a vulture…”
December 2, 2013
Exposed: Globally Renowned Activist Collaborated With Intelligence Firm Stratfor
Carl Gibson and Steve Horn
Lesser known, an exclusive Occupy.com investigation reveals that Popovic and the Otpor! offshoot CANVAS (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies) have also maintained close ties with a Goldman Sachs executive and the private intelligence firmStratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.), as well as the U.S. government. Popovic’s wife also worked at Stratfor for a year.
These revelations come in the aftermath of thousands of new emails released by Wikileaks’ “Global Intelligence Files.” The emails reveal Popovic worked closely with Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence on geopolitical events and activists forclients ranging from the American Petroleum Institute and Archer Daniels Midland to Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel and Coca-Cola.
Referred to in emails under the moniker “SR501,” Popovic was first approached by Stratfor in 2007 to give a lecture in the firm’s office about events transpiring in Eastern Europe, according to a Stratfor source who asked to remain confidential for this story.
In one of the emails, Popovic forwarded information about activists harmed or killed by the U.S.-armed Bahraini government, obtained from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights during the regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy activists in fall 2011. Popovic also penned a blueprint for Stratfor on how to unseat the now-deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in September 2010.
Stratfor’s Global Activist Connector
Using his celebrated activist status, Popovic opened many doors for Stratfor to meet with activists globally. In turn, the information Stratfor intended to gain from Popovic’s contacts would serve as “actionable intelligence”—the firm billed itself as a “Shadow CIA”—for its corporate clients.
Popovic passed information to Stratfor about on-the-ground activist events in countries around the world, ranging from the Philippines,Libya, Tunisia, Vietnam, Iran, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Tibet, Zimbabwe, Poland and Belarus, Georgia, Bahrain, Venezuela and Malaysia. Often, the emails reveal, Popovic passed on the information to Stratfor without the consent of the activists and likely without the activists ever knowing that their emails were being shuttled to the private security firm.
In the U.S., this investigation’s co-author, Carl Gibson (representing US Uncut), and the Yes Men’s Andy Bichlbaum had a meeting with Popovic shortly after their two respective groups used a media hoax to play a prank on General Electric, ridiculing the company over itsnon-payment of U.S. taxes.
The pair gave Popovic information about both groups’ plans for the coming year and news later came out that Stratfor closely monitored the Yes Men’s activities. (The blow photograph taken by Bichlbaum in April 2011 shows Popovic (L) and US Uncut’s Carl Gibson.)
During the Arab Spring, in Egypt in January 2011, Popovic received an interview invitation for an appearance on CNN. The first people he turned to for talking points were Stratfor employees, who provided him with five talking points to lead with.
Stratfor said Popovic’s main use for the firm was his vast array of grassroots activist contacts around the world.
“A little reminder that the main utility in this contact is his ability to connect us to the troublemakers around the world that he is in touch with. His own ability to discern situation on the ground may be limited, he mainly has initial contact with an asset and then lets them do their own thing,” reads a May 2010 email written by former Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Marko Papic. “He does himself have information that may be useful from time to time. But, the idea is to gather a network of contacts through CANVAS, contacts that we can then contact independently.”
Popovic was so well-received by Stratfor that he even got his wife, Marijah, a job there. She worked for a year from March 2010 through March 2011 as the weekend open source intelligence analyst at Stratfor. The other candidate for the job, Jelena Tancic, also worked for CANVAS.
“The Canvas guy [Popovic] is a friend/source [for Stratfor], and recommended her to us,” Stratfor’s Vice President of Analysis Scott Stewart said in a March 2010 email, leaving out that the two were dating at the time.
Popovic and his wife grew so close to Stratfor, in fact, that Popovic invited numerous members of the Stratfor staff to their wedding in Belgrade, Serbia.
Helping Stratfor Manufacture Revolutions
Stratfor saw Popovic’s main value not only as a source for intelligence on global revolutionary and activist movements, but also as someone who, if needed, could help overthrow leaders of countries hostile to U.S. geopolitical and financial interests. So useful was Popovic to Stratfor that the firm gave him a free subscription, dubbed “legit sources we use all the time as a company” by Papic.
In a June 2011 email, Papic referred to Popovic as a “great friend” of his and described him as a “Serb activist who travels the world fomenting revolution.”
“They…basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;),” Papic says in one email. Replying to a follow up to that email, he states, “They just go and set up shop in a country and try to bring the government down. When used properly, more powerful than an aircraft carrier battle group.”
In response to the “aircraft battle group” email, Stratfor Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton sardonically said that perhaps they could be sent into Iran. Emails also reveal Popovic served as an information source intermediary for on-the-ground activists in Iran, also informing Stratfor of the funding struggle for “democracy programs” there, as the U.S. government pushed a “soft power” agenda.
Another March 2010 email from Stewart to Burton said that CANVAS was “trying to get rid of Chavez,” referring to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In 2007, CANVAS trained activists to overthrow Chavez.
“If I remember correctly, we use hushmail communication to contact him regarding Venezuela due to the sensitivity of using a revolutionary NGO as a source considering we have clients who operate in country,” Papic said in a January 2011 email of Popovic.
Stratfor grew so enamored of CANVAS’s ability to foment regime change abroad that it invited Popovic to its Austin headquarters in 2010 to give seminars on the subject, and paid for his trip there.
CANVAS’s Goldman Sachs Cash
One of CANVAS’s major funders is Muneer Satter, a former Goldman Sachs executive who stepped down from that position in June 2012and now owns Satter Investment Management LLC. Stratfor CEO Shea Morenz worked for ten years at Goldman Sachs as well, where he served as Managing Director in the Investment Management Division and Region Head for Private Wealth Management for the Southwest Region.
Satter is meanwhile a major funder of the Republican Party, giving over $300,000 to Karl Rove’s Super PAC Crossroads GPS before the 2012 election, and another $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association in the first half of 2013 prior to the 2014 mid-term elections.
Living in a massive, $9.5 million mansion in Chicago’s North Shore suburb of Lake Michigan, Muneer also gave $50,000 toward President Obama’s inaugural fund in 2009.
When it came time to connect Muneer with the global intelligence firm, Popovic served as the middle man introducing Satter to Stratfor Chairman George Friedman.
“Whenever I want to understand the details behind world events, I turn to Stratfor,” reads an endorsement from Satter on Stratfor’s website. “They have the most detailed and insightful analysis of world affairs and are miles ahead of mainstream media.”
Otpor!: A Counter-History
To understand how Popovic came to aide Stratfor in its intelligence-gathering efforts, it’s crucial to examine Otpor! and CANVAS critically. A close examination demonstrates that Popovic was a natural choice to be a Stratfor informant and close advisor.
Often valorized by grassroots activists and Western media, there was far more to the “Bulldozer Revolution” that led to the overthrow of Milošević and subsequent Eastern European regimes than meets the eye.
“In principle, [Serbia] was an overt operation, funded by congressional appropriations of around $10 million for fiscal 1999 and $31 million for 2000. Some Americans involved in the anti-Milosevic effort said they were aware of CIA activity at the fringes of the campaign, but had trouble finding out what the agency was up to,” explained a 2000 investigative piece appearing in The Washington Post.
“The lead role was taken by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the government’s foreign assistance agency, which channeled the funds through commercial contractors and nonprofit groups such as NDI and its Republican counterpart, the International Republican Institute (IRI).”
Papic’s statement about CANVAS being “more powerful than an aircraft carrier” wasn’t mere hyperbole, but was based on the Otpor! Serbia experience in the late-1990s.
“In fact between 1997 and 2000 the National Endowment for Democracy and US government may have accomplished what NATO’s 37,000 bombing sorties had been unable to do: oust Milosevic, replace him with their favoured candidate Vojislav Kostunica and promote a neoliberal vision for Serbia,” independent scholar Michael Barker wrote for Z Magazine. “In much the same way as corporate front groups and astroturf groups recruit genuinely committed supporters, strategically useful social movements can potentially dominate civil society when provided with the right resources (massive financial and professional backing).”
Otpor! was so successful that it was ushered into Ukraine to help manufacture regime change there in 2004, using the template applied originally in Serbia with $65 million in cash from the U.S. government.
“We trained them in how to set up an organization, how to open local chapters, how to create a ‘brand,’ how to create a logo, symbols, and key messages,” an Otpor! activist told U.S.-funded media outlet Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty. “We trained them in how to identify the key weaknesses in society and what people’s most pressing problems were—what might be a motivating factor for people, and above all young people, to go to the ballot box and in this way shape their own destiny.”
The overthrow of Milošević was accompanied by U.S.-funding for the creation of a robust media apparatus in Serbia, and Popovic’s wife worked at one of the U.S.-funded radio and TV outlets as a journalist and anchor B92 from 2004-2009.
“By helping Radio B92 and linking it with a network of radio stations (ANEM), international assistance undermined the regime’s direct and indirect control over news and information,” a January 2004 policy paper released by USAID explained. “In Serbia, independent media supported by USAID and other international donors facilitated the regime change.”
Critics point out that what happened in Eastern Europe was regime change, not revolution in any real sense of the term.
“[They] were not revolutions at all; actually, they were little more than intra-elite power transfers,’” Portland State University Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Gerald Sussman, explained in his book, “Branded Democracy: U.S. Regime Change in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe.”
“Modern tactics of electioneering were employed to cast regime change as populist, which took advantage of the unstable and vulnerable situations in those regions following the breakup of the Soviet Union,” he wrote.
Given Otpor!’s ties to powerful factions in the U.S. government, perhaps it’s unsurprising that Popovic felt comfortable giving a lecture to the Air Force Academy in May 2010, and attending a National Security Council meeting in December 2009.
A powerful individual who lobbied the U.S. government to give money to CANVAS early on was Michael McFaul, the current U.S. Ambassador to Russia for the State Department and someone who “worked closely with” Popovic while serving as a Senior Fellow at theright-wing Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Critics Chime In, Popovic Responds
Maryam Alkhawaja, director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said she had known Popovic for several years as an activist and had no knowledge of his outside relationships before the Wikileaks release of Stratfor emails.
“Srdja is someone I’ve met more than once. He was very supportive of the Bahrain revolution, supportive of the human rights fight,” Alkhawaja said in a phone interview. “When he gave me their information, that’s what surprised me the most.”
Alkhawaja said that at the time she wasn’t aware of what kind of firm Stratfor was, but she became immediately suspicious after reading Stratfor’s questions to her. She never corresponded with Stratfor due to what she felt was the suspicious nature of the emails coming from the firm.
“It was a series of really weird intelligence agency-like questions, given that they knew I was working in a human rights group. They were asking questions like, who’s funding the party coalition, how many members do they have, questions that even I didn’t know the answers to,” she said. “The fact that they asked questions like that, made me question the motive behind the email I received. Thats why I never responded.”
“Whenever we get emails like that or were contacted by people who seemed very interested in asking intelligence agency-like questions, we usually block them, because we know they probably work for the government,” Alkhawaja continued. “Journalists know the kind of work we do so they wouldn’t ask those questions in the first place. I just found the email very weird and thats why I actually never responded.”
In a Skype interview, one of Otpor!’s co-founders, who left the movement and asked to maintain his confidentiality, said his primary concern from the Wikileaks emails was that Popovic was giving out activists’ information to a third party without their prior consent.
An interview with Popovic sang a different tune about CANVAS. He stated, “We definitely wouldn’t jeopardize any of our activists’ safety, so we always follow their lead and never expose them to anybody without their consent.”
Popovic also said CANVAS would speak to anyone and everyone—without any discrimination—about nonviolent direct action.
“CANVAS will present anywhere — to those committed to activism and nonviolent struggle, but also to those who still live in the Cold War era and think that tanks and planes and nukes shape the world, not the common people leading popular movements,” he said.
“If we can persuade any decision maker in the world, in Washington, Kremlin, Tel Aviv or Damascus that it is nonviolent struggle that they should embrace and respect – not foreign military intervention, or oppression over own population – we would do that.”
Yet, given Popovic’s track-record—and specifically, who buttered his bread during the long professional career he pursued in activism—critics say Popovic fit like a glove at Stratfor.
“A group of Serbs cannot lead a protest movement anywhere outside Serbia, but his techniques are nonetheless instrumental in helping achieve certain political aims,” Professor Sussman said in an interview. “He also serves as an intelligence gatherer in the process—of use to private and state intelligence agencies. That’s what Stratfor saw as his use.”
December 2, 2013
NATO’s refusal to adapt CFE harms conventional arms control – Grushko
BRUSSELS: The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) cannot be restored the way it used to be; the treaty became totally obsolete, which was declared back in 1996 when a decision on the parameters of its crucial modernization was made, Russian Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko told Interfax in Brussels on Monday.
“An adapted variant was drawn up as a substitute. Yet NATO countries appeared to be unprepared and declined under various pretexts ratification of the CFE Treaty adaptation agreement, which led to even bigger degradation of the regime of control over conventional armaments in Europe and the loss of its [the treaty's] importance under the changing security circumstances,” the senior diplomat stated.
It is now necessary to make a comprehensive analysis of the development of the military-political situation in Europe and to specify the role of instruments of the regime of control over conventional armaments in the strengthening of military security and stability, Grushko said.
“Hopefully, NATO countries have learned the necessary lessons. The probable new agreement in this field must be consistent with the contemporary realities of the continent and reflect the balance of interests of its sides. It is necessary to be extremely serious about its elaboration and avoid preconditions and counterproductive links between the arms control proper and problems unrelated to it,” the head of the Russian diplomatic mission to NATO emphasized.
U.S. Air Forces in Europe – U.S. Air Forces Africa
November 27, 2013
KC-135 brings force extension to Iceland
By Airman 1st Class Dana J. Butler
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Keflavik International Airport, Iceland: The 351st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron and the KC-135 Stratotanker deployed from Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, make up an important part of the 48th Air Expeditionary Group here in Iceland.
The 48th AEG has been conducting air surveillance and policing missions as a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization here in Iceland since Oct. 28, 2013, in support of the U.S.-Iceland bilateral Defense Agreement of 1951.
In order to conduct air surveillance and policing, the group’s F-15C Eagles, KC-135 Stratotanker and C-130J Hercules are on a 24/7 alert status.
The KC-135 has been in the Air Force’s inventory for more than 50 years and is a key element in ensuring that the U.S. and its allies complete their mission without losing valuable time by having to land to refuel.
“For this mission and protecting the air space, fighters may not know how long they will need to be airborne,” said Maj. Wiley Semrau, 351st EARS commander. “Without us being here they might have to come back down and land after only being on station for a few hours, but with us here they can extend that time.”
According to Semrau, the KC-135 can help the F-15Cs, deployed from RAF Lakenheath, England, stay airborne for an extended period of time.
“Force extension is the big capability we bring to the mission,” said Capt. Erika Palmer, 351st EARS pilot. “We give the fighters the capability to extend their range, track targets longer and complete intercepts.”
Not only do the tankers do their job of air refueling, they also assist the fighters in performing practice aerial interceptions.
“They have been able to practice a lot of intercepts on us. We fly out to the airspace and then they will follow, find us and intercept,” said Semrau.
Aircrews agree that they work more closely together than they do back at their home stations.
“We are working very closely with the fighters so it’s nice having the operations desk right beside us and we’re here to tell them how we can support them and how we can help them out,” said Semrau.
Palmer shared similar thoughts.
“Being here in Iceland and working so close together helps us expand our understanding of the mission and what’s going on while also getting to play in the fight a little bit more than we normally would,” said Palmer.
Without the efforts of the 351st EARS pilots and boom operators, the fighter jet capabilities would not be as strong. They allow the fighters to arrive to Iceland, practice intercepts, conduct surveillance missions and get home safely. The tanker “drags” the fighters to locations such as Iceland, then enables them to practice intercepts and air-to-air fights, conduct the NATO surveillance mission and return home safely with plenty of divert options during questionable weather.
“It is very important for us to be here during this mission to help assist the F-15s,” said Semrau. “Without us being here, the capability of how far out the fighters can fly or how long they can stay in the air would be greatly decreased if they didn’t have a tanker to give them the fuel they needed to get back, divert or practice interceptions.”
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
December 2, 2013
HQ ARRC PIONEERS NEW NATO CONCEPT AT CORNWALL EXERCISE
Story by HQ ARRC Public Affairs Office
NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC) completed a major training exercise at RAF St. Mawgan, Cornwall, in the United Kingdom last week.
Exercise ARRCADE FUSION 13 brought the ARRC and several of its subordinate units from across Europe and North America to southwest England to participate in a training event designed to test the ARRC’s readiness – all in an effort to ensure that the NATO rapid deployment headquarters continues to remain ready for any potential short-notice call-up it may receive as part of this year’s NATO Response Force (NRF).
Ultimately, this exercise represented several ‘firsts’ for the headquarters.
To begin with, this was the first time that the ARRC has conducted a training exercise on this scale since the unit moved from its former location in Germany to the UK in 2010.
Totaling some 2,500 military and civilian personnel, FUSION was one of the largest exercises of its kind to occur in recent years in the southwest of England, indeed, the United Kingdom as a whole.
Participating in this exercise were units and troops from the UK (3rd Division and 16 Air Assault Brigade) as well as several of the ARRC’s Partner Nations (Denmark, Canada, Italy, and the United States).
Additionally, military personnel from non-NATO nations Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and New Zealand travelled to Cornwall to participate in the comprehensive training event.
“Over the last decade of combined operations in Afghanistan, NATO has developed effective, valuable partnerships with a host of non-NATO nations,” explained ARRC spokesman Lt Col Gareth Powell. “As a NATO High Readiness Force we feel it’s extremely important to continue to build and nurture those relationships, both now and in the future.”
Finally, FUSION offered the ARRC an opportunity to train for the ARRC’s next challenge, that of becoming an Integrated Land Command, or ILC.
A new operational concept conceived by NATO, the ILC builds a land-centric headquarters, like the ARRC, into an element capable of commanding an entire military theatre of operations. For ARRC, this means adding both air and maritime personnel to its structure so that it can command the air, land, sea and special operations battle.
To this end, military personnel from the UK’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy played a key role with the ARRC and its many subordinate units for this exercise, adding a broader-spectrum realism to the training designed to not only test the ARRC’s current state of readiness, but challenge the headquarters’ personnel and their knowledge of air, maritime, and special operations.
The development of this knowledge will become a critical component of the ARRC’s training over the next year as the organisation strives to become Fully Operational Capable or FOC by this time next year (November 2014).
NATO has scheduled the ARRC to be the first NATO rapid deployment corps held by the Alliance on short-notice, rapid recall (similar to the NRF) for rapid response to any/all missions that may develop during the year (2015) that require an ILC headquarters.
According to Lt Col Powell, the ARRC is up to that challenge.
“NATO has always charged the ARRC, as well as the alliance’s six other rapid deployment corps, to ensure that we are consistently flexible, agile, and able to deploy anywhere in the world with great expediency,” said Powell.
“As NATO’s first rapid deployment corps, ARRC will continue to champion both its readiness as well as its willingness to pioneer new concepts and challenge the norm.”
November 30, 2013
US, NATO on Eastern Partnership Summit
The United States and the NATO have congratulated on Georgia and Moldova initialing the association agreements with EU.
“The United States congratulates Georgia and Moldova on their historic initialing of Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements with the European Union at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius on November 29″, the release by the U.S. Department of State says.
“The United States strongly supports the integration of Georgia and Moldova into the Euro-Atlantic community, which will spur greater economic opportunity, development and prosperity across the continent”, it says.
NATO Secretary General has also released a statement on the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius.
“I welcome the results of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. The Vilnius Summit is a defining moment in the European Union`s relationship with Eastern European partners.
“I congratulate Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova for making the sovereign choice to take important steps forward in their relations with the European Union with determination, courage and hard work.
Today’s agreements will further enhance reforms, trade, and people to people contacts. They represent a major contribution to freedom, stability, and prosperity in Europe. I welcome the forward looking agenda for the Eastern Partnership over the next two years, which will consolidate and develop the process of political association and economic integration. These are goals that NATO shares and supports through its own partnerships and security cooperation“, the statement says.
Voice of Russia
December 2, 2013
Kosovo is Serbia, NATO is an atavism – Ambassador Chepurin
The Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin recently gave a speech at the Belgrade Academy for Diplomacy and Security in which he stated that Serbia joining NATO, an almost unbelievable development, would be a red line that in no way suits Russia. During his question and answer session with the students he also mentioned a second red line for Russia, namely that that nobody should pressure Serbia during EU negotiations and that any form of integration “must not interfere with the long tradition of cultural, economic, and political Russo-Serbian ties: because that is primarily in the interest of Serbia.”
While such statements and in fact the entire speech should have caused quite a stir in the world’s media there was almost no coverage nor reaction in the western press. This is understandable with the current state of information warfare but further underlines the extent that the Western media has been compromised, annexed and continues to hold an anti-Russian line, this time by omission.
It is understandable that the West is desperate and will do anything that it can to stop the spread or development of Russian influence, this is especially true of US/ NATO, especially in light of the their recent failures in Syria and Ukraine, and judging from the coverage of the event in the world’s English language media it would appear that the West is currently winning the information war, with even Russian media sources apparently “afraid” to publicize such stories.
Serbia a NATO member?
During his appearance at the Belgrade Academy for Diplomacy and Security, Chepurin stated that it would be; “utter stupidity if somebody from Serbia were to crawl over and beg (to join NATO), after the bombing that Serbia incurred and which caused damage worth US $120 billion. That’s the red line that in no way suits Russia”.
That is just one reason why it would be absurd to think of Serbia joining NATO, there are dozens of others, but the fact that US/NATO have never assisted in rebuilding what they destroyed, something they regularly do not do, is a key reason.
Another and perhaps even more monumentally important reason is of course Kosovo which US/NATO have annexed with the help of local Muslim Albanian forces and on the territory of which they immediately built the largest US military base outside of the United States after “recognizing its independence”.
Yet another is the International Criminal Court on the Former Yugoslavia which has been completely biased and uneven in its prosecution of Serbs and has proven itself by its track record to be an instrument of the West.
Chepurin reiterated the fact that NATO was created as an alliance against the USSR and that its function in the modern world is questionable, something much of the free and independent world have stated since the dissolving of the Warsaw Pact and which US/NATO officials have also recently all but admitted to in public statements regarding “attempting to stay relevant”.
The ambassador stated: “NATO was created against the Soviet Union, which is long gone, and it is absolutely unclear what NATO stands against now; or do you really want to go to war in Iraq, Libya, or Syria? There’s no other advantage there or would you like to fraternize with Turkey, which is a NATO member.”
The fact that NATO needs countries like Serbia, Ukraine and all of the other countries that it is trying to draw into its alliance more than those countries need NATO is a fact that should be underlined and the primary topic of debate but the West completely keeps that matter off the radar. Not only does NATO need the personnel and the resources of all of the countries it can get as cannon fodder for its endless wars, but it also needs the territories of all of the territories which will tolerate its presence to base its military forces and infrastructure in order to propagate itself and be an effective tool for the “projection of US force”, as the Pentagon recently stated.
The ambassador made the very astute observation that countries do not have be members of NATO to be members of the EU, something the West has attempted to present as a given. He gave the examples of Austria, Sweden and Ireland.
Finally with regard to NATO Chepurin reminded the audience that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was in Belgrade recently, and received confirmation in all meetings that Serbia will not join NATO.”
What NATO is and who controls it were also boldly summed up by the ambassador who said “NATO represents an atavism from the last century,” and with regard to attempts to tie EU integration to NATO membership: “…. there are madmen who are trying to make use of that thesis!”
Serbia and the European Union
Regarding Serbia and EU membership the diplomat accepted the fact but made it clear that such should not damage ties with Russia, nor of future organizations: “nor should it additionally complicate its ties with the Eurasian Union, which will be created in 2015, and which considers development of relations with Serbia as very important.” He also said “It is unacceptable for us that any form of integration should disrupt our relations, for example, our visa-free regime.”
According to the website B92 net, one of the few site reporting on the event: “… on several occasions Chepurin stated that “everyone has an imagination that is shattered when it meets the reality,” and mentioned Ukraine as an example of a country that “met the reality when it was supposed to sign the free trade agreement with the EU.”
“There was an impression that each year tens of billions of euros would be arriving to Ukraine from the EU, while in fact it was about one billion over seven years. The damage from severing the free trade with Russia would have been a hundred times greater.” he said.
This economic reality is of course something the West does not want the world to know about but it is the reality. The US with an actual debt of over $200 trillion and the European Union, whose countries are still reeling from economic crisis and is in fact economically questionable, needs more members to prop up its own house of cards and other than visa free regimes, more regulation, loss of sovereignty, opening internal markets to external exploitation and an outdated military bloc seeking to propagate itself into a worldwide force the EU really has little to offer.
On the key question of Kosovo Chepurin stressed that the Russian Federation continues to offer Serbia “absolute support” when it came to Kosovo, but that he “did not wish to comment too strongly on some internal issues in Serbia.”
“There are several possibilities within international law for the thing to be resolved in a way in which Serbia is interested to resolve it. An impression is being created here that everything had fallen through, but this question requires effort and persistence. You must have faith that you are capable of solving that issue. The truth is on your side, and much depends on you,” said the Russian ambassador.
Chepurin made it clear in so many words who was really behind the “independence of Kosovo” and likened those forces to the same ones who are backing and funding terrorist groups in the Russian Republic of Chechnya.
According to the site Tanjung speaking about the issue of Chechnya, Chepurin underlined that all secessionist forces cannot possibly endure without backing from abroad, and concerning the decision of ethnic Albanians to unilaterally proclaim Kosovo’s independence, he concluded: “friends say: Kosovo is Serbia.”
Kosovo is Serbia indeed and for many Serbians, it is their very heart.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
November 29, 2013
Georgian military train ANSF
Georgian military servicemen have actively engaged in training of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). The personnel of Batumi Separate Light Infantry Battalion Company “Lima” are training the soldiers of 215th Corps of ANSF. The Georgian soldiers are carrying out preparation of the Afghan troops together with Regional Corps Battle School (RCBS). Combat preparation is going on at the Afghan base “Shorabak”.
According to the training plan of RCBS American, British and Georgian instructors are giving trainings to the Afghan army in different military disciplines. During the few-months long obligatory courses the Afghan soldiers are trained in the following directions: combat skills for infantrymen, armament system, communications, topography, logistics, shooting, first medical aid and etc. The soldiers with good results are selected during the advanced courses to become instructors in future to prepare ANSF with their own resources. Besides that the Georgian military servicemen are insuring security of instructors and the military field hospital.
RCBS has been operating since September 16 2013 officially. The negotiations on cooperation in security field between the defence ministries of Georgia and Afghanistan was held in September after which the Georgian military personnel launched preparation of ANSF.
Arthur Schnitzler: Political reaction is the consequence of victorious wars; revolution the consequence of lost ones
From Some Day Peace Will Return (Und einmal wird der Friede wiederkommen)
Translated by Robert O. Weiss
Many feuilletonists claim that after this war humanity will somehow be cleansed and purified.
The reasons for this assumption are not clear: none of the wars thus waged have produced this result.
Political reaction is almost invariably the consequence of victorious wars; revolution the consequence of lost ones. Both consequences are, as it were, conditions of exhaustion.
Who will be purified? Those who have lost a leg or an eye? The parents who have lost a child, the woman who has lost her husband? The people who perished? The people who made millions from defense contracts? The diplomats who planned the war? The monarchs, victorious or defeated? The journalists who stayed at home? Those who will be purified – I venture to suspect – have already been so before.
The only thing specific to war is the wound, the senseless physical wound, and hostility, the senseless hostility, i.e., the hostility between human beings who, as individuals, might be facing each other without hate, perhaps even with love.
Even during a bloody war the king feels – although sometimes unconsciously – closer and more related to the other king, the king with whom he is at war, than to his equerry, to his prime minister, or even to his adjutant.
A tremendous disproportion exists between the sensation that motivates the soldier and the way by which he must, perforce, express it. He loads a rifle, fires it, and certainly has no conscious awareness that he is not only annihilating a human life (or, as an artillery man, a hundred lives) but also destroying dozens of relationships…The whole of human history is but an intrigue of the powerful directed against the consciousness and the imagination of the individual or, rather, of the masses.
War atrocity: a defenseless wounded man was blinded and mutilated on the battlefield – by an enemy, of course.
I can tell a worse tale. A dozen soldiers were sitting in a trench as a shrapnel struck. One was blinded, another had his abdomen slit open, the third had his larynx shredded, the entire face of the fourth was torn off, the fifth had both arms and a leg shattered, and so forth. Those who were not immediately killed lay there for hours suffering thirst, torments, hellish pain, the fear of death. They too had been defenseless, completely defenseless. There was no possibility of defending themselves from the shrapnel. Also, they could not run off, for had they done so, they would have been shot for cowardice, according to law. The obligation to defend their country had rendered them defenseless.
The thesis of Clausewitz that war is nothing but politics by different means is witty, therefore half-true, therefore dangerous, therefore nonsense.
So also is the dictum that war is a necessity and that therefore one must not oppose it. Plague and cholera too are “necessities.” Only the fact that we do oppose such alleged necessities makes us really human beings.
Compulsory military service…is the most monstrous violation of the one indubitable possession of man. Moreover it is imposed for the benefit of very dubious ideas – in general as well as in particular – such as dynasty, country, state.
It remains the same enormity whether so-called civilians, women, and children are killed and maimed from the air, whether one plans to condemn these civilians to death by starvation, or whether young men or older men (just as disinterested and just as innocent as the civilians and – whether or not they are clearly aware of that fact – forced into war service) are killed and crippled by murderous weapons…Everything, absolutely everything, that war brings in its wake is equally gruesome in its senselessness, in its brutality.
U.S. Department of Defense
November 29, 2013
NATO Envisions Post-ISAF Train, Advise and Assist Mission
By Denver Beaulieu-Hains
7th U.S. Army Joint Multinational Training Command
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany: At the end of 2014, the ISAF mission in Afghanistan is scheduled to end and a new train, advise and assist mission called Resolute Support will begin.
During Europe’s recent combat training conference, the top brass of more than 35 nations outlined a way ahead to prepare for the transition that involves combined and joint training provided by the Joint Multinational Training Command here.
“There was a lot of discussion about the coming ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] and NATO operational transition in Afghanistan,” said Army Col. Thomas S. Matsel, the G3 or chief of operations at the JMTC.
“NATO is going to transition” from its ISAF operations centered in Afghanistan to a force that is prepared to respond across the full spectrum of conflict, Matsel said.
Since JMTC’s training events regularly include multinational participation, the discussion is different at other Army combat training centers, Matsel said.
“They are mainly concerned with Title 10 training [training for U.S. troops]. Their focus is on U.S.-based Army units and their ability to conduct combat or contingency operations,” he said. “We have that responsibility with our Title 10 forces also, but JMTC, the training command for the U.S. Army Europe also has the task to make sure U.S. Army units are well integrated with our NATO and multinational partners and the place where that happens, and is tested, is here in Europe during our multinational training and exercises.”
Simultaneously, at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, the exercise Combined Resolve looks at the post-ISAF relationship and the potential for future coalition operations. The training brought U.S. forces and those of Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, and Sweden together to challenge systems and develop cultural understanding and trust.
“The training … is exactly in harmony with what we want to attain in the whole of NATO. After years of training concentrated on Afghanistan, we again want to pay attention to the training of fundamental military activities,” the Czech Republic’s chief of staff Petr Pavel said about the training. “For us this means training in an environment that we are by no means capable of replicating in domestic conditions.”
Pavel said his Army benefits by training with the modern equipment and training facilities available at Hohenfels, as well as the professional cadre of observers, coaches, and trainers.
“We do not have the technical means to assess the training available here [in the Czech Republic] and we aren’t capable of ensuring the multinational participation,” he said.
A multinational exercise is planned every month for the next year. The next exercise is slated for Dec. 7-17. The New Jersey National Guard will train at the Hohenfels Training Area with more than seven multinational partners.
“It’s important to remember some of the best and most capable security forces in the world are right here in Europe and we must build on the past 10 years of combat operations with our NATO and multinational partners so we are ready for the next emergency or contingency,” Matsel said.
Tanjug News Agency
November 29, 2013
NATO troops “to remain in Kosovo”
PRIŠTINA: NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Philip Breedlove says KFOR at this point did not plan to reduce the number of its troops from Kosovo.
NATO is committed to supporting the agreement between Belgrade and Priština and will not reduce the current number of troops in the next few months, Breedlove said during a meeting with Kosovo officials.
NATO wants KFOR to be smaller and more flexible in the future, but that will only happen once the time for that comes and the conditions are right, he stressed.
The general made the statement after German and French media had speculated that their nations were intending to pull their troops out of KFOR.
KFOR currently has 5,000 soldiers from 31 countries.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
November 29, 2013
Standing NATO Maritime Group and MARCOM Commander Pay Visit to Haifa
Haifa, Israel: Two NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2), flagship ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN and FGS SACHSEN, arrived Wednesday 27 November 2013 for a visit to the historic port city.
In conjunction with the port visit, Vice Admiral Peter Hudson, Commander of NATO Allied Maritime Command, travelled to Haifa to visit the Group and participate in staff talks and activities with the Chief of the Israeli Navy.
On the way into the port, NATO and Israeli naval forces participated in a passing exercise (PASSEX) to enhance interoperability between the maritime partners.
The port visit will provide the crew of the SNMG2 ships an opportunity to interact with their Israeli counterparts in numerous ways, including personnel exchange visits to each partner’s ship, a wreath laying at Yad Vashem, a sporting event between the partners, and courtesy calls with local officials.
“We are very happy to be visiting our Mediterranean Dialogue partner in this friendly port,” said Rear Admiral Eugenio Díaz del Río, Commander of SNMG2. “The Israeli Navy is a key partner for NATO’s maritime forces in the region in a variety of areas, to include counter-terrorism, search and rescue, and maritime security.”
SNMG2 has been very busy in the preceding months supporting NATO’s counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR. As their support to this mission draws to a close, the Group will next head to the Indian Ocean to take command of NATO’s counter-piracy task group (CTF-508) in December.
Since joining the Mediterranean Dialogue in 1995, Israel has become a key strategic partner for NATO in the region. Israel was the first country within the MD to have an Individual Cooperation Programme approved, providing the framework for future cooperation.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
November 29, 2013
Statement by the NATO Secretary General on the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius
I welcome the results of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. The Vilnius Summit is a defining moment in the European Union’s relationship with Eastern European partners.
I congratulate Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova for making the sovereign choice to take important steps forward in their relations with the European Union with determination, courage and hard work.
Today’s agreements will further enhance reforms, trade, and people to people contacts. They represent a major contribution to freedom, stability, and prosperity in Europe. I welcome the forward looking agenda for the Eastern Partnership over the next two years, which will consolidate and develop the process of political association and economic integration. These are goals that NATO shares and supports through its own partnerships and security cooperation.
Beta News Agency/Tanjug News Agency
November 29, 2013
Serbia’s NATO membership – “red line for Russia”
BELGRADE: Russian Ambassador in Serbia Aleksandr Chepurin has said that his country would find Serbia’s possible future membership in NATO “unacceptable.”
Speaking at the Belgrade Academy for Diplomacy and Security, he noted that it would represent “utter stupidity if somebody from Serbia were to crawl over and beg (to join), after the bombing that incurred Serbia damages worth USD 120 billion.”
“That’s the red line that in no way suits Russia. NATO was created against the Soviet Union, which is long gone, and it is absolutely unclear what NATO stands against now – or do you really want to go to war in Iraq, Libya, or Syria? There’s no other advantage there – or would you like to fraternize with Turkey, which is a NATO member, ” the ambassador asked.
He then said that Austria, Sweden and Ireland are all EU members although they stayed away from NATO, and that membership in the EU does not mean a country must also join the military alliance.
“However, there are madmen who are trying to make use of that thesis,” he remarked.
Chepurin also spoke about Russia’s “second red line” when it came to Serbia – that “nobody should pressure Serbia during the negotiations to ‘tie itself to something’,” and that any form of integration “must not interfere with the long tradition of cultural, economic, and political Russo-Serbian ties – because that is primarily in the interest of Serbia.”
He stated that Russia accepts that EU membership is the main geopolitical goal of a sovereign Serbia, but that this should not damage its ties with Russia – “nor should it additionally complicate its ties with the Eurasian Union, which will be created in 2015, and which considers development of relations with Serbia as very important.”
“It is unacceptable for us that any form of integration should disrupt our relations, for example, our visa-free regime. When Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was in Belgrade recently, he received confirmation in all meetings that Serbia will not join NATO,” he said.
Responding to a question posed by former mayor of the Montenegrin town of Cetinje, Aleksandar Aleksić, who asked whether Montenegro’s accession to the western military alliance “could be stopped,” he remarked that there were “monkeys in politics, like everywhere else.”
“Have you seen the media poll about the popularity of foreign politicians in Serbia? If you have not, I will not tell you who is at the number one spot. And the second to last is the one you were probably referring to. It’s like fashion. At first somebody is doing it intentionally, and then many who are chasing after that person, hoping for a banana, show up,” Chepurin was quoted as saying by Tanjug.
He also stated that NATO represents an atavism from the last century, and stressed that in his previous answer he “did not mean anyone specifically, but gave a general appraisal,” while Serbia’s membership in NATO would represent a folly.
During his lecture to the students, the Russian diplomat on several occasions noted that “everyone has an imagination that is shattered when it meets the reality,” and mentioned Ukraine as an example of a country that “met the reality when it was supposed to sign the free trade agreement with the EU.”
“There was an impression that each year tens of billions of euros would be arriving to Ukraine from the EU, while in fact it was about one billion over seven years. The damage from severing the free trade with Russia would have been a hundred times greater,” he said.
Such things usually happen to countries that find themselves in a difficult position, when the appeal of “the western centrism” is great, the diplomat noted, adding that the situation was similar in Russia during the 1990s.
Chepurin stressed that his country was offering Serbia “absolute support” when it came to Kosovo, but that he “did not wish to comment too strongly on some internal issues in Serbia.”
“There are several possibilities within international law for the thing to be resolved in a way in which Serbian is interested to resolve it. An impression is being created here that everything had fallen through, but this question requires effort and persistence. You must have faith that you are capable of solving that issue. The truth is on your side, and much depends on you,” said the Russian ambassador.
At the end of his lecture, Chepurin noted that the privatization of NIS – Serbia’s oil monopoly now owned by Gazprom – was “successful,” and that if the country had “five such companies” it would not be facing economic difficulties.
Commenting on the start of construction works on the South Stream stretch in Serbia, he said that the pipeline should bring the country not only gas transit fees, but also income from storage, launching of gas heating plants, and other forms of industrial production.
“South Stream will give ten times more than Serbia will get from any donations in the (EU) integration process, and Serbia will control those funds in line with its own wishes. That should be taken into account. Serbia will become the energy hub of the region, and that is an economic, but also a political decision,” Chepurin concluded.
November 29, 2013
Azerbaijan hosts NATO Days
By Nazrin Gadimova
A workshop titled Days of NATO was held at Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces on November 25-28, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry reported.
The workshop was organized by the NATO Allied Command Transformation and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SACT).
Led by group coordinator of preparation and implementation department of the NATO Office of Defense Cooperation and Colonel of the Turkish Armed Forces Yusuf Bayazit, the workshop aimed at informing faculty and commanders, military cadets, and students of educational institutions of Azerbaijan about the NATO.
During the event, round tables, presentations, and discussions on the NATO’s structure, history of creation, objectives, policies, strategies, concepts, processes, transformation, and reforms were held. The partnership deals, emergency operations, and peace operations of the North Atlantic alliance were also discussed.
NATO Days is held annually as part of the NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation, with the participation of the SACT expert group.
Earlier, the Azerbaijan-NATO cooperation was discussed at a high-level seminar organized by the Brussels office of the European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), attended by several members from the Friends of Azerbaijan Group in the EP.
NATO’s role in the region’s energy security was also discussed in Baku during a conference titled “Cooperative Approach to Energy Security: View from NATO and Beyond”, held on November 21.
NATO and Azerbaijan are actively cooperating on democratic, institutional, and military reforms, as well as conducting practical cooperation in various areas.
The cooperation plan between Azerbaijan and the NATO is set out in the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) on Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan aspires to achieve Euro-Atlantic standards and get closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions. In this regard, supporting the security sector reform and establishing democratic institutions are the key elements of the NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation.
Azerbaijan is also among the eight partner countries that have confirmed their presence in Afghanistan after 2014. Peacekeepers of the country will stay in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops from the country by the end of 2014. However, Azerbaijan will reduce its presence in Afghanistan after 2014.
The Azerbaijani peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan consists of 90 servicemen. A company and then a battalion of peacekeepers were established as part of the Azerbaijani armed forces in 1997.
Azerbaijani peacekeepers are part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
In the past, Azerbaijan has also actively supported the Alliance’s operations in Kosovo.
From Education Before Verdun (1935)
Translated by Eric Sutton
“My lad,” sighed Pahl; “it beats me to think that such a thing could happen in the world, that one man could inflict upon another such agony as that. I tell you it went right through me, up to my heart and brain and back again…It hardly goes with the world of blue skies and sunshine and birdsong that we’ve all heard so much about. It belongs to a society where men strike, and strike to hurt; to the under world, where a man is damned from birth to fetch and carry for others, and waste the talents that should be at the service of humanity.” He was silent and closed his eyes. “The slaughter bench,” he went on, shaking his head. “It is always there, and in war it is everywhere. We were conceived and reared and trained to serve it, and on it we at last die. And that is what is called life.” His breath came heavily, his hands moved over the coverlet, waxen pale; Bertin found himself looking for the red nail-wounds on the backs of them. Tears trickled out from beneath Pahl’s right eyelid. My God, thought Bertin, and I was crying over a dish of soup just now. “The slaughter bench must be destroyed,” went on Pahl in an undertone while the others snored; “at least, we can stop the supply of victims.” “If it is within our power,” agreed Bertin cautiously. “It lies in our power alone. Only the victims of injustice can abolish injustice. Only the oppressed can end oppression. Only those who have been under shell-fire can bring the war-factories to a stand-still. Why should those who profit by torture want to being it to an end?”
The French killed him, but theirs was not the guilt. No; behind the paltry little A.S.C. captains loomed the gigantic shape of what held and wielded power – of all those whose task it was to plan and accomplish the suicide of Europe; poor cretinous fools, who looked on their neighbours as mere objects of attack, and conceived, as the final trump in the struggle for world markets: the Gun.
He was of the same calibre as young Kroysing, and himself, Posnanski; men who labour to deliver the world and by the only effective means: justice, reason, and free discussion. Absurd as it might seem, whoever used that latter instrument inevitably stirred the fury of the evil principle and its slaves, the men of force; awakened their savage energy and brutality…And while Posnanski buttoned his jacket around his corpulent person, for the March night was cold and he was tired, he found himself, to his astonishment, marching angrily toward the fire at the end of the room, which was still glowing faintly, because it seemed to embody the enemy, the eternal foe of the creative impulse, the adversary, the personified force of resistance and obstruction: Satan. He saw him in visible shape, with claws and beak and bat-like wings, with dragon’s tail, and treacherous basilisk eyes, his face in a malignant grin. This savage and devouring element, allied with iron, had given birth to every science, cast every gun, and its almighty laughter pealed in the burst of every shell.
[He] had seen all varieties of destruction, he had seen how men can stand up against mud and hunger and the peril of death; murder massed and industrialized, devastation, streams of blood, chill contorted corpses, wounded men shivering beside a fire as the surge of fever shook them, and the hideous slavery from which there could be no relief but death.
November 28, 2013
Swedish fighter jets to join Nato response force
Sweden will contribute a squadron of Jas Gripen fighter jets as well as a mine-sweeping ship to join the Nato Rapid Reaction Force (NRF), the government decided on Thursday.
The Swedish fighter squadron, ship, and roughly 120 service personnel will join the Nato force in 2014. By 2015, Sweden will contribute an additional eight Gripen fighters and an amphibious unit.
Last month, Nato agreed to let Sweden to join the Steadfast Jazz training exercise, allowing Swedish soldiers to train with the NRF, a multinational force of up to 25,000 troops that can act as a stand-alone force available for rapid deployment. The Swedish contribution could eventually participate in Nato missions, although Sweden would decide which missions its forces would join.
The initial contribution of eight planes and the minesweeper will be a part of the NRF’s reserve forces.
“This means that they will be available for deployment as part of the NRF reserve force during this period. They will be in Sweden, but they will be ready for duty,” Sweden’s Defence Minister Karin Enström told the TT news agency.
“These are units that have been certified by Nato as being sufficiently well-trained to participate.”
Parts of the NRF have been deployed in the past to help with security surrounding the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 2004 and during presidential elections in Afghanistan that same year. Finland has been a part of the NRF reserve force since 2008. Sweden declined to join at the time as there was insufficient support in parliament for Swedish participation in the Nato force.
This week, Sweden also participated in a major Nato cyber defence exercise dubbed Cyber Coalition 2013, to test Nato’s ability to defend itself against a cyber attack. In addition to the 28 Nato member countries, non-Nato members Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, and Austria participated in the exercise.
November 29, 2013
US ‘not leaving’ major air bases in Afghanistan
The United States is ratcheting up pressure against the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai because it has no intentions of leaving major air bases, an analyst says.
“The US has no intentions of leaving major air bases in Afghanistan,” Rick Rozoff, from Stop NATO Network, told Press TV on Thursday.
“Some of which have been dealt by the Soviet Union, but upgraded and modernized by the United States for the purpose of being able to threaten and perform extra military aggression against not within Afghanistan, but presumably in neighboring bordering countries,” he added.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has so far refused to sign an agreement with the United States that would keep thousands of American troops in Afghanistan after 2014.
Deep disagreements over legal immunity for American soldiers and the controversial issue of night raids by foreign troops have held up the security pact.
The US wants to keep as many as 10,000 troops in the country to train the Afghan national security forces. Without an agreement, all troops should leave the country by the end of 2014.
President Karzai said this week he would not sign the pact and reiterated his call for an end to American troop raids on Afghan homes and the start of peace talks.
“Whenever the Americans meet these two demands of mine, I am ready to sign the agreement,” Karzai said.
From Atlantis (1912)
Translated by Adele and Thomas Seltzer
“I was kept in a military school until I was ten years old. The desire came upon me to commit suicide, and I was punished for insubordination. There was no fascination for me in being prepared for a great carnage.”
America was then suffering from a business depression, a crisis, as the political economists dub it. The causes of the depression came up for discussion. Most of the Americans present happened to be Democrats, and they threw the blame on the Republicans. The Tammany Tiger was the subject of especial execration. It not only controlled New York City, the mayor of which was a creature of Tammany, but had also put its men into the most influential positions throughout the land. And every Tammany man knew how to shear his sheep. As a result, the American people were thoroughly bled. The corruption in the highest offices was said to be on a tremendous scale. Millions of dollars were appropriated to the navy, but if a man-of-war actually happened to be built, the thing was a great achievement, since the money, long before it was applied to its proper purposes, sifted down into the pockets of peaceful Americans, whose interest in the navy was of the slightest.
“Americans are parrots, incessantly chattering two words, dollar and business, dollar and business. Those two words have been death to culture in America. An American doesn’t even know what it is to have the Englishman’s spleen. Think of the fearfulness of living in a country called the land of dollars. We have human beings living in Europe. The Americans regard everything, even their fellow-men, from the point of view of the number of dollars they represent. If a thing can’t be reckoned in dollars, they have no eyes for it. And then Carnegie and Company come and want to astonish us with their disgusting shopkeeper’s philosophy. Do you think they’re helping the world on by slicing off some of the world’s dollars and then returning some of the sliced off dollars with a great flourish of trumpets? Do you think that if they do us the favour to give us some of their money, we’ll throw overboard our Mozart and Beethoven, our Kant and Schopenhauer, our Schiller and Goethe, our Rembrandts, Leonardos, Michael Angelos, in short, all our wealth of art and intellect? What is a miserable cur of an American millionaire, a dollar maniac, as compared with all those great men? Let him come and ask us for alms.”
“Existus,” said Frederick, after a prolonged investigation of the man’s heart. Even a few moments after the stethoscope had been removed, one could see the ring it made on his bluish, waxen skin. His chin dropped. Thy put it back in place, and Frederick bound his jaws with his white handkerchief. “He had a bad fall,” Frederick remarked. It may actually have been the unfortunate fall to which the helot owed his death. There was a deep bleeding gash in his temple from the edge of a large nut. “Probably a heart stroke,” Frederick added, “the result of the heat and overexertion.” He looked at the dead man, then at his mates, naked, blackened, illuminated by the jaws of the glowing furnaces, and thought of the fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” If we were to take the commandment literally, how far should we get?
The physicians mounted on deck, and several of the men picked up the victim of civilisation, the modern galley-slave, still covered with the sweat of his fearful occupation. With the handkerchief about his head, he looked as if he were suffering from toothache. They carried him out of the glowing pit to the cabin set aside for dead bodies.
Doctor Wilhelm had to notify the captain. Nobody on deck, where the band was playing the last measures, was to suspect that a stoker had died.
“I very much fear, very much indeed,” said Frederick, “That our world-wide means of communication, which mankind is supposed to own, really own mankind. At least so far, I see no signs that the tremendous working capacity of machines has lessened human labour. Nobody will deny that our modern machine slavery, on so tremendous a scale, is the most imposing slavery that has ever existed. And there is no denying that it is slavery. Has this age of machinery subtracted from the sum of human misery? No, most emphatically, no! Has it enhanced happiness and increased the chances for happiness? No, again.”
“…But the worst thing is the frightful, endless shedding of blood which human meat-eaters deem necessary for their preservation. Think of all the butchers in the world, think of those immense slaughter-houses in Chicago and other places where the machine-like, wholesale murder of innocent animals is constantly going on. People can live without meat. It isn’t indispensable to their welfare.”
Qatar News Agency
November 27, 2013
Qatar participates in NATO-ICI meeting
BRUSSELS: The State of Qatar has participated in the meeting held between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and that Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) under the chairmanship of the NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels.
Addressing the meeting, HE Qatar’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Sheikh Ali bin Jassim Al Thani underlined the importance of reaching a real and comprehensive approach that includes new forms of joint cooperation.
In light of the rapid political developments in the regional and international arenas and the current challenges, especially the tragic situation in Syria.
HE the Qatari Ambassador pointed to the need to hold meetings and consultations in order to discuss the current threats, particularly terrorism, piracy and criminal activities such as drug smuggling.
The NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, launched at the Alliance’s Summit in the Turkish city in June 2004.
Aims to contribute to long-term global and regional security by offering countries of the broader Middle East region practical bilateral security cooperation with NATO.
November 26, 2013
NATO launches ‘largest ever’ cyber-security exercises
NATO has kicked off Cyber Coalition 2013, the largest ever exercise of its kind intended to thwart massive, simultaneous attacks on member states and their allies.
The three-day exercise, based at the 27 member alliance’s cyber defense center in Estonia, will include participants from over 30 European states. Some 400 IT, government and legal experts from across the alliance will take part in the operation.
“With around 100 participants in Tartu [Estonia] and over 300 in national capitals from 32 nations, Cyber Coalition 2013 is the largest exercise of its kind in terms of participating countries,” NATO said in a statement.
The exercises are intended to check NATO and its partners’ “technical and operational responsibilities” and review how efficiently participants coordinate their efforts.
The alliance noted that as a host nation, Estonia will provide “exercise infrastructure, training facilities and logistics support.”
“Cyber-attacks are a daily reality and they are growing in sophistication and complexity. NATO has to keep pace with this evolving threat and Cyber Coalition 2013 will allow us to fully test our systems and procedures to effectively defend our networks – today and in the future,” Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO Headquarters, said in a statement. “NATO has to keep pace with this evolving threat.”
NATO has yet to decide if a cyber-attack against one alliance member would entail a collective response as outlined under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Currently, cyber security is treated as a national responsibility despite the interconnectedness of member state networks.
Estonia has hosted the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence since October 2008, following a series of cyber-attacks against the country in April of the previous year.
Roland Murof, a military spokesman for the Estonian Defense Forces, said that the games’ scenario includes “simulated multiple, simultaneous attempts to infiltrate information networks with different cyber warfare techniques, including botnets and malware-infected websites…
Erich Maria Remarque
From The Road Back (1930)
Translated by A.W. Wheen
The thought of Peace had sprung up before us like a rocket, and though indeed we did not yet believe or understand it, the bare hope had sufficed to change us more in the few minutes it took for the rumour to circulate, than anything in twenty months before. Till now, the years of war had succeeded each other, year laid upon year, one year of hopelessness treading fast upon another, and when a man reckoned the time, his amazement was almost as great to discover it had been so long, as that it had been only so long. But now that it had become known that peace may come any day, every hour had gained in weight a thousandfold, every minute under fire seems harder and longer than the whole time before.
The fog moves and lifts. And suddenly I know what it is that has thrown us all into such a state of alarm. It has merely become still. Absolutely still.
Not a machine gun, not a shot, not an explosion; no shriek of shells; nothing, absolutely nothing, no shot, no cry. It is simply still, utterly still.
We look at one another: we cannot understand it. This is the first time that it has been so quiet since we have been at the Front. We sniff the air and try to figure what it can mean. Is gas creeping over? But the wind is not favourable; it would drive it off. Is an attack coming? But the very silence would have betrayed it already. What is it, then? The bomb in my hand is moist, I am sweating so with excitement. One feels as if the nerves must snap. Five minutes. Ten minutes. “A quarter of an hour now,” calls Laher. His voice sounds hollow in the fog as from a grave. Still nothing happens, no attack, no sudden, dark-looming, springing shadows –
Hands relax and clench again tighter. This is not to be borne. We are so accustomed to the noise of the Front that now, when the weight of it suddenly lifts from us, we feel as if we must burst, shoot upward like a balloon.
“Why,” says Willy suddenly, “it is peace!” – It falls like a bomb.
Faces relax, movements become aimless and uncertain. Peace. We look at one another, incredulous. Peace? I let my hand grenades drop. Peace? Ludwig lies down on his waterproof again. Peace? In Bethke’s eyes is an expression as if his whole face would break in pieces. Peace? Wessling stands motionless as a tree; and when he turns his back on it and faces us, he looks as if he meant to keep straight on home.
All at once – in the whirl of our excitement we had hardly observed it – the silence is at an end; once more, dully menacing, comes the noise of gunfire, and already from afar, like the bill of a woodpecker, sounds the knock-knocking of a machine gun. We grow calm and are almost glad to hear again the familiar, trusty noises of death.
Voice of Russia
November 26, 2013
US/NATO continue simulating war against Russia in Germany
When the Cold War finished many intelligent, peace-loving and thinking people all over the world believed that there would be a drawing down of military forces and an end to the arms race as the ideological confrontation between the USSR and the USA was no longer a geopolitical reality. However as history has shown that has been far from the case and in fact the opposite is completely true. With the recent Steadfast Jazz training exercises, military buildup in Poland and the current exercises envisaging fighting against regular army forces in the Caucuses US/NATO continue military exercises and maneuvers that are clearly aimed against Russia. These moves by US/NATO are perhaps the most serious threat to world peace and stability that currently exists.
No more Phantom Menace
The Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, has been on the forefront of the fight for peace and as the Voice of Russia recently reported he stated that he anticipates the implementation of the Iran nuclear pact to render the US/NATO Anti-Ballistic Missile Shield in Europe obsolete.
Lavrov: “If the Iranian agreement takes its course, there will be no reason to create an ABM system in Europe, which is now being described as a necessity.”
Although as Mr. Lavrov states it is being described as a necessity many experts believe and have stated that with a few minor changes and the changing of war heads the entire ABM shield could be used to facilitate a US/NATO first strike on the Russian Federation. This became clear almost from the outset when all Russian attempts at cooperation with NATO, including the very workable and (if such a threat existed) necessary concept of Sectoral Defense, something absolutely necessary as the US/NATO radar is blind in key areas due to the curvature of the earth and as was detailed by an eyewitness is only effective against approximately 40 percent of large missiles and completely useless against small and hypersonic delivery systems.
Continued military escalation detracting from civil society
The Russian Federation has the inalienable and non-negotiable unwavering right as a sovereign nation to defend itself against all threats both internal and external and these include not just military threats and threats to its territory but threats against its economy, culture, language, religion and civil society, to mention a few, and this right has to be guarded and carried out with the utmost seriousness and unquestioning steadfast resolve on all fronts.
On the diplomatic front Russia has continued to attempt to reach compromise and improve relations with US/NATO although attempts at military cooperation have been continuously and repeatedly spurned by US/NATO making it clearer with every effort that US/NATO are apparently not interested in maintaining a peaceful mutually beneficial relationship with Russia but in fact wants to continue the Cold War paradigm.
On the military front Russia and other countries threatened by US/NATO global expansion have ad to divert funds and energies that could have been used for the betterment of their own populations to an escalation in military spending in order to maintain parity with the new global US/NATO.
On the civil front Russian security services and bodies of government have had to wage a battle and introduce legislation against organizations such as USAID and NGOs which evidence showed sought to undermine and influence Russia’s internal civilian and political life. Something that other countries around the world have also had to do.
Continued US/NATO war games
After the demise of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the disassembly of the Warsaw Pact many observers expected that NATO would follow suite and that would have been the logical and one would think only rational thing to do, but as with open war the end of the Cold War also fell under the self-serving banner of “to the winner go the spoils” and in this case the “spoils” were geopolitical influence and territory, that (by the Pentagon’s own words) would be projected “by force” through NATO.
US/NATO continue to seek ways to expand and stay relevant and are shifting their strategy into that of a “global security provider” but even this is disingenuous as exercises and scenarios continue to focus on attacking and fighting against a phantom Russian threat.
The OSCE and then NATO were organizations designed and created to contain and fight the Soviet Union and the spread of Communist ideology and the influence of the Warsaw Pact in Europe but that threat no longer exists and in reality NATO is now completely irrelevant. But like a Frankenstein monster created for a single purpose it refuses, or is truly incapable of adapting to modern geopolitical realities. This is made evident again and again by projects and exercises such as the ABM “shield”, Steadfast Jazz and current training exercises designed to train against Russian conventional forces in the Caucuses.
US/NATO openly training for war with Russia
According to the United States Army publication Stars and Stripes: on NATO training grounds in Hohenfels, Germany the “Joint Multinational Readiness Center” is hosting one of its largest multinational training exercises in recent years.
John Vandiver at Stars and Stripes writes: “Battalions of Czech and Slovenian troops, a US headquarters unit and a host of other forces, including US National Guard troops from California, have been war gaming around the clock inside Hohenfels’ sprawling battleground known as “the box.” Rather than training to take on the Taliban in Afghanistan, they’re working on other combat scenarios, such as taking on a conventional enemy force in the Caucasus region. “We don’t know what the future threats are going to look like, but we do know one thing; we aren’t going to fight it alone,” said Brig. Gen. Walter Piatt, head of the Joint Multinational Training Command. “We’re going to fight with our partners. If we don’t train together we’re never going to do it live.”
Obviously the only possible “conventional enemy force” that US/NATO would ever encounter in the Caucuses would be the Russian Army. This is further made obvious by the fact that US/NATO have successfully pulled other nearby countries into “partnerships” and the like.
Why the expansion?
As the headline for the above article reads US/NATO are working to prove their continued relevance but by creating more and more phantom threats they are in fact proving by their own actions that they are in fact an irrelevant and unnecessary burden on the countries of Europe and in fact a greater threat to world peace than any other force in the modern world. Especially the poor and decimated populations of the Middle East and Northern Africa which have fought against US/NATO occupation.
With it becoming an “open secret” that the US is in collusion with al-Qaeda, Israel and Saudi Arabia, in order to continue military operations and expand its spying/military/security/economic architecture, NATO itself must try to find new threats to justify its existence. It is difficult politically, except possibly against the most ignorant elements, to continue to wave around the boogeyman of al-Qaeda to justify expensive and unnecessary US/NATO military expansion and operations especially when there are more and more reports that not only was al-Qaeda created by the US in Afghanistan but that it is still actively arming/funding/training them, a fact brought home in Syria.
Forces in the shadows
After years of investigative research, further underlined by recent interviews and more extensive research I have conducted in to the JFK assassination, in particular with regard to Operation Northwoods, it has become clearer who the forces are that continue to promote and expand the archaic and irrelevant US/NATO military architecture.
These are forces that Andrew Kreig, a Yale Law School Graduate, writer and researcher calls the “Puppet Masters” and they are the forces that have in fact been the architects of the entire War on Terror, the current security state in the US and the current paradigm that we are all affected by. As Operation Northwoods showed these are forces that would kill hundreds if not thousands of innocent civilians in order to bring about even more war and death and advance their geopolitical and economic goals.
According to multiple sources these dynastic architects of war and geopolitical machinations are a multi-national conglomerate of individuals with a minimum of $500 million in assets each who meet yearly under the name of the Bilderberg Group to plan how to bring about complete and total world domination. They are in fact the true “Globalists” or “Shadow Government” that so many conspiracy theories cite.
There are no Russians in the Bilderberg Group and this is for understandable reasons. Russia with its vast territory and almost limitless resources is a sought after gem for the West and since there is no peaceful way that they could obtain control of Russia their war machine must continue to be primed and ready, that is one reason for the continued expansion of US/NATO.
It is all about the money
The other reason is much more mundane and in fact benign and that is that there are too many Bilderberg fortunes based on the US Military Industrial Complex, which has an endless appetite for expansion and economic gain. The US Military Industrial Complex has milked the US populace for all it can throwing the country into a debt of over $200 trillion, hence the expansion, at each country’s expense, into a global NATO force.
The forces in this group are so powerful that even the President of the United States is almost powerless against them. Which explains why Nobel Peace Prize winning US President Barrack Obama has continued policies of endless war and the illegal prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba.They are also so powerful that any journalist who has dared to even write about who the participants are has faced major backlash.
The opinions and views expressed here are my own. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks go out to Rick Rozoff at Stop NATO for the heads up on this one.
November 26, 2013
State Minister leaves for Belgium
State Minister for Reintegration Affairs, Aleksi Petriashvili has left for Belgium this morning to discuss Georgia-EU cooperation issues a few days prior to the EU Eastern Partnership Summit with NATO authorities.
Aleksi Petriashvili will participate in the NATO-Georgia Commission and hold bilateral meetings. The Minister will also meet with the NATO Secretary General to discuss Georgia`s cooperation with NATO and EU n the future.
`NATO-Georgia commission will assemble to discuss Georgia`s annual national program. We`ll hold meetings with the NATO ambassadors after the meeting with the NATO Secretary General. This is a very significant meeting, because, as we have learnt, Georgia will get a very positive assessment of the annual national program implementation,` the Georgian minister said.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
November 26, 2013
U.S. Naval Forces Europe – U.S. Naval Forces Africa
U.S. Sixth Fleet
November 26, 2013
HDMS Esbern Snare Engages with East African Boarding Teams During Cutlass Express
By Royal Danish Navy 1st Lt. Peter Hojgrav, HDMS Esbern Snare (L 17) Public Affairs
During Exercise Cutlass Express 2013, sailors assigned to the Danish naval ship HDMS Esbern Snare (L 17) worked closely with Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya forces in developing skills for their boarding team members.
“It is rewarding to see the everyday improvement in the way in which our African friends conduct boarding operations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Carsten Hansen, the ship’s operations officer and training coordinator. “They listened to our back-briefs and took onboard the tips and tricks in a very constructive and positive way.”
Cutlass Express, which took place Nov. 11-18, was a regional capability building exercise that took place along the coast of East African. The purpose of the exercise was to foster and further improve regional naval cooperation and understanding procedures to improve maritime security.
As a whole, Cutlass Express involved multiple events taking place simultaneously in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Mombasa, Kenya, Djibouti, Djibouti, and Port Victoria, Seychelles.
Esbern Snare is currently serving under Task Force 508, which is conducting counter-piracy missions in East Africa as part of the NATO mission Operation Ocean Shield.
From Bread and Wine (1936)
Translated by Gwenda David and Eric Mosbacher
The mobilization of the paupers and the hungry at Fossa also involved the mobilization of the insolvent. The directors of the Fossa Bank had asked to be sent to Africa to forestall their trial for fraudulent bankruptcy, and their patriotic example had been widely followed. The haberdasher in the public square opposite the Girasole Hotel had failed and been compelled to put up his shutters, but that morning he had reopened, put his wife behind the counter and a large notice outside the shop, saying “Creditors are informed that the proprietor of this shop has voluntarily enlisted.” Henceforward no authority would dare decree the sequestration of the goods of a war hero…
“This is a mortgage war!” the tax-office clerk remarked, running his eye down the list of volunteers.
“So I ask myself: where is the Lord and why has He abandoned us?” he went on. “The loud-speakers proclaiming the outbreak of war in all the market-places were certainly not the Lord. The bells that rang to summon the ragged and hungry crowds were certainly not the Lord. The shelling of African villages and the bombing raids of which the papers tell us every day are certainly not the Lord. But if a poor man, alone in his village, gets up at night and takes a piece of chalk or charcoal and writes on the village walls: ‘Down with the war! Long live the brotherhood of all peoples! Long live liberty!’ behind that poor man is the Lord. In his contempt for the dangers that threaten him, in the secret love he nourishes for our so-called African enemies, in his love of liberty, there is an echo of the Lord…”
“I watched a popular demonstration at Fossa on the occasion of the outbreak of the war,” the young man said. “It almost made me afraid to see a whole crowd fall a prey to the most primitive instincts. The poor peasants believe in the Leader as in an all-powerful wizard, the priests believe in him as the man of Providence,”
“If the priests allow themselves to be deceived, it is their own fault,” the man interrupted. “They have been warned for two thousand years. They were told that many would come in the name of Providence and seduce the people, that there would be talk of wars and rumors of wars. They were told that all this would come to pass, but that the end would be not yet. They were told that nation would rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom; that there would be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places; but that all these things would not be the end, but the beginning. The Christians were warned a long time ago. Many will be horrified and many will betray. And if some one (even if it is the Pope himself) says: ‘Here is a Man of Providence! There is a Man of Providence!’ we must not believe him. We have been warned. False prophets and false saviors shall rise and shall show great signs and wonders, and shall deceive many. We could not demand a plainer warning. If many have forgotten it, it will not change anything of that which will come to pass. The destiny of their Man of Providence has already been written. Intrabit ut vulpis, regnabit ut leo, morietur ut canis. He will come in like a fox, reign like a lion, and die like a dog.”
Russian Information Agency Novosti
November 25, 2013
Iran Deal Nullifies Needs for Europe Missile Shield – Russian FM
ROME: Implementation of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program reached in Geneva this weekend will make the US missile defense system in Europe unnecessary, Russia’s foreign minister said Monday.
“If the agreement on Iran is implemented, the reason named as a necessity to establish a missile defense system in Europe will drop away,” Sergei Lavrov said while speaking at a media forum in Rome.
Iran and six international negotiators struck a deal early Sunday to slow the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
Tehran will get some $7 billion in relief from sanctions. The deal also stipulates that international observers will monitor nuclear sites in the country.
NATO and the United States say the US missile defense system in Europe is designed to counter threats from North Korea and Iran. The system has been a sore point in US-Russian relations for years.
Russia and NATO formally agreed to cooperate over the European missile defense system at the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, but talks foundered, in part over Russian demands for legal guarantees that the system would not target its strategic nuclear deterrent.