First Since Cold War: NATO Holds Article 5 War Games

December 4, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Land Comman
d
December 1, 2014

Allied Land Command takes part in Exercise Trident Lance 2014

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IZMIR, Turkey: NATO’s Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) is participating in Exercise TRIDENT LANCE 2014, which is currently underway at the Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC) in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

The exercise, which involves close to 4,000 personnel, will test NATO’s ability to coordinate and execute a NATO-led Article 5 Collective Defence operation in a multinational environment. It also serves to certify land-based command and control elements for potential NATO operational deployments based on high-intensity, war fighting conditions.

“Our job at Allied Land Command is to ensure the land forces of NATO are ready to deal with any threats to the Alliance,” said Lt. Gen. John Nicholson, LANDCOM Commander. “Over the next 2 weeks, we will be conducting an exercise which will be the first multi-Corps NATO exercise since the end of the Cold War, focused on protecting the territorial integrity of NATO members.”

TRIDENT LANCE includes NATO’s SKOLKAN scenario, a scenario that requires Article V collective defence of a NATO member within a notional European region. The scenario was commissioned by Supreme Allied Commander Europe and designed by the Joint Warfare Centre. The scenario challenges the command and control structure, while overcoming gaps to process and capabilities. Events to be redressed and enhanced, as NATO Forces and troop contributing nations negotiate the best ways to defend sovereign territory and a NATO member.

The challenges presented in the fictional SKOLKAN scenario include hybrid warfare, theatre-ballistic missile defence, cyber defence and chemical, biological and radiological defence.

“The ability to operate together, specifically multinational forces conducting complex operations, is critical,” said Lt. Gen. Nicholson. “The ability to have an expeditionary logistics capability, air and ground forces integration, and the ability to rapidly deploy to threatened areas require adaptation on the part of the Alliance to be able to do that. And this training is a step to improve our skills.”

Exercise TRIDENT LANCE 2014 wraps up on 13 December.

Story by SHAPE and HQ LANDCOM Public Affairs Offices

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NATO, Georgia Discuss Potential For New Caucasus War

December 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
December 3, 2014

Georgian FM Meets NATO Secretary General

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Tbilisi: Georgian Foreign Minister, Tamar Beruchashvili, met on December 3 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels.

Beruchashvili said after the meeting that “regional security challenges”, among them Russia’s new treaty with breakaway Abkhazia, and implementation of package of enhanced cooperation, which was agreed at the NATO Wales summit in September, were discussed.

NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, will be visiting Tbilisi to hold meetings with the Georgian leadership, as well as opposition representatives, on December 4.

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Civil Georgia
December 3, 2014

NATO Envoy, Georgian Officials Discuss Implementation of ‘Substantial Package’

Tbilisi: NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, said implementation of a substantial package, endorsed by the Alliance at the Wales summit for Georgia, “is going well.”

Appathurai met in Tbilisi on December 4 PM Irakli Garibashvili; Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze; State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Davit Bakradze, as well as parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili and representatives from opposition UNM party.

Speaking at a news conference after meeting the state minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, Appathurai said that the focus of his discussions with the Georgian officials was implementation of package of enhanced cooperation to help the country prepare for NATO membership.

“I can tell you it [implementation of the package] is going well on the Georgian side and on the NATO side,” he said.

The elements of this package include assisting defense capacity building in Georgia through “embedded trainers”, joint exercises and setting up of a joint NATO-Georgia training center in Georgia.

“There will be a lot more Georgia in NATO and lot of NATO in Georgia,” Appathurai said.

“We welcome very much the speed with which Georgia has been working to define this new joint training center,” Appathurai said, adding that NATO defense planning experts are already in Georgia, working closely with the Georgian colleagues on this issue.

He said that what now has to be defined is in essence what kind of training will be provided, what kind of military units and what size of units will be getting training in this center and how it will be integrated into Georgia’s own requirements and its other partnership activities.

Answers to these questions, Appathurai said, will also help Georgia to decide the best location for this center. “I know there are only few options,” he added.

Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze said after meeting the NATO secretary general’s special representative that he hopes the implementation plan of the package will be finally approved at NATO-Georgia Commission session, which is planned in February on the sideline of NATO defense ministerial meeting.

“We will spare no effort to implement this plan, which is aimed at strengthening of our defense and security capabilities,” Janelidze said.

Appathurai said that the Georgian Defense Ministry “is focused very much” on implementation of this package.

Asked about a statement of chairman of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Elmar Brok, that NATO should focus on strengthening its collective defense and that “this is not the time to discuss the membership” of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, Appathurai pointed that Moldova is a neutral country and NATO membership is not an issue there, while Ukrainian leadership makes focus on reforms; in respect of Georgia, he said, 2008 NATO Bucharest summit decision stands, according to which Georgia will join the alliance once it fulfills necessary criteria.

Appathurai said that the package with its “concrete steps” is “explicitly” designed to help Georgia for NATO membership. He said that focus is now on implementing the package, which will also help to implement the Bucharest Summit decision.

“So in that context Mr. Brok is right – there is no point in discussing membership, our point now is to discuss implementation, which will help Georgia prepare for membership,” Appathurai said.

Commenting on newly signed treaty on “alliance and strategic partnership” between Russia and breakaway Abkhazia, Appathurai said that NATO shares Georgian analysis of this so called treaty.

“We do see it as a substantial new step in Russia taking control of this region,” Appathurai said.

Asked if he sees it as an impediment to Georgia’s path towards NATO membership, Appathurai responded: “No.”

“This complication was already there, when even at the most recent summit [in Wales in September] the Allies reconfirmed the Bucharest decision that Georgia will become a NATO member,” Appathurai said.

‘Concerns over Perception of Politically Motivated Prosecutions’

Asked about ex-defense minister Irakli Alasania’s allegations that the arrest of MoD and general staff officials was politically motivated that target him, NATO secretary general’s special representative responded that Georgia should avoid even the perception of politically motivated prosecutions.

“We are concerned about a perception of politically motivated prosecutions,” he said and also noted that he cannot comment on individual cases.

“It is crucial to avoid of course the reality of politically motivated prosecutions and, as an extension of that, a perception of it,” Appathurai said.

“If this perception becomes widespread and deeply engrained in NATO capitals, it can become an obstacle on Georgia’s path towards NATO membership,” he said and added that it’s important for the Georgian government to be as transparent as possible.

Democratic reforms, as well as reforms in the justice system were discussed at a meeting with parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili, Appathurai said.

“The speaker has very clear and I think very constructive ideas on how to ensure national consensus on very important issues like Georgia’s foreign policy orientation but also reforms to the justice system and other internal governmental procedures,” NATO secretary general’s special representative said.

“He [Usupashvili] plays a very important role within the [GD ruling] coalition, but also we think, within the society more broadly in ensuring consensus and bringing parties together,” Appathurai said.

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Enhanced Integration: NATO Caucasus, Central Asia Envoy In Georgia

December 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 4, 2014

Meeting with James Appathurai

NATO Secretary General`s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia pays an official visit to Georgia. First Mr. James Appathurai met with Minister of Defence Mindia Janelidze.

A key topic of the meeting was discussing implementation details of the Substantial Package granted to Georgia at the NATO Wales Summit. The sides focused on the commitments undertaken by Georgia with regard to realizing the new package of enhanced cooperation with NATO. As Minister outlined, timely implementation of the package is a main priority of the country and expressed hope that NATO will help Georgia to carry out the directions set out in the package. Mr. Appathurai stressed that Ministry of Defence goes in a right direction: “We have from the recent NATO Summit a blueprint of implementing the package which will help Georgia move closer to NATO membership. Ministry is focused very much on implementation on making it real, detailed and what each step will be putting the resources in place. NATO is already participating very actively and we are already identifying the people who will be coming in here, defining where the joint training center will be – that’s a Georgian decision of course, hopefully we can define it together. There will be further high-level visits to focus on implementation.”

Discussions referred to the current reforms in the Ministry of Defence and the future plans. As Mr. Mindia Janelidze highlighted, the transformation process will continue successfully and Georgia remains committed to contribute to the NATO and EU-led international operations. Next year Georgia will engage in the “Resolute Support” mission in Afghanistan and NATO Response Forces.

Mr. James Appathurai thanked the Georgian side for participation in international peacekeeping missions: “I also passed the message to the Minister – this is to thank Georgia for the contribution your country is making to NATO-led mission and continue to make but also to other operations in other theaters like in Africa. This is a small country that makes a huge contribution. Georgian forces are in some very difficult areas and we know how difficult that is. You will see a lot more of NATO in Georgia, we see a lot more Georgia in NATO every year and we continue to be the case.”

Minister summed up the results of the meeting: “It was a very fruitful meeting. First, we have reviewed the issues of current cooperation. A key topic of the discussion regarded the NATO Substantial Package granted to Georgia at the Wales summit and its implementation process. NATO Headquarters and Mr. Appathurai as the NATO Secretary General`s Special Representative will be actively engaged in the elaboration of implementation plan. I hope that it will be finally agreed and approved at the NATO-Georgia Commission session due to be held during Defence Ministerial in February of next year. We, in our turn, will do our outmost to realize the substantial NATO-Georgia package that is actually directed to strengthen defence capabilities and security of our country.”

In the framework of the visit, the NATO representative will meet Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Davit Bakradze, Chairman of the Georgian Parliament Davit Usupashvili and parliamentary majority and minority members.

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Nathanael West: Every defeat is a victory in a war of attrition

December 4, 2014 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

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

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

Nathanael West: They haven’t the proper military slant

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Nathanael West
From Good Hunting (1938)

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JARVIS

C company has been joined with D, making D full strength again.
(Moves flags)

FITZSIMMONS
(Ironically)

They’ll get two dinners per man tonight and double tobacco ration.

JARVIS
(Philosophically)

Wellington said: “You’ve got to break eggs to make an omelette.”

FITZSIMMONS

We’re not using eggs.

JARVIS

We must take the long view – every defeat is a victory in a war of attrition.

FITZSIMMONS

What would the men in the front lines think of that?

JARVIS

They know nothing of military science.

FITZSIMMONS

I think I could explain your war of attrition so they’d understand it. It’s like checkers. We have so many more men on the board than they have that we can afford to lose three of ours for every one of theirs and still win.

JARVIS
(Shocked)

The censors would never permit such an explanation.

FITZSIMMONS

Of course not. You couldn’t make war without the censors.

***

GRACE

(…BOWKER comes in on his way to the garden, carrying some silver)

(Stopping him and examining the silver)

What beautiful Chinese silver, Bowker. Does the government issue it?

BOWKER

No, ma’am. We captured it in the Boxer rebellion.

GRACE

Looting!

BOWKER
(Smiling)

Spoils of war, rather, ma’am.

GRACE

The General should bring thinks like that home. What’s the use of being a soldier’s wife if one doesn’t get souvenirs?

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Ukraine: Several Foreigners Given Senior Cabinet Posts

December 3, 2014 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
December 3, 2014

Ukraine’s parliament approves new cabinet

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KIEV: The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday approved the formation of a new cabinet which includes political veterans, new faces and several foreign technocrats who were recently granted Ukrainian citizenship.

The 20-member cabinet, approved with 288 votes in favor, will be led by Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, a 40-year-old pro-West politician who has served as prime minister since February.

Yatsenyuk, who resigned with his cabinet last month following the Oct. 26 parliamentary election, was later re-appointed prime minister by Poroshenko, and his premiership was approved by the parliament on Nov. 27.

Many of the ministers in the cabinet retain posts they have held for several months, including Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorakt.

Several foreign technocrats, who were granted Ukrainian citizenship by a presidential decree earlier in the day, were given senior cabinet positions.

Natalia Yaresko, a former U.S. citizen of Ukrainian descent, become the finance minister, and Aivaras Abromavicius, a former Lithuanian national, took charge of the ministry of economic development and trade. Alexander Kvitashvili, a former Georgian citizen, became the health minister.

The lawmakers also approved the formation of the ministry of information policy, which was led by former journalist Yury Stets.

The previous Ukrainian cabinet resigned last month following the Oct. 26 parliamentary election. Facing a separatist movement in the country’s east, the new government is tasked with reviving an economy burdened with a free fall in its currency and the soaring borrowing costs.

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Ukrinform
December 2, 2014

Jaresko, Kvitashvili, Abromavicius become Ukrainian citizens

KYIV: Natalie Jaresko, Alexander Kvitashvili and Aivaras Abromavicius have become Ukrainian citizens as persons the granting of Ukrainian citizenship to whom is of state interest.

Ukrainian presidential press secretary Sviatoslav Tseholko reported this on his Facebook page.

“Three foreigners have agreed to become Ukrainian citizens have agreed to share their experience of reforms at senior positions. I think this is a difficult choice for them. Natalie Jaresko, Alexander Kvitashvili and Aivaras Abromavicius have become citizens of Ukraine under a presidential decree,” he said.

Tseholko noted that this question had been considered by a presidential commission that proposed granting citizenship to them.

According to a proposal from the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko, Alexander Kvitashvili could be appointed Ukraine’s health minister, Aivaras Abromavicius economic development and trade minister, and Natalie Jaresko could become finance minister.

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George Gissing: War turns science into enemy of man

December 3, 2014 Leave a comment

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

George Gissing: The imposition of military servitude

George Gissing: Letter to a son killed in war: War is a horrible thing that ought to be left to savages

George Gissing: Lord of Slaughter commands curse of universal soldiering

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

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George Gissing
From The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (1903)

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I hate and fear “science” because of my conviction that, for long to come if not for ever, it will be the remorseless enemy of mankind. I see it destroying all simplicity and gentleness of life, all the beauty of the world; I see it restoring barbarism under a mask of civilization; I see it darkening men’s minds and hardening their hearts; I see it bringing a time of vast conflicts, which will pale into insignificance “the thousand wars of old,” and, as likely as not, will whelm all the laborious advances of mankind in blood-drenched chaos.

****

Many a time I have said to myself that I would close the dreadful record of human life, lay it for ever aside, and try to forget it. Somebody declares that history is a manifestation of the triumph of good over evil. The good prevails now and then, no doubt, but how local and transitory is such triumph. If historic tomes had a voice, it would sound as one long moan of anguish. Think steadfastly of the past, and one sees that only by defect of imaginative power can any man endure to dwell with it. History is a nightmare of horrors; we relish it, because we love pictures, and because all that man has suffered is to man rich in interest. But make real to yourself the vision of every blood-stained page – stand in the presence of the ravening conqueror, the savage tyrant – tread the stones of the dungeon and of the torture-room – feel the fire of the stake – hear the cries of that multitude which no man can number, the victims of calamity, of oppression, of fierce injustice in its myriad forms, in every land, in every age – and what joy have you of your historic reading? One would need to be a devil to understand it thus, and yet to delight in it.

Injustice – there is the loathed crime which curses the memory of the world. The slave doomed by his lord’s caprice to perish under tortures – one feels it a dreadful and intolerable thing; but it is merely the crude presentment of what has been done and endured a million times in every stage of civilization. Oh, the last thoughts of those who have agonized unto death amid wrongs to which no man would give ear! That appeal of innocence in anguish to the hard, mute heavens! Were there only one such instance in all the chronicles of time, it should doom the past to abhorred oblivion. Yet injustice, the basest, the most ferocious, is inextricable from warp and woof in the tissue of things gone by. And if anyone soothes himself with the reflection that such outrages can happen no more, that mankind has passed beyond such hideous possibility, he is better acquainted with books than with human nature.

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Brussels: NATO Stands With Kiev In 232-Day War, Condemnation Of Russia

December 2, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 2, 2014

NATO stands with Ukraine, steps up practical support

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NATO Foreign Ministers on Tuesday (2 December 2014) stated their political and practical support for Ukraine as its new government embarks on key reforms. “We remain committed to assisting Ukraine speed up reforms and we are enhancing our support so that Ukraine can better provide for its own security,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC).

The NATO ministers held talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin who participated in the meeting via video link from Kiev. Ministers discussed the challenging developments in and around Ukraine, and reviewed progress made since the last meeting of the NUC at the Wales Summit in September. At the meeting NATO Foreign Ministers declared that the trust funds and projects on command, control, communications and computers, logistics and standardisation, cyber defence, military career transition and medical rehabilitation are operational. A fifth trust fund to help rehabilitate wounded soldiers has also recently been set up. Mr. Stoltenberg said the trust funds “are a concrete signal” of NATO’s support. “They will help make Ukraine’s defence forces more modern, more transparent, and more effective. And they will help some of those affected by the conflict.”

The Secretary General also stressed that that “in the face of Russia’s continued and deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine, NATO will continue to show firm political support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity”. Mr. Stoltenberg reaffirmed NATO’s support for a political settlement of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis. “The Minsk agreements remain a framework which could pave the way for a peaceful solution”, he said. “Ukraine has made genuine efforts to respect its commitments. But Russia and the Russian-backed separatists have not. We call on Russia to honour its obligations. This includes withdrawing its forces and military equipment from Ukrainian territory and along the Ukrainian border. Providing for effective international monitoring of the border.” Ministers further condemned Russia’s military build-up in Crimea, and expressed concern over Russia’s stated plans for further military build-up on the Black Sea.

Secretary General Stoltenberg congratulated Ukraine on the success of November’s elections, saying “they confirmed Ukraine’s choice for democracy, unity, and European integration.”

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NATO Initiates “Spearhead Force” For War With Russia

December 2, 2014 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
December 2, 2014

NATO sets up rapid-reaction force to assure allies in eastern Europe
By Slobodan Lekic

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BRUSSELS: NATO on Tuesday established an initial rapid-reaction force that will serve to reassure allies in eastern Europe concerned about Russia’s intentions and to deter any threats against them, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Alliance foreign ministers meeting in Brussels are also scheduled to officially approve a new advisory mission for Afghanistan that will start operating on Jan. 1, after the departure of NATO combat forces.

Stoltenberg said the initial rapid-reaction unit, which will be stood up early next year, will be replaced in 2016 by a larger, permanent “spearhead force.”

“But we need to be ready in the meantime, (and) an interim spearhead force … will be available early next year to provide the quick-reaction capability we need, straight away,” he said.

The rapid-reaction contingent, consisting of several hundred troops from Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, is intended to be an interim solution until NATO’s so-called Spearhead Force becomes operational. Current plans call for that to be a brigade-strength unit with 4,000-6,000 troops. The units are intended to provide assurances to countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, all of which have a common border with Russia.

After a meeting of NATO and Ukrainian officials earlier Tuesday, a joint statement was issued condemning Russia’s “deliberate destabilization” of eastern Ukraine, including providing tanks and weapons, and its military buildup in Crimea.

Stoltenberg said the alliance had set up several trust funds to help Ukraine improve its military capabilities in logistics, command and control, communications and cyberdefense. Funding will also be provided for the retraining of former soldiers and rehabilitation of wounded troops.

Turning to Afghanistan, Stoltenberg said the new mission in that country, called Resolute Support, will commence on Jan. 1, the day the current NATO combat mission ends.

NATO assumed responsibility for security in the country in August 2003. More than 3,400 NATO troops have died and more than 30,000 have been wounded.

For the new mission, Washington has already pledged nearly 10,000 troops — mainly trainers and advisers — and a contingent of anti-terrorism forces. NATO allies and partner nations are expected to contribute about 2,000 more advisers.

Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s new president, and Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan Cabinet’s chief executive, were making their first visit to NATO since taking office in late September. NATO had hoped to welcome Afghanistan’s new leader at its summit in Wales in early September, but the election dispute between Ghani and Abdullah had not yet been resolved. The new administration immediately signed long-delayed security agreements with the United States and NATO designed to enable them to field the follow-on training and advisory mission.

The presence of Ghani and Abdullah at the NATO meeting “is a strong sign of the strong mutual commitment between NATO and Afghanistan … in the future,” Stoltenberg said.

In recent weeks, Taliban insurgents have conducted a series of attacks in Kabul and across the country in an apparent effort to undermine the security forces and demonstrate their continuing ability to prosecute the 13-year-old war.

Taliban leaders have vowed to continue fighting until all foreign troops have left the country.

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Interview: U.S. Invasion Of Afghanistan Increased Extremism, Drug Trade

December 2, 2014 Leave a comment

Press TV
December 2, 2014

‘US invasion of Afghanistan increased extremism, drug trade’: Activist

The US invasion of Afghanistan has destabilized the country and led to an increase of “extremism” and the “explosion” of drug trade, says Rick Rozoff.

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The military occupation of Afghanistan by US and NATO forces since 2001 destabilized the country and led to an increase of “extremism” and the “explosion” of drug trade, a peace activist in Chicago says.

“The US and NATO military intervention,far from stabilizing the country, has led to an actual increase in armed extremism in Afghanistan,” said Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop NATO International Network.

“Its [also] led to a veritable explosion of opium cultivation, flooding the heroin markets of Eurasia, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of people becoming addicted, tens if not hundreds of thousands dying as a result of heroin processed from Afghan opium,” Rozoff told Press TV on Tuesday.

“We know after 13 years of military occupation by the United States and NATO that Afghanistan has become incontestably the largest source of narcotics in the world,” he noted.

“The insincerely optimistic picture painted by the West of its accomplishments in Afghanistan is belied by the fact that there’s an increase of attacks by Taliban forces and that international aid agencies have to at least temporarily shut down their operations for fear that their personnel and the recipients of their aid might be victims of violence,” Rozoff stated.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across the country, despite the presence of thousands of US-led troops in Afghanistan.

Last month, President Barack Obama secretly signed an order that allows US troops to be involved in combat operations in Afghanistan throughout 2015, The New York Times reported.

The order will authorize American forces to continue their missions against the Taliban and other militant groups in the Asian country. The new authorization will also let US jets, bombers, and drones be used to aid ground troops.

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Charles Yale Harrison: Who can comfort whom in war? The mother of the man who died at the end of my bayonet

December 2, 2014 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Charles Yale Harrison: Selections on war

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Charles Yale Harrison
From Generals Die In Bed (1928)

How can I say to this boy that something took us both, his brother and me, and dumped us into a lonely, shrieking hole at night – it armed us with deadly weapons and threw us against each other.

I imagined that I see the happy face of the mother when she heard that her two boys were to be together. She must have written to the older one, the one that died at the end of my bayonet, to look after his younger brother. Take care of each other and comfort one another, she wrote, I am sure.

Who can comfort whom in war? Who can care for us, we who are set loose at each other and tear at each other’s entrails with silent gleaming bayonets?

***

I buy tickets for the theater. Inside, the performance has started.

On the stage a vulgar-faced comic is prancing up and down the apron of the stage singing. Behind him about fifty girls dressed in gauzy khaki stage uniforms, who look like lewd female Tommies, dance to the tune of the music. Their breasts bob up and down as they dance and sing:

Oh, it’s a lovely war.
What do we care for eggs and ham
When we have plum and apple jam?
Quick march, right turn.
What do we do with the money we earn?
Oh, oh, oh, it’s a lovely war.

The tempo is quick, the orchestra crashes, the trombones slide, the comic pulls impossible faces.

The audience shrieks with laughter. Gladys laughs until tears roll down her face.

The chorus marches into the wings. A Union Jack comes down at the back of the stage. The audience applauds and cheers.

I feel miserable.

The fat comic – the half-undressed actresses – somehow made me think of the line. I look about me. There are very few men on leave in the theater. The place is full of smooth-faced civilians. I feel that they have no right to laugh at jokes about the war.

I hear Gladys’s voice.

“Don’t you like it, boy?”

“No, these people have no right to laugh.”

“But, silly, they are trying to forget.”

“They have no business to forget. They should me made to remember.”

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Mediterranean: NATO’s Sea

December 1, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

December 1, 2014

Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO visits Greece

Edited

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PIRAEUS, Greece: Three ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) made a scheduled port visit to Piraeus, Greece during the Group’s deployment to the Mediterranean to enhance maritime security and readiness, and in support of NATO’s counter-terrorism [sic] Operation Active Endeavour (OAE). The group was in Piraeus from 26 November to 29 November.

Led by Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA N) since July, SNMG2 is currently composed of the flagship USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), HMCS Toronto (FFH 333) and ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon (F 102).

Since July, the Group has conducted multiple exercises and port visits along the North American coast and the Mediterranean, conducting high level and high tempo training and contributing to maritime situational awareness and the overall security of the Mediterranean. These included participation in NATO’s Response Force certification Exercise Noble Justification and the Turkish-led Exercise Mavi Balina.

Recent SNMG2 activity…included the proactive boarding and search of merchant ships in the Mediterranean…

Following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR (OAE) was launched as an Article V operation, in support of the Alliance’s collective self-defence.

OAE is part of NATO’s multi-faceted response…Its mission is to conduct maritime operations in the Mediterranean Sea and Straits of Gibraltar to actively demonstrate NATO’s resolve…

Through the Mediterranean Voluntary Reporting Scheme, merchant ships are encouraged to send an Initial Report to the NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) upon entering the Mediterranean or leaving a Mediterranean port. This enhances NATO’s forces ability both to assist shippers and to avoid interference between military and merchant ships.

Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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Henri Troyat: Tolstoy’s visceral detestation of war

December 1, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Henri Troyat: Selections on war

Leo Tolstoy: Selections on war

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Henri Troyat
From Tolstoi (1965)
Translated by Nancy Amphoux

TROYAT-henri

1857

At the sight of Napoleon’s tomb, he was seized with indignation…How could a people who claimed to be peace-loving, freedom-loving and reason-loving dedicate this haughty sarcophagus in red porphyry to a man who had drenched all Europe in blood? “This idealization of a malefactor is shameful,” he thought. He scowled furiously at the names of the victories carved in the walls of the crypts…He left in a rage, and the sight of two old disabled veterans sunning themselves in the courtyard merely fanned the flames of his wrath. That evening the man who had once sung hymns to the bravery of the Crimean troops – whatever their nationality – wrote of these cock-hatted and medallioned derelicts, “They are nothing but soldiers, animals trained to bite. They should be left to starve to death. As for their torn-off legs – serves them right!”

1876

While the final chapters of Anna Karenina were being published, the public was badly shaken by news of the uprising of the Serbs and Montenegrins against the Turks. Could the Czar turn a deaf ear to this, could be abandon his traditional role of protector of the faithful in the Balkans? Aroused by the journalists’ call to arms, scores of Russians volunteered to serve under General Chernayev and defend their “little Slavic brothers.” Collections for the downtrodden rebels were taken up at church doors. The officers of the guards had visions of a short military tour through the land of the miscreants, complete with distributions of the St. George Cross. Tolstoy, who was writing the Epilogue to Anna Karenina, dared to express his disapproval through the mouth of his hero Levin, who said the volunteers for the front were “misguided…hotheads,” always itching for a fight on the first pretext that came along; nothing could be more scandalous than these ladies in sable capes and trains behind their dresses going to extort money out of the peasants, when their total collection amounts to less than the price of their train”; he even proclaimed that “the good of society is dependent on scrupulous obedience to of the moral law engraved in every human heart” and that “no one, therefore, should desire or advocate war, whatever generous aim it purports to serve.”

1900

The quelling of the Philippine uprising by the United States, and the British expeditions against the Boers in the Transvaal shocked his sense of justice. “They are horrible, these wars that the English and Americans are waging in a world in which even schoolchildren condemn war!” he wrote.

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Tbilisi: EU, Georgian Military Chiefs Converse In English

November 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
November 28, 2014

Chairman of the EU Military Committee visits Georgia

Chairman of the European Union Military Committee General Patrick de Rousiers is paying a two day official visit to Georgia. Chief of the General Staff of Georgian Armed Forces Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze hosts the EU high military representative.

An official welcome reception was held in the courtyard of the GS. The military brass band of Ministry of Defence performed EU and Georgian state anthems.

After an official reception, the military officials held a meeting in the conference hall of the GS. Current defence cooperation between Georgia and EU and the future plans of relationship were among the key topics of discussion. The sides focused on Georgia`s engagement in EU crisis management operations in the frames of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

At the meeting Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze briefed the EU military representative on the ongoing defence reforms. Georgian Chief of Defence underlined Georgia`s participation in EU and NATO-led international missions where the Georgian troops are gaining useful combat experience and providing significant contribution to the global security.

Following the meeting, the generals summarized the outcome of the meeting: “It is a great pleasure and great honor for me to be here in Tbilisi on the invitation of your Chief of General Staff. I am here, Chairman of the EU Military Committee and Military Adviser to Madam Mogherini, the high representative of the EU. I just had a meeting two weeks ago with the 28 Chiefs of Defence of the Europe and told them that I was coming here. They all asked me to pay tribute to the engagement of the Georgian Armed Forces alongside us and on behalf of Madam Mogherini I would like to highlight how much she is eager to say and to reaffirm the importance of territorial integrity of Georgia.

“We had very fruitful discussions today. I am looking forward to further discussions with you. I am very honored to be invited by your President but also by Prime Minister and Minister of Defence. It will be an occasion for us to interact and explain our views on these challenges that we are each facing –immediate challenges and also more profound and long-term challenges throughout the world.

“It will be an occasion to highlight how much EU-Georgia collaboration in various elements, of one of which is defence, is very important for the EU side and we are very happy of the continued engagement of the Georgian Armed Forces in Central African Republic. I was recently in Bangui and saw the professionalism of the Georgian detachment there….

“The visit of General Patrick de Rousiers in Georgia was very important. Significance of the contribution provided by the Georgian troops to the global security was reiterated during the meeting. Today, it is impossible to discuss any regional problem in a narrow context as all such problems are becoming global. We are determined to further deepen the EU-Georgian relationship in the military sphere”, said Chief of the GS of GAF Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze.

After the meeting, The Chairman of the European Union Military Committee laid wreath on the memorial of heroes fallen in the fight for the territorial integrity of Georgia and paid tribute to their memory by holding a minute of silence.

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John Galsworthy: War, where Christ is daily crucified a million times over

November 30, 2014 2 comments

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

John Galsworthy: Selections on war

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John Galsworthy
From Saint’s Progress (1919)

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Yes, surely it was ordained! Moonlight had the town now; and all was steel blue, the very air steel-blue; a dream-city of marvellous beauty, through which he passed, exalted. Soon he would be where that poor boy, and a million others, had given their lives; with the mud and the shells and the scarred grey ground, and the jagged trees, where Christ was daily crucified…

***

When he had gone she roamed a little farther, and lay down on the short grass, where the chalk broke through in patches. She could hear a distant rumbling, very low, travelling in that grass, the long mutter of the Flanders guns. ‘I wonder if it’s as beautiful a day there,’ she thought. ‘How dreadful to see no green, no butterflies, no flowers – not even sky – for the dust of the shells. Oh! won’t it ever, ever end?’ And a sort of passion for the earth welled up in her, the warm grassy earth along which she lay, pressed so close that she could feel it with every inch of her body, and the soft spikes of the grass against her nose and lips. An aching sweetness tortured her, she wanted the earth to close its arms about her, she wanted the answer to her embrace of it. She was alive, and wanted love. Not death – not loneliness – not death! And out there, where the guns muttered, millions of men would be thinking that same thought!

***

In the boarding-house, whence the Lairds had not yet removed, the old lady who knitted, sat by the fireplace, and light from the setting sun threw her shadow on the wall, moving spidery and grey, over the yellowish distemper, in time to the tune of her needles. She was a very old lady – the oldest lady in the world, Noel thought – and she knitted without stopping, without breathing, so that the girl felt inclined to scream. In the evening when George and Gratian were not in, Noel would often sit watching the needles, brooding over her as yet undecided future. And now and again the old lady would look up above her spectacles; move the corners of her lips ever so slightly, and drop her gaze again. She had pitted herself against Fate; so long as she knitted, the war could not stop – such was the conclusion Noel had come to. This old lady knitted the epic of acquiescence to the tune of her needles; it was she who kept the war going such a thin old lady! ‘If I were to hold her elbows from behind,’ the girl used to think, ‘I believe she’d die. I expect I ought to; then the war would stop. And if the war stopped, there’d be love and life again.’

***

She stopped after going perhaps three hundred yards, by the edge of the wood. It was splendidly dark in there, and she groped her way from trunk to trunk, with a delicious, half-scared sense of adventure and novelty. She stopped at last by a thin trunk whose bark glimmered faintly. She felt it with her cheek, quite smooth – a birch tree; and, with her arms round it, she stood perfectly still. Wonderfully, magically silent, fresh and sweet-scented and dark! The little tree trembled suddenly within her arms, and she heard the low distant rumble, to which she had grown so accustomed – the guns, always at work, killing – killing men and killing trees, little trees perhaps like this within her arms, little trembling trees! Out there, in this dark night, there would not be a single unscarred tree like this smooth quivering thing, no fields of corn, not even a bush or a blade of grass, no leaves to rustle and smell sweet, not a bird, no little soft-footed night beasts, except the rats; and she shuddered, thinking of the Belgian soldier-painter. Holding the tree tight, she squeezed its smooth body against her. A rush of the same helpless, hopeless revolt and sorrow overtook her, which had wrung from her that passionate little outburst to her father, the night before he went away. Killed, torn, and bruised; burned, and killed, like Cyril! All the young things, like this little tree.

Rumble! Rumble! Quiver! Quiver! And all else so still, so sweet and still, and starry, up there through the leaves.. ‘I can’t bear it!’ she thought. She pressed her lips, which the sun had warmed all day, against the satiny smooth bark. But the little tree stood within her arms insentient, quivering only to the long rumbles. With each of those dull mutterings, life and love were going out, like the flames of candles on a Christmas-tree, blown, one by one…

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Poroshenko: Don’t Worry About Third World War

November 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Ukrinform
November 27, 2014

Poroshenko: Ukrainians should not be intimidated with third world war

Nuclear-explosion

KYIV: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that Ukrainians should not be intimidated with the third world war.

He said this from the parliament’s rostrum in his message on the internal and external situation in Ukraine.

“It’s unnecessary to intimidate us with the third world war. In fact, nobody plans to start it,” he said.

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He also noted that a plan to liquidate Ukraine had been foiled a year ago. “We, as the people of Ukraine, foiled a plan of quiet liquidation of Ukraine a year ago!” Poroshenko said.

Barack-meets-Poroshenko

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Albert Maltz: A children’s wartime bestiary

November 29, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts
 
American writers on peace and against war

Albert Maltz: Conquering the world but losing your son

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Albert Maltz
From The Cross and the Arrow (1944)

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“Tell me the story of the sparrow,” the child said.

Marianne smiled mechanically at Willi. “It’s the one he wants to hear every night,” she explained. She leaned close to the boy so that his cheek was pressed to hers. Her lovely face was a mask, her fine eyes were hot with pain.

“The spider kills the fly,” she began. “Then the sparrow kills the spider – and the hawk kills the sparrow – then the fox kills the hawk – and the dog kills the fox – then the wolf kills the dog – and then what?” she asked her son.

“Then what?” he echoed.

“Why, you know – Who kills the wolf?”

“You tell me, ” the lad said in his slurred baby talk.

“Why, a man!” his mother replied. “And that’s the way the world is, Dickie boy. The strong always win and kill their enemies. Will you be strong when you grow up?”

“Hm-hm…”

“Will you be the strongest man there is and kill all your country’s enemies?”

“Hm-hmmmm…”

“And what will you be, when you grow up?” she asked, as she turned half toward Wegler with a proud smile.

“A solya,” the child answered.

“That’s it; a soldier,” Marianne repeated.

***

Willi was at work when the British bombers came to Düsseldorf. He emerged from the factory shelter in a fiery dawn to find the five-story tenement in which he lived sheared in half. Kathe had been in the cellar with numberless others. He helped dig their bodies out. As an old soldier, he knew enough about death to be aware that Kathe had not suffered. Still, even for an old soldier, it was not good to look upon the body of his wife and see it without arms, its viscera exposed.

He cursed the British that day. He stood upon a carpet of rubble and broken glass and raised his fists to the heavens. And when he had ceased cursing these foreign marauders, he fell silent, remaining as tearless and graven as a lump of statuary. To any bystander, his mien must have seemed the very incarnation of grief. It was not. It was quite beyond grief. It was numbness, it was a new state of being, it was the state of a man whose soul has gone to sleep.

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U.S. To Supply Lethal Weapons To Ukraine

November 28, 2014 1 comment

November 28, 2014

Ukrainian Wikileaks: US to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine
Anna Mihaylenko

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian hacker group Cyberberkut (cyber-berkut.org/en/) made public some documents signed by US President Barack Obama and State Secretary John Kerry about the further deliveries of the lethal weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. According to the hackers, they found the data stored on the mobile device of an American diplomat accompanying US Vice-President Joe Biden during his visit to Kyiv.

Official mass media preferred to avoid this message, however Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, as well as the press secretary of the US Embassy in Moscow, were compelled to comment on the leaked information about military deliveries to Ukraine. According to their statements, Washington provides Kyiv exclusively with non-lethal military aid. Though they didn’t disprove the fact that the State Department employee’s mobile device had been hacked.

At the same time, the materials spread by Cyberberkut testify that Washington is ready to deliver rifles, missiles, anti aircraft armament and armor equipment to Kyiv. Besides, hackers claim that the Ukrainian army has been financed from the US Department of Defense budget for a long time.

According to hackers, the amounts of financing are ‘amazing’ and make impression that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are ‘a branch of the American Army’. What is more surprising, the US transfers hundreds of thousand dollars to Ukrainian officers’ personal accounts in circumvention of all established rules, principles and common sense. It’s not excluded that the Ukrainian military could freely spend the American aid for personal purposes.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces are actually in the extremely deplorable state. In August/September 2014, the Ukrainian ministry asked the Pentagon to pay meals and incidental expenses of the Ukrainian officers so that they could take part in the Rapid Trident joint maneuvers pending in Ukraine. In fact, Kyiv might not be pressed for money so much. The Ukrainians may just have wanted to gain from the United States as much as possible while there was an opportunity like that.

Among the most interesting documents there’s also the Ukrainian Defense Ministry ‘request’ for the American weapons supply. Kyiv asks to deliver 400 sniper rifles, 2000 assault rifles, 720 shoulder grenade launchers, nearly 200 mortars and more than 70 000 mortar shells, 420 Javelin anti-tank missiles and even 150 Stingers. Considering that the rebels have no aircraft, there is a fair question, what will the Ukrainian military do with anti-aircraft weapons? Unless they’re a wait ing for another Malaysian Boeing.

The request for diving equipment for an underwater warfare team of 150 personnel also attracts special attention. The requests like that go outside the framework of peaceful and defensive measures. It turns out that all Ukrainian peaceful initiatives and statements to cease fire against rebels remain just a declaration.

It’s worth mentioning here that the UN Charter and international law forbid deliveries of lethal arms to the regions with an unstable political and military situation and urge all parties of the conflict to refrain from violence. Now the Cyberberkut hackers’ leakages exclude the opportunity that the lethal weapons would be delivered to Ukraine in secret.

It’s interesting how the US partners in Europe can react to this incident. It’s supposed to be honest to respect the civilized diplomatic norms and inform NATO colleagues that the US is preparing lethal aid supplies to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Information warfare in Ukraine goes on, but it’s the first time when the United States’ officials were involved. It seems that visit will have serious consequences for the members of Joe Biden’s delegation thanks to Ukrainian followers of Julian Assange and his Wikileaks. The Administration is also sure to draw conclusions on reliability of personal devices of the employees.

ms_annam@mail.ua

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NATO, Japan Intensify Naval Integration In Gulf Of Aden

November 28, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

November 28, 2014

NATO and Japan Counter-Piracy Forces Strengthen Relations

GULF OF ADEN: NATO and Japanese maritime forces continued to strengthen relations and enhance interoperability by conducting a combined exercise in the Gulf of Aden, on Wednesday, 26 November. It was a follow-on to the first-ever exercise between the two counter-piracy forces that took place two months ago.

Like the first exercise, the participants were the destroyer JS TAKANAMI, operating as part of Combined Task Force 151, and HDMS ESBERN SNARE, the Task Force 508 flagship of NATO’s counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD.

The exercise focused on further enhancing the skills that were tested during the first exercise: communications, the use of tactical data links and tactical operations. Live firing gunnery exercises were also conducted.

During the exercise, Commander of the NATO Task Force 508, Commodore Aage Buur Jensen, visited JS TAKANAMI to observe part of the action from the Japanese ship.

“Japan is a valued partner for NATO, and it is a pleasure to see how cooperation between the Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces (JMSDF) and NATO is being consolidated,” said Commodore Jensen. “Coordinating our activities and sharing information are cornerstones in the counter-piracy effort in this region. By conducting combined exercises as we did two months ago and again today, doing exactly that becomes much easier.”

Following the end of the exercise and the transfer of personnel between JS TAKANAMI and HDMS ESBERN SNARE, the two ships continued their counter-piracy operations off Somalia.

Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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U.S. Infantry Division To Join Anti-Russian Mission In Europe

November 28, 2014 1 comment

United States European Command
November 26, 2014

4th Infantry Division to support Operation Atlantic Resolve
By Media Operations Division
United States European Command

STUTTGART, Germany:- Approximately 100 Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado, will deploy to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve early next year.

The 4th ID will provide division-level command and control for Army forces supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve, and is the first division-level headquarters to deploy to Europe as part of the Regional Alignment concept.

The 4th ID will continue to train alongside our NATO allies and partner nations in the region, which will continue to strengthen our interoperability and partner capacity. Operation Atlantic Resolve is a continued demonstration of the United States’ commitment to the collective security of our NATO allies and support for our partners in Europe, in light of the on-going Russian intervention in Ukraine. The operation will remain in place as long as required to reassure our allies.

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Tbilisi: EU Military Commander Meets Georgian Defense Chief

November 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
November 28, 2014

Minister of Defence meets General Patrick de Rousiers

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Minister of Defence of Georgia met the Chairman of the European Union Military Committee. Mr. Mindia Janelidze received the General Patrick de Rousiers in the Ministry of Defence. The sides discussed ongoing cooperation between Georgia and EU and the future plans of relationship. The significance of signing EU Association Agreement (AA) and Georgia`s engagement in EU crisis management operations within the framework of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) were highlighted during discussions. Minister underlined that the Georgian side is resolved to further intensify reform efforts and successfully implement commitments defined in EU Association Agenda. One of the key topics of the meeting was Georgian troops` involvement in the peacekeeping operation led under the auspices of EU in the Central African Republic. General Patrick de Rousiers thanked Mr. Janelidze for the contribution the Georgian military are providing to the peacekeeping mission. Minister stated that Georgia stands ready to take part in the joint efforts of building peace and security worldwide. The sides highlighted the critical role of the EUMM in Georgia which is the only international monitoring mechanism. The sides expressed hope that this visit will provide the basis for strengthening ongoing partnership between Georgia and EU.

The EU high military representative arrived in Georgia yesterday. General Patrick de Rousiers has already met the Chief of the GS of GAF Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze. The EU Military Committee delegation laid wreath on the memorial of heroes who died in action for the territorial integrity of Georgia [The war with Russia in 2008] and paid tribute to their memory by holding a minute of silence.

In the framework of the visit meetings are planned with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili and President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Towards the end of the visit, the Chairman of the EU Military Committee will visit Davit Agmashenebeli National Defence Academy. After viewing infrastructure, General will deliver the [Cuts off in the original]

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Isaac Rosenberg: O! ancient crimson curse! On receiving news of the war

November 28, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Isaac Rosenberg: Break of Day in the Trenches

Isaac Rosenberg: Dead Man’s Dump

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Isaac Rosenberg
On Receiving News of the War

ko1158-01-Isaac-Rosenberg

Snow is a strange white word.
No ice or frost
Has asked of bud or bird
For Winter’s cost.

Yet ice and frost and snow
From earth to sky
This Summer land doth know.
No man knows why.

In all men’s hearts it is.
Some spirit old
Hath turned with malign kiss
Our lives to mould.

Red fangs have torn His face.
God’s blood is shed.
He mourns from His lone place
His children dead.

O! ancient crimson curse!
Corrode, consume.
Give back this universe
Its pristine bloom.

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NATO’s Top Military Commander In Ukraine To Discuss 227-Day War

November 27, 2014 2 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europ
e
November 27, 2014

Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Philip Breedlove, visits Ukraine

Breedlove_poroshenko

KIEV, Ukraine: Gen. Phil Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander, U.S. European Command (EUCOM), visited Kiev, Ukraine November 26-27 to speak with senior political and military leaders.

Breedlove, in his U.S. capacity, met with President Poroshenko, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, Minister of Defence, General-Colonel Stepan Poltorak and others to discuss the security situation in eastern Ukraine, support from the United States and reforms planned in the defense sector.

“Ukraine’s preservation of its sovereignty, which is under immediate threat from Russia, is the top priority of the country’s leadership and one that the international community fully supports,” said Breedlove.

While speaking with the press, Breedlove addressed the friends, families and loved ones of Ukrainian troops who have perished fighting Russian-backed forces in East Ukraine, and said he was deeply moved by the memorials to the fallen on Institutska St. in Kiev where many civilians gave their lives for the freedom of their country.

The U.S., NATO allies and the international community will remain committed to pursuing a diplomatic solution that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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William Dean Howells: Warmongers should tremble when they remember that God is just

November 27, 2014 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

William Dean Howells: Editha

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

William Dean Howells: Spanish Prisoners of War

William Dean Howells to Mark Twain: War for humanity turned into war for coal-stations

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William Dean Howells
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League

From a letter to his sister Aurelia H. Howells
September 5, 1897

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On Wednesday we came to Weimar, and spent two days there. Goethe and Schiller lived there, you know, in the favor and friendship of the grand dukes, and literature was glorified as much there as war is elsewhere.

***

From a letter Aurelia H. Howells
May 1, 1898

The war seems to be taking its bloody course. Who wanted it? That is the mystery. I met a man last night who had been through Kansas, and that part of the West, where Eastern people think the war-feeling prevails; but he found only the greatest indifference and reluctance. The most we can hope for, now, is a clean fight-through with Spain, and no outside trouble; but this is uncertain, and in the meantime our wretched victories seem only a little less hateful than our defeats would be.

***

From a letter to Aurelia H. Howells
July 17, 1898

Yesterday Elinor and I went over to Kittery Point to see the Harvard, which had just come in with 1000 Spanish prisoners. We took a cat-boat and sailed out to her, where she laid in the stream; but the prisoners had been taken off in the morning, and we went up the Piscataqua river to Seavey’s Island where they are put – now 1700 in all. There we saw them lying on the grass, or crowding the doors of their long barracks, guarded by sentries twenty feet apart, and in peril of death if they passed a certain line within their high board fence; Gatling guns overlooked them from three heights above. It was better than fighting, but what must such captivity be to those poor boys! Just what it would be to ours in Spain. It seemed impossible that we should have entered upon this abominable business. If we were still in the habit of fearing God we might well tremble when we remember that he is just, as Jefferson did when he thought of slavery.

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NATO Conducts Naval Exercise In The Persian Gulf

November 26, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

November 26, 2014

NATO and Royal Navy of Oman conduct exercise

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ARABIAN SEA: The NATO counter-piracy flagship of Task Force 508 (CTF 508) HDMS ESBERN SNARE and the Royal Navy of Oman corvette RNOV AL-RASIKH have conducted a naval exercise in the Arabian Sea off Salalah. The exercise, which was held on Monday, 24 November, was designed to improve interoperability and strengthen relations between the forces.

The exercise focused mainly on communication, navigational exercises and demonstration of boarding capabilities. Prior to the exercise, personnel from the Royal Navy of Oman visited HDMS ESBERN SNARE while in port in Salalah to complete the planning of the exercise and get an introduction to the Special Maritime Insertion Unit (SMIU), one of HDMS ESBERN SNARE’s specialised assets for counter-piracy.

During the exercise, members of the CTF 508 staff and crew members from HDMS ESBERN SNARE and RNOV AL-RASIKH took turns visiting the other’s ship. Chief of Staff for CTF 508, Commander s.g. Jens Bjørnsteen, led the group of visitors to RNOV AL-RASIKH.

“It was a great experience to visit the AL-RASIKH during the exercise,” said Commander s.g. Bjornsteen…

Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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Brussels: NATO Tightens Ties With Iraq

November 26, 2014 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
November 25, 2014

National Security Advisor from Iraq visits NATO

Iraqi National Security Advisor visits NATO

Iraq’s National Security Advisor, Mr. Falih Al Fayyadh, visited NATO Headquarters on Tuesday, 25 November 2014. He met with the NATO Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, and briefed NATO Permanent Representatives during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council chaired by NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg.

During his visit, Mr. Al Fayyadh and NATO Ambassadors shared views on the current security situation in Iraq and the region. They also discussed ways to enhance the NATO-Iraq cooperation, within the framework of the existing Individual Partnership Cooperation Programme (IPCP) between NATO and Iraq.

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Russia Top “Threat” To NATO: U.S. Troops In Eastern Europe Indefinitely

November 26, 2014 2 comments

U.S. Army News Service
November 24, 2014

Eastern Europe Troop Rotations Could Continue, Commander Says
By David Vergun

WASHINGTON: Soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division and later replacement units will rotate to locations in Eastern Europe through the end of next year as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, and those rotations could continue after next year and for the foreseeable future, the commander of U.S. Army Europe said today.

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges spoke to reporters at the Pentagon from Vilnius, Lithuania, via a video teleconference.

The rotations — part of the Army’s regionally aligned forces concept — are taking place in Eastern Europe to provide “important assurance” to NATO allies of U.S. commitment and “deterrence to Russian aggression,” Hodges said. Also, the presence of U.S. forces in Eastern Europe will ensure a more rapid response, should aggression occur, he added.

Forward-stationed Forces With Rapid-response Capability

Because the United States no longer has a massive military presence as it had in West Germany during the Cold War, the current strategy is to provide forward-stationed forces with a rapid-response capability. The strategy also relies on training with local NATO forces, he said.

The other part of the strategy is to pre-position equipment in Eastern Europe, Hodges said. While there are logistical assets already in Germany, the idea is eventually to move a heavy brigade combat team with its tanks and Bradley vehicles to an area further east, such as Poland, Romania, or one of the Baltic countries, he added. The Defense and State departments, as well as NATO countries, are now discussing the location, he said.

Although “the footprint in Europe is much smaller than it used to be, we can still provide the needed capabilities,” the general said, adding that he’s hopeful that overseas contingency operations money will be approved for all of the necessary expenses that come with ramping up Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Two Reasons for Optimism

The reason for optimism is two-fold, he said. First, the U.S. has committed to a strategy to defend Eastern Europe’s NATO countries through the European Reassurance Initiative.

Second, NATO itself is now on board. “I’ve never seen the NATO alliance more unified than coming out of the [September] summit in Wales,” he said, explaining that the heads of NATO nations “recognized Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its illegal activities inside eastern Ukraine.”

Hodges said he believes that with NATO resolve, Russia would not dare to engage in a conventional attack…

That NATO agreed to sanctions against Russia and declared its resolve against its aggression is all the more impressive, he said, because not all of the 28 NATO allies agree that Russia is the No. 1 threat the alliance faces. For example, some southern NATO countries see illegal immigration from North Africa as the bigger threat, and Turkey looks across its border at Iraq and Syria and sees the trouble there as its chief concern.

‘Strong Europe’ Slogan

That the U.S. Army is committed to standing alongside its European allies is reflected in a new slogan: “Strong Europe,” which is a take on the “Army Strong” slogan, Hodges said. The strength of the Army is its dedicated soldiers and their leaders, he said, many of whom will be spending Thanksgiving in Eastern Europe.

“I’m extremely proud of them,” he said, noting that he had spent time earlier in the day with soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division in Lithuania. Later this week, he said, he’ll visit soldiers in Estonia and Poland.

Hodges said the United States and NATO will not be intimidated by Russian aggression, and that any aggression will be met with a firm and rapid response. He noted that a few months ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “We can be in Vilnius in two days.”

“Well, I got here in three hours, coming from Wiesbaden,” Germany, Hodges said.

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Sherwood Anderson: War destroys brotherhood

November 26, 2014 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

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Sherwood Anderson
From The Marching Men (1916)

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In the world of men nothing is so rare as a knowledge of men. Christ himself found the merchants hawking their wares even on the floor of the temple and in his naive youth was stirred to wrath and drove them through the door like flies. And history has represented him in turn as a man of peace so that after these centuries the temples are again supported by the hawking of wares and his fine boyish wrath is forgotten. In France after the great revolution and the babbling of many voices talking of the brotherhood of man it wanted but a short and very determined man with an instinctive knowledge of drums, of cannons and of stirring words to send the same babblers screaming across open spaces, stumbling through ditches and pitching headlong into the arms of death. In the interest of one who believed not at all in the brotherhood of man they who had wept at the mention of the word brotherhood died fighting brothers.

***

Something is wrong with modern American life and we Americans do not want to look at it. We much prefer to call ourselves a great people and let it go at that. It is evening and the people of Chicago go home from work. Clatter, clatter, clatter, go the heels on the hard pavements, jaws wag, the wind blows and dirt drifts and sifts through the masses of the people. Every one has dirty ears. The stench in the street cars is horrible. The antiquated bridges over the rivers are packed with people. The suburban trains going away south and west are cheaply constructed and dangerous. A people calling itself great and living in a city also called great go to their houses a mere disorderly mass of humans cheaply equipped. Everything is cheap. When the people get home to their houses they sit on cheap chairs before cheap tables and eat cheap food. They have given their lives for cheap things. The poorest peasant of one of the old countries is surrounded by more beauty. His very equipment for living has more solidity.

***

McGregor began to read books of history and became absorbed in the figures of certain men, all soldiers and leaders of soldiers who stalked across the pages wherein was written the story of man’s life. The figures of Sherman, Grant, Lee, Jackson, Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, and Wellington seemed to him to stand starkly up among the other figures in the books and going to the Public Library at the noon hour he got books concerning these men and for a time lost interest in the study of law and devoted himself to contemplation of the breakers of laws.

***

America is the land of murders. Day after day in cities and towns and on lonely country roads violent death creeps upon men. Undisciplined and disorderly in their way of life the citizens can do nothing. After each murder they cry out for new laws which, when they are written into the books of laws, the very lawmaker himself breaks. Harried through life by clamouring demands, their days leave them no time for the quietude in which thoughts grow. After days of meaningless hurry in the city they jump upon trains or street cars and hurry through their favourite paper to the ball game, the comic pictures and the market reports.

***

Men have not learned that we must come to understand the impulse toward order, have that burned into our consciousness, before we move on to other things. There is in us this madness for individual expression. For each of us the little moment of running forward and lifting our thin childish voices in the midst of the great silence. We have not learned that out of us all, walking shoulder to shoulder, there might arise a greater voice, something to make the waters of the very seas to tremble.

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War Footing: Stoltenberg Tells NATO States To Boost Military Spending

November 25, 2014 Leave a comment

UNIAN
November 24, 2014

Stoltenberg again urges NATO to increase defense spending

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has again urged the member countries of the alliance to increase defense spending, according to Russian information agency RIA Novosti.

“That which was decided at the summit in Wales was a significant increase in collective security,” Stoltenberg said at a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in The Hague.

“This will help us to deal with any threats wherever they come from: from the east or from the south. It is important that we implement the plan on time and in full,” Stoltenberg said.

“All these efforts and priorities should be properly funded. All member countries should contribute to the implementation of the NATO Action Plan on preparedness,” he said.

“We can cut our defense spending in more peaceful times, and this could be right, but we do not live in peace now. It is necessary to stop cuts and to increase investment in our defense,” he added.

“All allies of the NATO should contribute their share,” the secretary general said.

He said that during the summit in Wales NATO member countries decided to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP the for 10 years. According to him, the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece and Estonia have already done so.

“I expect all of us will achieve this goal,” he said.

As reported earlier, on September 5 during the NATO summit in Wales, NATO member countries adopted a plan to strengthen a collective defense of the alliance, and agreed on the creation of a rapid reaction force. NATO said the moves were in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

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Theodore Dreiser: The logic of military victory, an apologue

November 25, 2014 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Theodore Dreiser: If he went he might be shot, and what would his noble emotion amount to then? He would rather make money, regulate current political, social and financial affairs

Theodore Dreiser and Smedley Butler: War is a Racket

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Theodore Dreiser
From The Financier (1912)

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There was a fish-market not so very far from his home, and there, on his way to see his father at the bank, or conducting his brothers on after-school expeditions, he liked to look at a certain tank in front of one store where were kept odd specimens of sea-life brought in by the Delaware Bay fishermen. He saw once there a sea-horse – just a queer little sea-animal that looked somewhat like a horse – and another time he saw an electric eel which Benjamin Franklin’s discovery had explained. One day he saw a squid and a lobster put in the tank, and in connection with them was witness to a tragedy which stayed with him all his life and cleared things up considerably intellectually. The lobster, it appeared from the talk of the idle bystanders, was offered no food, as the squid was considered his rightful prey. He lay at the bottom of the clear glass tank on the yellow sand, apparently seeing nothing – you could not tell in which way his beady, black buttons of eyes were looking – but apparently they were never off the body of the squid. The latter, pale and waxy in texture, looking very much like pork fat or jade, moved about in torpedo fashion; but his movements were apparently never out of the eyes of his enemy, for by degrees small portions of his body began to disappear, snapped off by the relentless claws of his pursuer. The lobster would leap like a catapult to where the squid was apparently idly dreaming, and the squid, very alert, would dart away, shooting out at the same time a cloud of ink, behind which it would disappear. It was not always completely successful, however. Small portions of its body or its tail were frequently left in the claws of the monster below. Fascinated by the drama, young Cowperwood came daily to watch.

One morning he stood in front of the tank, his nose almost pressed to the glass. Only a portion of the squid remained, and his ink-bag was emptier than ever. In the corner of the tank sat the lobster, poised apparently for action.

The boy stayed as long as he could, the bitter struggle fascinating him. Now, maybe, or in an hour or a day, the squid might die, slain by the lobster, and the lobster would eat him. He looked again at the greenish-copperish engine of destruction in the corner and wondered when There was a fish-market not so very far from his home, and there, on his way to see his father at the bank, or conducting his brothers on after-school expeditions, he liked to look at a certain tank in front of one store where were kept odd specimens of sea-life brought in by the Delaware Bay fishermen. He saw once there a sea-horse – just a queer little sea-animal that looked somewhat like a horse – and another time he saw an electric eel which Benjamin Franklin’s discovery had explained. One day he saw a squid and a lobster put in the tank, and in connection with them was witness to a tragedy which stayed with him all his life and cleared things up considerably intellectually. The lobster, it appeared from the talk of the idle bystanders, was offered no food, as the squid was considered his rightful prey. He lay at the bottom of the clear glass tank on the yellow sand, apparently seeing nothing – you could not tell in which way his beady, black buttons of eyes were looking – but apparently they were never off the body of the squid. The latter, pale and waxy in texture, looking very much like pork fat or jade, moved about in torpedo fashion; but his movements were apparently never out of the eyes of his enemy, for by degrees small portions of his body began to disappear, snapped off by the relentless claws of his pursuer. The lobster would leap like a catapult to where the squid was apparently idly dreaming, and the squid, very alert, would dart away, shooting out at the same time a cloud of ink, behind which it would disappear. It was not always completely successful, however. Small portions of its body or its tail were frequently left in the claws of the monster below. Fascinated by the drama, young Cowperwood came daily to watch.

One morning he stood in front of the tank, his nose almost pressed to the glass. Only a portion of the squid remained, and his ink-bag was emptier than ever. In the corner of the tank sat the lobster, poised apparently for action.

The boy stayed as long as he could, the bitter struggle fascinating him. Now, maybe, or in an hour or a day, the squid might die, slain by the lobster, and the lobster would eat him. He looked again at the greenish-copperish engine of destruction in the corner and wondered when this would be. To-night, maybe. He would come back to-night.

He returned that night, and lo! the expected had happened. There was a little crowd around the tank. The lobster was in the corner. Before him was the squid cut in two and partially devoured.

“He got him at last,” observed one bystander. “I was standing right here an hour ago, and up he leaped and grabbed him. The squid was too tired. He wasn’t quick enough. He did back up, but that lobster he calculated on his doing that. He’s been figuring on his movements for a long time now. He got him to-day.”

Frank only stared. Too bad he had missed this. The least touch of sorrow for the squid came to him as he stared at it slain. Then he gazed at the victor. “That’s the way it has to be, I guess,” he commented to himself. “That squid wasn’t quick enough.” He figured it out.

“The squid couldn’t kill the lobster – he had no weapon. The lobster could kill the squid – he was heavily armed. There was nothing for the squid to feed on; the lobster had the squid as prey. What was the result to be? What else could it be? He didn’t have a chance,” he concluded finally, as he trotted on homeward.

The incident made a great impression on him. It answered in a rough way that riddle which had been annoying him so much in the past: “How is life organized?” Things lived on each other – that was it. Lobsters lived on squids and other things. What lived on lobsters? Men, of course! Sure, that was it! And what lived on men? he asked himself. Was it other men? Wild animals lived on men. And there were Indians and cannibals. And some men were killed by storms and accidents. He wasn’t so sure about men living on men; but men did kill each other. How about wars and street fights and mobs?…

***

There is a certain fish, the scientific name of which is Mycteroperca Bonaci, its common name Black Grouper, which is of considerable value as an afterthought in this connection, and which deserves to be better known. It is a healthy creature, growing quite regularly to a weight of two hundred and fifty pounds, and lives a comfortable, lengthy existence because of its very remarkable ability to adapt itself to conditions. That very subtle thing which we call the creative power, and which we endow with the spirit of the beatitudes, is supposed to build this mortal life in such fashion that only honesty and virtue shall prevail. Witness, then, the significant manner in which it has fashioned the black grouper. One might go far afield and gather less forceful indictments – the horrific spider spinning his trap for the unthinking fly; the lovely Drosera (Sundew) using its crimson calyx for a smothering-pit in which to seal and devour the victim of its beauty; the rainbow-colored jellyfish that spreads its prismed tentacles like streamers of great beauty, only to sting and torture all that falls within their radiant folds. Man himself is busy digging the pit and fashioning the snare, but he will not believe it. His feet are in the trap of circumstance; his eyes are on an illusion.

Mycteroperca moving in its dark world of green waters is as fine an illustration of the constructive genius of nature, which is not beatific, as any which the mind of man may discover. Its great superiority lies in an almost unbelievable power of simulation, which relates solely to the pigmentation of its skin. In electrical mechanics we pride ourselves on our ability to make over one brilliant scene into another in the twinkling of an eye, and flash before the gaze of an onlooker picture after picture, which appear and disappear as we look. The directive control of Mycteroperca over its appearance is much more significant. You cannot look at it long without feeling that you are witnessing something spectral and unnatural, so brilliant is its power to deceive. From being black it can become instantly white; from being an earth-colored brown it can fade into a delightful water-colored green. Its markings change as the clouds of the sky. One marvels at the variety and subtlety of its power.

Lying at the bottom of a bay, it can simulate the mud by which it is surrounded. Hidden in the folds of glorious leaves, it is of the same markings. Lurking in a flaw of light, it is like the light itself shining dimly in water. Its power to elude or strike unseen is of the greatest.

What would you say was the intention of the overruling, intelligent, constructive force which gives to Mycteroperca this ability? To fit it to be truthful? To permit it to present an unvarying appearance which all honest life-seeking fish may know? Or would you say that subtlety, chicanery, trickery, were here at work? An implement of illusion one might readily suspect it to be, a living lie, a creature whose business it is to appear what it is not, to simulate that with which it has nothing in common, to get its living by great subtlety, the power of its enemies to forefend against which is little. The indictment is fair.

Would you say, in the face of this, that a beatific, beneficent creative, overruling power never wills that which is either tricky or deceptive? Or would you say that this material seeming in which we dwell is itself an illusion? If not, whence then the Ten Commandments and the illusion of justice? Why were the Beatitudes dreamed of and how do they avail?

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Lithuania: NATO Chief Stresses War Readiness In Northeast Europe

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
November 21, 2014

Secretary General stresses NATO’s commitment to collective security in visit to Lithuania

The Alliance’s Air Policing Mission over the three Baltic States was hailed as a concrete example of NATO solidarity in action by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a visit to the Karmelava Airspace Control Centre in Lithuania on Friday (21 November 2014). ”Collective defence is our core task,” Mr Stoltenberg said, “NATO stands with Lithuania – as we do with each and every Ally.”

At Karmelava, the Secretary General and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaité were briefed on the air policing mission at the control centre’s operations room.

They also met troops from Lithuania, Denmark, Hungary and the United States, currently training at Karmelava.

Meeting with President Grybauskaite, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius and Defence Minister Juozas Olekas, Mr Stoltenberg discussed current security challenges and the implications of Russia’s continued aggressive actions in Ukraine. He outlined ongoing work to implement the Readiness Action Plan agreed at the NATO Wales Summit, stressing that “this plan is the key to ensuring we are capable to deal with the challenges that we face.”

Mr Stoltenberg thanked Lithuania for its operational contributions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as for its leadership on energy security. He welcomed Lithuania’s commitment to increase its defence spending. “In these turbulent times, this commitment is more precious than ever,” the Secretary General said.

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U.S. Special Operations Troops Conduct Training In Ukraine

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment

United States European Command
November 21, 2014

SOCEUR medical team coaches and mentors Ukrainian soldiers
By Media Operations Division

Stuttgart, Germany: U.S. European Command spokesman Navy Capt. Greg Hicks, director of Communication and Engagement, provided the following statement:

“A medical team from Special Operations Command Europe has deployed from Stuttgart, Germany to Western Ukraine in order to coach and mentor Ukrainian Ministry of Defense personnel on basic battlefield medical procedures in order to enhance point of injury care.

The decision to deploy this coaching and mentoring team is based on requests from the Ukrainian Government for assistance and feedback from assessments that were conducted over the last several months which identified a need for enhanced individual medical capabilities.

Initially the mission will focus on coaching and mentoring close to 600 Ukrainian Ministry of Defense personnel (military) to develop a pool of individuals who are capable of conducting basic battlefield medical care.

“The medical team from Special Operations Command Europe is working in close coordination with the NGO Patriot Defense on this mission. Patriot Defense has conducted similar events for Ukrainian military forces since May 2014 in addition to providing the attendees with Individual First-Aid Kits (IFAK) upon completion.”

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U.S. To Ramp Up Military Aid To Ukraine

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment

UNIAN
November 24, 2014

US ‘to step up military aid to Ukraine’

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Sources at the U.S. presidential administration have said the United States will ramp up its military aid to Ukraine and that they expect that the U.S. Congress will allocate additional funds from the budget for this purpose.

This was reported by U.S. officials at a briefing on the results of the visit of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to Morocco, Ukraine and Turkey, Russian information agency TASS has reported.

“We are expanding our assistance to Ukraine in the area of security,” a U.S. official said.

“Our first radars for the detection and suppression of mortar detachments have been already delivered there, with a few more expected soon. We are also delivering [to Ukraine] military equipment and technology surplus, particularly, high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (Humvees) and other vehicles. We have already allocated $100 million for these purposes and hope we will be able to spend tens of millions [of dollars] on training [Ukrainian military personnel]. We’re discussing the provision of funds with Congress.”

At the same time, regarding the financial and economic assistance to Ukraine, U.S. officials said these should come from many countries and international organizations.

“We’re not able to provide sufficient funds alone. There is a need for the participation of the IMF and the European countries,” a source in the Obama administration said.

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Ukrinform
November 24, 2014

U.S. delivers first counter-mortar radar systems to Ukraine

KYIV: The U.S. military have delivered the first three lightweight, counter-mortar radar systems for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told this to reporters on November 21, a Ukrinform correspondent reported.

“The radar systems see incoming mortar fire and quickly calculate the point of origin of a mortar round fired by the enemy, and allows friendly forces to react appropriately,” Warren said.

He added that the Ukrainian Armed Forces would determine how, where and when they will employ the systems.

According to the press service of the Pentagon, the radar systems are the first few of 20 that will be delivered during the next several weeks and U.S. military members will begin training Ukrainian armed forces in mid-December.

The radar systems are part of the $118 million in equipment and training the United States has committed to assisting Ukraine’s armed forces.

“We’re working closely with the Ukrainians through the interagency process,” Warren said.

As for military aid to Ukraine, prior to Biden’s trip Washington announced that this would be increased. Moscow immediately said this would include the supply of offensive military weapons, which runs contrary to the Geneva agreements regarding Ukraine reached on April 17.

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Ukrainian Junta Chief: Hold Vote For NATO Membership

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Ukrinform
November 24, 2014

Stoltenberg confirms that Ukraine could become NATO member

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KYIV: Ukraine will become a member of NATO if it fulfills the criteria required for membership of the alliance.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this at a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in The Hague on Monday, a Ukrinform correspondent reported.

“Our policy is the same. The door is open for countries which fulfill the criteria for becoming NATO allies. That’s also valid for Ukraine,” he said.

Stoltenberg said that the open-door policy had been successful for NATO and the countries that joined the alliance.

“I remember the summit in Bucharest where we decided that Ukraine will become a member, and that decision still stands, of course, providing that Ukraine fulfills the criteria for membership and providing that Ukraine so will,” he said.

As reported, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that in the short term the partnership between Ukraine and NATO was possible, but not the membership.

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http://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/235920.html

Interfax-Ukraine
November 21, 2014

Ukraine to hold referendum on Ukraine’s accession to NATO – Poroshenko
 

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said a decision on Ukraine’s accession to NATO will be made at a referendum.

“The decision on accession to NATO lies solely in the competence of the people of Ukraine […] We have made the criteria according to which Ukraine will meet NATO requirements. The people of Ukraine will only be able to decide whether to enter NATO or not at a referendum after they are achieved,” Poroshenko said at a joint press conference with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in Kyiv on Monday.

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NATO Nations To Boost Support To Ukraine, Confront Russia

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
November 24, 2014

NATO nations urge to boost Ukraine support, stand firm on Russia

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NATO nations must boost support to Ukraine and take a firm stance with Russia as “a very difficult winter” looms for the government in Kyiv, parliamentarians and experts warned Sunday at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Annual Session.

In a draft resolution adopted by the assembly’s Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security, allied governments were urged to consider fresh political, economic, material and technical backing to help Ukraine protect its territory and build a strong and accountable state.

The resolution, which is expected to be adopted by a full plenary session in The Hague on Monday, calls for continued sanctions against Russia until it abides by international law and helps wind back all illegal territorial gains.

NATO should take a tough line, confirming that it will never recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and, the text said, that the “Alliance’s door would remain open for further enlargement.”

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Robert Graves: War’s path of death, decay and decomposition

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Robert Graves: Selections on war

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

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We had no blankets, greatcoats or waterproof sheets, not any time or material to build new shelters. The rain continued. Every night we went out to fetch in the dead of the other battalions. The Germans continued indulgent and we had very few casualties. After the first day or two the corpses swelled and stank. I vomited more than once while superintending the carrying. Those we could not get in from the German wire continued to swell until the wall of the stomach collapsed, either naturally or when punctured by a bullet; a disgusting smell would float across. The colour of the dead faces changed from white to yellow-grey, to red, to purple, to green, to black, to slimy.

***

The next two days we went in bivouacs outside Mametz Wood. We were in fighting kit and felt the cold at night, so I went into the wood to find German overcoats to use as blankets. It was full of Prussian Guards Reservists, big men, and dead Royal Welch and South Wales Borderers of the New Army Battalions, little men. Not a single tree in the wood remained unbroken. I collected my overcoats and hurried out as quickly as I could, climbing out as quickly as I could, climbing through the wreckage of green branches. Going and coming, by the only possible route, I passed by the bloating and stinking corpse of a German with his back propped against a tree. He had a green face, spectacles, close-shaven hair; black blood was dripping from the nose and beard. I came across two other unforgettable corpses: a man of the South Wales Borderers and one of the Lehr Regiment had succeeded in bayoneting each other simultaneously. A survivor of the fighting told me later that he had seen a young soldier of the Fourteenth Royal Welch bayoneting a German in parade-ground style, automatically exclaiming: ‘In, out, on guard!’

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Nuland In Riga: U.S. Ready For War Over Latvian NATO Satrap

November 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
November 20, 2014

U.S. supports Latvia as NATO ally: visiting US official

RIGA: The United States is strongly committed to providing support to Latvia as a NATO ally, Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State, told the press during her visit to Latvia, Baltic News Service reported.

She said that presence of American soldiers not only demonstrated the U.S. support to Latvia but also was an excellent chance for the young Americans to gain knowledge about the Baltic states.

Nuland met with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics and they discussed Latvia’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU, the EU-US trade agreement, energy independence and various aspects of bilateral cooperation.

It was agreed to continue close cooperation towards strengthening security in the region. Rinkevics voiced hope that progress will be made in the talks about the EU-US free trade agreement during Latvia’s EU Presidency.

Nuland and Rinkevics also discussed the developments in Ukraine.

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Interview On Afghanistan: U.S. Troops To Have Combat Troops Indefinitely

November 23, 2014 1 comment

Press TV
November 22, 2014

US troops to have combat role indefinitely: Analyst
The Obama administration will continue combat operations in Afghanistan indefinitely, Rick Rozoff said.

Audio

The United States will “continue combat operations” in Afghanistan for an indefinite period, says a political analyst.

“The Obama administration, with or without the knowledge of Congress, but certainly without revealing this to the American populace, has decided to continue combat operations by US military forces in Afghanistan beyond this year, into the next and presumably indefinitely,” Rick Rozoff, manager at Stop NATO International, told Press TV on Saturday.

According to a new report, President Barack Obama has secretly signed an order allowing US troops to be involved in combat operations in Afghanistan throughout 2015.

The order will authorize American forces to continue their missions against the Taliban and other militant groups, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Rozoff said the secret order is another startling indication of how “condescending and disrespectful” the US is towards the agreement reached with the new government of Afghanistan as well as “the international community.”

Obama claims the 10,000 troops remaining in Afghanistan will only be involved in training Afghan forces, but Rozoff said they will engage in combat operations.

“We’re told that the remaining 10 to 15 thousand troops would be limited to ‘train and equip’ operations but anyone with any historical memory in the United States or worldwide realizes that was the official explanation for the introduction of American armed forces in Indochina in 1960s, into Laos and Vietnam, and the role rapidly grew from alleged training to commanding and ultimately half a million troops fighting the war,” he noted.

“There is always a possibility of the US having a foundation of 10 to 15 thousand troops, many of those participating in active combat roles,” he explained.

Rozoff concluded that the US “wants to maintain military presence in that very strategically vital part of the world and even if the troop levels have been reduced… the US and its NATO allies maintain several major air bases in Afghanistan.”

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Franz Werfel: War behind and in front, outside and inside

November 23, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Franz Werfel: Selections on war

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Franz Werfel
From Star of the Unborn (1946)
Translated by Gustave O. Arlt

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…I wan’t afraid of the infantry attack of the reinforced Russian army that was to drive us across the endless beet fields of this countryside in disorderly retreat only a few hours later. I was not even afraid of captivity, although I mechanically felt for the leather pouch that hung from a cord around my neck. In this pouch my mother had sewed a few gold pieces in case I should be taken captive. I distinctly remembered falling asleep again, cheerful and carefree, my head on my arms.

And I remembered just as distinctly that much had changed when I awakened, or rather, when I was wakened, an hour later. The dial of my clock no longer glowed, for the moon shone into the room even more brightly than before. But that was not all. Not only the moon and the ticking time shared Pani Pozñanskà’s hole-in-the-wall with me. Someone had climbed in through the open window, had moved one of the wooden chairs next to my bed, and sat there looking at me. It was a soldier. Who else could it have been? Outside of Mrs. Pozñanskà and a couple of ancient Jews there were no civilians in this front-line town. It was a mud-bedaubed infantryman who had come straight out of the trench that ran along the edge of the village. The man had a typical trench-beard, the kind that grew even on the youngest men, stubby, bushy, matted, blond in spots, brown in others, and both in the same square inch. Such uninhibited, luxuriant facial vegetation always reminded me of rolled-up, rusty barbed wire.

The soldier sitting on my bed was in full kit. His rolled pack bulged above his shoulders. Suspended from two dirty bands crossed over his chest his canteen hung on the left, his ration bag on the right. He held his rifle between his knees. He had drawn the short, sharp bayonet from its scabbard and, much to my surprise, he carved off a good solid hunk from a loaf of sour-smelling black bread. The remainder of the loaf he stowed away methodically in the ration bag. Now he held the thick slice of bread in his left hand, and with the bayonet in his right he made painstakingly regular incisions in the slice. I was fascinated by the skillfull manner in which he handled the dry, crumbly, rye-and-corn war bread so that not a particle feel on the floor. And now he pushed the first cube of bread into his mouth and began to chew slowly and thoughtfully. At the same time he kept staring at me intently, unwaveringly, from two very deep-set eyes. Or rather, he didn’t stare at me with any kind of eyes, but with two attentive, shadowy, black spots. It was a horrible dismal stare. I felt the man’s hatred in every slow, taunting motion. More than hatred. The man was a reproach personified. And this nameless reproach was directed against me personally, as though I were responsible for everything, for the grime, the war, the barrage, and death. I remembered with great clarity that I accepted the intruder’s reproach with all my soul as I lay there in the moonlight, I, who wasn’t any more than he, a common ordinary soldier. I didn’t wonder a bit why he had climbed in my window, of all people, instead of into that of the commanding general, or at least of a major or a lieutenant-colonel. Without shifting his gloomy, eyeless stare from me he shoved the next cube of bread into his mouth with the same hand that held the bayonet. The man stank of filth and mud and weeks of unwashedness and also of iodoform, as though he had been wounded and had a bandage under his uniform. His overcoat was no longer fieldgray, or rather fieldblue, as Austro-Hungarian Army regulations prescribed, but yellowish brown, like a plowed field or an open grave.

I tried to break the spell that held me, to utter a word, to move my hand. I couldn’t. Then I was almost certain that the soldier here beside me was a dream soldier. Despite the consciousness of danger I closed my eyes for a few seconds in order to give the dream a chance to dissolve. When I opened them again the infantryman had leaned his rifle against my bed and had risen to his full skinny height, as though the time for action had come. He was no longer chewing. He was only staring. But his stare was no longer the horribly dismal stare of personified reproach; it was an objective, calculating stare from small, pale, real eyes. His right hand was behind his back. His left hand lay on my chest. It was fingering the leather pouch with the gold pieces. It was tugging at the cord.

Then I understood at last. I was lying under the knife of a murderer. And then I managed to scream, “Who are you? What do you want?”

It was a terrible thing to be lying under the murderer’s knife. Anyone who hasn’t experienced it and survived the experience cannot possibly comprehend it. I lay helpless in the sleeping bag that prevented me from struggling. As I screamed I knew perfectly well that my scream forced the murderer’s hand, that it compelled him to plunge the concealed bayonet into my breast. I expected the thrust with a deadly certainty.

But the soldier turned his head toward the window. He had heard something that I had not yet heard. “Military patrol. Room inspection,” he said briefly with a foreign accent.

“Military patrol” was our word for Military Police. I recalled that I heard these words with relief. My window had been open and the Military Police on their rounds had checked to see who was sleeping here. Everything was in order. But in the next second I knew that this man in the filthy, stinking uniform, in front-line kit, without a brassard and corporal’s insignia, could never be in command of a military patrol. At last I untangled myself from the sleeping bag. I leaped to my feet. To the window. He could only be a few feet away. Many soldiers were running around outside, buttoning their coats, strapping on their pack-rolls, shouldering their rifles. “Military patrol,” I shouted, but no one paid any attention, for the Russian barrage had already begun. A few moments later it had grown into an unbroken, inarticulate roar. The first shells began to drop. The black trees that were explosions grew out of the ground. A house at the other end of the street received a full hit.

I dressed calmly. General Brusilov, whose shells whined through the air, had saved me from the hand of a murderer. It was really quite illogical that the murderer should have been frightened off by the artillery fire…

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State Department: U.S. Will Welcome Truncated Ukraine In NATO

November 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
November 21, 2014

U.S. open-door policy with respect to Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic prospects unchanged – State Department

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Washington does not object to Ukraine’s bid for NATO membership, U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said at a briefing on Friday.

“With respect to their security policy and their calls for ties with NATO, our policy is that the door remains open, and the countries that are willing to contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic alliance, in the Euro-Atlantic space are welcome to apply for membership,” he said.

When asked by a journalist, how Washington assesses Moscow’s objection to Ukraine’s joining the Alliance, the spokesman said: “Ukrainians have the right to make their own decisions about what policies they want to pursue [sic]. That’s really their responsibility.”

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Estonia: NATO Conducts Largest-Ever Cyber Warfare Exercise

November 22, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

November 21, 2014

NATO’s largest Cyber Defence Exercise Concludes

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NATO’s largest annual Cyber Defence exercise concluded today in Tartu, Estonia. Exercise “Cyber Coalition 2014″ (CC14) included participants from 26 NATO member nations as well as five Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations.

As the exercise was being held in Estonia, this year’s event was NATO’s first official use of the Estonian Defence Force’s Cyber Range since the Wales Summit. There, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) and the Estonian Minister of Defence signed a Memorandum of Understanding which formalised NATO’s use of the Estonian capability.

While this was a cyber-defence exercise, the exercise objectives went far beyond items such as malware analysis and other strictly technical challenges.

The specific objectives for this year’s exercise were to hold decision-making and exercise coordination between NATO entities and national cyber defence capabilities, also in PfP nations, information sharing, and to challenge collective technical capabilities…

In response to the recognised need to garner increased industry involvement in NATO Cyber Defence measures, the exercise was opened up to representatives form industry, academia, and scientific institutes as observers.

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Ambrose Bierce: Selections on war

November 22, 2014 Leave a comment
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Poland: 1,000 British Troops, 100 Armored Vehicles In NATO War Games

November 21, 2014 Leave a comment

BBC News
November 21, 2014

British army in Nato Black Eagle exercise

The British army is taking part in its largest armoured deployment to Eastern Europe in six years, in a show of support, the Ministry of Defence says.

More than 1,000 military personnel and 100 armoured vehicles have joined Nato’s Black Eagle exercise in Poland.

The MoD said it showed the British army’s ability to deploy “at short notice anywhere in the world” in support of its allies.

The exercise comes amid tensions with Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

The British army’s “lead armoured battle group” of 1,350 troops and 100 armoured vehicles from the 3rd UK Division are taking part – making it the UK’s largest commitment to the region since 2008.

It’s been almost a decade since British tanks were last seen rolling across the plains of Eastern Europe.

In northern Poland they have been back in force in a scene reminiscent of the Cold War era.

This is the furthest east in Europe British tanks have been.

And it’s a direct response to the actions of a near neighbour – Russia’s intervention in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

But Defence Secretary Michael Fallon says it’s not Nato but President Putin who’s fuelling talk of a new Cold War by violating international law.

Britain is planning more exercises like this, as part of a Nato response to reassure allies on its eastern flank.

The irony is that it comes at a time when British forces that were stationed in Germany to deal with the threat of the former Soviet Union are slowly pulling out.

As part of the exercise, The King’s Royal Hussars (KRH) have operated 20 Battle Tanks and conducted live battlefield scenarios alongside Polish counterparts.

Meanwhile the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh have provided troops on the ground.

The MoD said the exercise marked “a significant demonstration of the UK’s support to the region” as well as “the British army’s ability to deploy an armoured battle group at short notice anywhere in the world in support of the nation’s allies”.

Exercise Black Eagle follows the early departure of Russian President Vladimir Putin from the G20 summit of world leaders in Australia on Sunday.

Prime Minister David Cameron said those at the summit had sent a “very clear message” to President Putin about the West’s readiness to ramp up sanctions unless he took action to defuse the current crisis in Ukraine.

When the UK announced its commitment to the exercise in July this year, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon criticised Russia’s “illegal annexation of Crimea and its destabilisation of eastern Ukraine”.

He said: “It is right that Nato members and partners demonstrate our commitment to the collective security of our allies in Eastern Europe.”

The exercise will finish later on Friday when the Chief of the General Staff, Commander Land Forces Lieutenant and high-ranking Polish officials will be shown a display of battlefield manoeuvres.

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Ukraine: U.S.-Appointed Coaltion Makes NATO Membership Priority

November 21, 2014 2 comments

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
November 21, 2014

New Ukraine Coalition Agreed, Sets NATO As Priority

Ukraine’s newly agreed five-party ruling coalition has reportedly set the country’s membership of NATO as its major goal.

The coalition comprises the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, the Popular Front, Samopomich (Self-Rule), the Radical Party, and Batkivshchyna (Fatherland).

The five pro-Western parties that passed the 5 percent threshold in last month’s parliamentary elections control a total of 288 seats in 421-seat parliament.

They reportedly hammered out a draft agreement early on November 21, after hours — and indeed weeks — of negotiations.

The official signing of the coalition agreement is expected to take place at the first session of the new parliament scheduled for November 27.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said at a ceremony to initial the document that the coalition would be made up of 300 legislators out of a total of 450 seats.

He also said that new Cabinet would be established in 10 days, adding that preparation of the agenda of the new government was under way.

Ukrainian media reports cite participants as saying that besides joining NATO the coalition also agreed that the return of Russian-occupied Crimea under Ukrainian control will be one of its major goals.

It also mentioned as a priority the protection of the legal interests of Crimean Tatars, as well as all Ukrainian citizens living in “occupied territories.”

The parties also agreed on working together toward Ukraine’s integration into the European Union.

The coalition also called for permanent military bases in the country’s east, where the Ukrainian army is fighting a pro-Russia insurgency,and for the allocation of at least 3 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product for defense.

The agreement is expected to be officially presented in parliament later on November 21.

Out of a total of 421 candidates elected to the Verkhovna Rada in the October 26 polls, 225 were elected based on party lists, and 196 in districts using a first-past-the-post electoral system.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who arrived to Kyiv on November 20, is holding talks with President Petro Poroshenko in the Ukrainian capital on November 21.

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Biden Orders Ukrainian Vassals To Hasten Formation Of New Junta

November 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
November 21, 2014

U.S. expects Ukraine to form new govt in next few days – Biden

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United States Vice President Joe Biden has said that the new Ukrainian government must be formed over the next few days.

At a press conference held jointly with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv on Friday he told Ukrainians to create a new government over the next few days, not weeks.

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Ukrinform
November 21, 2014

Yatseniuk meets with Biden

KYIV: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk has held talks with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is on a visit to Kyiv, the press service of the Cabinet of Ministers has told Ukrinform.

According to the press service, Yatseniuk told Biden that a coalition agreement had already been initialed and that Ukraine expected the speedy formation of a new Cabinet of Ministers “to implement the association and free trade agreement with the EU, move forward, change the country and implement real reforms.”

The U.S. vice president stressed the importance of yesterday initialing of the coalition agreement. He said that it was important for the whole world to see that Ukraine had completed this process, appointed all ministers appointed and started to work.

He said that Ukraine had already made significant steps in the fight against corruption and in attempts to stabilize the economy in this very difficult situation. The United States wants to help Ukraine, Biden said.

In the afternoon Biden is to hold talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

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Baltics: NATO Chief Tours Next Projected War Zone

November 21, 2014 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
November 20, 2014

NATO chief reassures allies on Baltic tour
By Matt Millham

Touring through the Baltics for the first time as NATO’s civilian chief, Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that Russian military activity in the region was reminiscent of the Cold War, noting that the number of intercepts of Russian planes this year had dramatically increased.

Stoltenberg was in Estonia on the first leg of a tour through NATO countries most concerned about the spread of Russian aggression from Ukraine to the alliance’s eastern reaches.

The U.S. deployed paratroopers to the Baltics in April, sending a company each to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. NATO and alliance leaders have made regular stops in the region to offer reassurances as Moscow’s meddling in Ukraine and aggressive maneuvers on NATO’s borders continue.

NATO aircraft have already intercepted Russian military planes in the Baltics more than 100 times this year, Stoltenberg said at a news conference at Estonia’s Amari air base. That is a threefold increase over the previous year, he said.

I would say [Russia’s] military posture right on the alliance borders has been a very powerful wake-up call for us all,” said Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas, who met with Stoltenberg Thursday.

Stoltenberg, who took over as NATO’s secretary-general Oct. 1, said his top priority is implementing the action plan alliance members agreed to at a summit in September. The plan includes building a quick-reaction force capable of deploying within days.

Stoltenberg declined to take a position on France’s sale of amphibious assault ships to Russia — a deal that was postponed after the downing in July of a civilian airliner over an area held by pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine.

A group of U.S. lawmakers last month urged Stoltenberg to buy the ships to prevent an alliance member from bolstering Russia’s military capabilities.

“NATO doesn’t possess, NATO doesn’t sell military equipment,” Stoltenberg said. “That’s something the nations are doing or not doing.”

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“Defending NATO Territory” German Warplanes Deployed Near Russian Border

November 21, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

November 21, 2014

German Eurofighters Assigned to NATO Air Policing Busy In Estonia

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Having completed half their rotation, German pilots and crew assigned to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission have been extremely busy. NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission has conducted over 100 intercepts in 2014 to date, which is about three times more than were conducted in 2013. The vast majority of these intercepts occurred in international air space, over the Baltic Sea, in the air corridor between Kaliningrad and mainland Russia.

“We have seen a large increase in Russian Aircraft in international Airspace, said Lieutenant-Colonel Rauno Sirk, the Commander of Amari Air Base in Estonia, who believes that the Russian military may be trying to send a message by increasing flights over the Baltic Sea. “As a result, we have executed numerous defensive intercepts,” he added.

…When an unknown aircraft approaches NATO airspace the Alliance launches fighter jets to intercept, indentify and escort the aircraft.

“It is very important to demonstrate our responsiveness and our reaction on all aspects of the Air Policing Mission,” said Lt. Col Gordon Schnittker, the Mission leader of the German Air Detachment . “[It] is very important that our presence has reinforced our resolve to defend NATO territory,” he added.

Since the arrival of the German Eurofighters, the Wing has also been able to conduct various types of aviation training with Canadian and Dutch fighters currently on assignment in the region. This training has included advanced air-to-air flying between Allies as well as additional training for ground crews and support staff.

The German detachment is scheduled to complete its rotation at the end of the year, and will be replaced by a Spanish detachment in January 2015.

Story by: SHAPE Public Affairs

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Cornwall: 22-Nation NATO Rapid Reaction Corps War Games (Video)

November 21, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

November 20, 2014

Video: Review of Exercise ARRCADE FUSION 2014

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George Bernard Shaw: Soldiering is the coward’s art of attacking mercilessly when you are strong, and keeping out of harm’s way when you are weak

November 21, 2014 Leave a comment

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

George Bernard Shaw: Selections on war

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George Bernard Shaw
From Arms and the Man (1894)

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MAN. You never saw a cavalry charge, did you?

RAINA. How could I?

MAN. Ah, perhaps not — of course. Well, it’s a funny sight. It’s like slinging a handful of peas against a window pane: first one comes; then two or three close behind him; and then all the rest in a lump.

RAINA (her eyes dilating as she raises her clasped hands ecstatically). Yes, first One! — the bravest of the brave!

MAN (prosaically). Hm! you should see the poor devil pulling at his horse.

RAINA. Why should he pull at his horse?

MAN (impatient of so stupid a question). It’s running away with him, of course: do you suppose the fellow wants to get there before the others and be killed? Then they all come. You can tell the young ones by their wildness and their slashing. The old ones come bunched up under the number one guard: they know that they are mere projectiles, and that it’s no use trying to fight. The wounds are mostly broken knees, from the horses cannoning together.

***

CATHERINE. You look superb — splendid. The campaign has improved you. Everybody here is mad about you. We were all wild with enthusiasm about that magnificent cavalry charge.

SERGIUS (with grave irony). Madam: it was the cradle and the grave of my military reputation.

CATHERINE. How so?

SERGIUS. I won the battle the wrong way when our worthy Russian generals were losing it the right way. That upset their plans, and wounded their self-esteem. Two of their colonels got their regiments driven back on the correct principles of scientific warfare. Two major-generals got killed strictly according to military etiquette. Those two colonels are now major-generals; and I am still a simple major.

***

SERGIUS. I am no longer a soldier. Soldiering, my dear madam, is the coward’s art of attacking mercilessly when you are strong, and keeping out of harm’s way when you are weak. That is the whole secret of successful fighting. Get your enemy at a disadvantage; and never, on any account, fight him on equal terms. Eh, Major!

PETKOFF. They wouldn’t let us make a fair stand-up fight of it. However, I suppose soldiering has to be a trade like any other trade.

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Georgia: U.S. Marine Commander Oversees New NATO Integration Plan

November 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
November 19, 2014

Lieutenant General Robert B. Neller visits MoD

Commander of the U.S. Marines Corps Europe Lieutenant General Robert B. Neller paid a three-day official visit to Georgia. Today, the Defence Minister of Georgia Mindia Janelidze and Chief of General Staff of GAF Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze hosted the U.S. General. The Deputy Chief of Staff Colonel Giorgi Kbiltsetskhlashvili, The United States Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland, U.S. Defence Attaché Colonel Matthew Dimmick and high-level official attended the meeting as well.

The sides discussed significance of the NATO Substantial Package for Georgia and perspectives of future cooperation. During discussions, a special attention was attributed to Georgia’s participation in the ISAF operation and engagement in the “Resolute Support” mission from 2015. Lieutenant General Neller thanked the Georgian side for its contribution to the NATO operation in Afghanistan as well as expressed desire about maintaining a close cooperation between the U.S. Marine Forces and the Georgian military in future.

The sides also discussed different aspects of bilateral cooperation in defence sphere between Georgia and the United States. One of the topics of discussion was also a regional security and Ukrainian crisis.

Commander of the U.S. Marines Corps Europe Lieutenant General Robert B. Neller will leave Georgia tomorrow.

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U.S. Air Force Returns Georgian Mountain Troops From NATO’s Asian War

November 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
November 20, 2014

Special Mountain Battalion Returned to Homeland

Military servicemen of the Special Mountain Battalion returned home from Afghanistan today. Georgian battalion was carrying out ISAF mission in Kandahar province during 7 months.

Commander of Special Operation Forces welcomed 146 military servicemen home on Alekseevka Airfield. LTC DImitri Kiknadze congratulated them on peaceful completion of their service and thanked them for successful mission.

Military servicemen were performing full spectrum of operations along with the coalition forces in Afghanistan. The battalion did not suffer any casualties. Special Mountain battalion is the last Georgian unit that carried out ISAF mission under the Georgian flag on the Kandahar Base.

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