Prague: NATO Chief Escalates Accusations Against Russia

April 10, 2014 2 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 10, 2014

NATO Secretary General discusses collective defence, defence investment and Ukraine crisis in Prague

The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen discussed the Ukraine crisis with the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Boshulav Sobotka during a visit to Prague on Thursday (10 April). “From Prague, I have this message to Russia. You have a choice. To stop blaming others for your own actions. To stop massing your troops. To stop escalating this crisis and start engaging in a genuine dialogue. If Russia is serious about a dialogue, the first step should be to pull back its troops”, the Secretary General said at a press conference with Prime Minister Sobotka.

Visiting the Czech Republic as it celebrates the 15th anniversary of its accession to NATO, Mr Fogh Rasmussen praised the Czech Republic’s commitment to the Alliance: “Your troops have made a valuable contribution to our missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. You are fully involved in our Smart Defence efforts to develop modern military capabilities together.”

Referring to the crisis in Ukraine, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said:

“For the first time since countries like the Czech Republic won their freedom, and the Cold War ended, we see one state trying to grab part of another’s territory at gunpoint. As I speak, some 40,000 Russian troops are massed along Ukraine’s borders. Not training, but ready for combat. We have seen the satellite images, day after day. Russia is stirring up ethnic tensions in eastern Ukraine and provoking unrest. And Russia is using its military might to dictate that Ukraine should become a federal, neutral state. That is a decision which only Ukraine, as a sovereign state, can make. Nobody else”.

Mr Fogh Rasmussen stressed that NATO’s commitment to collective defence is unwavering and that the Alliance is taking legitimate steps to deal with the instability that Russia’s illegitimate actions have created.

Speaking about NATO’s Wales Summit in September, the Secretary General called on all NATO Allies to keep their capabilities strong and enhance training for their forces. “Above all, we must stop the decline of our defence budgets. And start reinvesting in our security. Investing in defence has a cost. But we see that insecurity has a much higher price”, he said.

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More U.S. Warplanes Head To Poland For “Years Or Decades”

Polish Radio
April 10, 2014

Ukraine crisis: More US jet fighters due in Poland

Amid rising tension in Ukraine, the Polish government has confirmed joint military exercises with the US will continue in June with the arrival of more F-16 jet fighters.

Aerial refuelling aircraft are also due to be dispatched to Poland from the UK over the same period.

“This is very strong evidence of Allied commitment, and the visible presence of the U.S,” Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak told the TVN24 news station.

“We are striving to ensure that the lessons of the [Russian-Ukrainian] crisis result in the enduring presence of NATO in the east,” the minister added.

“The armies within the Alliance are working on this, on behalf of their foreign ministers,” he said.
Asked about NATO’s readiness to intervene in the event of an attack on a member state, Siemoniak said that “these forces are prepared for immediate action.”

Siemoniak noted that the 18 US F-16 jet fighters will be stationed at an airbase in Lask, central Poland, where the US and Polish armed forces have been cooperating intermittently for over a year and a half.

“For several weeks now we’ve had 12 F-16 planes and transport aircraft there,” Siemoniak noted.

“The planes that are here at the moment will leave Poland in a few weeks and new ones from another base will take their place.”

The defence minister said that as far as NATO forces in region are concerned, attention is now focused on “long-term activities that could last years or decades,” although he acknowledged that such an arrangement cannot be finalised “in the space of a few days.”

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NATO Exploits Ukraine To Consolidate Its Ranks: Russian Foreign Ministry

April 10, 2014

Russian Foreign Ministry: NATO tries to use Ukraine crisis for its own consolidation in face of imaginary military threat

MOSCOW: The Russian authorities view NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s accusations against Moscow as an attempt to bolster the relevance of the alliance, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary posed on its website on Thursday.

“The secretary general’s constant accusations against us suggest that the alliance is trying to use the crisis in Ukraine to “consolidate its ranks” in the face of some imaginary external threat allegedly facing NATO countries, as well as to reinforce the relevance of the alliance in these issues in the 21st century,” the ministry said.


Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 10, 2014

NATO Double Standard Undermines Ukraine’s Stability – Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW: Recent statements by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on the situation in Ukraine as well as the alliance’s double standard on Crimea have hindered a de-escalation of tensions in the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

“Several times over the last few months we have heard nothing constructive in comments by the NATO Secretary General,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The use of double standards is a direct threat to security and stability in the region,” the statement said, referring to NATO members’ support of the coup-imposed regime in Kiev while calling the reunification referendum in Crimea illegitimate.

Earlier this week, the NATO chief voiced concerns about the situation in eastern Ukraine during a conference of the Atlantic alliance in Paris, stressing that Russia’s decision to intervene in Ukraine will turn into a historic mistake and might lead to the country’s international isolation.

“Events in eastern Ukraine are a great concern, I urge Russia to step back. Any further move to eastern Ukraine would represent a serious escalation rather than de-escalation,” Rasmussen said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that NATO is attempting to use the Ukrainian crisis as an imaginary threat to unite the alliance’s members.

“The constant accusations by the Secretary General directed at us confirm the fact that the alliance is attempting to use the crisis in Ukraine in order to ‘unite ranks’ before an imaginary external threat to NATO member states in order to secure the need for the alliance in the 21st century,” the ministry said.

In February, the Ukrainian parliament backed by far-right movements ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, amended the constitution and scheduled an early presidential election for May 25.

Moscow has described the uprising in Kiev as an illegitimate fascist coup and a military seizure of power, which resulted in it taking steps to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine, including the reunification of Crimea. It blames the ongoing crisis in the country on Ukrainian nationalists and their aggressive rhetoric.

Moscow has insisted that a federal form of government is the only way out of the protracted political stalemate in Ukraine, currently a unitary state which is de facto split into a Ukrainian-speaking west and a Russian-speaking east and south.


April 10, 2014

CSTO, NATO should not interfere in events taking place in Ukraine – Bordyuzha

MINSK: Nikolai Bordyuzha, general secretary of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), has expressed concerns about the statements made by the NATO administration on sending experts to Ukraine.

“CSTO and NATO should not interfere in the situation. I am concerned about the constant statements made by the NATO administration on sending experts there, etc. It’s counterproductive and it does not help stabilization of the situation” Bordyuzha told a press conference in Minsk on Thursday.

He recalled that Ukraine is not a member of CSTO. “We cannot influence events taking place there. However, we follow the tendencies. They are undesirable and they lead even further exacerbation of the situation,” Bordyuzha said.

Bordyuzha reiterated that “everything should be decided by the people. It’s the only thing needed to bring peace and calm there.”

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U.S. And French Warships Entering Black Sea

April 10, 2014 1 comment

U.S. Department of Defense
April 9, 2014

USS Donald Cook Heads for Reassurance Mission in Black Sea
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON: The USS Donald Cook is scheduled to arrive in the Black Sea tomorrow as part of the U.S. commitment to mutual goals in the region, a Pentagon spokesman said today.

Army Col. Steven Warren explained the Navy vessel’s mission upon arrival to Pentagon reporters.

“The Donald Cook’s mission is to reassure NATO allies and Black Sea partners of America’s commitment to strengthen and improve interoperability while working towards mutual goals in the region,” Warren said.

The colonel noted that while in the Black Sea, the ship will participate in exercises and operations to improve interoperability, readiness and enhance relationships.

“It demonstrates our commitment to our … allies to enhance security, readiness and capabilities,” Warren said.

The vessel left Norfolk, Va., Jan. 31 as the first of four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers to be stationed in Rota, Spain, to enhance security in the European region.

Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 10, 2014

US, French Warships Enroute to Black Sea Pass Dardanelles

ANKARA, Turkey: The US guided-missile destroyer Donald Cook and French intelligence warship Dupuy de Lôme entered the Sea of Marmara on Thursday on their way to the Black Sea, the Turkish newspaper Jum Hurriyet reported.

The newspaper published a video online showing the US warship passing through the Dardanelles Strait early Thursday morning, accompanied by Turkish coastguard vessels.

The destroyer, equipped with the Aegis fire control system, entered the Sea of Marmara an hour later and will stay in the Black Sea for 21 days, according to the paper. The French intelligence ship followed an hour behind the US destroyer.

The USS Donald Cook is the third US warship sent to the Black Sea recently. In February, the US dispatched the missile frigate USS Taylor into the waters of the sea to provide security for the Olympic Games in Sochi [sic].

Last month, the USS Truxtun passed through the Bosphorus to enter the Black Sea to conduct joint exercises with Bulgaria and Romania.

According to the Montreux Convention on the status of the straits, warships of countries that do not have access to the Black Sea may remain no longer than 21 days in the sea.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier said that the presence of US ships in the Black Sea has often exceeded the limit under the convention.

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Miguel de Salabert: When they gave me a rifle to carry, I knew my life was over


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

Miguel de Salabert: I first learned about men from their bombs

Miguel de Salabert: “What have you done with my legs?”


Miguel de Salabert
From Interior Exile (1961)
Translated by Renaud Bruce and Herma Briffault

“They don’t even let us die in peace these days.”

“Listen to that clown! If you had as many bullet holes in you as I’ve got, you wouldn’t feel like cracking jokes.”

“But I’m going to die. Anyone can see I’m going to die,” the other man protested.

“Like me,” commented one of the wounded men lying on the floor. “When they gave me a rifle to carry, I knew my life was over. All the bullets were meant for me. Every time a bullet whistled, I was there to get it. And here I am, with more holes than meat on my body.”


The guards’ faces, sullen and threatening like the hungry muzzles of their guns, reflect the satisfaction of a job well done. These dogs of the System watch over the perfect functioning of money – or of what those who possess it call “society.” They are baring their teeth to that multitude whose poverty makes them suspect, subversive.

The children are heirs to the misery and hatred of the men locked up inside like wild animals. Their hands, now held by their mothers, will tomorrow be closed in fists of hatred. And when anger makes them cry out, they will find themselves facing the same guns their fathers faced, the same dogs trained to herd them into prison or into their graves. And for those who don’t like it, no pity. The guns are there as a warning. The pack is just waiting for an order to jump on that humiliated crowd trembling with fear like sheep before a wolf. They are the future targets for the bullets, now crouched inside guns, which will leap as always to the call of the System.


Politics were the concern of men…Until that terrible morning. A morning so full of sunlight, so brilliant and pure, an absolutely carefree morning. And within a few seconds, three hundred men machine-gunned in the plaza. Three hundred bodies, and the women rummaging among them to find their dead…The blood sparkled on the ground and steeped the air with a dense, hot, sticky, fetid odor.

The women howled their grief, shattering the silence that had followed the crackling of the machine guns. Bent over, they embraced the bodies of their men, forever lost to them. They had known those bodies in the act of love, proud of their strength, now empty, void, useless.

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Video: RT interview

Rick Rozoff exclusive interview with RT TV international
Mr. Rozoff is an International affairs commentator and a manager of Stop NATO

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Video: NATO in Europe

April 9, 2014 1 comment

RT TV international report: NATO in Europe

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U.S. Sending 18 Warplanes To Poland, Another Warship To Black Sea

April 9, 2014 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
April 9, 2014

Air Force to send more fighters to Poland, USS Cook headed to Black Sea
By Steven Beardsley and Jennifer H. Svan

The U.S. Air Force plans to send 18 Europe-based fighter jets to Poland in June for joint training at Lask Air Base, officials said Wednesday.

The F-16s from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, will also participate in a maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa officials said.

Meanwhile, another U.S. warship is headed to the Black Sea for the third time in the past three months.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook was slated to arrive Thursday after steaming in the Aegean Sea toward the Turkish Straits on Wednesday, according to a news release from U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa.

The immediate and longer-term bolstering of forces in eastern Europe comes amid expanded American efforts to reassure NATO allies after last month’s Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula. Agitation by pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine and troop buildups on the Russian side of the border have upped tensions in the region and caused Washington to warn against further Kremlin incursions.

Currently, 12 F-16 fighter jets from Aviano Air Base’s 555th Fighter Squadron in Italy are deployed to Lask. The Pentagon ordered the warplanes there, at the request of Poland, after tensions with Russia began mounting in Ukraine last month. The jets augmented three C-130s from Ramstein that were already scheduled to train in Poland for several weeks. The C-130s — along with about 100 airmen — from the 37th Airlift Squadron are due to return to Ramstein on Saturday, USAFE-AFAFRICA officials said. No end date for the current fighter jet rotation has been announced, USAFE officials said.

The Germany-based F-16s will deploy to Lask from June 2 to 21. In addition, two KC-135 refueling tankers from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, U.K., will deploy to Powidz at the same time in support of the same mission, USAFE-AFAFRICA officials said.

During the rotation, the aircraft will participate in BALTOPS, an annual joint and combined maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea scheduled annually by European Command and led by NAVEUR, Capt. Michael Hertzog II, a USAFE-AFAFRICA plans officer, said in an email.

Meanwhile, the Cook’s operations in the Black Sea will be routine, suggests the Navy release, likely involving port visits or simple maneuvers with NATO nations. Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey are all members of the alliance.

Last month, the destroyer USS Truxtun exercised with Bulgarian and Romanian navies, and in February the command ship USS Mount Whitney and frigate USS Taylor entered before the Sochi Olympic Games. The Taylor later ran aground while attempting to port in Turkey. All those ships have since left the Black Sea.

Previous U.S. naval visits to the Black Sea were typically separated by months.

The consecutive visits send a clear message to Moscow. Russia, whose Black Sea Fleet is located in Sevastopol, frowned upon U.S. operations in the Black Sea even before recent events.

That the visiting ship is the Donald Cook carries added significance, as the vessel is the first of four Arleigh-Burke class destroyers to be stationed in southern Spain as part of a European ballistic missile shield widely opposed by Russia. The Donald Cook is on its first patrol since arrival in Spain in February.

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Real-World Situations: U.S. Leads Paratroop Exercise In Poland

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

April 8, 2014

Polish-US paratroopers jump together during Av-Det rotation
By Tech. Sgt. Daylena S. Ricks
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland: U.S service members and Polish armed forces will continue to train together as combined paratrooper forces jump out of U.S. C-130J Super Hercules over Poland during an aircraft rotation at the U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment, which ends April 12.

Polish armed forces train with U.S. Air Force paratroopers, along with a small contingent of U.S. Army paratroopers and a U.S. Navy freefall jumpmaster to build partnership capacity for real-world situations.

Polish land and special operations forces are able to jump from U.S. aircraft, as a result of training with a joint team of U.S. jumpmasters, or trained experts in parachuting from aircraft.

“Jumping with the Polish gave us insight on how they jump and on how they respond to our commands,” said U.S. Army Specialist Estevan Gonzales, 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Deliver Company. “It builds a great service partnership.”

United States and Polish service members will conduct static-line and high altitude, low-opening, or HALO, jumps together. During static-line jumps, the parachute is immediately opened when the paratrooper exits the aircraft; these jumps are used to deliver personnel at very low altitudes. During HALO jumps, the paratrooper opens the parachute at a low altitude after free-falling for some time; HALO is used to deliver equipment, supplies and personnel.

Amongst other things, military paratroopers are used to establish landing sites for aircraft and conduct drop zones for fuel and supplies in areas that may not be safe for an aircraft to land.

The U.S personnel are deployed to Poland March 31 through April 12, to strengthen bilateral defense ties with Polish armed forces.

“This aviation rotation is great because we can conduct our training under the supervision of the U.S., and learn better techniques and tactics to build partnership,” said Polish air force Lt. Col. Kyrsztof Szymaniec, 33rd Air Base C-130 squadron commander.

These combined training rotations increase cooperation between the U.S and Polish armed forces and strengthen interoperability as NATO allies, as a result of an agreement between U.S. President Barack Obama and Polish President Bronisław Komorowski.

There are two more scheduled Av-Det rotations this fiscal year.

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NATO Conducts Aerial Warfare Exercise In Netherlands

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

April 9, 2014



Leeuwarden, THE NETHERLANDS: NATO and Partnership for Peace Air Forces are exercising offensive and defensive missions over The Netherlands as part of Exercise Frisian Flag. The Dutch exercise, which is based at Leeuwarden Airbase, has been underway since 31 March and will continue until 11 April 2014.

Apart from the air manoeuvres, this exercise shows the cooperation between the various tactical air commands and tactical air control agencies. “Carrying out such exercises in an international spectrum is necessary in order to ensure sustainment of effective execution of our air defence tasks and missions as in Afghanistan and over Libya,” said Colonel Gerbe Verhaaf, Commander of Leeuwarden Airbase.

About 50 aircraft are participating in the exercise and they are flying two missions a day. Apart from the F-16’s from the Royal Netherlands Air Force, Belgian, Danish, Norwegian and Portuguese Air Forces are also using their F-16s. Other participants are the German and Spanish Air Force with Eurofighters as well as the Finnish Air Force with F-18s. The (K)DC-10 tanker of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and the NATO AWACS are also taking part in the exercise as tanker aircraft and airborne radar platform, respectively.

NATO Response Force

NATO has achieved an unprecedented level of cohesiveness amongst allies and partner forces in the past decade of combat operations and is operating as a seamless integrated team. Therefore, specific training remains essential in order to prepare both pilots and ground crews for possible future deployments, for example within the framework of the NATO Immediate Response Force (IRF). The NATO Response Force is the ‘tip of the spear’ in terms of NATO’s ability to respond to an emerging crisis, which is why realistic and demanding exercises are essential in maintaining and enhancing the effectiveness of our deployable forces.


The missions that are being flown during Frisian Flag 2014 include air defence missions, offensive missions, missions to protect other aircraft (e.g. air transport, AWACS or other aircraft that do not have self-protection equipment) and the elimination of static and dynamic targets on the ground or at sea.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office
Photo courtesy of The Royal Netherlands Air Force

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Audio: U.S. Drone Warfare Has Become A Global Phenomenon

Press TV
April 8, 2014

US drone warfare has become a global phenomenon in last decade: Rick Rozoff


A political commentator says the United States’ deadly drone warfare has become a global phenomenon in the last decade, adding that the CIA drone strikes inside Pakistan could continue for many years to come.

Rick Rozoff, a member of the Stop NATO International, made the remarks in a telephone interview with Press TV on Tuesday, commenting on reports saying that an end to the US occupation of Afghanistan would complicate the CIA drone war in neighboring Pakistan.

“Recent reports have indicated that the United States’ federal government, but particularly the Central Intelligence Agency, which is in charge of drone warfare in South Asia -in Afghanistan and Pakistan – is concerned that with the governmental transition in Kabul and with the prospect of a bilateral security agreement not looking as good as Washington would like them to look, and with eventual drawdown of the US and allied NATO troops from Afghanistan, that the US’ ability to continue conducting deadly drone warfare inside neighboring Pakistan could be severely affected, could be diminished,” Rozoff said.

“Since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, but particularly since the advent of the Barack Obama administration in Washington, for the last five years or so, the intensification of the drone warfare inside Pakistan has reached unprecedented levels,” he added.

“By some estimates, including those linked to the Pakistani military and intelligence services, somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 percent of the victims of the US drone attacks have been Pakistani civilians,” Rozoff stated.

“And of course we know that drone warfare has become a global phenomenon in the past decade, with the US also launching lethal drone attacks in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan, earlier for a brief period in Iraq, and fairly extensively in Libya, Yemen, Somalia and no doubt in Africa, perhaps without being acknowledged in countries like Mali and the Central African Republic,” he noted.

“But the foundation upon which the program was built, the precedent, was of course and is Pakistan, largely, where the largest amounts of drone strikes have been conducted and where the largest amount of civilian deaths have been registered. So there is a discussion at with the ascension to power of a new government in Afghanistan, and with the US eventually, if in fact it truly does, withdraws its military from Afghanistan, the ability of the Central Intelligence Agency working in the unison with the military to conduct the drone strikes inside Pakistan could be affected,” Rozoff said.

“However, there’s also discussion that the US, which has upgraded and modernized substantially air bases in Afghanistan, in Bagram, in Kandahar, in Shindand, and in other locations, could continue to wage effectively secretive drone warfare, either unbeknownst to the incoming government in Afghanistan or with their silent complicity or connivance. And this would represent a continued threat, of course, to the lives of Pakistani nationals, civilians in the first place, in Northwest Pakistan, perhaps in Baluchistan,” he stated.

The US military has used the unmanned aircraft in several Muslim countries, including Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Washington claims that its airstrikes target militants, but local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the attacks. The UN has called the US drone attacks targeted killings that flout international law.

Last month, a UN human rights investigator said that the death toll of civilians in US drone strikes in Afghanistan and Yemen continues to rise.

Ben Emmerson made the remarks during a press conference in Geneva on March 12 after he presented a report on dozens of US drone strikes where civilians allegedly perished to the UN Human Rights Council.

He stated that there was a threefold increase in drone-related civilian deaths between 2012 and 2013 in Afghanistan.

Emmerson also warned that the escalation in drone strikes and civilian casualties in Yemen is a cause for concern.

“And the picture in Yemen remains cause for serious concern. The frequency of armed drone strikes appears to have intensified, particularly during the closing months of 2013, with a sharp escalation in the number of reported civilian casualties,” he stated.

Emmerson said the US has de-escalated the use of drone strikes in Pakistan as a result of growing criticism in Pakistan and abroad.

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Lilika Nakos: The grandmother’s sin


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

Lilika Nakos: The dead man, the living, the house; all were smashed to bits


Lilika Nakos
From The Children’s Inferno (1946)
Translated by Allan Ross Macdougall

“‘I want a priest so that I can make my last confession before I face God.’

“‘Don’t get such ideas in your head, grandmother. Besides, what sin have you committed that has not been wiped out by all you’ve suffered? Do not torment your soul.’

“‘Do what I ask you, daughter. Do not damn me. It is difficult to understand the soul of another. You look like a serious woman and you ought to know. Do not charge your soul with my sins. I want a priest to hear my confession.’

“‘As you wish, grandmother. But listen; the priest we have here is an old man of eighty, weakened by hunger. He cannot go climbing up the stairs unless it’s absolutely necessary. You are going to live; the doctor said so. Don’t make the poor old father come up the stairs for nothing. If you wish, do this. Tell me your sin and if it’s great and terrible I will bring you the priest. Don’t be surprised. I was a nurse in the hospital near Jannina during the Albanian war. Many of the palikars died in my arms. They confessed to me what lay heavy on their hearts and I closed their eyes. Everything they asked me to do in that moment, I did.’

“‘May you be blessed a thousandfold, daughter, for what you have done. May God keep you and yours. I have no great secret to tell you. There is only one thing that torments me and I cannot disentangle it. That is what I want to do now. If you can explain this thing to me you need not bother the priest.’

“I sat down beside her to listen. The old lady raised herself up in her bed and spoke into my ear:

“‘Listen, daughter, you surely have heard tell of the martyrdom the Bulgarians have made our country suffer. You, too, have learned what the Greeks are suffering up there?’

“‘Of course! Certainly!’ And I wondered what the old lady was driving at.

“‘I, as a mother and a Greek, ought to hate and curse them.’

“‘That’s natural grandmother. Don’t vex yourself because of that.’

“‘No, daughter, you have not understood. Pay attention to what I tell you. I said: “I ought to hate them.” My daughter-in-law – God keep her soul – said to me: “You do not hate them; that’s a sin!” So that’s what I would like you to explain to me. That is what weighs heavy on my heart. Is the great pity I feel for them a sin? I say to myself that they know not what they do. They know not what awaits them when their eyes are closed forever. They know not how terrible is God’s wrath, and that not one of our actions here below is lost, either good or bad. The mind reels just thinking they will stand before God with soul and hands dripping blood. And I pity them, daughter; I feel sorry for them. They are men! I pray God to have pity of these wretches. That is what weighs heavy on my heart, daughter. I would like to know if the pity I feel for them is a sin. That is what torments me, and before God I swear that I have nothing else on my heart.’

“Worn out, the old lady stopped; she had spoken too long. Her breathing ceased and her eyes closed. While I went to get a syringe to give her an injection her head fell back on the pillow, and without agony she died like a bird.

So ended the story told by the head nurse, and we remained silent.

After a while the doctor, who had listened deeply moved, said: “Maybe now she knows if her great pity for men is a sin or not!”

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Sevastopol to Syria and the Sahel: NATO chief calls for war footing

April 8, 2014 2 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 8, 2014

NATO Secretary General calls for readiness action plan

NATO Secretary General visits France

The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen attended the NATO Transformation Seminar in Paris and thanked Defence Minister Le Drian and the French hosts for France’s contribution to the Alliance’s collective security. “From Central Africa to Eastern Europe, French forces are helping make our world safer – whether under the banner of NATO, the European Union, or of France”, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said at a press conference. “France has kept defence spending close to our agreed target of 2% of economic output. France has also shown a great commitment to invest in the capabilities we need, both in NATO and the European Union. This is a valuable example of European Allies choosing to invest the right resources in the right capabilities.

In his address to the Seminar organized by Allied Command Transformation, the Secretary General said that events in Eastern Ukraine are of great concern and urged Russia to step back.

“Any further move into Eastern Ukraine would represent a serious escalation, rather than the de-escalation that we all seek. We call on Russia to pull back the tens of thousands of troops it has massed on Ukraine’s borders, engage in a genuine dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities, and respect its international commitments “, he said.

The Secretary General said that the crisis raises serious questions for Euro-Atlantic security and now is the time for the right answers for key issues for the Wales Summit in September.

“We must prepare a readiness action plan. We must reinvest in our defence. And we must reinforce the transatlantic bond”, the Secretary General said.

The Secretary General highlighted that Allies must stand ready at all times to deal with the unexpected.

“Because from Sevastopol to Syria and the Sahel, we are facing a dangerous world. Where threats are complex, unpredictable and interconnected. Newer challenges, such as terrorism, failed states, cyber and missile attacks. And old challenges in new guises, such as attempts to redraw borders by force”, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said.

The Alliance must develop an action plan to strengthen readiness, and this requires the right training, the right posture, and the right capabilities.

The Secretary General highlighted the NATO Response Force as key element for an action plan.

“We have it, and we must use it. To do that, we should place parts of it at very high readiness. But this is not enough. We must review the readiness of all our forces”, he said. “We need to procure the high-end capabilities that we currently lack – joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; missile defence; air command and control; and air lift. Much work has already been done to fill these gaps. But we need to advance and expand our programmes”, the Secretary General noted.

The Secretary General said that the bond between North America and Europe remains vital for the Alliance’s shared security and must be reinforced.

“The current crisis poses a serious challenge to our common security. But North America and Europe stand together in facing up to it. And we stand united in our firm response. In recent weeks, we have seen the United States’ clear commitment to Europe’s security. From the Baltics to the Black Sea France and other European Allies are complementing that effort.“.

The Secretary General noted that the European Council in December showed that European nations are prepared to step up.

“So I encourage all Allies to play their full part. This is the time to find a better balance of costs and responsibilities between Allies. Both between the United States and Europe. And among Allies within Europe “,he said.

The Secretary General stressed that a better transatlantic balance is also based on better cooperation between NATO and the European Union.

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Latvian Port Able To Host NATO Warships: Mayor

Baltic Course
April 8, 2014

Mayor positive towards possibility of stationing NATO ships at Liepaja Port

Riga: Liepaja Mayor Uldis Sesks (Liepaja Party) is positive towards the possibility of stationing NATO ships at the Port of Liepaja, informs LETA.

”If we have the opportunity to station NATO ships here, this would be good,” Sesks said in an interview to ”Rietumu radio”.

Sesks also pointed out that the Port of Liepaja is already the headquarters of the Latvian Navy, and thus NATO ships are already docked at the port.

He said that the port has more than enough free territory which was formerly used for military purposes, adding that the city’s economy would also benefit from the stationing of NATO ships.

As reported, NATO is currently planning several measures important for the security of the Baltic countries – one more NATO air base, as well as a Baltic port would which would be rebuilt so as to facilitate access for NATO military vessels.

NATO leaders will appraise the best locations for these purposes and these measures are to be implemented by the end of the year, and they may be altered depending on how the situation unfolds.

According to unofficial information, the new air base could be built in Estonia, and one of the ports in Latvia could be upgraded so it could be accessed by NATO military vessels.

Liepaja Port is currently the main base of the Latvian Navy. The port itself actually served as a naval port during the Czarist and Soviet eras.


Baltic Times
April 8, 2014

Liepaja offers port to NATO

RIGA: Liepaja Mayor Uldis Sesks is positive towards the possibility of stationing NATO ships at the Port of Liepaja, reports LETA. ”If we have the opportunity to station NATO ships here, this would be good,” Sesks said in an interview to Rietumu radio.

Sesks also pointed out that the Port of Liepaja is already the headquarters of the Latvian Navy, and thus NATO ships are already docked at the port.

He said that the port has more than enough free territory, which was formerly used for military purposes, adding that the city’s economy would also benefit from the stationing of NATO ships.

NATO is currently planning several measures important for the security of the Baltic countries – one more NATO air base, as well as a Baltic port would which would be rebuilt so as to facilitate access for NATO military vessels.

NATO leaders will appraise the best locations for these purposes and these measures are to be implemented by the end of the year, and they may be altered depending on how the situation unfolds.

According to unofficial information, a new air base could be built in Estonia, and one of the ports in Latvia could be upgraded so it could be accessed by NATO military vessels.

Liepaja Port is currently the main base of the Latvian Navy. The port itself served as a naval port during the Czarist and Soviet eras.

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NATO Week Launched In Georgia

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 7, 2014

NATO Week opened in Georgia

NATO Week was officially opened in the Hotel “Courtyard Marriot” today. A solemn ceremony was dedicated to the last three phases of North-Atlantic Alliance enlargement process. Minister of Defence of Georgia Irakli Alasania attended an opening ceremony.

Following the ceremony an international conference was unveiled. State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia Alex Petriashvili and NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic opened the conference titled as “The Way Towards NATO: Sharing Experience of Central and Eastern European Countries”.

Irakli Alasania delivered a speech in the second panel of the conference-“Georgia On the Way to NATO Integration; Preparation for the Upcoming 2014 NATO Summit“. Minister of Defence briefed the conference participants on the reforms recently implemented within the armed forces of Georgia.

The minister stressed importance of Georgia`s involvement in international peacekeeping missions. He also outlined significance of Georgia`s membership of NATO. As Minister emphasized, Georgia expects that a progress would be achieved towards Georgia at the Summit-“everybody recognizes that Georgia is in the position to be offered the new instruments of integration. Beside that multilateral military-diplomatic works are planned for the coming months, including in June, in order to achieve the goals a big part of our society expects from the NATO Summit. What is more important, certain trends have been defined over which we will have a dialogue with our partner countries as well as with NATO representatives. I also want to mention that final Defence Reforms Assessment Document is due to be published by June of current year which should become one of the basis for our advancement at the NATO Summit”.

It is natural that military component is also very crucial.”

The high-ranking officials of NATO members nations, as well as the representatives of executive and legislative authorities of Georgia, the members of Diplomatic Corps accredited to Georgia, NGOs and media outlets are taking part in the conference.

On the second day of NATO Week, the presentation of Brochure “Participation of Georgia in Peacekeeping Missions” will be held. In the National Library of Parliament of Georgia an exhibition on the Georgian Armed Forces development history will be also arranged. NATO Week is led in Georgia under the organizational support of Information Center on NATO and European Union. Furthermore, informative-educational meetings are scheduled in Tbilisi and in the region too. NATO Week will be over on 16th of April. –


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Alfred Neumann: War nights were never silent


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

Alfred Neumann: Selections on war


Alfred Neumann
From The Friends of the People (1940)
Translated by Nora Wydenbruck

images (1)

…Leonie would have had time to go to sleep again, but…there was something which awakened her fully, something quite unaccustomed – a deep silence. For the war-nights were never silent: they contained everything pertaining to nightmares, they were so close that they took one’s breath away, and so dark that they choked one, it was like a gag in one’s mouth and bonds around one’s limbs – but they were never quiet, they were always thundering and growling. There might have been other explanations for the complete silence, it might have been chance, a breathing space before or after a round of firing – she might have closed her eyes and attempted to go to sleep again if not every one of the five days after the terrible 22nd of January had not been a preparation for the fateful silence of the guns.

Now the great chiming of midnight began outside, a garland of chiming bells, near and distant, deep-toned and high, mingling their strokes in a strangely grave and portentous manner, unceasingly resuming the tale of the hours farther and farther away, with more and more unfamiliar bells – this was the near-by Notre Dame des Champs, this was the little bell of the Sisters of the Poor near the Luxembourg, that must be St. Sulpice, and from the east, St. Jacques and the Church of Val-de-Grâce, and from the far distance that might be from St.-Germain-des-Prés, perhaps from Notre-Dame – and it was not enough for the bells to chime twelve times, they were proclaiming overwhelming midnight over the city, over the world, endless, persistent, and terribly uninterrupted…

Then a cannon-shot burst through the midnight concert of the clocks. Leonie raised herself up in bed and murmured: “Thanks be to God…” Had this ever happened before, that a woman should thank God because the cannons were thundering again, annihilating the eager, chiming bells? Perhaps it was a sacrilege, which the Lord would punish then and there – though He rarely did that. Leonie opened her mouth, as though her ears alone were not sufficient for listening – but all she heard was a last distant chime which seemed to triumph into infinity – and then there was silence. There was no more shooting. The last shot had mingled with the strength of midnight, as though it were only stressing its importance – or God was answering Leonie’s sacrilegious thanksgiving by laying his almighty hand over the cannons’ mouths in their thousands.

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Drive To The East: U.S. Warplanes Shifted From Italy To Poland

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

April 4, 2014

Polish pilots take to the skies with US counterparts
By Airman 1st Class Ryan Conroy
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


Lask Air Base, Poland: Poland continues to build its relationship with the U.S. as both nations’ air forces integrate their capabilities through training sorties in a joint theater capacity.

Since the Polish air force implemented the use of F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft to their inventory in the past ten years, they have been combining training exercises with U.S. Air Forces in Europe to strengthen bilateral defense ties as NATO allies.

Currently, more than 200 personnel and 12 F-16s assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, have been conducting joint training out of the Aviation Detachment, marking the fourth rotation at the only enduring U.S. presence on Polish soil.

The AvDet optimizes the use of Poland’s ranges and airspace to enhance both countries’ flight tactics and maneuvers. The goal of this increased cooperation between the U.S. and Poland is to strengthen interoperability.

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Video interview: Afghanistan the last and greatest victim of the Cold War

Press TV
April 7, 2014

‘Increased drugs production sole outcome of US-led Afghan war’
Interview with Rick Rozoff, with the Stop NATO International Network


Press TV has interviewed Stop NATO International Network’s Rick Rozoff to discuss the recent presidential election in Afghanistan.

What follows is a rough transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Given the situation that Afghanistan has, is it a success simply that they can even hold a presidential election there?

Rozoff: That’s I think a realistic interpretation. It’s definitely a historic watershed in that, of course, this marks the smooth transition from the administration of Hamid Karzai, who has been head of Afghanistan in the entire post-Taliban, post-invasion period, to either Dr. [Abdullah] Abdullah or Dr. [Ashraf] Ghani [Ahmadzai]. It’s important I suppose in its own right, but as some of the lead-in into the story indicated, were still talking about a nation that has undergone 35 years of armed conflict, that is in tatters and that really needs international assistance of a civilian and an economic nature, rather than a military nature.

Press TV: We’ve seen an increase in attacks leading up to the elections and some attacks since the elections. Does this mean that the Taliban can basically attack whenever they want after more than 13 years of American occupation?

Rozoff: Unfortunately, I suspect that is the case. At least in many parts, perhaps in most provinces of the country, Taliban remains a formidable military force and what will soon be 13 full years of US and NATO military occupation of the country has not politically or otherwise neutralized the Taliban opposition.

You know, in fact all we’ve seen, to be perfectly candid about it, over the past 13 years is 40-fold increase in opium cultivation and the explosion of a heroin epidemic in and around Afghanistan, which has affected the lives of millions of people in India, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and elsewhere. This is all, I’m afraid, the West has to boast of in terms of accomplishment in Afghanistan.

Press TV: Is that a sign of improvement? In your perspective, what has the United States accomplished there in almost 13 years of being present in Afghanistan?

Rozoff: I mentioned before, the only thing they effectively have done is officiate over an explosion of opium cultivation, but also over the deaths of tens of thousands of Afghans, including thousands of civilians, and the displacement of not only hundreds of thousands but perhaps millions of Afghans, both internally displaced and those who have fled across the borders into Iran and Pakistan.

So, it’s been the latest chapter in a catastrophe, but truly, not to be too abstract about this, it goes back to 1839 when for the first time Britain intervened, in what subsequently became known as the Great Game in Central and South Asia to offset the influence of other powers in that part of the world, and this has gone on, you know, at the various interims up to the present day, where there were three wars that Britain was involved in, armed incursions into Afghanistan. You had the US supporting the Mujahideen out of Pakistan incidentally, as Mr. Korb alludes to. The fact that Taliban was harbored in Pakistan, apparently it was quite alright if other armed insurgents were also harbored for attacks inside Afghanistan with US assistance in the late 1970s through the early 1990s. This is the background against which we have to see the catastrophe that Afghanistan has become.

It is the greatest and the last victim of the Cold War and we cannot just arbitrarily begin…

Press TV: What about that Mr. Rozoff, basically saying that it depends on what the next president wants. Is it really up to Kabul to make that decision or is it definite that the United States is going to stay and would absolutely demand to do so?

Rozoff: We have to be realistic. The United States does not operate in the manner that Mr. Korb says, and God bless his idealistic interpretation of events in the world, but they’re simply not true. Let’s look at the Ukraine for example.

There is no doubt in my mind that the US embassy is working right now to get the third runner, Zalmay Rassoul, to throw his party support far behind whichever the two of the front running candidates the United States has determined should be the next head of state of Afghanistan. That’s how it works in the real world and that the US will play a not insubstantial role in engineering the outcome of the election in Afghanistan. That’s number one.

Number two, you know, the fact that as Mr. Korb alluded to, the US and its NATO allies stepped up military forces, actually to the number of 152,000 foreign troops from 50 nations in Afghanistan, which is a historic precedent: I mean we never had that many troops from that many nations occupied Afghanistan or any other nation, for that matter. And that what we’re looking at is a military network that the US and company have managed to build not only in Afghanistan but in neighboring Central Asian countries, like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and I think the US and its NATO allies who have a propensity for interfering militarily in any part of the world they see fit to do so in, are going to be very reluctant not to continue to apply pressure on whichever government takes power in Kabul for a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA).

We have to recall that leading up to this election for several months, major US and NATO officials have used not only harsh, but threatening language, towards President Hamid Karzai, essentially tried to twist his arm to sign the BSA before the election.

Press TV: Well, what about this Mr. Rozoff? All of this is under UN OK, according to our guest in Washington? What exactly does this mean?

Rozoff: Yes, I mean that’s actually not true. Even as we talk, fifteen years ago, the 78-day air war was launched by the United States and its NATO allies against the unoffending Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a massive onslaught that destroyed civilian infrastructure, killed thousands of civilians without a United Nations mandate. Eleven years ago, a similar situation obtained in Iraq, where the US and Britain and other NATO allies attacked the country without a UN mandate. Even when there is a UN mandate, as in three years ago with Libya, UN Security Council Resolution 1973, it is taken way out of proportion to what was actually sanctioned or mandated and used as a pretense for an ongoing war.

I would also, if we had more time to discuss it, discuss the relevant UN mandates vis-a-vis the Afghanistan, and argue that in no way do those mandates envision much less authorize the stationing of 152,000 combat troops from the US and NATO in the country for 13 years.

Press TV: Why does the United States really want to stay in Afghanistan?

Rozoff: I discussed earlier the concept of the Great Game. The person most, in my estimate, most directly responsible for the 35-year catastrophe of Afghanistan is Polish-born, former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzeziński, self-styled geo-strategist, who is the person most deliberately and directly responsible for giving the Soviet Union “its Vietnam” in a rough paraphrase of his own words, and that if Afghanistan had to serve as the chessboard upon which he waged geopolitical battle for the United States and its Western allies, and if the Afghan people were ultimately the victims, it didn’t seem to mean much to Mr. Brzeziński. We’re talking about geopolitics and we’re talking about trying to thwart the emergence of a genuine multi-polar world, particularly one growing out of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization whose members and observers include first of all, Afghanistan itself now, with Hamid Karzai having attended the last several Shanghai Cooperation Organization heads of state summits and I’m sure his successors will attend this year’s, but also the fact that Russia, China, the Central Asian countries, and others involved, the US would like to put a spoke in that wheel.

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Maxim Gorky: War and Civilization


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

Russian writers on war

Maxim Gorky on Romain Rolland, war and humanism

Maxim Gorky to H.G. Wells: Cleanse from the hearts of children the blood-stained rust of horrible and senseless war

Maxim Gorky: Henri Barbusse and the mass of lies, hypocrisy, cruelty, dirt and blood called war

Maxim Gorky: The true motives of war


Maxim Gorky
War and Civilization (1916)
Translator unknown


The effect of the war on the progress of civilization among the nations of the world will be strongly felt for generations to come. The development of civilization will be much less rapid after the war than heretofore. The world is becoming more and more permeated with ill-will, hatred, and passion. The noble emotions give way to the bestial. The infernal forces are awakened and the inhuman has pridefully raised its head.

I believe, however, in the common sense of the nations of Western Europe. I feel that that sense will yet conquer the world, and that the European civilization will become the civilization of all humanity.

The European nations must therefore see to it that the work of civilization is carried on by them in a friendlier and more co-operative spirit. The “must” is based on a very plain point of view: The Anglo-Saxons, Teutons and Latins, all together, constitute but a part of the world’s population.

And yet they are the ones that are and have been creating the spiritual treasures of all humanity. The right to the spiritual domination of the world belongs to Western Europe, as she is entitled to that right by virtue of her spiritual wealth, of her many generations of labor on the fields of science and art; she has won that right through her intellectual services to humanity.

This mad, bloody war affords the largest part of the world the opportunity of doubting the moral values of Western European progress, of denouncing her authority in matters spiritual, and of opposing her doctrines and principles. In a measure these doubts are justified. The slaughter in which the foremost European nations are now engaged will enhance barbarism on earth and will doubtless be the cause of many obstacles in the path of civilization’s progress in Africa and Asia.

As soon as the European nations end their present criminal activities, a safe and solid ground for common work in behalf of the world will be found by them. The great minds of the neutral countries could even now begin the work of reorganizing European civilization, they could start a campaign against a return to barbarism.

Several years ago Wilhelm Ostwald suggested a union of the great minds of the world. He pointed out the necessity for such a “world-brain,” representing all nations. Such a “world-brain” would bring into the political, social, and nationalistic chaos the healthy human thought. Ostwald has proved the possibility of creating such a scientific institution in international politics, an institution composed of the master minds of the age, of scholars and men of affairs. Such a union must become the nervous system of humanity, the brain of the world.

I believe that right now is the time for such a union. We must attempt to embody this idea even if it were only because it would raise us above the every-day struggle for life, ennoble and refine us.

Does it sound Utopian? Not so very long ago the people thought wireless telegraphy, flying machines, and many other facts of today Utopian. The properties of radium remind us of the “philosopher’s stone,” the dream of the alchemists. Are not all these the attainments of science?

These miracles of science are the products of the human mind, the results of the iron will of man. Why could not the same mind, the same will, work miracles on the field of social and nationalistic relations?

Would it be considered miraculous if all of us were to grasp fully the simple fact that through bloodshed, murder, and destruction our conditions of life will not improve?

It is high time for our mind and will to create the possibilities for a healthier, freer, and more rapid development of civilization. Only through the power of mind and will could man transform the earth into a place worthy of his aspirations and ideals. Only a rational will could create rational conditions of life. And now, when the war has caused us all so much suffering, let our common interests in the destinies of European civilization create a mutual spiritual bond, a union based on our devotion to civilization.

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Georgia: Ruling Regime Marks NATO’s 65th Anniversary

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 4, 2014

Debates Dedicated to NATO’s 65th Anniversary

(Note the language on the pennant above)

“Debates about NATO“ was held at the exhibition hall of National Library. The event with the participation of GIPA students was dedicated to the NATO’s 65th anniversary.

Special jury estimated the participant teams of the “Debates about NATO“. Member of the jury – Deputy Defence Minister Mikheil Darchiashvili offered the GIPA students participated in the debates to visit National Training Center “Krtsanisi”, where Georgian military servicemen are undergoing pre-deployment training for NATO-led ISAF mission. The students thanked Defence Ministry for the invitation and outlined that visiting National Training Center will be very important and interesting for them.

The debates were organized by Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) and Information Centre on NATO and EU. Within the framework of event, GIPA students held parliamentary type discussions and referred to the Georgia’s NATO membership and NATO policy issues. The jury revealed the winner team and the best debater from two teams. At the end, the students were given certificates and gifts.

State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alex Petriashvili, Director of Information Centre on NATO and EU and GIPA Rector Maka Ioseliani were the members of the special jury.

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Georgi Karaslavov: War’s fratricide, how commonplace and yet how terrible

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

Georgi Karaslavov
From Tango (1964)
Translated by M. Todorov


A terrible scene would occasionally crop up in his mind. It was in Macedonia, during the First World War. They had been ordered to attend an execution. Three soldiers had been tied to three separate stakes. They were ordinary, simple soldiers, whose lean bodies were shivering in the cold. A squad of men, chosen among their mates, stood near the stakes with loaded rifles. Then, after a sharp command, a volley of shots rang out, and when Todor finally opened his eyes he saw three riddled, crumpled bodies quivering on the stakes. How commonplace and yet how terrible all this had been! And it had been so terrible just because it was so commonplace. These dead soldiers had lovers, relatives and friends who knew nothing at the moment and who lived in the hope of seeing them, of meeting them again and taking them into their arms one day. As the years went by, the terrible scene of this execution – which had been ordered to “set an example to the others” – had gradually faded from his memory. Todor had hardly thought of it again until a year ago…He tried in vain to banish from his mind the vision of the three bodies quivering on the stakes, as though they still suffered from the cold…

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Argentine Leader: Falklands A Nuclear Base For NATO

April 5, 2014 1 comment

Agence France-Presse
April 2, 2014

Argentine leader claims Falklands a NATO nuclear base

Buenos Aires: Argentine President Cristina Kirchner claimed Wednesday that the Falkland Islands serve as a nuclear base for the NATO alliance in the South Atlantic.

Argentina, which calls the archipelago the Malvinas, claims the British overseas possession as its own, and fought a brief but bloody war for it in 1982.

The islands, she said, “constitute a NATO military nuclear base in the South Atlantic — this is the truth that they can’t continue to hide.”

She alleged the archipelago is “among the most militarized areas in the world,” saying some 1,500 soldiers and 2,000 civilian military personnel are stationed there amid a population of just 1,000.

Kirchner…said the British military manages its entire South Atlantic deployment and its electronic intelligence systems from there.

Kirchner made the claims during a ceremony honoring the Argentine dead on the 32nd anniversary of the start of the conflict.

Argentine forces invaded the islands on April 2, 1982 but were forced to surrender 74 days later after a British expeditionary force recaptured them.

The fighting left 649 Argentine soldiers — many of them conscripts — dead, along with 255 British personnel and three civilian islanders.

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Wilfred Owen: Pawing us who dealt them war and madness


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

Wilfred Owen: Arms and the Boy and Disabled

Wilfred Owen: 1914

Wilfred Owen: Soldier’s Dream


Wilfred Owen


Cramped in That Funnelled Hole

Cramped in that funnelled hole, they watched the dawn
Open a jagged rim around; a yawn
Of death’s jaws, which had all but swallowed them
Stuck in the bottom of his throat of phlegm.

They were in one of many mouths of Hell
Not seen of seers in visions, only felt
As teeth of traps; when bones and the dead are smelt
Under the mud where long ago they fell
Mixed with the sour sharp odour of the shell.

Mental Cases

Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight?
Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows,
Drooping tongues from jays that slob their relish,
Baring teeth that leer like skulls’ teeth wicked?
Stroke on stroke of pain,- but what slow panic,
Gouged these chasms round their fretted sockets?
Ever from their hair and through their hands’ palms
Misery swelters. Surely we have perished
Sleeping, and walk hell; but who these hellish?

-These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.
Memory fingers in their hair of murders,
Multitudinous murders they once witnessed.
Wading sloughs of flesh these helpless wander,
Treading blood from lungs that had loved laughter.
Always they must see these things and hear them,
Batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles,
Carnage incomparable, and human squander
Rucked too thick for these men’s extrication.

Therefore still their eyeballs shrink tormented
Back into their brains, because on their sense
Sunlight seems a blood-smear; night comes blood-black;
Dawn breaks open like a wound that bleeds afresh.
-Thus their heads wear this hilarious, hideous,
Awful falseness of set-smiling corpses.
-Thus their hands are plucking at each other;
Picking at the rope-knouts of their scourging;
Snatching after us who smote them, brother,
Pawing us who dealt them war and madness.

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Fraternal Genocide in Ukraine: U.S. Instigating Yugoslav Scenario

April 4, 2014 2 comments

Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 4, 2014

US Instigating ‘Yugoslav Scenario’ of Fraternal Genocide in Ukraine

NEW DELHI: The US effort to turn Ukraine into a forward area for positioning NATO bases is paving the way for fraternal genocide and ethnic cleansing in the former Soviet state, repeating the Yugoslav scenario, Aijaz Ahmad, a famous Indian philosopher and political expert said in an article in a leading Indian newsmagazine, Frontline.

The conflict in Yugoslavia – a former European country that separated into Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro – culminated in a series of NATO bombings in March 1999 in response to alleged widespread atrocities by Serbian forces against ethnic Albanians in the province of Kosovo.

As a result of the 78-day NATO bombing campaign, Serbia, a nation with historic ties to Russia, lost control of Kosovo province, which declared independence in 2008. Moscow compared last month’s Crimea secession from Ukraine with Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, saying Kosovo established a precedent and Crimea followed suit.

In his article, “The ‘Great Game’ in Europe,” Ahmad wrote that in February the United States sponsored a Euro-Nazi coup in Kiev and, in response, the reunification of Crimea, formerly a Ukrainian region, with Russia in March signaled a “turning point and a watershed event” in the post-Soviet era.

Ahmad wrote that on the heels of US President Barack Obama’s China-containment strategy, known as the “Asian pivot,” Washington has started a European pivot with the goal of encircling Russia and abolishing a crucial buffer between Moscow and the advance of a network of NATO bases into territories formerly part of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.

Ukraine, like the Serbo-Croatian region in the former Yugoslavia, is a borderland shared between the East and the West, categories developed by US political scientist Samuel Huntington, the philosopher wrote.
Croatia, with its Catholic majority, was encouraged to break its union with the predominantly Orthodox Serbia, “with murderous, even genocidal consequences all around.”

“In attempting to turn Ukraine into a forward country for positioning NATO bases against Russia, the US is paving the way, wittingly or unwittingly, for potentially that same kind of fraternal genocide and ethnic cleansing,” Ahmad wrote.

Commenting on an $18 billion promised IMF loan to Ukraine, Ahmad said he has doubts that the West’s economic assistance will indeed help the crisis-hit country. Kiev will need $24 billion to cover its budget deficit, debt repayment, natural gas bills and pension payments this year alone, according to Moody’s rating agency.

Over the past two decades, the Russian subsidy for Ukraine’s oil and gas purchases has reached about $200 billion. The West is offering little driblets of money, he said, adding that “without Russian generosity, the Ukrainian economy will be in ruins.”

“IMF-imposed austerity on a ruined economy and NATO-propelled militarization for eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with Russian power is just the kind of combustible combination that may well lead to a civil war, a regional war, and heaven knows what else – in a country where 70 per cent in a recent Gallup poll voted against joining NATO,” he wrote.

Ahmad said China and India have supported Moscow in its actions in Ukraine, adding that a strategic alliance between Russia, which has vast mineral deposits, and China, the world’s second largest economy, could become one of the positive results of Washington’s fiasco in Ukraine.

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Rasmussen: NATO Ready To Go To War For Estonia

April 4, 2014 3 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 3, 2014

Secretary General tells Estonia NATO is firmly committed to collective defence

The Prime Minister of Estonia visits NATO

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the new Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas in his first visit to NATO Headquarters and stressed the firm commitment of the Alliance to collective defense. “As we face the most serious security crisis in a generation, we are determined to keep NATO robust, ready and agile. Estonia, like every NATO member, can count on Allied solidarity at all times and against any threat”, the Secretary General said.

Speaking about the measures taken by NATO in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen underlined that NATO has more than doubled the number of fighter aircraft allocated to the Alliance’s air policing mission in the Baltic States.

“And we will make sure we have updated military plans, enhanced exercises and appropriate deployments”, he said.

The Secretary General also praised Estonia’s commitment to the Alliance. “It is now ten years since Estonia joined our Alliance. Throughout, Estonia has made NATO stronger, and NATO has made Estonia stronger”, the Secretary General said. ”Over the years, brave and professional Estonian troops have made a substantial contribution to our challenging mission in Afghanistan. Estonia has learnt tough lessons on cyber defence, and is now making a significant contribution to strengthen the Alliance efforts in this vital domain.”

The Secretary General said that Estonia is leading by example when it comes to investing the right amount of resources in the right defence capabilities.

“Despite the economic crisis, you are spending 2 percent of your gross domestic product on defence. This shows your commitment to collective defence. And it shows that if Estonia can do it, other Allies can do it too”, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said.

Responding to journalists’ questions on claims by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that NATO was not respecting its bilateral agreements with Russia, the NATO Secretary General said “no, of course we haven’t violated the Rome Declaration and I’m actually surprised that Russia can claim that NATO has violated its commitments, because Russia is violating every principle and international commitment it has made. First and foremost the commitment not to invade other countries. Russia has undermined all the principles of our relationship and therefore there can no longer be business as usual and to make it clear NATO’s core task is to defend our allies and this is what we are doing”.

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NATO at 65: Photo gallery

April 4, 2014 1 comment

April 4, 2014

NATO’s large-scale military operations

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed 65 years ago on April 4, 1949

NATO is a military alliance with the purpose of collective defense. NATO conducts military operations of two kinds: peacekeeping and peace enforcing ones. The difference is that peace keeping actions are realized with the mutual agreement of the parties involved. The ground base for interference in peace enforcing operations is a resolution of the United Nations security council. In reality, however, such operations have taken place without UN’s approval: in 1995 NATO forces interfered in the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina with no UN approval, neither was sanctioned the 1999 NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia. The most widely known large-scale military operations of the NATO in this photo gallery by ITAR-TASS

Captions for photographs:

NATO’s first operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994-1995. Citizens are hiding behind a peacekeeper in Sarajevo in 1995 NATO’s first operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994-1995.

NATO bombs a Serbian arsenal in Pale, near Sarajevo on August 30, 1995

NATO heads the KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, July 14, 1999 Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: a power plant on fire in Belgrade on March 24, 1999

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: a brigde across the Danube destroyed by NATO bombing in Novi-Sad

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: a bridge across the Danube destroyed by NATO bombing in Novi-Sad

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: NATO bombardment results in the city of Surdulica, Yugoslavia

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: NATO bombardment results in the city of Aleksinac

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. A fuel tank of a NATO fighter jet in the village of Aleksandrovac, 80 kilometers from Belgrade

Operation ‘Active Endeavour’ in the Mediterranean Sea in 2001

Operation ‘Active Endeavour’ in the Mediterranean Sea in 2001

Operation ‘Active Endeavour’ in the Mediterranean Sea in 2001

NATO heads the ISAF international security mission in Afghanistan in 2003.

Photo: students stopping a NATO truck during a protest against introduction of troops

NATO heads the ISAF international security mission in Afghanistan in 2003.

Photo: NATO soldiers search a village NATO heads the ISAF international security mission in Afghanistan in 2003.

Photo: NATO soldiers firing a mortar in Kunar Province, Afghanistan NATO heads the ISAF international security mission in Afghanistan in 2003.

Photo: NATO soldier searching a child in the village of Host, Afghanistan NATO military training mission in Iraq started in 2005.

Photo: NATO instructor training an Iraqi recruit NATO military training mission in Iraq started in 2005.

Photo: NATO instructor training Iraqi recruits

NATO has participated in operations at the coast of the African Horn since 2008.

Photo: NATO officer searching a worker in Jibuti (Djibouti) NATO has participated in operations at the coast of the African Horn since 2008.

Photo: NATO military ships ‘Hamburg’ and ‘Köln’ leaving a base in Germany In 2011

NATO conducts operation ‘Unified Protector’ in Libya.

Photo: NATO soldier checks equipment if a fighter jet on a base in Sicily In 2011

NATO conducts operation ‘Unified Protector’ in Libya.

Photo: a NATO fighter jet taking off from the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle In 2011 NATO conducts operation ‘Unified Protector’ in Libya. In 2011 NATO conducts operation ‘Unified Protector’ in Libyia.

Photo: mass funeral of the NATO airstrikes victims In 2011 NATO conducts operation ‘Unified Protector’ in Libya.

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Nordic Defense Chiefs To Discuss Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria And Mali

Xinhua News Agency
April 4, 2014

Nordic defense ministers to discuss cooperation, security situation

OSLO: Defense ministers from the five Nordic countries will hold a two-day meeting from April 8 in the northern Norwegian city of Tromso to discuss cooperation and security situation in the region.

The ministers from Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden will discuss the situation in Ukraine, cyber defense plan, joint tactical air transport, capacity building and the status of various Nordic cooperation projects, said a press release issued on Thursday by the Norwegian Defense Ministry.

They will also exchange information and draw experiences from cooperation in international operations in Afghanistan, Syria and Mali.

“The Nordic countries cooperate closely in many areas and we are now in an era where constructive dialogue on regional and global issues is very important,” said Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide.

Norway holds the rotating presidency of the Nordic defense cooperation forum NORDEFCO in 2014.

NORDEFCO was established in 2009 to enhance the Nordic defense cooperation.

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NATO: Georgia Is “Special Partner”

April 4, 2014 1 comment

Civil Georgia
April 2, 2014

NATO, Georgian FMs Hold Meeting


Tbilisi: NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said Georgia is a “special partner”, which made “remarkable progress” and added that upcoming local elections will be “another significant milestone” on the road to the mature democracy.

In opening remarks at the NATO-Georgia Commission on the level of foreign ministers in Brussels on April 2, Rasmussen said that Georgia “has proven itself to be a security exporter”, noting Georgia’s contribution to mission in Afghanistan, its commitment to continue its participation in the post-2014 mission and intention to join NATO Response Forces from 2015.

“Georgia can become a role model for whole region, a nation that provides security and stability, a nation that is undertaking real reforms and reaping real dividends and the nation that is on track to deliver on its sovereign choice of European and Euro-Atlantic integration,” Rasmussen said.

He also said that “crisis at our borders following Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine” will also be discussed at the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting and reiterated Alliance’s support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and its aspiration to join NATO.


Civil Georgia
April 2, 2014

NATO May Decide How to Address Georgia’s Aspirations in June

Tbilisi: NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said he expects Alliance’s foreign ministers to decide in June how to address at the summit in Wales open door policy, including in respect of Georgia.

Asked during a press conference after a two-day NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels on April 2, what Georgia’s chances are to get Membership Action Plan (MAP) in September, when NATO holds summit in Wales, Rasmussen responded that it’s now too early to say anything about how NATO will address the open door policy at the summit.

“Definitely we will address the open door policy. We have outlined a process leading up to the summit; we will update assessment reports on each of the four aspirant countries [Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Montenegro and Macedonia] and these reports will be discussed by foreign ministers when they meet in June and I would expect foreign ministers to take decisions in June as to how we will address the open door policy,” Rasmussen said.

He also said that Georgia “has made significant progress in its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.” An assessment team from NATO visited Georgia late last month.

“The Georgian government has carried through comprehensive reforms,” he said and commended Georgia’s contribution to NATO-led forces in Afghanistan and added that last year’s presidential election was “exemplary”.

“Georgia has really demonstrated strong commitment to our Alliance – we appreciate that, we welcome that. But still of course there is work to do,” the NATO Secretary General added.

He also reiterated 2008 NATO Bucharest summit decision that Georgia will join the alliance provided that it fulfills necessary criteria.

2008 NATO Bucharest summit decision also says that MAP should be the next step for Georgia on its “direct way to membership”; references to the need of going through MAP phase before joining the alliance are also made in NATO’s subsequent decisions in respect of Georgia.

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Rex Warner: These guns were sent to save civilisation

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

Rex Warner
From Arms in Spain (1937)


So that men might remain slaves, and the little good
they hoped for might be turned all bad and the iron lie
stamped and clamped on growing tender and vigorous truth
these machine guns were dispatched from Italy.
So that the drunken General and the Christian millionaire
might continue to rule in complete darkness,
that on rape and ruin order might be founded firm,
these guns were sent to save civilisation.

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NATO: 65 Years Later

April 3, 2014 2 comments

April 4, 2014

NATO: 65 Years Later
Rick Rozoff

When the U.S. recruited its Western European and Canadian military allies to jointly create the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949, it was with the purpose of perpetuating American military presence on the European continent and to introduce nuclear weapons in Europe for the first time.

Currently, sixty-five years afterward, the Pentagon continues to maintain air, infantry and naval bases in Britain, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Norway, Greece, Turkey and other older NATO member states and, in addition, courtesy of the past fifteen years’ NATO expansion, has acquired new bases directly and under NATO auspices in Kosovo, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. These military facilities include (the permanent use of) air bases in  Hungary (the world’s first multinational global strategic airlift operation in Papa), Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland, which the U.S. has spent millions of dollars modernizing and expanding over the past ten years.

Washington first deployed nuclear bombs to Europe in 1949 immediately after the founding of NATO, before the Soviet Union developed its first atomic bomb, and continues to this day to maintain B61 nuclear bombs on air bases in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey under the provisions of what is alternately called the NATO burden sharing or NATO nuclear sharing arrangement. The tactical nuclear bombs in question are American, but under the conditions of the NATO agreement they are to be delivered by the air forces of the respective host nations.

With the announcement by Washington of what it calls the European Phased Adaptive Approach interceptor missile system in 2009 and the subsequent endorsement of it by NATO, the Atlantic Alliance has become the Pentagon’s chief mechanism for the “Son of Star Wars” missile shield to be deployed in and cover all of Europe (except for Russia and Belarus) and the seas bordering the continent and as building blocks in a proposed global (and space-based) interceptor missile program.

NATO member states collectively spend over a trillion dollars a year on arms and the military.


When Turkey invaded North Cyprus in 1974, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization neither acted to prevent nor criticized that act of aggression because Turkey is a member of NATO and Cyprus was not. Forty years later when the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to leave post-coup Ukraine and affiliate with the Russian Federation, a completely peaceful process, NATO in response has mounted a steady drumbeat of threats regarding its Article 5 provision concerning “collective defense,” which is to say concerted military efforts. In common parlance, war.

With the defeat of the ruling AKEL party in Cyprus last year and the formation of a pro-NATO government which immediately gave its American and other Western backers what they demanded – the express offer to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace transitional program, the program employed to prepare the 12 Eastern European nations that NATO absorbed as full members in the decade from 1999-2009 – now all of the 39 European nations (42 if the countries of the South Caucasus are included and excluding the mini- or micro-states of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City) are either full NATO members or members of one or more NATO military partnership programs: The Partnership for Peace, the Adriatic Charter, the aspirant countries category, Individual Partnership Action Plan, Membership Action Plan, Annual National Programmes, etc.

With other partnership programs – the Mediterranean Dialogue (in north Africa and the Middle East), the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (in the Persian Gulf), the new Partners Across the Globe (Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Korea to begin with) and evolving individual arrangements with nations in Latin America (Colombia and El Salvador to date) – NATO members and partners now constitute over 70 nations, more than a third of the countries in the world, on every inhabited continent.

In addition, in recent years NATO has been striving to establish partnerships with the ten-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the 54-nation African Union, India, China and other nations throughout the world. NATO, in short, has in the post-Cold War epoch expanded into the world’s largest and history’s first global military bloc. One which over the past fifteen years has waged full-fledged wars in three continents – Europe (Yugoslavia in 1999), Asia (Afghanistan to the present day) and Africa (Libya in 2011) – and which has subsequently incorporated the defeated and conquered nations, or fragments thereof, into its international network of military partnerships.

As with many workers in the U.S. and other nations, 65 years of age should be the age of mandatory retirement for this dangerous, most dangerous of all, threat to world peace.

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Black Sea: U.S. To Deploy Guided Missile Warship Against Russia

April 3, 2014 3 comments

Stars and Stripes
April 3, 2014

US warship heading to Black Sea
By Hendrick Simoes

USS Donald Cook

USS Ramage

A U.S. Navy warship is on its way to the Black Sea as part of the ongoing response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, State Department officials said.

In the immediate aftermath of Russia’s takeover of Crimea, the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun sailed into the Black Sea, where it conducted exercises with the Bulgarian and Romanian navies, practicing basic maneuvers and drills.

However, the Truxtun left the Black Sea March 21 to continue its scheduled deployment as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, currently in the Middle East. A new Navy warship in the Black Sea would be a replacement for the Truxtun, said officials.

The U.S. Navy would not confirm which ship it would be sending into the area. But two destroyers — the USS Donald Cook and the USS Ramage — are currently in the vicinity, taking part in an exercise in the eastern Mediterranean with the Greek and Israeli navies.

“We are making plans to meet the intent vocalized by (U.S. and NATO officials) to lay out a sustainable maritime presence in the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, but we do not have anything to announce at this time,” said Capt. Gregory Hicks of the U.S. European Command. He said the Navy routinely operates ships in the Black Sea to demonstrate U.S. commitment to working closely with allies in the region.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the deployment of U.S. warships in the Black Sea during a joint press conference with Kazakhstan’s foreign minister.

According to Russian media reports, Lavrov accused the U.S. of violating the Montreux Convention — a 1936 international agreement that restricts the passage through the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles of naval ships not belonging to Black Sea states.

Meawnhile, U.S. and NATO leaders have expressed concern over Russia amassing tens of thousands of troops on its border with Ukraine.

Along with a set of sanctions against Russia, the U.S. has been bolstering its military presence throughout the region in a show of force to reassure allies and improve the military’s ability to respond to a crisis.

“Obviously, we’re working a diplomatic track, but we need to have things in place that do reassure our allies in case the diplomatic track takes longer than we want or while we try to make progress on it,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

In recent weeks the U.S. has sent six additional F-15s to augment NATO’s Baltic air policing mission, and a dozen F-16s to Poland to train with the Polish air force. Additionally, in the midst of increasing tensions, the Pentagon announced Wednesday that it was sending 175 more Marines to Romania, where 300 are already present. But officials said the move was unrelated to the current crisis between Ukraine and Russia.

In a sign that the crisis is deepening, NATO officials suspended all “practical civilian and military cooperation” with Russia Wednesday and announced that NATO would intensify its cooperation with Ukraine.

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U.S. Naval Buildup In Black Sea Violates International Treaty: Russia

April 3, 2014 1 comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 3, 2014

Deployment Extension of US Warships in Black Sea Exceeds International Terms – Lavrov

MOSCOW: Moscow has taken note that the extension of US warships deployed in the Black Sea has exceeded the set terms laid out in the international convention, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a joint press conference with Kazakhstan’s foreign minister on Thursday in Moscow.

“There exists the Montreux Convention, which gives extremely clear criteria limiting the deployment of warships not belonging to the Black Sea governments in regard to tonnage and length of stay,” Lavrov said.

“We have noticed that US warships have extended their deployment beyond the set terms a couple of times lately, and at times they did not always comply with the regulations that are set within the Montreux Convention.”


April 3, 2014

U.S. naval ships overstayed Montreux Convention limits in Black Sea – Russian foreign minister

MOSCOW: Russia will keep a close eye on how the United States and Turkey follow the principles of the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits, which set the rules for warships’ presence in the Black Sea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“We have the Montreux Convention, which introduces absolutely clear-cut criteria that restrict the presence of naval vessels of foreign states that are not located in the Black Sea region in terms of tonnage and periods of presence. We have paid attention to the fact that recently American naval ships have twice prolonged their presence there beyond the set timeframe,” he said at a press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

“Furthermore, they have not always managed to obey the rules that exist as part of the Montreux Convention. We have also drawn the attention of the American side and Turkey, where these straits are located, to this fact. Our position is that all of the principles of the Convention should be rigorously obeyed. We will monitor this,” he said.

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NATO Inaugurates Deployable Special Operations Headquarters

April 3, 2014 3 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

April 3, 2014


Chievres Air Base, BELGIUM: NATO Special Operations Headquarters has conducted the first in a series of exercises arranged to test a new concept of deployable headquarters, at the NSHQ Training Campus.

The Special Operations Component Command Core is designed to provide NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe an assured deployable headquarters element that will serve as the initial command and control element for NATO special operations forces, deployed within a NATO Crisis Response Operation.

The SOCC Core is an additional sourcing option for SACEUR. It compliments existing capabilities provided by Nations to the Alliance. It ensures SACEUR has a deployable SOF command and control capability when a national capability is not yet designated or immediately available. In these instances, SOCC Core bridges the gap between first-response and the arrival of a fully operational headquarters.

“The SOCC Core approximates the initial capability of a special operations component command headquarters,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Bob Lyonnais, NSHQ SOCC Core Chief of Staff. “The SOCC Core is SACEUR’s assured, deployable, command and control capability for special operations.”

Service Members and Civilians from NATO Special Operations Headquarters assemble the components of the Special Operations Component Command Core Headquarters during an exercise to test the capabilities of the facility, 26 March 2014, at Chievres Air Base, Belgium. The Special Operations Component Command Core is designed to provide NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe an assured deployable headquarters element that will serve as the initial command and control element for NATO special operations forces, deployed within a NATO Crisis Response Operation. (RELEASED / NATO Photo by Edouard Bocquet, FRA)

In simple terms, the SOCC Core includes the basic capabilities found in many military deployed headquarters: operations center, satellite connectivity, medical facilities, and full communications array. Each of these capabilities allows the SOCC Core to reach back to the robust special operations network, throughout the NATO Alliance.

“The SOCC Core can be deployed relatively quickly to react to and support a wide array of humanitarian and combat operations, worldwide. The readiness standards of the SOCC Core closely resemble the readiness standards of the NATO Response Force,” said Lyonnais.

The SOCC Core capability is about the people and the training and expertise of those people, Lyonnais said. The SOCC Core staff is based and built around the Alliance Service Members working at the NATO Special Operations Headquarters, who will deploy in support of the command and control needs of the SOCC Core. These NSHQ personnel are joined by deployable intelligence personnel from the Special Operations Intelligence Branch of the NATO Intelligence Fusion Centre.

Throughout 2014, the SOCC Core will endure various levels of testing, culminating in Exercise Trident Jaguar. Upon successful completion of Trident Jaguar, it is expected the NSHQ Commander will be able to certify the SOCC Core as fully mission ready.

“You have to have command and control capabilities,” Lyonnais said, “The SOCC Core ensures SACEUR has one available for SOF.”

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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Pentagon Suspends Interceptor Missile Talks With Russia Over Ukraine

April 3, 2014 1 comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 3, 2014

Pentagon Suspends Missile Shield Talks with Russia over Ukraine

MOSCOW: The Pentagon has halted all talks with Russia concerning its anti-missile defense shield in Europe over the Ukrainian crisis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy Elaine Bunn said.

“Russia’s intervention in Ukraine in violation of international law led to the suspension of our military-to-military dialogues, including civilians, and we have subsequently not continued to engage Russia on the topic of missile defense,” Ms. Bunn said.

Washington has also declined to introduce any restrictions on anti-missile defense as proposed by Russia, the US deputy defense chief said.

Ms. Bunn also added that Moscow will not have command and control capabilities in the project.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the US-led ABM program in Europe at a Lisbon summit in 2010, but the dialog stalled after Washington refused to give Moscow guarantees that the project didn’t threaten Russian nuclear deterrence forces.

The Kremlin initially offered NATO to build a joint European missile defense system based on a sectoral principle. This scenario suggested that every partner would be responsible for a certain region, with Russia having control of the Baltic space. This plan was shot down citing Article 5 of the alliance’s collective security agreement.   

The Ukrainian coup has soured Russia’s cooperation with the United States and NATO on many levels, including their joint anti-drug and helicopter maintenance programs in Afghanistan.


April 3, 2014

Ryabkov on U.S. plans to suspend missile defense cooperation with Russia: such cooperation does not exist

MOSCOW: Russia and the United States do not cooperate in missile defense issues because Washington refuses to provide Moscow with legally-binding guarantees that the U.S.-planned global missile defense shield will not be directed against Russia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

“I need to say that cooperation does not exist in this sphere,” Ryabkov told Interfax on Thursday, when commenting on U.S. officials’ statements that such cooperation with Russia could be suspended.

“The American side is well aware of the fact that opportunities for such cooperation could emerge if Washington agreed to heed our demand to provide reliable and legally-binding guarantees that the global missile defense system being built by the U.S. together with its NATO allies and certain countries in the Asian region and the Middle East will not be directed against [Russia],” he said.

“Obviously, this way of putting this question is no longer relevant today because of the U.S. policy aimed at exacerbating bilateral relations with Russia,” Ryabkov said.

“Possibly, as time goes by, the American side will realize the absence of any alternative to such an approach, if certainly Washington’s policy is not totally dominated by the aspiration to secure the appearance of potential in the missile defense sphere that would start to devalue our strategic nuclear deterrence potential,” the high-ranking diplomat said.


April 3, 2014

U.S. suspends cooperation with Russia on number of peaceful nuclear projects

MOSCOW: The United States has suspended the cooperation with Russia on a number of peaceful nuclear projects, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said in a statement.

It namely concerns a number of technical meetings, in particular on scientific topics, and what the U.S. refers to as Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

“We consider this step to be wrong and contradicting the constructive spirit we had formed with the U.S. Department of Energy in the recent years. Nuclear energy is a very subtle and serious matter. A responsible and professional approach is needed here from all participants in international cooperation. Politicization is inappropriate here,” Rosatom statement said.

“Any attempts to add some unilateral restrictions in this sector will first affect the initiators of such steps,” the document said.


Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 3, 2014

Freeze on Russia-NASA Space Cooperation to Have Global Backlash – Expert

MOSCOW: Washington’s decision to freeze cooperation between the NASA space agency and its Russian counterpart on a slew of joint projects will hurt global space partnership but won’t be the end of the Russian space program, Director of the Space Policy Institute Ivan Moiseyev told RIA Novosti Thursday.

NASA issued a statement saying it put most of its joint missions with Russia on hold indefinitely. The only exception is the “operational International Space Station activities,” the agency’s associate administrator Michael O’Brien said in a memo.

“The statement was way too harsh,” Ivan Moiseyev told RIA Novosti. He warned NASA that its move would have a “rather significant” impact on space exploration projects globally.

“Modern space science is a global phenomenon that benefits all countries,” Moiseyev noted. “It means that many large-scale projects require an international effort. A freeze on cooperation will spur a serious backlash against the international space program.”

The space pundit added that, despite being something that Russia would never want for space science, this freeze was unlikely to have any catastrophic repercussions for its industry. Russia will simply have to adjust its projects to the new reality, he explained.

Russia’s senior space official said earlier in an interview with RIA Novosti that Russia didn’t depend much on the United States, as far as space industry goes.

This comes as the United States, European Union and their allies continue to ratchet up diplomatic pressure on Russia following its re-unification with the Russian-majority Crimea peninsula, which was taken over by Ukraine after the Soviet fall.

Measures include sanctions against Russian and Crimean officials and businesses, who had their foreign assets seized.

In a recent development, NATO member states suspended cooperation with Moscow allegedly until Russia changed its stand on the Ukrainian crisis, prompting the Russian Foreign Office to accuse the allies of trying to manhandle the country into accepting their viewpoint.

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Siegfried Sassoon: Aftermath


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

Siegfried Sassoon: Arms and the Man

Siegfried Sassoon: At the Cenotaph

Siegfried Sassoon: Atrocities


Siegfried Sassoon


Have you forgotten yet?…
For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go,
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
But the past is just the same – and War’s a bloody game…
Have you forgotten yet?…
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz -
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench -
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, ‘Is it all going to happen again?’

Do you remember that hour of din before the attack -
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads – those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

Have you forgotten yet?…
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget.

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U.S. Sends More Marines to Romania, Warship to Black Sea

April 2, 2014 1 comment

U.S. Department of Defense
April 2, 2014

U.S. Sends More Marines to Romania, Navy Vessel to Black Sea
By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON: The Defense Department is deploying additional Marines to enlarge a rotational crisis response force based in Spain, and is also dispatching a naval vessel to the Black Sea to conduct exercises with U.S. allies in the region, a Pentagon spokesman said today.

Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters that 175 Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., will augment the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response force based at Moron Air Base, Spain.

“We’re increasing the number from 500 to 675,” Warren said, adding that the move had been planned since late last year.

The expeditionary force falls under U.S. Africa Command but can be deployed anywhere. It enables the United States to conduct a range of military operations including non-combatant evacuations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief as well as support for U.S. embassies.

While the additional Marines will be part of the Spain-based force, Warren said they are being stationed in Romania to allow greater flexibility. They will join nearly 300 Marines already in the country who are part of the Black Sea rotational force.

Warren…announced that a U.S. Navy vessel is heading to the Black Sea for exercises to reassure American allies of the U.S. commitment to the region. That move, he said, is a direct result of the current situation in Ukraine. Warren did not rule out a role for the vessel in exercises with the Ukrainian military.

The announcement came a day after Warren said senior U.S defense officials were in Kiev for discussions with Ukrainian officials on defense cooperation and regional security.

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NATO, Pentagon Exploit Ukraine Crisis To Sow Panic, Push Military Presence

April 2, 2014 2 comments

Stars and Stripes
April 2, 2014

Breedlove: Ukraine situation shows need for US forces in Europe

Moscow has enough forces to achieve its goals in three to five days if it invades eastern Ukraine, the top U.S. commander in Europe said an interview Wednesday, arguing that the U.S. needs to re-examine where and how its troops are deployed in Europe in light of a newly assertive Russia.

“We think it is ready to go and we think it could accomplish its objectives in between three and five days if directed to make the actions,” Breedlove told Reuters news service.

Foreign Policy magazine noted that before March, Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove’s primary concern was holding the line against cuts to U.S. military personnel in Europe, where there are now about 67,000 troops, down from about 100,000 in 1990 and some 400,000 at the height of the Cold War.

Although the Pentagon has announced no public proposals to draw down U.S. forces, European Command has been seen by some as low-hanging budgetary fruit since before February.

“For years, [European Command] has been the natural bill payer,” said Mark Jacobson, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund in Washington, using Pentagon-speak for a command or program forced to accept cuts in favor of other defense programs.

Breedlove was to testify on Capitol Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday on the EUCOM budget, in which force structure is considered as part of coming defense bills. He was instead sent back to Europe to deal with the Ukraine situation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reportedly had ordered a partial withdrawal of forces massed near eastern Ukraine, but Breedlove offered a strikingly different assessment.

“I must tell you that we do not see that yet,” Breedlove said in the interview. “We are looking for it, and we have not seen movements to the rear.”

Moscow maintains its troops have been sent to the border for military exercises, but Breedlove told Foreign Policy that the troops were so well equipped that they could cross into eastern Ukraine within 12 hours and take control within several days. Breedlove said Russia had deployed “the whole package” to the border, including helicopters and attack aircraft, as well as jamming systems and cyber assets.

The crisis is helping Breedlove make the case that no further cuts to U.S. forces in Europe should be made. In fact, he said, the military footprint in Europe should be rethought altogether in light of what has unfolded in recent weeks.

A Pentagon review of infrastructure due this summer will recommend a number of reductions across Europe, Foreign Policy reported. Defense officials have declined to say how the events of recent weeks may affect that review’s findings.

Breedlove has acknowledged that there is excess infrastructure for U.S. basing, but is adamant that the United States must endeavor to do a comprehensive examination of how the U.S. military is deployed throughout Europe.

“The question now,” he said, “is how is the force positioned and provisioned to prepare us for a new paradigm.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Finnish, Swedish Warplanes In NATO’s Baltic Exercise

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

April 2, 2014

A Key Air Training Event for NATO in the Baltics

Swedish JAS-39 Gripen hands over the air policing task to the United States F-15C and practiced handover procedures between NATO and NATO Partner’s Quick Reaction units

Šiauliai, LITHUANIA: Šiauliai Airbase in Lithuania hosted one of NATO’s key air training events this week, BRTE 17. The Baltic Regional Training Event, which focuses on enhancing air interoperability among NATO and Partnership for Peace Air Forces, took place on 1-2 April 2014.

The scenario for the event was the loss of communication with an unknown aircraft entering a NATO partner’s airspace. The situation enabled participants to highlight coordination and cooperation between different Nations and Command and Reporting Centres to eventually escort the potentially hijacked aircraft to land safely.

The Baltic Regional Training Event, which has taken place for over 5 years now, has become an important training opportunity for HQ Air Command, Ramstein and the Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem, Germany. Swedish and Finnish participation in the training helps to advance cross-border cooperation and to increase air traffic safety and security. It also offers the ability to practice handover procedures between Quick Reaction units in the air and at the same time training for special procedures, such as a simulated crew ejection and search and rescue (SAR) operations.

“We’re conducting these series of exercises every four months to have the chance to understand each other, to increase interoperability, to test the communications lines, to test procedures and to enhance them if necessary,” said the Combined Air Operations Centre Commander, Lieutenant-General Joachim Wundrak.

Under NATO Smart Defence programs, smaller Allies focus on developing and maintaining specific capabilities. For example, Baltic nations concentrate on fielding highly capable land forces, while other Allies provide air policing for the region. The United States is currently in the lead for the 17th Baltic Regional Training Event until the end of April 2014.

“The mission objectives are very clear and concise and every time we do these exercises there are always teaching points,” said F-15C pilot Captain Tyler Clark. “That’s why we’re going to debrief the mission, figure out what went wrong, what went right and now we can better apply these principles that we’ve learned to the next flight to increase the overall effectiveness of the mission”, he added.

“NATO has a vital role to play in the Baltic States, about reassuring them with regard to the current circumstances”, said F-15C Group Commander Lendy Renegar. “NATO has a great responsibility across its entire spectrum with its airspace. Maintaining sovereign airspace is very important to any nation,” Renegar added.

Categories: Uncategorized

Two NATO Allies: U.S. Continues Military Buildup In Poland

April 2, 2014 1 comment

United States European Command
April 2, 2014

Forward…Ready…Now: USAF builds partnership with Polish Armed Forces
Sgt. Daylena S. Ricks 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland: More than 100 Airmen and three C-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, deployed to enhance bilateral defense ties with Polish armed forces members during a scheduled aircraft rotation to the U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment in Poland, March 31 through April 11 here.

For the first time, Polish and U.S. fighter and cargo aircraft and personnel will share tactics and techniques while flying all together, which will present a more complex training environment for the two NATO allies, according to Polish air force leadership.

“This training gives us new perspective, experience and challenges,” said Polish Air Force Col. Miroslaw Lusiarczyk, 33rd Air Base commander. “This is the first time we will fly together with both transportation and fighter aircraft, which will be a great challenge.”

The allied forces will work together to increase interoperability through various exercises, including container delivery system bundle drops, grass-strip tactical landings and observation flights.

In addition to flying together, Polish and U.S. service members will jump together. The Polish land forces and special operations forces are able to jump from U.S. aircraft because of the presence of a joint team of U.S. jump masters. The Polish will train with U.S. Air Force paratroopers, along with a small contingent of U.S. Army paratroopers and a U.S. Navy freefall jump master to build partnership capacity for real-world scenarios.

“With each rotation, the Av-Det works to improve our processes to support the incoming U.S. armed forces unit and build a stronger partnership with the Polish armed force,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Matthew Spears, Av-Det commander.

These combined training rotations increase cooperation between the U.S and Polish armed forces and strengthen interoperability as NATO allies, as a result of an agreement between U.S. President Barack Obama and Polish President Bronisław Komorowski.

“Flying together allows us to work together and that is very important to us for future cooperation,” Lusiarczyk told the U.S. personnel…

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Brussels: NATO Ready To Go To War Over Georgia As Well As Ukraine

April 2, 2014 2 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 2, 2014

NATO Foreign Ministers reiterate support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration

NATO Foreign Ministers met with their Georgian counterpart Dr. Maia Panjikidze in the NATO-Georgia Commission on Wednesday (2 April) for an exchange of views on Georgia’s progress in implementing reforms and on developments in Georgia and in the region.

“As a country aspiring to join our Alliance, Georgia is a special partner for NATO. And we very much value our political dialogue and practical cooperation”, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.During the meeting, Ministers discussed the crisis caused by Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.“At this time, it is more important than ever to stress that the breach of territorial integrity and sovereignty is unacceptable. That nations have the right to make their own free choices. And that those choices should be respected by all”, the Secretary General said.

NATO Allies stressed their firm support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and highlighted continued support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Ministers also expressed recognition for Georgia’s outstanding contribution to NATO operations and to Euro-Atlantic security.“You are the largest non-NATO troop contributor to our mission in Afghanistan.

You have committed to contribute to our planned Resolute Support Mission. And we welcome your decision to take part in the NATO Response Force”, Secretary General Rasmussen said. And he added:

“You have made remarkable progress with ambitious democratic and defence reforms. Further progress will require continued constructive cooperation between the government and the opposition. Following the presidential elections last year, the upcoming local elections in June will be another important milestone for Georgia’s maturing democracy. Georgia can become a model for the region”.

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Talk Nation Radio: Rick Rozoff on Ukraine and NATO at 65


Talk Nation Radio: Rick Rozoff on Ukraine and NATO at 65

Rick Rozoff is the manager of Stop NATO at He discusses the Ukrainian crisis and the state of NATO at age 65.


Total run time: 29:00


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Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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NATO Organizes Persian Gulf Sheikhdoms Against Iran

April 2, 2014 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 2, 2014

NATO and Gulf countries determined to deepen cooperation

Meetings of the Foreign Ministers at NATO Headquarters in Brussels - Meeting of the North Atlantic Council with the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Countries

Today, NATO Foreign Ministers met with their counterparts from the Istanbul Cooperation Imitative (ICI): Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. This was the first meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers with the ICI countries, since the official launch of this initiative at the NATO Summit in Istanbul in June 2004.

“The launch of our initiative 10 years ago was a clear signal. That the security and stability of the Gulf region is of strategic interest to NATO. Just as the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area matters to the Gulf region”, the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said…

Mr. Fogh Rasmussen underlined that “over the past decade, our dialogue and cooperation have steadily intensified. From Bosnia to Kosovo, and from Afghanistan to Libya, our Gulf partners have made valuable contributions to NATO-led operations.”

Today, NATO foreign ministers and their partners from the Gulf region in the ICI discussed how to continue to deepen the existing partnership and how the Alliance can work more closely with all Gulf countries to build a truly strategic relationship between the Euro-Atlantic and the Gulf region.

“As we look to the Wales Summit this September, we will work on ways to deepen our political dialogue and practical cooperation. And we will discuss how we can tailor our cooperation so that it fits our Gulf partners’ specific security needs,” the NATO Secretary General said.

During the last 10 years of their partnership with the Alliance, the ICI countries have become efficient security providers and contributed to international efforts in protecting stability and security, including the NATO ISAF operation in Afghanistan and Operation Unified Protector in Libya in 2011.

The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative offers a diversified menu of practical cooperation activities from which the ICI countries can choose. These include, amongst others, tailored advice on defence transformation, defence budgeting and civil-military relations; military-to-military cooperation including through selected military exercises; civil emergency planning and joint public diplomacy activities.

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Weimar Triangle Threatens Russia Over “Aggression”

April 2, 2014 1 comment

Polish Radio
April 1, 2014

Weimar Triangle warns Russia against further ‘aggression’

Poland, France and Germany call for economic sanctions against Russia if it attempts further incursions into Ukraine, as NATO foreign ministers meet in Brussels to discuss the crisis.

“We will not accept a policy that divides and splits Ukraine, or that seeks to transpose the action taken in Crimea to other parts of Ukraine or other Eastern European partner countries,” says a statement by foreign ministers of the Weimar Triangle, an informal alliance dating back to 1991.

Condemning Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine, the statement adds that “if Russia were to pursue this course, we would support taking new strong action, including in the economic field,” Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier, France’s Laurent Fabius and Poland’s Radosław Sikorski add.

As all three politicians are at the NATO meeting in Brussels, Tuesday, to discuss the alliance’s response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Before the meeting, a NATO committee drafted plans to increase military co-operation with ex-Soviet states Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova – a move that will anger the Kremlin.

Russia’s foreign ministry warned Ukraine against closer ties with NATO on Tuesday.

Past attempts to strengthen ties “led to a freezing of Russian-Ukrainian political contacts, a headache between NATO and Russia and [...] to a division in Ukrainian society,” the Russian Foreign
Ministry said.

Russia warned that future economic ties between Moscow and Kiev “will largely depend on the actions Ukraine takes in its foreign policy,” Reuters reports.

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Alexander Herzen: Barracks, the most inhuman condition in which men live. An exhibition of generals.


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

Russian writers on war

Alexander Herzen: Selections on the military and war


Alexander Herzen
From My Past and Thoughts
Translated by Constance Garnett


…The harmony of uniformity, the absence of variety, of what is personal and whimsical, a traditional obligatory dress and external discipline are all found on the largest scale in the most inhuman condition in which in which men live – in barracks. The uniform and a complete absence of variety are passionately loved by despotism.


There walked into the room a general, polished up and highly decorated, tightly laced and stiffly erect, in white breeches, with a scarf across his breast. I have never seen a finer general. If ever there is an exhibition of generals in London as there now is a Baby Exhibition at Cincinnati, I should advise his being sent from Petersburg. The general went up to the door from which Benckendorf was to enter and became petrified in stiff immobility; with great interest I scrutinized this sergeant’s ideal. A lot of soldiers, I expect, he had flogged in his day for falling out of step! Where do these people come from? He was born for rifle drill and army discipline! He was attended by the most elegant cornet in the world, probably his adjutant, a fair-haired youth, which incredibly long legs, a tiny face like a squirrel’s, and that simple-hearted expression which often persists in mamma’s darlings who have never studied anything, or, at any rate, have never succeeded in learning anything. This eglantine in uniform stood at a respectful distance from the model general.

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10,000 NATO Troops To Poland, Military Assets To Armenia, Azerbaijan And Moldova?

April 2, 2014 1 comment

Polish Radio
April 2, 2014

Polish demand for thousands of troops splits NATO alliance?

The Dutch foreign minister poured cold water on a Polish demand for “two heavy brigades” to be stationed by NATO in Poland, at a meeting of alliance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.

Poland’s Radoslaw Sikorski said that he would be “happy” if “two heavy brigades” – the equivalent of around 10,000 troops – were stationed by NATO in Poland after the annexation of Crimea, as states bordering Russia push for a stronger presence by NATO in the region.

“Poland has been a member of NATO for 15 years now – and so far the only permanent military institution that we have is a conference centre and a training facility,” Sikorski said, adding that “all member states should have the same level of security”.

But Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans is quoted by the UK’s Daily Telegraph as saying: “No, we don’t need any NATO troops on the border with Russia,” suggesting that some alliance states do not want to provoke Russia by placing brigades and troop units close to its border.

Poland has a long border with Ukraine and borders Russia through the Kaliningrad enclave to the north of the country.

Security for all

Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said in Brussels, however, that, “I think I speak not only of the view of Poland’s authorities but also a large part of the population when I say that we would like a larger, constant allied presence on our territory, to fulfill what has been our aspiration for a long time: that all NATO members have the same sense of security and the same level of safety,” the Polish Press Agency quotes him as saying.

Sikorski said that exercises by Polish and US troops and aircraft – the United States sent 12 F-16s to Poland’s airbase in Lask this March – should become “more internationalized”.

A NATO official briefed journalists off the record after the meeting of foreign ministers at the NATO HQ in Brussels on Tuesday night, confirming that the alliance had agreed to suspend “all practical civilian and military co-operation” with Russia, the Associated Press reports.

The ministers also agreed “possible deployment and reinforcement of military assets in eastern NATO members”, though this is thought to refer specifically to ex-Soviet states Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova.

NATO is also reviewing “crisis response plans” the military official said.

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NATO To Send Military Instructors To Ukraine

April 1, 2014 1 comment

April 1, 2014

NATO plans to send military instructors to Ukraine
They will train Ukranian civil defence forces

BRUSSELS: Ukraine and NATO representatives on Tuesday discussed the possibility of sending NATO military instructors to Ukraine to train Ukrainian civil defence forces, Ukraine’s acting Defence Minister Andrei Deshchitsa said after a meeting of the NATO -Ukraine commission on Tuesday.

“We discussed a possibility of sending mobile groups of instructors to Ukraine to train its civil defence forces,” he said.

NATO’s former Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen did not rule out sending mobile groups of military instructors to Ukraine. However, he excluded the possibility of sending NATO’s armed forces to Ukraine.

In the meantime, NATO has stopped all practical military and civilian cooperation with Russia over Ukraine’s crisis, the NATO Council at the level of foreign ministers said in its final statement on Tuesday.

However, the Russia-NATO Council will continue meeting at the level of ambassadors and at a higher level in order to keep the door open for a dialogue with Russia.

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NATO Touts “Collective Defense,” Severs All Ties With Russia

April 1, 2014 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

April 1, 2014

NATO takes measures to reinforce collective defence, agrees on support for Ukraine

NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday (1 April 2014) reaffirmed their commitment to enhance the Alliance’s collective defence, agreed to further support Ukraine and to suspend NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia. “NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend our territory and our people. And make no mistake, this is what we will do,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

Ministers directed Allied military authorities to develop additional measures to strengthen collective defence and deterrence against any threat of aggression against the Alliance, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said. “We will make sure we have updated military plans, enhanced exercises and appropriate deployments,” he said. NATO has already reinforced its presence on the eastern border of the Alliance, including surveillance patrols over Poland and Romania and increased numbers of fighter aircraft allocated to the NATO air policing mission in the Baltic States.

On Ukraine, NATO foreign ministers decided to intensify efforts to support the country’s defence reforms. The Alliance will also provide advice on Ukraine’s protection of critical infrastructure. In a separate meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, the Allies and Ukraine condemned Russia’s illegal military intervention in Ukraine and Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

NATO Foreign Ministers also agreed to suspend all of NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia. “Through its actions, Russia has chosen to undermine the very foundations upon which our cooperation is built,” said the Secretary General. “In light of this, there can be no business as usual.”

Allied ministers urged Russia to engage in dialogue towards a political and diplomatic solution that respects international law and Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.

In light of the Ukraine crisis, preparations for the Alliance’s summit in Wales this September are even more important, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said. “We remain committed to all our core missions. We will further develop our partnerships through defence capacity building and by building upon our experience in operations in order to further promote security and stability together and we will continue to invest in our readiness, so that we stay strong and prepared for any challenge.”


North Alantic Treaty Organization
April 1, 2014

Statement by NATO Foreign Ministers

1 April 2014

1.We, the Foreign Ministers of NATO, are united in our condemnation of Russia’s illegal military intervention in Ukraine and Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We do not recognize Russia’s illegal and illegitimate attempt to annex Crimea. We urge Russia to take immediate steps, as set out in the statement by the NATO-Ukraine Commission, to return to compliance with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities, and to engage immediately in a genuine dialogue towards a political and diplomatic solution that respects international law and Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders. We support the deployment of an OSCE monitoring mission to Ukraine.

2.Our goal of a Euro-Atlantic region whole, free, and at peace has not changed, but has been fundamentally challenged by Russia. We support the sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of all states within their internationally recognised borders. An independent, sovereign, and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and respect for human rights, minorities, and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security.

3.In order to demonstrate our commitment to Ukraine, we will intensify our cooperation in the framework of our Distinctive Partnership. Today NATO and Ukraine have agreed, as set out in the statement by the NATO-Ukraine Commission, to implement immediate and longer-term measures in order to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to provide for its own security.

4.We have also today agreed a package of measures aimed at deepening our cooperation with other NATO partners in Eastern Europe, in consultation with them and within our existing bilateral programmes.

5.Over the past twenty years, NATO has consistently worked for closer cooperation and trust with Russia. However, Russia has violated international law and has acted in contradiction with the principles and commitments in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council Basic Document, the NATO-Russia Founding Act, and the Rome Declaration. It has gravely breached the trust upon which our cooperation must be based.

6.We have decided to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia. Our political dialogue in the NATO-Russia Council can continue, as necessary, at the Ambassadorial level and above, to allow us to exchange views, first and foremost on this crisis. We will review NATO’s relations with Russia at our next meeting in June.

7.As stated by our Heads of State and Government at the Chicago Summit in 2012, NATO is based on solidarity, Alliance cohesion, and the indivisibility of our security. In the current situation, the Alliance has already taken steps to demonstrate solidarity and strengthen its ability to anticipate and respond quickly to any challenges to Alliance security. We will continue to provide appropriate reinforcement and visible assurance of NATO’s cohesion and commitment to deterrence and collective defence against any threat of aggression to the Alliance.

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U.S.-NATO And Swedish Warplanes Exercise Over The Baltic Sea

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 1, 2014

NATO and Swedish Fighter Jets train together over the Baltic Sea


Two U.S. fighter jets under NATO command were scrambled from the Siauliai air base in Lithuania Tuesday (1 April 2014) to exercise with two Swedish Gripen fighter aircraft over the Baltic Sea, in a training event designed to improve coordination and emergency procedures.

The Baltic Regional Training event is conducted several times a year. The exercises bring fighter jets from NATO countries together with the air forces of Sweden and Finland, which are longstanding partners of the Alliance. Search & Rescue and air combat training are included in the two-day event, which is designed to enhance the ability of fighter jets from NATO countries and regional partners to operate with each other effectively.

For the past ten years, air forces across NATO member states have patrolled the skies over the Baltic Allies – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – on a rotational basis, as the three Allies do not have fighter aircraft of their own. NATO’s air-policing mission protects the safety and integrity of Alliance airspace on a 24/7 basis.

The United States is currently responsible for policing Baltic airspace, from January to April 2014. For US Air Force Captain Tyler Clark, the chance to work with the Swedish air force is an important part of his mission. “Today’s scramble had us training with the Swedish Air Force to assist an aircraft which was simulating a loss of all communications, this kind of training is invaluable,” he said. “NATO’s airspace borders that of Sweden and Finland and we have to work together to ensure safety of all our airways.”

NATO normally has four to six fighter jets deployed for the air-policing rotations. In light of the current crisis in Ukraine, the United States has reinforced the air-policing mission with additional aircraft. Many European Allies have also offered additional planes to the mission.

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Several NATO Wargames In Ukraine Approved For This Year

April 1, 2014

Rada approves hosting in Ukraine multi-national drills with EU, NATO partners in 2014

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has passed a bill approving a Ukrainian presidential decision to allow the units of other countries’ armed forces to enter Ukraine in 2014 in order to participate in multi-national drills.

A total of 235 deputies voted for the draft law.

The law proposes establishing the number of participants in the exercises from the Ukrainian side at 2,500 people and the same number from other partner states, Acting Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval said at a plenary meeting before the vote.

“The main subject of the exercises is aimed at preparations for participation in international operations on maintaining peace and security, humanitarian and search operations on land and water, and protecting our country,” he said.

A member of the Economic Development parliamentary group, former Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk, in turn, said that the exercises would be conducted from May to November in southern Ukraine – in Mykolaiv region, in the Black Sea, as well as in the western regions – at the Yavoriv (Lviv region) and Uzhgorod firing grounds.

A respective bill was submitted by Verkhovna Rada Chairman and acting President Oleksandr Turchynov and registered on March 26 under No. 4561.

“To approve the Ukrainian president’s decision on admitting armed forces of other states to Ukrainian territory in 2014 for participating in Ukrainian-Polish exercises of aviation groups at the level of squadrons, the Law and Order 2014 Ukrainian-Polish exercises of military police units, the Rapid Trident 2014 Ukrainian-U.S. exercises, the Safe Skies 2014 Ukrainian-Polish exercises of aviation groups, the Sea Breeze 2014 Ukrainian-U.S. exercises, the Light Avalanche 2014 multinational exercises, the Carpathians 2014 multinational exercises of mountainous infantry units, and the South 2014 Ukrainian-Moldovan-Romanian exercise of mechanized units,” reads the document.

The law comes into force after adoption from the date of its publication.

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Fatal Hubris: U.S. Persists In Gloating Over Cold War Victory

Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 1, 2014

Crimea Has Defeated Cold War Thinking – Expert
Daria Chernyshova

MOSCOW: The Crimean situation has put an end to Cold War stereotypes, a Russian political expert believes.

“Crimea joining Russia renders [Cold War thinking] obsolete. The peninsula’s position provides control over the Black Sea and Ukraine,” said Kirill Koktysh, a political scientist at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

The real US motives behind the Ukrainian situation are not clear, the associate professor told RIA Novosti.

“The US could establish its position on Cold War stereotypes or arguments of the legitimacy of world order, or the economy. Each country has plenty of tools to declare any political result either a success or a failure, especially when it’s not obvious or clear,” he said.

The current crisis in Ukraine is one of America’s largest geopolitical failures, says another Russian foreign affairs expert, Aleksey Pilko, the director of the Eurasian Communication Centre and an associate professor at Moscow State University.

“The crisis did not result in Ukraine’s integration in the EU or NATO, but in a national crisis of identity and Crimea joining Russia,” Pilko said.

The expert stressed that the US government’s desire to live with the realities of the 1990s and its unwillingness to give up the illusion of victory in the Cold War are at the root of Washington’s geopolitical failures.

“This illusion has been dominating US political discourse for over a quarter of a century and this is why President Barack Obama called Russia a weak regional power,” Pilko believes.

The United States has failed in other regions, too, including an attempt to expand its military presence in Central Asia, to arrange a military intervention in Syria, and the interventions in Iraq and Libya.

“Washington demonstrates its power by hammering a new ‘world villain’ drawn from the group of small states with its entire military might from time to time,” Pilko said. “Such an aggressive policy by the American political elite is based on the fact they don’t perceive the world as it is, and this hurts the US most of all,” he added.

Experts agree that Washington’s understanding of its role and place in the world doesn’t coincide with reality, though it must change sooner or later. Yet the larger problem is that the crisis in Ukraine has revealed a new challenge – how to re-conceptualize the Yalta-Potsdam system of international relations that defined the rules of conduct for the two superpowers in the post-World War II era.

“This system saw seven exceptions – the dissolution of the USSR, the two Yugoslav wars, East Timor, the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the reunification of Germany and now Crimea. That’s too many for any system to work,” Koktysh said, adding the international community needs to decide how to live with these exceptions because over the last century the world has been teetering between the Versailles-Washington system – where a principle of national self-determination is paramount – and the Yalta-Potsdam system based on territorial integrity.

It is high time to merge these two systems to make the world safer. Reform of the United Nations and a modification of international law will became a major priority in the next few years, Koktysh believes.

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