Archive

Archive for May, 2012

NATO Summit: “Enduring Presence In Afghanistan” Beyond 2014

May 17, 2012 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
May 17, 2012

NATO summit to define presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014

WASHINGTON: The upcoming NATO summit in Chicago will determine its long-term presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014, the top commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) told audience in the United States via video teleconference on Wednesday .

One of the major topics in the NATO summit is to “establish a vision for our enduring presence in Afghanistan,” said General John R. Allen, commander of U.S. and NATO force in Afghanistan, as American Forces Press Service reported.

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

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

Foreign forces were originally scheduled to be pulled out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

However, U.S. President Barack Obama inked with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai the Strategic Partnership Agreement earlier in May during his unannounced visit to Kabul amid the first anniversary of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The White House said the agreement provides the possibility of U.S. forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

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

Categories: Uncategorized

Mongolia: NATO Assists Pentagon’s Shift To Asia-Pacific

May 17, 2012 1 comment

China Daily
May 17, 2012

Mongolia builds NATO ties as ‘counterbalance’
By Zhao Shengnan

Close links between Mongolia and NATO is a step forward for Mongolia to implement its “third neighbor” policy of building ties with partners other than neighboring Russia and China, analysts said.

The links also came amid the strategic shift of NATO and the United States toward the Asia-Pacific, analysts said.

Mongolia is scheduled to attend the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago on May 20, with the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Program status for the first time. [That is, Mongolia is the first nation to be granted the new program.]

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

Under the program, Mongolia will cooperate with NATO in security, disaster prevention and personnel training and exchange.

Since the Cold War ended, Mongolia has been focusing on strengthening cooperation with Western countries and major international bodies, under the “third neighbor” policy to counterbalance the pressure of lying between two neighboring powers, China’s and Russia, said Zhang Xiaoming, a professor at the School of International Studies with Peking University.

The most-prominent third neighbors have been the US, the European Union, Canada, Japan and South Korea, Julian Dierkes, an Asian studies expert from University of British Columbia, was quoted by East Asia Forum as saying.

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

“Despite Mongolia’s limited armed forces, Ulaanbaatar has joined some of the NATO’s international tasks to add to its military strength, economic development and intentional status,” he said.

Mongolia, with a population of 2.8 million, has provided troops for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan since 2010.

It also sent two contingents to support NATO’s peacekeeping mission in Kosovo from 2005 to 2007.

[Mongolia also sent troops to Iraq. The Pentagon holds annual military exercises in Mongolia, codenamed Khaan Quest, to train local troops for deployments like the above.]

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Strengthens Position In Central Asia Against Russia, China

Voice of Russia
May 16, 2012

NATO lures in Central Asia
Roman Mamonov and Yulia Ashcheulova
Edited by RR

       
NATO is strengthening its positions in Central Asia, for the first time inviting Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to its Chicago summit on May 20 and 21 in hopes of expanding partnerships with the countries. Now, NATO has only cargo transit deals in the region but is eyeing new military bases to compete with Russia and China.

The summit will deal with the alliance’s new policy on Central Asia. The above-mentioned countries were invited to the Afghanistan meeting as they provide transit for alliance forces in the country.

NATO openly speaks about its plans to deploy its troops in Central Asia and the invited countries are perfectly aware of it. Now they are thinking of how to get the most out of this situation, says political analyst and chief editor of Ferghana.ru web portal, Daniil Kislov:

“NATO’s so-called Northern Distribution Network involves mainly Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. I think those countries will be discussing the cost and benefits they can get from NATO in exchange for their transit services.”

Formally, NATO invited the countries’ Presidents – Nursultan Nazarbayev, Almazbek Atambayev, Emomalii Rahmon and Islam Karimov – to Chicago, but they are sending their foreign minister instead. This is a certain political strategy. On the one hand, the US will not be blamed for cooperating with “dictators” while the presidents will not take part in a summit arranged by the alliance – a competitor, as the Central Asian nations are part of the CSTO [Collective Treaty Security Organization] and SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization].

NATO’s aspirations may cause negative reactions from Moscow and Beijing, as they venture into traditional Russian and Chinese zones of influence, says the head of the Center for Strategic Forecast Sergey Grinyaev:

“NATO showed its interest in Central Asia already 10 year ago by deploying its bases in the region, and now plans to make this cooperation more formal to pave the way for Central Asian countries’ membership.”

NATO seems to be irritated with the latest CSTO summit as it conflicts with its interests.

Experts believe that NATO’s intentions are not just security in Central Asia but also deterring Russia’s and Chin’s growing influence in the region. So let’s wait and see how Central Asia will react to Brussels’ proposals.

—————————————————————————-

Voice of Russia
May 16, 2012

SCO gaining political weight
Andrei Ilyashenko

====

According to the special envoy of the Russian President for the SCO, “the SCO countries have a common approach to the ABM issue. We believe that the unilateral and unlimited ABM increase on the part of one state or a group of states can cause damage to international security. The SCO considers that it is necessary to regulate all the problems which arise in this respect with the help of political and diplomatic efforts of all the interested states”.

This is unambiguous support of Moscow’s efforts regarding the deterrence of the US plans in the ABM area. However, China is also interested in the deterrence of the United States in this sphere, because its nuclear forces are even more vulnerable. The SCO consolidating its position on the ABM issue can be an essential counterbalance to the NATO plans in this sphere. However, judging by the published documents and statements, granting military-defensive functions to the SCO is out of the question.

====

The regular summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is scheduled for June 6-7 in Beijing. According to the results of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs’ preparatory meeting, which took place the day before in the capital of China, serious changes are awaiting this organization.

The SCO was created in the mid-nineties [its predecessor, the Shanghai Five, was formed in 1996; the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was founded in June of 2001, three and a half months before the invasion of Afghanistan - RR] as a structure aimed at strengthening confidence in the military field between Russia, China, and four Central Asian states: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The SCO members were also united by the common threat of Islamic fundamentalism associated with Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

However, since 2001, the main activities of the SCO have shifted to the sphere of struggling against international terrorism and drug trafficking, as well as cooperation in economic and humanitarian fields. The organization was carrying out a very cautious policy, stopping short of presenting itself as a serious political and especially military alliance. India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia joined the SCO as observers, while Belarus and Sri Lanka became so-called dialogue partners.

However, times are changing, and the SCO is changing alongside with them. The crisis situations in the Middle East, including the one caused by the “Arab Spring” and the role of key Western countries in them; the US withdrawal from Iraq; and, more importantly, the forthcoming completion of the US/NATO mission in Afghanistan – all these, apparently, demanded of the SCO that it should be more active in the political sphere.

As follows from the speech of the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, from now on the SCO will formulate a unified policy for all its participants in case of crises in the region. Apparently, the new mechanism will be launched at the beginning of the next month, on the eve of the international conference on Afghanistan, scheduled for June 14 in Kabul.

“The situation in Afghanistan and around it gives rise to a special concern. I believe that we should vigorously participate in all international discussions about Afghan issues, and come forth with agreed suggestions”. Lavrov stressed.

“The SCO countries believe that Afghanistan must become a neutral, independent and prosperous state, free from terrorism and drug-related crime,” plenipotentiary representative of the Russian President for the SCO Kirill Barsky told the Voice of Russia. According to the diplomat, “in our opinion, with due regard for Afghanistan’s historical and geopolitical characteristics, the creation of a neutral state there would ensure peace and stability in the region for many years”.

Meanwhile, from the previous statements of the Russian Foreign Ministry it is clear that the nature of the US and NATO military presence in Afghanistan will be a key problem. Moscow and – not so loudly, but quite distinctly – Beijing are opposed to stationing foreign troops, which also carry out police functions, in Afghanistan. Moscow would also like to hear a report on the implementation of the UN resolution on the basis of which the military operation against Afghanistan was carried out. The consolidated position of the SCO significantly strengthens Russia’s and China’s activity in this direction – all the more so if the number of countries that are SCO members or associated with it increases.

Lavrov called for complying with India’s and Pakistan’s request for SCO membership. In addition, the issue of granting the SCO observer status to Afghanistan and dialogue partner status to Turkey, which is a member of NATO at the same time, is actually solved. “Turkey is an active participant in the regional processes with which all the SCO members actively interact. In the spirit of openness, the SCO adopted a decision on Turkey’s participation in certain areas of its activity. We believe that this will contribute to a more coordinated efforts aimed at strengthening security and stability in the Eurasian space,” says Kirill Barsky. Turkey’s involvement in solving the Iranian problem is also quite obvious.

At the same time, the SCO oversteps the bounds of Central Asian problems and touches upon strategic stability. Barsky reports that in Beijing the SCO foreign ministers approved the inclusion of a statement concerning ABM in the final declaration. According to the special envoy of the Russian President for the SCO, “the SCO countries have a common approach to the ABM issue. We believe that the unilateral and unlimited ABM increase on the part of one state or a group of states can cause damage to international security. The SCO considers that it is necessary to regulate all the problems which arise in this respect with the help of political and diplomatic efforts of all the interested states”.

This is unambiguous support of Moscow’s efforts regarding the deterrence of the US plans in the ABM area. However, China is also interested in the deterrence of the United States in this sphere, because its nuclear forces are even more vulnerable. The SCO consolidating its position on the ABM issue can be an essential counterbalance to the NATO plans in this sphere. However, judging by the published documents and statements, granting military-defensive functions to the SCO is out of the question.

—————————————————————————-

Russian Information Agency Novosti
May 16, 2012

20 Years on, CSTO Focuses on Threats to Central Asia
May 16, 2012

CSTO has shifted its focus to resolving conflicts and dealing with terrorist threats in the post-Soviet space
By Konstantin Bogdanov

====

Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova formed a geopolitical chimera called GUUAM in an attempt to show that the Moscow-centric post-Soviet space was falling apart.

Where GUUAM failed, the series of “color revolutions” five to seven years later more or less succeeded in undermining Moscow’s influence in the region.

====

With its membership now stable, the Collective Security Treaty Organization has shifted its focus to resolving conflicts and dealing with terrorist threats in the post-Soviet space, predominantly in Central Asia.

From illusion to reality

The first attempt to create a security regime in the post-Soviet space was made 20 years ago. On May 15, 1992, the leaders of Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan signed the Collective Security Treaty, which Azerbaijan, Georgia and Belarus joined by the end of 1993.

The member countries had more or less coordinated the direction they wanted to move the organization in by the end of the 1990s, but in 1999 Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Georgia refused to approve the extension of the treaty.

At that time, Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova formed a geopolitical chimera called GUUAM in an attempt to show that the Moscow-centric post-Soviet space was falling apart.

Where GUUAM failed, the series of “color revolutions” five to seven years later more or less succeeded in undermining Moscow’s influence in the region. However, the reduced CSTO format helped the remaining members strengthen the organization. They found many more common elements in their joint activities and later agreed to establish the Collective Security Treaty Organization on the basis of the extended treaty.

Uzbekistan rejoined the treaty in 2006. The Islamic raids led by Juma Namangani in the fall of 1999 and the Andijan massacre of 2005 may have forced President Islam Karimov to reevaluate his attitude to the pro-Russian military alliance.

The “rose,” “tulip” and other color revolutions swept the former Soviet republics in the late 2000s. Some of them were relatively successful, like in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Georgia; others fell flat (Belarus and Armenia), and the uprising in Uzbekistan was suppressed with unusual cruelty. Whatever the result, many leaders who had held their posts for years sensed that their position was not as secure as they had believed.

A close military-political union with Moscow, which was worried over the “orange” and other revolutions, was a way to stabilize their political regimes.

In 2009, the CSTO countries decided to set up the Collective Rapid Reaction Force (CRRF). The mandate of the joint combined-arms task force was greatly enlarged in 2011, adding an armed wing to a military bloc that had only existed on paper.

Policeman of the region

Many CSTO leaders often hinted that the CRRF and other CSTO structures could be used for military/police interventions in support of the CSTO regimes, for example by suppressing internal opposition.

“The point at issue concerns not only the use of the CRRF in case of external interventions, but also for actions within the CSTO’s borders, because no one will dare start a war against us while many would like to stage a coup,” Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said in August 2011 during a meeting in Minsk with CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha.

However, Lukashenko was clearly out of step with other members and definitely got his priorities confused. Moscow, which has been dropping vague but significant hints to its CSTO partners, clearly has its own vision for the CRRF.

Threat to the center

In the 2000s, the Russian military drafted a rough map of potential threats to the country. Against the backdrop of the reset policy in Europe and a tense but stable balance in Asia Pacific, Russia realized it would most likely have to intervene in an armed conflict in Central Asia.

The international counterterrorism campaign, which has been underway in Afghanistan since 2001, has not reduced the threat of another Islamic raid similar to the ones that rocked the Ferghana Valley in 1999 and 2000.

Russia’s sphere of interests in Central Asia has remained vulnerable in the past 10-15 years, as demonstrated by the seemingly stable but actually fragile political situation in Uzbekistan and the chaotic developments in Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan’s stability directly depends on Russia’s presence and the NATO operation in Afghanistan.

During the Center 2011 strategic military exercises, Russian troops worked with the armed forces of Central Asian countries, including in counter-terrorism operations. The Russian army made clear to the world that it is learning how to fight in Central Asia with the support of local allies.

The CRRF was established as a multifaceted tool, but using it for purely police operations would be like using a sledge hammer to crack nuts. The 98th Ivanovo Airborne Division and the 31st Ulyanovsk Separate Airborne Assault Brigade are special units armed with heavy weaponry and trained in anti-guerrilla tactics.

Russian troops were used to stabilize the situation in Kyrgyzstan in 2010. Public anger there was cooled by the deployment of the 31st Ulyanovsk Brigade at Russia’s Kant air base.

In short, the CSTO received two pieces of news for its 20th anniversary, one good and the other bad.

The good news is that the current CSTO members really need the organization and, therefore, have a stake in holding practical discussions of the organization’s future, its oversight bodies, and development tools and mechanisms. The bad news is that they may have to use the CSTO very soon.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO News: May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012 2 comments

====

Britain: Over 60 Fighter Jets In NATO Air Combat Exercise

NATO Moves Into Jordan

NATO Open Days To Be Held In Turkish Center In Bosnia

Albania: NATO’s Future Land Command Heads East, South

Peru: U.S. Navy Leads Multinational Exercise

NATO Chief Praises Georgian Outpost

====

Britain: Over 60 Fighter Jets In NATO Air Combat Exercise

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123301156

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
May 15, 2012

Reapers take flight during Frisian Flag 2012
By Staff Sgt. Connor Estes
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England: More than 60 fighter jets from nine countries participated in the Frisian Flag 2012 exercise at Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, April 16 – 27, including F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron.

The annual exercise is designed to bring fighter pilots from multiple nations together to work on interoperability, planning and execution.

“The 493rd FS participation in Frisian Flag was a tremendous success,” said Lt. Col. Mike Casey, 493rd FS commander. “The scenarios were challenging and the ability to integrate with NATO allies from several nations was a terrific opportunity.”

Capt. John Koegel, 493rd FS pilot, said Frisian Flag is the largest fighter exercise in Europe.

“The pilots learn about other nations’ capabilities and work together towards common tactical and operational standards,” Kogel added.

Frisian Flag first occured in 1992 and the amount of aircraft involved makes it similar to the Red Flag exercises held in the U.S.

“Frisian Flag is nicknamed ‘Red Flag – Europe’ due to its mission and focus being similar to the training we have at Nellis,” said Koegel.

Among the more than 60 aircraft involved were F-16s from the Netherlands, Poland, Norway and Belgium as well as F-18 Hornets from Finland, JAS-39 Gripens from Sweden, German and British Eurofighter Typhoons, U.S. and U.K. KDC-10 air tankers, a NATO AWACS airborne radar station and the F-15Cs from the 493rd FS.

“The 493rd FS participated in the exercise from Royal Air Force Lakenheath to test its ability to operate from a geographically separated location,” said Koegel. “The exercise tested the Reapers’ ability to safely and successfully participate in combat training scenarios with limited communication capabilities during the mission planning phase.”

Koegel added that the exercise proved U.S. and European allies are ready to deploy quickly and work together to employ lethal combat airpower.

====

NATO Moves Into Jordan

http://www.act.nato.int/index.php/multimedia/archive/42-news-stories/1015-allied-command-transformation-extends-nato-relations-with-jordan

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
May 14, 2012

Allied Command Transformation extends NATO relations with Jordan
Written by U.S. Army Major Robin L. Ochoa

NATO is all about expansion of friendships and the building of relationships. NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (ACT) plays a vital role on this path to future cooperation with non-NATO countries.

In an endeavour to provide more cost effective capabilities to the Alliance and Partner Nations, extend relationships and build upon an already positive atmosphere in the Mediterranean Region, NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Polish Army General Mieczyslaw Bieniek recently visited Jordan.

Bieniek met with Jordan’s Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Marshal M. Al-Zaben and his assistant, Jordanian Prince, Lieutenant General Faisal Bin Al–Hussain and the meeting provided a great opportunity to discuss the country’s already good cooperation with ACT as well as future collaboration projects.

“The meetings provided a positive and enthusiastic exchange of information on enhancing the interactions between Jordan and NATO ACT,” said Bieniek. “Jordan is convinced that NATO is engaging well and has the right approach to cooperation, he added.

During the conversations, Al–Hussain expressed sincere interest from Jordan and touched upon the Smart Defence initiative which he believes can offer capabilities for the Alliance and its partners.

Bieniek was given a tour at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre, where he was introduced to the vision of the Jordanian King to build a Counterterrorism Centre of Excellence. US Major General (Retired) Harrell, General Manager of the Centre leads a group of diverse and hand-selected instructors and support staff drawn from the world’s most elite special operations units. Collectively, they have experience and skills learned over the last 35 years in combat operations from all over the world.

“My aim was to enhance the partnership through expanded and improved opportunities for partners in education and training,” said Bieniek. “I also thanked Al-Zaben and Al–Hussain for Jordan being one of the most reliable and active Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) Partners in NATO operations and activities, as well as being the first MD Nation with an Operational Capabilities Concept declaration (Mechanised Infantry Battalion).

“Jordan is a very positive actor in the region and is a nation which can improve regional security and stability,” said Bieniek as he also thanked them for their contribution in Afghanistan and their recent involvement in Operation Unified Protector in Libya.

Bieniek’s invited Jordan to attend NATO’s annual Strategic Military Partnership Conference and the Chiefs of Transformation Conference, both hosted by ACT.

“I am very convinced that the exchange of views and information will be of mutual benefit,” said Bieniek. “Overall, I found this visit a very interesting and successful one. I believe it also allowed also Jordan to better comprehend the most current trends of ACT and NATO work,” he said.

====

NATO Open Days To Be Held In Turkish Center In Bosnia

http://www.aco.nato.int/nato-open-days-to-be-held-in-turkish-cultural-center–sarajevo-.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
May 14, 2012

NATO OPEN DAYS TO BE HELD IN TURKISH CULTURAL CENTER, SARAJEVO

NATO OPEN DAYS is a five day event to be held 15 – 19 May, with the goal to provide to wider public more information about NATO Alliance, NATO integrations processes in BiH, activities of NATO HQ SARAJEVO in 2011/2012 period, and to mark 60th anniversary of Turkish membership in NATO.

Specifically, Open Days will engage students and academic community in public discussions on various NATO related topics.

In the light of NATO Chicago Summit in May, the whole event, and the opening event in particular will be an opportunity to share with general public and media information about the Summit, BiH’s participation in the event, including the current phase of NATO integrations processes in BIH.

During NATO Open Days, Turkish Cultural Center premises will offer:

1. Two separate exhibition floors, which will offer a photo exhibition of NATO HQ Sarajevo activities in 2011/2012 period, and a photo exhibition to present the NATO – Turkey relationship in past 60 years,

2. In the cinema hall (30 seat capacity) NATO movies will be screened daily, and the hall will be used for student lectures/round tables.

3. Event will be an opportunity to distribute various NATO promotion materials to the visitors and wider public.

PROGRAM:

EVENT TOPIC DATE AND TIME
Opening event
15 May 2012, 19:00 hrs – 21:00 hrs
Round Table/Lecture
“NATO and BiH”
“NATO’s fight against organised crime and terrorist groups”
“NATO and Gender”
16 May 2012, 12:00 – 13:00 hrs

Round Table/Lecture
“NATO and BiH”
“Role of Strategic Communications in NATO”
17 May 2012, 12:00 – 13:00 hrs
Round Table/Lecture
NATO’s New Strategic Concept
“Role of Strategic Communications in NATO”
18 May 2012, 13:00 – 14:30

====

Albania: NATO’s Future Land Command Heads East, South

http://www.aco.nato.int/shaping-natos-future-land-command.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
May 15, 2012

SHAPING NATO’S FUTURE LAND COMMAND

====

“When you look, in this world NATO is by far the best of the best that nations have because this transatlantic alliance is the grandeur, I do believe, the best international organization the western world has ever had,” said Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s during his visit.

====

Attendees of 25 NATO, 10 PfP, 2 MD and 2 ICI countries are ready for the beginning of the 7th Allied Chief of the Army Staff Talks in Tirana, Albania on 9 May 2012.

General officers and their representatives from across 25 NATO countries and 10 Partnership for Peace countries gathered together to discuss NATO’s future at the Allied Chief of Army Staff Talks (ACAST)/Land Commanders Conference (LCC), 8 to 10 May in Tirana, Albania.

Additionally, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), Albania’s Prime Minister, two Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and two Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) countries and representatives from Allied Command Operations (ACO) and Allied Command Transformation (ACT) also attended.

“The people in this room represent the Land experts in NATO who are preparing to hand responsibility to the new land command in Izmir, Turkey,” said Lt. Gen. John W. Morgan III, Commander Allied Force Command Heidelberg. “The conference serves as an opportunity for NATO partners and countries of the NATO Command Structure and the NATO Force Structure to talk about further developing land capabilities.”

Commander of the General Staff of the Albanian Armed Forces, Maj. Gen. Xhemal Gjunkshi, started the first day of briefings by welcoming all to the conference.

“This conference is important proof of how NATO is working together in building structures,” said Gjunkshi. “NATO structures need training capabilities and new means to support these capabilities. Transformation is a process of putting this into order.”

Topics addressed on the first briefing day included Allied Command Operations transformation, the results of the Bi-Force Command Corps Commander’s Conference and post 2014 joint training policy and support.

“When you look, in this world NATO is by far the best of the best that nations have because this transatlantic alliance is the grandeur, I do believe, the best international organization the western world has ever had,” said Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s during his visit. “In Europe there are difficulties at the moment. NATO is a great organization with a great contribution to provide security in its place.”

Albania’s armed forces served as host for the ACAST, providing coordination, logistical support and working in close coordination with Allied Force Command Heidelberg.

After a morning of briefings and discussions, the participants had the chance to discover the roots of Albanian culture at the Skanderbeg castle in the town of Kruje. Later that evening, they participated in a formal dinner.

The main topic of the final day was training with NATO and the ACT and how training plays a crucial role in maintaining the land command’s and the NATO Response Force’s highly deployable status.

“Land Command Izmir will be the only structure that can be called upon with ultimate deployability not being reliant upon a specific country,” said DSACEUR, General Sir Richard Shirreff.

“ACAST was an important meeting for the NATO Command Structure, the NATO Force Structure and its nations because they looked in holistic ways at training, readiness and structure including the partner countries,” said Morgan. “To discuss the importance of training and working together and understanding one another in order to provide security that endures throughout Europe. It was indeed a success.”

====

Peru: U.S. Navy Leads Multinational Exercise

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=67186

U.S. Navy
May 15, 2012

UNITAS Pacific Begins in Peru
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stuart Phillips, Southern Seas 2012 Public Affairs

====

UNITAS will include live-fire exercises, a drone exercise, nighttime ship evolutions, tactical maneuvering, maritime interdiction operations, flight operations among other events and joint operations.

====

CALLAO, Peru: Naval representatives from Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and the United States gathered in the Ricardo Palma auditorium at the Peruvian naval base to officially recognize the beginning of UNITAS Pacific (PAC) at an opening ceremony in Callao, Peru, May 14.

Leaders from each country’s navy took turns addressing the audience as the ceremony commenced.

Capt. Ace Van Wagoner, commander of Destroyer Squadron 40 and mission commander of UNITAS PAC, represented the U.S. Navy at the ceremony. After thanking Peru for hosting UNITAS PAC and for demonstrating hospitality and professionalism to the U.S., Van Wagoner spoke about the importance of UNITAS for everyone involved.

“This exercise is a renewed promise to enhance regional partnerships and promote hemispheric stability,” said Van Wagoner…

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36) is representing the U.S. Navy during UNITAS PAC. Underwood’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief also attended the ceremony.

UNITAS will include live-fire exercises, a drone exercise, nighttime ship evolutions, tactical maneuvering, maritime interdiction operations, flight operations among other events and joint operations.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence…in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

====

NATO Chief Praises Georgian Outpost

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=45465&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=0

Rustavi 2
May 15, 2012

Rasmussen comments on Georgia

A few days before the NATO Chicago summit, Secretary General spoke about the top issues that will be discussed at the summit. Anders Fogh Rasmussen was questioned about Georgia, its aspiration to join the alliance and its contribution to the ISAF mission. Rasmussen hailed Georgia`s participation in the ISAF operation and praised the progress, which the country had in recent years.

The Chicago Summit will not be an enlargement summit, but we will definitely acknowledge the progress Georgia has achieved during recent years. We will acknowledge that progress in our declaration from the summit. We will also acknowledge Georgia`s contributions in a very visible way,` Rasmussen said.

According to Secretary General, Georgia will participate in three important meetings in Chicago. Georgia will participate in the ISAF meeting on Afghanistan. Georgia will participate in a special-partnership event, a gathering of 13 partners across the globe that contribute to NATO operations in a very significant way and Georgia is among these 13 partners and actually one of the largest contributors to our operation in Afghanistan.

And finally, Georgia will also participate in an aspirant-countries meeting at the level of foreign ministers.

`So it will be in a very visible way that we acknowledge what Georgia has achieved and what Georgia contributes to the trans-Atlantic alliance,` the Secretary General concluded.

====

Categories: Uncategorized

Veterans For Peace Calls For End To NATO

Veterans for Peace
May 10, 2012

Veterans For Peace Calls for an End to NATO

Veterans for Peace works for the abolition of war, and while that process will take many steps, one that should be taken immediately is the dissolution of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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

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

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

NATO provides the United States with a pretense of global coalition and legality. Approximately half of the world’s military spending is U.S., while adding the other NATO nations brings the total to three-quarters. The head of the Pentagon, Leon Panetta, recently testified in Congress that a war could be made legal by working through either the United Nations or NATO. While no written law supports that claim, it is a claim that has served its intended purpose. NATO also serves as a false legal shield, protecting the U.S. military from Congressional oversight.

The U.S. dominated NATO holds up the past year’s war on Libya as a model for the future, with an eye on various potential victims, including Syria and Iran. In so doing, NATO serves as the armed enforcer of the exploitative agenda of the G-8, which has fled Chicago for the guarded compound at Camp David.

NATO’s interests are neither democratically determined nor humanitarian in purpose. NATO does not bomb all nations guilty of humanitarian abuses. Nor does NATO’s bombing alleviate human suffering, it adds to it. Saudi Arabia is not a target. Bahrain is not a target. Ben Ali and Mubarak were not targets. An analysis of NATO’s real motivations reveals a desire to control the global flow of oil, to support dictators who have supported U.S./NATO wars, prisons and torture operations, to back Israel’s expansionist agenda, and to surround and threaten the nation of Iran.

The killing and destruction engaged in by NATO in Libya was illegal, immoral, and counter-productive as is its aggression in Afghanistan. NATO’s wars have not brought democracy, peace, or human rights anywhere.

Libya is not a model for future NATO action. There is no model for future NATO action. NATO has lost its reason to exist if it ever had one. Veterans For Peace joins with our brothers and sisters in Europe, who are also rallying nonviolently against NATO, in calling for its elimination.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Chief: Interceptor Missile System To Be Expanded

Xinhua News Agency
May 15, 2012

Missile shield to be expanded: NATO chief

WASHINGTON: The NATO chief said on Monday that the missile shield in Europe will continue to be expanded toward full operational capability after leaders of member states meet in Chicago later this month.

The summit slated for May 20-21 will declare “an interim capability” of the system that brings the contributions from individual member countries together under NATO command and control, Anders Fogh Rasmussen wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

“This interim capability will provide the alliance with a limited but operationally meaningful and immediately available capability against a ballistic-missile threat,” he wrote.

“It is the first step, but a real step, toward providing full coverage for all NATO populations, territory and forces in Europe,” he stated.

The secretary general noted that the military alliance conducted successfully its first comprehensive test of the new missile defense capability last month.

“A US ship, radar and satellite, as well as interceptor batteries from Germany and the Netherlands, conducted a series of simulated engagements to test the alliance’s ability to defend against missile attacks,” he wrote. “The test was successful.”

He called the test “a clear demonstration of transatlantic solidarity in action” as well as NATO’s continuing determination to protect its members’ territory and populations from attack and the threat of attack.

“After the Chicago summit, we will continue to expand the system toward full operational capability,” he declared.

Among NATO members, the Netherlands has announced plans to upgrade four air-defense frigates with missile-defense radar, France plans to develop an early-warning capability and long-range radar, and Germany has offered Patriot missile batteries and is hosting the NATO command-and-control at Headquarters Alliance Air Command in Ramstein, Rasmussen noted.

“Turkey, Romania, Poland and Spain have all agreed to host U.S. assets. I expect more announcements in the months and years ahead,” he wrote.

The missile shield was agreed on in November 2010 when the NATO leaders last met in Lisbon, Portugal to guard against threats from countries like Iran.

Russia and NATO agreed then to seek ways to cooperate on the system but have failed so far to reach a deal. Moscow wants a legally binding guarantee that the system will not be used against Russia, while Washington says it cannot agree to any formal limits on missile defense.

Russia warned again this month that it might use “destructive force” pre-emptively to take out elements of the missile shield.

Categories: Uncategorized

For Russia, NATO Has Started A New Arms Race

Daily Telegraph
May 15, 2012

For Russia, Nato has started an arms race
This online supplement is produced and published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia), which takes sole responsibility for the content
Yevgeny Shestakov, special to Russia Now

The Russian public believes the Nato alliance is playing a foul game that threatens the country’s security, says Yevgeny Shestakov.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, arrived for the Russia-Nato meeting in Brussels just five minutes after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Their planes were parked side by side. “Hello, Hillary”, the Russian minister hailed his American counterpart, as he descended the ramp.

“Hello, Sergei”, Clinton beamed, as she got into her car. And with a welcoming gesture, she invited Lavrov into the back seat, so that they could drive to the hotel together.

Well actually, no, it didn’t really go like that. Given the current state of Russian-American relations, neither the Russian foreign minister nor the American Secretary of State would agree to go to the Russia-Nato meeting in the same car. For most Russians, the alliance is still the number one enemy, although the Russian military does not officially consider Nato countries to be potential enemies.

Dmitry Rogozin, Russian deputy prime minister in charge of modernising the defence industry, posts daily progress reports on his Twitter page. Hundreds of billions of roubles are set aside for the defence programme, which is planned for decades ahead. But these staggering figures, which will affect the lives of future generations, give people a sense of pride rather than provoke dismay over money that could otherwise have been used for social programmes.

Opinion polls show that most Russians approve of the official plans to spend budgetary funds on modernising defence. Why? The answer is simple: the Russian public does not trust Nato, believing that the alliance is playing a game that threatens Russia’s security.

These fears are not without foundation. Moscow points out that the alliance is establishing its presence close to Russian borders. New military bases are being set up in Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. Nato patrols the airspace above the Baltic states, which was not the case before they joined the alliance. The combined military budgets of the Nato states are multiples of what Russia spends on defence.

Nato’s conventional forces in Europe outnumber those of Russia. The American military is developing new types of weapons, including offensive systems that will be deployed in Europe and might change the balance of power in the region.

Despite Russia’s assistance to the alliance in Afghanistan, the American military is building major military bases there without any prior consultation with Moscow. These bases, Russian experts say, are strategically important for controlling Central Asia. The Pentagon’s bases will remain in Afghanistan even after most Nato troops leave the country, a prospect Russia does not relish.

Yet the greatest irritant in the relations between Moscow and Nato is ballistic missile defence. The fact that both the US and Nato leadership refuse to offer Russia legal guarantees that these systems are not targeting Moscow’s nuclear potential forces Russia to take retaliatory measures. All that Washington is ready to do is “to offer safeguards in a political format”. Moscow, however, does not consider such political promises sufficient: in military affairs, it is the defence potential and not the intentions that matter.

Moscow has always tried to avoid becoming involved in an arms race. With respect to missile defence, Moscow has consistently advocated the so-called sectoral approach, whereby Nato and Russia would divide zones of responsibility and pool their defence efforts in countering common missile threats. That would save billions of defence euros for all the participants in the group.

Yet Nato has turned down the Russian offer under pressure from the US, the reason being the treaty signed by Nato in the Cold War. Under its Article 5, the alliance must protect its members independently, without counting on Russia’s potential. Nato has no intention of changing that article to bring it into line with current reality and avoid a new arms race.

On the contrary, many Nato countries are modernising their armed forces. The talk about these changes being routine and not threatening anybody does not convince Moscow. Russia has to take steps to ensure its own security under the new conditions and make sure it does not become “a colossus with feet of clay” in the eyes of its western neighbours. Allocating considerable resources to modernise the defence industry is an inevitable response to the military initiatives taking place in Europe.

Is there any way to put a brake on this arms race? Yes, of course. At the Russia-Nato ministerial meeting in Brussels, Moscow suggested as a first step that, at its Chicago summit, Nato pledges its 
“adherence to the rules of 
international law” in its final declaration. Such a commitment would mean that the alliance would respect the jurisdiction of existing international institutions, and renounce the independent use of force unless it was authorised by a relevant UN Security Council resolution.

Even so, it cannot be ruled out that Nato will pointedly refuse to change its agreement with the current international crisis-response mechanisms. If the refusal is articulated, it would turn Nato, in Russia’s eyes, into the main threat to international stability. Such a turn of events would force Russia to think about creating military counterweights to Nato. That would put paid to any chances of stopping the arms race in Europe.

All of the programmes for co-operation between Moscow and Nato would be gradually curtailed, as public opinion in Russia would reject any form of co-operation with a potential enemy. And this is not merely words. The recent Russian decision to open a transit centre in Ulyanovsk to deliver non-military cargoes to the coalition forces in Afghanistan has triggered strong protests at grassroots level.

Nato’s refusal to recognise the world order and its demonstrative refusal to reckon with Russia’s geopolitical interests render meaningless any joint initiatives aimed at countering common threats. They merely fuel the arms race that many European countries want to avoid.

Yevgeny Shestakov is editor of the international politics desk at Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Categories: Uncategorized

For NATO Protesters, A Welcome Mat

May 15, 2012 1 comment

WBEZ
91.5 FM
May 15, 2012

For NATO protesters, a welcome mat
As officials batten down hatches for marches that could draw thousands of out-of-towners, some Chicagoans show hospitality
By Chip Mitchell

With Chicago’s NATO summit just days away, officials are battening down the hatches for protests that could draw thousands from out of town. But some other Chicagoans are rolling out a welcome mat for those same protesters. They’re clearing space in their businesses and churches, allowing tents in their yards, even opening spare bedrooms. We report from our West Side bureau.

Officials are planning to close streets and highways. They’re bringing in state police officers and National Guardsmen and preparing for mass arrests. They’re ready to roll out a military device that sends ear-piercing tones over long distances. But over in Chicago’s McKinley Park neighborhood, there is Lorraine Chavez.

CHAVEZ: And here is another bedroom if someone has an inflatable mattress. My kids are off to college so I have some empty space.

Chavez is offering two rooms of her cramped century-old house to some protesters from Florida this weekend.

MITCHELL: What do you know about these guests?

CHAVEZ: Not much [laughs] but I requested older guests.

Chavez says she is taking them in because the protest could bring some attention to joblessness in this country.

CHAVEZ: I am underemployed myself, despite having a master’s, a career path, and doctoral work at the University of Chicago. All of the men in my family who are responsible for college-age kids have all been laid off. If we did not have wars, we could have investments for jobs. This is the moment that these demands are being made and heard and I need to be a part of it.

Chavez got connected to the Floridians through Occupy Chicago. That group is using its website to collect lodging offers and requests for the NATO protests. A group called CANG8 has a similar site.

HUNT: If somebody has 20 dogs and someone’s allergic to dogs, that would be a bad match.

Pat Hunt’s helping run that system.

HUNT: If they’re providing a warehouse space for 50 to 100 people, they’ve asked us to have somebody there just to make sure that [there will be] no drugs, no alcohol, no weapons — basically that type of thing.

The anti-NATO groups say they have fielded offers from about 265 potential hosts. They include a homeowner who is installing a wheelchair ramp for a disabled protester. A Latino nonprofit group is taking in guests as long as they don’t draw police back to the neighborhood, which is full of undocumented immigrants. A man in DuPage County is letting protesters camp around a house he is losing to foreclosure. An African-American congregation is offering its yard for tents.

MARSHALL: It was almost a no-brainer for us. It was just a matter of, really, logistics and trying to work out the logistics for it.

John Marshall serves on the board of that church, Trinity Episcopal. It’s just a few blocks from McCormick Place, the site of the NATO summit. He says hosting protesters is not exactly a stand against the military alliance.

MARSHALL: It’s the residue of what happens with war, what happens to refugees, what happens to people who are made poor because of war. Even if they’re not within the theater of war, there are lots of people who are poor in the world that we could be helping as opposed to making another B-1 bomber.

Trinity officials say there hasn’t been much fallout for taking that stand but they are hearing from some neighbors. When the church held an educational forum about NATO, some nearby homeowners showed up with questions about the campers.

NEIGHBOR: How are you going to keep your guests on your property and not coming onto the property of other people who live in the neighborhood?

MARSHALL: We’re going to monitor them. And they’re going to be outside at their own Porta-Potties and provide their own stuff.

Someone peeing in a neighbor’s yard isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Pat Hunt, the protester who is running one of the housing websites, says what worries her is theft or any sort of attack.

HUNT: Either one of the guests takes advantage of the host or a host takes advantage of one of the guests. Somebody would get hurt. That’s always my fear.

Hunt says these logistical considerations go beyond this protest against NATO. She says her movement has to start creating the sort of world it’s demanding.

HUNT: If what we’re saying is shared resources then we have to model shared resources.

Hunt thinks this model can work. And, this weekend, we might see if she’s right.

Categories: Uncategorized

Wither NATO?

Pakistan Observer
May 14, 2012

Wither NATO?
Khalid Bin Wakil

====

NATO…not only survived but was actually nurtured through a process akin to genetic modification…Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia took their seats in 2004, alongside Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, which had become the first three former Warsaw Pact states to join NATO in 1999. The alliance, thereby, extended its sphere from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

It may be recalled that the leaders had also approved a 20,000 strong “NATO response force” to combat “perceived threats around the world”. It will be noted that the scope of NATO military intervention was thereby expanded from Europe to “around the world”.

====

With the hullabaloo about the NATO containers passing – or not passing – through Pakistan’s territory, would it not be relevant to briefly look back at NATO, what it stood for and what it is up to in Afghanistan and elsewhere at this point in time? The end of the Cold War (remember?) signaled the demise of several of its manifestations. To cut a long story short: the Berlin Wall fell; the Warsaw Pact disappeared into thin air; the United States and the Russian Federation (remnant of the erstwhile USSR) embraced each other like long lost friends. The whole world order, in short, was turned on its head. There was a significant exception, though. One significant offspring of the Cold War – NATO – was not allowed to wither on the vine!

NATO, that had come into being essentially for confronting the threat to Western Europe posed by the formidable war machine of the Soviet Union and its East European allies, not only survived but was actually nurtured through a process akin to genetic modification. In one significant development, NATO leaders threw open the doors of the US-led alliance to seven former communist East European countries. The defense pact, spawned by the Cold War, thus made deep inroads into what was once regarded as ‘enemy territory’ as part of the Soviet sphere of influence. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia took their seats in 2004, alongside Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, which had become the first three former Warsaw Pact states to join NATO in 1999. The alliance, thereby, extended its sphere from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

The then US President, George W. Bush, was reported to have informed his fellow leaders at the Prague Summit that, “By welcoming seven members, we shall not only add to our military capabilities we will refresh the spirit of this great democratic alliance”. The NATO Secretary General went on to clarify that the ‘door would remain open’ to more aspirants from the Balkan region. It may be recalled that the leaders had also approved a 20,000 strong “NATO response force” to combat “perceived threats around the world”. It will be noted that the scope of NATO military intervention was thereby expanded from Europe to “around the world”.

The aforementioned gave rise to a most pertinent question: if the perceived enemy did not lie in Europe, where was it envisaged to be? And what ‘perceived threat’ was it that was goading ‘this great democratic alliance’ to hone its offensive capability in such a blatant manner in an era of relative peace and calm in Europe? Evidence shows that US was making a determined attempt to win allied backing for its projected war against Iraq. But, then, this also presented no more than a restricted vision, since that alone could hardly be put down as the raison d’etre of a militarily rejuvenated NATO.

Subsequent events and the meandering course of the War on Terror have partially lifted the veil from the US and NATO ambitions. Makes an observer wonder, though, why all the ‘perceived threats around the world’ as viewed by ‘this great democratic alliance’ are confined to the Muslim world alone. After all, there are other regions of the world, where ‘perceived threats’ could also be discerned if only the powers that be were to discard their rose-coloured glasses. And what about the threats posed by blatant human rights violations by states in more than one regions of the world? Are these to be ignored just because ‘this great democratic alliance’ prefers to look the other way?

Categories: Uncategorized

Chronicling NATO’s Endless Wars

Newstips
May 14, 2012

Rick Rozoff chronicles NATO’s ‘endless wars’
By Curtis Black

By hosting a self-proclaimed “nuclear alliance” like NATO, Chicago is violating the spirit if not the letter of the city’s status as a nuclear free zone, passed unanimously by the City Council in 1986 and signed by Mayor Harold Washington, says Rick Rozoff.

It’s one of dozens of points that came up in several wide-ranging talks with Rozoff, a Chicagoan who for 13 years has edited the Stop NATO blog, almost certainly the most comprehensive source for news and critical analysis of the alliance in the world.

On Thursday, Rozoff and a representative of Iraq Veterans Against the War will take the anti-NATO position in a debate with former Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns and NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary James Appathurai at the Pritzker Military Library.

Making war around the world

Stop NATO started in 1999, a watershed year according to Rozoff, when NATO launched its first war, a 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.  That’s the point at which NATO moved beyond its posture as a strictly defensive organization protecting its members’ territories to become “an active war-making organization” – and when promises of post-Cold War demilitarization and a “peace dividend” were betrayed, he says.

Since then NATO has conducted wars in Asia and Africa – a brutal twelve-year slog with heavy civilian casulaties in Afghanistan, NATO’s first ground war, and a six-month bombing campaign in Libya.

Despite the unprecedented presence of 150,000 troops from 50 nations (including NATO members and partners) waging war in a single, relatively small country, Afghanistan is widely viewed as a defeat for the alliance. NATO claims Libya as a victory, though the nation is now dominated by fundamentalists and riven by clan wars, with instability spreading to other African nations, Rozoff points out.

Global expeditionary force

A major function of these wars, he argues, is to integrate the  militaries of NATO members and scores of partner nations into a “global expeditionary force,” with small countries enlisted in efforts to ensure Western access to resources and hem in nations with independent foreign policies –notably Russia, China, and Iran.

NATO’s expanded military alliance “puts smaller countries in the position of having to respond when the major powers call for assistance,” obliges them to accept U.S. and NATO bases on their territory, and requires them to purchase advanced weaponry – which they don’t need and can’t afford – from Western nations, Rozoff says.

The Chicago summit will deal with transitioning to a new phase of involvement in Afghanistan, further integrating the forty NATO partner states that participate in the alliance’s wars, and upgrading the alliance’s military capabilities.  NATO is expected to announce that its European interceptor missile system has achieved initial operational capability.

Nuclear tensions

While touted as a defense against attacks from North Korea or Iran, the missile system seems to be aimed at Russia, destabilizing the continent’s nuclear balance and ratcheting up tensions.  Indeed, Rozoff says the system “is not to be construed as a defensive project whatsoever,” and ultimately could be part of a first-strike nuclear system.

Rozoff notes other developments to watch, including U.S. plans to spend $4 billion to modernize its European-based nuclear weapons, NATO’s first move to acquire drone technology, and calls for NATO to intervene in Syria and Mali.  It’s all covered in detail at Stop NATO, a compilation of international news reports along with Rozoff’s trenchant commentary.

The Chicago summit “leaves us face to face with the most burning question of our era,” Rozoff told interviewer Allen Ruff on WORT-FM in Madison earlier this month. “Which is that 21 years after the end of the Cold War, we have lived through incessant warfare, there have been wars after wars after wars, in Iraq and Somalia and Bosnia and Kosovo and Afghanistan, in Iraq again, in Libya, we’re seeing bombing and missile attacks into Pakistan and Somalia and Yemen, and on and on and on.

“And it is about time that the people of Chicago, of the United States and the world, say look: there was a promise 21 years ago when the Cold War ended, that we would have peace, that we would have disarmament, we would have a peace dividend that directed funds from killing to fund human needs and human development.”

He points out that the United States spent $729 billion last year for the Defense Department — $2,400 for every person living in the country.  “There are better things to do with that money than to kill people.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Russia Warns Against Training Syrian Rebels In Kosovo

May 14, 2012 1 comment

Interfax
May 14, 2012

Moscow opposes plans to train Syrian militants in Kosovo

MOSCOW: The Russian Foreign Ministry is concerned by the reports that Syrian militants will be trained in Kosovo, and has urged the international community to prevent that from happening.

“Lately there have been media reports about contacts between Syrian opposition representatives and the authorities of the so-called Republic of Kosovo. This is not just about ‘exchange of experience’ in organizing separatist movements aimed at toppling existing regimes, it is also about training Syrian militants in Kosovo,” the ministry said in a statement issued on Monday.

They intend to use areas that are geographically similar to the Syrian landscape, the ministry said. It is likely that training centers will be opened at the former bases of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

“Such intentions raise concerns. They run counter to the efforts of United Nations-Arab League Special Envoy Kofi Annan, backed by the entire international community. Moreover, turning Kosovo into an international site for training militants from various militant groups could become a serious destabilizing factor spreading beyond the Balkan region,” the statement said.

“We are calling on international organizations present in the province to take whatever steps necessary to foil such schemes,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

—————————————————————————

Russian Information Agency Novosti
May 14, 2012

Russia Warns Against Training Syrian Rebels in Kosovo

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday urged international bodies operating in Kosovo to prevent the region from turning into a training ground for Syrian rebels.

A delegation from the Syrian opposition visited Kosovo in April to allegedly make a deal on exchanging experience in guerilla warfare against ruling authorities.

So far, the fractured Syrian opposition has been unable to form a steady front against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Russian ministry said in a statement that the talks covered not only the ways of organizing armed resistance against authorities but also the training of Syrian militants in Kosovo.

“There are plans to use the areas [in Kosovo] that resemble the terrain in Syria. The possibility of setting up training camps at the former bases of the Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA] is also being discussed,” the statement said.

“Transforming Kosovo into an international training ground for armed militants may become a serious destabilizing factor that could extend beyond the Balkans,” the document said. “We urge international bodies operating in Kosovo to take all necessary steps to prevent these plans.”

The ethnic Albanian KLA fought a separatist war against the regime of President Slobodan Milosevic in 1998-99. About 10,000 people died in the Kosovo conflict.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008.

Both Serbia and Russia have refused to recognize Kosovo’s independence.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: OSCE To Monitor Anti-NATO Protests At Summit In Chicago

Voice of Russia

May 14, 2012

OSCE to monitor anti-NATO protests at Summit in Chicago
John Robles

Audio: Download

Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to GlobalResearch.ca. He will be debating NATO officials in Chicago on May 17th in a first-ever event where those opposed to NATO are allowed to voice their concerns.

I heard that on the 17th of May you are planning to debate former NATO officials and current NATO officials. This is first debate of this type in history I believe. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about that?

Thank you for asking, John. As scheduled, on Thursday evening at 6 o’clock in downtown Chicago at what’s called the Pritzker Military Library – it’s probably an apt site for a discussion of NATO – as of last heard, two spokespeople advocating the NATO position, and those are R. Nicholas Burns, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the State Department, and current NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political and Security Affairs James Appathurai, are going to be presenting the NATO position. I’ve been asked to be one of two what are identified in the Chicago media as protesters who are going to be speaking against NATO. Initially Andy Thayer, who is a leader in the Coalition Against NATO G8 War and Poverty Agenda, CANG8, for short, was to be the other speaker from the anti-NATO position. I now hear that a representative from either Iraq or Afghanistan war veterans, is going to be speaking instead of Andy Thayer, so it will be the two of us.

Can you tell me a little bit of the format?

It’s my understanding each of the four of us is going to give a presentation and then there will be questions fielded from the audience. It’s going to be a very select group, there are only going to be 100 people permitted into the library in addition to media.

Who was behind the planning of this event?

It’s sponsored by a local Chicago think tank. Though, it’s my understanding, John, that somehow, I don’t know who contacted whom, the prime mover in permitting a discussion that has both sides being heard emanated from the White House.

You mentioned before we started something about two OSCE parliamentarians. Are they going to be in attendance?

I heard from another leader in CANG8 that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) announced that they were going to send two, perhaps three, European parliamentarians as part of a delegation to monitor the protests and the city of Chicago’s response to them, which would mark only the second time that an OSCE delegation has been sent to the United States – the only previous time was during the 2008 presidential election – and if in fact that’s the truth and that materializes, that may in part have led to the White House having to make a concession to allow some form of public debate on the issue, because to be frank with you, there has been none up until now. When the decision was made between the White House and mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel last year there was no debate, there was no discussion in the City Council of Chicago and the neighborhoods that are going to be affected pretty adversely, as no community leaders and so forth were consulted, it was dealt with as a fait accompli.

How did you become involved in this? Were you chosen?

Andy Thayer of CANG8 invited me to join him, initially, as we thought, now it looks like it may be, again, an Iraq or Afghanistan war veteran and myself presenting the anti-NATO position.

Can you tell our listeners a little bit of what NATO is doing to promote their position in the U.S. and why and where all that money is coming from? So they’ve made a huge PR campaign in the Chicago area, I believe.

There is a host committee for the NATO summit, which is headed up by former political officials, but there is corporate sponsorship that is – as a matter of fact if one goes to the website for the NATO Chicago summit, they’ll have the corporate logos of major Fortune 500-type companies that have raised an estimated $37 billion (Mr. Rozoff apologized and asked that billion be corrected to million. Robles) in corporate monies for the summit in addition to what the federal and the city governments are going to spend. The argument that many people make, including myself, that NATO is essentially the international armed wing of the 1% could not be made any more effectively or vividly than visiting the website for the Chicago Summit and looking at the corporate logos that stand behind the NATO meeting on May 20 and 21.

Recently somebody, NATO spokesman I think, said that NATO was the war machine for any percent.

I believe that comment emanates from Ivo Daalder, who is the U.S. ambassador to NATO currently, and he is somebody who incidentally six years ago co-authored an article that was published in the Washington Post [Foreign Affairs] and also on the website of the Brookings Institution where Daalder is on leave as a senior fellow, but the title of that article is “Global NATO”. So, we are talking about somebody who in fact envisions, and keep in mind he is the envoy for the most powerful member of the military bloc, the United States, and is somebody who for several years has been touting in exactly those words the concept of an international, worldwide NATO that can intervene at will any place it chooses. Any organization that has waged war in three continents since 1999 as NATO has, in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya, is certainly a war machine.

What can you tell our listeners about G8 Summit being moved to Camp David and what’s the relation between that and the NATO Summit happening in Chicago?

The two were to have occured not simultaneously but back to back. The G8 Summit was to have occurred on the 18th and 19th of this month and the NATO Summit on the 20th and 21st. And when the news first broke in spring of last year that Chicago would host them both, the announcement was made simultaneously. It was, if you will, a package deal. Then several weeks ago the White House rather abruptly and without any explanation – the accounts in Chicago are that the mayor himself, Emanual, wasn’t even aware of the fact that it was being pulled until he heard it on the news.

I can tell you my personal supposition, which is this: that in the interim between the time it was announced that both the G8 and the NATO summits were to be held in the United States and the announcement by the White House they were relocating the G8 summit to Camp David in Maryland, the Occupy movement sprang into existence in September of last year and I would assume that the White House was afraid that the demonstrations against both summits would be large enough to create a political embarrassment, both for the city of Chicago and for the country, certainly for the administration, and thought that by relocating the G8 summit they could take attention away from the NATO demonstration. I believe that it’s backfired. Instead there will be a large public demonstration on the 20th. I am hoping that it will be possibly the largest counter-NATO demonstration ever held against the backdrop of a summit. If you recall in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2010, I’ve heard estimates from 10-30 thousand protesters. It would be my sincerest wish that the people of Chicago and adjoining states could turn out a force larger than that.

Larger than 30,000 people?

That would be ideal. Larger that 10,000 would be great.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012 2 comments

====

Afghan War: NATO Loses Eight Troops In Three Days

Over 3,000 U.S., NATO Troops Killed In Greater Afghan War

NATO Delegation Arrives In Belarus

NATO Chief: Bloc To Acknowledge Georgia’s “Progress”

Japan To Buy U.S. F-35 Stealth Fighters Despite Price Hike

====

Afghan War: NATO Loses Eight Troops In Three Days

http://www.ktvq.com/news/8-nato-forces-dead-in-3-days-as-afghanistan-extends-authority/

CNN
May 13, 2012

8 NATO forces dead in 3 days as Afghanistan extends authority

KABUL, Afghanistan: Two service members with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan were killed Sunday, bringing the death toll among NATO troops to eight in three days.

The two died following an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan, ISAF said.

Three others killed in the past few days are believed to be victims of so-called “green on blue” attacks, in which Afghan security forces turned their weapons on ISAF personnel.

Two of those were British troops, the British MInistry of Defense said. “Serving as part of an advisory team, the two servicemen were providing security for a meeting with local officials near patrol base Attal, in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province, when they were shot and killed by members of the Afghan Police Force.”

The three other ISAF deaths include one service member killed in an insurgent attack, one killed by a roadside bomb, and one who died of non-combat related injuries, officials said.

====

Over 3,000 U.S., NATO Troops Killed In Greater Afghan War

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/afghanistan/2025153.html

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
May 13, 2012

Total 3,000 allied soldiers killed in Afghan and related conflicts

The number of fatalities among NATO and allied forces has surpassed 3,000 since the US-led war in Afghanistan started in 2001, according to an independent website tracking the coalition’s military fatalities, dpa reported.

The website icasualties.org says 3,000 soldiers – of whom almost two-thirds were American – have been killed in the Afghan war and related conflicts elsewhere in the world since 2001.

The most recent casualties, four NATO soldiers killed on Saturday, had not yet been included in the figures.

According to the website, 2,907 soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan, while the rest were killed elsewhere during the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

OEF is an official term for the global war on terror, which includes the decade-long Afghan war and a number of other military activities elsewhere in the world following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

In Afghanistan, the US and NATO allies have been fighting the home-grown Taliban insurgency since the US ousted their radical Islamic regime from Kabul in 2001.

This year alone, more then 150 soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, according to the website. Last year, 566 died.

The US has lost 1,968 soldiers in the war, the figures show. The United Kingdom trails second with 412 fatalities while Canada is in third place with 158 fatalities among soldiers. Since 2011, Canada has only had trainers, not combat troops, stationed in Afghanistan.

The southern Afghan province of Helmand, which is the focus of poppy cultivation, has been the most deadly province for the military coalition, with a total of 851 fatalities.

Roadside bombings, through improvised explosive devices (IEDs), have been the number one killer among international forces, causing almost half of total casualties.

On Saturday, four NATO service members were killed in three separate incidents in southern Afghanistan, the alliance said, without specifying where exactly the incidents took place.

Two died in an insurgent attack and one in a roadside bomb, while the fourth died of “non-battle related injury,” NATO said in a statement. It did not disclose the nationality of the deceased.

====

NATO Delegation Arrives In Belarus

http://telegraf.by/en/2012/05/v-belarus-pribivaet-delegaciya-nato

Telegraf.by
May 14, 2012

NATO Delegation Arrives in Belarus

May 14-16, delegation of NATO headquarters is expected to arrive in the country in the framework of Belarus’ participation in the planning and evaluation of the NATO program “Partnership for Peace,” as well as in accordance with an individual program of partnership and cooperation of Belarus and NATO for 2012-2013. This was reported in the Ministry of Defense.

The delegation includes representatives of the NATO secretariat of the organization, strategic command for transformation and operations, military attaches of NATO member-states, accredited at the Defense Ministry of Belarus.

During the visit the sides are going to discuss current results and plans for Belarus’ implementation of 2010 partnership goals and to consider the draft of a new package of 2012 partnership goals.

As Telegraf previously reported, August 30, 2011, the notorious site WikiLeaks published a cable of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for the period of February 2006, touching the issue of the Belarusian-Russian relations ahead of presidential elections in Belarus. According to the U.S. diplomats, Russia used to provide incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko with some passive support in fears of Belarus’ possible entry into NATO.

====

NATO Chief: Bloc To Acknowledge Georgia’s “Progress”

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24762

Civil Georgia
May 14, 2012

Rasmussen: Chicago Summit to Acknowledge Georgia’s Progress in ‘Visible Way’

Tbilisi: At the Chicago summit on May 20-21 NATO will acknowledge “in a very visible way” both what “Georgia has achieved and what it contributes to the trans-Atlantic alliance”, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview with RFE/RL.

Asked whether Georgia, which is set to become the largest non-NATO troops contributor to ASAF, [is] any closer to NATO membership, Rasmussen responded: “The Chicago Summit will not be an enlargement summit, but we will definitely acknowledge the progress Georgia has achieved during recent years.”

“We will acknowledge that progress in our declaration from the summit. We will also acknowledge Georgia’s contributions in a very visible way,” he said.

“Actually, Georgia will participate in three important meetings in Chicago. Georgia will participate in the ISAF meeting on Afghanistan. Georgia will participate in a special-partnership event, a gathering of 13 partners across the globe that contribute to NATO operations in a very significant way and Georgia is among these 13 partners and actually one of the largest contributors to our operation in Afghanistan. And finally, Georgia will also participate in an aspirant-countries meeting at the level of foreign ministers,” Rasmussen said.

====

Japan To Buy U.S. F-35 Stealth Fighters Despite Price Hike

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/ocountries/2025358.html

Trend News Agency
May 14, 2012

Japan to purchase F-35 stealth fighters despite price hike

Japan planned to sign a contract with the United States next month for the purchase of four F-35 stealth fighter jets despite a price increase for the aircraft, local media reported Monday.

The fighter jets are set to be delivered before the end of fiscal year 2016 and may cost about 138 million U.S. dollars per unit. The Japanese government is making arrangements with the U.S. for the purchase as part of the budget in the current fiscal year which ends next March, Xinhua reported.

The Japanese government decided in December to choose the F-35 stealth jet, developed by the United States and eight other countries, as the country’s next-generation fighter jet.

The government originally estimated the price of the jet to be about 9.9 billion yen (about 123 million U.S. dollars) per aircraft. The price rose after the U.S. decided to postpone its purchase of the jets due to its defense budget cuts.

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter, which had been reviewed along with Boeing’s FA-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon, will replace the country’s 40-year-old fleet of F-4s.

====

Categories: Uncategorized

The Chicago NATO Summit: Preview And Perspective

Global Research TV
May 12, 2012

The Chicago NATO Summit: Preview and Perspective

Ever since its inception there have been those who have warned that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, far from offering a simple “collective security” pact to ensure the integrity of its member nations’ borders, would in fact be used as an offensive tool of imperial adventurism and conquest. Since the NATO-led Kosovo bombing campaign of 1999 at the very least, those fears have appeared more and more justified.

Since that time, NATO has continued to take a lead role in more and more overtly offensive campaigns of aggression in theatre after theatre. By now it is commonly understood to be an extension of the Pentagon itself, a convenient international military instrument for Washington to wield whenever the pretense of an international consensus cannot be achieved at the UN Security Council.

Find out more in this week’s GRTV Backgrounder on Global Research TV.

Categories: Uncategorized

Peace Versus War: Heavy-Handed Tactics To Curb NATO Protesters

May 12, 2012 4 comments

Press TV
May 12, 2012

VIDEO

‘US will use heavy-handed tactics to curb NATO protesters’

Thousands of peaceful anti-war protesters are expected to face off with armed riot police and sound cannons at the May NATO Summit to be held in Chicago.

Press TV has interviewed Rick Rozoff, manager of Stop NATO in Chicago, about ‘overkill’ preparations by the authorities to counter expected massive popular peaceful demonstrations opposing the upcoming summit of NATO. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: I’d like to get your opinion first of all on the military-style tactics that will be deployed to confront protesters as anti-riot police continue to amass equipment in the days to come.

Rozoff: Yes, you’re raising a good point. We have to keep in mind the nature of the summit that’s going to occur in Chicago on May 20th and 21st.

This is a summit of the worlds largest, the world’s only, military bloc. It’s an organization that exists solely for the reason of preparing for and conducting war and the protesters, who I hope will be in the tens of thousands, are peaceful citizens of Chicago and visiters from other cities including peace groups, labor groups, religious groups and so forth.

So the irony that the City of Chicago’s police department has ordered as of two months ago at least 8,500 police face masks, face shields, and has as you mentioned rumored to have acquired long range acoustic devices, the sort that Israel used against peaceful Palestinian protesters last year and that the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania used against peaceful American protesters in 2009 against the backdrop of the G20 Summit.

There was an incident last month where several Black Hawk helicopter gunships flew over Chicago. No residents of the city were informed about that of course and it must have struck terror into the residents affected by it.

So what we are seeing is quite in character of a military bloc that as of last year waged war in three continents – in Europe, in Asia – Afghanistan – and in Libya last year in North Africa – they’re acting true to form; they’re using coercive and threatening and potentially violent methods.

The long range acoustic device you point out is a battlefield weapon. It was tested to be a non-lethal battlefield weapon against armed opponents. And that this would be employed against peaceful protesters in Chicago is a travesty.

Press TV: Tell us a bit more about the protest itself come the conference. What does your organization as well as the many protesters you’re expecting to descend on Chicago, what are they hoping to achieve from this protest?

Rozoff: This is only the second there has been a NATO summit in the US. The last time was thirteen years ago in Washington DC. But this is the first time a NATO summit is being held right in the heart of the United States, in the Midwest, in Chicago.

What it’s going to be is a referendum where the people of Chicago, the people of the United States and through them the people of the world are going to give a definitive ‘No’ to the world’s only military bloc; one that has waged wars of aggression in several parts of the world in the last 13 years.

But I think even more important than that is the fact that the people of Chicago and those in solidarity with us around the world are going to say, 21 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a quarter of a century after the Cold War, there is no justification for a military bloc like NATO; there is no justification for solving international disputes through acts of military aggression, and that this is not only calling for the dismantling, the abolition of NATO, it’s calling for an end to war. Now and forever.

Press TV: Is there any justification for preparing for the protests that are to come in Chicago later this month with the type of equipment that we’ve just outlined?

Rozoff: No. It’s definitely overkill and it’s meant also I should add as intimidation. The more the city divulges or announces that it’s bringing in… There was an article in Crain’s Chicago Business perhaps two months ago talking about the federal government – Washington – sending in marksmen, which is to say, snipers.

And reports of this sort are meant to intimidate or scare people away from protests. They will not have their desired effect.

There is going to be a massive protest on Sunday May 20th here in Chicago and it’s going to be a peaceful protest by peaceful people against a violent organization, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Let’s be very clear about who is violent and who is peaceful.

Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago Police Prepare For NATO Summit With Riot Gear, Sound Cannon

May 11, 2012 1 comment

RT
May 11, 2012

Chicago police prepare for NATO Summit with riot gear and sound cannon

Tens of thousands of demonstrators will descend on Chicago, Illinois this month to protest the annual conference of NATO nations, and police are preparing with the help of one million dollars’ worth of weapons and riot gear.

Chicago’s law enforcement agencies have invested as much as $1 million on riot-control equipment, including at least one long-range acoustic device, or LRAD, and upgrades to shields that will be worn by the police, reports the UK’s guardian

Demonstrators and organizers alike have both described the plans for marches and rallies against the NATO Summit later this month as being peaceful in nature. Law enforcement wants to make sure that they keep the events non-violent, though, and will aim to do so with a major new arsenal of riot gear.

The LRAD, a sound cannon-like device that has been linked to causing permanent hearing loss, is being touted by the Chicago Police Department as a necessity for public safety.

“This is simply a risk management tool, as the public will receive clear information regarding public safety messages and any orders provided by police,” Chicago police spokeswoman Melissa Stratton tells the Guardian, adding that it will be available “as a means to ensure a consistent message is delivered to large crowds that can be heard over ambient noise.”

Police officers are believed to have used LRADs the last time that several world leaders attended a major conference on American soil. Employing the machine against protesters during the 2009 meeting of the Group of 20 leaders in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was believed by The New York Times to be the first instance the device was deployed on demonstrators in America.

During that episode, police assaulted protesters by launching tear gas canisters and stun grenades into the crowd — but only after crippling them with the sound cannon, of course.

“This is a device that has the capability to inflict permanent hearing loss on people,” attorney Vic Walczak tells the Guardian. He represents Karen Piper, a university lecturer, who claims to have suffered irreversible hearing damage at the hands of a LRAD during the 2009 G20 protests. Walczak adds that the device is “more dangerous than a Taser” and that “It should not be used outside the battlefield.”

In recent months, the weapon has been reportedly dispatched with law enforcement agencies that have been deployed to monitor protests across the US waged in association with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Several offshoots of OWS, along with the National Nurses United group and thousands of protesters outside of Chicago, are expected to converge on Chicago for the protests this month.

The Guardian reports that the main action is slated to occur on Sunday, May 20. To additionally ready law enforcement officers, the US Federal Protective Service drafted plans to send armed agents into downtown Chicago to patrol the city and prepare for protests as early as the first of the month. Chicago’s mayor, former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, told reporters that he was not made aware of that decision.

Emanuel was informed, however, that a planned protest scheduled to coincide with the conference — one that the city issued a permit to — may be larger than originally anticipated. As a result, Emanuel reportedly issued that the city revoke the permit, which had been authorized months earlier to National Nurses United.

Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, tells Rolling Stone that he plans to participate in the protest, with or without the city’s authorization.

“Chicago is my hometown and the mayor is making me feel mighty unwelcome,” Morello says to the music magazine. “I don’t care what they say or do, I’m coming to rock out and speak my mind.”

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Orchestrating South China Sea Conflict

May 11, 2012 2 comments

Voice of Russia
May 11, 2012

Is US orchestrating South China Sea conflict?
Natalya Kasho
Edited by RR

A war of nerves is going between China and the Philippines on account of the disputed Huangjang Island (Scarborough reef) in the South China Sea. The parties have brought into action propaganda and other levers of pressure in order to prove their sovereignty over this oil- and gas-rich water area.

Philippine activists are going to hold mass anti-Chinese actions near Chinese diplomatic missions in the country and abroad. In a way it can remind one of demonstrations in defence of human rights in China, which were held in different countries of the world during the round-the-world Olympic fire relay race before the Olympic Games of 2008 in Beijing. In response, China has warned its citizens in the Philippines that they should not leave their houses without need, nor yield to provocations and abide by increased security measures.

Due to the strained relations, China has broken off tourist contacts with the Philippines, thus significantly reducing one of the main sources of this country’s income. The situation was aggravated by the ban on the import of fruits from the Philippines issued on Thursday. China stated that it was not a political act, only that Philippine products ceased to satisfy phytosanitary control requirements. There is no confrontation between the vessels of the two countries in the disputed water area. Nevertheless, Beijing has warned that the Chinese army will not allow anyone to encroach on PRC sovereignty over the Huangjang Island.

“No one will be able to capture a single inch of Chinese land, despite all sorts of tricks, efforts aimed at gaining support of some patrons, the search for one or another accomplice,” the army newspaper Tzefantzung Bao warns.

The publication appeared immediately after a statement of the head of the MFA of the Philippines Albert del Rosario that the USA was ready to defend the Philippines in case of a conflict in the South China Sea. An expert of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Konstantin Sivkov, believes that Washington wouldn’t mind fishing in the South China Sea’s troubled waters:

“Of course, the USA is not interested in China’s active presence there. Therefore, on the one hand, the Americans need to prove the importance of their presence in the region to the Philippines. On the other hand, the Americans have too many problems to deal with to pay too much attention to the Philippines. The USA is rather forced to mark its involvement in the conflict and to remind about it, because it is important for maintaining its presence in Southeast Asia. One of the US main goals is to control China, otherwise the situation will be very bad for them.”

The increase of tension between Beijing and Manila coincided with the visit of Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanle to the United States.

The situation in the South China Sea was one of the main topics during his negotiations with the head of the Pentagon, Leon Panetta. Apparently, the Chinese guest failed to convince his American partner not to encourage the Philippines’ belligerence. Washington could have sent the right message, considering its alliance with Manila, but it would not.

Washington conducts its own game: it needs the Philippines so far as it needs to facilitate gaining control over the sea routes in the area. It is for the sake of this that a US military base in the Philippines is being built, the US military presence in Australia is being strengthened, and behind the scenes efforts are being made to orchestrate the conflict between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Plan To Upgrade Nuclear Weapons To Heighten Tensions With Russia

May 11, 2012 1 comment

The Guardian
May 10, 2012

Nato plans to upgrade nuclear weapons ‘expensive and unnecessary’
Proposals to modernise nuclear arsenal will heighten tensions with Russia, warns thinktank backed by ex-ministers
Richard Norton-Taylor

====

Nato’s plans would produce a “formidable increase in nuclear capabilities for Nato in Europe”, according to Seay, who adds that modernisation would be a form of expensive nuclear escalation by default that could be expected to draw a hostile reaction from Moscow.

====

Nato’s plans to upgrade the US’s estimated 180 tactical nuclear weapons in western Europe are unnecessary, expensive and likely to exacerbate already difficult relations with Russia, according to a report.

The alliance is preparing to replace “dumb” free-fall nuclear bombs and ageing delivery aircraft with precision-guided weapons that would be carried by US F35 strike aircraft, according to a report from the European Leadership Network (ELN), a thinktank supported by former UK defence ministers including Lord Des Browne and Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

The report, Escalation by Default?: the Future of Nato Nuclear Weapons In Europe, is by Ted Seay, who until last year was arms control adviser to the US mission at Nato headquarters in Brussels.

The plans to upgrade significantly the US’s stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons would increase its ability to reach targets in Russia at a time when Nato and Russia are already locked in a tense standoff over missile defence, warns the report.

Nato possesses 180 B61 free-fall tactical nuclear bombs in Europe stored at bases in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Turkey. The bombs, relics of the cold war, have no guidance systems and are regarded as having no real military purpose or value, says the report. The aircraft tasked with delivering them are also in need of replacement.

Despite defence spending cuts, the US is planning to upgrade the bombs with precision-guided B61-12 nuclear gravity bombs at a cost of $4bn (£2.5bn), according to the report. European countries, whose pilots are trained to deliver the B-61s to their targets, are also facing expensive decisions to replace their existing aircraft with the US F35 Joint Strike Fighter, whose cost has risen to more than $100m (£62m) each.

Nato’s plans would produce a “formidable increase in nuclear capabilities for Nato in Europe”, according to Seay, who adds that modernisation would be a form of expensive nuclear escalation by default that could be expected to draw a hostile reaction from Moscow.

Ian Kearns, the ELN chief executive, said: “The planned upgrade of Nato’s tactical nuclear forces in Europe will be expensive and is unnecessary. Nato states are fully secure without this additional capability and should be focused on removing all tactical nuclear weapons from Europe, not on modernising them”.

————————————————————————————————-

RT
May 11, 2012

Loving the bomb: NATO to splurge billions on nuclear weapons overhaul

The US is planning to spend $4 billion to upgrade NATO’s Western Eruopean nuclear arsenal. The “unnecessary and expensive” initiative is likely to stir new animosity with Russia, a report says.

The alliance is preparing to replace “dumb” free-fall nuclear bombs with new generation of precision-guided nuclear gravity bombs, reveals a report by the European Leaders Network (ELN), a political think tank. The new bombs will also require new delivery aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-35, each costing $100 million.

The report “Escalation by Default? The Future of NATO Nuclear Weapons in Europe” is authored by Ted Seay, a former arms control advisor to the US mission at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. It points to the fact that the upgrade will target such countries as Russia and Iran, who will be the most unlikely to be overjoyed with the prospect.

“This will increase NATO’s ability to reach targets in Russia with tactical nuclear weapons,” the paper reads. The initiative comes at a time when NATO and Russia are already “locked in a tense stand-off over missile defense.”

“This could alienate Russia in particular and worsen the prospects for further negotiations on non-strategic nuclear weapon reductions in Europe as a whole,” the report states.

A nuclear escalation “by default” would only harm security and safety prospects throughout Europe, and should be avoided, the paper concludes.

Commenting on the research, ELN chief Ian Kearns stressed to The Guardian that Washington’s plans for the upgrade are exorbitant.

“The planned upgrade of NATO’s tactical nuclear forces in Europe will be expensive and is unnecessary,” said Kearns. “NATO states are fully secure without this additional capability and should be focused on removing all tactical nuclear weapons from Europe, not on modernizing them.”

NATO currently possesses around 180 B61 free-fall tactical nuclear bombs stored at bases in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Turkey. The report states that they are increasingly regarded as obsolete.

In the meantime, a US interceptor successfully downed a ballistic missile as part of a military test in Hawaii, the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency stated.

The Raytheon Co-Built Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Interceptor is a key component in the anti-missile defense (AMD) shields the United States is due to build in Poland, Romania and Turkey.

The SM-3 Interceptor is to be deployed to Romania by 2015 and will also be used aboard ships equipped with Lockheed Martin’s Aegis anti-missile combat system.

Russia has been calling for NATO to give legally-binding guarantees that its AMD system would not target Russia, thereby upsetting the global balance of power. NATO and the United States have so far refused to give such guarantees.

Categories: Uncategorized

Turkey: NATO Intervention Against Syria Still An Option

Trend News Agency
May 11, 2012

Turkey: NATO Article 5 still at play in Syrian crisis

The possibility of invoking the right to military protection of Turkish borders against threats from Syria under Article 5 of the NATO charter is still on Turkey’s agenda, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson has said, Today’s Zaman reported.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Selcuk Unal said during a press briefing on Thursday that Turkey’s expectation from Syria is that it halts the violence as soon as possible to prevent further instability. Unal said: “However, we have many options on the table if this instability deepens. We have to determine these options in accordance with the developments we face. As you know, Article 5 of NATO is related to self-defense. So, this issue was mentioned in the past due to some incidents that occurred [along the Turkish border]. This is, of course, a matter which will remain on the agenda and it will still be assessed.”

Turkey first raised the issue of NATO protection of Turkish borders under Article 5 on April 10, following an incident along Turkey’s border with Syria. Speaking to reporters traveling with him during his official visit to China, Erdogan said Turkey may consider invoking the NATO charter’s fifth article to protect Turkish national security in the face of increasing tension along the Syrian border.

His comments came after four Syrians who fled to Turkey from the violence in Syria were killed by Syrian forces targeting refugees on the Turkish side of the border. Two Turkish nationals and two Syrians were injured during the incident at a refugee camp in Kilis province when Syrian forces fired across the border during clashes with opposition fighters, who had reportedly attempted to seize control of the border gate and then fled to Turkey.

Article 5, known as the collective defense clause, commits NATO states to defend a member state when it comes under attack. Whether or not NATO launches an intervention will be the sole decision of the treaty partners, who will assess the severity of the perceived threat.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: May 11, 2012

====

Letter: Retire NATO, Leave Afghanistan

NATO Summit Protesters Set Their Sights On Boeing

U.S. Trainers, Military Cooperation Returns to Yemen

Georgia Awards U.S. Marines With Medals

Germany Faces Inflated NATO Drone Costs

====

Letter: Retire NATO, Leave Afghanistan

Chicago Sun-Times
May 10, 2012

Letter

Retire NATO, leave Afghanistan

As the NATO Summit in Chicago draws near, President Barack Obama should take a good look at what poll after recent poll has stated clearly: Public opinion in this country wants United States and NATO troops home from Afghanistan, sooner rather than later.

With our country still trying to dig out of the economic crisis and local services being cut, most people feel that we need to stop spending money on war and fund libraries, schools and health care instead.

The millions being spent to welcome NATO and to curtail protesters from exercising their rights would go a long way to restore mental health clinics and support Chicago Public Schools.

NATO should be retired, not re-purposed. Its Cold War-era ration­ale has ended, and we shouldn’t continue to funnel human and economic resources toward a military alliance that has outlived its purpose.

President Obama, the pro-peace majority in this county wants to take a different path.

Mary Zerkel
Rogers Park

====

NATO Summit Protesters Set Their Sights On Boeing

http://chicagoist.com/2012/05/10/nato_summit_protesters_set_their_si.php

Chicagoist
May 10, 2012

NATO Summit Protesters Set Their Sights On Boeing

Protesters plan to target Boeing during the NATO summit, whose corporate offices are located in the loop along the river. Recently, Boeing erected ten foot high barricades outside its building for what they say is a long term construction project, but protest organizers argue that it might have something to do with their planned actions. They plan to “shut down” Boeing’s offices on May 21.

Activists are hoping to bring attention to Boeing’s involvement in producing military equipment. Brian Bean, an organizer of the protest, told the Sun-Times, “Boeing doesn’t just make passenger planes — they should be known internationally more for making the F-18, the B2, the Apache helicopter and a whole host of missiles that are largely dropped on mud villages around the world.” He went on to say that Boeing “represents the synthesis of the dual agendas of war and poverty of NATO and the G-8.”

Boeing Spokesperson John Dern declined to say whether or not employees would work in or out of the office on May 21. He added that the construction project has been planned for months, and the fences will be present until winter. He also said Boeing was “proud to support our military — we support the men and women who are fighting around the world for the United States.”

====

U.S. Trainers, Military Cooperation Returns to Yemen

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116252

U.S. Department of Defense
May 8, 2012

U.S. Trainers, Military Cooperation Returns to Yemen
By Jim Garamone

WASHINGTON: U.S. military personnel are again training Yemeni forces, Defense Department officials said today.

U.S. officials had suspended the training mission in Yemen due to political instability in the nation. The United States recently began reintroducing a small number of trainers into the country, Navy Capt. John Kirby, Pentagon spokesman, said.

“There was a suspension of some of that activity in Yemen for a while due to the political instability in that country,” the spokesman said. “We are now beginning to resume more of that routine military-to-military cooperation.”

Pentagon officials will not discuss operations in Yemen, Kirby said. “And I’m certainly not going to provide specific details on the numbers of individuals that we have there,” he said.

Kirby also addressed questions about an American airstrike in Afghanistan that mistakenly hit a civilian target, killing six members of an Afghan family…

====

Georgia Awards U.S. Marines With Medals

http://www.mod.gov.ge/index.php?page=77&lang=1&type=1&Id=1387

Georgian Ministry of Defence
May 8, 2012

Awarding Ceremony

Representatives of the Ministry of Defence of Georgia awarded American military servicemen. Five US marines and one sailor were honored for their contributions in support of the Georgia Deployment Program for ISAF mission. The Medals were awarded to them by Commander of the 31st Battalion LTC Alexander Tugushi, who had been wounded while performing the peacekeeping mission within the ISAF operation. An award ceremony was held at Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group, Joint expeditionary Base Fort Story, in Virginia.

Marine Col. Christopher McCarthy, Lt. Col. Daniel Thoele, Maj. Joshua Anderson, Capt. Arlon Smith, and Staff Sgt. Everett Brown were presented the Gen. Giorgi Mazniashvili Medals. Also recognized was Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Tilley, who was presented the Georgian Ministry of Defence Medal. According to the MoD representatives, these Marines greatly contributed to the expansion of Georgia Deployment Program for ISAF mission.

GDP-ISAF is the train and equip mission designed to prepare four Georgian infantry battalions in sequence for operations in Afghanistan.

====

Germany Faces Inflated NATO Drone Costs

http://www.thelocal.de/national/20120509-42421.html

The Local
May 9, 2012

Germany faces inflated Nato drone bill

Germany’s bill for the Nato drone defence system seems set to rise by about a quarter to hit nearly half a billion euros, according to secret Finance Ministry documents.

News magazine Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday it had seen a 17-page dossier saying that Germany was likely to have to pay significantly more than initially agreed for the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) – to plug a financial gap left by other countries who have backed out of the Nato project.

The dossier also says that German armed forces are expected to spend €260 million on up to four of its own unmanned drones in order to ensure the AGS capabilities.

And although costs to the German budget are spiralling, the government is determined to support the concept, which is described as of “paramount significance” for military-political and operative considerations, the dossier says.

Germany will do, “everything possible to contribute to its success,” it continues, according to Der Spiegel.

Nato defence ministers finally reached a compromise over the AGS project this spring, with German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziére calling the drones pioneering.

They are due to be presented as the perfect example of smart defence policies at the Nato summit in Chicago later this month – along with the idea that cooperation in buying defence capabilities will lead to greater force with less money.

The idea for AGS dates back to 2007, Der Spiegel said, when eight Global Hawk drones were planned. These giant drones are as big as a commercial plane and are packed full of surveillance equipment.

At the time 17 Nato nations said they would contribute to the financing, with the US and Germany signing up to pay two thirds of the €1.2 billion needed.

But since then Turkey, Poland, Denmark and Canada have dropped out, citing budgetary shortfalls. The project was downgraded to just five Global Hawks – and as the dossier now makes clear, at one point the entire AGS project was written off by German politicians. Delays have also contributed to an increase in the cost – to nearly €1.5 billion.

Germany will now face a bill of €483 million – around a third of the whole cost – rather than the original contribution of €400 million.

Nato military bosses say they desperately need the new system – after having to admit that airborne operations over Libya were almost completely dependent on American surveillance drones and planes.

====

Categories: Uncategorized

White House Touts War-Tested Global NATO Force

Stop NATO
May 10, 2012

White House Touts War-Tested Global NATO Force
Rick Rozoff

President Barack Obama and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen met at the White House on May 9 to discuss the military bloc’s summit in Obama’s political home base of Chicago on May 20 and 21.

Earlier Rasmussen had paid visits to Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain for the same purpose. Presumably France wasn’t included because of the uncertainty of who the head of state would be after last month’s presidential election.

The NATO chief visited the capitals of major Alliance players, but summoned the leaders of its Eastern European vassal states – for example the prime ministers of Romania and Slovakia – to his headquarters in Brussels to brief them on summit objectives.

The White House and NATO websites alike offered only thumbnail sketches of the closed-door meeting in Washington and no transcript of the Obama-Rasmussen talk has been posted, but a White House press release confirmed that the two leaders concentrated on the three key topics to be addressed at the summit: The over decade-long campaign in Afghanistan, NATO’s first ground war and America’s longest armed conflict; defense capabilities, including the announcement of interim capacity or initial operational capability for the U.S.-NATO pan-European interceptor missile system and the Global Hawk-like drone-equipped continental Alliance Ground Surveillance system; the expansion of the bloc’s global military partnerships further across the planet and consolidation of a NATO-directed international interventionist force that has already been tested in wars on three continents.

Both NATO and the Obama administration hailed the impending summit as the largest in the alliance’s 63-year history, “gathering representatives from around 60 nations and organisations,” according to the NATO website report of the May 9th meeting. The same site states that this year’s summit will mark the third time one has been held in the United States, which is not true: It is the second. Similarly, the NATO promotional video for the Chicago war council identified the host city as the capital of Illinois and the hometown of President Obama, neither of which is the case. Even if there had been any reason to accord the world’s only military bloc a scintilla of credibility in the past, an unwarranted concession, wary Chicagoans now know how much to believe NATO propaganda when it comes to events further from home.

The brief White House release stated:

“NATO is now a hub for a global network of security partners which have served alongside NATO forces in Afghanistan, Libya, and Kosovo.  Recognizing the important contributions provided by partner nations, the President and Secretary General welcomed the recent decision by allies to invite a group of thirteen partner nations to Chicago for an unprecedented meeting to discuss ways to further broaden and deepen NATO’s cooperation with partner nations.”

Anyone who is sceptical concerning the claim that the U.S. and its allies have methodically exploited crisis situations outside NATO’s area of responsibility to intervene militarily and in the process forge a worldwide expeditionary force should have their doubts dispelled by statements like the above. Wars in Europe, Asia and Africa have served as crucibles for molding a NATO-controlled international legion for yet more military actions outside the territory of the alliance’s member states.

As to which thirteen partner nations are being summoned to Chicago for “an unprecedented meeting,” their names may never be divulged, but are likely to include the newest category of military adjuncts, all outside Europe. That is, NATO partners outside the three major regional partnerships the bloc has cultivated since the 1990s and the early years of this century: The Partnership for Peace program, with 22 members in Europe and Asia from the Irish Sea to China’s western border. The Mediterranean Dialogue and its seven members from the Atlantic coast of Africa to Israel and Jordan. The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with Gulf Cooperation Council member states in the Persian Gulf. NATO partners which in several instances border Russia, Iran and China.

Recently NATO has announced an expanded version of what had formerly been referred to as Contact Countries – initially Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, all of whom have military personnel assigned to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, from a handful of Japanese medics to 1,550 Australian troops – known as partners across the globe. The NATO website now lists the four above nations and Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq (where the NATO Training Mission-Iraq has trained the military at home and in Europe) and Mongolia, which is the first nation to join NATO’s new Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme, as additional partners across the globe. Further members may include nations contributing troops for the war in Afghanistan that are not members of other NATO partnership programs such as Malaysia, Singapore, Tonga, El Salvador and, if the bloc’s top military commander – Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis – is to be trusted, Colombia.

Partners across the globe, as its very name suggests, is a mechanism that NATO can employ to foster bilateral and regional partnerships with any of the 126 countries that are not already NATO members or partners. Or groups of nations like the Arab League, the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Overtures to El Salvador and Colombia may be followed by partnership proposals to nations like Peru, Chile, Panama, the Honduras and even Mexico, reinforced by U.S., British, French and Dutch presence in the Caribbean.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force recently posted a feature on its website that highlighted as a Chicago summit goal “deal[ing] with the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening NATO’s network of partners across the globe.”

James Appathurai, NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, recently spoke about the partners across the globe and identified teaching English to the Mongolian armed forces as an example of programs NATO can provide to new military cohorts throughout the world.

In 2006 current U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution now on leave, and James Goldgeier, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, co-authored an article titled “Global NATO,” which celebrated simultaneous NATO operations a year earlier in four continents: Europe, Asia, Africa and North America (Hurricane Katrina support). It contained this as its opening sentence:

“With little fanfare – and even less notice – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has gone global.”

No act of Congress or United Nations resolution authorized the creation of global NATO. Though both organizations have the ability – and the obligation – to dismantle it.

Categories: Uncategorized

Don’t Believe NATO Hype: Alternatives To War, Economic Crises Exist

May 10, 2012 1 comment

Huffington Post
May 10, 2012

Don’t Believe the NATO Hype: Alternatives Exist to War, Economic Crises
Joseph Gerson

As the NATO summit in Chicago approaches, misplaced paranoia is striking deep. A near-police-state regime is being imposed, not only to “protect” heads of state from protesters, but also to severely limit the freedoms of speech and assembly. Even nurses — the United States’ most trusted medical professionals — have been deemed too dangerous to be allowed to rally.

Beyond this hysteria, peace, labor and immigrant rights activists and scholars are gathering in Chicago for the May 18-19 Counter-Summit for Peace and Economic Justice, to present the case against NATO-driven militarism. Here are 10 reasons why:

The U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan must end. Plans to use the summit to ratify fighting in Central Asia until 2024 spells death, suffering and disaster for all involved.

There is an alternative to creating stability in one of the world’s poorest nations: All-party Afghan negotiations — including civil society — and a regional peacemaking process.

The United States is in decline. Students can’t afford the world-class educations that are essential to both their economic security and the nation’s revitalization. Our infrastructure and transportation systems are in disrepair, lagging behind those in many other nations. U.S. defense spending nearly equals the next 17 countries’ military spending — combined! And the Bush tax cuts have made the one percent exceedingly richer. This slow motion debacle must be stopped.

There is an alternative: Cut military spending and restore a truly progressive income tax. Investing in civilian job creation for clean energy, health care, education and 21st century infrastructure could produce far more jobs than sending troops to fight in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Philippines.

NATO was never an entirely defensive alliance. Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski describes NATO allies as “vassals” and explained that NATO provides a toehold from which to dominate Eurasia. Most people and nations resist being dominated. Since the end of the Cold War, at great expense, NATO has not focused on Europe, but on “out of area” operations like the Afghan and Libyan wars and partnerships from Mauritania to Turkmenistan, with more to come in Latin America to East Asia.

There is an alternative: Retire NATO. Bring our troops and weapons home and close overseas bases. U.S. policy should not focus on preparing for and fighting wars that support corrupt regimes or overthrow dictators while leaving nations divided among armed militias with no functioning national governments.

We suffer from 21st century Jim Crow segregation. More than two million people — most of them people of color — are in prison. An estimated 11 million undocumented people, the vast majority tax paying workers and their families, are forced to live in the shadows, fearing deportation and family separations due to draconian federal policies like “Secure Communities and “E-Verify.” Children of immigrants who have excelled in school are denied access to college educations.

There are alternatives: Suspend those police-state immigration policies. Enact comprehensive immigration reform to expedite the path to citizenship. Mandate in-state tuition for all in-state students.

Four years into the Bush Depression little has been done to address the “betrayal of American prosperity,” as detailed by Reagan-era trade tsar Clyde Prestowitz. The super-rich are getting richer. The middle class is shrinking. Millions of workers and their families suffer a jobless “recovery,” while corporations maximize profits and CEO salaries by sending manufacturing jobs abroad. And the campaign for European-style “austerity” means greater unemployment.

There are alternatives: Stop foreclosures. Revise tax laws to remove incentives for off-shoring jobs and restore progressive income tax policies like those of the (Republican) Eisenhower era. Invest in job creation by focusing on essential social services, 21st century education and training, and building modern infrastructures that our children will need to live decent lives and to hold their own in the global economy.

Frederick Douglass, the courageous abolitionist, taught that power cedes nothing without a struggle. And the old folk saying reminds us that “we make our road by walking.” That’s why we’re coming to Chicago from Boston and San Bernadine, Tennessee and Toronto, Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Africa and Asia.

The Counter Summit will be the forum to build the movement needed to follow the French in withdrawing from Afghanistan and overcoming nationally self-destructive austerity.

Peacefully, in the streets, we can support the Afghan and Iraq Vets whose discarded medals scream that war and military alliances are not the answer; that we need jobs, justice and a caring society if there is to be a 21st century American dream and greater peace in the world.

Dr. Joseph Gerson is Co-Convener of the Network for a NATO-Free Future and Director of Programs for the American Friends Service Committee in New England.

Categories: Uncategorized

Veterans Plan To Return Medals During NATO Summit Protest

May 10, 2012 3 comments

WBBM News Radio
CBS News Chicago
May 10, 2012

Veterans Plan To Return Medals During NATO Summit Protest

CHICAGO: Several veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan plan to hold a ceremony during a protest of the NATO summit on Sunday, and return their service medals to the NATO generals.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the veterans feel conflicted about their plan to return their service medals, but they feel they must. They plan to give back their medals during the large anti-NATO protest scheduled for the first day of the summit on May 20.

“Every veteran that’s taking this step, I think, is taking a large step outside of anyone’s service zone,” said Iraq War veteran Aaron Hughes.

Hughes said he’s proud of serving his country, but not of the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“These generals that are leading NATO, they’re saying, ‘Oh, we’re building democracy, we’re building freedom.’ We’re not,” he said. “I think everybody in this country, we all need to take a minute to stop and ask ourselves ‘What have we been doing?’”

It’s not about nation-building, Hughes said, but a charade.

“They lie and they perpetuate that by giving us these tokens, these token medals,” Hughes said. “I don’t want to be part of a charade anymore, and I don’t want to be a part of a mistake anymore, and I know a lot of other service members that don’t want to be a part of a mistake anymore.”

Hughes said it’s about healing. On average, 18 veterans commit suicide every day.

There’s a mental health crisis for veterans, according to Hughes, and they are not being properly cared for when they return from war.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S.-China: One Warship Enough To Win A Global War?

May 10, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
May 10, 2010

One warship – enough to win a global war?
Boris Volkhonsky
Edited by RR

====

Imagine that the current standoff between China and any of its neighbors turns into open warfare. In that case, one warship would be basically sufficient to completely block the bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca which at its narrowest point does not exceed 2.8 km (1.5 nautical miles). Deprived of oil, China would not last long in a military standoff even with much weaker rivals.

Deployment of U.S. warships in Singapore, accompanied by the marines in Australia, and Indian and U.S. navies regularly penetrating into the South China Sea dramatically alters the whole strategic situation in the region. In fact, China appears to be surrounded by its geopolitical rivals, having no allies in East and South East Asia, except North Korea, and no reliable allies whatsoever.

====

       
On Wednesday, as reported by Reuters, the U.S. Navy announced that the first of a new class of coastal warships will be sent to Singapore next spring for a roughly 10-month deployment.

The proposed move may seem insignificant in terms of the total capacity of only one warship, but it definitely highlights a strategic pivot in U.S. policies in the Asia-Pacific, and the determination to engage regional powers with the sole purpose of containing China.

Recent months have witnessed a growing tension in the maritime area of the South China Sea between China on the one hand, and Vietnam, the Philippines and several other littoral countries on the other. China claims that most of the islands in the South China Sea fall under its territory, a claim other littoral countries are not ready to agree with. In April, China and the Philippines narrowly escaped the option of a maritime dispute turning into a military standoff, when China deployed warships in order to protect fishing vessels fishing in the disputed waters and which were threatened to be arrested by the Philippine navy. Similar incidents happened throughout March and April between China and Vietnam.

The territorial disputes have attracted the attention of other important players from outside the region, namely the U.S. and India, both trying to expand cooperation with China’s rivals.

The new U.S. strategic pivot was announced last year, when President Obama ordered stepped-up emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region in a “rebalancing” of U.S. national security planning. Since then, several important developments have taken place, including the posting of 1,500 U.S. Marines in Australia, and maritime drills with the Philippines in the South China Sea.

Now, what’s so special about Singapore? The fact is that this tiny state is strategically located on the southernmost tip of the Malay Peninsula, and thus creates a convenient stronghold for the control of a strategically important choke point in the narrowest part of the Strait of Malacca.

It should be noted that the Strait of Malacca is one of the most important global trading thoroughfares with almost 40 percent of world trade flowing through it. That amount includes the overwhelming portion of oil supplies transported to China from the Persian Gulf and Africa. Imagine that the current standoff between China and any of its neighbors turns into open warfare. In that case, one warship would be basically sufficient to completely block the bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca which at its narrowest point does not exceed 2.8 km (1.5 nautical miles). Deprived of oil, China would not last long in a military standoff even with much weaker rivals.

In recent years, China has been extensively building up its strategy called “the string of pearls” consisting in creating port, road and pipeline infrastructure in the littoral countries of the Indian Ocean basin (namely, Pakistan and Myanmar), which would enable it to bypass the narrow Strait of Malacca. But the strategy has not yielded fruit, and the Strait of Malacca remains the only gateway for the goods to enter Chinese waters.

Deployment of U.S. warships in Singapore, accompanied by the marines in Australia, and Indian and U.S. navies regularly penetrating into the South China Sea dramatically alters the whole strategic situation in the region. In fact, China appears to be surrounded by its geopolitical rivals, having no allies in East and South East Asia, except North Korea, and no reliable allies whatsoever.

So, the move of one U.S. warship to Singapore should not be underestimated. This is only a first step, and the U.S. is definitely going to pump up its military presence in the region by establishing permanent stations in Southeast Asia.

The whole situation leaves only one question unanswered. The Strait of Malacca is famous not only as an important trading thoroughfare, but, along with the Horn of Africa, also as one of the two maritime areas most seriously affected by pirates. If blocking the Strait for cargo ships and oil tankers seems to be an easy task that may be accomplished by a few warships, then why would the U.S. not pay greater attention to the anti-piracy struggle? Indeed, that would be a much more helpful use of military power than trying to isolate China.

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

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Tests New-Generation Missile For NATO Interceptor System

Interfax
May 10, 2012

US successfully tests new Aegis missile interceptor

       
The US Navy has successfully tested a new ship-based missile interceptor, which is to play an important role in the European anti-missile shield, the Pentagon announced today.   

The second-generation Standard Missile-3 was fired from a US ship in the Hawaii Islands area, engaged and destroyed a short-range training ballistic missile, launched from the Kauai polygon, Hawaii.

This was the first test of this cutting-edge Aegis BMD 4.0.1 system, a key element to the sea-based missile defense shield.

The total of 27 Aegis ABM missiles have been launched so far, 22 of them successfully.

The US is now to relocate four Aegis-equipped missile destroyers to its naval base at Rota in Spain.

—————————————————————————-

Raytheon Company
May 10, 2012

Raytheon Completes First Flight Test of Improved SM-3
Demonstrates Phased Adaptive Approach phase two capability

PACIFIC MISSILE RANGE FACILITY, KAUAI, Hawaii: Raytheon Company completed the first successful flight test of the Standard Missile-3 Block IB, which is the cornerstone of phase two of the administration’s Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA). This is the 20th successful intercept for Raytheon’s SM-3 program.

“This next-generation variant of the SM-3 is critical to the ballistic missile defense of the U.S. and our allies, because it can defeat the more sophisticated threats emerging around the world today,” said Dr. Taylor Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president.

During the test, the target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai. As the target rose above the horizon, the USS Lake Erie’s SPY-1 radar acquired and began tracking the target. After target launch, the ship’s crew fired a SM-3 Block IB. During flight, the missile’s kinetic warhead acquired the target with its two-color infrared seeker and tracked it through intercept.

Raytheon’s SM-3 Block IB is based on the highly successful SM-3 Block IA, which is currently deployed as part of the first phase of the PAA.

“Raytheon has delivered more than 130 SM-3 Block IAs ahead of schedule and under cost,” said Wes Kremer, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems’ Air and Missile Defense Systems product line. “We are on track to deliver the SM-3 Block IB to the nation by 2015 for deployment at sea and ashore.”

—————————————————————————-

Reuters
May 10, 2012

U.S. hits test missile with Raytheon interceptor
By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON: U.S. forces destroyed a target missile near Hawaii late on Wednesday in the first successful test of a new Raytheon Co interceptor, the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency said.

The advanced Standard Missile-3 interceptor was designed to play a central role in the next phase of an anti-missile shield being built by the United States to guard NATO allies.

“Initial indications are that all components performed as designed,” the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said in an emailed statement.

An earlier test of the U.S. Navy’s newest interceptor, called SM-3 Block 1B, had failed to intercept its target in September, leading to a delay in Raytheon production.

In the drill, a short-range ballistic target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, located on Kauai, Hawaii, MDA said.

The interceptor came from the USS Lake Erie, a cruiser that used Lockheed Martin Corp’s “Aegis” ballistic missile defense system to track the target before firing the interceptor.

The shield being built in Europe involves ground- and ship-based systems. The SM-3 IB interceptor is to be based on land in Romania by 2015 in Phase 2 of President Barack Obama’s “phased adaptive” approach to European missile defense, as well as on Aegis-equipped ships.

Two more tests of the new version are scheduled to take place this year. Missile production decisions “will be made based upon system performance in any or all of the tests,” Richard Lehner, an MDA spokesman, told Reuters by email.

(Reporting By Jim Wolf; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

—————————————————————————-

Voice of Russia
May 6, 2012

Russia and US: partners or enemies?
Interview with Gennady Yevstafyev, Lieutenant General at the Russian Center for Policy Studies

====

As far as the Americans are concerned, they have announced and they are following the preplanned program which consists of up to four stages. But there are some ideas that there is a fifth and the sixth stage, and people on the Russian side assessed that by the end of the fourth stage, which will start in 2018, for that matter the Euro defense would be able to intercept Russian strategic missiles in a broad spectrum of aspects starting from launching, in the middle course and then in the final approach to the target.

====

If we follow the statements of Russian officials, for example of Anatoly Antonov, he made a point that Russia was trying to explain to the European NATO countries and to the United States its concerns about the proposed European missile defense. And it is not actually the European missile defense. Europeans play a subordinate role because it is an American missile defense in Europe which is connected with the American missile defense on their territory. And we understand that there is a trend, there are plans to develop missile defense in different areas of the world. And the pretext is very simple – the threat coming from Iran and North Korea. Sometimes it looks very strange but basically not very serious, and especially after the North Korean failure with its missile launch of a satellite it looks even more silly as an argument.

So, Antonov said that the people in the Russian Ministry for Defense came to a conclusion that maybe they explain our concerns to the Western side not very effectively. And that’s why they proposed this missile conference in Moscow which is widely attended by the representatives of 50 countries, among them are diplomats, military people and so on, and it is very important. Of course the Ministry for Defense has prepared a very unusual agenda and it is the broadest agenda, and it has the broadest transparency which is shown by the Russian side of its assessments, its assets and its arguments against the proposed American NATO missile defense.

I think it is not actually the first time in history when the Russian side is trying to do this because I remember at the beginning of 90s, I think it was autumn 1991 or 1992, the Russian government allowed a meeting between the specialists on missile defense. And many of Russian constructors and developers of missiles were present at that meeting and it was mostly with the Americans. And at that time there was the hope of developing a joint exercise in somehow developing missile defense. Nothing came out of it; the Americans have sent absolutely average people and on the Russian side there were famous people who were not even known before to the outside world, but nothing happened, nothing came out of it.

So, if you ask me a question, I think it is a very important exercise proposed by the Russian side. And the only fact that the members of this conference are invited to visit the early missile defense radar, early warning radar in Sofrino, this is something because it was known before that such a wide presentation of Sofrino was done to the foreigners. And I think the computer version which is going to be presented to the members of the conference and the fact that people from experts community were invited from all over the world, it is a very important and a very unusual move. And by this move the Ministry for Defense and the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Russia are trying to show the real absence of very sincere effort on the part of Americans and Europeans to cooperate with Russia.

And of course most of the interesting things would be known a little bit later but already now we know that for example the Chief of General Headquarters of the Russian Army Mr. Makarov has announced criteria which we are going to follow when we are judging about the threat of building of this particular version of missile defense which is being build right now for Russia, and he has enumerated these criteria. And secondly, Russia has never abandoned its idea of legal guarantees which should be given by the United States that this missile defense is not directed against Russian strategic forces.

So, I think it is a very inventive and a very strong exercise on the part of the Russian Federation to prove that there is a scope for cooperation with the Americans and Europeans and for this cooperation you need political will. If you don’t have a political will, then of course nothing could be done. And the broader understanding on the part of the Western societies of this statement would be the better for the future development of this system.

I don’t think that the Ministry for Defense on the Russian side really expects that NATO on the eve of NATO summit in Chicago where they are going to announce that the first stage has been accomplished would introduce some corrections and changes into the approach. But on the other hand we are still in the middle of the road, in the middle of the time span which is envisaged for the development of the Western Europe-American system of missile defense and still the redline has not been crossed. And that’s why this is the last and very I would say spectacular attempt of the Russian side to prevent future arms race and to prevent a negative development of the situation in the missile defense sphere in the world.

So, I hope something will come out of it. But on the other hand, judging from the previous exercises with Americans and NATO people, first of all NATO people are subordinate, they are not playing any important role in missile defense development. So, we should not expect from them a really independent view on the matter. As far as the Americans are concerned, they have announced and they are following the preplanned program which consists of up to four stages. But there are some ideas that there is a fifth and the sixth stage, and people on the Russian side assessed that by the end of the fourth stage, which will start in 2018, for that matter the Euro defense would be able to intercept Russian strategic missiles in a broad spectrum of aspects starting from launching, in the middle course and then in the final approach to the target.

So, given previous experience, I would say the chances are not very high that the Americans would change their view and would really take into account Russian concerns. But maybe some elements could appear and what is important I think – they would be forced to continue the dialog and the dialog which is very important now. But in this dialog Russia after the Moscow Conference on Missile Defense will have a very strong hand.

Categories: Uncategorized

Afghanistan’s Massacred Innocents Have Names

National Catholic Reporter
May 9, 2012

Afghanistan’s massacred innocents have names
By Art Laffin

With opinion polls showing high disapproval of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and in the wake of the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, President Barack Obama’s trip last week to Afghanistan was intended to demonstrate to the American people and its allies that the war in Afghanistan will soon end. Instead, Obama’s visit, in the dark of night, signaled a continuation of U.S. military involvement into the future and more tragedy for the Afghan people.

The nightmare of unspeakable suffering for the Afghan people caused by the war only seems to worsen with each passing day. On Friday, a mother and her five children were killed by U.S./NATO strikes in the Helmand province. And on Monday, it was reported that eight more civilians died from another U.S./NATO airstrike in the Badghis province.

This Friday marks two months since the massacre in Kandahar province of 17 civilians, including nine children. It was reported that three women and nine children were killed in their sleep, and some of the victims’ bodies were burned beyond recognition.

According to the Pentagon, a single American soldier, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, was responsible for these deaths. However, a probe by several Afghan lawmakers concluded that other U.S. soldiers were also involved.

This is not the first massacre of Afghan civilians by U.S. military and NATO forces. There have been several others, mostly of children, in the last year.

When accounts of these massacres are reported in the public media, the names of the victims are rarely, if ever, noted. The U.S. military has gone to great lengths to prevent the American people from seeing photos of the victims, hearing their names or reading accounts of their lives. So long as this is the case, it makes it easier for the public to acquiesce to such massacres.

If we don’t know the names and can’t see the faces of the dead, how can we really care about them or their grieving families? They are, in fact, practically invisible. But these victims are real people with identities and histories.

Thanks to friends from Voices for Creative Nonviolence who have gone to Afghanistan and have developed friendships with Afghan Youth for Peace Volunteers, the names of victims in two massacres have been released.

Additional names appeared in a story in The New York Times, along with the voice of a father, Abdul Zahid, whose children were killed in a U.S./NATO airstrike a month earlier. In that story, Zahid describes the area in which he lives and how he experienced the airstrike:

“We don’t have paved roads, school or a clinic in Gayawa. There’s almost one meter of snow here in our village and we send our children to take care of the goats and sheep and feed them and collect firewood from the trees nearby and bring it home so we can heat our homes.”
On Feb. 8 when the bombing happened, the children had gone as usual to the grazing area outside the village. They had just finished letting the animals graze and had made a small fire to keep warm when they were bombed, he said.

“Suddenly some airplanes came and dropped bombs on the children and killed my son, my two nephews and some other children from our village,” said Mr. Zahid. “When we went there we saw the children in pieces, some missing legs, some missing arms, only the heads and face could be recognized, nothing else.”

According to a former Afghan Parliamentarian, Milalai Joya, these “images will come as a shock to many outside Afghanistan, but not to us. We have seen countless incidents of American and NATO forces killing innocent people like birds.”

While U.S. military and political officials have offered apologies for several of these shameful acts of violence, these apologies ring hollow to the victims’ families as long as the killing and ruthless occupation continues.

And while amounts of up to $50,000 in compensation have been offered to these families, no amount of money can ever compensate for the death of a loved one. Meanwhile, the toll of civilian deaths continues to rise, as it has for the fifth straight year — from almost 2,800 in 2010 to more than 3,000 in 2011.

In response to the March 11 massacre, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is reported to have said in an interview: “War is hell. These kind of events and incidences are going to take place. They’ve taken place in any war. They’re terrible events. This is not the first of those events, and they probably won’t be the last.”

I agree with Panetta that “war is hell.” But if he really believes that is true, that the loss of life is so terrible and that similar atrocities will probably occur in the future, why wouldn’t he or other officials who share the same belief urge the U.S. to immediately put an end to these things?

Is it because of a moral blindness that causes us to betray God’s law to the point where war has become an addiction? Is it to protect and ensure vital U.S. geopolitical and economic interests in the region, like natural gas and almost $1 trillion in untapped mineral resources that include iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals such as lithium?

God commands us to love and not to kill. It is the responsibility of all followers of Jesus to nonviolently resist any act of systemic and personal violence, and to stand in solidarity with and care for the victims.

If the U.S. war against Afghanistan is really to end, we have to see the Afghan people as our brothers and sisters – as if they were literally members of our own families – and know their names. The United States must then beg forgiveness from the Afghan people, repent for the sin of war-making, immediately end its immoral and illegal occupation, and make reparations to the people of Afghanistan.

Washington-area peacemakers read the names of the March 11 victims at a Lenten prayer service March 30 in front of the White House and publicly repented for this unspeakable war crime. On Good Friday, 10 peacemakers and I were arrested at the Pentagon as we prayed in silence around a cross and held signs that said “Put Away the Sword” and “We Remember the Afghan Victims Massacred on March 11th: Mohamed Dawood, Khudaydad, Payendo, Nazar Mohamed, Robeena, Shatarina, Zahra, Nazia, Masooma, Farida, Palwasha, Nabia, Esmatullah, Essa Mohamed, Faizullah, and Akhtar Mohamed.”

At our trial May 18, I intend to solemnly remember these precious lives.

War is hell. It is hell for our grieving Afghan sisters and brothers who live under occupation and face constant misery and death. And it is hell for U.S. soldiers and their families, especially those who have died, committed suicide or who have been physically wounded and mentally scarred for life.

When President Obama was in Afghanistan on May 1, he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and signed “The Strategic Partnership Agreement,” pledging a withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of 2014 and providing U.S. military training, support and other aid through 2024.

The time is now, not in 2014 and beyond, to end the slaughter in Afghanistan.

[Art Laffin is a member of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker community in Washington, D.C.]

Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago: Iraq, Afghanistan War Veterans To Protest NATO

Channel 5
NBC Chicago
May 8, 2012

Iraq, Afghanistan War Veterans to Protest NATO
Veterans say the intend to return their medals in protest of U.S. and NATO military policy
By Phil Rogers

Among the thousands of protesters who will march and rally in Chicago later this month during the NATO Summit will be dozens of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans who say the multi-national organization’s military policies are a failure.

So much so that they said they intend to return their medals in protest when their Sunday march reaches McCormick Place.

“We see that the global war on terrorism is a failed policy and we don’t want to be part of that mistake anymore,” said Aaron Hughes, who was part of the original Iraqi invasion in 2003.

Alejandro Villatoro, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, felt especially compassionate about the people of Afghanistan. He said NATO’s actions have resulted in a loss of trust.

“You don’t win the hearts and minds by doing night raids. It’s an insult to their culture,” said Villatoro.

Both said they’re proud of the men and women with whom they served, but not of missions they were asked to perform.

Hughes said he especially wants to call attention to the medical needs of American servicemen and women who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or are the victims of sexual assault. He said that too many are not having their needs addressed and instead are often being returned to combat.

“That’s because of the generals and their failed policies, and not because of the service members. That’s why we’re going to march on NATO, and that’s what this is really about. It’s about them acknowledging that they made a mistake,” he said.

NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen travels to the United States on Wednesday for talks with President Obama.

Categories: Uncategorized

Afghan Tension: U.S. Military, CIA Out Of Control

May 8, 2012 1 comment

RT
May 8, 2012

Afghan tension: ‘US military, CIA out of control’

VIDEO

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has warned that the strategic pact with the US will be meaningless if the US continues killing Afghan civilians.

Political analyst Ahmed Quraishi told RT that Karzai is learning the hard way he cannot trust US forces.

­RT: Just a week after Obama visited Afghanistan to confirm his future commitment to the country, we have yet more news of civilian deaths at the hands of the US military. Just how strong do you think this partnership really is?

Ahmed Quraishi: I think president Karzai will have to learn the hard way that he cannot trust commitments by the US military and the CIA. And when we talk about President Karzai, let’s talk about someone else in Kabul who was complaining quietly about the latest attacks that killed Afghan civilians. I’m talking about American diplomats who actually negotiated the instituted partnership agreement and memorandum of understanding last week that enabled Obama to say that he is moving forward in Afghanistan.

Now, the American diplomats in Kabul are complaining quietly that the CIA and the US military by taking actions such as the ones that kill Afghan civilians are undermining the entire body of work, a very hard work over several months that led to the partnership agreement.

And today we have the news that the American ambassador here in Pakistan has actually cut short his assignment here and flown back to Washington because basically American diplomats here too are complaining that the US military and the CIA are out of control. They do the hard work; they try to work with the Afghan government and the Pakistani government. But when it comes to the US military and the CIA, they destroy everything.

So basically what you see happening right now in Kabul is that President Karzai is in the same position as the US State Department and the US diplomats are in Kabul, which is basically: they cannot trust the US military, they cannot trust the CIA.

RT: You are stating that those Americans who are working in Afghanistan are blaming the military and the CIA. I was under the impression that the most recent deaths and the most recent trouble were due to unilateral drone strikes. But you are saying it is much bigger equation than just that?

AQ: You have to understand one thing: NATO probably has not much to do with these civilian Afghan deaths. It is the US military and the CIA that is running the drones program. And basically actions by the US military and the CIA drag the entire NATO and also the American diplomats and their allied Afghan government into trouble with the Afghan people.

So basically the main problem, the major problem in Afghanistan and also in Pakistan by the way is the US military and the CIA. They are out of control. And today we have somebody as senior as the American ambassador to Pakistan basically relinquishing his assignment. And he is not the first by the way. He is probably the fourth or the fifth senior diplomat over the past ten years (since 2002) to cut short his assignment.

RT: Just about a week ago we had the American president there congratulating his troops on a job well done saying that they are in a process of having peace talks with Taliban, although they are also targeting the Taliban. Is that just a political rhetoric? I thought America was winning a war on terror?

AQ: Absolutely not. I think the Americans are facing an embarrassing defeat in Afghanistan. The civilian deaths we are seeing right now in Afghanistan are one sign of their desperation. They are using all-out disproportionate force really to get at what they see as the Afghan resistance or Afghan fighters.

So basically these are the real signs of defeat. And I think this problem is going to be exacerbated over the next few months. And President Karzai as I said at the start will learn the hard way that he cannot really work with or trust commitments the US military and the CIA enter into.

Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago: The Great NATO Debate

May 8, 2012 1 comment

Time Out Chicago
May 3, 2012

The great NATO debate
Arguments for supporting and opposing NATO during the May 20–21 summit.
By Jake Malooley

As heads of state and foreign ministers descend on McCormick Place for the May 20–21 North Atlantic Treaty Organization confab, so too comes the great debate about NATO. The military alliance was formed in 1949 by the U.S., Canada and ten European countries largely to defend North America and Western Europe from Soviet attack. But since the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has grown to 28 member countries and become arguably more offensive, engaging in conflicts in Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War in 1999, in Libya last year and, through 2014, in Afghanistan. So is NATO an international gang of thugs or a global peacekeeping force? We talked to people on both sides of the issue.

On NATO’s mission

PRO NATO

“NATO’s mission is to prevent war. And when it’s not able to prevent war, to intervene to make it end as quickly as possible. Frederick II of Prussia described it like this: Diplomacy without weapons is like an orchestra without instruments.” — J.D. Bindenagel, former U.S. ambassador to Germany, DePaul University vice president for community, government and international affairs

ANTI NATO

“NATO is a military bloc that describes itself as a force for peace, security, democracy, goodness and justice. But it’s a military bloc. A military organization exists for one reason: to wage war.” — Rick Rozoff, author of the blog Stop NATO

On NATO’s post–Cold War relevance

PRO NATO

“It was originally founded to oppose the Soviet Union. But NATO has a collective defense mission regardless of whether there’s a Soviet Union. NATO is important as long as democracies of the world might be threatened by the forces that oppose them. And it has started to take on humanitarian intervention duties. We saw that in Kosovo.” — Joshua Seth Kleinfeld, assistant professor of law at Northwestern University and an expert on international law

ANTI NATO

“It would’ve made sense to retire NATO and dissolve itself after the Berlin Wall fell. The aggressive posturing of NATO since then has undermined the capacity of diplomacy to resolve conflicts and has cost many lives.” — Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for
Creative Nonviolence

High/low points

PRO NATO

“For 40 years, NATO prevented a great power war — with big powers like Russia — in Europe. Then on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, and a peaceful revolution swept across East Germany.” — Bindenagel

“On September 12, 2001, a day after America was attacked by terrorists, it was able to call on its NATO allies to act.” — Kleinfeld

ANTI NATO

“In the case of Yugoslavia in 1999, NATO went to war without U.N. authorization. That’s the point at which NATO goes from a strictly defensive organization operating to protect its member-states’ territory to an active war-making organization.” — Rozoff

“NATO’s current campaign in Afghanistan. It’s a use of military force on a large scale that has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths.” — Bradford Lyttle, founder of Midwest Pacifist Center

On the selectivity of NATO intervention

PRO NATO

“It’s not necessary for NATO to decide all the wars in the world. If the United Nations had invited NATO into Rwanda during the genocide there, I’m sure NATO would’ve responded. It never happened.” — Bindenagel

ANTI NATO

“NATO did nothing during the Cambodian genocide. In the ’50s, France, a NATO member, was butchering Algerians. NATO didn’t question that. NATO didn’t see its own self-interest served in intervening in the Rwandan genocide. So NATO’s mission is not as much about saving lives as much as its reps tell us.” — Ahmed Rehab, executive director of Council on American-Islamic Relations Chicago

Hopes for the summit

PRO NATO

“The United States is signing an agreement for a ten-year partnership with Afghanistan [through 2024]. So what does that mean for the U.S. and NATO? Reconstruction and stabilization operations? Helping train the police and the military to maintain order?” — Bindenagel

ANTI NATO

“I hope there will be a plan on the Arab Spring. Especially with regard to Syria—I hope there would be more action taken in terms of a fly zone and safe passage for humanitarian supplies.” — Rehab

Categories: Uncategorized

Turkey To Request NATO Military Intervention In Syria: Prime Minister

Press TV
May 8, 2012

Turkey ready to ask NATO for military intervention in Syria: Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara is ready to ask NATO for a military intervention in Syria, Press TV reports.

“I am ready to ask NATO for a military intervention in Syria,” Erdogan was quoted as saying on Monday.

The Turkish premier made the remarks in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, prior to his trip to Italy. He met with Slovenian President Danilo Turk in Ljubljana on Monday.

Erdogan also stated that the turmoil in Syria has to be brought to an end with the cooperation of international powers.

“We have been very patient with Syria issue so far,” he claimed.

The Monday remarks by the Turkish prime minister came as Syria held the first parliamentary elections under a new constitution approved by an overwhelming support of the people in a February referendum.

On May 6, Erdogan also expressed Turkey’s support for the Syrians seeking refuge in Turkey during a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border.

Over the past few months, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar expressed support for providing weaponry to the armed groups fighting against the Syrian government.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claimed on March 3 that the “international community’s message might be conveyed to the Syrian administration via certain methods including the arming of the Syrian National Council (SNC).”

On April 8, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan had not “submitted written guarantees from the governments of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey on stopping their funding to terrorist groups.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Belgrade: China Marks 13th Anniversary Of NATO Bombing Of Embassy

Tanjug News Agency
May 7, 2012

13 years since NATO bombing of Chinese Embassy

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Serbia Zhang Wanxue, Belgrade correspondents of the Chinese media and representatives of the Association of Serbian Journalists (UNS) paid on Monday respects to the Chinese journalists killed in the NATO bombing that took place 13 years ago.

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Serbia Zhang Wanxue, Belgrade correspondents of the Chinese media and representatives of the Association of Serbian Journalists (UNS) on Monday paid respects to the Chinese journalists killed in the NATO bombing that took place 13 years ago.

They laid wreaths at the site of the former Chinese embassy in New Belgrade, which at 11:45 p.m. on May 7, 1999, suffered a blast that left three Chinese journalists dead.

In 2009, then Chinese Ambassador to Belgrade Wei Jinghua and Belgrade Mayor Dragan Djilas unveiled a plaque in memory of the Chinese journalists: Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying, correspondents of the Guang Ming Daily, and Shao Yunhuan, a correspondent of the Xinhua news agency.

—————————————————————————-

The Observer
October 16, 1999

Nato bombed Chinese deliberately
Nato hit embassy on purpose
John Sweeney and Jens Holsoe in Copenhagen and Ed Vulliamy in Washington

Nato deliberately bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the war in Kosovo after discovering it was being used to transmit Yugoslav army communications.

According to senior military and intelligence sources in Europe and the US the Chinese embassy was removed from a prohibited targets list after Nato electronic intelligence (Elint) detected it sending army signals to Milosevic’s forces.

The story is confirmed in detail by three other Nato officers – a flight controller operating in Naples, an intelligence officer monitoring Yugoslav radio traffic from Macedonia and a senior headquarters officer in Brussels. They all confirm that they knew in April that the Chinese embassy was acting as a ‘rebro’ [rebroadcast] station for the Yugoslav army (VJ) after alliance jets had successfully silenced Milosevic’s own transmitters.

The Chinese were also suspected of monitoring the cruise missile attacks on Belgrade, with a view to developing effective counter-measures against US missiles.

The intelligence officer, who was based in Macedonia during the bombing, said: ‘Nato had been hunting the radio transmitters in Belgrade. When the President’s [Milosevic's] residence was bombed on 23 April, the signals disappeared for 24 hours. When they came on the air again, we discovered they came from the embassy compound.’ The success of previous strikes had forced the VJ to use Milosevic’s residence as a rebroadcast station. After that was knocked out, it was moved to the Chinese embassy. The air controller said: ‘The Chinese embassy had an electronic profile, which Nato located and pinpointed.’

The Observer investigation, carried out jointly with Politiken newspaper in Denmark, will cause embarrassment for Nato and for the British government. On Tuesday, the Queen and the Prime Minister will host a state visit by the President of China, Jiang Zemin. He is to stay at Buckingham Palace.

Jiang Zemin is still said to be outraged at the 7 May attack, which came close to splitting the alliance. The official Nato line, as expressed by President Bill Clinton and CIA director George Tenet, was that the attack on the Chinese Embassy was a mistake. Defence Secretary William Cohen said: ‘One of our planes attacked the wrong target because the bombing instructions were based on an outdated map.’

Later, a source in the US National Imagery and Mapping Agency said that the ‘wrong map’ story was ‘a damned lie’.

Tenet apologised last July, saying: ‘The President of the United States has expressed our sincere regret at the loss of life in this tragic incident and has offered our condolences to the Chinese people and especially to the families of those who lost their lives in this mistaken attack.

Nato’s apology was predicated on the excuse that the three missiles which landed in one corner of the embassy block were meant to be targeted at the Yugoslav Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement, the FDSP. But inquiries have revealed there never was a VJ directorate of supply and procurement at the site named by Tenet. The VJ office for supplies – which Tenet calls FDSP – is some 500 metres down the street from the address he gave. It was bombed later.

Moreover the CIA and other Nato intelligence agencies, such as Britain’s MI6 and the code-breakers at GCHQ, would have listened in to communication traffic from the Chinese embassy as a matter of course since it moved to the site in 1996.

A Nato flight control officer in Naples also confirmed to us that a map of ‘non-targets’: churches, hospitals and embassies, including the Chinese, did exist. On this ‘don’t hit’ map, the Chinese embassy was correctly located at its current site, and not where it had been until 1996 – as claimed by the US and NATO.

The Chinese military attache, Ven Bo Koy, who was seriously wounded in the attack and is now in hospital in China, told Dusan Janjic, the respected president of Forum for Ethnic Relations in Belgrade, only hours before the attack, that the embassy was monitoring incoming cruise missiles in order to develop counter-measures.

Nato spokesman Lee McClenny yesterday stood by the official version. ‘It was a terrible mistake,’ he said, ‘and we have apologised.’ A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in London said yesterday: ‘We do not believe that the embassy was bombed because of a mistake with an out-of-date map.’

Categories: Uncategorized

Afghanistan: Five Children Among 20 Killed In NATO Air Strikes

Pajhwok Afghan News
May 7, 2012

Children among 20 killed in ISAF air raids
By Zainullah and Abdul Latif Ayubion

LASHKARGAH/QALA-I-NAW: A mother and her five children were among 20 civilians killed in two separate airstrikes in the southern Helmand and northwestern Badghis provinces, officials said on Monday.

The first incident took place late on Friday when an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) helicopter missed its target and dropped bombs on a house in the Fatih Mohammad Pech area of Sangin district in Helmand, the governor’s spokesman said.

Daud Ahmadi told Pajhwok Afghan News instead of striking a militant hideout, the foreign forces killed a mother, her three daughters and two sons. The governor’s office has dispatched a delegation to the area to investigate the incident.

Governor Gulab Mangal condemned the mistaken raid and asked NATO-led troops to immediately probe the killing, his spokesman added.

In response to an emailed query from Pajhwok, ISAF said: “We are aware of an allegation of civilian casualties in southern Afghanistan and currently gathering all the facts in order to be able to make a full assessment of the situation.”

Separately, 14 civilians were killed and six others wounded in another airstrike by the international forces in Bala Murghab district of northwestern Badghis province.

The raid occurred on Sunday night in the Nawboor village, said acting provincial police chief Col. Ghulam Nabi. The incident was under investigation, he added.

Foreign soldiers, trying to capture Taliban commander Mullah Abdullah Soori, who sought refuge in the village, bombed the place and killed 14 civilians and injured seven others.

“The helicopters of foreign forces bombed two houses in the village,” a resident said on condition of anonymity. He had no details about casualties.

Meanwhile, the ISAF media office confirmed the operation. However, it was not aware of civilian casualties. The 50-nation force said three militants were killed in the airstrike, the first since March 21.

Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago: Why We’ll March

Chicago Tribune
May 3, 2012

Why we’ll march
By Andy Thayer

A serious attack on the civil rights of every person in Chicago is under way and should disgust every thinking Chicagoan for its brazenness.

The run-up to the May 20-21 NATO summit has seen an effort by some to spread unnecessary fear of violence. The intention of this fear-mongering is to scare people from exercising the right to protest, a fundamental right enshrined in the First Amendment.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s proposal to reopen the long-shuttered Joliet prison for protest arrestees is simply a boneheaded idea. (Joliet, a hellhole when it was closed two decades after the making of “The Blues Brothers” movie, is undoubtedly much worse now for having been closed for a decade.)

Last week’s announcement of a “red zone” of troops in battle gear, to be deployed by the federal government in the South Loop, falls into the same category. So does the Red Cross sending out a mass email about putting Milwaukee on alert for the possible evacuation of Chicago, as reported by CBS News.

Some, like former Chicago Police Superintendent Terry Hillard’s firm, Hillard Heintze — armed with a juicy security contract from the city — have a financial interest in spreading this fear. Useless and often counterproductive “security” has become one of the few growth industries in a stagnant economy.

We’ve seen this script play out before. Under the notorious government COINTELPRO program of the 1960s and ’70s, police and FBI operatives would infiltrate civil rights and anti-war organizations and, finding nothing that could justify surveillance let alone repression, would invent or actively encourage violence and other illegal actions.

Closer to today, any serious look at the “poster child” for alleged protester violence, the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, shows that the police were the main cause of the violence.

Don’t take my word for it. Seattle’s former chief of police, Norm Stamper, has said so, repeatedly. He blamed not just the actions of rank-and-file officers but his own decision-making.

And juries of our peers have agreed with Stamper’s assessment, repeatedly. Seattle paid out $1.8 million to WTO protesters due to the violence and other misconduct of its police officers. Washington, D.C., paid out $22 million to protesters and bystanders due to police violence and other misconduct during two protests in 2000 and 2002. Los Angeles paid close to $12.85 million for a police attack on a 2007 May Day rally. And in February, Chicago agreed to pay $6.2 million to Iraq War demonstrators, on top of millions in attorneys’ fees.

As an organizer of what looks to be the largest protest during Chicago’s NATO summit, I’ve been asked dozens upon dozens of times by reporters whether there will be protester violence. The questions have taken on a tone of “When will you stop beating your spouse?”

I’m astounded at the one-sided absurdity of these questions coming in a town with such an international reputation for police violence, and I’m not just talking about the Kerner Commission’s derision of what it called the “police riot” during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Have any of these reporters asked Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy similar questions about violence from the police?

Beyond the demonizing of protesters, there is a far more sinister agenda at work here — the wars abroad are having a hugely corrosive effect on what remains of democracy at home.

Indeed Barack Obama, the “peace president,” has greatly escalated George W. Bush’s wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, earning him the approving epithet “warrior president” from a New York Times columnist who remarked that he is “one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades.”

With these wars abroad has come a full-scale war on civil liberties here, with only a few comparable precedents in American history.

What’s really going on here?

Hype and fear-mongering. It is an attempt to intimidate people from asking questions of their government, let alone demonstrating against it.

Tom Paine famously remarked that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Put more crudely, the First Amendment is a “use it or lose it” proposition.

If you are angry at America’s longest ever war that is killing and maiming Afghans and Americans alike, if you are angry at the insane military spending that is robbing us of a host of social services, then you need to protest against NATO, which represents some 70 percent of world military spending.

Exercise one of your fundamental rights as an American — the right to protest government wrongs.

Andy Thayer is a lead organizer of the May 20 march against NATO.

Categories: Uncategorized

Democracy Suffers In NATO-Backed Syrian Violence

Global Times
May 6, 2012

Democracy suffers in NATO-backed Syrian fighting
By M.D. Nalapat*

Today, more than 14 million voters in Syria will have the chance to select among several thousand candidates for 250 parliamentary seats.

Cities across the country are plastered with posters of the candidates, with many adopting an Obama-sque “Change we can believe in” slogan.

However, the armed groups that have been backed by the NATO powers for the past 15 months have rejected the polls, and are showing their hostility by targeting candidates for assassination, usually by the use of explosives.

Since the armed uprising began, several thousand members of the security forces and their family members have been killed by the insurgents, who themselves have lost thousands of their own.

However, those relying on Western media are told that every such death has been caused by the security forces, ignoring the deadly violence that is being unleashed in the country by groups of armed mobs.

We have seen this before, in Libya, where tens of thousands of people have died so far as the result of externally backed civil war. In that country, those willing to kill regime elements were given training, cash and weapons.

Today, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing the same assistance to those seeking to use deadly force against the government in Damascus.

Although Syria President Bashar al-Assad has announced a raft of reforms, including new media laws and the right to form political parties, each such announcement has been met by an escalation in violence, which has rendered null the ceasefire brokered by UN envoy Kofi Annan.

Since mid-April, there have been numerous ceasefire violations by the insurgents, with the Alawi, the Muslim sect to which the Assad family belongs, and the Christian community the main targets of the insurgents. Syria is the home of the Patriarchate of Antioch, the oldest church in Christendom.

For reasons not clear, the triumvirate of Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have joined hands with the NATO powers to back the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood has been the greatest beneficiary of the Arab Spring.

Today in Syria, one can see women across the country dressed as they please. Were the Brotherhood to take control, this freedom might soon be replaced with the obligation to wear the chador (full veil). Already in Egypt and in Tunisia, the secular ethos of the country is rapidly giving way to Saudi-style conservatism.

While European members of NATO are opposed to Islamic conservatives in their own countries, in the Arab world they favor such elements over those who are secular. The result is a galloping conservatism across the Arab world.

Clearly, the NATO powers are aware that the more hardline local regimes are, the less chance that they will be able to compete with the US and the EU.

Rather than support the process of democratization in Syria, the NATO powers have joined hands with regional powers to train, arm and provide cash to the armed opposition, thereby fomenting a violent civil war in the country.

The 11 percent of the population that are Alawi and the 9 percent of Syria’s 24 million people that are Christian are terrified that they will become the target of ethnic cleansing. As for the majority Sunni community, more than two-thirds are moderate, with less than a third favoring the conservative Wahabbi-Salafi faith.

We have seen this before, in Afghanistan in the 1980s, where the US backed religious extremists to fight the USSR. The effects of that mistake are still creating harmful ripples across the region.

Today, rather than support secular elements and encourage the transition to democracy, NATO is backing armed groups that create mayhem across the country, groups that overwhelmingly follow an extremist ideology.

Of course, there are exiled Syrians who have congregated in Paris to provide a moderate face to the armed struggle. However, these people control nothing, only those with guns do.

And these days, more and more guns are flowing into Syria, as NATO seeks regime change not through the ballot but through the bomb.

*The author is director and professor of the School of Geopolitics at Manipal University in India. He visited Syria last month as part of an Indian delegation.

Categories: Uncategorized

Pentagon: Wars Used To Train Global NATO Expeditionary Force

May 6, 2012 1 comment

Stop NATO
May 6, 2012

Pentagon: Wars Used To Train Global NATO Expeditionary Force
Rick Rozoff


Troops from the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan

In the past seventeen years millions of troops from approximately 60 nations have served under NATO command in wars and post-war zones in several countries outside of the military bloc’s territory.

The NATO-led Stabilization Force in Bosnia had 60,000 troops in 1995, the Kosovo Force 50,000 in 1999, the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan 140,000 at peak strength and smaller detachments have served with Operation Unified Protector in Libya, Operation Allied Harmony in Macedonia, Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean Sea and Operation Ocean Shield in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

With rotations, the number of troops serving under the alliance’s command in Southeastern Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East is likely in the millions. In 2010 the American commander of the Transit Center at Manas in Kyrgyzstan said that 55,000 NATO troops had been airlifted through that base to Afghanistan in May of that year, an annual rate of two-thirds of a million at a time when an estimated 140,000 of 152,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan were serving under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

NATO forces have also been stationed in Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan over the past decade.

Alliance naval forces conducted a six-month blockade of Libya last year and have participated in Active Endeavor since 2011 and in Ocean Shield (and its predecessor, Operation Allied Protector) since 2009.

Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 and Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 have participated in NATO operations and war games throughout the Mediterranean, have circumnavigated the African continent, sailed down the Atlantic coast of Canada and the U.S. and into the Caribbean Sea, held exercises in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Guinea, participated in NATO drills in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, and planned to cross the strategic Strait of Malacca to the South China Sea in 2009.

NATO has had from 1995 to the present day the opportunity to build an integrated international military force for ground, naval and air operations in current and future operations.

Last week NATO’s top military commander (Supreme Allied Commander Europe), U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, said the bloc has “140,000 troops around the world” engaged in ongoing operations in South and Central Asia, the Balkans, off the Horn of Africa and, residually, in North Africa.

Stavridis’ second-in-command at his other post, as chief of United States European Command – EUCOM’s deputy commander Navy Vice Admiral Charles Martoglio – stated the following to the Pentagon’s news agency on May 4:

“We have been alongside NATO, or NATO has been alongside us, for 10 years in Afghanistan and Iraq, We have a combat edge that has been honed by 10 years of working together in very challenging circumstances.”

Although not a formal NATO operation, the war and occupation in Iraq received assistance from the alliance beforehand – deployment of Patriot interceptor missiles and AWACS surveillance aircraft to Turkey – and afterward, with NATO supporting the Multi-National Force – Iraq and operations in the Polish-led South Central zone and running the NATO Training Mission-Iraq. The first commander of the latter was current Central Intelligence Agency director and former ISAF commander David Petraeus.

Three-quarters of current NATO members states supplied troops for the Iraq war, all except for Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg and Turkey, which in most instances compensated by increasing their troop commitments to NATO in Afghanistan. Over a dozen NATO partnership program nations also sent troops to Iraq.

EUCOM’s deputy commander elaborated on his above-cited comments in stating:

“So as we come out of Iraq and Afghanistan, how do we sustain that combat edge over time, particularly when everybody’s budgets are being significantly constrained? Our job here [in Europe] is to sustain the strategic partnership, the NATO alliance – that most successful coalition in history – across these difficult financial times.”

Navy Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery, EUCOM’s deputy commander for plans, policy and strategy, spoke in a similar vein:

“The question is how do we preserve all the investment that’s been made over the last eight to 10 years – an investment of not just money, but blood and sweat, working together in both Iraq and Afghanistan?”

Admiral Martoglio placed emphasis of continuing exercises and other training with nations that have provided troops for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to consolidate integration and operational cohesiveness for future military actions. According to American Forces Press Service, he particularly stressed the need “to take new strategic partnerships forged with Eastern European nations to the next level, and to maintain other ISAF contributors’ high-end capabilities.”

In his own words, “We have to look toward ensuring interoperability of those forces and routinely training together so that if we have to conduct high-end operations, we have the ability to work together from a technical perspective, and the skills to work together from a training perspective.”

For high-end operations read wars.

As the U.S. moves into new bases in the Asia-Pacific region and deploys more warships and warplanes to the Middle East, it can count on NATO to police Europe, the Mediterranean – North Africa and the western Middle East – the Horn of Africa and the South Caucasus on its behalf.

NATO has secured a mobile, integrated, combat-tested global expeditionary force for the West.

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S.-NATO Missile Shield: Trojan Horse To Be Filled For Future Attacks

May 6, 2012 1 comment

Voice of Russia
May 4, 2012

When NATO/US European ABM becomes a threat, it will be dealt with
John Robles

====

The phased approach is important to note because what it calls for is a strengthening and improving of all of the elements of the system once they are in place; in other words, an empty Trojan Horse is placed in the optimum location and is to be filled for attack at a later date: elements which are not a threat to Russia today will be when later phases are complete.

What is the use, in reality, of a “political statement”? Politics change like the weather and the U.S., for all its short recorded history has pathologically gone back on political statements.

Maybe it’s time for the US to let go of its Cold War thinking? It seems as if the biggest threat to regional, if not global security at present, is NATO itself.

====


Standard Missile-3 launch

On Thursday, at an international conference held in Moscow attended by senior NATO and US officials, in the most unequivocal and harshest terms possible the Chief of the General Staff, Army General Nikolay Makarov, laid out Russia’s position on the U.S.’ plans for European missile defense, saying that a pre-emptive strike is possible on UN/NATO missile elements if the situation becomes aggravated. However he did add that this is an extreme solution according to RIA-Novosti.

Quote: “The placing of new first strike weapons in the south and the north-west of Russia in order to counter ABM missile defense components, including the deployment of “Iskander” missile batteries in the Kaliningrad region, represents one of the possible options for the destruction of a missile defense infrastructure in Europe.” Said General Makarov.

General Makarov stated that taking into account the “destabilizing nature of their missile defense system, namely the creation of the illusion of a first-strike-disarming capability to which a response can not be made, a decision on the preemptive use of existing weapons will be made during the exacerbation of the situation.”

NATO and the U.S. have refused to cooperate on equal terms with Russia on ABM elements in Europe, in particular ignoring Russia’s proposals for a sectoral approach to missile defense. Agreements had been reached between Russia and NATO to cooperate on the draft European missile defense system at the summit in Lisbon in 2010, but due to the U.S.’ refusal to provide binding legal written guarantees as to the non-targeting nature of the system being deployed, meaning against Russia’s nuclear deterrent, the situation has continued to worsen. U.S. claims of being open to cooperation are based on verbal promises which can in no way be taken seriously.

On Thursday the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Anatoly Serdyukov also commented on the situation, saying that talks on European missile defense between Moscow and Washington are close to being at a dead end.

The International Conference organized by the Ministry of Defense and titled “The factor of Missile Defense in the the Formation of a New Security Zone” was attended by over 200 military representatives, professionals and experts from 50 countries, including the 28 NATO member countries, and representatives of China, South Korea, Japan, the CIS countries and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

At the conference, while addressing U.S. and NATO officials, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said: “We can’t just reject the distrust that has been around for decades and become totally different people…Why are they calling on me, on my Russian colleagues, to reject distrust? Better look at yourselves in the mirror.” He later said Russia would not plan any retaliation unless the United States goes through with its plans and takes the third and final step and deploys defense elements in Poland which is estimated to happen no earlier than in 2018.

Soon after General Makarov’s statements, and most likely due to them, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner stated that the U.S. is ready to redouble efforts to find a compromise with Russia on missile defense.

When asked to respond to General Makarov’s comments Toner said: “I think we will redouble efforts to find a compromise on this issue and will strive for mutual understanding. Cooperation on missile defense exists and we intend to continue it for many years. We also intend to continue the search for a compromise.”

And in a move that in my opinion smells of censorship, the State Department official urged American journalists not to construe the comments made by Makarov as a return to the Cold War era although the U.S. through its actions is doing everything possible to keep the Cold War era alive, unarguable proof being the very continued existence of NATO as a bloc.

According to Russian media, the Deputy Head of the Russian General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, has stated that the European missile shield would be unable to protect Europe from a possible missile strike by Iran.

Mr. Gerasimov stated the following: “Elements of the U.S. missile shield deployed in Romania are unlikely to be able to protect Southern Europe from any missiles launched from the South. As for the elements in Poland, they would be unable to protect Europe from any potential missiles coming from the South.”

What no one seems to be remembering when discussing the ABM shield is the phased approach and the fact that the West has refused and continues to refuse to provide the Russian Federation with written guarantees regarding the fact that, as the West claims, the shield is not directed against nor does it pose a threat to the strategic defensive or offensive military capabilities of Russia.

The phased approach is important to note because what it calls for is a strengthening and improving of all of the elements of the system once they are in place; in other words, an empty Trojan Horse is placed in the optimum location and is to be filled for attack at a later date: elements which are not a threat to Russia today will be when later phases are complete.

Ellen Tauscher, U.S. Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense, summed it quite nicely in a conference statement posted on the U.S. Department of State website when she said; “It (missile defense cooperation) presents an opportunity to put aside the vestiges of Cold War thinking, and move away from mutually assured destruction, toward mutually assured stability. At the same time, (she presents a contradiction) the United States is committed to all four phases of the European Phased Adaptive Approach.” It is the later phases that will nullify Russia’s strategic potential.

She also states: “…we cannot agree to pre-conditions outlined by the Russian Government. We cannot agree to any limitations on our missile defense deployments.” This means that there are plans in place or the potential will be available to direct elements against Russia, as those are the only limitations sought by the Russian side.

Lastly she states that: “… we are able to agree, however, to a political statement that our missile defenses are not directed at Russia,” which has been the problem all along as the Russian Federation rightfully and justifiably has requested, time and time again, written guarantees as to what has been said verbally. What is the use, in reality, of a “political statement”? Politics change like the weather and the U.S., for all its short recorded history has pathologically gone back on political statements.

Lastly the Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, again re-stated Moscow’s offer to jointly operate the ABM shield with NATO. He said a jointly-run European missile defense system “could strengthen the security of every single country of the continent” and “would be adequate for possible threats and will not deter strategic security.”

Maybe it’s time for the US to let go of its Cold War thinking? It seems as if the biggest threat to regional, if not global security at present, is NATO itself.

Have a nice day.

Categories: Uncategorized

European Missile Defense System As A New Iron Curtain

Russian Information System Novosti
May 4, 2012

European Missile Defense System as a New Iron Curtain
Konstantin Bogdanov

====

The simulation didn’t show signs that the Russian missiles headed toward the U.S. territory were totally vulnerable. However, the simulation offered a good demonstration of the technical capabilities of U.S. missile defense against them (from different angles). The question of the vulnerability of combat patrols performed by Russian missile submarines was raised as well.

The synergy effect of the American plan lies exactly in the close interaction of distributed components. Its individual building blocks do not pose a threat to Russia’s retaliatory capability, but when they come together to form a wall they create a totally different defensive capability. The Iron Curtain between the East and the West may descend again, but this time it will be more technologically advanced.

====

An international conference on missile defense in Europe opened in Moscow on May 3. Washington and Moscow – the event’s major players – are still unable to find common ground: Russia insists that the missile defense system in Europe poses a threat, and the West deliberately shrugs off these concerns.
The Russian General Staff is prepared to take strong measures to make its voice heard.

Old words, new font

Both sides continued to recite their monologues in a vacuum. Russia highlights the threats presented by U.S. missile defense programs, while Washington pretends not to understand what Moscow is talking about.

In response, the Russian military are deliberately heating up what could have been a discussion if at least some formal features of a dialogue were present. Chief of Staff and Army General Nikolai Makarov reiterated that Russia could use its conventional (and other) weapons against U.S. missile defense facilities deployed at its border “if the situation deteriorates.”

“The deployment of new offensive weapons in southern and northwestern Russia, including the deployment of an Iskander missile system in the Kaliningrad Region, is one way to destroy the missile defense infrastructure in Europe,” Makarov said.

There’s nothing shocking in the general’s comments at the conference: The rhetoric about using military force (including Iskander missiles) against the U.S. missile defense system in Europe has been on display for over a year now. President Dmitry Medvedev himself made this threat in no uncertain terms in November 2011.

But this time, rather that issuing unsubstantiated threats about “appropriate measures,” the Russian delegation briefed the conference participants about the reasons for their concerns that explain their violent reaction.

Apocalypse in a slideshow

Deputy Chief of Staff Colonel-General Valery Gerasimov (appointed Commander of the Central Military District just a week ago) showed the audience visual images of simulated missile launches from Russia if the Americans deploy their new information systems and weapons that work together with components of the national missile defense system in Alaska’s Fort Greely and the Californian base Vandenberg.

The findings by the Russian General Staff members were designed to boldly underline the dangers inherent in the U.S. global missile defense system.

The Russian military showed a sense of humor during the demonstration: Iranian missiles flying over Europe in a hypothetical attack against the United States were not intercepted by the U.S. missile defense system in Europe; or rather they were intercepted together with Russian missiles launched from European Russia, which seems to contradict the assertions of the Americans.

In a joint system, Russian advanced systems that have characteristics similar to their U.S. counterparts and are deployed in southern Russia, could intercept such threats coming from Iran. However, our friends from NATO are not willing to move forward and integrate our missile defense systems, Russian generals say.

The simulation didn’t show signs that the Russian missiles headed toward the U.S. territory were totally vulnerable. However, the simulation offered a good demonstration of the technical capabilities of U.S. missile defense against them (from different angles). The question of the vulnerability of combat patrols performed by Russian missile submarines was raised as well.

So the main concerns of the Russian military were outlined rather graphically, inviting the opponents to bargaining.

In this regard, the response by Deputy Secretary General of NATO Alexander Vershbow is particularly noteworthy for its lack of focus. Stating his fundamental disagreement with the findings of the Russian General Staff, Vershbow said that Russia still had a lot of nuclear missiles, which are guaranteed to overcome the U.S. missile defense system, if need be.

Anyway, this system, Vershbow went on to say, was directed against single launches of imperfect ballistic missiles and, of course, nothing can stand in the way of a massive nuclear strike by modern Russian strategic nuclear forces.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Madelyn Creedon repeated the same points, extolling the power and technical excellence of Russian missile forces, which can break through the American missile defense system even in the long-term perspective, because, as she stressed at every opportunity, it is not directed against Russia’s deterrent capabilities in the first place.

If this is the case, then there’s nothing to bargain about: “We will not accept any restrictions either in terms of the number of missiles or the capabilities of this system [missile defense],” Creedon added.

The danger is the wall, not the bricks

Tactfully, the Americans perhaps failed to notice the main point in the remarks of Colonel-General Gerasimov about the close integration of information and weapon systems of both national and European components of the U.S. global missile defense system in real time. Moreover, Creedon pointedly emphasized that she will be looking at America’s national missile defense system separately from the European one, since they are different projects with different objectives.

The synergy effect of the American plan lies exactly in the close interaction of distributed components. Its individual building blocks do not pose a threat to Russia’s retaliatory capability, but when they come together to form a wall they create a totally different defensive capability. The Iron Curtain between the East and the West may descend again, but this time it will be more technologically advanced.

The potential flexibility of this shared network of information and weapon systems (including mobile and space ones, both existing and prospective) forces us to address this antimissile shield with all seriousness. Today, and even tomorrow, it will not threaten Russia’s strategic nuclear forces in any way, but who can guarantee what’s going to happen in the long run? What means of destruction could be easily integrated into the U.S. global defense system 10-20 years from now?

So far, even such a representative international forum as this Moscow conference has failed to establish at least some common ground on the issue, which is setting off a new nuclear arms race right before our eyes.

Categories: Uncategorized

Walking To NATO Protest In Chicago

The Progressive
May 3, 2012

Walking to NATO protest in Chicago
Rebecca Kemble

On Tuesday, six people set off from the state capitol in Madison, WI, on a 170-mile walk to Chicago to protest the NATO summit scheduled for May 20. They will be sleeping in people’s homes, churches and community centers in 25 cities along the way, educating people about drone warfare, the suffering of the Afghan people and the need to shift our social and economic priorities away from war production.

The walk is organized by Buddy Bell and Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a Chicago-based group dedicated to nonviolent resistance to U.S. war-making.

Members of Voices have led over 70 delegations to Iraq to challenge the economic sanctions and were present in Baghdad in resistance to the 2003 U.S. military invasion. Since 2009, Voices has led five delegations to Afghanistan and two to Pakistan to listen and learn from nonviolent grassroots movements and to raise awareness about the negative impacts of U.S. militarism in the region.

This is the message they are carrying to NATO:

“We propose a different agenda for The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): immediately end your drone strikes, dismantle the NATO-ISAF armed mission in Afghanistan, and end your diplomatic and financial support for Hamid Karzai and the warlords in the National Assembly. Finally, we hold NATO responsible for providing reparations to the Afghans commensurate to the destruction caused by the Afghanistan War since NATO assumed command of the ISAF operation in 2003. These reparations must be dispersed by an independent body and might take the form of food aid, water filtration, public housing, public infrastructure projects, etc.”

Bell and Kelly are joined by Kathy Walsh of Madison, Alice Gerard of Grand Island, NY, Brian Terrell from Maloy, Iowa, and Jules Orkin from Bergenfield, NJ. Seasoned anti-war activists all, they have a total of 128 years of organizing and demonstrating among them.

In a press conference at the capitol, each of the walkers said a few words about why they were embarking on this journey. Gerard opposes the use of drones and the backward priorities of the U.S. Government. “Our country is rotting away from the inside. There are not resources for education and healthcare, but we have unlimited resources for oppression and destruction abroad,” she said.

Brian Terrell said, “Our pressing domestic problems can’t be solved while waging wars of aggression around the world.” He mentioned that President Obama had just declared May 1 “National Loyalty Day” urging the people of the U.S. to pledge their loyalty to the flag and the troops who fight to defend it. Terrell called that a “strange perversion” of May Day, originally a commemoration of the Haymarket Massacre where armed forces turned their weapons on strikers and eight anarchists were falsely accused of throwing a bomb at police and four of them were hung. Terrell said, “our loyalties are with the children of Afghanistan and all workers across national boundaries.”

Kathy Kelly took the opportunity to rail against the secret agreement signed by Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai the night before in a secret, dead of night meeting at Bagram Airbase. While details of the agreement have not been released to the public, the broad outlines suggest an extension of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan until at least 2024. Drawing the connection between the oil and mineral interests at stake in Afghanistan and the U.S. military presence there, Kelly said, “Domination of the economy by production for wars is necessary to support the profit-making structures of those in power. When will profiteers realize that they can still make money by making things that are good for people and the planet?”

The Voices walkers will be holding teach-in events in Milwaukee on May 8 and 9, and in Racine on May 11. They welcome people to join them at any point in their journey for any length of time.

Categories: Uncategorized

Commander: NATO Provides Pentagon Base For Global Operations

Stop NATO
May 5, 2012

Commander: NATO Provides Pentagon Base For Global Operations
Rick Rozoff

The Defense Department’s news agency, American Forces Press Service, reported on May 3 that Admiral James Stavridis, commander of United States European Command (EUCOM) and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, applauded the roles of EUCOM and NATO as being critical to American global military and geopolitical interests.

The fact that the same four-star commander, always an American, invariably holds both posts simultaneously indicates the degree to which the Pentagon’s EUCOM, which took in almost all of Africa in its area of responsibility until spawning U.S. Africa Command and includes the South Caucasus, Israel and Greenland, and NATO are inseparably connected.

EUCOM and NATO, the admiral noted, remain vital to U.S. military efforts not only in Europe but in Africa, the Middle East and Asia as Washington increases its military presence and escalates its involvement in the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East.

“Let’s face it: our most enduring pool of partners exists in the European theater,” Stavridis said in an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.     

NATO collectively, he boasted, has three million men and women under arms, 24,000 military aircraft and 800 ships. The 26 European members of the alliance spend $300 billion a year on their military budgets, which with last year’s U.S. and Canadian defense spending totals over $1 trillion.

Though Europe may be the base for launching military operations, it is not the main venue for them, the dual commander noted:

“This is an alliance of enormous resources, and it represents those that stand with us today in Afghanistan, in the Balkans, in the Libya operation and in [the Horn of Africa region]. So these strategic, enduring partnerships in Europe are going to underpin the strategic focus on the challenges in Asia and in the Middle East.”

The same Defense Department feature cited above quoted Navy Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery, EUCOM’s deputy director for plans, policy and strategy, stating that to conduct military operations outside of Europe “we need to actually redouble our efforts to maintain our partners’ capability and capacity.”

By way of reciprocity, Stavridis’ former chief of staff and current deputy commander of EUCOM, Navy Vice Admiral Charles Martoglio, added that American military firepower is “the glue that enables NATO to operate at the high level of efficiency that it does.”


Admiral Bruce Clingan; Admiral Samuel Locklear III, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and Commander, Allied Joint Forces Command Naples; Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander, U.S. European Command; Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations; and U.S. Army General Carter Ham, Commander, U.S. Africa Command at the February 24 command ceremony in Naples at which Clingan replaced Locklear as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Commander, Allied Joint Forces Command.

American Forces Press Service added this:

“But beyond the U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance, Stavridis noted Europe’s strategic geographic position. Forces easily can pivot from Europe into the Middle East, the Levant area at the crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean and northeastern Africa, the Mediterranean as during the Libya operations, and down into Africa, he said.”

Vice Admiral Martoglio identified the main purpose of EUCOM’s “forward presence” in relation to global U.S. strategy:

“We are a nation that has an expeditionary capability. We fight our wars overseas so we don’t fight them on our own shores. And Europe and our European partners are huge enablers of that expeditionary military capability.”

Stavridis made the same point, in much the same language quoted earlier, in stating:

“Being in Europe gives us the opportunity to train, exercise and work every day with this combat-ready force that has fought with us in Afghanistan, the Balkans, in [counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea] and other missions. So there are a lot of good reasons for us to be engaged and ‘home-ported,’ as we would say in the Navy, in Europe.”

While EUCOM will effect a 15 percent decrease in troop numbers on the continent, that withdrawal will be compensated for with more military aircraft, ships and special operations forces.

The top EUCOM and NATO commander confirmed “that forces assigned to Eucom will stay actively engaged in vital real-world missions in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.”

In Stavridis’ April 30th blog on the EUCOM website entitled “Sailing on to the NATO Chicago Summit” (the author is an admiral of course), he spoke of recent joint meetings of NATO defense and foreign ministers and of chiefs of defense staff ahead of this month’s summit in Chicago.

He wrote:

“I gave several briefings to both groups concerning global situation from an operational standpoint. In addition to discussing Afghanistan, Syria, the Pacific, the Balkans, and the lessons of Libya, we finalized the key topics for the upcoming Summit.”

They are the war in Afghanistan which, he claimed, despite “the occasional ‘high profile incident’” (like a U.S. soldier butchering sixteen Afghan civilians in Kandahar province in March or the large-scale rebel attacks in the capital the following month), “continue[s] along reasonably well.”

Stavridis asserted that at the NATO summit in Chicago “the 28 NATO nations and the additional 22 partner nations will make a decade-long commitment to Afghanistan post-2014″ in terms of building a NATO-interoperable national military on the borders of Iran, Pakistan and China.

The second point to be discussed is expansion and integration of NATO military operational capabilities, most notably the initial activation of the U.S.-NATO interceptor missile system in Europe (and beyond that to the South Caucasus, the Persian Gulf and India), which Stavridis described in benign terms as though it was a species of foreign aid:

“The NATO nations were happy to see the successful deployment of a US-based missile defense shield into Europe. They agreed to fold it into the NATO defensive structure, thus fulfilling treaty commitments as well as finding ways to contribute both financially and with their own systems in the future.” 

Another aspect of the upgrading of NATO operational capabilities in Europe includes the Alliance Ground Surveillance System, “which buys a Global-Hawk like unmanned aircraft fleet and deploys it to Italy under control of the NATO Command Structure.”

Pooling and sharing military resources under NATO’s so-called Smart Defense program to further integrate respective national capabilities into a supranational NATO structure also include the alliance’s over eight-year-old Baltic Air Policing mission which deploys warplanes from major NATO member states to skirt the borders of northwestern Russia.

The third item on the summit agenda is consolidating and expanding the military bloc’s partnerships throughout the world, a project recently augmented by NATO’s latest partnership category, Partners across the globe.

NATO’s top military commander Stavridis had this to say on the subject:

“NATO has been very successful in partnering with a wide variety of nations in missions across the last ten years. In Afghanistan, we have 22 international partners with troops on the ground, from Tonga, Australia, and New Zealand in the south Pacific to El Salvador (and soon, hopefully, Colombia) from Latin America.

“In the Libyan campaign, we also had the good fortune to have five partners from the Arab world, as well as traditional ally Sweden.”

His allusion to Colombia sending troops to Afghanistan, as El Salvador recently has, even as the U.S. and NATO insist they are withdrawing troops from the country, is to be taken seriously as Stavridis was commander of United States Southern Command until taking up his current EUCOM and NATO positions. Southern Command’s area of responsibility comprises South and Central America and the Caribbean Sea. As such, he was the key U.S. military official in charge of American-Colombian military relations and operations.

His blog post mentioned several “partnership events” to be held during the Chicago summit.

In reference to NATO’s increasingly global stature, he celebrated the fact that it has “140,000 troops around the world in current operations in Afghanistan, the Balkans, piracy, Libya until recently, and on patrol protecting the alliance…” The last item is in part a reference to the Baltic air mission.

In Stavridis’ view and in fact NATO is a mechanism employed by the U.S. to conduct military operations in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, to wage war in South Asia – for over ten years and with troops from over 50 nations – and to recruit legionaries from Central and South America, Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere for wars in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: NATO Missile Shield Has Potential As First Strike System

Press TV
May 5, 2012

NATO missile shield has potential as first strike system: Analyst

Interview with Rick Rozoff, Manager of Stop NATO, Chicago

==== ‎

Audio and visual

====

“…the US/NATO missile shield, which is not to be construed as a defensive project whatsoever, ‎has the potential of being a first strike system that is able to knock out missiles that withstand ‎a potential first strike by the US and NATO against other countries. Russia would seem to be ‎the chief target for that.‎”

NATO’s Rasmussen has said that the US global missile defense shield poses no threat to Russia after Russia reserved the right to make a preemptive strike against the facility.

Press TV has interviewed Rick Rozoff, manager of Stop NATO in Chicago, about the expansion of NATO partnerships over the past two decades to see it emerge as a global power and he discusses the merit in Russia’s trepidations. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: How global is NATO becoming?

Rozoff: In its own assessment, the current U.S. ambassador to NATO, permanent representative Ivo Daalder, is somebody who seven years co-wrote a major article entitled ‘Global NATO’ and others that have used a similar title, so global NATO – I invite people to visit the NATO website and look up the category of NATO partnerships.

That is, not only does NATO itself have 28 full members – and that’s a 75 percent increase in its membership from 1999 to 2009 – 12 new countries in Eastern Europe were absorbed as full members, but NATO openly acknowledges, in fact boasts of, a series of international military partnerships that exceed 40 different nations.

That is, combined, the 28 NATO members and the 40 partnership countries are well over a third of the nations in the world and these include four partners in the Persian Gulf, they include seven partners in North Africa and the Middle East, they include a brand new category, incidentally, that NATO calls openly – I’m not making this up – Partners across the globe, which includes such diverse nations as Japan, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Mongolia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan.

So, in fact, the US-led military bloc has become international in scope; it certainly has so in terms of missions where it has now as of last year waged wars in three continents, in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Press TV: Western and European countries express concern about the proliferation of weapons around the world yet we see NATO installing and setting up different military command centers around the world deploying more and more missiles. If that’s not called proliferation then what is it?

Rozoff: You’re absolutely correct. The NATO summit declarations that are issued after each summit, and there will be one after May 21st here in Chicago where I’m speaking, will reiterate the point that NATO remains a nuclear alliance. They’ll say something to the effect that as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world NATO will remain a nuclear force.

I should inform your listeners who may not know this, in the early 1980s we had a reform administration in Chicago, Mayor Harold Washington and during his time in office the City Council of Chicago introduced a resolution that was passed, making Chicago the first major city in the United States that declared itself a nuclear-free zone.

So the fact that a nuclear alliance like NATO is convening in Chicago on May 20th and 21st is a violation of that ordinance and is a violation of the status of this city, the third largest in the United States, which has affirmed that it is a nuclear-free zone.

What you’re alluding to of course, I heard in the lead-in the comment by the NATO Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, that the US/NATO interceptor missile system in Europe has achieved interim capability, initial operational capability.

He talked about tests that had been conducted in Europe that suggested the first of four phases of the US/NATO missile shield, which is not to be construed as a defensive project whatsoever, it has potential of being a first strike system that is able to knock out missiles that withstand a potential first strike by the United States and NATO against other countries. Russia would seem to be the chief target for that.

And last November as a matter of fact, in Germany, NATO conducted its first live-fire test of its own branch of the missile shield in Europe, something called Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence, and that was announced to have achieved interim capabilities.

So Rasmussen’s comment that at the NATO summit here in Chicago later this month NATO will announce the fact that it has activated the first phase of the most ambitious interceptor missile system in history and one that is really the logical extension of the Ronald Reagan administration’s so-called Strategic Defense Initiative, popularly known as Star Wars, is a very alarming fact and I think the world as well as Russia should take note of this.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview: NATO’s Secret Army

Voice of Russia
May 5, 2012

NATO’s Secret Army
Alexander Artamonov

Interview with Daniel Ganser
Edited by RR

NATO’s secret army existed on the territory of Western Europe until the beginning of the 90s. And maybe it is still functioning today. It was called Gladio, which means sword in Latin. One of its emblems is a salamander, which marks its belonging to the secret services syndicate.

In order to understand what this movement really represented or, possibly, is still representing, we consulted the well-known Swiss historian Daniel Ganser, who has published a book about the secret army.

Mr. Ganser, you are a historian, specializing in modern history and international relations since 1945. You lecture at Basel University and you are the author of numerous works which caused a sensation all over the world. I would like to speak to you about your most well-known book “NATO’s Secret Army”.

NATO’s Secret Army is a poorly studied phenomenon. Even my colleagues used to say to me: “But NATO has never had any secret army!” The whole world thought that such a thing did not exist. And then, in 1990, Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti confirmed that all the European NATO countries had secret armies. Their aim was to resist a Soviet invasion. But during the Cold War period nothing of the kind happened, as you know. Therefore, people thought that these armies were useless, but it was not so. They were used in order to manipulate the political climate in many European countries – France, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Austria, Spain, Portugal,and Finland. It was a large-scale phenomenon all right.

Your book “NATO’s Secret Army” inspired film director Emmanuel Amaro on the creation of an excellent documentary lasting 52 minutes. Your book has to do with both Russia and Western Europe. Has your book been published in Russian yet?

No, not yet! But in two weeks I am presenting the Russian version of my book in Moscow.

We received evidence that the secret army had actually existed, at least until the beginning of the 90s. And still there is no reason to believe it was dismissed. Can you add some important details to the above-mentioned?

Historians say that in fact this army conducted acts of terror, aimed at changing the political course of one or another country, consistently dissociating it from the USSR and Eastern Europe. So, on August 2, 1980, a bomb exploded in the waiting room of a railway station in Bologna, which took the lives of 85 people. 200 people received injuries of varying severity.

At first, the Italian police attributed this terrorist act to the Red Brigades, but ultimately Gladio was pronounced guilty. A month and a half later, during Oktoberfest in Munich, there was another act of terror. Colonel Klaus Fishner, a former employee of the counter-intelligence service of Stasi, said: “The task was to create tension in NATO countries and to suppress any political left-wing deviation.” As we can see, that was the mission, aimed at justifying the existence of the secret army.

German historian Erich Schmidt-Eenboom affirms that in Germany a considerable part of the secret army, about 25%, was recruited from former members of the SS.

The general public is well-acquainted with the film “The Bourne Identity.” Only people do not know that the mysterious organization Dread Stone that stood behind the anonymous American political killers and was housed in Langley, has a real terrible prototype. And this is Gladio.

Categories: Uncategorized

British Defence Chief: NATO Absolves Germany Of Nazi Past

Stop NATO
May 4, 2012

British Defence Chief: NATO Absolves Germany Of Nazi Past
Rick Rozoff

While British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was in Berlin earlier this week touting global NATO ahead of the military alliance’s summit in Chicago two weeks from now, he urged Germany to overcome its “historic reluctance” to waging military aggression in Europe and around the world. Regarding the West, a case of what oft was thought, but ne’er so – candidly – expressed.

After meeting with his German counterpart Thomas de Maiziere, Hammond told the British press that World War II “was quite a long while ago” and as such Germany must cast off whatever residual misgivings it may harbor about reassuming an international military role within NATO, as “it is self-evident that there is still huge potential in the German defence structure to deliver more useful firepower to the alliance.” Germany must “significantly increase its military capability,” Hammond advocated.

As Europe’s major economic force, it must also be its main military contributor.

The deadliest war in history is yesterday’s news, old hat. Time to get over it and move on. To new wars. Concerns about the 1945 Potsdam agreement on the demilitarization of Germany, the Nuremberg principles and the German constitutional ban on preparing wars of aggression are, to use contemporary colloquial language, like so 20th century.

Hammond’s remark about Germany’s hesitance to get back into the war business, though, is outdated, as the country did so thirteen years ago in support of NATO’s air war against Yugoslavia in 1999.

The United Kingdom’s defense chief also delivered an address at his country’s embassy in Berlin on May 2, co-sponsored by the German Council on Foreign Relations, entitled “Shared Security: Transforming Defence to Face the Future,” which reiterated the common Western position of internationalizing NATO for a broader range of missions outside of the Euro-Atlantic area.

His comments included these unequivocal assertions:

“The responsibility of European nations to defend their citizens can no longer be discharged by a strategy of homeland defence and a Fortress Europe.

“The threats we face are no longer territorial, so a passive defence of national territory is no longer adequate protection for our citizens.

“Our security requires that we do not sit back and let threats come to us – but that we project power to meet them – wherever in the world they are forming.”

Global NATO, led by its major, its only significant, powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany and sometimes Italy – will unilaterally and arbitrarily define threats that must be confronted; will practice alleged defense of its territory by going on the offensive half a world away if desired, as the reasons for war are “no longer territorial”; will not let largely chimerical dangers present their calling cards in Brussels, London, Washington, Berlin and Paris, but will anticipate them before they even exist, if they are even capable of existing, and “project power” to preempt them, whether the threats are real or fancied, imminent or remote, latent or without foundation either in the present or the future.

Hammond further stated, “we need to take that final step up from the defensive posture of the Cold War, to respond to a future in which threats can originate thousands of miles away…”

As such, “the NATO Alliance, and the European part of it in particular, must continue to develop together the capability and the political will to act when necessary – to project power, including, but not limited to, military power, and to deploy it rapidly when we must.”

And where. And against whom. And under whatever contrived rubric it chooses. Hammond was disabusing Germans of any lingering, antiquated illusions that their armed forces are designed to protect their nation’s borders and population.

Hammond applauded the six-month NATO bombing campaign against Libya last year as “a coalition success” within the context he discussed. For as “it is in Europe’s interest that the United States rises to the challenge that the emergence of China as a global power presents and we should support the decisions the US has made,” then the inextricable correlate of that is Europe’s “Shouldering the major burden in the Balkans and the Mediterranean, but also being prepared, if necessary to take a bigger role in relation to North Africa and the Middle East.”

The major NATO powers divide up the world.

But even the alliance of 28 European and North American nations, consisting of three members with nuclear weapons in Europe (which include American tactical nuclear bombs in Germany) and most of the world’s largest and most lethal armed forces, is not enough for Hammond and for NATO.

The bloc must expand its already existing partnerships around the world, to date with no less than 40 countries in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the South Caucasus, the South Pacific and Central, South and East Asia, to yet broader stretches of the planet.

In Hammond’s words, “Both Libya and Afghanistan have shown how agile NATO can be in incorporating the contributions of outsiders.” In the second instance with troops from 50 nations.

He also cited “The new Northern Group of nations, which includes Germany, the Baltic and Nordic countries (including Sweden), Poland and the Netherlands, as well as the UK,” in reference to the initiative of Hammond’s superior, Prime Minister David Cameron, last year to launch an Arctic-Baltic “mini-NATO” aimed against Russia.

German F-4F Phantom II fighter-bombers were deployed for NATO’s Baltic air patrol in a four-month rotation ending on April 25, where they were within a three-minute flight from Russia’s second largest city, St. Petersburg.

The British defence secretary praised the role of Germany in Afghanistan, where with 4,900 troops (and another 400 held in reserve), exceeding parliamentary limitations on the number of soldiers permitted to be deployed abroad, it is the third largest troop contributor for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

He also hailed German military deployments to the Balkans, where the nation has the largest number of troops serving with NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR), almost twice as many as the next biggest contributor, the U.S. The last three KFOR commanders – Erhard Drews, Erhard Bühler and Marcus Bentler – are German generals.

NATO has sent reinforcements to Kosovo, 550 German and 150 Austrian troops, ahead of Serbian presidential and parliamentary elections because the few remaining ethnic Serbs there intend to vote in the elections of what they (and most of the world) still consider their country.

According to Kosovo Force spokesman German Major Marc Stümmler, KFOR is “preparing for…a higher level of tensions.”

Germany reentered the world of war in 1999 when it provided Tornado warplanes for the 78-day air assault against Yugoslavia, marking the first time the nation’s armed forces participated in a combat mission since World War Two. That the Luftwaffe was deployed over the skies of a country it had extensively bombed in 1941 confirmed with a vengeance, and no shadow of ambiguity, Germany’s reemergence as an aggressive military power.

For Serbs and other Balkans peoples Germany’s role in World War Two is not forgotten, if it is by Philip Hammond.

Immediately following the latter’s visit to Berlin, on May 4th NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrived in the city to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, to visit the NATO-Mission for Freedom permanent exhibition at the Mauer Museum at Checkpoint Charlie and to lavish praise on his host for, to quote the NATO website, “Germany’s steadfast support for the Alliance and its missions, notably in Afghanistan, Kosovo and off the coast of Somalia.”

When Germany was reunited in 1990, contrary to the George H.W. Bush administration’s pledge to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, NATO immediately moved not only “one inch” but over 200 miles to the east, beginning the process of absorbing all the Soviet Union’s former partners in the now defunct Warsaw Pact.

Germany has aided NATO’s expansionist and expeditionary designs in the past thirteen years and NATO has rewarded it: Germany is now the world’s third largest weapons exporter, its arms sales abroad increasing with each succeeding year.

Britain and NATO insist its leaders demonstrate, to quote Hammond, “the ability to generate the political will and public support for the deployment of military resources more widely in the future in support of Alliance operations beyond our borders.”

Post-Cold War NATO has attempted to re-legitimize war as a method of advancing geopolitical objectives. Nations whose constitutions explicitly prohibit the practice – NATO members Germany and Italy, NATO partner Japan – have troops and other military personnel serving under the Atlantic Alliance in Afghanistan. So do NATO partners Finland, which had not engaged in combat operations since the Second World War, and Sweden, which had not done so in two centuries.

But according to Defence Secretary Hammond nations like Germany are not sufficiently involved in the wars of the 20th century and must play an even more pronounced role in them, present and to come.

There is no “quite a long while ago” when it comes to wars of aggression. There is only “never.”   

Categories: Uncategorized

South China Sea: U.S.-Japan Strategies Put Region At Risk

Global Times
May 4, 2012

US-Japanese strategies put region at risk
By Zhou Yongsheng

External forces’ intervention in the South China Sea disputes has gradually become a reality despite China’s opposition against the externalization of the disputes. Last week, the US and Japan reached a new agreement on the joint use of the US military bases in the Pacific region.

According to media reports, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces are expected to station forces alongside US troops in the Philippines. Once Manila approves, Japan, the US and the Philippines will conduct specific military training together in Philippine bases.

In recent years, countries like Vietnam and the Philippines have gained huge economic interests through developing gas and oil resources in the South China Sea region.

Driven by economic ambitions, they chase further expansion in the South China Sea, which intensifies the territorial disputes around the region. They see moving closer to Japan and the US as their strategy to prevent China seeking its legal rights over the South China Sea.

This provides favorable conditions and timing for Japan and the US to get involved in the South China Sea disputes.

In the process of refocusing its strategic attention to the Asia-Pacific region, Southeast Asia is an important US focus. For the last two years, the US has been increasing its strategic input in Southeast Asia.

Militarily, the US is seeking permanent stations in some military bases in this region. It has requested to return to the Subic Bay military base in the Philippines and to send its most advanced littoral combat ships there.

The US has also intensified military drills with different countries in the regions and waters around China. Though those drills are not all targeted at China, some are indeed aimed at deterring China and increasing US popularity in Asia.

Unlike the US, Japan acts quite subtly in intervening in the South China Sea disputes. But Japan lifted its restrictive policies on arms exports after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda took office. In essence this is a preparation to support countries involved in the South China Sea disputes by exporting weapons to them.

Besides, Japan also plans to supply patrol vessels to the Philippines and assist the country in training its coast guards.

These moves show that Japan is extending its military reach in the South China Sea, and the trend will further continue. A messy South China Sea situation is in Japan’s interests. As the disputes between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands have intensified recently, Japan hopes confrontations with China in the South China Sea could distract China’s attention.

The external intervention in the South China Sea dispute complicates the regional dynamics. As the US and Japan are backing them, countries like the Philippines and Vietnam become more and more arrogant and constantly provoke China in the South China Sea, including illegally detaining Chinese fishermen.

This time, the Philippines have even had a dozen days of confrontation with China, potentially risking a regional war. The countries involved are speeding up their military modernization by importing more advanced weapons, posing threats to regional stability and risking an arms race.

Directly and implicitly supporting relevant countries to check China is essentially a short-sighted strategy. This not only shakes the regional security, but also threatens the mutual trust between China and the US and Japan.

The US and Japan should recognize that countries like Vietnam and the Philippines may play an effective role in balancing China, but these countries’ ambition for regional hegemony may also be boosted in the process.

This short-sighted strategy comes at the cost of benefits that could bring overall and sincere cooperation among relevant parties.

The author is deputy director of the Japan Study Center at China Foreign Affairs University.

Categories: Uncategorized

Kosovo: Syrian Rebels Study Kosovo Liberation Army Tactics

May 4, 2012 1 comment

RT
May 4, 2012

Syrian opposition studies terror tactics in Kosovo

A delegation of Syrian rebels has made a deal with Pristina authorities to exchange experience on partisan warfare. The Syrian opposition is sending militants to Kosovo for adopting tactics and being trained to oust President Bashar Assad’s regime.

On April 26, a delegation of Syrian opposition members made a stop in Pristina on their way from the US to hold talks on how to make use of the experience of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in Syria, reports the Associated Press.

So far, a poorly-organized Syrian opposition has proven unable to self-organize and form a steady front against the forces of President Assad.

Terror tactics used by militants allow them to kill military and governmental officials, but do not help to hold positions against a regular army.

“We come here to learn. Kosovo has walked this path and has an experience that would be very useful for us,” says the head of the Syrian delegation Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian-born human rights activist and dissident. “In particular, we’d like to know how scattered armed groups were finally organized into the KLA.”

Syrian opposition leaders have promised to immediately recognize Kosovo once they seize power in the country.

“We’re in vital need of joint actions as a coalition opposition,” stressed Ammar Abdulhamid, a long-time opponent of the Syria’s President Bashar Assad. In 2005, he left Syria to settle in the US.

The training camp on the Albanian-Kosovo border that has welcomed Syrian attendees was originally organized by the US to help the KLA train its fighters.

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was considered a terrorist organization by the US, the UK and France for years until, in 1998, it was taken off the list of terrorists with no explanation given. The KLA used to have up to 10 per cent of underage fighters in its ranks.

There were numerous reports of the KLA having contacts with Al-Qaeda, getting arms from that terrorist organization, getting its militants trained in Al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan and even having members of Al-Qaeda in its ranks fighting against Serbs.

In 1998-1999 Kosovo separatists started an armed conflict with Belgrade to split the Kosovo region from Serbia. The war in the region was marked with mass atrocities and executions of the civilian population. Most of the Serbs that used to live in Kosovo became refugees.

In 2008, 10 years after the beginning of armed conflict with Serbia, Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence from Belgrade. Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by leading Western countries, most members of NATO and countries associated with the bloc.

The same horrors that were witnessed during the war in Kosovo are now apparently being prepared for the multi-confessional Syrian population by Islamist Syrian Liberation Army trained in Muslim Kosovo in the middle of Europe.

The Syrian Liberation Army group that actually formed the delegation to Kosovo has been fighting with the Syrian government for over a year now. This stand-off has claimed well over 9,000 lives, about half of them Syrian servicemen, law enforcers and officials.

Lately, the militants have been squeezed out of the Syrian cities and their positions along the Syrian-Turkish border. Being unable to turn the tide independently, the Syrian Liberation Army has been addressing to its foreign sponsors to start a military intervention into Syria to topple President Bashar Assad.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interview on 21st century global NATO and Chicago summit

WORT FM (Madison, Wisconsin)
May 3, 2012

A Public Affair
Allen Ruff

Interview with Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO

Correction: Hans von Sponeck was the UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.

Program has a four-minute lead-in.

====

Audio

====

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Anti-Missile Complexes Can Be Used As Anti-Space Weapons

Itar-Tass
May 4, 2012

US antimissile complexes can be used as antispace weapons – opinion

====

“[V]iewing the creation of the missile defense system combined with the development of the concept of a global strike, hypersonic and aerospace craft, intercontinental ballistic missiles with non-nuclear armaments, our steps in the creation of the aerospace defense system become understandable.”

====

MOSCOW: The United States’ land and sea-based antimissile complexes can be used as antispace weapons, Lieutenant-General Oleg Ostapenko, the commander of the aerospace defense forces, said on Thursday.

“Emplacement of missile defense complexes with antispace potential will make it possible to intercept spacecraft on any orbit,” he told the international conference on missile defense issues, held in Moscow.

Ostapenko noted that “our partners say now that the main aim of creating missile defense is the need to protect their territory and troops in theaters of operation against the threat of a limited strike by ballistic missiles of North Korea and Iran.

“It is stated that the reason the missile defense system is being created is aimed to parry regional threats and is not meant for changing the balance of forces with Russia,” he recalled. “However, these pronouncements remained mere declarations if not implemented in practice,” he noted.

“Russia at the 2010 Lisbon summit proposed cooperation in creating a European missile defense system on the basis of the so-called sectoral approach,” he said. “Creating the aerospace defense system we were ready to aim for solving the task of an antimissile shield, also under obligations we were ready to assume. Regrettably, our proposals were not accepted even as a theme for talks,” he said.

“Moreover, viewing the creation of the missile defense system combined with the development of the concept of a global strike, hypersonic and aerospace craft, intercontinental ballistic missiles with non-nuclear armaments, our steps in the creation of the aerospace defense system become understandable,” he added.

Categories: Uncategorized

UN Complicit In Western Wars In Africa: Ex-South African President

Southern Times
April 30, 2012

The Toothless Bulldogs
UN complicit in Western wars in Africa
Mbeki says AU sidelined, can’t tackle NATO might

====

Citing the cases of Cote d’Ivoire and Libya last year, Mbeki said the UN was complicit in illegal power transfers and the murder of thousands of civilians.

“AU did what was correct when the Libyan problem arose. They moved quickly to put together a task team of five Heads of State to ensure the implementation of a peace programme.

“But that team was stopped, prohibited from flying into Libya. There was no way AU could have stopped NATO, physically we couldn’t mobilise forces to go and fight NATO,” Mbeki said.

====

Windhoek: Western countries use the United Nations as a Trojan horse to sideline African initiatives in brokering political dialogue and resolving conflicts in preference for military intervention to foist puppet regimes across the continent, former South African President Thabo Mbeki says.

Speaking to the media in Windhoek, Namibia, this past week, Mbeki said the UN was a willing tool for US interventionist policies and illegal regime change in Africa.

At the same time, Mbeki noted, the African Union is consistently ignored by both the UN and Western countries and lacks the military might to confront NATO.

Citing the cases of Cote d’Ivoire and Libya last year, Mbeki said the UN was complicit in illegal power transfers and the murder of thousands of civilians.

Mbeki mediated in Cote d’Ivoire from 2004 to 2006, and using his knowledge of the country’s political problems advised the international community on how best to tackle last year’s post-electoral crisis.

That advice was largely ignored by the UN, which joined forces with France and for the first time actually conducted offensive military missions in a member state rather than restrict itself to its peacekeeping role.

This past week, Mbeki narrated the genesis of Cote d’Ivoire’s problems, which culminated in a joint UN-French military raid that led to President Laurent Gbabgo’s ouster and Alassane Quattara’s rise.

He also spoke about NATO’s military intervention in Libya – through abuse of a UN Security Council resolution – which led to Muammar Gaddafi’s assassination.

In all cases, the UN was directly involved in illegal power transfers and the deaths of countless civilians as the West went on a rampage to “fulfil their agendas”.

Mbeki said the UN completely ignored the AU’s peace plan for Cote d’Ivoire.

He revealed that under AU-brokered dialogue, Gbabgo had agreed to step down and his party would choose a candidate to run in fresh elections against Ouattara.

“In the first place, Cote d’Ivoire was not supposed to hold elections under the political environment prevailing in the country at that time.

“It was not just feasible. How do you hold elections in a country divided into two?

“We had decided to re-unite the country first, disarm and integrate rebels in the northern parts of the country (who supported Ouattara) into civilian society.

“But the pressure on the UN from the outside world to hold elections became too strong,” Mbeki said.

“The AU had agreed with Gbabgo that he should resign and that there would be negotiations to look at the way forward.

“An AU delegation was standing by in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia, which hosts the AU headquarters) to fly into Ivory Coast.

“But the UN stopped the AU delegation from implementing the process in order to create space for military action they then took.

“UN effectively said ‘no – you can’t land because the airport has been occupied by rebels’, which was a lie.

“A story that is told of the failure of the AU on is not true. Western countries had other agendas and they took decisions to use military force to remove Gbabgo,” Mbeki explained.

This mirrors how Western powers used the UN to engage in military action to topple and facilitate Gaddafi’s assassination, Mbeki said.

The claim that Gaddafi was about to slaughter Libyan citizens “was not true”, Mbeki emphasised, adding that Western powers’ intentions to “remove the government of Libya leading to the assassination of Gaddafi” was evidenced by their outright rejection of an AU peace plan.

“The deliberate rejection of Africa’s own position about a member of the AU is evidence that their principal objective was regime change in Libya.”

Mbeki said the leaders of Britain, France and the US said exactly that in an article they jointly published when “justifying” war on Libya.

“It is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Gaddafi in power.

“It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future governmentColonel Gaddafi must go and go for good,” the three leaders wrote in the article that appeared in the Washington Post, the Times and Le Figaro in April 2011.

Mbeki said that the AU was marginalised despite warning of the consequences of military action in Libya.

He said the present problems in Mali “are the consequences of a wrong decision” taken by Western powers.

Armed citizens who fled Libya with arms supplied by NATO or looted from Libyan armouries are central to the military coup in Mali.

“These people (the West) had their objectives and they felt the AU was standing in their way.

“Libya ceased to be an African country ‑ the way they kept saying that we consulted with the Arab League and not the AU is clear evidence of this,” Mbeki said.

“AU did what was correct when the Libyan problem arose. They moved quickly to put together a task team of five Heads of State to ensure the implementation of a peace programme.

“But that team was stopped, prohibited from flying into Libya. There was no way AU could have stopped NATO, physically we couldn’t mobilise forces to go and fight NATO,” Mbeki said.

The former South African president, who is championing the African Renaissance, had a few choice words for America’s President Barack Obama, whom he said was a disappointment for Africa.

“The US policy towards Africa hasn’t changed in any significant degree. Obama has visited Africa twice.

“It was in Ghana he addressed the African challenges but there was nothing in that speech that marked a significant change in US policy.

“In 2002, G8 adopted what was called the Africa Action Plan which was supposed to be commitment to work with Africa in implementing objectives of NEPAD.

“This was a plan which was seen as responding to an African initiative.

“Since then the G8 has abandoned its commitment, they no longer talk about the Africa Action Plan but there were agreed positions globally.

“The US should come back to this solemn commitment which they have abandoned but which remains the only correct framework of co-operation,” Mbeki said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop NATO news: May 3, 2012

====

John McCain: NATO Must Arm Georgia

Georgia To Subjugate Abkhazia, South Ossetia To Join NATO

Afghanistan: Two NATO Soldiers Killed In Roadside Attacks

South Korea Participated In U.S. Interceptor Missile Drills For Years

NATO Tightens Military Cooperation With Azerbaijan

Uganda: U.S., NATO Allies Train Troops For Somali Fighting

West Africa: U.S. Africa Command, NATO To Lead Military Exercise

====

John McCain: NATO Must Arm Georgia

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=45352&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=0

Rustavi 2
May 2, 2012

McCain hails Georgia`s progress at Vilnius University

U.S. Senator John McCain hailed Georgia`s democratic reforms in his speech at the Vilnius University on Wednesday, where he spoke about Georgia`s progress and new challenges.

`In Georgia, the world is witnessing the dramatic success that is possible when a democratic government fights corruption and liberates the talents of its people. The central challenge for Georgia now is to institutionalize its democracy, which makes Georgia’s elections next year so important,` McCain said.

The U.S. Senator also said the United States and the European Union should reinforce its support to the country.

`Here, too, the United States and Europe must continue to support Georgia. America must move urgently to finalize a free trade agreement with Georgia, and the United States and NATO must ensure that the alliance is helping Georgia to acquire the defensive weapons it so desperately needs to defend itself,` McCain concluded.

====

Georgia To Subjugate Abkhazia, South Ossetia To Join NATO

http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/georgia/2021554.html

Trend News Agency
May 3, 2012

National Security Council: Georgia will join NATO with Abkhazia and South Ossetia
N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: De-occupation of Georgia and integration into Euro-Atlantic organizations is a parallel process, and Georgia will join NATO with its all territories, Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council of Georgia Batu Kutelia said.

This statement was a response to a German expert’s assumption, which was expressed during the first strategic Georgian-German Forum.

The expert of the German Society for Foreign Policy, political scientist Stefan Meister, said that Georgia will not join NATO as long as it has territorial disputes. “The main problem in Georgia’s NATO membership is territorial conflicts. NATO will not have a new member that has such problems. Georgia will not become a member of the Euro-Atlantic organization until it solves the territorial problem. Many other reasons can be also cited, but the main problem is this. The question is whether Georgia will accept this reality. I think it will not, because the integration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is important for Georgia,” Meister said.

“The process of de-occupation of Georgia and integration into Euro-Atlantic organization are parallel. The process of successful Euro-Atlantic integration is very important for the de-occupation policy to be carried out more efficiently,” Kutelia said.

====

Afghanistan: Two NATO Soldiers Killed In Roadside Attacks

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2012/04/29/2-isaf-soldiers-killed-roadside-bomb-attacks

Pajhwok Afghan News
April 29, 2012

2 ISAF soldiers killed in roadside bomb attacks
by Khwaja Basir Ahmadon

KABUL: Two International Assistance Security Force (ISAF) soldiers were killed in improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in eastern and southern Afghanistan on Sunday, raising foreign troops’ death toll to 135 this year.

One of the soldiers was killed in a roadside bombing, a weapon commonly used by Taliban militants, in the eastern part of the country, while the second servicemember died in a similar incident in the south.

The ISAF media office announced the deaths in a brief statement, which neither disclosed the nationalities of the victims, nor the exact locations of the attacks.

Mostly American soldiers are deployed to the east and US, British and Canadians troops are based in the south. Since 2001, 2,982 foreign troops have been killed in Afghanistan, including more than 1,940 Americans.

====

South Korea Participated In U.S. Interceptor Missile Drills For Years

http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/04/30/2012043000826.html

Chosun Ilbo
April 30, 2012

S. Korean Troops Took Active Part in U.S. Missile Defense Drills

The South Korean military has taken an active part in U.S. missile defense exercises for years, it admitted Sunday. Until now, the military had been saying the troops only took part as observers.

South Korean forces “have been taking part in U.S. missile defense system training exercises in the Pacific for years,” a government official here said. “We plan to take part in exercises in the Pacific this year aboard U.S. Aegis destroyers.” They apparently trained in command communications.

But the official claimed that does not mean South Korea is part of the U.S.-led missile defense system. “We took part in the exercises in order to gain help in the development of our own missile defense system set to be established around 2015.”

The U.S. missile defense system involves ground-based missiles, SM-3 missiles and PAC-3 Patriot missiles based on Aegis destroyers capable of hitting targets 10 km to 1,000 km in the air. The Korean project, by contrast, envisages striking targets 10 km to 30 km in the air with Cheolmae-2 missiles, which are under development, and PAC-2 Patriot missiles.

====

NATO Tightens Military Cooperation With Azerbaijan

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=170767

Azeri Press Agency
May 1, 2012

NATO extends Azerbaijani staff
Rashad Suleymanov

Baku: The contingent of Azerbaijani servicemen in NATO’s different staffs will be extended, APA reports according to the Azerbaijan Defense Ministry’s website.

Two Azerbaijani officers are expected to be appointed to different NATO staffs this year.

Currently seven officers of Azerbaijani Army are serving in NATO Partnership for Peace Staff Element.

At least 1200 representatives of the Defense Ministry are planning to attend more than 120 events within the framework of the Individual Partnership Program. 11 of these events will be held in Azerbaijan.

====

Uganda: U.S., NATO Allies Train Troops For Somali Fighting

http://allafrica.com/stories/201205020913.html

Reuters
May 2, 2012

Uganda: U.S. Steps Up Training for African Force in Somalia

====

Since 2007, U.S. military trainers have trained nine battle groups of Ugandan soldiers deployed to Somalia.

About 3,500 Ugandan soldiers are now being trained by U.S. trainers at Camp Singo…

British and French trainers also lead exercises at the camp for Ugandan forces preparing to go to Somalia.

====

At a training camp in Uganda, a dozen soldiers crouch, weapons raised as they make their way down a dirt road between shipping containers set up to look like buildings in the Somali capital.

Standing by, observing the Ugandan troops at work, is a U.S. marine, Major Mark Haley.

“Here is where we are going to teach urban warfare, how to fight building to building,” Haley said as the Ugandans moved between containers scrawled with graffiti reading “City of Death” and “Hell Zone”.

The model of the Somali capital, or “Little Mogadishu” as it is known, was built by American military trainers to prepare the Ugandan soldiers to take part in the African Union mission propping up the Western-backed government in Mogadishu.

After al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels pulled out of the capital last year, the United States has stepped up efforts to train Ugandan soldiers who will be part of the push by AMISOM to take more territory outside the capital.

The United States and other Western powers have been backing efforts to crush al Shabaab…

Washington helps to fund the AMISOM force, provides assistance to the transitional institutions in Somalia and has carried out air strikes within the Horn of Africa nation to kill high-profile al Qaeda and al Shabaab suspects.

BEYOND MOGADISHU

Uganda supplies the majority of the AMISOM troops in Somalia, which the United Nations agreed in February to increase from 12,000 to 17,731 peacekeepers.

AMISOM has sent a small contingent of troops to Baidoa, the former seat of Somalia’s parliament and hopes to send more soldiers their when the reinforcements arrive.

A team of 30 marines deployed to Uganda in February for seven months to train combat engineers. The U.S. military is also providing Ugandan forces with equipment such as protective vests and mine detecting equipment.

The marine programme supplements training for Ugandans funded by the U.S. State Department already going on.

Since 2007, U.S. military trainers have trained nine battle groups of Ugandan soldiers deployed to Somalia.

About 3,500 Ugandan soldiers are now being trained by U.S. trainers at Camp Singo in areas such as patrolling, cordon and search operations and basic Somali language skills.

British and French trainers also lead exercises at the camp for Ugandan forces preparing to go to Somalia.

====

West Africa: U.S. Africa Command, NATO To Lead Military Exercise

http://www.businessghana.com/portal/news/index.php?op=getNews&news_cat_id=1&id=164303

Ghana News Agency
May 1, 2012

Planning Conference on military communications opens in Accra

Military communication experts from Africa, Europe and other Western countries are attending a one week-long planning conference to co-ordinate activities to improve security capabilities of African partners on standard military communications practices in Accra.

The conference, which precedes the annual Exercise Africa Endeavour (EAE) 2012 scheduled to be held in June at the Cameroonian city of Doula, is expected to provide participants the platform to engage in knowledge sharing and experiences of best military communication practices.

This year’s EAE, which is a joint event sponsored by United States (US) Africa Command and supported by the Africa Union, is expected to focus on communications interoperability among African partner nations.

US Navy Commander Bryan McRoberts, lead planner for Africa Endeavour 2012, said the hands-on exercise was useful to establish and build on the human interoperability that must take place between partner nations for an operation to be successful.

The Africa Endeavour event focuses on communications interoperability (ability for the officers to work together based on shared meaning) among African partner nations.

Since its inception in 2006, the event had sought to improve the security capabilities of African partners by assisting in the development of common, standard military communications practices that would help offer better support for future operations in the Africa.

The event is expected to bring together more than 200 participants from 35 African countries, including Ghana, the US, Canada, the Netherlands, the African Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the European Union and the Economic Community of West African States.

====

Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago Summit: NATO To Announce Activation Of European Missile Shield

Stop NATO
May 2, 2012

Chicago Summit: NATO To Announce Activation Of European Missile Shield
Rick Rozoff

On April 30 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen informed the Associated Press that the military bloc he leads will announce initial operational capability for the joint U.S.-NATO interceptor missile system in Europe at the NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21.

Identifying the progression from European theater interceptor missile systems like NATO’s Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) and the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) and the U.S. Patriot Advanced Capability-3 battery deployed to Poland two years ago to current continent-wide territorial coverage with the integration of those systems with Washington’s European Phased Adaptive Approach, the alliance chief said, “As far as NATO is concerned, we have tested the systems and they work.”

The U.S.-controlled military organization recently announced that simulated tests on April 4-5 established the integrated system’s viability and prepared the groundwork for successive, qualitatively more advanced, stages of development and deployment.
 
On the day Rasmussen addressed the issue, the Obama administration’s National Security Council senior director for European affairs, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, gave a presentation titled “Revitalizing NATO: From Lisbon to Chicago” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. in which she confirmed the NATO chief’s assertion by stating, “At Chicago, it is our intent to declare an interim capability for NATO missile defense based on the ability to employ U.S. assets under NATO command…”   

Sherwood-Randall, the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia during the middle 1990s and a veteran of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution, highlighted the fact that “the best example of the President’s commitment to NATO’s capabilities of the future is our work on missile defense.”

She verified that the first phase of the missile system endorsed by NATO at its last summit in Portugal in November 2010 had been achieved with the deployment of an Aegis class warship, the USS Monterey guided missile cruiser, equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptors in the Mediterranean Sea and the deployment of an American X-band radar system in Turkey, adding that “now additional work is underway on the next phase.”

The next three stages of the Phased Adaptive Approach will consist of progressively more advanced versions of the Standard Missile-3 interceptors hitherto deployed on ships for both sea and land use. (The second is known as Aegis Ashore.) The current ship-based interceptor missile is the Standard Missile-3 Block IA. Its successors will be Block IB, Block IIA and Block IIB models to be stationed in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea regions, in Poland and Romania on land (24 Block IBs in Romania, as many Block IIAs in Poland), and in the Mediterranean on U.S. guided missile destroyers and cruisers, including four U.S. Aegis class destroyers to be based at the Naval Station Rota in Spain. The naval component could later be deployed in the Black, Baltic, Barents and Norwegian Seas as well.  

Each more advanced model will extend the velocity of the missile and the range of the intercept, from short- to medium- and intermediate-range, with the Block IIB expected to be capable of intercepting long-range – intercontinental – ballistic missiles. Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon were awarded first phase competition contracts for the Block IIB last year.

After the comments of NATO’s Rasmussen and the White House’s Sherwood-Randall on April 30, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov spoke to one of his nation’s newspapers and warned, “When the Americans begin constructing the third stage of their missile defense plans in Europe and the effectiveness of our strategic nuclear forces is jeopardized, serious issues will arise regarding Russia’s appropriate reaction.”

While emphasizing the third phase of the U.S.-NATO European missile system as posing a particular threat, he also said that the first and second phases were causes for serious concern, adding: “This is the time the foundation for the modernization of the US missile defense system will be laid. Furthermore, no one is saying there will be no fifth, sixth, and seventh stages.”   

Retired Lieutenant-General Evgeny Buzhinsky was recently quoted by Voice of Russia as stating: “We’ve been told about a defense system against an Iranian threat, as well as against so-called ‘rogue states.’ All this is quite doubtful. Why spend hundreds of billions of dollars just to intercept 3-4 Iranian missiles? And why would Iran attack Europe when 70% of its foreign trade is with the EU?”

The source cited the same official mentioning that the Russian Defense Ministry has conducted computer-simulated tests that demonstrated once U.S. interceptor missiles in Eastern Europe reach a velocity of 5 kilometers per second they will pose a threat to Russia’s nuclear deterrence forces.

In January Russian Information Agency Novosti cited Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin warning that U.S. interceptor missiles now cover all of European Russia to the Ural Mountains and are capable of not only shooting down short- and medium-range missiles from so-called rogue states but of destroying Russian intercontinental missiles.

The Russian official was quoted stating: “Along with allies, whom the U.S. now persuades to buy ships equipped with the Aegis Combat System, the overall potential can be estimated at about 1,000 interceptor missiles…The fact that the missile defense system can hit strategic missiles and the fact that those bases and fleets are deployed in northern seas demonstrate the evident…anti-Russian nature of the missile defense.”

The U.S. has 61 Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers, each capable of firing 90 missiles, and 22 Ticonderoga class guided missile cruisers that are built for the Aegis Combat System and are already equipped for or can be upgraded to accommodate Standard Missile-3 interceptors. Combined. the 83 warships could be equipped to fire thousands of Standard Missile-3 interceptors.

Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin also warned, as his nation’s deputy defense minister did this week: “There are no guarantees that after the first, second, third phases are completed, there will be no fourth, fifth and sixth. Do you really think they will halt all their technologies after 2020? That’s nonsense! They will go ahead with developing and boosting the technical parameters of their interceptor missiles and performance capabilities of their warning (missile defense) systems.”

The last NATO summit committed all 28 member states to participation in the most ambitious interceptor missile system ever envisioned. The upcoming summit will mark the official announcement of its initial activation, fraught as the system is with the threats of attempted blackmail, fatal miscalculation and the West contemplating first strike options.

Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago: NATO To Announce Initial Missile System Readiness

May 2, 2012 1 comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
May 1, 2012

NATO May Decide on Stepping Up Missile Defense in Chicago – Defense Ministry

NATO is likely to make new decisions on the further deployment of the European missile defense shield, a stumbling point in Russian-U.S. relations, during the upcoming alliance’s summit in Chicago, Russian Deputy Defense minister Anatoly Antonov said on Tuesday.

In an interview with the Rossiyskaya Gazeta that is due to be published on Wednesday, Antonov said that the NATO states-members were expected to announce “an initial operation readiness” of the European missile defense system.

“There are also new decisions on the further missile defense integration within the European shield expected to be made at the summit,” Antonov said, adding that the third stage of the missile defense shield’s deployment that is due to start in 2017, may trigger a harsh reaction from Russia.

The NATO summit, due to be held in Chicago, is scheduled for May 20-21.

The proposed U.S.-led missile shield in Europe remains a major source of tension between Russia and the United States, and the Kremlin has threatened to deploy tactical weapons close to Europe if it is not made full partner in the scheme.

The U.S.-led NATO alliance and Russia agreed in 2010 to cooperate on building missile defenses in Europe. Russia has however demanded legally-binding, written guarantees that the project would not undermine Russian security, something Washington has declined to provide.

————————————————————————————————————

Xinhua News Agency
May 1, 2012

NATO Summit to Declare Interim Missile Defense Capability

A senior U.S. official said Monday that the United States intends to declare an interim missile defense capability in Europe in the forthcoming NATO summit next month in Chicago.

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, senior director for European affairs on the national security staff, said in a preview of the summit at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that the United States has completed by the end of 2011 the first phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach of the Obama administration’s missile defense system in Europe, including the deployment of radar in Turkey, aegis ships in the Mediterranean, and “now additional work is underway on the next phase”.

“At Chicago,” she said, “it is our intention to declare an interim capability of NATO missile defense, based on the ability to deploy U.S. assets under NATO command, should conditions warrant.”

The interim capability is an important milestone in the Phased Adaptive Approach, which links up national ballistic missile defense assets and allows NATO commanders to have limited but integrated ability to manage a defense battle to protect deployed forces against ballistic missile attacks.

Sherwood-Randall said the “deliverables” at the Chicago summit also include Deterrence and Defense Posture Review (DDPR) that was tasked by NATO heads of state and government in Lisbon summit in 2010.

“The DDPR will identify the appropriate mix of nuclear, conventional and missile defense capabilities that NATO needs to meet 21 century security challenges,” said Sherwood-Randall. “We expect it to be approved by NATO heads of state and governments in Chicago.”

NATO insists that the anti-missile shield is not targeted at Russia. However, Moscow claims the system poses a real threat to its nuclear deterrence and national security.

——————————————————————————————————————-

Interfax
May 2, 2012

Point of no return on missile defense dialogue with U.S. may be passed in 2017 – Russian Defense Ministry

MOSCOW: The deployment of elements of the U.S. missile defense in Europe may make it necessary for Russia to take steps in response in five years, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said in an interview published in the Wednesday edition of Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

“When the Americans begin the third stage of the realization of their missile defense plans in Europe and the effectiveness of our strategic nuclear forces is jeopardized, serious issues will arise regarding Russia’s appropriate reaction. According to the General Staff estimations, this may happen as early as 2017,” Antonov said responding to a question about the point of no return in the missile defense talks.

Antonov also said the first and second stages of the U.S. adaptive approach cannot be ignored. “This is the time when the foundation for the modernization of the U.S. missile defense system is laid. In addition, no one is saying there will be no fifth, sixth, and seventh stages,” he said.

“Such a scenario is probable and we are preparing for it. The Russian president has spoken in detail about the steps that can be taken in response,” he said.

Categories: Uncategorized
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 441 other followers