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Archive for March, 2013

Georgia: U.S. Marines Complete Joint War Games

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 30, 2013

Georgian-US Exercise “Agile Spirit 2013” Completed

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The official closing ceremony of the joint Georgian-US exercise “Agile Spirit 2013” was held at the Vaziani military base. Deputy Chief of Joint Staff of GAF, Brigadier-General Vakhtang Kapanadze, and the leadership of GAF attended the event.

350 military servicemen of the U.S. Marine Corps Black Sea Rotational Forces and the 23rd Battalion of the II Infantry Brigade of GAF took part in the training.

The military exercise “Agile Spirit 2013” has been conducted in Georgia for the third time and aims at enhancement of interoperability during peacekeeping operations between the military units of the two countries.

One-month long exercise was led in three phases. Georgian media representatives also involved in the training. They underwent the special preparation to cover ISAF mission in Afghanistan. The participant journalists were given the relevant certificates at the event.

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South China Sea Dispute: U.S. Proxy Conflict With China

March 30, 2013 5 comments

Global Times
March 29, 2013

China will not be passive in sea disputes

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Despite the fact that John Kerry, the new US secretary of state, has stepped into office and some side effects brought by his predecessor’s aggressive approach are in decline, the US stance on the South China Sea will not fundamentally change. Behind China’s frictions with the Philippines and Vietnam is actually the rivalry between Beijing and Washington over the South China Sea.

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Chinese naval fleets recently conducted patrols on the South China Sea, reaching as far as Zengmu Reef, the southernmost part of Chinese territory. In an oath-taking ceremony on board Tuesday, the troops and officials vowed to safeguard China’s sovereignty.

Earlier this month, a Chinese vessel fired two warning signal shells into the sky to prevent illegal fishing operations by Vietnamese fishermen. Both showed China’s firm determination to insist upon its stance amid the South China Sea disputes.

Washington expressed its concerns in both cases, reinforcing its attitude that the US can interfere in the South China Sea issue any time.

Despite the fact that John Kerry, the new US secretary of state, has stepped into office and some side effects brought by his predecessor’s aggressive approach are in decline, the US stance on the South China Sea will not fundamentally change. Behind China’s frictions with the Philippines and Vietnam is actually the rivalry between Beijing and Washington over the South China Sea.

After Hillary Clinton’s four-year intervention into the South China Sea issue with her “smart power” diplomacy, and Manila and Hanoi’s frictions with Beijing, all kinds of risks within the South China Sea issue have become evident. All parties involved now have a clearer understanding of each other’s national strength and determination.

China, through powerful countermeasures against Manila and Hanoi’s provocations, has changed its passive status. Beijing had been worried that frictions on the South China Sea would cause deterioration in its surrounding environment and thus undermine its period of strategic opportunities. Now most of its concerns have been dispelled.

Crises like the Huangyan Island standoff have made one thing explicit – those were, after all, conflicts between countries whose strength were unequally matched. Manila and Hanoi would not have any chance of victory if the South China Sea issue escalated into a confrontation of national strength.

China has no plan to wage a war and recover all the islands illegally occupied by the Philippines and Vietnam. However, China has become more resolute in terms of strikes against the two’s provocations.

China’s growing leverage over the South China Sea issue stems from stable domestic development. Meanwhile, Manila and Hanoi are witnessing a reduced ability to provoke Beijing over those disputes. Washington is also seeing an increasing number of restraints in its South China Sea policy. The Philippines and Vietnam would face more troubles if they choose to seek fierce confrontation with China.

China should focus on peaceful development. But meanwhile, it is not afraid of adopting resolute measures to protect core national interests. China should avoid external misjudgments toward it, which is pivotal to the nation’s long-term strategic environment.

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NATO Would Join War Against North Korea: Deputy Secretary General

March 30, 2013 7 comments

Voice of Russia
March 29, 2013

NATO to make collective response to hypothetical N.Korea attacks on US – Vershbow

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A hypothetical North Korean attack on U.S. military facilities would involve other NATO member countries joining in armed action against the communist state as prescribed by Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty, NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow told Interfax on Friday.

Vershbow cited the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, which led Washington to invoke Article Five.

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Russian Information Agency Novosti
March 29, 2013

Senior NATO Official Will Not Rule Out Conflict with N.Korea

MOSCOW: A senior NATO official said on Friday that military conflict between the United States and North Korea was not inevitable, but that Washington and its allies are capable of deterring that outcome.

NATO deputy chief Alexander Vershbow told Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy in an interview that Kim Jong Un’s relative inexperience as leader of North Korea added an element of unpredictability.

“One can never be certain, particularly when they have a new young untested leader,” Vershbow said.

Tensions between the West and North Korea reached new heights after Pyongyang threatened to unleash military action this week in response to drills by thousands of US and South Korean troops across the border that were intended as a show of force.

The annual large-scale military exercises, codenamed Key Resolve, began on March 11 and involved around 10,000 South Korean and 3,500 US troops.

Officials in Washington said the exercise would demonstrate the readiness of the United States to deter against aggression on the Korean peninsula.

On Friday, North Korea placed its strategic rocket forces on standby to strike US and South Korean targets.

Vershbow, a former US ambassador to Russia, acknowledged North Korea’s significant military capability and its long-term policy of prioritizing defense over all other issues, but said it still remains unclear what offensive potential the regime possesses.

Russia weighed in on the souring climate on Friday by criticizing war games around the Korean peninsula as a destabilizing factor that could lead to conflict.

In a veiled reference to the United States and South Korea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged all parties involved in the Korean standoff to refrain from muscle-flexing.

“We are alarmed that along with the adequate reaction from the UN Security Council and the collective reaction of the international community, unilateral action is being taken around North Korea that involves increased military activity,” he said.

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Xinhua News Agency
March 29, 2013

Russia concerned over military beef-up around Korean Peninsula

MOSCOW: Moscow is worried that the unilateral attempts to influence the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) could trigger dangerous developments of the situation in the Korean Peninsula, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

“We worry that along with an adequate reaction of the U.N. Security Council, a collective reaction of the international community, the unilateral actions have been undertaken,” Lavrov told reporters after meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kozhara.

He elaborated that Russia was concerned with increasing military activities around the Korean Peninsula.

“We could simply lose control over the situation and it will spiral to the vicious circle,” the diplomat said.

He urged not to beef up military presence and not to use the situation in the region as a pretext for achieving other geopolitical goals with military means.

Instead, Lavrov said, the conditions to resume the six-party talks must be undertaken.

On Friday, the DPRK’s top leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the country’s rocket units to be on standby to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific region in response to the United States flying stealth bombers to South Korea.

The day before, two B-2 Spirit bombers have made a nonstop round trip from a base in Missouri to an island bombing range off South Korea’s coast.

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U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Chief New Top NATO Military Commander

United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa
March 29, 2013

Breedlove nominated as SACEUR, EUCOM Commander
U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

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Qatari warplanes used in NATO’s onslaught againt Libya in 2011

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced March 28 that the president has nominated Gen. Philip M. Breedlove to be the next Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and commander, U.S. European Command, succeeding Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, who has served in that position since 2009.

“I’m deeply honored by the nomination to serve as the next Commander of United States European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe,” said Gen. Breedlove, commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe; commander, U.S. Air Forces Africa; commander, Headquarters, Allied Air Command, Ramstein; and director, Joint Air Power Competence Center. “If confirmed, I’ll do everything in my power to live up to the example set by Admiral Jim Stavridis and the other great officers who have led the men and women of this command so well throughout its remarkable history.”

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization
March 28, 2013

NATO announces nomination of General Philip M. Breedlove as Supreme Allied Commander Europe

The North Atlantic Council approved the nomination of General Philip M. Breedlove, United States Air Force, to the post of Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

General Breedlove is currently serving as Commander, United States Air Force Europe; Commander, United States Air Force Africa; Commander, Headquarters, Allied Air Command, Ramstein; and Director, Joint Air Power Competence Center.

Upon completion of national confirmation processes, he will take up his appointment as successor to Admiral James G. Stavridis, United States Navy, at a change of command ceremony at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium, expected in the Spring of 2013.

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Romain Rolland: Goddess of prey, Anti-Christ, hovering over butcheries with spread wings and hawk’s talons

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

Romain Rolland: Selections on war

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Romain Rolland
From Clerambault (1921)
Translated by Katherine Miller

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Days passed, and nothing happened. Silence. The appeal had fallen on the ear of an inattentive public, the publisher was little known, the pamphlet carelessly issued. There are none so deaf as those who will not hear, and the few readers who were attracted by Clerambault’s name, merely glanced at the first lines, and threw it aside, thinking:

“The poor man’s head has been turned by his sorrow,” — a good pretext for not wishing to upset their own balance.

A second article followed, in which Clerambault took a final leave of the bloody old fetish falsely called Country; or rather in opposition to the great flesh-eater, the she-wolf of Rome, on whose altar men are now offered up, he set the august Mother of all living, the universal Country:

TO HER WHOM WE HAVE LOVED

There can be nothing more bitter than to be parted from her whom one has loved. I lacerate my own heart when I tear Country from it; — dear, beautiful, and good, as she seemed! There are some ardent lovers so blinded that they can forget all the joy and love of former days, and see only the change in the loved one, and the harm that she has done them. If it were only possible for me to be like that! But I cannot; it is impossible for me to forget. I must see thee always as I loved thee, when I trusted, and saw in thee my guide and my best friend. — Oh, my Country! why hast thou deserted and betrayed me? If I were the only one to suffer, I could hide the sad disenchantment under the memory of my former affection; but I behold thy victims, these trusting devoted youths. — I see myself in them, as I was. And how greatly thou hast deceived us! Thine was as the voice of fraternal love, thou calledst us, that we might all be united, all brothers, — no more isolation. To each was lent the strength of millions of others, and we were taught to love our sky, our soil, and the work of our hands, that in them we should love each other more, for thy sake. Now where have we been led? Did we unite to increase, and grow stronger to hate and destroy? We had known too much of these isolated hatreds in the past. Each had his load of evil thoughts, but at least we knew them to be evil. But now our souls are poisoned, since thou hast called these things sacred…

Why these combats? To set us free? But thou hast made slaves of us. Our conscience is outraged, our happiness gone, our prosperity destroyed. What need have we of further conquests, when the land of our fathers has grown too wide for their children? Is it to satisfy the greed of some among us, and can it be that the Country will fill their maw at the cost of public misfortune?

Patriotism, sold to the rich, to those who traffic in the blood of souls and of nations! Partner and accomplice, covering your villainies with an heroic mantle, look to thyself! The hour is coming when the peoples will shake off the vermin, the gods and masters by whom they have been deceived. They will drive out the guilty from among them. I shall strike straight at the Head whose shadow is over us all. Thou who sittest impassively on thy throne, while multitudes slaughter each other in thy name, thou whom they worship while they hate their fellow-man, thou who hast pleasure in the bloody orgies of the nations, Goddess of prey, Anti-Christ, hovering over these butcheries with thy spread wings, and hawk’s talons; — who will tear thee from our heaven? Who will give us back the sun, and our love for our brothers?…I am alone, and have but my voice, which will soon be silent, but before I disappear, hear my cry: “Thou wilt fall, Tyrant, for humanity must live. The time will come when men will break this yoke of death and falsehood; — that time is near, it is at hand.”

THE LOVED ONE’S REPLY

My son, your words are like stones that a child throws at the sky which he cannot reach; they will fall back on your own head. She whom you insult, who has usurped my name, is an idol carved by yourself, in your own image, not in mine. The true Country is that of the Father. She belongs to all, and embraces everyone.—It is not her fault if you have brought her down to your own level…Unhappy creatures, who sully your gods; there is not a lofty idea that you have not tarnished. You turn the good that is brought you, into poison, and scorch yourselves with the very light that shines on you. I came among you to bring warmth to your loneliness; I brought your shivering souls together in a flock, and bound your scattered weakness in sheaves of arrows. I am brotherly love, the great Communion; and you destroy your fellows in my name, fools that you are!…

For ages I have toiled to deliver you from the chains of bestiality, to free you from your hard egotism. On the road of Time you advance by toil and sweat; provinces and nations are the military milestones which mark your resting-places. Your weakness alone created them. Before I can lead you farther, I must wait till you have taken breath; you have so little strength of lungs or heart, that you have made virtues of your weaknesses. You admire your heroes for the distance they went before they dropped exhausted; not because they were the first to reach those limits. And when you have come without difficulty to the spot where these forerunners stopped, you think yourselves heroes in your turn.

What have these shadows of the past to do with us today? Bayard, Joan of Arc, we have no further need of heroism like theirs, knights and martyrs of a dead cause. We want apostles of the future, great hearts that will give themselves for a larger country, a higher ideal. Forward then; cross the old frontiers, and if you must still use these crutches, to help your lameness, thrust the barriers back to the doors of the East, the confines of Europe, until at last step by step you reach the end, and men encircle the globe, each holding by the other’s hand. Before you insult me, poor little author, descend into your own heart, examine yourself. The gift of speech was given you to guide your people, and you have used it to deceive yourself and lead them astray. You have added to their error instead of saving them, even to the point that you have laid your own son whom you loved on the altar of your untruth.

Now at least dare to show to others the ruin that you are, and say: “See what I am, and take warning!”…Go! And may your misfortunes save those that come after from the same fate! Dare to speak, and cry out to them: “You are mad, peoples of the earth; instead of defending your Country, you are killing her. You are your Country and the enemies are your brothers. Millions of God’s creatures” love one another.

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AFRICOM Headquarters: U.S. Marine Corps Readies Ospreys For African Warfare

Stars and Stripes
March 28, 2013

Marine Ospreys take flight in Stuttgart demonstration for COCOMs
By David Rogers and John Vandiver

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Demonstrating the aircraft capabilities, the Ospreys arrived in Stuttgart after flying 1,400 miles from the coast of Spain, complete with an aerial refueling by a C-130.

“Africa is an enormous continent. And what we’re demonstrating is ‘Hey…you have assets now that can reach out on their own, independently, and go 1,400 miles away and influence your theater.’”

“So, when you say Marines in a MAGTF, you’re talking Osprey, you’re talking riflemen, you’re talking artillery, tanks.”

With the ability to take off and land like a helicopter and fly like a fixed wing plane, the Osprey’s versatility has come in handy for both land and sea-based missions, stretching from Iraq and Afghanistan to Haiti and Libya…

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STUTTGART, Germany: The buzz of heavy propellers churned up dust and snow on Thursday when visiting Marine Corps aircraft expected to play a role in future missions for U.S. Africa and U.S. Europe commands touched down near their headquarters.

The three MV-22B Ospreys assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit out of Camp Lejeune, were in Stuttgart for a four-day visit focused on showcasing the unique aircraft’s capabilities to senior leaders at the two commands.

Demonstrating the aircraft capabilities, the Ospreys arrived in Stuttgart after flying 1,400 miles from the coast of Spain, complete with an aerial refueling by a C-130.

“We’re getting two combatant commanders, two four-stars and their staffs, acquainted with a new aircraft and new capabilities that today’s MEU brings to the field,” said Marine Lt. Col. Rick Coates, future operations officer for Marine Forces Europe and acting liaison to the 26th MEU.

“Africa is an enormous continent. And what we’re demonstrating is ‘Hey…you have assets now that can reach out on their own, independently, and go 1,400 miles away and influence your theater.’”

During the past couple of years, the Marine Corps has been elevating its profile within Europe, even as the overall U.S. military presence on the continent has been shrinking. In 2010, Marine Forces Europe launched its Black Sea Rotational Force, which focuses on training foreign militaries in eastern Europe. Each year, the task force, comprised mostly of reservists, spends roughly five months overseas, conducting missions with numerous allied nations.

The Black Sea effort was followed up in 2011 with a similar Africa-focused Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, based out of Sigonella, Italy. Most of that unit’s time is spent on the African continent, training foreign armies in everything from logistics management to counter-terrorism tactics.

Meanwhile, a second Africa-focused Marine MAGTF with a special focus on crisis-response also is being developed. For such a unit, the Osprey would likely be the aircraft of choice.

“So, when you say Marines in a MAGTF, you’re talking Osprey, you’re talking riflemen, you’re talking artillery, tanks,” Coates said. “You’re talking the whole package. And that’s what people really need to take away is what we bring to the table.”

The Marine Corps’ increased attention on Africa comes as Africa Command confronts a growing threat posed by Islamic militant groups operating across much of northern Africa, from Somalia to Libya and Mali.

For the Marine Corps, the MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft is a key component in its expeditionary mission. While critics have long questioned the safety of the aircraft, the Marines have stood by the Osprey, which the Corps regards as its premier assault support aircraft.

With the ability to take off and land like a helicopter and fly like a fixed wing plane, the Osprey’s versatility has come in handy for both land and sea-based missions, stretching from Iraq and Afghanistan to Haiti and Libya, where the Osprey was used to rescue a downed Air Force pilot during military operations in 2011.

“We can fly so far out, compared to the other aircraft on the boat,” said Marine Cpl. Justin Whiteman, an Osprey crew chief with the MEU. “We can fly 500 miles out and back without a problem. And adding C-130 support for aerial refuel, the boat can be way far out and that gives us the ability to fly…to keep the mission a go.”

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Turning Mediterranean Sea Into Lake: U.S. Tests Ospreys For Use In Africa

United States European Command
March 29, 2013

MV-22B Ospreys thunder through Stuttgart skies
Sgt. Tatum Vayavananda

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For the exercise, three MV-22B Ospreys flew from an aircraft carrier on the Atlantic Ocean, past Rota, Spain, to Stuttgart, Germany, two days ago without having to land; a total of 1,400 nautical miles.

“It’s very important that we demonstrate this capability that the Marine Corps brings to the commands in the assault-support realm.”

The MV-22B Osprey is a multi-engine, dual-piloted, self-deployable, medium-lift, vertical-takeoff and landing, tilt-rotor aircraft designed for combat support and special-operations missions.

“It takes the Mediterranean Sea, for example, and turns it into a lake.”

The aircraft, which reached its initial operation capability in 2007, has proven its operational efficacy with its ability to fly twice as fast, carry three times the payload, go twice as high, and travel almost five times the distance of other legacy medium-lift helicopters.

“We are used to operating in big countries, like Iraq and Afghanistan, but they are still countries. Europe and Africa are continents!”

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STUTTGART, Germany: In coordination with U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa, the community of U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command, and USAG Stuttgart had “hands-on” experience with the MV-22B Osprey during a capabilities exercise on Patch Barracks, Kelly Barracks, and Stuttgart Army Airfield, March 28. The MV-22B Ospreys are visiting from the Marine Tiltrotor Squadron 266 (Reinforced), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Part of the event was to introduce the MV-22B Osprey, which is a recent addition to the Marine Corps’ aviation inventory, to the EUCOM and AFRICOM combatant commands.

“I think it’s the future of how we’re going to provide medium-lift assault support in many ways,” said Lt. Col. Chris J. Boniface, the commanding officer of VMM-266, 26th MEU, II MEF.

For the exercise, three MV-22B Ospreys flew from an aircraft carrier on the Atlantic Ocean, past Rota, Spain, to Stuttgart, Germany, two days ago without having to land; a total of 1,400 nautical miles.

“It’s very important that we demonstrate this capability that the Marine Corps brings to the commands in the assault-support realm,” said Boniface, the Enterprise, Ala., native.

The MV-22B Osprey is a multi-engine, dual-piloted, self-deployable, medium-lift, vertical-takeoff and landing, tilt-rotor aircraft designed for combat support and special-operations missions. It combines the functionality of a helicopter with the performance of a turbo-prop aircraft.

“It’s the only airplane that can do everything a helicopter can,” said Capt. Erik B. Kolle, an MV-22B pilot, VMM-266, 26th MEU, II MEF. “It has proven in the last several years that it is a good choice,” added the Raleigh, N.C., native.

The MV-22B represents new capabilities in the region and can provide Marine Forces Europe and Marine Forces Africa a unique asset supporting their mission to respond to crisis, build partner-nation military capacity, promote regional security, and maintain a stabilization presence as directed by EUCOM and AFRICOM to protect U.S. national security interests.

“It takes the Mediterranean Sea, for example, and turns it into a lake,” said Kolle, regarding the rapid travelling capability of the MV-22B.

“Before, if a MEU wanted to reach an area, they would have to bring the ships closer to that region and deploy helicopters. Now, with the MV-22B, you can have a MEU floating in Spain and have troops on the other end of the Mediterranean the same day,” said Kolle.

“If AFRICOM and EUCOM are going to have MV-22Bs in their areas of responsibility, it’s important to know how to employ these assets in the event that something happens,” added Kolle.

Within the EUCOM and AFRICOM areas of responsibility, most bi-lateral and multi-lateral exercises with allied and partner nations could be supported with combat-proven air support provided by the MV-22B that other aircrafts, like the C-130 Hercules cargo plane, which requires a run-way for takeoff and landing, would prove less effective.

“I think the capabilities to fly as fast, and as far, as we can is significant in this area,” said Cpl. Justin J. Whiteman, an MV-22B crew chief, VMM 266, 26th MEU, II MEF.

To demonstrate the versatile landing capability of the MV-22B, two aircraft flew from Stuttgart Army Airfield, landing one on Kelly Field, Kelly Barracks, and the other landing on Husky Field, Patch Barracks.

“We can do 280 knots and put troops into a variety of landing terrains and conditions; unpaved areas, mountain sides, dusty zones. Airplanes and helicopters just can’t do that,” said Whiteman, the Lancaster, Penn., native.

“I think it’s critical for quick-response teams to be able to get to places that are great distances apart and the MV-22B is just that; ‘quick response,’” said Whiteman.

The aircraft, which reached its initial operation capability in 2007, has proven its operational efficacy with its ability to fly twice as fast, carry three times the payload, go twice as high, and travel almost five times the distance of other legacy medium-lift helicopters.

“The Osprey provides an awesome capability,” said Boniface. “It can aerial refuel, climb up to 25,000 feet; it does anything the commander needs it too, from embassy reinforcement to tactical recovery of personnel missions and raids.”

The MV-22B replaces the Marine Corps’ CH-46 “Sea Knight” helicopter’s role in functioning as the Marine Corps’ amphibious assault transport of troops, equipment and supplies, between sea and land.

“The CH-46 was a great aircraft, but that was 1960’s technology; this is the new millennium’s technology and it’s being upgraded along the way as we learn new lessons from other [Overseas Contingency Operations],” said Lt. Col. Rick Coates, a future operations officer, Marine Forces Europe.

Beyond the 1,400-mile flight, to show the long-range raid ability of the Osprey, the capabilities exercise included flights around the city, a tour of the aircraft, and contact with a knowledgeable and experienced crew to answer questions.

“The combatant commanders here are getting to see how, if they owned an amphibious readiness group, they will own a force that can go out and influence their area of responsibility,” said Coates.

“We are used to operating in big countries, like Iraq and Afghanistan, but they are still countries. Europe and Africa are continents!” said Coates.

“When you have this aircraft, with all the capabilities that it brings, you shrink the battle space and the distance won’t work against you,” said Coates. “It’s getting the job done in every clime and place; you can really reach out and touch anybody.”

The event also gave the USAG Stuttgart community a chance to see an aircraft that doesn’t typically operate within the Stuttgart airspace.

“This is a great opportunity and the hard work that everyone put into planning this has really paid off,” said Coates. “The tax payers are also getting to see the aircraft. The air-base communities in America are used to seeing Ospreys, but other places never get to see them, so it’s important to reach out to the American people here in Germany to show them what their military is doing.”

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NATO Cultivates Bellicose Yuppie Elites For 21st Century Wars

March 29, 2013 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

March 27, 203

Young Professionals Bring Fresh, New Perspectives to NATO at YP Day
Written by ACT PAO

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“The ultimate goal of this work will be identifying security implications to support future operations and translating them, smartly into real, relevant and credible capabilities.”

“Where talent, motivation and youth meet, the sky’s the limit. Today you have not embarked on a leisure cruise. Today you are active crew members to ACT’s transformation.”

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Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy at NATO Ambassador Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović

There are not many organisations that will dedicate an entire day to young leaders of tomorrow and ask them to help find solutions to challenges that could profoundly impact the lives of millions – but not every organisation advocates for continuous improvement in an Alliance of 28 different nations like ACT.

Allied Command Transformation (ACT), along with the Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR) at Johns Hopkins University, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS), hosted its annual Young Professionals (YP) Day 2013 at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C. March 26, to bring a diverse group of university students and young professionals together to provide new perspectives on issues that drive NATO’s future Transformation.

During the day-long event, young professionals analysed challenges and opportunities inherent in four potential future scenarios for the Alliance. They were then assembled in four working groups, guided by mentors from ACT and other organisations, to formulate their own ideas for taking on these challenges. Ultimately, the discussion generated by these young people will help shape the future of the Alliance and ensure that NATO remains a capable and adaptable military force.

Among NATO leaders in attendance were Ambassador Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, the Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy in NATO and U.S. Army Major General Peter Bayer, ACT Deputy Chief of Staff Strategic Plans and Policy who gave opening and introductory remarks – and French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), who delivered the keynote address to more than one hundred attendees.

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French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros

Ambassador Grabar-Kitarović told the young professionals “you are not only the leaders of tomorrow, you are the leaders of today.”

“This gathering of promising, talented young professionals is all the more meaningful to me,” said General Paloméros. “Where talent, motivation and youth meet, the sky’s the limit. Today you have not embarked on a leisure cruise. Today you are active crew members to ACT’s transformation.”

General Paloméros also discussed NATO’s current and ever-changing security environment, making clear to the young professionals their agenda for the day.

“Within our ambitious strategic concept, we still need to solve our security equation,” he continued. “This is what you have been asked to do. You, we in ACT, the Alliance, need to find the best way to match the security requirement.”

“The ultimate goal of this work will be identifying security implications to support future operations and translating them, smartly into real, relevant and credible capabilities.”

The future security requirement depends on continuous strategic dialogue and a shared perspective of challenges the Alliance will face in the long term. That realisation wasn’t lost among the young professionals.

“The need for prioritising the threats and risks the Alliance might have to face in the future and determining what could be NATO’s role in addressing these challenges appeared to me as a crucial issue,” said Jean Heilbronn, one of the young professionals. “It is not enough to simply present what the future may hold. We also have to take the risk of assessing and giving estimates of probable evolutions in order to foster pro-active change and transformation.”

After lengthy discussions examining relevant drivers and developing trends that will shape the future security and operating environment for NATO in 2030 and beyond, the working groups reassembled to provide their solutions to each other, their mentors, and ACT strategic analysts including Major General Bayer, who was impressed with the outcome.

“Anyway you look at the future, it is dangerous, complex and fast,” said Bayer. “What I saw here today makes me optimistic about the future. I saw energy and commitment and I thank you for that.”

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Nordic Aryan Teutonic Order: Pentagon’s Vikings In Norway

United States European Command
March 28, 2013

Minnesotan, Norwegian Soldiers Celebrate 40 Years of Partnership
Spc. Linsey Williams, Minnesota National Guard

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“Our troop exchange began in 1974, and is the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two nations,” spoke Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard. “This yearly exchange promotes goodwill and sharpens military readiness between our two nations.”

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After two action-packed weeks, the 40th Anniversary of the Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange (NOREX) has come an end. The longest partnership-in-training between two nations, NOREX has been, and continues to be, a shining example of the positive reciprocity that can exist between allied militaries.

Together, Norwegian and Minnesotan troops have braved the cold and snow, skied up mountains, and slept in shelters created with bare, or rather gloved, hands. Not only have the two military groups worked hard together, they have also played well together. No event demonstrated that better than the evening of NOREX’s Viking Feast.

Dressed in costumes, designed themselves out of potato sacks, Minnesota troops were treated to an elaborate production re-enacting events which would have taken place in the home of a Viking chieftain. Following the production, each troop was given their own Viking helmet (though made of plastic) and brought to feast on a traditional Norwegian meal.

The following evening also held its traditions, but this time looking a bit more formal than the ancient Vikings. Military leaders from the Minnesota National Guard traveled to Norway to dine with their Norwegian counterparts and the other NOREX participants at a farewell banquet.

“Our troop exchange began in 1974, and is the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two nations,” spoke Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard. “This yearly exchange promotes goodwill and sharpens military readiness between our two nations.”

In his address to the gathering at the Camp Vaernes dining facility, Nash shared a brief history of the close military bond between Minnesota and Norway. Afterwards, he presented Maj. Gen. Kristin Lund, Chief of Staff of the Norwegian Home Guard, with a unique gift.

“After the invasion of Norway from Nazi Germany, the 99th Infantry Battalion was created at Camp Ripley, Minn.,” explained Nash. “All members of this unit were of Norwegian decent, and more than half were from Minnesota. Their mission was to assist in the Norwegian Resistance in efforts against the Nazis. Lund, in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the exchange program, we present you with an intact, historically correct uniform from a Minnesota Soldier who served in the 99th Infantry Battalion.”

Having demonstrated the purpose of the Norwegian Exchange; training and friendship building; and seeing it cumulate to one evening, members of the Minnesota National Guard shared one more meal with their Norwegian friends. For many, this certainly won’t be the last.

“Even though I had my first exchange forty years ago, I still keep contact with people,” shared Lund. “I hope that you will come back to Norway again.”

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Aldous Huxley: Scientific workers must take action against war

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

Aldous Huxley: Selections on war

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Aldous Huxley
From Science, Liberty and Peace (1946)

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It should be remarked that, under the present dispensation, armaments are the only goods that are given away without consideration of costs or profits. Modern war is, among other things, a competition among nations as to which can hand out, free, gratis and for nothing, the largest amount of capital goods in the shortest time. These capital goods are all maleficent and unproductive; but the thought occurs to one that something resembling wartime prosperity might be made permanent if there were more giving away at cost, or even for nothing, and less selling at a profit and paying of interest.

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If it were not for the fact that, in the past, apparently negligible movements, originating among individuals without any political power, have yet exercised a prodigious influence over mankind, there would be reason for discouragement. But fortunately it is not impossible that the presently tiny piece of decentralist leaven may end by leavening the whole huge lump of contemporary society.

It is not impossible, I repeat, but it must be added that, so long as the nations stick to their ancient habit of war-making, it is highly improbable. For the nature of modern war is such that it cannot be successfully waged by any nation which does not possess a highly developed not to say hypertrophied, capital-goods industry supplemented by a mass-producing consumer-goods industry capable of rapid expansion and conversion for wartime needs. Furthermore it cannot be waged successfully, except by nations which can mobilize their entire man-power and woman-power in universal military or industrial conscription. But universal conscription is most easily imposed where large numbers of the population are rootless, propertyless and entirely dependent for their livelihood upon the state or upon large-scale private employers. Such persons constitute that dream of every militaristic dictator — a “fluid labour force,” which can be shifted at will from one place or one unskilled job to another place or job.

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As individuals or in organized groups, scientific workers can take three kinds of action against war. There is, first, the possibility of negative action in the form of a refusal, on conscientious grounds, to participate in work having as its purpose the killing, torture or enslavement of human beings. Christianity once insisted, and Buddhism still insists, upon the importance of “right livelihood.” There are certain professions so intrinsically harmful that no individual ought to practise them. In the eyes of medieval Catholic theologians, for example, the profession of a moneylender or of a speculator was beyond the pale: they held that a man could not live by usury and the manipulation of the commodity markets, and still be regarded as a Christian. Similarly, for Buddha and his followers, a man could not be regarded as a Buddhist, if he made his living by the manufacture of arms or intoxicants. Men of science and technologists would do well, as individuals and in their national and international organizations, to consider the problem of right livelihood in its relation to their own contemporary activities. Is it possible to work on the development of instruments of ever more indiscriminate slaughter and to remain — not a good Christian or a good Buddhist; for in scientific and technological circles religion is now out of fashion — but a good human being?

Meanwhile it is to be hoped and perhaps expected that a certain number of individual scientists and technicians will take the negative stand against war and the centralization of power which is war’s inevitable accompaniment, by refusing to collaborate in any project whose purpose is the destruction or enslavement of human beings.

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Nuclear-Capable U.S. Bombers Fly Over Korean Peninsula

March 28, 2013 1 comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
March 28, 2013

Nuclear-Capable US Bombers Fly Over S. Korea

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B-2 stealth bomber

WASHINGTON: The US military said Thursday it had sent two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers on an “extended deterrence” practice run over South Korea, dropping dummy bombs as part of a bilateral training exercise.

“This mission… demonstrates the United States’ ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will,” said a statement from the United States Forces Korea, a division of the US Strategic Command under the Department of Defense.

While it is unclear if US stealth bombers had been used in previous military drills with South Korea, this was the first time the military announced their use, the Associated Press reported.

The two bombers, capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear weapons, left the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and flew more than 6,500 miles (10,461 km) to the Korean Peninsula where they dropped the inert munitions on an island range facility off the western coast of South Korea, and then returned to the United States “in a single, continuous mission,” according to the statement.

The flight was “intended to demonstrate very clearly the resolve of the United States to deter against aggression on the Korean Peninsula, and our strong commitment to the US alliance with South Korea,” a senior defense official told CBS News.

The point was underscored in a phone call Wednesday night between US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin.

“Secretary Hagel and Minister Kim reaffirmed the strength of the alliance, which has been, and continues to be, instrumental in maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement.

The bombing mission comes in the midst of escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Earlier this month a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States after the United Nations Security Council approved sanctions in response to a third nuclear test by North Korea in February.

The US military announced earlier this month that it would strengthen its missile defenses in response to threats from North Korea.

“The United States is steadfast in its alliance commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea, to deterring aggression, and to ensuring peace and stability in the region,” said the statement from the United States Forces Korea released Thursday.

The bombing run was part of a training exercise between US and South Korean forces that started March 1 and continues through the end of April.

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Stars and Stripes
March 28, 2013

B-2s fly nonstop from US to Korea for exercise mission

USAFOSAN AIR BASE, South Korea: A pair of Air Force B-2 stealth bombers flew a mission from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., to South Korea on Thursday as part of the annual Foal Eagle joint exercise, making the long round trip without stopping.

“This mission by two B-2 Spirit bombers assigned to 509th Bomb Wing, which demonstrates the United States’ ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will, involved flying more than 6,500 miles to the Korean Peninsula, dropping inert munitions on the Jik Do Range, and returning to the continental U.S. in a single, continuous mission,” according to a U.S. Forces Korea statement.

The B-2 is a nuclear-capable intercontinental bomber that can fly long non-stop missions by using in-flight refueling.

At least one of the two B-2s was seen flying with an F-16 escort over Osan Air Base on Thursday.

“The United States is steadfast in its alliance commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea, to deterring aggression, and to ensuring peace and stability in the region. The B-2 bomber is an important element of America’s enduring and robust extended deterrence capability in the Asia-Pacific,” USFK said.

American B-52s and a nuclear attack submarine earlier were brought in for the annual U.S.-South Korean exercise this month.

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Pentagon Gears Up For Global Cyber Warfare

Global Times
March 25, 2013

Cyber warfare subject to Western hegemony

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According to Reuters, Shanghai Jiao Tong University is the latest “collaborator” with the PLA to engage in “cyber espionage.” The reason was that “Reuters found at least three papers on cyber-warfare on a document-sharing website that were co-authored by university faculty members and PLA researchers,” whereas in most developed nations, “university professors in recent decades have been reluctant to cooperate with operational intelligence gathering units.”

Washington has set up military units to launch cyber warfare, with 13 offensive cyber warfare units. This is way more serious than the “suspected” deal that involves the PLA. Nevertheless, China receives more accusations from Western media of “government-backed cyber attacks.”

China has been the focus of finger-pointing by Western media, and the Chinese government has been behaving in a cautious way. It’s beyond imagination and China’s political reality that the Chinese authorities, under close watch by the West, are vigorously waging a cyber war against the US.

In terms of Internet security, Western public opinion incorrectly thinks that China – which has never been at the forefront of Internet technological development and suffers from much more serious cyber attacks than the US – is the one which should receive supervision. This mirrors the hegemonic situation enjoyed by Western interests.

A widely recognized code of conduct in cyberspace hasn’t been established. And yet there are no clear definitions of cyber espionage and cyber warfare. Washington still has the final say in this regard, and other Western countries simply echo the US. The US, while publicly forming cyber war units, pretends to be the defender of cyber justice.

It’s hard to change Western dominance in terms of international public opinion. But Chinese should remain cool-headed.

It’s a pity that some Chinese netizens follow Western media and criticize so-called unethical cyber conduct by the Chinese government. There are also idealists who believe “global interests” should top “national interests.” Today most globalists are in developing countries, because their proposals have long been marginalized in the developed world, especially in the US. Mainstream public opinion in the West always cries out to prioritize their national interests.

Western countries have teamed up on the Internet security issue, which reflects their deeply rooted attitudes toward China. Beijing has little hope of changing this.

A cyber war may erupt one day, but it’s possible that there won’t be any public announcement beforehand, and such cyber warfare may be waged every day. It’s hard to tell how cyber wars will undermine the existing world order and whether they will turn into military clashes between countries.

The Chinese public needs to stay calm and united. We must have the capacity to safeguard national security on the Internet, and launch counterattacks to punish cyber invaders who dare to launch cyber wars against us.

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Nepal: U.S. Marine General Kicks Off Multinational Military Training

March 27, 2013 1 comment

Department of Defense
March 26, 2013

Multinational Peacekeeping Exercise Kicks Off in Nepal
By Donna Miles

[Comparable U.S.-led military training exercises occur annually in nations like Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Cambodia for “peacekeeping” missions in locations like Iraq and Afghanistan.]

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Senior leaders from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the United States are attending the four-day senior training seminar

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WASHINGTON: U.S. Pacific Command’s deputy commander opened a multinational peacekeeping exercise in Nepal yesterday…

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Conant joined officials from the Nepalese army and the United Nations to kick off the Shanti Prayas 2 peacekeeping exercise at the Birendra Peace Operations Training Center in Panchkal.

The exercise, the second to be hosted by Nepal, is sponsored by the United States to train the Nepal army and Global Peace Operations Initiative partner nation militaries for U.N. peacekeeping missions. Representatives of 23 nations are participating in this year’s exercise.

Conant, expressing pride for his service as a U.N. peacekeeper in Somalia in 1994, challenged the group to take advantage of the opportunity to “learn and practice and latest in peacekeeping skills in a realistic environment, as well as to learn from each nation’s participants.”

Shanti Prayas 2 includes a senior training seminar, staff exercise and field training exercise.

Eleven platoons from 11 nations participating in the FTX are working to enhance their tactical training, organizational tactics, techniques and procedures. Senior leaders from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the United States are attending the four-day senior training seminar, which concludes today.

In addition, 84 officers from 24 nations participating in the staff exercise are focused on improving their operations, logistics and planning capabilities and U.N. civil-military coordination.

Conant and his Nepalese hosts laid a wreath on a Peacekeepers Memorial to honor those killed in the line of duty promoting international peace.

The U.S. State Department’s Global Peace Operations Initiative was established in 2004 to build partner-nation capabilities in peace support operations. The goal, Conant explained, is to increase the pool of military troops and police units trained and available for deployment and to provide the required preparation, logistical and deployment support they may require.

Within six years of its inception, the program trained and equipped 75,000 peacekeepers worldwide, primarily in Africa. The focus now has shifted to the Asia-Pacific region, with an emphasis on humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations, Conant said.

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Anatole France: Military service the most terrible pest of civilised nations

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

Anatole France: Selections on war

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Anatole France
From The Opinions of Jerome Coignard (1893)
Translated by Mrs. Wilfred Jackson

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“What would it be if the heart and thought of a Caesar dwelt in my head and my breast? My desires would recognise no sex and I should be untouched by pity. I should light the fire of inextinguishable war at home and abroad.”

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“I would not change my existence for that of the great Caesar. It would cost my innocence too much. And I would rather be an obscure man, poor and despised, as indeed I am, than rise to the height whence new destinies are opened to the world through paths of blood.

“This recruiting-sergeant, whom you can hear from here promising these vagabonds a halfpenny a day, with bread and meat, fills me, my son, with profound reflections on war and armies. I have worked at all trades save that of a soldier, which has always filled me with disgust and terror, by the characteristics of servitude, false glory, and cruelty, attached to it, which are in direct opposition to my peaceful temper, to my wild love of freedom, and to my turn of mind, which, judging sanely of glory, estimates at its rightful worth that attainable by a musketeer. I am not speaking at all of my incorrigible leaning to meditation which would have been exceedingly thwarted by sword and gun exercise…And I own to you, my son, that military service seems to me to be the most terrible pest of civilised nations.

“This is the opinion of a philosopher. There is nothing to show that it will ever be shared by a large number of people. And in actual fact, kings and republics will always find as many soldiers as they want for their parades and their wars…”

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“And beyond some rare exceptions, of which I am one, man may be defined as an animal with a musket. Give him a fine uniform with the hope of fighting, and he will be happy. Also, we make the military calling the noblest, which is true, in a sense, for it is the oldest calling, and the earliest of mankind made war. The military calling, moreover, has this appropriateness to human nature, that it never thinks, and clearly we are not made for thought.”

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“Soldiers live in company, and man is a sociable animal. They wear blue-and-white, blue-and-red, or grey-and-blue coats, ribbons, plumes, and cockades, which give them the same advantage over women as the cock over the hen. They march to war and pillage and man is naturally thievish, libidinous, destructive, and easily touched by glory. The love of glory decides us Frenchmen, above all, to take up arms. And it is certain, that in public opinion, military glory eclipses all…”

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“And what, in fact, is this military nobility flaunted with so much pride over us, if not the debased legacy of those unfortunate hunters of the woods whom the poet Lucretius has depicted in such a way that one does not know if they be men or beasts? It is wonderful, Tournebroche, my son, that war and the chase, of which the thought alone should overwhelm us with shame and remorse when we recall the wretched needs of our nature and our inveterate wickedness, serve on the contrary, as matter for vain-glory to men, that Christian peoples should continue to honour the profession of butcher and executioner, when it is of old standing in families, and that finally one estimates among refined people the celebrity of citizens by the quantity of murders and carnage that they bear, so to speak, in their veins.”

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Kazakhstan: NATO Consolidates Outpost On Chinese, Russian Borders

March 27, 2013 2 comments

Trend News Agency
March 27, 2013

Kazakh Defence Minister meets with NATO Special Representative for Caucasus and Central Asia
A. Mukhtarov

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“Kazakhstan is the most active partner of NATO in the region. The North Atlantic Alliance is appreciative of the training level of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan. We are interested in further enhancement of bilateral defence cooperation and will provide our full support,” James Appathurai said.

The annual ‘Steppe Eagle’ peacekeeping exercise is conducted on the territory of Kazakhstan with the participation of its military officers and representatives of foreign countries. In September 2012, the exercise was first conducted in the spirit of ‘Partnership for Peace’ with participation of units of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan, the U.S., UK, Tajikistan, as well as representatives from Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, France, Switzerland and Ukraine.

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Steppe Eagle 2012

Astana: Today in Astana, Kazakhstan’s Defence Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov met with the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the NATO for the Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai and a new NATO officer on interaction with Central Asia Alexander Vinnikov, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Kazakhstan informed Trend.

“The Ministry of Defence welcomes the resumption of the activity of the officer on interaction in the region. I am sure it will contribute to the effective coordination of our cooperation with the Alliance,” said Adilbek Dzhaksybekov.

Training of peacekeeping units in order to ensure their interoperability is the priority of Kazakhstan in cooperation with NATO. Practical aspects are aimed at the development of the national peace-building potential, participation in the joint exercises and exchange of experience in planning, implementation and comprehensive support of peacekeeping operations,” the Kazakh Defence Minister noted.

“Kazakhstan is the most active partner of NATO in the region. The North Atlantic Alliance is appreciative of the training level of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan. We are interested in further enhancement of bilateral defence cooperation and will provide our full support,” James Appathurai said.

The annual ‘Steppe Eagle’ peacekeeping exercise is conducted on the territory of Kazakhstan with the participation of its military officers and representatives of foreign countries. In September 2012, the exercise was first conducted in the spirit of ‘Partnership for Peace’ with participation of units of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan, the U.S., UK, Tajikistan, as well as representatives from Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, France, Switzerland and Ukraine.

“We are interested in increasing the participation of units of NATO member states and partner countries in the exercise and are relying on the support of NATO in this issue,” the minister noted.

In order to teach NATO standards and procedures to military officers at the Kazakhstan ‘Partnership for Peace’ training centre at the Military Institute of Land Forces (KAZCENT) more than 30 courses and seminars for military officers of are already being conducted. This is on the basis of KAZCENT including events such as courses on military terminology of English in multinational operations and NATO Military staff procedures.

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NATO Commander: Johns Hopkins Students “Active Crew Members”

March 27, 2013 1 comment

U.S. Department of Defense
March 27, 2013

NATO Officials Host Young Professionals at Johns Hopkins
By Amaani Lyle

WASHINGTON: NATO’s supreme allied commander for transformation encouraged about 70 college students here yesterday to apply their talent and motivation in assessing current and future crisis management and security challenges.

NATO, Allied Command Transformation and partner organizations hosted the 2013 Young Professionals Day at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies here, where Gen. Jean-Paul Paloméros of the French air force delivered the keynote address.

The general called participants “active crew members” charged to provide fresh and innovative perspectives in strategic thinking for an ever-changing security environment to NATO leadership and analysts from the alliance’s 28 member nations and its partners.

“In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, NATO fully recognized that threats to the security of our nations are increasingly global and transnational,” Paloméros said.

The general reminded the students that two major milestones, both unforeseen, marked NATO’s transformation: the dismantling of the Soviet Union and 9/11.

As joint cyber, missile defense and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities increasingly define technology, the general said, new risks and opportunities can influence the security landscape. And since the alliance has become more inclusive – nearly doubling its membership since Paloméros was a college student – the NATO response must constantly evolve as a younger, more diverse force helps to create the strategic blueprint for interoperability.

“Within a very ambitious strategy concept, we still need to solve our security equation,” the general said. “We need to find the best way to match the security requirement to the security supply and resources.”

While the interconnection of people, ideas, trade and economies is not itself a security challenge, Paloméros said, it does have a direct effect organizationally on Allied Command Transformation, based on access to resources and the sharing of ideology.

“Interdependence of nations and regions can also create vulnerabilities,” Paloméros said. “[It] creates a growing demand for international security, and this has to be addressed…[with] a comprehensive approach.”

NATO’s vision for outreach is not limited to allied nations, Paloméros emphasized, noting key partnerships with the European Union, United Nations, African Union, and the Red Cross among others. “Those partnerships are the key components of our vision for the alliance,” he said.

The links with these organizations will be fundamental to success in the way ahead, he said. “The ultimate goal of this work will be identifying security implications for future operation capabilities,” the general told the students.

Based in Norfolk, Va., Allied Command Transformation is central to NATO’s efforts to lead continuous military transformation that enhances effectiveness in current and future operations through training, education, capabilities, doctrine and concepts.

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U.S. Marines Train Georgian Military For Local, Global Wars

Marine Corps Forces Europe
U.S. European Command

March 25, 2013

USAG Stuttgart, Germany BSRF Marines and Georgian Army conduct live fire range together
By Cpl. Michael Lockett

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Photograph from Georgian Ministry of Defence

PRINTVAZIANI AIR BASE, Republic of Georgia: Marines and sailors assigned to the Black Sea Rotational Force 13 participated in a live fire range today with soldiers of the Georgian army during exercise Agile Spirit 13 at Vaziani Air Base in the Republic of Georgia, March 19, 2013.

Marines from BSRF-13 taught Georgian soldiers the characteristics of Marine Corps infantry weapons systems before giving them a chance to fire them. The Georgian soldiers practiced with service rifles, light and heavy machine guns, grenade launchers, mortars, and rockets.

“Very rarely do we have the opportunity to use a range this big,” said 2nd Lt. Philip Hanf, from Pasadena, Ca., platoon commander of 1st Platoon, Easy Company, BSRF-13. “In the coming days, we’ll learn how they operate on the squad and platoon scale.”

The service members engaged targets as far as two kilometers on the range, becoming accustomed to firing the weapons in basic courses of fire. This acclimatization will help serve both services in the future in joint operations, as their knowledge of each other’s weapons systems and tactics allows them greater flexibility and comfort operating with each other.

“We’re doing this range as part of Agile Spirit, with the bilateral training. We get some hands on with their weapons and they get some hands on with ours,” said Capt. Thaddeus Haltom, commander of Easy Company from Crawfordsville, Tenn. We learn how they do things, and we get to build camaraderie while we do it, said Haltom.

“The training events here, and using the live ammunition, are really beneficial for the Marines and the Georgians,” said Sgt. Douglas Pruden, squad leader with Easy Company from Dublin, Ca. “It’s really helpful for all of us to see the capability and effect of each other’s weapons.”

“They’ll be working with Marines downrange,” said Hanf. “The more they’re used to it, the better things will go down there.”

Black Sea Rotational Force is a limited-crisis response force of more than 250 Marines conducting a 6-month theater security cooperation deployment with 21 partner nations. The self-contained Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force provides EUCOM the ability to quickly respond to a regional crisis within the unit’s capabilities while building military capacity, providing regional stability, and developing lasting partnerships.

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Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 26, 2013

“Agile Spirit 2013” Final Exercise

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The final exercise of the joint US-Georgian military training “Agile Spirit 2013” was held at the Vaziani military base.

US and Georgian units were carrying out combat tasks according to the simulated scenario. Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) and armored combat vehicles were used in the training as well.

Georgian and foreign media representatives were also involved in the final exercise. The journalists were moving together with the military units and covered the various combat tasks directly from the field.

The journalists participated in the search and cordon, patrolling, convoy and humanitarian operations. These tasks are carried out during the combat operations in the ISAF mission.

The two day long final exercise of “Agile Spirit 2013” will wrap up the active phase of the training.

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Mark Twain: An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war

March 26, 2013 2 comments

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

American writers on peace and against war

Mark Twain: Selections on war

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Mark Twain
Vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League, 1901-1910
From Glances at History (1906)

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I pray you to pause and consider. Against our traditions we are now entering upon an unjust and trivial war, a war against a helpless people, and for a base object – robbery. At first our citizens spoke out against this thing, by an impulse natural to their training. Today they have turned, and their voice is the other way. What caused the change? Merely a politician’s trick – a high-sounding phrase, a blood-stirring phrase which turned their uncritical heads: Our Country, right or wrong! An empty phrase, a silly phrase. It was shouted by every newspaper, it was thundered from the pulpit, the Superintendent of Public Instruction placarded it in every schoolhouse in the land, the War Department inscribed it upon the flag. And every man who failed to shout it or who was silent, was proclaimed a traitor – none but those others were patriots. To be a patriot, one had to say, and keep on saying, “Our Country, right or wrong,” and urge on the little war. Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation?

For in a republic, who is “the Country”? Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant – merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. Who, then, is “the Country”? Is it the newspaper? is it the pulpit? is it the school superintendent? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it; they have not command, they have only their little share in the command. They are but one in the thousand; it is in the thousand that command is lodged; they must determine what is right and what is wrong; they must decide who is a patriot and who isn’t.

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This Republic’s life is not in peril. The nation has sold its honor for a phrase. It has swung itself loose from its safe anchorage and is drifting, its helm is in pirate hands. The stupid phrase needed help, and it got another one: “Even if the war be wrong we are in it and must fight it out: we cannot retire from it without dishonor.” Why, not even a burglar could have said it better. We cannot withdraw from this sordid raid because to grant peace to those little people on their terms – independence – would dishonor us. You have flung away Adam’s phrase – you should take it up and examine it again. He said, “An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.”

You have planted a seed, and it will grow.

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U.S. Goes Ahead With Interceptor Missile Plans In Romania

Romania-Insider
March 26, 2013

US military awards USD 5.7 mln contracts for missile defense base in Romania

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Standard Missile-3 launch

The US military has awarded a further contract for support services at the missile defense base in Deveselu, Romania. The 31-month Base Operations and Services Support (BOSS) contract has gone to to US company Exelis Systems Corporation and is worth some USD 5.7 million, according to the the US Naval Facility Engineering Command (NAVFAC) in Naples, Italy, which granted the contract.

Under the terms agreed, Exelis will provide accommodation, food services, fuel storage and dispensing, supply services, and maintenance including plumbing, electrical services, water and sewage treatment. The contract was awarded on March 19, according to the US Embassy in Romania.

The deal follows an earlier agreement worth USD 3.3 million with a local firm, SC Glacial PROD SRL, headquartered in Ilfov County. The Romanian company was contracted by the US Army Corps of Engineers Europe District to build temporary facilities for the US Ballistic Missile Defense System at the Deveselu Base, according to information published by the US Embassy in Romania.

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21st Century Warfare: U.S. Army To Use Italian Base For African Operations

March 25, 2013 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
March 22, 2013

Eight years and $304M later, Army facility at Vicenza is set to open
By Jason Duhr

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The 145-acre facility cost the U.S. more than $300 million. It will be home to four of the six battalions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. There are 31 new buildings and 10 originally built by the Italian military.

“All of U.S. Army Africa is anticipated to occupy Del Din – half will move this summer and the rest over the next few years.”

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Enduring Freedom
Troops of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Afghanistan

VICENZA, Italy: About eight years after reaching an agreement for an expanded U.S. military presence in Vicenza, the newest Army facility in Europe is just weeks away from heavy use.

Construction is about 98 percent complete at the installation known as Caserma Del Din, a former military/civilian airfield located 20 minutes from Caserma Ederle, where many of the units that will be moving to Del Din are currently housed.

“Everything you would expect from a 21st century installation is here,” said Col. David Buckingham, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza during a media tour Thursday. “The base will become fully operational on the 1st of June.”

The 145-acre facility cost the U.S. more than $300 million. It will be home to four of the six battalions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. There are 31 new buildings and 10 originally built by the Italian military.

The newly built installation will house the 173rd headquarters, two battalions currently based in Germany, and one infantry battalion and the 509th Signal Battalion, both of which are currently located at Ederle.

“Del Din was conceived and designed for the 173rd Brigade, but since 2005, US Army Africa has grown in Vicenza,” said Buckingham. “All of U.S. Army Africa is anticipated to occupy Del Din – half will move this summer and the rest over the next few years.”

About 2,000 soldiers will work on the base and about half that number will live there.

There are two multi-story barracks, each designed to house about 600 soldiers…

The base has two multi-level garages, which have space for 800 cars and 50 motorcycles.

The dining facility can hold 450 soldiers and push 1,800 soldiers through during a meal. A café is located in The Warrior Zone, which features gaming and billiard areas.

“The Warrior Zone is a great place to come and relax – and have some fun,” said Marilee Mastaler, the Warrior Zone manager.

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H.G. Wells: War, road to complete extinction or to degradation beyond our present understanding

March 25, 2013 1 comment

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

H.G. Wells: Selections on war

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H.G. Wells
From The Salvaging of Civilization (1921)

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Unless mankind can readjust its political and social ideas to [the] essential new fact of its enormously enlarged powers, unless it can eliminate or control its pugnacity, no other prospect seems open to us but decadence, at least to such a level of barbarism as to lose and forget again all the scientific and industrial achievements of our present age. Then, with its powers shrunken to their former puny scale, our race may recover some sort of balance between the injuries and advantages of conflict. Or, since our decadent species may have less vitality and vigour than it had in its primitive phases, it may dwindle and fade out altogether before some emboldened animal antagonist, or through some world-wide disease brought to it perhaps by rats and dogs and insects and what not, who may be destined to be heirs to the rusting and mouldering ruins of the cities and ports and ways and bridges of to-day.

Without a great effort on our part (or on someone’s part) that current which swirled our kind into a sunshine of hope and opportunity for a while will carry our race on surely and inexorably to fresh wars, to shortages, hunger, miseries, and social debacles, at last either to complete extinction or to a degradation beyond our present understanding.

The urgent need for a great creative effort has become apparent in the affairs of mankind. It is manifest that unless some unity of purpose can be achieved in the world, unless the ever more violent and disastrous incidence of war can be averted, unless some common control can be imposed on the headlong waste of man’s limited inheritance of coal, oil, and moral energy that is now going on, the history of humanity must presently culminate in some sort of disaster, repeating and exaggerating the disaster of the great war, producing chaotic social conditions, and going on thereafter in a degenerative process towards extinction.

The catastrophe of the Great War did more or less completely awaken a certain limited number of intelligent people to the need of some general control replacing this ancient traditional driftage of events. But they shrank from the great implications of such a world control. The only practicable way to achieve a general control in the face of existing governments, institutions and prejudices, interested obstruction and the common disregard, is by extending this awakening to great masses of people. This means an unprecedented educational effort, an appeal to men’s intelligence and men’s imagination such as the world has never seen before. Is it possible to rationalize the at present chaotic will of mankind? That possibility, if it is a possibility, is the most important thing in contemporary human affairs.

We are asking here for an immense thing, for a change of ideas, a vast enlargement of ideas, and for something very like a change of heart in hundreds of millions of human beings. But then we are dealing with the fate of the entire species. We are discussing the prevention of wars, disorders, shortages, famines and miseries for centuries ahead. The initial capital we have to go upon is as yet no more than the aroused understanding and conscience of a few thousands, at most of a few score thousands of people. Can so little a leaven leaven so great a lump? Is a response to this appeal latent in the masses of mankind? Is there anything in history to justify hope for so gigantic a mental turnover in our race?

The world of thought still hesitates to use the means of power that now exist for it. History and political philosophy in the modern world are like bashful dons at a dinner party; they crumble their bread and talk in undertones and clever allusions to their nearest neighbour, abashed at the thought of addressing the whole table. But in a world where Mars can reach out in a single night and smite a city a thousand miles away, we cannot suffer wisdom to hesitate in an inaudible gentility. The knowledge and vision that is good enough for the best of us is good enough for all. This gospel of human brotherhood and a common law and rule for all mankind, the attempt to meet this urgent necessity of a common control of human affairs, which indeed is no new religion but only an attempt to realize practically the common teaching of all the established religions of the world, has to speak with dominating voice everywhere between the poles and round about the world.

And it must become part of the universal education. It must speak through the school and university. It is too often forgotten, in America, perhaps, even more than in Europe, that education exists for the community, and for the individual only so far as it makes him a sufficient member of the community. The chief end of education is to subjugate and sublimate for the collective purposes of our kind the savage egotism we inherit. Every school, every college, teaches directly and still more by implication, relationship to a community and devotion to a community. In too many cases that community we let our schools and colleges teach to our children is an extremely narrow one; it is the community of a sect, of a class, or of an intolerant, greedy and unrighteous nationalism. Schools have increased greatly in numbers throughout the world during the last century, but there has been little or no growth in the conception of education in schools. Education has been extended, but it has not been developed. If man is to be saved from self-destruction by the organization of a world community, there must be a broadening of the reference of the teaching in the schools of all the world to that community of the world. World-wide educational development and reform are the necessary preparations for and the necessary accompaniments of a political reconstruction of the world. The two are the right and left hands of the same thing. Neither can effect much without the other.

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Italy: U.S. Air Force Bomb Unit Busy Around The Clock

March 25, 2013 1 comment

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
March 25, 2013

31st MUNS provides precision execution for the mission
By Airman 1st Class Matthew Lotz
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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In 2011, during operations “Odyssey Dawn” and “Unified Protector,” the MUNS production line built more than 1,500 air and ground munitions in support of these operations.

With jets flying around the clock, Airmen from MUNS are always on hand to ensure munitions are available at any time.

“The best part about our job is seeing an aircraft takeoff with our bombs attached to the wing.”

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AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy: When a jet takes off from Aviano loaded with munitions in support of an operation, the Airmen from the 31st Munitions Squadron know they’ve done their job.

Charged with assisting the two fighter squadrons assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, more than 250 active duty personnel maintain and support a combat ready stockpile of munitions and equipment.

Within the squadron are six flights that are responsible for armament, production, materiel, weapons, systems and programs. Each flight is responsible for critical steps in the process of completing their mission.

“The process in which all bomb building takes place starts and ends with systems,” said Master Sgt. Tobby Hughes, 31st MUNS systems flight chief.

“We are the command post of the bomb dump,” said Hughes. “We make sure production has everything they need and make sure it’s on time out in the field.”

While the systems flight ensures the planning and preparation of the munitions, the materiel flight is responsible for tracking, delivering, inspecting, and storing a multi-million dollar stockpile of munitions. Airmen from this flight are key to the squadron as they provide munitions storage for approximately 32 outside agencies and supply base defense munitions to explosive ordnance disposal, the inspector general and the U.S. Army…

The MUNS is not only accountable for the munitions; they are also responsible for the production of all munitions.

The production flight is where the munitions are assembled. Before releasing the munitions to be put on the aircraft, Airmen perform a final check to ensure the munitions function properly…

In 2011, during operations “Odyssey Dawn” and “Unified Protector,” the MUNS production line built more than 1,500 air and ground munitions in support of these operations.

Finally, when all munitions have been inspected and given the green light, they are then transported to the armament flight to be loaded onto the aircraft.

The Airmen from armament are responsible for loading all weaponry onto the aircraft, performing function checks and any last minute maintenance. With jets flying around the clock, Airmen from MUNS are always on hand to ensure munitions are available at any time. In case of a munitions malfunction, the armament Airmen are on call to troubleshoot the problem and get the munitions back to the jet.

“Most of the time we can take the munitions equipment to our back shop,” said Senior Airman John Heaton, 31st MUNS armament systems specialist. “But in case of an emergency, we operate on the flightline.”

Thanks to an active flying wing, the 31st MUNS is always busy and working around the clock. An Air Force instruction states, “Personnel selected for munitions control duties must adapt well to stress.”

“The best part about our job is seeing an aircraft takeoff with our bombs attached to the wing,” said Heaton.

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NATO Facility In Poland To Host Bloc Interoperability Training

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Joint Force Training Centre

March 22, 2013

CWIX 2013 Ready for Kick Off in June

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It is the third year in a row when the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) will host the NATO wide Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exploration, Experimentation, Examination, Exercise (CWIX). In June close to 1000 experts will come to Bydgoszcz again to test, assess and explore different command and control systems. Between 11 and 15 March the Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for providing guidelines and management to the programme, conducted the 2013 CWIX Final Coordination Conference (FCC).

Approximately 260 specialists from NATO Agencies as well as from 15 NATO and Partnership for Peace Nations met at the JFTC in order to finalize preparations for this logistic challenge. Under the watchful eye of the Exercise Director, CDR Knut Behrends, German Navy, the conference created a platform for providing updated information on the progress of arrangements before the main exercise. It also revealed shortcomings and areas to be developed.

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NATO Joint Force Training Centre in Bydgoszcz, Poland

The CWIX is an annual NATO Military Committee-approved event with the aim to improve interoperability for the Alliance. While the ACT is responsible for guidelines and management of the project, NATO and Partner Nations sponsor interoperability capabilities with specific objectives. Last year’s event was a great success with close to 150 IT systems, and more than 7000 test interactions. The CWIX 2013 is expected to be as busy as the previous one and will include the JFTC with currently over 15 distributed sites around the world that will participate in the Exercise.

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Joint Force Training Centre in 2010

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Romain Rolland on Henri Barbusse: The isolated bleating of one of the beasts about to die

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

Romain Rolland: Selections on war

Henri Barbusse: Selections on war

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Romain Rolland
From Under Fire by Henri Barbusse (1917)
Translated by Eden and Cedar Paul

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The narrative is terse, gloomy, stifling; but there come episodes of repose, which break its unity, and by these the tension is relieved for a moment. Few readers will fail to appreciate the charm, the discreet emotion, of these episodes, as for instance in the chapter “On Leave.” But three-fourths of the book deal with the trenches of Picardy, under the “muddy skies,” under fire and under water — visions now of hell, now of the flood.

There the armies remain buried for years, at the bottom of an eternal battlefield, closely packed, “chained shoulder to shoulder,” huddling together “against the rain which descends from the skies, against the mud which oozes from the ground, against the cold, an emanation from the infinite which is all-pervading.” The soldiers uncouthly rigged out in skins, rolls of blanket,…cardigans, and more cardigans, squares of oilcloth, fur caps,…hoods of tarpaulin, rubber, weatherproof cloth…look like cave men, gorillas, troglodytes. One of them, while digging, has turned up an axe made by quaternary man, a piece of pointed stone with a bone handle, and he is using it. Others, like savages, are making rough ornaments. Three generations side by side; all the races, but not all the classes. Sons of the soil and artisans for the most part. Small farmers, agricultural labourers, carters, porters and messengers, factory foremen, saloon keepers, newspaper sellers, ironmongers’ assistants, miners — very few liberal professions are represented. This amalgam has a common speech, “made up of workshop and barrack slang and of rural dialects seasoned with a few neologisms.” Each one is shown to us as a silhouette, a sharp and admirable likeness; once we have seen them we shall always know them apart. But the method of depiction is very different from that of Tolstoi. The Russian cannot meet with a soul without plumbing it to the depths. Here we look and pass on. The individual soul hardly exists; it is a mere shell. Beneath that shell, the collective soul, suffering, overwhelmed with fatigue, brutalised by the noise, poisoned by the smoke, endures infinite boredom, drowses, waits, waits unendingly. It is a “waiting-machine.” It no longer tries to think; “it has given up the attempt to understand, it has renounced being itself.”

“The overwhelming vastness of these great bombardments wearies the mind.” They pass through a hell of suffering and forget all about it. “We’ve seen too much, and everything we saw was too much. We are not built to take all that in. It escapes from us in every direction; we are too small. We are forgetting-machines. Men are beings which think little; above all, they forget.” In Napoleon’s day every soldier had a marshal’s baton in his knapsack, and every soldier had in his brain the ambitious image of the little Corsican officer. There are no longer any individuals now, there is a human mass which is itself lost amid elemental forces. “More than six thousand miles of French trenches, more than six thousand miles of such miseries or of worse; and the French front is only one-eighth of the whole.” Instinctively the narrator is compelled to borrow his images from the rough mythology of primitive peoples, or from cosmic convulsions. He speaks of “rivers of wounded torn from the bowels of the earth which bleeds and rots unendingly” — “glaciers of corpses” — “gloomy immensities of Styx” — “Valley of Jehoshaphat” — prehistoric spectacles. What does the individual man amount to in all this? What does his suffering mean? “What’s the use of complaining?” says one wounded man to another. “That’s what war is, not the battles, but the terrible unnatural weariness; water up to the middle, mud, filth, infinite monotony of wretchedness, interrupted by acute tragedies.” — At intervals, human groans, profound shudders, issue from the silence and the night.

Without any illusions, without enthusiasm, without excitement, “despite the busy propaganda of the authorities, without intoxication either material or moral,” fully aware of what they are doing, they await the signal to hurl themselves “once more into this madman’s role imposed on each of them by the madness of mankind.” Then comes the “headlong rush to the abyss,” where blindly, amid shell-splinters hissing like red-hot iron plunged into water, amid the stench of sulphur, they race forward. Next comes the butchery in the trenches, where “at first the men do not know what to do,” but where a frenzy soon seizes them, so that “they hardly recognise those whom they know best, and it seems as if all their previous life had suddenly retreated to a vast distance….” Then the exultation passes, and “nothing remains but infinite fatigue and infinite waiting.”

In War and Peace the profound sense of the destiny which guides mankind is ardently sought, and is found from time to time by the light of some flash of suffering or of genius, found by those few who, through breed or individual sensibility, have exceptional insight: for instance Prince Andrew, Peter Besuhov. But a great roller seems to have passed over the peoples of to-day, reducing all to a level. The most that can happen is that for a moment, now and again, there may rise from the huge flock the isolated bleating of one of the beasts about to die. Thus we have the ethereal figure of Corporal Bertrand, “with his thoughtful smile” — the merest sketch — “a man of few words, never talking of himself”; a man who could once only deliver up the secret of his anguished thoughts — in the twilight hour which follows the killing, just before he himself is killed. He thinks of those whom he has slain in the frenzy of the hand-to-hand fighting:

“It had to be done,” he said. “It had to be done, for the sake of the future.”

He folded his arms and threw up his head.

“The future!” he cried, all of a sudden. “Those who live after us — what will they think of these killings, …these exploits, concerning which we who do them do not even know if they are to be compared with those of the heroes of Plutarch and Corneille or with the deeds of apaches!…”

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Serbia Marks 14th Anniversary Of NATO’s 79-Day Air War

March 24, 2013 2 comments

Tanjug News Agency
March 24, 2013

Serbia marks 14th anniversary of NATO bombing

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During the campaign, 2,300 air attacks were carried out on 995 facilities around Serbia and 1,150 fighter jets fired nearly 420,000 missiles to the total weight of 22,000 tons.

NATO fired 1,300 cruise missiles, dropped 37,000 cluster bombs which killed around 200 individuals and caused injuries to several hundred more people. The forces also used banned depleted uranium ammunition.

A third of the electric energy capacity of the country was destroyed, two oil refineries, in Pančevo and Novi Sad, were bombed, and NATO forces used for the first time so-called graphite bombs to disable electrical power systems.

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BELGRADE: Today marks the 14th anniversary since the start of the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia, i.e. the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SRJ).

The bombing lasted 79 days and resulted in at least 2,500 deaths and more than 12,500 injuries.

The attacks on Serbia started on March 24, 1999, and the last one took place near Kosovska Kamenica on June 10 at 13:15 CET.

The death toll among the military and police forces reached 1,008, including 659 soldiers and 349 policemen. Around 6,000 civilians were injured, including 2,700 children.

The total damage was estimated at dozens of billions of dollars. NATO has never disclosed its losses.

“The NATO forces killed 631 members of the Serbian Armed Forces, while 28 went missing, which means that the total number is 659, including 72 officers, 41 noncommissioned officers, 18 contract soldiers, 191 conscripts, 245 reservists, 60 military volunteers and three civilians in the army,” Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vučić stated in the Serbian parliament on February 11, 2013.

According to earlier data, 5,173 soldiers and policemen were injured.

The decision to attack Yugoslavia was the first in history to be made without the approval of the UN Security Council, and the order was given to U.S. General Wesley Clark, the allied commander at the time, by NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.

Later on, in his book “Waging Modern War”, Clark revealed that the plans for the air strikes against Yugoslavia were well under way in mid-June 1998 and completed in late August of that year.

Yugoslavia was attacked under the pretext of failure of the talks on the future status of the southern Serbian province of Kosovo, held in Rambouillet and Paris.

After the decision on non-acceptance of foreign troops was ratified by the Serbian parliament, which proposed the UN forces to monitor a peaceful resolution of conflicts in Kosovo, NATO launched air raids on March 24, 1999 at 19:45 CET.

The 19-member Alliance launched projectiles from ships in the Adriatic Sea and four military bases in Italy, all with the support of strategic operators who took off from bases in Western Europe and latter in the U.S. The first targets were barracks and air defense forces in Batajnica, Mladenovac, Priština and other locations.

There is practically no city in Yugoslavia which was not targeted on a number of occasions during the 11-week campaign.

The bombing caused damage to 25,000 houses and apartment buildings and destroyed 470 kilometers of roads and 595 kilometers of railway tracks. A total of 14 airports were damaged, as well as 19 hospitals, 20 healthcare centers, 18 kindergartens, 69 schools, 176 cultural monuments and 44 bridges, while 38 more were completely destroyed.

During the campaign, 2,300 air attacks were carried out on 995 facilities around Serbia and 1,150 fighter jets fired nearly 420,000 missiles to the total weight of 22,000 tons.

NATO fired 1,300 cruise missiles, dropped 37,000 cluster bombs which killed around 200 individuals and caused injuries to several hundred more people. The forces also used banned depleted uranium ammunition.

A third of the electric energy capacity of the country was destroyed, two oil refineries, in Pančevo and Novi Sad, were bombed, and NATO forces used for the first time so-called graphite bombs to disable electrical power systems.

Facing mounting diplomatic pressure, NATO ended the bombing with the signing of the Military Technical Agreement in Kumanovo on June 9, 1999, and the latest missiles fell near Kosovska Kamenica on June 10 at 13:30 CET.

The NATO secretary general issued an order to stop the bombing on June 10, after which Yugoslav forces began to withdraw from Kosovo.

On that day, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1244, and a total of 37,200 KFOR soldiers from 36 countries were sent to the province, with a mission to preserve peace and security.

Serbian PM Ivica Dačić will on Sunday lay a wreath at the monument to the killed members of the Serbian Army in Belgrade’s neighborhood of Rakovica. Vučić will lay a wreath at the monument to members of Air Force and Air Defense in the neighborhood of Zemun.

Belgrade Mayor Dragan Đilas will pay respect and lay a wreath to the killed workers of the Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) in Tašmajdan Park. Novi Sad Mayor Miloš Vučević will attend a commemoration in Novi Sad’s Jugovićevo army barracks.

Labor, Employment and Social Policy Ministry’s State Secretary Negovan Stanković will lay a wreath to the monument to children killed in the NATO bombing in Tašmajdan Park.

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Interview: NATO Targets Hackers, Patriotism Outside NATO States A Crime

March 24, 2013 2 comments

Voice of Russia
March 24, 2013

NATO targets hackers and patriotism is a crime if you are not with NATO – Rozoff
Recorded on March 18, 2013

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In a new directive, the “North Atlantic” Treaty Organization (NATO), has now made it part of its military doctrine to target hackers and hacktivists who are operating for “ideological, political, religious or patriotic” reasons, effectively making patriotism for a country not part of NATO, religion not in keeping with NATO’s approved religion, and anything opposed to NATO and its global expansion a crime and those guilty eligible for assassination by drone. Even George Orwell would have never dreamt up something so “Orwellian”. In an interview regular VOR contributor Rick Rozoff spoke to the Voice of Russia about this and more.

I am speaking with Rick Rozoff, the Owner and Manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.

Robles: NATO has been very active lately. Can you give us a few details about what they are up to and maybe a little bit about this new Cyber-War Directive where NATO is declaring hackers military targets?

Rozoff: That is exactly what the new NATO manual identifies hackers as being: as fair game for military attacks, both cyber and otherwise, incidentally.

So, it is not so much retaliation in the cyber sphere strictly, as potentially launching a cruise missile at them. I’m sorry, a drone-fired missile, as one of your guests recently, Bill Blum, said about Julian Assange. I believe his words were that “there is a drone with Julian Assange’s name on it.”

And NATO then reserves the right to launch attacks, cyber and otherwise, on anyone they identify as being a hacktivist, that is hacking into military and even civilian sites in Europe, and this is coordinated through what is called a NATO Center of Excellence on cyber affairs, in cyber warfare really, in the capital of Estonia, Tallin, which was set up directly to confront Russia several years ago after an alleged Russian-based series of attacks on websites in Estonia.

But NATO has been active on a number of other fronts too, as you mentioned in your question. First of all, they have crafted the third or the latest Annual National Programme for the nation of Georgia.

Robles: I am sorry. Can I ask you one question regarding the cyber manual? Is this an official part of military operations or is this just some sort of “draft guidelines” or something?

Rozoff: No, it is official NATO doctrine as of the publication of the manual.

Robles: So, can they actually, seriously, physically, target anyone they deem to be a hacker threat with a drone missile?

Rozoff: I didn’t hear them specify they would use a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone but the terminology I’ve seen is that the attacks against the hackers, incidentally anywhere in the world, could be done either fighting fire with fire, that is through cyber denial of access or other attacks on the hacktivists or other measures “deemed legal”, is the language I am familiar with.

But we have to keep in mind that the major military power, the founder of NATO and the prime mover to this day within it, the United States, reserves a right to use drone missile attacks within its own borders against its own citizens, according to Attorney General Eric Holder of late.

So, it shouldn’t surprise us that the military bloc headed by the United States arrogates to itself the right to launch military attacks, and this is quite in keeping also, incidentally, with the US Cyber Command, which has set up in 2010, the first Cyber warfare command set up in the world, and wherever the US goes, NATO is sure to follow and very quickly thereafter, so it shouldn’t surprise us.

This was discussed, incidentally, roughly a year ago at the NATO summit in Chicago: that cyber warfare was one of the major components, one of the major emphases that NATO was placing, in the addition to things, matters like so-called missile defense, that is interceptor missile programs, and the development and extension of the NATO Response Force, for military interventions globally.

It’s worth noting that today news also quotes Supreme Allied Commander Europe for NATO, who is also the commander of US European Command, Admiral James Stavridis, stating that NATO essentially has contingency plans for replicating the Libyan scenario inside Syria. This is as of today.

As I was about to explain, NATO has crafted the latest Annual National Programme for the nation of Georgia. So, NATO is active on a number of fronts, and some of the stories I’ve mentioned indicate way out of the territorial area of responsibility for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization if they are talking about military actions in Syria, which incidentally follows the report of a couple of days ago, that the US is considering drone strikes inside Syria.

So, once again US and NATO are working in tandem. Georgia of course is in the South Caucasus and nowhere near the North Atlantic Ocean, and hackers anywhere around the world who are fair game for NATO attack, cyber and otherwise, extend the purview for NATO operations globally, which is what they have striven for and what they have arrived at.

Robles: This manual, it says: “a private citizen, who on his or her own, initiates, engages in hacking for, inter alia: ideological, political, religious or patriotic reasons”, if the hacktivist isn’t working directly within an “official military organization”, NATO says they could “still” be targeted. So, does that mean that “Anonymous” members could be targeted, or bloggers?

Rozoff: I would certainly draw that conclusion…I would go a step further: when they mention that if the motives are ideological, political, moral and so forth, then what is to prevent them considering somebody who is sowing what they consider to be disinformation or inconvenient and accurate information, then from being a target themselves.

Robles: I could be a target! I mean my views, I think, would fall into all of those areas but…

Rozoff: That’s right, any political adversary who is using the Internet in any capacity counter to NATO, how NATO envisions the world being structured, technically I suspect. You know as you mentioned, even an individual hacker with no organizational affiliation could, according to the terminology of the excerpt you just read, be considered a target, a potential target.

Robles: Hacking could be almost anything really. I mean it could be someone who’s just downloaded a picture from NATO’s site and added some words to it, or something.

Rozoff: On the NATO website itself it expressly forbids the use of any material, print or image, if in any way it mocks or ridicules NATO.
So, now it is apparently a crime – copyright laws would be used but in essence this is political censorship – if anyone used material garnered or gleaned from the NATO site in a way that NATO didn’t approve.

Keeping in mind that North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a consortium of Western military powers that is funded through those governments, of the respective member states of the country, the United States overwhelmingly, and that as a citizen of one of those countries you do not have the right to use information on those sites even though your tax monies are being used to support it if NATO determines that you are in some manner not treating them with proper respect.

So, this is another instance, another example of the US-dominated military bloc essentially letting the world, putting the world on notice, rather, that you either toe the line or you could be punished.

Robles: This last phrase here, it says; that anyone who initiates, (in hacking), which could be almost anything, for “patriotic” reasons: so that would mean, any person, on the planet, who loves their own country, if it is not a NATO member and who does something on the Internet could be targeted for NATO assassination?

Rozoff: That’s certainly how I would interpret that comment and I think you are right to highlight or to emphasize the world patriotic, as though somehow that is an evil motivation, ipso facto; that in the globalized, militarized world envisioned by the United States and its NATO allies, if their patriotic sentiments are in opposition to having their country destroyed by NATO rockets and bombs, then they are by that very fact “criminals”, I suspect, and can be targeted appropriately or correspondingly.

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China, Russia To Strengthen Military Cooperation

March 24, 2013 2 comments

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Up to now, much of the closeness binding China and Russia has been forged in the halls of the United Nations, where both are permanent Security Council members and, since 2005, have often presented a united front against the West and its allies, most notably Japan.

Russia and China have stood together on the 2011 Libyan conflict and the ongoing civil war in Syria, Russia’s old ally, and have jointly opposed US plans to develop a missile shield beyond US borders (an issue that became more pressing for Beijing last week after Washington announced it would deploy interceptors in Alaska instead of Poland).

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(FOCUS) RUSSIA-MOSCOW-CHINA-XI JINPING-RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY-VISIT
Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) inspects honor guard together with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) during a visit to the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow on March 23

Itar-Tass
March 23, 2013

China, Russia to strengthen military cooperation

MOSCOW: China and Russia will continue to strengthen and develop their military, political and strategic relations, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at a meeting with Russian Defence Ministry Sergei Shoigu on Saturday, March 23.

“My visit to the Russian Defence Ministry is intended to indicate that military, political and strategic relations between the two countries will strengthen as will cooperation between the armed forces of Russia and China,” Xi said.

He stressed that Russia is the first country he visits as the new president of China during his foreign tour.

“Relations between our countries have a special nature. Big results have been achieved during the visit to your country. I think our negotiations will give an additional impetus to cooperation between our Armed Forces,” he said.

Shoigu noted that “the range of issues discussed will help develop both military and military-technical cooperation between the two countries.”
Shoigu is scheduled to have talks with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan on Sunday, March 24.

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Xinhua News Agency
March 24, 2013

Xi hopes China, Russia to boost military ties

MOSCOW: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday said he hoped China and Russia to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the military forces of the two countries.

Xi, also chairman of central military commission, made the remarks while visiting Russia’s defense ministry. He is the first Chinese head of state to have made the tour.

A welcome ceremony was held by Russian Defense Minister General Sergei Shoigu when the Chinese president arrived at the ministry. Xi inspected Russia’s three-service honor of guards, and the brass band played the two countries’ national anthems.

While meeting with the defense minister and other senior military generals, Xi said the idea of visiting the ministry was proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and he believed that the trip would benefit the strategic and political mutual trust between the two countries and boost their military-to-military relationship and cooperation.

Bilateral military cooperation has a special and important place in the overall China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, said Xi, adding that the two armed forces, over the recent years, have seen their exchanges and cooperation constantly enhanced, particularly in the fields of high-level contacts, personnel training, joint exercises, and military technologies.

Xi said though peace, development and cooperation remain the trend of the times, yet as the international situation is undergoing profound changes, the world is still unequal, unbalanced, and tumultuous with challenge of both traditional and non-traditional threats, as well as the further spreading of the turmoil in some areas.

China and Russia, in the face of complicated and volatile international situation, should strengthen their coordination, and work with the international community to deal with all kinds of challenges and threats, he said.

He also hoped the two militaries to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state, better plan defense and military exchanges and cooperation, and promote the even greater development of inter-military ties so as to protect the common interests of the two nations, and make contributions to regional peace and stability, and that of the world.

General Sergei Shoigu said presently, extremism and terrorism have re-emerged, and regional and global peace and stability is facing a series of challenges.

Russia and China, friendly neighbors and partners for comprehensive strategic coordination, should boost military-to-military exchanges, and safeguard common security and international strategic balance, the minister said.

After the meeting, Xi also visited the command center of Russia’s military force. Big screens at the center showed real-time images of Russia’s army, navy and air force, as well as the country’s strategic missile troops and special forces, which either were on duty or in the middle of military drills.

President Xi arrived in Moscow on Friday for a state visit to Russia, the first leg of his maiden foreign trip since he took office last week.

Also on Saturday, Xi Jinping met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Sergei Naryshkin and Chairwoman of Russia’s Federation Council Valentina Matvienko.

The Chinese president on Friday held talks with Russian President Putin, and attended, together with Putin, the opening ceremony of the “Tourism Year of China” in Russia.

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Russian Information Agency Novosti
March 24, 2013

Chinese Leader Vows Stronger Military Ties With Russia

MOSCOW: Newly-elected Chinese President Xi Jinping has affirmed that China and Russia will continue to strengthen and develop their military, political and strategic relations, including cooperation between their armed forces.

Xi Jinping, who is on a three-day visit to Russia – his first foreign visit since becoming Chinese president last week, met on Saturday with the Russian military leadership in the Russian Armed Forces’ Operational Command Center.

He is the first foreign leader ever to be allowed inside the “heart” of the Russian military establishment.

“My visit to the Russian Defense Ministry is intended to confirm that military, political and strategic relations between the two countries will strengthen as will cooperation between the Armed Forces of China and Russia,” the Chinese president told Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Shoigu is scheduled to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan on Sunday.

Up to now, much of the closeness binding China and Russia has been forged in the halls of the United Nations, where both are permanent Security Council members and, since 2005, have often presented a united front against the West and its allies, most notably Japan.

Russia and China have stood together on the 2011 Libyan conflict and the ongoing civil war in Syria, Russia’s old ally, and have jointly opposed US plans to develop a missile shield beyond US borders (an issue that became more pressing for Beijing last week after Washington announced it would deploy interceptors in Alaska instead of Poland).

Russia and China have held a number of joint military exercises since 2005 within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which also includes the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Since the 1990s, China has been a major buyer of Russian weaponry, with trade peaking in 2005, when China’s purchases from Russia reached almost $4 billion. They have fluctuated since then, dipping to $800 million in 2009 and rebounding to $2.1 billion last year, according to Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-owned arms export monopoly.
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Itar-Tass
March 23, 2013

Firm RF-China relations guarantee for intl balance, peace — Xi

MOSCOW: Firm relations between Russia and China are an important and reliable guarantee for international balance and peace, Chinese President Xi Jinping said when speaking at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) on Saturday.

He said it was a great pleasure for him to visit the MGIMO. The university with its high scientific achievements and noted teachers is known all over the world. Many prominent people came out from the university, he added.

“Russia is a good neighbour of China,” he said. The president noted Russia was the first country he visited on his international trip after he took office as president.

Xi said he had productive talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday and attended the “Year of Chinese Tourism in Russia” opening ceremony. Their meetings lasted seven hours, he noted.

Spring comes in March, and nature is renewed. It is time for sowing. People say spring is crucial time of the year, he noted. “Let us work to consolidate our bilateral relations for the sake of peace in the entire world, to gather a rich harvest in the autumn,” the president said.

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Move On ASEAN: NATO General Attends Defense-Military Conference In Indonesia

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
March 21, 2013

NATO General participates in Jakarta International Defence Dialogue 2013

From 20 to 21 March, senior political and military leaders from the entire Asia-Pacific region and beyond gathered in Jakarta. The Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono welcomed more than 1,300 delegates from 42 nations for the 3rd Jakarta International Defence Dialogue (JIDD). The Director General of the International Military Staff, Lieutenant General Jürgen Bornemann, represented NATO at the defence dialogue.

After an opening address by Minister of Defense of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Mr. Purnomo Yusgiantoro, and keynote speeches by Prime Minister of Timor Leste, H.E. Mr. Xanana Gusmao and President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the conference began with a series of panel discussions on subjects ranging from “The Rise of Asia and new Geo-Politics in the Asia-Pacific region” to “Economic Power, Defense and Diplomacy” and “Evolving Threats and Challenges in Asia-Pacific”.

In addition to the panel discussions, Gen. Bornemann conducted bi-lateral meetings with the Australian Chief of the Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, Mr. Morio Ito, Defense Councillor, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Defence Japan, representatives of the Indonesian Defense University and other Allied representatives at the conference. He also took the opportunity to brief the Allied Defence Attaches at the conference on current events at NATO HQ.

The JIDD is meant to become a forum for participating officials and their counterparts to discuss bi-lateral and multi-lateral initiatives, to address issues across all areas of defense and security, and to ensure the ongoing efforts to promote new multi-lateral cooperation.

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William Cullen Bryant: Emblem of the peace that yet shall be, noise of war shall cease from sea to sea

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

American writers on peace and against war

William Cullen Bryant: Christmas 1875

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William Cullen Bryant
After a Tempest (1824)

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The day had been a day of wind and storm; –
The wind was laid, the storm was overpast, –
And stooping from the zenith, bright and warm
Shone the great sun on the wide earth at last.
I stood upon the upland slope and cast
My eye upon a broad and beauteous scene,
Where the vast plain lay girt by mountains vast,
And hills o’er hills lifted their heads of green,
With pleasant vales scooped out and villages between.

The rain-drops glistened on the trees around,
Whose shadows on the tall grass were not stirred,
Save when a shower of diamonds, to the ground,
Was shaken by the flight of startled bird;
For birds were warbling round, and bees were heard
About the flowers; the cheerful rivulet sung
And gossiped, as he hastened ocean-ward;
To the gray oak the squirrel, chiding clung,
And chirping from the ground the grasshopper upsprung.

And from beneath the leaves that kept them dry
Flew many a glittering insect here and there,
And darted up and down the butterfly,
That seemed a living blossom of the air.
The flocks came scattering from the thicket, where
The violent rain had pent them; in the way
Strolled groups of damsels frolicksome and fair;
The farmer swung the scythe or turned the hay,
And ‘twixt the heavy swaths his children were at play.

It was a scene of peace – and, like a spell,
Did that serene and golden sunlight fall
Upon the motionless wood that clothed the fell,
And precipice upspringing like a wall,
And glassy river and white waterfall,
And happy living things that trod the bright
And beauteous scene; while far beyond them all,
On many a lovely valley, out of sight,
Was poured from the blue heavens the same soft golden light.

I looked, and thought the quiet of the scene
An emblem of the peace that yet shall be,
When, o’er earth’s continents and isles between,
The noise of war shall cease from sea to sea,
And married nations dwell in harmony;
When millions, crouching in the dust to one,
No more shall beg their lives on bended knee,
Nor the black stake be dressed, nor in the sun
The o’erlabored captive toil, and wish his life were done.

Too long, at clash of arms amid her bowers
And pools of blood, the earth has stood aghast,
The fair earth, that should only blush with flowers
And ruddy fruits; but not for aye can last
The storm, and sweet the sunshine when ’tis past.
Lo, the clouds roll away – they break – they fly,
And, like the glorious light of summer, cast
O’er the wide landscape from the embracing sky,
On all the peaceful world the smile of heaven shall lie.

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NATO Packs More U.S. Marine-Trained Georgian Troops Off To Afghanistan

March 22, 2013 1 comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 22, 2013

Farewell Ceremony to Afghanistan

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Defence Minister of Georgia Irakli Alasania, Chief of Joint Staff of GAF, Col. Irakli Dzneladze, the leadership of the JS [Joint Staff], as well as US Ambassador to Georgia, H.E. Richard Norland, military attaches accredited to Georgia and the representatives from the NATO Liaison Office attended the farewell ceremony at the Vaziani military base.

Richard Norland has awarded Sergeants Shota Tkabladze and Malkhaz Dzebisauri with the U.S. Marine Corps Medal for their contribution to Afghanistan.

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The farewell ceremony of Georgian military servicemen to Afghanistan has been held at the Vaziani military base today. The soldiers of the 33rd and 42nd battalions of the III and IV Infantry Brigades of the GAF [Georgian Armed Forces] are ready to take part in the ISAF mission.

Both battalions underwent a six-month intensive training in the Krtsanisi Training Centre under the guidance of an Expeditionary Brigade of the US Marine Corps. The Battalion personnel have also undergone preparation in the US Joint Multinational Readiness Centre (JMRC) based in the German city of Hohenfels. They were instructed in defence, searching, cordon, convoy and evacuation operations as well as in skills of communication with leaders and populations they will have to interact with during the mission.

A new peacekeeping contingent will replace the 12th and 23rd battalions of the I and II Infantry Brigades step by step. Georgian peacekeepers will carry out the international mission in Helmand province for six months under the US contingent.

Defence Minister of Georgia Irakli Alasania, Chief of Joint Staff of GAF, Col. Irakli Dzneladze, the leadership of the JS [Joint Staff], as well as US Ambassador to Georgia, H.E. Richard Norland, military attaches accredited to Georgia and the representatives from the NATO Liaison Office attended the farewell ceremony at the Vaziani military base.

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At the farewell ceremony Georgian soldiers and invited guests held one minute’s silence in honor of the perished soldiers fallen for Georgian territorial integrity. Father Gabriel and Father Gobron gave blessing to the soldiers and wished them every success in the accomplishment of their mission in Afghanistan. Chaplains will also accompany Georgian peacekeepers in Afghanistan.

The Minister of Defence of Georgia talked on the significance of the contribution provided by Georgia to the ISAF mission and wished the Georgian military a peaceful return to the homeland: “Our two battalions underwent pre-deployment training for Afghanistan. We are very proud that international and, especially, American Marines provided high appreciation in terms of Georgian military’s combat preparation…It promotes our country’s image worldwide and full-fledged integration into NATO and Euro-Atlantic structures. I must underline that Georgia’s positive image is the result of our soldiers’ bravery. I would like, together with you, to express my gratitude to them once again.”

The U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland addressed the military servicemen of the 33rd and 42nd battalions. As he outlined, the Georgian military are well-prepared to fulfill entrusted tasks perfectly. He also added that Georgian soldiers have a good reputation and their high combat capability is demonstrated while performing the mission.

Today, Richard Norland has awarded Sergeants Shota Tkabladze and Malkhaz Dzebisauri with the U.S. Marine Corps Medal for their contribution to Afghanistan. They have been serving in Afghanistan since 2012.

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Aldous Huxley: Shifting people’s attention in world where war-making remains an almost sacred habit

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

Aldous Huxley: Selections on war

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Aldous Huxley
From Science, Liberty and Peace (1946)

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In discussing the possibility of abolishing war, another important point to be remembered is that the preparation for war and sometimes even war itself are things which a highly centralized government finds very useful for its own totalitarian purposes. Thus, peacetime conscription is always justified on the ground that it constitutes an insurance against war, or at least against defeat in war. In actual fact, of course, nations which have adopted peacetime conscription have fought just as many wars as they fought before adopting it, and have suffered just as many defeats.

The real, the unavowed reason for peacetime conscription must be sought in the all too natural desire of a powerful, centralized government to regiment and control its subjects by placing them, actually or potentially, under martial law and by arrogating to itself the right, whenever it so desires (as, for example, during an inconvenient strike), to call them to the colours. In these days of atomic weapons, mass armies would seem to have become something of an anachronism. Nevertheless, no country which imposed peacetime conscription in the past shows any inclination to relax its grip upon the masses of its people. Moreover, in countries where peacetime conscription was previously unheard-of there are many high military and civilian officials who advocate the imposition of permanent military servitude upon the masses.

There is also another way in which the preparation for war is useful to the holders of centralized political power. When things go badly at home, when popular discontent becomes inconveniently articulate, it is always possible, in a world where war-making remains an almost sacred habit, to shift the people’s attention away from domestic to foreign and military affairs. A flood of xenophobic or imperialistic propaganda is released by the government-controlled instruments of persuasion, a “strong policy” is adopted toward some foreign power, an appeal for “national unity” (in other words, unquestioning obedience to the ruling oligarchy) is launched, and at once it becomes unpatriotic for anybody to voice even the most justifiable complaints against mismanagement or oppression. It is difficult to see how any highly centralized government could afford to dispense with militarism and the threat of foreign war.

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Turkey: NATO Land Command To Reach Initial Operational Capability

Anadolu Agency
March 22, 2013

NATO Land Command to reach initial operational capability by end of August

Lieut. Gen. Frederick Ben Hodges, NATO Land Command Commander, said they will have capacity and capability to fulfill the majority of the tasks submitted to them by end of August.

Lieutenant General Frederick Ben Hodges, NATO Land Command Commander who has been assigned to Izmir…

Lieutenant General Hodges,NATO Land Command Commander in his interview with the AA stated that important progress has been done since the activation ceremony.

“We will have reached our initial operational capability by 30 August 2013. We doubled our personnel capacity from 40 to 82 since we have taken over the command. By the end of the August, this number will be 270 therefore we will have capacity and capability to fulfill the majority of the tasks submitted to us,” said Hodges.

Lieutenant General Hodges stated that the member countries understand the missions and efforts of NATO in the new period and voiced his appreciation about member nations, including Turkey, desire to assign more personnel than they agreed to at the beginning.

Lieutenant General Hodges continued by stating, “We will start our crucial training in September. Air Command have been supporting us during the transition period to Land Command. Furthermore, as our host nation, Turkey has given its full support for the success of this mission by assigning more Turkish Officers. Although Host Nation Support Agreements have been discussed, Turkey is doing its best to provide support to the Command. We have been welcomed and hosted very well and we are optimistic about the future.”

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Georgia: U.S. Marines Lead Live-Fire Exercise

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 20, 2013

Live Fire Exercise within “Agile Spirit 2013”

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Georgian and American military servicemen are undergoing [a live-] fire exercise within the framework of the joint exercise “Agile Spirit 2013”. The training organized by the Georgian MoD and the USA Department of Defense is taking place at the firing range of the IV Infantry Brigade in Vaziani.

350 military servicemen of the U.S. Marine Corps Black Sea Rotational Forces and 23rd Battalion of II Infantry Brigade of GAF participate in the exercise.

Tyhe firing exercise lasts for two days. Georgian and American soldiers are practicing shooting from various types and calibers of rifles. Practical exercises include firing from automatic rifles, anti-tank grenade launchers, machine-guns, automatic grenade launchers and mortars. Military servicemen get evaluations according to the degree of damaged targets located at different distances.

The fire exercise will be followed by tactical trainings. The combined Georgian-American exercise will be concluded with the final training. During the tactical exercise soldiers will practice operations maximally close to the mission they will perform in Afghanistan.

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Civil Georgia
March 21, 2013

Alasania: Georgia Offers to Send De-Miner to EU’s Mali Mission

Tbilisi: Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, said that Georgia was ready to send two army personnel, including a de-miner, as its contribution to EU’s military training mission in Mali (EUTM Mali).

“We are not talking about participation of [Georgian] combat units in the mission,” Alasania told lawmakers during a hearing at the parliamentary committee for defense and security on March 21.

He said that after EU approached Georgia with a proposal to participate in its operations under the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), the Georgian government discussed it and accepted, because it would contribute to Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic aspiration.

“We informed EU about our political decision that we are accepting proposal and also requested them to launch consultations to identify concrete area in which they need Georgia’s contribution,” Alasania said.

He said that Georgia offered to send one officer, who would be involved in command and control planning; he did not elaborate, but one of the components of EUTM Mali is to provide Mali government forces with training and advice in command and control.

Alasania said that Georgia also offered to send one de-miner, adding that Georgia “has a very good experience” in mine clearance operations.
“Let’s see how consultations will develop in this regard. There is political will and now we have to decide technical aspect,” the Georgian Defense Minister said.

EU launched its mission in Mali in February with a purpose to send there more than 200 military personnel to train Mali government forces in the fight against Islamist rebels.

The mission will not be involved in combat operations, according to EU’s decision.

EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said during her visit to Georgia in November, 2012 that she had invited Georgia to begin negotiations with the EU on the framework agreement for Georgia’s participation in EU crisis management operations.

In June, 2012 then foreign minister of Georgia Grigol Vashadze told Civil.ge that Tbilisi was in consultations with the European Union to sign a framework agreement on participation in operations implemented under EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP).

On Georgia’s contributions to international operations, Alasania also said while speaking at the parliamentary committee of defense and security on March 21, Georgia would continue contributing to NATO operations in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when the NATO combat mission is due to end.

He reiterated that Georgia had offered to provide training to Afghan troops both in Georgia and on the ground in Afghanistan; he said that Georgia’s proposal also included training of helicopter pilots for the Afghan forces.

Alasania said that Georgia had also offered NATO to make Georgia one of the routes for so called “reverse transit” ahead of the planed withdrawal of most foreign combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

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U.S. Congress Approves $380 Million For NATO Missile System

March 21, 2013 1 comment

Syracuse.com
March 21, 2013

Congress approves $380 million for Lockheed Martin’s MEADS anti-missile program

The MEADS missile defense project is the single largest radar contract in the history of Lockheed Martin’s plant at Electronics Park in Salina

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U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., was among MEADS critics who tried to cancel the final year of funding for a system that the Pentagon has no plans to deploy. Ayotte has called MEADS “the missile to nowhere.”

Ayotte offered in the Senate this week to take away the $380 million for MEADS. She represents about 1,200 New Hampshire residents who work in nearby Andover, Mass., for Raytheon, the defense contractor that makes the Patriot missile systems that MEADS was initially intended to replace.

Lockheed Martin is the lead contractor working wiith MEADS International, the partnership among NATO allies Germany, Italy and the United States that are paying for the missile defense project.

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Washington: A House bill approved today to keep the federal government operating through September includes $380 million for a missile defense project that has employed hundreds in Central New York.

The House voted 318-109 to approve the $984 billion spending plan, a day after the Senate passed the measure that leaves in place $85 billion in automatic spending cuts.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said he was able to successfully defeat attempts in the Senate to take away $380 million for the Medium Extended Air Defense System or MEADS.

The project has supported up to 235 jobs at Lockheed Martin’s plant at Electronics Park in Salina, which developed the surveillance radar used in the mobile missile defense system.

The final approval by the House today means that the MEADS project can proceed with its final year of development work. The House had restored funding for MEADS in the bill it sent to the Senate.

But U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., was among MEADS critics who tried to cancel the final year of funding for a system that the Pentagon has no plans to deploy. Ayotte has called MEADS “the missile to nowhere.”

Ayotte offered in the Senate this week to take away the $380 million for MEADS. She represents about 1,200 New Hampshire residents who work in nearby Andover, Mass., for Raytheon, the defense contractor that makes the Patriot missile systems that MEADS was initially intended to replace.

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Schumer said in an interview that he was able to block Ayotte’s amendment to the government-wide funding bill for fiscal 2013. He also obtained guarantees from the Pentagon that the money would be spent on MEADS development.

“Ayotte kept trying to get her amendment on the floor, but we blocked it each time,” Schumer said in an interview today. The amendment never made it to a floor vote.

Schumer said he made sure that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., knew about the importance of MEADS to New York.

Even though the Pentagon does not plan to deploy the system, military officials say they want to “harvest” the technology for other programs.

Schumer said he received commitments from the Department of Defense that the $380 million would be spent for the final year of MEADS development, rather than toward program termination costs as requested by some members of Congress.

“The whole Department of Defense establishment was on our side,” Schumer said. “We’ll keep pushing DOD to stick to their promise.”

Earlier House and Senate bills over the past year had denied President Barack Obama’s initial request of $400.9 million to pay for the final year of MEADS development. In fact, the Defense Authorization Act for 2013 explicitly barred any spending on MEADS.

Rep. Dan Maffei, D-DeWitt, was among 115 Democrats who joined the majority of Republicans today to pass the legislation that funds the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year.

“Today we saved hundreds of jobs in Central New York,” Maffei said in a statement after the vote.

“After spending the last few weeks urging leaders in Washington from both parties to continue the MEADS program which supports hundreds of jobs in Central New York, I am pleased that we were able to work together to pass the continuing resolution and save these jobs,” Maffei said.

The local share of MEADS work at Lockheed Martin in Salina, initially valued at $625 million, is the single largest radar contract in the history of the Central New York plant.

Greg Larioni, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Syracuse operations, issued a statement after the vote today:

“We are grateful for Senator Schumer’s efforts,” Larioni said. “Senator Schumer’s steadfast support has helped secure MEADS funding that can be used through the end of the design and development program. The 2013 funding bill passed by Congress creates the opportunity for us to continue our work in Syracuse on the innovative radars that are an integral part of MEADS.”

Lockheed Martin is the lead contractor working wiith MEADS International, the partnership among NATO allies Germany, Italy and the United States that are paying for the missile defense project.

MEADS critics say the project has been wasteful, with cost overruns and development costs that exceeded $18 billion because of technical and management problems.

Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington, D.C., watchdog group, has repeatedly called for the program and all of its federal funding to be canceled.

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Anatole France: Why should not humanity abolish the law of murder?

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

Anatole France: Selections on war

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Anatole France
From A Mummer’s Tale (Histoire Comique) (1903)
Translated by Charles E. Roche

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“Doctor,” inquired Constantin Marc, “are you by chance one of those who do not admire War? It is nevertheless a magnificent thing, when you come to think of it. The animals merely eat one another. Men have conceived the idea of beautiful massacres. They have learnt to kill one another in glittering cuirasses, in helmets topped with plumes, or maned with scarlet. By the use of artillery, and the art of fortification, they have introduced chemistry and mathematics among the necessary means of destruction. War is a sublime invention. And, since the extermination of human beings appears to us the only object of life, the wisdom of man resides in this, that he has made this extermination a delight and a splendour. After all, doctor, you cannot deny that murder is a law of nature, and that it is consequently divine.”

To which Dr. Socrates replied:

“We are only miserable animals, and yet we are our own providence and our own gods. The lower animals, whose immemorial reign preceded our own upon this planet, have transformed it by their genius and their courage. The insects have traced roads, excavated the soil, hollowed the trunks of trees and rocks, built dwellings, founded cities, metamorphosed the soil, the air, and the waters. The labour of the humblest of these, that of the madrepores, has created islands and continents. Every material change produces a moral change, since morals depend upon environment. The transformation to which man in his turn has subjected the earth is undoubtedly more profound and more harmonious than the transformation wrought by other animals. Why should not humanity succeed in changing nature to the extent of making it pacific? Why should not humanity, miserably puny though it is and will be, succeed, some day, in suppressing, or at least in controlling the struggle for life? Why indeed should not humanity abolish the law of murder?…

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NATO Warships, U.S. Strike Group Drill In Eastern Mediterranean

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

March 21, 2013

NATO Group Continues Duties on Operation Active Endeavour

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Recently members of the force joined up with the U.S. Strike Group consisting of the Aircraft Carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and her escorts, one of which is the German Frigate FGS HAMBURG. The units participated in an air defence exercise involving aircraft from the Carrier conducting mock attacks on the various units.

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Turkish warship Turgutreis

After a highly successful visit to Aksaz, Turkey, Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) is continuing its mission to bring the message of NATO and Operation Active Endeavour to the maritime community in the eastern Mediterranean.

The recent visit to Aksaz, provided a welcome opportunity to extend hospitality to key regional personalities and enhance the excellent working relationships with the Turkish. The Commander of SNMG1, Rear Admiral Georg von Maltzan, hosted a luncheon and force reception on board his flagship FGS HESSEN for invited guests including the Governor of Aksaz, Governer Fatih Şahin and the Commander of the Southern Task Group Rear Admiral Harmancik Ömer Faruk.

SNMG1 has been leading NATO’s enduring commitment to Operation Active Endeavour in the eastern Mediterranean since arriving in the area in late February. The Group currently consists of the German flagship HESSEN, the Turkish frigate TURGUTREIS and the German ship SPESSART. The French supply ship MEUSE is providing support to the Group. All the ships play their part in contributing to the overall aim of the mission; to monitor shipping activity…in the Mediterranean.

Recently members of the force joined up with the U.S. Strike Group consisting of the Aircraft Carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and her escorts, one of which is the German Frigate FGS HAMBURG. The units participated in an air defence exercise involving aircraft from the Carrier conducting mock attacks on the various units. The purpose of the exercise was to train together and extend common understanding of various tactics and procedures.

RADM von Maltzan said, “SNMG 1 is on the second Operational Surge and we have been working closely with the maritime community in the area of the eastern Mediterranean…The opportunity to increase our level of warfare training with the U.S. Strike Group was particularly special and demonstrates the Task Group’s ability to conduct concurrent operations, should the need arise.”

Background Information

1. Operation Active Endeavour is NATO’s sole Article 5 Operation on anti-terrorism and was initiated as support to the United States immediately after 9/11. It aims to demonstrate NATO’s solidarity and resolve…in the Mediterranean, whilst keeping the sea lanes safe and protecting shipping. It is also helping to strengthen relations with partner countries participating in the Alliance’s Mediterranean Dialogue.

2. SNMG1 is a multinational integrated maritime force that forms part of the NATO Response Force and operates under the Allied Maritime Command in Northwood. The Force is permanently activated and held at high readiness in order to respond to today’s security challenges.

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U.S. Air Force’s Bloody 100th: 100 Sorties In Support Of French War In Mali

March 21, 2013 2 comments

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
March 19, 2013

Bloody 100th flies 100th for French
By Capt. Jason Smith
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

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March 17: A French fighter aircraft prepares to refuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Africa

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“Without U.S. Air Force refueling support, the French air force would lose about 50 percent of their daily fighter sorties.”

The friendships and networking that have developed between the planners will help enhance French and U.S. military coordination for future operations.

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SOUTHWEST EUROPE: Airmen flying KC-135 Stratotankers from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, completed the 100th refueling mission March 17, 2013, supporting French fighter aircraft conducting operations in Mali.

The Airmen and aircraft deployed from RAF Mildenhall to southwest Europe on Jan. 26, 2013 and began flying as the 351st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron Jan. 27, 2013.

In less than two months, the 351st EARS has completed 100 sorties supporting the French. The sorties include more than 1,000 receiver contacts and more than 4.5 million pounds of fuel transferred.

The fuel directly enables French air force fighter aircraft to support ground forces, said French air force Commandant Lionel Vantard, Joint Force Air Component Lyon-Mt. Verdun Master Air Operations Plan planner. The fighters are based at airfields far from ground operations for security reasons, and the aircraft would not have enough fuel to transit between bases and the operations area without air refueling.

“Without U.S. Air Force refueling support, the French air force would lose about 50 percent of their daily fighter sorties,” said Vantard.

In addition to accomplishing the mission, Vantard and Henderson said working together toward an accomplishment like 100 missions can only build on a strong relationship. Both men agree the mixing of cultures among the planners in the French Standing JFAC LMV has helped to foster a better understanding of how the French air force and U.S. Air Force each operate and plan an air campaign. The friendships and networking that have developed between the planners will help enhance French and U.S. military coordination for future operations.

The 100th mission was flown with the 351st EARS reporting a 99-percent mission effective rate; a marker not easily achieved in a deployed environment.

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U.S. Air Forces in Europe
March 20, 2013

Life of a mission supporting French fighter aircraft
By Capt. Jason Smith
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

SOUTHWEST EUROPE: On March 17, 2013, a 351st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron aircrew delivered fuel to French fighter aircraft over Africa.

The French fighters are conducting operations over Mali, and the air-to-air refueling expands the operational capability of French aircraft by allowing them to remain airborne for extended periods of time.

Since deploying from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, Jan. 26, 2013, the 351st has flown more than 100 sorties in support of the French, delivering more than 4.5 million pounds of fuel.

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Karl Kraus: Aphorisms and obloquies on war

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

Karl Kraus: Selections on war

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Karl Kraus
Aphorisms and obloquies on war
Selected and translated by Harry Zohn

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How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lies to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.

War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; the, the satisfaction that he isn’t any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone’s being worse off.

What mythological confusion is this? Since when has Mars been the god of commerce and Mercury the god of war?

One ought to acknowledge the significance for mankind of the simultaneous invention of gunpowder and printer’s ink.

A franc-tireur is a civilian who intentionally attacks an armed man. A flier is an armed man who accidentally kills a civilian.

What can be decided by a world war? No more than that Christianity was too weak to prevent it.

If someone had told the devil (to whom war has always been pure pleasure) that one day there would be people with an unfeigned commercial interest in the continuation of the war – the profits from which even helped them to attain social standing – why, the devil would have directed that person to go tell it to the marines. But later, after he had verified this fact, hell would have glowed with shame and he would have been forced to the realization that all his life he had been but a poor devil!

“To capture the world market” – because merchants spoke thus, warriors had to act thus. Since then there have been captures, though not of the world market.

What I believe: That if this war does not kill off the good people, it may produce a moral island for the good who were good even without it. But that it will transform the entire surrounding world into one vast hinterland of deceit, infirmity, and the most inhuman blasphemy, in that evil, transcending the war and continuing to be activated by it, will grow fat behind ideals used as a front and feed on its victims. That in this war, the war of today, civilization does not renew itself but saves itself from the hangman only be committing suicide.

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NATO Warship Trains With Tanzanian Navy

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

March 20, 2013

NATO FLAGSHIP TRAINS WITH TANZANIAN NAVY

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Operation Ocean Shield’s Combined Boarding Exercise in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The NATO counter piracy flagship, ITS San Marco has held a successful training exercise with the Tanzanian navy. Last week, ITS San Marco was in Dar Es Salaam for a port visit and while there, took the opportunity to train with the Tanzanian navy. More than 150 military personnel, rhibs, landing crafts, three helicopters, ITS San Marco and one Tanzanian Navy Ship were involved.

The exercise scenario involved two rhibs with a joint Italian and Tanzanian boarding team sailing towards a target at high speed to release other colleagues held on a ‘suspect merchant vessel’.

The exercise was carried out in the presence of Admiral Abdallah Mwemnjudi Chief of Operations and Training of Tanzanian People Defence Forces Navy and Rear Admiral Antonio Natale, Commander of NATO’s counter piracy task force.

Background Information:

1. The entire activity was broadcasted live on CNN by an embedded team and can be viewed on http://www.cnn.com by searching for “nato”

2. NATO has contributed to the international counter piracy effort off the Horn of Africa since December 2008. The mission has expanded from escorting UN and World Food Programme Shipping under Operation Allied Provider and protecting merchant traffic in the Gulf of Aden under Operation Allied Protector. In addition to these activities and as part of the latest mission, Operation Ocean Shield, NATO is working with other international bodies to help develop capacity of countries in the region to tackle piracy on their own.

3. NATO Forces currently in Operation Ocean Shield:

ITS SAN MARCO – Flag Ship (ITALY)
HDMS IVER HUITFELDT (DENMARK)
TCG GOKOVA (TURKEY)
USS NICHOLAS (U.S.A.)

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Tanzanian Navy Boarding Team in Dar es Salaam

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Aegis Class U.S. Guided Missile Destroyer Visits Montenegro

United States European Command
March 14, 2013

USS Farragut Visits Montenegro
MC2 A.J. Jones, USS Farragut Public Affairs

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USS Farragut

BAR, Montenegro: The guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) visited Bar, Montenegro, for a port visit, March 11-14.

Farragut…sent several of their Sailors to observe a boarding exercise with Montenegrin sailors.

Over the three-day port visit, Sailors provided shipboard tours for the U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro, the Honorable Sue K. Brown and ambassadors from Hungary, Romania and Slovenia, as well as Montenegrin military and civilians. The tours provided visitors the opportunity to explore the ship with Sailors while learning about the U.S. Navy.

Farragut, homeported out of Mayport, Fla., is on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

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Russia Must Be Ready To Counter Military Threat From West: Deputy Prime Minister

Interfax-Military
March 20, 2013

Russia must be ready to counter threat using military force – Rogozin

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“The Cold War rudiments, both in their organization, such as NATO, or propaganda, such as Russophobia, forms have not disappeared,” Rogozin said.

“Western civilization is a condition of exhausting resources and is not going to give up the level of consumption which they got have been used to for a long time. This means the struggle for the access to these resources will become even more severe,” he said.

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MOSCOW: Military force is always in demand in the modern world, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said at the Military and Industrial Conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

“We cannot fail to see what is happening in the world. Military force is still in demand, and the threat of using it is a key factor of interaction on the solution of global political and economic issues,” Rogozin said.

“Shaking hands with its partners with a steel hand in a child’s glove, Russia must show the world its firm resoluteness to defend the world and its place in it,” he said.

“The Cold War rudiments, both in their organization, such as NATO, or propaganda, such as Russophobia, forms have not disappeared,” Rogozin said.

“Western civilization is a condition of exhausting resources and is not going to give up the level of consumption which they got have been used to for a long time. This means the struggle for the access to these resources will become even more severe,” he said.

“Meanwhile, new giants with gigantic ambitions are entering the world arena. The 21st century will not be just a promenade on an avenue,” Rogozin said.

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Russian Information Agency Novosti
March 20, 2013

Russia’s Rogozin Asks ‘Who’s the Enemy?’

MOSCOW: Russia needs to determine exactly who its enemies are and develop its Armed Forces accordingly, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Wednesday.

“We really need to understand what our strategic threats are, clearly define who our adversary is, what kind of adversary, and configure our Armed Forces and military-technical systems to counter those threats,” he told a military-industrial conference in Moscow. Rogozin oversees the country’s military-industrial complex.

Rogozin, Russia’s former envoy to NATO, also said it was essential to develop standard scenarios for the use of the Armed Forces based on a common vision of future armed conflicts.

New weapon systems should be designed to accommodate those scenarios and meet specific hypothetical threats, he said.

Addressing the conference earlier in the day, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev urged the further consolidation of the defense industry, calling it key to the country’s economic development.

As of today there are 61 integrated structures in the defense industry, comprising 771 large enterprises, which account for over 74 percent of defense industry output. By 2020, a new-look defense industry is to be formed with about 40 large science and production associations.

Russia’s ambitious 2011-2020 arms procurement program stipulates the upgrade of up to 11 percent of military equipment annually and will allow the country to increase the share of modern weaponry in the Armed Forces to 70 percent by 2020. Russia allocated about 908 billion rubles (about $30 bln) to state defense order spending in 2012.

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80-Member NATO Delegation Attends Armed Forces Conference In Qatar

March 20, 2013 2 comments

The Peninsula
March 20, 2013

Nato gets information about region from Qatar: Official
By Azmat Haroon

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomes Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani at NATO Headquarters in March 2012

Doha: Nato receives important strategic information about this region from Qatar, a Nato official said yesterday.

“Qatar is considered to be a very positive partner from this region. It has knowledge about this region that Nato doesn’t have in Brussels,” Lieutenant General Arne Bard Dalhaug, Commandant of Nato Defence College told The Peninsula yesterday.

He was leading an 80-member delegation to Qatar for a conference organised by the Qatar Armed Forces at the Hilton Hotel.

The delegation, arrived here from Rome, will visit Abu Dhabi today, followed by stopovers in Paris, London and Berlin.

General Dalhaug said the Nato Defence College often trains Qatari students on strategic issues. “We are an educational institute, so we provide different courses on strategic education, which is theoretical. We have Qatari students who come to our college quite often,” he said.

Students receive study materials and lectures on different issues at the college.

The General also revealed that the Defence College has one student from Qatar this year.

Brigadier Sanad Ali Rashid Al Naimi, In-charge of the Strategic Research Centre, spoke about the transformations in the Mena countries and their impact on international security in the region.

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Georgia: U.S. Marines Launch Month-Long Military Exercise For NATO Wars Abroad

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 19, 2013

The Georgian-U.S. Military Exercise Agile spirit 2013 Started

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An official ceremony to mark the opening of the joint exercise Agile Spirit 2013 of Ministry by the Ministry of Defence of Georgia and United States Department of Defence has been organized at the drill grounds of th IV Infantry Brigade in Vaziani.

350 military servicemen of the U.S Marine Corps Black Sea Rotational Forces and the 23rd Battalion of the II Infantry Brigade are taking part in the joint training. This Georgian unit has participated in the international security mission in Afghanistan…

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Agile Spirit 2012

The military exercise Agile Spirit 2013 is conducted in Georgia for the third time and aims at the enhancement of interoperability during peacekeeping operations between the military units of the two countries.

The one-month long exercise will be held in three phases. An active phase of the military training was launched today and will finish on 29 March.

The combined training is open for media outlets. Journalists are also engaged in the exercise for the first time. They will undergo special training to cover the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.

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NATO Approves Georgia’s Latest Annual National Programme

Trend News Agency
March 19, 2013

NATO approves Georgia’s Annual National Programme
N. Kirtskhalia

North Atlantic Council visit to Georgia - Meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission
Meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission in Tbilisi in November 2011

Tbilisi: NATO has approved the Annual National Program (ANP) of Georgia for 2013.

According to the Office of the State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, a programme was approved by the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting, which was held yesterday at the headquarters of NATO in Brussels at the level of deputy ministers.

The commission commended the Annual National Programme. The allies expressed their readiness to assist Georgia in its successful implementation. They also welcomed the progress made in the penal system and plans for the future.

The National Programme was formally introduced by the Deputy State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration David Dondua. The meeting was also attended by Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance.

Georgia’s State Commission for NATO integration approved the ANP on March 1.

In April 2008, the summit of the NATO member countries in Bucharest confirmed that Georgia and Ukraine may become members of NATO in the future given they meet the standards of the alliance. The same summit also decided to adopt the Annual National Programme for Georgia, which determines a detailed action plan for the country.

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Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 17, 2013

Georgia’s NATO Integration Prospects discussed at “Future of Euro-Atlantic Integration”

Defence Ministry of Georgia Irakli Alasania took part in the panel “Future of Euro-Atlantic Integration”. The discussions were held in the framework of “Brussels Forum”. Speakers of the panel were Alexander Vershbow, Deputy Secretary General, NATO; Ambassador Kurt Volker, Executive Director, McCain Institute for International Leadership; Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister, Montenegro and Ruprecht Polenz, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, German Parliament.

Alexander Vershbow delivered a speech about the NATO enlargement prospects which is a key part of its agenda. He outlined that the decision made at Bucharest Summit that Georgia would become a NATO member, remains in force: “Georgia has an unique status. In Bucharest it got a very clear message that it will be a member of the alliance one day”…

In his speech the Deputy Secretary General of NATO highlighted the reforms made in Georgia after the October elections. Alexander Vershbow also referred to the ongoing changes in Georgia following the elections and spoke about the challenges of cohabitation between the current Georgian government and the opposition. “Georgia now becomes the largest non-NATO troop contributor to our operations in Afghanistan and has suffered a lot of casualties as part of that very important contribution. The country is taking a responsible stance in recent years toward regional stability with the non-use of force,” stated Alexander Vershbow.

In the panel “Future of Euro-Atlantic Integration”, Defence Minister Irakli Alasania introduced the ongoing democratic reforms in Georgia to the participants of the international forum. He also spoke about…Georgia’s contribution in the NATO-led international mission in Afghanistan. Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Alasdania also gave a]n explanation] to the speakers of the panel concerning Georgia’s NATO integration prospects.

The “Brussels Forum” held under the auspices of Marshall Fund comes to an end today.

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Mark Twain: Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War

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

American writers on peace and against war

Mark Twain: Selections on war

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Mark Twain
Vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League, 1901-1910
From Man’s Place in the Animal World (1896)

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The higher animals engage in individual fights, but never in organized masses. Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one who gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out, as the Hessians did in our Revolution, and as the boyish Prince Napoleon did in the Zulu war, and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel.

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Mai is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man” – with his mouth.

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Top Military Commander: NATO Ready For Libya-Style Intervention In Syria

March 19, 2013 2 comments

Stars and Stripes
March 19, 2013

Stavridis: More direct engagement by US could turn tide in Syria
By John Vandiver

STUTTGART, Germany: Adm. James Stavridis, NATO’s top military commander and head of U.S. European Command, told lawmakers Monday that a more aggressive posture by the U.S. and its allies could help break a stalemate in war-torn Syria.

“My personal opinion is that would be helpful in breaking the deadlock and bringing down the regime,” Stavridis said during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

So far, the U.S. and NATO has refrained from providing lethal support to Syrian opposition forces, who have been engaged in a bloody two-year battle with the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

In response to questions from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a vocal supporter of a more aggressive policy in Syria, Stavridis said the alliance is preparing for a range of contingencies.

“We are looking at a wide range of operations and we are prepared if called upon to be engaged as we were in Libya,” Stavridis said.

Stavridis also said NATO Patriot missile batteries now deployed in Turkey as part of a plan to defend Turkish airspace could, if called upon, be capable of shooting down Syrian jets in that country’s airspace. When asked whether such a move could serve as a deterrent to Syrian attacks on rebel positions, Stavridis said: “I think whenever aircraft are shot down that is a powerful disincentive.”

In the event of the regime’s collapse, Stavridis painted a grim picture OF a post-Assad Syria, which he likened to the Balkans of the 1990s.

“There is a great deal of danger in the endgame scenario,” said Stavridis, who cautioned that competing ethnic groups could set the stage for more violence. “I think there is a great deal of potential for revenge killing.”

Stavridis, who testified alongside Gen. John Kelly of Southern Command and Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr. of Northern Command, also spoke about the effects sequestration is having on the military mission in Europe…

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China, Russia To Respond Jointly To U.S. Interceptor Missile Deployments

Russian Information Agency Novosti
March 19, 2013

China, Russia to Stand Together on Missile Defense in AsPac

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Ground-based midcourse interceptor missile launch

BEIJING: Russia and China will coordinate their reactions to US plans to boost its missile defense in the Asia-Pacific region, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Tuesday.

The remarks follow Washington’s recent announcement this it has shelved plans for a European-based missile shield in favor of boosting its defenses in Alaska, which would give it coverage from a potential North Korean attack.

Beijing and Moscow oppose the deployment of missile shields, arguing that they undermine their own military strategies.

“The matter of missile defense has to do with global strategic balance, and China and Russia have similar views on it,” Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cheng Guoping said in Beijing.

“Russia and the People’s Republic of China have been cooperating on the matter for years, and we will only be strengthening collaboration in this direction,” he said.

US efforts to bolster its homeland missile defense follow threats by North Korea last week to attack the United States with its long-range missiles.

The US military intends to deploy 14 additional interceptors in Alaska by 2017 to counter the threat and install a radar station in Japan for early tracking of North Korean missiles.

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30-story, 50,000-ton Sea-Based X-Band Radar en route to homeport in Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands near the coast of Russia

Russian ambassador to China, Sergei Razov, also urged Moscow’s partners to “adjust their defense efforts to real challenges and threats” and said that no nation’s security effort should pose a threat to others.

Neither Cheng nor Razov elaborated on their countries’ possible reaction to US plans.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei earlier Monday said Washington’s adapted defense blueprint would “only intensify antagonism and not help to solve the problem.”

He also criticized “missile proliferation” in an apparent reference to North Korea’s December launch of a rocket to put a satellite into space that observers believe could serve as a precursor to Pyongyang developing the capability to launch long-range missiles.

Norther Korea carried out a nuclear test in February, prompting a new round of US-led international sanctions, which triggered the threats by North Korea to attack the United States.

Russia has for years vocally resisted US plans to deploy a missile shield in Eastern Europe, arguing that it would threaten the strategic parity between the two former Cold War foes.

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Xinhua News Agency
March 19, 2013

Polish part of U.S. missile shields in Europe to go as planned: U.S. undersecretary

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Ground-based midcourse interceptor missile launch

WARSAW: The third phase of the U.S. missile shields in Europe to be installed in Poland will go as planned, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said on Monday.

Local media reports quoted Sherman in saying that that the European system’s third construction phase, which foresees a missile base in Redzikowo in northern Poland, will continue according to plan.

She said that the move was strictly a U.S. decision aimed at protecting its territory from Poland and ensuring protection to NATO.

Last Friday, U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that the U.S. planned to reinforce their missile defences in response to the rising nuclear threat from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Hagel added that the second and third phases of the European shield in Romania and Poland will continue as planned.

The U.S. missile defense complex in Poland, also called the European Interceptor Site, is planned for 2018. The Redzikowo base will be an element of NATO anti-missile defence system.

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Russian Amphibious Ships To Visit Iranian, Syrian Ports

Interfax-Military
March 19, 2013

Pacific Fleet ships to visit Iranian, Syrian ports – source

VLADIVOSTOK: Large amphibious ships of the Russian Pacific Fleet, which left Vladivostok on Tuesday to undertake combat tasks in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, will enter Iranian and Syrian ports, a source in the Pacific Fleet headquarters told Interfax-AVN.

“One of the combat service tasks of the Pacific Fleet ship unit, bearing in mind the unprecedented inclusion in it of three big amphibious ships, will be to deliver cargo to the Syrian port,” the source said.

The ships may enter other ports in the region, including Iranian ports, the source said.

“By the way, Pacific Fleet ships already visited Iran in December,” the source said.

Captain Roman Martov, an official spokesman for the Russian Pacific Fleet, earlier said the next unit of Pacific Fleet ships would leave Vladivostok for the Gulf of Aden n Tuesday. The unit is comprised of the big anti-ship vessel Admiral Panteleyev, which is has helicopter capabilities as well a naval infantry, three large amphibious ships, the Admiral Nevelsky, Peresvet, and Oslyabya, the ocean rescue vessel Fotiy Krylov, and the sea tanker Pechenga.

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Itar-Tass
March 19, 2013

Command system of Russian rapid response naval force in Mediterranean Sea to be formed before year end

SEVASTOPOL: The structure of the Command of a Russian rapid response naval force, which is being created for permanent operations in the Mediterranean Sea, will be formed finally in the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet before the end of this year.

The command system of the Russian rapid response naval force will be tested in action during the inter-fleet naval exercises for the first time in 2014, a source in the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

“The forming of the Command of a Russian rapid response naval force was launched. The working group was formed from the officers of the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet and the 30th brigade of surface ships. The archive documents of the 5th Soviet Mediterranean rapid response naval squadron, its staff structure are being examined, the experience of operations of the warships of the Black Sea Fleet at inter-fleet naval exercises was being analyzed last January. The council of veterans of the 5th squadron also joined this work,” the source said.

“Before the end of the year a new structure will be finally formed and in the summer of 2014 it will be tested in action for the first time at inter-fleet naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea,” he noted.

“A full-fledged Russian rapid response naval force should be completely formed by 2015. By this year we hope to practice completely the command of the naval force and the most important thing is to put new warships into service of this naval force,” a source in the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet said. He noted that, meanwhile, those naval forces, which were participating in the last January inter-fleet naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, namely the missile cruiser Moskva, the coast guard ship Smetlivy, large landing ships and auxiliary ships, will be included in the rapid response naval force from the Black Sea Fleet,” the source said.

“About 5-6 warships should be deployed on the permanent basis in the Mediterranean Sea, the command of the naval force should be made through the Command of the Black Sea Fleet,” Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Viktor Chirkov said on March 17.

Admiral Chirkov stated earlier in the situation centre of the Russian Defence Ministry that the Russian Navy already began to fulfil the tasks to form a rapid response naval force for the operations on the permanent basis in the Mediterranean Sea. The chief commander noted then that the High Command of the Russian Navy is analysing the problems to form this naval force. “For the command of the rapid response naval force the staff, which will be assigned in the Mediterranean Sea, was prepared,” the admiral said.

The 5th rapid response squadron of the Soviet Union Navy performed combat tasks in the Mediterranean war theatre during the Cold War. The US Navy’s Sixth Fleet was the main rival of the Soviet naval squadron. This Soviet naval squadron was disbanded on December 31, 1992, a year after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

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Interfax-Military
March 19, 2013

Command center for Russian Navy’s Mediterranean unit to appear by year-end – source

SEVASTOPOL: A command center for a Russian naval standby force, which will operate in the Mediterranean Sea, will be established within the Black Sea Fleet Staff before the end of 2013, a staff spokesman told Interfax-AVN on Tuesday.

This command structure will be tested during Mediterranean Sea maneuvers involving several Russian fleets in the summer of 2014, he said.

“Efforts to set up the unit’s command center have already been launched. A working group made up of officers from the Black Sea Fleet Staff and the 30th brigade of surface ships has been formed. They are currently studying archive documents describing the Navy’s 5th Mediterranean operative squadron and its structure. The experience of Black Sea Fleet ships’ participation in January’s inter-fleet exercises is being analyzed. The Council of 5th Squadron Veterans has joined this work,” the source said.

“The formation of the Navy’s task force is due to be completed by 2015. Hopefully, the finishing touches will be put on the unit’s command structure by then. And, what counts most, we hope to receive new ships for this group,” the source said.

Today the task force will include the Black Sea Fleet’s ships that took part in the January naval maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea – the missile carrying cruiser Moskva, the surveillance ship Smetlivy, large assault ships and support vessels, the source said.

“Up to 5-6 ships should be permanently present in the Mediterranean Sea. Their operations ought to be coordinated through the Black Sea Fleet’s command,” Russian Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov told the Zvezda television station on March 17.

Chirkov said on March 11 that the Navy had already started to form a standby unit for missions in the Mediterranean Sea.

He said then that the Navy command would analyze all of the problems surrounding the establishment of such a group.

“Personnel will be trained to coordinate the operations of this task force in the Mediterranean Sea,” the admiral said.

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NATO Chief To Visit Japan To Push F-35 Deal

Kyodo News
March 19, 2013

Abe to bargain with NATO for Japanese role in F-35

LOCKHEED MARTIN X-35, Joint Strike Fighter

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to meet with the chief of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization next month to seek support for a Japanese role in manufacturing the internationally developed F-35 fighter jet, a government source said Monday.

NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen is expected to visit Japan in mid-April and meet with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. Such issues as China’s growing assertiveness, NATO’s security roles in Afghanistan, and the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea will likely be on the agenda, the source said.

Rasmussen, a former prime minister of Denmark, will become the first head of the 28-member military alliance to visit Japan since December 2007.

Tokyo announced earlier this month it would allow Japanese manufacturers to provide components for the advanced stealth jet to spur industrial growth — a decision that led the government, despite criticism, to exempt the F-35 project from its long-standing ban on arms exports.

The fighter jet is being jointly developed by nine countries — eight NATO members and Australia. Japan plans to purchase 42 of the next-generation fighters to make the F-35 the mainstay jet of the Air Self-Defense Force.

Abe is likely to brief Rasmussen on Japan’s position and seek a deal.

As fighting continues between NATO troops and insurgents in Afghanistan and foreign forces hand off vital security duties to the Afghans before exiting, it is conceivable that Rasmussen will ask Japan for financial assistance and that Abe will respond positively, the source suggested.

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U.S. Air Force Completes NATO Interoperability Exercise In Croatia

March 18, 2013 2 comments

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
March 14, 2013

BPC coaches Croatian Air Force on survival
By Senior Airman Whitney Stork
86 Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Bush+Attends+Signing+Albania+Croatia+NATO+L9SpzHyFZTzl
George W. Bush and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer during Croatia’s NATO accession signing ceremony at the White House in 2008

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany: Members from the 435th Contingency Response Group building partnership capacity activity visited Croatian air force members at Lucko Air Base, Croatia, Feb. 18 through 22.

The Contingency Response Group BPC team is comprised of 20 Airmen from 17 different Air Force Specialty Codes. These members have gone on countless tours since the dedicated activity was established last year.

“With an ongoing goal of NATO interoperability, events such as these are an outstanding opportunity for us to share ideas on activities of importance for both Air Forces,” said Maj. Austin Burrill, 435th BPC air advisor and mission commander.

A team of air advisors consisting of two survival evasion reconnaissance and evasion specialists and one officer in charge traveled to Croatia to complete a SERE familiarization program exchange with members of the Croatian Air Force.

The air advisors spent three days with Croatian air force members coaching them on many different SERE lifesaving techniques.

The members participated in several discussion sessions covering topics of personnel recovery fundamentals and NATO SERE program considerations essential for all participants to enhance their knowledge on the subject.

“It was a very rewarding opportunity to work with our Croatian allies and exchange SERE information with each other,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon Fountain, 435th BPC air advisor. “I look forward to future familiarization event opportunities with the Croatian Air Force.”

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