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Response to a friend on Obama’s speech

August 31, 2013 3 comments

Once again, let me play devil’s advocate.

Aside from the obvious fact that no head of state, with or without the approval of his nation’s legislative branch, can inform the world that he intends to military attack another nation that threatens neither his own or any other country (despite Obama’s repeated and thoroughly dishonest invocations of “national security”) constituting a gross insult to the international order, look what in effect he has done:

He has put the whole world on notice, the way that a cat plays with a mouse before mauling and killing it, what he intends to do and reserves the sadistic right to keep all parties in suspense, capriciously if he chooses, for as long as suits him and his domestic agenda.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Iran, Russia and China are subjected to stewing in their own helplessness, their own utter impotence, for days or weeks – “for you know not the day not the hour” – and, moreover, their impotence is put on display before the entire world: The three nations are not able or willing to protect their closest allies or for that matter even themselves.

This new ploy by Washington has upped the ante by definitely confirming a military strike in advance (unlike Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya where everyone may have assumed one but hoped it could be averted) and then defying anyone at home or abroad to do anything about it. That is, backing down the world.

Rick Rozoff

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Obama announces impending military attack against Syria

August 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Obama appears after the 50-minute mark

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Putin Speaks Out Against Impending War On Syria

August 31, 2013 1 comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
August 31, 2013

Putin: US Claims About Syrian Chemical Attack ‘Unimaginable Nonsense’

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the US on Saturday saying that Washington’s allegations about the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians were “unimaginable nonsense.”

“Common sense speaks for itself – government troops are advancing, in some regions they surrounded the insurgents,” Putin said. “In such conditions, giving a trump card to those who have always been calling for a foreign military intervention is simply unimaginable nonsense.”

“I am sure this was no more than a provocation by those looking to drag other countries [into the conflict] and obtain support of powerful international player, particularly the United States,” Putin said about the chemical attack that reportedly killed hundreds last week.

The United States said that the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad were behind the attack, but these claims require solid proof, Putin said, marking the first time he weighed in on the topic.

“Claims that the proof exists, but is classified and cannot be presented to anybody are below criticism,” Putin said during a trip to the far eastern city of Vladivostok. “This is plain disrespect for their partners.”

The White House released a report Friday blaming Assad’s regime for the attack, which cited “human, signals and geospatial intelligence,” as well as open source materials such as social media reports and videos of the alleged attack. The report explicitly stated that it omitted certain classified evidence, which was only made available to the US Congress.

Putin said Saturday that Russia denounced the use of chemical weapons and was ready for “consolidated participation in drafting measures to oppose such acts.”

He also denied discussing possible US military strikes on Syrian targets with his US counterpart Barack Obama on the phone.

But Putin said he was hoping to take up the Syrian issue with Obama during the upcoming G20 summit in Russia’s St. Petersburg on September 5-6.

Obama has explicitly blamed Assad for the attack and threatened missile and bomb strikes against selected Syrian targets in retribution for using weapons of mass destructions. He denied plans for a ground invasion of Syria or Assad’s overthrow.

Damascus has called the attacks a provocation by rebels it is battling since 2011.

A UN investigative team was dispatched on the site of the attack and is expected to present its findings in mid-September, but its mandate is limited to establishing whether the attack took place, not naming the guilty parties.

The British parliament ruled Thursday against supporting a possible US military operation in Syria. Putin said Saturday he was “astonished” by the move, which, he added, was made by people “motivated by nation’s interests and common sense.”

More than 100,000 died in internal strife in Syria since the conflict’s outbreak, according to UN figures.

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Interfax
August 31, 2013

Putin welcomes British parliament’s decision not to sanction operation against Syria

VLADIVOSTOK: Russian President Vladimir Putin has welcomed the British parliament’s decision not to sanction the United Kingdom’s participation in a possible military operation against Syria, noting that this decision was an absolute surprise to him.

“The British parliament’s decision on Syria is an absolute surprise to me. It shows that there are people guided by common sense there,” Putin told journalists in Vladivostok on Saturday.

“We have been accustomed in the past years to the fact that everything in Western society is accepted without special discussions and in conformity with the will and position of the main partner, that is, the U.S., or at least it looked so. If something went wrong this time around, I should repeat that this is something I didn’t expect; moreover, I am even surprised by this position,” he said.

On the other hand, this decision, in Putin’s view, shows that even in the United Kingdom, a key geopolitical ally for the U.S., there are people who are guided by national interests and common sense and who value their sovereignty. Putin also suggested that this is a result of analysis of what has happened in the Middle Eastern region and other countries in the past years.

“I am sure that people analyze events that happen, come to conclusions, and make their own decisions,” Putin said.

It was reported earlier that the British parliament did not approve a government resolution on grounds for a military intervention in Syria. The resolution was supported by 272 parliamentarians, and 285 were against it.

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Russia: Any Use Of Force Against Syria Direct Violation Of International Law

August 31, 2013 1 comment

Itar-Tass
August 31, 2013

Russian FM: Any unilateral use of force bypassing UN SC would violate international law

MOSCOW: Washington’s latest statements containing threats to use force against Syria are unacceptable, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich has said.

“Instead of complying with the resolutions made by the G8 summit in Lough Erne and the follow-up agreements to present to the UN Security Council a comprehensive report by UN experts investigating the rumoured use of chemical weapons in Syria threats to deal a strike against Syria are being made despite the lack of any evidence. Even the United States’ allies have called for taking a “pause” to wait until the group of UN experts complete their work to have an impartial picture of what happened and to determine further steps to be taken in relation to the Syrian crisis. This is precisely the kind of approach that was proclaimed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon the other day.”

“Any unilateral use of force in bypass of the UN Security Council, however ‘limited’ it may be, would become direct violation of international law, upset the prospects of a political and diplomatic settlement of the conflict in Syria and bring about a new spiral of confrontation and casualties,” Lukashevich said. “This march of events must be prevented.”

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Russian Information Agency Novosti
August 31, 2013

US Strike on Syria Inadmissible, Even if ‘Limited’ – Moscow

MOSCOW: A military strike on Syria not sanctioned by the UN Security Council would be inadmissible no matter how “limited” it is, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

US President Barack Obama said earlier in the day that a potential military strike on Syria would be a “limited” operation aimed at punishing the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack it allegedly carried out last week.

“Any unilateral military sanction bypassing the UN Security Council, no matter how “limited” it is, will be a direct violation of the international law, [it will] undermine the possibility to solve the conflict in Syria by political and diplomatic means, [and] bring about a new round of confrontation and casualties,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement late on Friday.

He said that even some of US allies suggest that all decisions on Syria should be postponed until a team of UN chemical weapons experts completes its work in the country. The same proposal had earlier been voiced by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“Threats of striking Syria are being issued instead of implementing the decisions of the G8 summit in Lough Erne [and] subsequent agreements to provide the UN Security Council with a comprehensive evaluation by UN experts, who investigate the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria,” the spokesman said.

Britain backed the US incursion into Iraq in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein, but the British parliament on Thursday rejected military involvement in Syria.

At the same time, Turkey, a key US ally in the region and Syria’s neighbor, said a “limited” action against Syria will not be enough to satisfy Ankara and a full-fledged military intervention in Syria, similar to the one in Kosovo in 1999, is needed.

“A limited military action will not satisfy us. It [the intervention] should be like in Kosovo,” Turkish daily Hurriyet quoted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying.

The UN secretary general cut short his official visit in Europe on Friday and returned to New York for consultations on Syria with UN members. He said on Friday that the study of data and samples collected by the UN investigators on the site of the alleged attack might take about two weeks, Reuters reported citing diplomatic sources.

The UN team, deployed in Syria last Sunday, is set to leave the country on Saturday. A high-ranking team member, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane, is expected to brief the UN chief on the work of the mission later that day.

Earlier on Friday, the White House released a declassified intelligence assessment of an apparent Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs, which the administration asserts “with high confidence” was carried out by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The report states that 1,429 people were killed in the alleged assault, including at least 426 children, though it said that assessment “will certainly evolve as we obtain more information.”

The Syrian authorities have repeatedly rejected all accusations. The country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement read out on State TV on Friday that the US report was “entirely fabricated.”

“What the US administration describes as irrefutable evidence… is nothing but tired legends that the terrorists have been circulating for more than a week, with their share of lies and entirely fabricated stories,” Agence France-Presse quoted the statement as saying.
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Itar-Tass
August 31, 2013

Putin: Syrian government did not use chemical weapons

VLADIVOSTOK: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that the Syrian government had never used chemical weapons and described the recent chemical attack in a Damascus outskirt as a provocation.

“As far as this incident is concerned, it is well-known that the Syrian government used to turn to the world community with a request to inspect, what it thought, cases of using chemical weapons against civilians by militants. Unfortunately, that did not happen,” the Russian leader told journalists.

The government troops are now on the offensive. “That is why I am convinced that the recent incident is nothing more than a provocation by those who want to drag other countries into the Syrian conflict and want to enlist the support of powerful international players, the United States in the first place.

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H.G. Wells: For the predetermined losing side, modern wars an unspeakable business

August 31, 2013 Leave a 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 Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought (1901)

NPG x167164; Herbert George Wells by Walter Stoneman

The military advantages of the command of the sea will probably be greater in the future than they have been in the past. A fleet with aerial supports would be able to descend upon any portion of the adversary’s coast it chose, and to dominate the country inland for several miles with its gun-fire. All the enemy’s sea-coast towns would be at its mercy. It would be able to effect landing and send raids of cyclist-marksmen inland, whenever a weak point was discovered. Landings will be enormously easier than they have ever been before. Once a wedge of marksmen has been driven inland they would have all the military advantages of the defence when it came to eject them. They might, for example, encircle and block some fortified post, and force costly and disastrous attempts to relieve it. The defensive country would stand at bay, tethered against any effective counter-blow, keeping guns, supplies, and men in perpetual and distressing movement to and fro along its sea-frontiers. Its soldiers would get uncertain rest, irregular feeding, unhealthy conditions of all sorts in hastily made camps. The attacking fleet would divide and re-unite, break up and vanish, amazingly reappear. The longer the defender’s coast the more wretched his lot. Never before in the world’s history was the command of the sea worth what it is now. But the command of the sea is, after all, like military predominance on land, to be insured only by superiority of equipment in the hands of a certain type of man, a type of man that it becomes more and more impossible to improvise, that a country must live for through many years…War is being drawn into the field of the exact sciences. Every additional weapon, every new complication of the art of war, intensifies the need of deliberate preparation, and darkens the outlook of a nation of amateurs. Warfare in the future, on sea or land alike, will be much more one-sided than it has ever been in the past, much more of a foregone conclusion. Save for national lunacy, it will be brought about by the side that will win, and because that side knows that it will win. More and more it will have the quality of surprise, of pitiless revelation. Instead of the seesaw, the bickering interchange of battles of the old time, will come swiftly and amazingly blow, and blow, and blow, no pause, no time for recovery, disasters cumulative and irreparable.

The fight will never be in practice between equal sides, never be that theoretical deadlock we have sketched, but a fight between the more efficient and the less efficient, between the more inventive and the more traditional. While the victors, disciplined and grimly intent, full of the sombre yet glorious delight of a grave thing well done, will, without shouting or confusion, be fighting like one great national body, the losers will be taking that pitiless exposure of helplessness in such a manner as their natural culture and character may determine. War for the losing side will be an unspeakable pitiable business. There will be first of all the coming of the war, the wave of excitement, the belligerent shouting of the unemployed inefficients, the flag-waving, the secret doubts, the eagerness for hopeful news, the impatience of the warning voice…Tramp, tramp, they march, doing what they have been told to do, incapable of doing anything they have not been told to do, trustful and pitiful, marching to wounds and disease, hunger, hardship, and death. They know nothing of what they are going to meet, nothing of what they will have to do…Tramp, tramp, they go, boys who will never be men, rejoicing patriotically in the nation that has thus sent them forth, badly armed, badly clothed, badly led, to be killed in some avoidable quarrel by men unseen…

I cannot foresee what such a force will even attempt to do, against modern weapons. Nothing can happen but the needless and most wasteful and pitiful killing of these poor lads, who make up the infantry battalions, the main mass of all the European armies of to-day, whenever they come against a sanely-organized army. There is nowhere they can come in, there is nothing they can do. The scattered invisible marksmen with their supporting guns will shatter their masses, pick them off individually, cover their line of retreat and force them into wholesale surrenders. It will be more like herding sheep than actual fighting. Yet the bitterest and cruellest things will have to happen, thousands and thousands of poor boys will be smashed in all sorts of dreadful ways and given over to every conceivable form of avoidable hardship and painful disease…

We are dealing with the inter-play of two world-wide forces, that work through distinctive and contrasted tendencies to a common end. We have the force of invention insistent upon a progress of the peace organization, which tends on the one hand to throw out great useless masses of people, the People of the Abyss, and on the other hand to develop a sort of adiposity of functionless wealthy, a speculative elephantiasis, and to promote the development of a new social order of efficients, only very painfully and slowly, amidst these growing and yet disintegrating masses.

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Revoke Obama’s Peace Prize If He Attacks Syria

August 30, 2013 5 comments

Russian Information Agency Novosti
August 30, 2013

Obama Should Lose Nobel Prize If US Strikes Syria – Pushkov

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MOSCOW: US President Barack Obama should be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize if the United States carries out a military strike on Syria, Alexei Pushkov, head of the Russian parliament’s International Affairs Committee, said Friday.

“If the United States attacks Syria without UN approval, the global community should demand that the Nobel Committee strip Obama of his peace prize,” the senior lawmaker wrote on his Twitter page.

He added that the United States did not have the right to speak on behalf of NATO or the global community.

“The United Kingdom’s refusal to support aggression against Syria is a serious blow to the arguments of [armed intervention] supporters in both NATO and the US,” Pushkov wrote.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a historic defeat in a vote on Syrian intervention on Thursday, when the UK parliament voted down a motion calling for a “strong humanitarian response” to the two-year civil war.

Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” according to a statement on the prize’s website.

Activist site RootsAction.org has gathered nearly 24,000 signatures on a petition to revoke Obama’s peace prize because “his increasing intervention in Syria promises the loss of even more than the nearly 100,000 lives already needlessly sacrificed.”

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International Order Be Damned

August 30, 2013 2 comments

The Hindu
August 30, 2013

International order be damned

The West’s attempt to ride roughshod over the United Nations Security Council with a hastily drafted proposal to authorise the use of force in Syria sets the stage for its second military intervention in West Asia and North Africa in as many years. The resolution, drafted by the United Kingdom and backed by the United States and France, seeks two things from the Council: one, a condemnation of President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons on his people and two, its blessings to deploy “all necessary measures” to protect Syrians.

If the first asks the U.N. for a leap of faith on a premature claim, the second requires it to turn a blind eye to history. While acknowledging there exists no “smoking gun” to establish Mr. Assad’s culpability, the West has tried its best to impede the working of the U.N.’s team in Syria investigating claims if chemical weapons were used at all.

The charade now unfolding before the UNSC reflects the West’s desperation to have its way with a military intervention that has few takers. If the Arab League, including key members and U.S. allies like Egypt, has expressed its reluctance to support the imminent assault, public opinion in the U.S., Britain and France too is overwhelmingly opposed to a new war.

After the disastrous 2011 NATO bombing of Libya, which began with the objective of protecting civilians but ended up being a full-blown attack on the Muammar Qadhafi regime, the Security Council is rightly wary of the Anglo-American plans for a “limited” intervention in Syria.

Expecting the world to believe a military attack will destroy Mr. Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal without inflicting unacceptable civilian casualties is silly. If anything, a targeted attack is not so much a guarantee of minimal damage, but an attempt to fulfil President Barack Obama’s vain promise to punish the Assad regime if it used chemical weapons.

After proffering sketchy evidence in support of this grave allegation, the President is now being forced to walk his talk by the liberal interventionists who populate his administration and by a trigger-happy British Prime Minister.

One senior U.S. official let slip that the planned assault will be “just muscular enough not to get mocked,” revealing how this issue is now entirely about American “credibility,” as opposed to the humanitarian tragedy in Syria.

The Council’s likely rejection of the draft resolution will be portrayed as Russian and Chinese intransigence. The fact remains, however, that influential powers like India, Brazil and South Africa too are against military intervention pending a complete investigation of WMD claims. The West’s failure to act through the U.N. not only betrays the Syrian people but also reflects its contempt for the international order.

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France Prepared To Invade Syria Even Without British Support: Hollande

August 30, 2013 2 comments

Itar-Tass
August 30, 2013

France is prepared to invade Syria even without British support

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The refusal of the UK parliament to sanction a military strike against Syria will have no effect on France’s stance on the issue. Paris does not rule out that the operation may be launched September 4, after parliamentary hearings on the Syrian crisis, France’s President François Hollande stated, as reported the French newspaper Le Monde.

The French national leader has emphasized that his country is prepared to act in Syria without support from its British allies. “Each country is a sovereign state and makes own decisions whether to take part in an operation or not. This applies equally to Great Britain and France,” Hollande said.

The president stated that the intervention could begin even before UN experts left Syria; however, he didn’t rule out that a decision to launch a military operation could be made by French top officials prior to parliamentary hearings, scheduled for September 4.

“I rule out making a decision before receiving all information which would support it,” he emphasized. “I have summed the parliament on Wednesday for an emergency session in order to discuss the Syrian situation. If I send France [to Syria], the government will inform [the parliament] on means and objectives according to article 35 of the Constitution.”

Regarding events of August 21, when an alleged chemical attack happened in Damascus suburbs, Hollande stated that for France, possibility of using nerve gas “is an established fact which is not even refuted by Syrian authorities. The issue now is to establish guilty parties in this travesty. France possesses numerous pieces of evidence, which point to the Syrian regime being responsible for it,” he added.

Reminding that the 1925 Geneva protocol, prohibiting use of chemical weapons provides a legal basis for intervention, Hollande declared that Paris was looking into all options regarding retaliatory measures. “France wants a proportionate and firm response to the Syrian regime in Damascus,” the president said, emphasizing that he believed it inappropriate to use the word “war.” “We’re talking about punishment for heinous violation of human rights,” he clarified.

The president added that no resolution of the UN Security Council on the Syrian situation will not prevent creation of a wide international frontline consisting of countries, willing to take part in the potential military operation. “If the Security Council will be prevented from action, a coalition will form,” the president said. “It will be supported by the Arab League, which has already condemned this crime and made it public. It will also receive support of the European Union.”

François Hollande noted that currently “there are very few countries which are able to execute punishment with corresponding methods.” “France is among these countries, and it’s ready to act. We will make a decision after thorough coordination with allies,” he said, adding that later on he would talk with Barack Obama on this subject.

France’s president once again reminded that he believed “the Damascus chemical attack cannot and should not go unpunished” and that Paris “possesses evidence,” pointing to governmental forces being behind the attack.

“Otherwise there is a distinct risk of allowing escalation which would render using chemical weapons commonplace. I do not think there should be an international intervention which would ‘free’ Syria or depose the dictator, but I believe that it’s necessary to crack down on the regime which commits irredeemable acts against its population,” the president said.

Answering a question regarding potential aftermath of the Syrian invasion with regards to Moscow, Hollande claimed that “Russia refuses to admit that the regime could be guilty of the travesty as it fears Bashar Al-Assad’s ousting will cause chaos.” “I want to assure Russia that the worst outcome is the current situation which reinforces mujahedeen militants, “ he said.

“I’ve always told president Putin that I will in not call into question special relations which the country have been maintaining with Syria for a long time. It’s in Russia’s interests to reach a political decision as soon as possible.”

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Jean Giono: War! Who’s the madman in charge of all this? Who’s the madman who gives the orders?

August 30, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Jean Giono: Led to the slaughterhouse

Jean Giono: Rats and worms were the only living things

Jean Giono: War, nourishment and dismemberment

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Jean Giono
From To the Slaughterhouse (Le grand troupeau) (1931)
Translated by Norman Glass

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“That’s enough,” the father said, “that’s enough. Don’t make yourself hoarse. I understand, I understand only too well. The war! But me, I’m telling you no, and no it is! All right, they need men for the war, and corn, and sheep, and horses, and goats. They need everything, everything! And why do you always go looking in the same places? And you, what are you doing here? There’s a lot of flesh on you, you know.” He turned to the policeman. “What’s this fellow doing here? There must be a place for him up there. Somebody’s surely been killed today, that makes an empty place. You think it can go on like this? Our son, our horse, our corn, and now our goats. Do you intend to leave us our eyes for weeping? You better had, we’re going to need them. Anyway, who’s the madman in charge of all this? Who’s the madman who gives the orders?”

***

Joseph ran up the slope of the path. He held on to his right arm. With his wide open left hand he tried stuffing the hole in the other elbow. It was a mess of bone and flesh. A fountain of blood squirted through his fingers. He wanted to stuff that hole. He ran two or three steps, then he walked two or three, breathing heavily, then he started running again. He couldn’t stuff the hole. He grasped it tightly with his left hand, but the blood kept on flowing. As the blood flowed away, he felt air enter through the hole. He no longer felt that he was in one piece and insulated from the world. The broken-up ground, the fire, the powder and the blood of other men, they started flowing into him, and very soon, if it lasted, he would become part of it himself. He, Joseph, his flesh, he’d melt into it all like sugar in water. The black corpse that had its teeth planted into the bark of the willow tree was still there, crouched at the edge of the canal…

***

The liaison agent went out every day, turning right toward the Seventh. Then they heard the noise of his gas mask-case knocking against the logs. He had come back. “Come and take a look,” he called one evening.

They had to walk the length of the Zouaves’ trench, and follow the blue zigzagging across the quarry. The ramp had just been wrecked. Scraps of cloth were mixed with the mud. A kind of air-hole had opened as a result in the side of the quarry. A man’s arm stuck out from it. The hand was black and shaped like a hook. They drew near. There was a big ditch full of corpses; a sound of chopping water came from inside.

***

The young officer, Grivello, sprang forward like a cat. He stayed doubled up for a moment, then stood up straight.

“Get down!” He was shattered by a blast in the belly. He opened out his arms like wings, they were red with blood. Flachat sprawled in a hole, his guts flowing from him like wet linen.

“There!” He touched his side. “Look!”

Charmolle vomited blood and wine. He took two steps, then stopped to see what was running from his mouth. Gun-shots followed him.

“The captain? The captain?” It was the major’s liaison officer.

“Attack! Attack! Tell them to attack!”

Two English soldiers made rabbit jumps towards the hop-fields. One rolled up into a ball and didn’t move. The other ran on.

“Lieutenant Reynaud, it’s me who commands. The captain’s been killed!”

The liaison officer didn’t move. He was crouched down, clutching a brandy flask in the vice of his legs and fists. There was a hole in his head. A long thread of froth and blood hung from his mouth. Oliver threw the grenade.

“Get down!”

Two machine-guns tore into the men and the ground with their claws.

“Forward!”

The lieutenant ran, bent double. He jammed his head into the ground. After a moment, he twisted round and lay out, face to the sky, mouth open. The corporal moved along on his knees.

“You, who are you?”

“Barnous.”

“Right, I’m in charge. And you, who are you?” He jabbed the man’s equipment. “Those guys down there in the hole, get them moving!”

“They’re dead.”

“Forward!”

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U.S.-Russia Conflict Over Syria Continues To Rage Inside, Outside Security Council

August 29, 2013 1 comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
August 29, 2013

US Frustrated by Russian Efforts to ‘Block’ Syria Action at UN

WASHINGTON: An urgent meeting of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – reportedly called by Russia – ended in less than an hour on Thursday without any indication of progress or agreement on the crisis in Syria following last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack, US media reported.

It was the second time in two days that the five permanent Security Council members – the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China – came out of a meeting with no apparent progress.

Russia, which on Wednesday blocked a British resolution seeking the authorization of military force, says there is no evidence that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack. The US and its allies say they are convinced that the Assad regime was behind the attack.

And in a stunning defeat for British Prime Minister David Cameron, the British parliament late Thursday voted against endorsing military action against Syria.

The White House said Thursday’s Security Council permanent member meeting was the latest effort by Moscow to prevent the UN from holding Syria accountable for the alleged use of chemical weapons near Damascus on Aug. 21. The Syrian government has denied using chemical agents.

The United States believes “strongly” in the UN process, but, “What we’ve seen at the UN is a repeated willingness on the part of the Russians to block action… They’ve done it three times, looks like they’re doing it again,” said White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest in a briefing with reporters.

The United Nations Security Council has not authorized any military intervention in the Syrian crisis, which began in early 2011. Moscow, along with Beijing, has previously vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions condemning Assad’s government.

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Itar-Tass
August 30, 2013

Five permanent members of United Nations Security Council end meeting on Syria

UNITED NATIONS: The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have ended their discussions of the situation in Syria, a source at the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

“The meeting is over,” the source said without commenting on details.

British Ambassador to the United Nations Mark Lyall-Grant also refused to give any comments to journalists.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council held their first meeting last Wednesday to discuss a British draft resolution, which was supposed to sanction measures necessary to protect civilians in Syria.

Observers believed that the wording was designed to hide Western plans to deliver missile strikes at Syria.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier on Thursday that London would not insist on a military operation against Damascus if the majority of Security Council members voted against that.

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NATO Global Strike Force Exercises Continue In Norway

August 29, 2013 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

August 29, 2013

Exercise Brilliant Arrow update
Story by Eline B. Johansen, Norwegian Air Force

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The Norwegian 339 squadron is partaking in Exercise Brilliant Arrow 2013 (BAW13) with three Bell 412 helicopters. During most of their missions these helicopters cooperate with ground forces.

On Tuesday, 27 August 2013, around noon two helicopters conducted a simulated airdrop to resupply special ground forces. In the BAW13 scenario, the helicopters had to fly over enemy territory to accomplish their mission.

For many of its missions during BAW13, the three helicopters of 339 squadron are cooperating with other air assets of participating nations. During the upcoming standby period of the NATO Response Force in 2014, they have to be prepared for any kind of situation.

“A helicopter in itself isn’t of much use in air-to-air-combat,” says one of the operators, “today has gone very well, and this is excellent practice for us.”

In the BAW13 scenario, the helicopters have hostile fighters against them at all times. Therefore they depend on protection by their own fighters, and have to communicate and cooperate with them.

Other scenarios include Combat Search and Rescue (CSaR) missions where helicopters have to locate and rescue a pilot in a hostile area over land and over sea. This skill will also be trained during BAW13 in the central region of Norway until 5 September 2013.

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Map: Western Forces Preparing For War Against Syria

August 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
August 29, 2013

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Click to enlarge

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Indispensable Imperium: War Against Syria To Shatter Obama’s “Legacy”

August 29, 2013 3 comments

Global Times
August 29, 2013

Strikes on Syria will shatter Obama’s legacy
By Clifford Kiracofe

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In the last few days, Obama has spoken of the US as the so-called “indispensable nation,” a phrase first used by Madeleine Albright, former president Bill Clinton’s secretary of state. Albright was the key figure behind the US and NATO military intervention in the Kosovo War in 1999.

Rice is a protégé of Albright and is a passionate advocate of the use of military force in humanitarian intervention situations as is Power. Power has a very close personal relationship with Obama. The Kosovo case now is invoked by White House advisors.

The 1999 Kosovo intervention by the US and NATO was done outside the UN process in order to avoid problems with the Security Council. Thus, the use of this precedent is convenient for Washington today as a way of preparing global public opinion for military action against the Syrian government.

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Will the West further destabilize the Middle East by launching military strikes against Syria? The debate in Washington is not only impacted by chemical weapons “red lines,” but also by the issue of US President Barack Obama’s “legacy.”

In Washington, pro-war and pro-peace factions in both the Republican and Democratic parties are lining up on Syria. Although the US public is strongly opposed to more US intervention, the pro-war faction could care less.

The spectacle in Washington today pits the US military which is reluctant to intervene in Syria against the pro-war forces in the Congress and in the media, which are pressured by the pro-Israel lobby.

What about Obama’s legacy?

Obama’s inner circle is fixated on his historical legacy now that he is in his second and final term of office. His inner circle is focused on foreign policy for legacy making. So the White House spins the foreign policy legacy presenting the president as ending two wars.

But critics say former president George W. Bush’s Iraq War, unnecessary in the first place, was needlessly prolonged by Obama. They also say that the Obama escalation in Afghanistan was counterproductive and delayed a timely US exit.

Today White House advisors face a worsening scandal with the Benghazi affair, a failed Arab-Israeli peace process, and a complex and bloody situation in Syria. In short, the Middle East is a disaster zone due to US policy.

The Syrian situation just worsened thanks to chemical weapons use. Although it is not yet clear which side used the chemical weapons, pro-war European and US politicians are inclined to use the recent incident as a pretext for military strikes against Syrian government targets.

On the other hand, General Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has repeatedly warned the Congress and the public that direct US military action against Syria could be highly destabilizing and could even help US’ terrorist enemies.

Not only is the US military cautious but both active and retired senior British military leaders are reportedly opposed to any destabilizing use of force. On top of this, very senior active and retired Israeli military and intelligence leaders are also said to oppose any military strikes.

In spite of the caution of military, intelligence, and diplomatic officials, it is the pro-war politicians who are driving the move toward expanded military intervention and war. These politicians, in turn, are under the strong ideological and financial influence of the pro-Israel lobby whether in Washington, London, or Paris.

What is the situation now in Washington?

Obama reorganized his national security team after his reelection. Susan Rice, his former ambassador to the UN, was appointed as national security advisor. Samantha Power, an academic human rights advocate, replaced Rice as ambassador to the UN.

Both Rice and Power are proponents of humanitarian interventionism and the associated doctrine of responsibility to protect.

In the last few days, Obama has spoken of the US as the so-called “indispensable nation,” a phrase first used by Madeleine Albright, former president Bill Clinton’s secretary of state. Albright was the key figure behind the US and NATO military intervention in the Kosovo War in 1999.

Rice is a protégé of Albright and is a passionate advocate of the use of military force in humanitarian intervention situations as is Power. Power has a very close personal relationship with Obama. The Kosovo case now is invoked by White House advisors.

The 1999 Kosovo intervention by the US and NATO was done outside the UN process in order to avoid problems with the Security Council. Thus, the use of this precedent is convenient for Washington today as a way of preparing global public opinion for military action against the Syrian government.

Should Obama use direct military forces against Syria his foreign policy legacy will be further undermined and the region will be further destabilized.

The author is an educator and former senior professional staff member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Categories: Uncategorized

Attack On Syria May Cause Massive Damage To The U.S.

August 29, 2013 1 comment

Voice of Russia
August 29, 2013

Attack on Syria may cause massive damage to the US
John Robles

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The United States of America and its leader Barrack Hussein Obama have spent billions of dollars in Syria, at a time when US taxpayers are suffering, attempting to bring about a change of regime. The money has been spent funding al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorists to destabilize the country, groups that they have parroted time and time again as being the number one enemies of the American people.

Their strategy was failing, like all of their strategies are bound to fail because they lack vision and true understanding of the world and its people. They created a red line, most likely launched a black operation to make that red line a reality and now with extreme desperate irrational urgency, they want to carry out their plan to attack Syria. That is their goal, they set it, and no matter what happens they will obtusely carry it out without regard for the consequences and without forward planning.

I would put forward that the goal of the United States is not to remove President Bashar Al-Assad, just as it is not to protect the Syrian people. As for Al-Assad he offered to step down multiple times in the past and if the true goal was simply removing him, they could have assassinated him years ago. Unless the CIA has grown completely incompetent that is.

As for the Syrian people, it is clear that all of the bloodshed and loss of life in the country has been caused because of, and almost exclusively by, the terrorist elements that the United States has been training, funding, arming and importing.

So if they do not want to remove Assad what do they want? Now this is part of the secret geopolitical agenda they seek for the Middle East. I would put forward that the real goal is to destabilize and destroy the country and the people and throw Syria into anarchy. This will create yet another weak and broken country from which they can steal resources and which they can manipulate as they wish. Look at the record: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and all of the other countries in the Middle East that they have destabilized and destroyed through other means.

A la Zbigniew Brzeznski and his plans to destabilize Russia into sixty-some-odd autonomous republics, the plans for the Middle East are almost identical, and the people of all of these countries just get in the way. Why else attack countries that pose no threat? Iraq never threatened America, nor did Afghanistan or Libya. Neither has Syria.

These states did possess independent foreign policies and that has been their only crime. Other than of course, in the case of Iraq and Libya, the fact that hours before the attacks on their countries, the leaders changed the trade in oil from the dollar to the euro. Something that would completely destroy the United States if all of the countries of the world followed suit. Hence they need to destabilize the economy of Europe and all of the instruments that have been implemented to carry that out. The US cannot allow the euro to grow as an alternative currency, because the US economy will be destroyed. The United States has technically long been economically bankrupt. As for moral, well that is also obvious.

It is interesting to note, from a militarily strategic viewpoint, that by intentionally telegraphing that they are planning to attack, and even setting the date, they are guaranteeing that President Al-Assad will be protected and they are contributing to the massive civilian losses that will occur.

There will be no chance of a “surgical strike” because all of the important targets will already be moved or protected. So in order to achieve whatever military objectives there are this will require even more fire power and more missiles, something which of course will be very profitable and beneficial for Raytheon and all of the other US war contractors. Telegraphing will also allow for Syria to set up defenses, if it has not already, to knock all of the US’s million dollar missiles out of the sky. Something it has every right to do.

The plan to strike Syria is not only one of cowardice and an admission of utter and complete failure by the United States on the diplomatic front but it is also illegal without a United Nations resolution and an imminent threat to America itself. It is obviously cowardly because launching missiles while fearfully hiding behind a shield where there is no threat to yourself is not something that an honorable soldier on a battlefield would do. It is the tactic of a coward.

This tactic however is necessary for Obama because when the massive loss of American lives begins, the American people will rise up and no longer support all of the callous unthinking military adventures. Hence what some view as the illogical funding of Al-Qaeda and terrorists to carry out the dirty work.

What will happen when these terrorist elements begin to realize that they have been merely disposable pawns for the US and that they have been killing their own brothers and mothers and sisters? Of course the US has not thought of that. The backlash when Al-Qaeda and all of the motley groups of terrorists realize they have been killing their brethren for the enemy will be monumental and Americans will finally see what real terrorism is all about, I believe that is a given. But that is okay for Washington too, they have all of the plans in place and this will allow the military industrial complex to expand and invade even more countries. What are a few American lives?

What about Israel? As I have said in the past, in reality the United States does not care about Israel. The maelstrom that will occur if the US strikes Syria will be monumental and right in the middle of it will be the Jewish state. Washington, thousands of miles away, behind a missile shield, with all of its leaders protected and hiding in bunkers, will be safe. Of course the US has convinced Israel that they are safe, but I beg to differ.

Let this be a warning then to reactionary proponents of an attack on Syria: the results will be monumental and may lead to the self-destruction of America both economically and politically. Why? For one it will further bankrupt an already decimated economy. Two, it will also polarize enemies and cause countries around the world to strike back, meaning the world community may in fact realize that it is time to reign in and end the continual invasions and aggressive wars being waged by the US.

This will be particularly true when it is revealed that the chemical attack in Syria was a black operation to give Obama his pretext to carry out another Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning-act-of-aggression. If the world wakes up that is.

This last point will no doubt fall on deaf ears, or in this case “on blind eyes”, but in reality the US is missing a very important opportunity in Syria, and that is a chance to rebuild its reputation and become a respected intelligent and grown up member and leader of the world community by simply promoting a peaceful resolution. The world is truly tired of US bombs and bellicose rhetoric and the actions of an arrogant one-world-power wantonly bashing and bullying its way across the globe.

My thoughts are with the Syrian people and my hope is that someone, somewhere, with the power to stop this madness will listen. How about it President of the United States of America Barrack Hussein Obama? Maybe it is time to use diplomacy and work for peace and to finally put the weapons down? You have a Nobel Peace Prize after all. Or does that mean nothing?

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No To U.S. Led Attack On Syria…Obama Playing With Fire

August 29, 2013 2 comments

http://robertjprince.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/no-to-u-s-led-attack-on-syria-obama-playing-with-fire/

 

No To U.S. Led Attack On Syria…Obama Playing With Fire – Part One

August 28, 2013

 

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Missing from this map is the Israeli military build up which is likely, one way or another to become a factor

by Rob Prince and Ibrahim Kazerooni

“Now we sit and wait while the Washington regime makes its next lethal move. Let us lift our voices in unison to prevent it. “

“Before another rush to judgment and “punishment” based on a presumption of guilt, as in Iraq, this time, let the UN inspectors do their job: We still don’t know who used chemical weapons in Syria — regime or rebels. Without UN Security Council’s approval, any military action by US and its NATO or even Arab allies will itself be illegal, an international war crime itself. Such an attack will not protect innocent civilians, but hurt them. US attacks will backfire, trigger a retaliatory response, escalate the civil war into region or world war.”

– the comments of friends on Facebook – 

This is the second time in six months that the United States has accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons. The first time, Washington was forced to eat its words as international organizations, including Human Rights Watch, claimed that it was the rebels and not the government forces which had employed them.

Despite calls from all over the world, not to proceed, it appears that the Obama Administration is heading towards a major air attack on Syria. France, UK and Israel will be involved in some measure, either in preparing targets or in the actual bombing. Syria has both insisted that it was not the Assad government which used nerve gas in a Damascus suburb that might have killed as many as 1300 people but U.S. and Saudi backed Islamic militants who have hijacked the opposition movement, much in the same way similar elements did likewise in both Libya and Mali.

The claim that it was the Syrian government that gassed its own people is wearing thin. Although the Obama Administration continues to again accuse the Assad regime of using serin gas on its opponents, to date there is no evidence – none whatsoever – that the Assad government has used chemical weapons. The Obama Administration appears to be racing agains time. The more time the attack is delayed the more its justification is undermined by both the facts and worldwide opposition to it.

In fact, the pretext for attacking Syria is unraveling, almost daily and as it does, the justification for launching the air war. As the pretext becomes shakier, the need for Washington to strike sooner increases. The parallels with the March 2003 U.S. led invasion of Iraq are striking. Then, Washington first fabricated the danger of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and a supposed link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden as the main reasons for launching the war that destroyed a country. When later, both claims proved to be bogus, the then Bush Administration blithely argued, again with no substantial arguments to back up the claim, that the invasion was worth it all the same.

In fact, the pretext for attacking Syria is unraveling, almost daily and as it does, the justification for launching the air war. As the pretext becomes shakier, the need for Washington to strike sooner increases.

The world is watching as a similar bogus pretext for military intervention unfolds before our very eyes, with, once again, the full participation of the mainstream American media. The Obama Administration in fact now no longer wants the UN inspectors to investigate the Syrian chemical attack for fear the results could easily contradict administration claims. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who has made a smooth transition from a 1960s anti-Vietnam War veteran to a post millennial U.S. Senator in support of the attack on Iran, called UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, asking that the United Nations call off its investigation of the chemical attack. Washington worries that the results could undermine its war plans.  Although having proven himself, time and again, `pliable’ to U.S. strategic interests, Moon has shown a bit of backbone this time, and despite Kerry’s protests, Moon has ordered the investigation to continue.

Actually there is one strand of logic which suggests that the results of a UN inspection in Syria are academic – the Obama Administration is preparing to go to war again. Although they adamantly deny that the goal of a cruise missile strike is `regime change’, this is of course, nonsense. The strike might not have this immediate effect; but it is meant to weaken the Assad government’s military capabilities and strengthen the position of the Syrian rebels, now dominated by Wahhabist/Salafist elements, in their efforts to overthrow the government.

A conflict that could spill over beyond Syria’s borders

The war talk is not just coming from Washington.

The militaries of virtually the entire region are on alert. It might not take much to set a war in motion that extends far beyond Washington’s borders. What makes matters worse, is that many of the parties are itching for a fight. Indeed, a scenario not unlike that which existed in Europe in the summer of 1914 appears to be shaping up. Both France and Great Britain appear to be anxious not to be left out of the fighting. There is both a French and British submarine in the Eastern Mediterranean joining The French President Francois Hollande says France is “ready to punish Syria“. On the other side of the coin, Syria and its allies in the region (and beyond) have vowed to defend themselves, whatever that might mean.  Iran has threatened to attack Israel if Syria is attacked. According to the European TimesRussia has threatened to attack Saudi Arabia. The article describes a grim “urgent action memorandum” issued today from the office of President Putin to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is ordering a “massive military strike”  against Saudi Arabia in the event that the West attacks Syria. 

But if the war talk is not just coming from Washington, it is the Obama Administration that is in the lead in this respect.

All this comes at a most curious time, just after the Syrian rebels had been soundly defeated, so much so that Washington was forced to grudgingly agree to negotiations in Geneva, the so-called Geneva II talks. The prospect of the talks gave a ray of hope that some kind of political settlement might be shaped that could end the bloodshed that has now taken somewhere in the region of 100,000 lives and left more than a million refugees. Another related development was the relative withdrawal of Qatar as a major political player in Middle East politics, at U.S. and Saudi request and the re-emergence of Saudi Arabia as a substantial regional power broker, always, in the end, in the service of Washington. The Egyptian events have also had their effect as once again, Washington sees the regional situation moving out of its control, its efforts at crisis management – its essential approach to the Arab Spring – falling flat once again.

Finding that none of its regional allies – not the Saudis, Qataris, Egyptians, Turks, nor Israelis have been able to control the situation to Washington’s liking, the Obama Administration has decided to intervene itself – along with its usual subsidiary partners – UK, France (with Israel playing a role too in all this). The initial U.S. orchestrated (whom else?) attempt to overthrow Syria has failed; and now it is starting to backfire.  If Assad’s Syria survives it will become a center of radical nationalism throughout the region. Washington cannot tolerate its failure to have brought down Assad and they fear the consequences. Thus the need to go once more into the breech – this time with U.S. cruise missiles rather than with Wahhabist/Salafist proxies. Since the Saudis and the Turks have failed to “do the job” the Obama Administration finds it necessary to step in. This proposed strike (it might have happened already by the time this is published) is essentially a warning shot – not just to Syria but to the whole region. The message, whether it is a one, two, three day attack is the same: look at the damage the U.S. and friends can do in a few days! And this is just a preview of what is to come  if you (you = the Syrians, Iranians, Hezbollah, the Palestinians) don’t fall in line with U.S. regional prerogatives.

The Neo-cons back in the drivers’ seat of U.S. Middle East policy: the feast of the Hawks. 

After a short time `in the wilderness’ but not very far out there at that, the recent hardening of U.S. policy towards Syria represents a shift to the right. The neo-cons are back in the drivers seat, driving the country once again towards the only foreign policy agenda they seem to understand: war. There are a number of turning points in this policy but the most blatant one was Obama’s bizarre selection of two Republican hawks to represent the administration in the Middle East. Sending John McCain and Lindsay Graham to the Middle East in early August was akin to sending the fox into the hen house. What else would they recommend other than military action. Had Obama hoped to send a different, more conciliatory message to the peoples of the region he could have sent representatives of another persuasion – Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson – even Madelaine Albright – there are others. But McCain and Graham? Who pressed the president for this choice whose goal was to unleash this feast of the hawks.

John McCain has long been associated with the most hawkish wing of U.S. foreign policy. He maintains a close association with a number of ultra-conservative think tanks, among them the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). Among its funders is Bernard Marcus, founder of Home Depot, Paul Singer, a major fundraiser for Romney’s presidential campaign and Sheldon Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands. FDD’s president is Clifford May who once upon a time was an ace reporter and Bush supporter for the now defunct Rocky Mountain News before he moved on national prominence. Colorado’s gain (his leaving Denver) was Washington’s loss. In one year, 2011, FDD received $19 million in contributions from Marcus, Singer and Adelson alone. One of their main goals is the overthrow of the Iranian government but most over the past year they have worked assiduously for regime change in Syria. There are other neo-con think tanks like this that are active in Washington. Why Obama decided to listen to these voices now is a question that still needs addressing. But it is the McCains and Clifford Mays of the world that have gotten Obama’s ear – not the likes of Andrew Bacevich, former U.S. military officer, who has counseled caution in the aftermath of the U.S. failures in Iraq, Afghanistan.

McCain’s visit to Egypt and Syria marked a shift, a hardening in the Obama Administration’s policy, so much so that it seems certain that shortly there after – that is almost a month ago – the dynamics were put in motion for an air war against Syria. Everything since then has entailed providing the pretext and getting the media on board, neither particularly difficult to do these days. Concerning the pretext, the evidence is fast shaping up that it is little more than a classic false flag operation. We seen this all of this before. Let’s act now – what is needed is a pre-emptive peace strike. Let’s stop this war before it begins. The crisis in Syria will not be resolved militarily; only a political solution can end the violence. Time to get back to Geneva.

Ibrahim Kazerooni has just completed a joint PhD program at the Iliff School of Theology and University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies. 

Rob Prince is a Lecturer of International Studies at the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies. 

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French Army On Alert For Syrian War: Defense Ministry

August 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
August 29, 2013

French troops brought to advanced alert, waiting order on Syria

cdg-001
Charles de Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

The French army is brought to advanced alert status and waiting for an order from President François Hollande on possible start of military operation in Syria. This was said in a statement by Defense Ministry’s official spokesperson Pierre Bayle on Thursday.

He noted that currently the Defense Ministry is not ready to give further details on the matter.

Earlier on Thursday it was reported that French frigate Chevalier Paul equipped with anti-ship missiles put to the Mediterranean Sea. However, French military authorities claimed that the maneuvers were planned in advance and were not connected directly with the conflict in Syria. As of yet there’s no official information on the exact section of the Mediterranean where the ship is proceeding.

Flagship of French Naval Forces, flattop Charles de Gaulle that actively participated in the Lebanese campaign in 2011, currently stays in Toulon’s harbor, the main sea base of France. There is no information available on the possibility of using this ship in the Syrian conflict spot as of yet.

Voice of Russia, TASS

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Ernest Hemingway: Beaten to start with, beaten when they took them from their farms and put them in the army

August 29, 2013 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Ernest Hemingway: Selections on war

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Ernest Hemingway
From A Farewell to Arms (1929)

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I went to the door and looked out. It had stopped raining but there was a mist.

“Should we go upstairs?” I asked the priest.

“I can only stay a little while.”

“Come on up.”

We climbed the stairs and went into my room. I lay down on Rinaldi’s bed. The priest sat on my cot that the orderly had set up. It was dark in the room.

“Well,” he said, “how are you really?”

“I’m all right. I’m tired to-night.”

“I’m tired too, but from no cause.”

“What about the war?”

“I think it will be over soon. I don’t know why, but I feel it.”

“How do you feel it?”

“You know how your major is? Gentle? Many people are like that now.”

“I feel that way myself,” I said.

“It has been a terrible summer,” said the priest. He was surer of himself now than when I had gone away.

“You cannot believe how it has been. Except that you have been there and you know how it can be. Many people have realized the war this summer. Officers whom I thought could never realize it realize it now.”

“What will happen?” I stroked the blanket with my hand.

“I do not know but I do not think it can go on much longer.”

“What will happen?”

“They will stop fighting.”

“Who?”

“Both sides.”

“I hope so,” I said.

“You don’t believe it?”

“I don’t believe both sides will stop fighting at once.”

“I suppose not. It is too much to expect. But when I see the changes in men I do not think it can go on.”

“Who won the fighting this summer?”

“No one.”

“The Austrians won,” I said. “They kept them from taking San Gabriele. They’ve won. They won’t stop fighting.”

“If they feel as we feel they may stop. They have gone through the same thing.”

“No one ever stopped when they were winning.”

“You discourage me.”

“I can only say what I think.”

“Then you think it will go on and on? Nothing will ever happen?”

“I don’t know. I only think the Austrians will not stop when they have won a victory. It is in defeat that we become Christian.”

“The Austrians are Christians — except for the Bosnians.”

“I don’t mean technically Christian. I mean like Our Lord.”

He said nothing.

“We are all gentler now because we are beaten. How would Our Lord have been if Peter had rescued
him in the Garden?”

“He would have been just the same.”

“I don’t think so,” I said.

“You discourage me,” he said. “I believe and I pray that something will happen. I have felt it very close.”

“Something may happen,” I said. “But it will happen only to us. If they felt the way we do, it would be all right. But they have beaten us. They feel another way.”

“Many of the soldiers have always felt this way. It is not because they were beaten.”

“They were beaten to start with. They were beaten when they took them from their farms and put them
in the army. That is why the peasant has wisdom, because he is defeated from the start. Put him in power and see how wise he is.”

He did not say anything. He was thinking.

“Now I am depressed myself,” I said. “That’s why I never think about these things. I never think and
yet when I begin to talk I say the things I have found out in my mind without thinking.”

“I had hoped for something.”

“Defeat?”

“No. Something more.”

“There isn’t anything more. Except victory. It may be worse.”

“I hoped for a long time for victory.”

“Me too.”

“Now I don’t know.”

“It has to be one or the other.”

“I don’t believe in victory any more.”

“I don’t. But I don’t believe in defeat. Though it may be better.”

“What do you believe in ?”

“In sleep,” I said. He stood up.

“I am very sorry to have stayed so long. But I like so to talk with you.”

“It is very nice to talk again. I said that about sleeping, meaning nothing.”

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U.S. Military Intervention In Syria Means World War: Bishop

August 28, 2013 3 comments

National Catholic Register
August 28, 2013

U.S. Military Action in Syria Could Spark World War, Syrian Bishop Warns
By CNA/EWTN NEWS

Bishop_Antoine_Audo_of_Aleppo_Syria_Credit_ACN_2_CNA_World_Catholic_News_3_26_12-242x269

ALEPPO, Syria: A Catholic bishop in Aleppo has warned that U.S. and foreign military action in the war-torn country could ignite a global war, making the “tragic situation” in Syria much worse.

“The only road to peace is dialogue,” said Bishop Antoine Audo. “War will not take us anywhere.”

“People live in anguish, not knowing what awaits them, and this has been happening during the two years of conflict,” he told the Missionary International Service News Agency.

The Chaldean Catholic bishop of Aleppo, one of the cities worst affected by the turmoil, is also the president of Caritas Syria.

He spoke amid escalating international discussions of how to respond to reported chemical-weapons attacks in the country.

On Aug. 26, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry alleged it was “undeniable” that chemical weapons had been used in an attack on civilians in the suburb of Ghouta, outside of Damascus, five days earlier. Kerry blamed the government of President Bashar Assad, but the Assad government has accused the rebels of killing 355 civilians in Ghouta with chemical agents. U.N. inspectors are visiting the site to determine what happened, but the U.S. has been readying a military response.

Assad’s Syrian government has been locked with rebel groups, including al Qaeda allied forces, in a two-year civil war that has claimed more than 100,000 lives.

“I have seen thousands of civilian victims of the violence,” Bishop Audo said. “We are in need of someone who brings us hope for peace, not a new charge of hatred.”

He said that “if there is will, dialogue is always possible, even in the darkest situations.”

“Even in Syria there are alternatives to war,” he said.

Catholic leaders familiar with the situation in Syria told the National Catholic Register in July that they wanted all sides to come to the table and negotiate a peace. But U.S. military aid to the rebels, they warned, could empower the Islamists, who dominate the rebel movement, to wipe out the Church in Syria.

In a separate interview with Vatican Radio, Bishop Audo warned, “If there were a military intervention, in my opinion, this means world war.”

He echoed Pope Francis’ call for “true dialogue between the different parties of the conflict in order to find a solution.”

The “clear” and “direct” words of Pope Francis “give confidence to all of us who are now here, especially in Aleppo, in a very difficult situation,” Bishop Audo said. “The Holy Father’s message is very appreciated by a large part of the population.”

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Missile Strikes On Syria: Recipe For World War III?

August 28, 2013 1 comment

Daily Bhaskar
August 28, 2013

Syrian missile strikes a recipe of World War III?

Damascus: A missile strike on Syria will have serious consequences on the entire region. US President Barack Obama is planning a limited two-day strike on Damascus as a punishment for the chemical weapon attack, allegedly by Bashar al-Assad.

The missile strike could have serious repercussions in the entire region. America with its allies is all ready to launch a ‘limited strike’. Iran has warned of a counter strike in case any military action is taken against Syria. It has issued a stern warning and threatened to bomb Israel, in retaliation.

“The US intervention will be a disaster for the region,” Khamenei, the Islamic republic’s most powerful authority, told a meeting with the cabinet of President Hassan Rowhani, state television reported.

“The region is like a gunpowder depot. (Its) future cannot be predicted” in case of a military strike against Syria, he added.

Iran, the chief regional ally of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, has been very vocal in recent days against western military intervention in Syria after suspected chemical weapons attacks on the outskirts of Damascus last week.

On the other hands unconfirmed reports have suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a grim urgent action memorandum ordering a massive military strike on Saudi Arabia in the event of an attack on Syria.

It is reported that Putin was enraged after a meeting held with Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan. In the meeting, Sultan warned that if Russia did not accept the defeat in Syria it will unleash Chechen rebels, under its control.

The news report was first published in As-Safir and carried forward by Library of Most Controversial Files.

Sultan promised Putin to protest his bases in Syria in case Asaad’s regime is toppled.

The news, if confirmed, could seriously jeopardize an already complex situation.

Other Gulf countries, including Qatar, have played an active role in supporting rebellion against Bashar al-Assad.

In case the conflict moves beyond its intended missile strike perimeter, it has the potential of becoming an all out war that would see the Sunni Arab world standing face to face with Shia-ruled Iran and its allies.

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U.S. Attack On Syria May Cause World War III: Interview

August 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
August 28, 2013

US attack on Syria may cause WWIII – Rick Rozoff

AUDIO

Part I:
Attack on Syria will cause regional conflagration – Rick Rozoff

If the West is allowed to launch military aggression in Syria, using any pretext, Iran, Russia and China and the few remaining countries in the world who possess independent foreign policies will be left with no remaining buffer between themselves and the US–NATO war machine. Voice of Russia contributor Rick Rozoff spoke about this an more in the second part of an interview covering the current crisis involving US aggression against Syria.

This is John Robles, I’m speaking with Mr. Rick Rozoff, the manager and owner of the stop NATO website and mailing list.

Robles: There was a statement from China that there is a threat that this could culminate into the beginning of World War III. Can you comment on that?

Rozoff: People are using this language and I think not without justification. If the parallel we established a few minutes ago about events in Asia and Europe from 1931 to 1941, and we should mention, by the way, that at the end of that decade there was Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union with the largest invasion force in human history and, in the end, the deadliest war in human history. But if at that time world war was grounded in a series of unprovoked and, unfortunately, unopposed acts of military aggression, then the parallel certainly could be extended to include that.

A comment today by a leading prelate, a leading church official in Syria, Antoine Audo, who is the head of what is called the Chaldean Catholic Church in Syria, made precisely that statement.

He said that: If there is outside – which is to say Western and allied – military intervention inside his country, it could lead to a world war. Those are exactly his terms. And this is what he said in an interview with Vatican Radio.

Robles: What can you tell us about the region? I mean, in your opinion, for example Israel. I keep thinking that if they are going to destabilize the entire Middle East, right in the middle of it you’ve got Israel. You’ve got all these Islamic fundamentalists, extremists and terrorists and none of them are much in love with the Jewish state. How is Israel going to deal with this? Or is this part of the plan?

Rozoff: It appears to be counterintuitive but we have to recollect that the US’s second closest ally in the entire Middle Eastern region is of course Saudi Arabia, which is theocratic, it is Wahabist at root, a severe form of theocratic government, it is medieval in many respects and particularly brutal.

But the US has no problem and Israel has no problem reconciling support for the Jewish secular state of Israel on the one hand and for the medieval hereditary despotism in Saudi Arabia on the other. And the Obama administration, which now is once again invoking humanitarianism as an excuse for a war, has no problem at all having just completed the largest bilateral arms deal in history with Saudi Arabia.

So, I suppose the average citizen of the US and of the world is not supposed to make comparisons and see just how egregiously contradictory those policies are. And then you claim to be fighting religious extremism and on the other hand you are arming to the teeth the bastion of religious extremism in the Islamic world.

Robles: You mentioned Obama, you mentioned Egypt and the hypocrisy, and the double dealing that is going on. Have you heard anything about the fact that Obama was connected with Morsi, with the Egyptians, to the attack on the CIA installation in Benghazi where the CIA long-term agent Christopher Stevens was killed? Apparently, he was working on transferring Stinger missiles to Al Qaeda elements in Syria and Libya.

Rozoff: Yes, that’s the interpretation I’m familiar with too without being able to substantiate it of course. But nevertheless, the US was simply going from strength to strength, it slipped from one massive bombing campaign on behalf of foreign mercenaries and domestic religious extremists in Libya to spreading the Washington- as well as the Saudi-backed jihad, if you will, from Libya to Syria. And in the course of that Stevens, who incidentally was ensconced in Benghazi in the opening days of the attack against Libya in March 2011, basically, running weapons and jihadi fighters into Libya for the war against the established government of Muammar Gaddafi.

So, if the line in the Gospels about “he, who lives by the sword will perish by the sword” has any meaning, I think in the case of Mr. Stevens it is pretty obvious that what he put out in the world is what came back to get him.

Robles: What about Obama now? Some people are saying that the fact that he was actively funding Al Qaeda and they ended up killing four Americans, is it possible that even with all these illegal aggressive wars and millions of people that have been killed by Bush and Obama – is it possible that these four Americans, including Stevens, might lead to the downfall of this regime, and Obama in particular? Is that realistic?

Rozoff: I don’t think it is realistic, I think it is possible. But I believe that nobody looks too closely into matters like that. And the so-called other side, the Republican Party, which on foreign policy issues the political differences end at the shoreline, as has been remarked, and they are not going to look too closely at anything like that.

In fact, even during the two impeachment trials of Nixon in the early 1970s and Clinton at the end of the 1990s, and for that matter the Iran-Contra affair, you know, whenever one party can make some political capital out of embarrassing the other during congressional hearings, they’ll bring them right to the edge of the abyss and then pull them back out of the fear of really exposing what is going on.

I wouldn’t anticipate anything in that respect. I think, if I were a family member of one of those four killed in Benghazi that I would have strong feelings about it, I would be willing to dedicate the rest of my life to investigating what actually happened and who was ultimately responsible for that. But I wouldn’t expect anyone in our suborned and corrupt and arrogant and aloof political system to really care about the four people who were killed. And they’ll make points demagogically trying to blame somebody or other, but I don’t believe anyone has lost any sleep over the demise of Mr. Stevens and his three colleagues.

Robles: One more question. We’ve been going over this for years literally now and it looks like an invasion is just maybe hours away. Any other things you want to say about Bashar Assad and Syria?

Rozoff: I won’t characterize it as an invasion at this point any more than, say, the six-month air war against Libya two years ago was technically speaking an invasion. And it is a very common modality now. It is one that we saw I think in earnest, first of all, in 1999 with the 78-day air war against Yugoslavia, and then saw it with Libya two and a half years ago.

But what we are seeing is that on the ground a heterogeneous grouping of the so-called opposition figures, some domestic and extremists, some foreign and mercenaries are used to be the spotters on the ground and those who attack government installations, and, if possible, bring about retaliation that can then be construed as a massacre, a crime against humanity, which then provides the West – the US and its NATO allies – with the justification for a military intervention, such as the Račak events in early 1999 in Kosovo which were characterized as a massacre by the US and its allies and that led to the air war.

We saw something very similar in Libya and of course that scenario is being played out again in Syria currently. And what that permits the US and its allies to do with the overwhelming superiority and firepower, particularly in terms of missiles and aircraft, to just bombard an essentially defenseless nation which is much smaller than any of the major NATO members of course, and surely the US, with outdated and for the most part ineffectual air defenses, to bomb that country into submission on behalf of the rebel forces that have been trained and armed from outside by the US and its allies.

So, we are seeing that scenario played out to perfection. And the only thing missing up until now of course was the sort of Račak massacre pretext. And now we have it.

Robles: So, your final assessment on this supposed chemical attack?

Rozoff: Considering that a year ago the commander-in-chief of the US armed forces Barack Obama stated specifically, tipping his hand, tipping the hand of the West in terms of what they would use as the alleged reason for military aggression against Syria, that the use of chemical weapons was crossing a red line, and knowing that the government of Syria would commit political suicide by doing such a thing it is more than I think any sensible person would expect or could understand. And in fact, I think whatever the details are…and let’s be honest about it, it doesn’t matter what the details are. If Washington wants war, Washington is going to have war. And if it not this pretext, it is going to be another one.

Robles: I think for most sane and intelligent, and peace-loving civilized people in the world the details do matter. But when you have people and all they want is bloodshed, I guess you are right, the details don’t matter.

Rozoff: I mean they do not matter in that we could spend the few remaining hours we may have left before Damascus is in flames arguing about whether the US lies can be disproven or not, or we can try at the 11th hour to try to marshal international outrage to get this stopped before it begins. That’s my plea.

Robles: What would you tell the international community?

Rozoff: Stop it here, or it is coming to your home. After Syria, Lebanon, after Lebanon, Iran, after Iran, who knows who.

Robles: Last year it was what? Venezuela, China and Russia.

Rozoff: And two years ago it was both Libya and Ivory Coast, let’s not forget. And at this point, honestly, as we’ve talked about before, I sincerely doubt there are a dozen nations in the world, out of 194 members of the United Nations currently, that dare pursue an independent foreign policy, including explicitly, in an expressly in military manner, are not tied to the Pentagon’s evolving and expanding international military nexus.

And to have one of those dozen picked off today or tomorrow, or any time in the near future, means there are fewer and fewer left. And it is only a matter of time, seriously, before Iran, Russia and China are going to find there are no buffers left, there is nothing between them and the US-NATO war machine.

Robles: Rick, thank you very much. I’ll be speaking to you as this develops, if possible.

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China, Russia Leave Emergency Security Council Meeting On Syria

August 28, 2013 1 comment

Itar-Tass
August 28, 2013

Russia, China leave UN SC meeting on Syria after its end, no demarche

UNITED NATIONS: The permanent representatives of Russia and China to the United Nations left the closed meeting of the Security Council on Syria after its end, there was no demarche, the Russian Permanent Mission to the U.N. told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday, August 28.

It was reported earlier in the day that the Russian and Chinese officials had walked out of the U.N. Security Council meeting in New York after U.S. Permanent Representative Samantha Power had called for an immediate action in Syria.

The permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – Russia, Britain, China, the U.S. and France – had been invited to the closed meeting. An hour later the Russian and Chinese diplomats left the meeting and headed to the Security Council’s main conference room where debates on Haiti was taking place.

Western countries may, until the end of the day, submit to the Security Council a draft resolution that will give the green light to an armed operation in Syria. Russia and China, which have the right of veto in the Security Council, have spoken up strongly against the use of force.

However Western countries have made it clear that they might take measures without waiting for the U.N. Security Council’s decision as they did in 1999 in Kosovo.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said this would be a gross violation of international law. “Certain states are ready to use force even before U.N. experts make public the results of their investigation. Our country will be committed to international law,” he said. “Modern international law allows the use of force only in exceptional cases: for self-defence and if so authorised by the U.N. Security Council. Some states see priorities in a distorted way.”

Meanwhile, Syria has asked the U.N. to investigate three chemical attacks carried out by rebels in the suburbs of Damascus on August 22, 23 and 24.

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Russia: West Waging War Of Civilizations Over Syria

August 28, 2013 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
August 26, 2013

Russia sees risk of “war of civilizations” in Syria

MOSCOW: Moscow hoped a “war of civilizations” in Syria could be avoided, despite the fact Western powers had been moving along that path, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

“I was greatly alarmed by the statements made from Paris and London that NATO may intervene to destroy chemical weapons in Syria without the consent of the UN Security Council. It’s a very dangerous and slippery path,” Lavrov told reporters.

He said the use of force without the Security Council’s sanction would be a major violation of international law.

“Even if we leave the legal, moral and ethical aspects aside, specific consequences of external interference not authorized by the international community would only sharply exacerbate the situation in the country,” Lavrov said.

Meanwhile, Russia would not start military confrontation with anyone over Syria, he added.

“We expect our Western partners to draft their policy not reactively but strategically,” he said.

He described the deployment of Western naval vessels off Syrian shores as “a grave blunder” and compared the Western intimidation of Syria with the way the West started its intervention in Iraq ten years ago.

Lavrov said foreign intervention would not lead to peace but to a new round of the civil war in Syria and he accused “certain forces” of deliberately undermining peaceful efforts.

“The moment we see a glimmer of hope appear, someone who wishes to prevent the situation from returning to the right track pops up,” he said.

However, he said his U.S. counterpart John Kerry promised during a recent phone conversation to study the arguments against military intervention in Syria.

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NATO Atlantic Council Weighs In On Syrian War

August 28, 2013 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
August 28, 2013

NATO Secretary General Statement on North Atlantic Council Meeting on Syria

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The North Atlantic Council has just discussed the situation in Syria and in particular the horrific use of chemical weapons around Damascus on 21 August.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms these outrageous attacks, which caused major loss of life.
NATO Allies expressed their full support to the ongoing UN investigation. They deplored that the Syrian regime failed to provide immediate and secure access for the United Nations inspectors to the sites of the attacks.

The Syrian regime maintains custody of stockpiles of chemical weapons. Information available from a wide variety of sources points to the Syrian regime as responsible for the use of chemical weapons in these attacks.

This is a clear breach of long-standing international norms and practice. Any use of such weapons is unacceptable and cannot go unanswered. Those responsible must be held accountable.

We consider the use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security.

We will continue to consult and keep the situation in Syria under close review, and NATO continues to assist Turkey and protect the Alliance’s south-eastern border.

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Interview: Attack On Syria Will Cause Regional Conflagration

August 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
August 28, 2013

Attack on Syria will cause regional conflagration – Rick Rozoff

Audio

With what appears to an imminent Western military adventure and yet another act of aggression against a small country on the other side of the world, meaning what appears to be the upcoming unprovoked attack on the sovereign nation of Syria by the United States, Rick Rozoff spoke about the military buildup and the reasons for the West’s continued meddling in the Middle East.

Robles: Hello. This is John Robles. I’m speaking with. Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop Nato website and mailing list. Hello, Sir.

Rozoff: Hello, John. How are you?

Robles: Not too good in light of the events that are currently taking place. As I’m sure you’re aware…

Rozoff: I think it is a very dramatic and I fear a tragic moment at which we are speaking.

Robles: And it seems like there is very little we can do or that anybody can do to influence what has apparently been in the works and a plan by those geopolitical…

Rozoff: Mad men

Robles: Mad men

Rozoff: … or evil geniuses that constitute the foreign policy elite of the United States and other western nations to complete your thought, John.

Robles: Thank you.

Rozoff: Yes. That’s exactly what I fear is the case.

Robles: Can you tell us a little bit on the military hardware aspect of this. There are not too many reports out there on that.

Rozoff: We have to keep in mind that until the people of the Mediterranean basin demand that the US pick up and leave its military, the US is always…the Pentagon is always in position to strike any nation in or near the Mediterranean Sea. But what we do know is that currently assigned to the Sixth Fleet, permanently stationed in the Mediterranean, are no fewer than four guided missile destroyers that are in the eastern part of the Mediterranean even as we speak, including one which played an instrumental role in the opening salvo of cruise missile attacks against Libya in March of 2011.

These are what are referred to in US military parlance as Arleigh Burke class destroyers. In other words they are the type that will be equipped to carry interceptor missiles, Standard Missile-3 interceptors of the sort that are part of the US missile shield that has been deployed in and around Europe and in the Middle East. We know for a fact there are four of those.

There are reports that at least one and possibly two US submarines, and these are the USS Florida and USS Georgia, are deployed off the eastern Mediterranean, each of which…by the way, the Arleigh Burke destroyers I mentioned, the four of them, are capable of carrying 70 missiles each. These include cruise as well as other missiles, but the submarines are far more deadly, far more lethal. Each of them is equipped to carry 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

One of these two I mention – USS Florida – was, you know, fired something in the neighborhood of a 100 missiles in the attack against Libya, you know also in the Mediterranean, of course, two and a half years ago. So this is what the US has in play.

Robles: Sir, they’re planning to use Tomahawks on Syria, is that correct?

Rozoff: This is what they used of course against Libya two and a half years ago, what they used against Yugoslavia in 1999, it was used against Iraq in 2003. You know, again, it’s a coward’s way of waging warfare. You don’t endanger pilots or fixed wing aircraft by flying strikes into the country. You simply fire a cruise missile.

It has devastating effect, of course. And you don’t endanger the life of any US serviceman, which in a way we have to hark back to the war against Libya again – 2011 – and the fact that after 60 days of waging war, unprovoked war, against a defenseless nation of some six million people, according to the War Power Resolution, introduced in the US Congress in the early 1970s, President Barack Obama was obligated to come before Congress and present his case for a continuation of the war. He arrogantly refused to do so,stating in his estimate it was not a war because US military personnel were not in harm’s way.

So you can wreak as much devastation, material and human, as one wants to against a smaller defenseless country, but if US servicemen aren’t in danger themselves and it doesn’t constitute a war then the president of the United States (commander-in-chief of the US armed forces), in his opinion, doesn’t feel obligated even to explain to the US Congress what he is doing. So this is what we are talking about with Syria right now.

We also have to remember that Syria and Lebanon really now are the only countries in the entire Mediterranean region that have not become US military partners, US military stooges for the most part, and that each new country that falls into the orbit of the Pentagon becomes a military base for attacks on other countries.

I’ve read reports today that the British military bases in Cyprus are being … you know are seein gwarplanes coming in. We know the Souda naval base in Crete in Greece could be used for any attack against Syria. With a change in government in Cyprus at the beginning of this year we can see an even more compliant client regime willing to do the US’s dirty work.

Robles: What have you heard about Iraq, there were some statements by Iraqi officials that they were against the use of their airspace for an invasion of Syria? And then I’d like you to get into what your views on the after effects of what this invasion is going to cause.

Rozoff: It’s standard operating procedure, if you will, for countries not to openly acknowledge that they’re granting the US and its allies the right to use their air space to launch attacks. When we’re talking about the cruise missile attacks, in large part depending on where the vessel, whether a surface vessel or a submarine, is firing them, of necessity Syria has a fairly short coast line compared to Libya and to other countries. And we could count on the fact that a goodly number of the cruise missiles being fired inside Syria would have to pass over the territory of other countries: Jordan, Iraq, come most immediately to mind.

But of course, if there was plausible deniability, and they simply don’t acknowledge that…Saudi Arabia is another…that the US is firing missiles over their territory then no one is the wiser I suppose. But, in the long run, the regime that was put into power and is beholden to the United States and Baghdad says publicly and what it does in fact I think are two different things. And until there’s a larger community of nations in the world ready to stand up for peace and against armed barbarism, then no one country is going to say no to Washington for fear if nothing else it will be the next target.

And I think if you want a parallel with what’s going on right now, you’ll look at that decade that began, say, with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and China in 1931 and it included attack after attack on country after country by the Axis powers, by imperial Japan, by fascist Italy and by Nazi Germany, which culminated in 1940 with nations like Norway and Denmark and Greece, and Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France overrun by these hordes of militarists. For ten years the world saw this naked aggression going on and the League of Nations could not or would not do anything about it.

Robles: That’s what the United States is doing right now and the United Nations which was organized and formed to stop that from happening ever again has done nothing.

Rozoff: It is worse than has done nothing; it is in fact a complicit partner in the arrangement. The Russian government amongst others has been warning over the last 24 hours that any exacerbation of the conflict in Syria by internationalizing it, that is by having major Western military powers and their Persian Gulf allies launch military attacks inside Syria is only going to inflame, exacerbate and worsen the situation, it’s going to cause a massive conflagration not only in Syria but in the surrounding area.

Countries like Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and others are going to be pulled into this maelstrom, into this vortex, inevitably. And what we are seeing now is maybe a culmination of the decades-long so-called broader Middle East initiative of the United States which is simply to remake the political map from the nation of Mauritania on the Atlantic coast to Kazakhstan on the Chinese border and the US is going to throw this entire area into turmoil in furtherance of its own selfish and for the most part undisclosed geopolitical objectives.

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Interview: 600 Missiles, All Pieces In Place For U.S. Strikes On Syria

August 28, 2013 2 comments

Press TV
August 28, 2013

‘All pieces in place’ for US strikes on Syria

Audio

images

The possibility of “a direct military attack” on Syria is increasing with the US deploying its “naval assets” in the eastern Mediterranean, says Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO.

“All the pieces are coming into place for what could be not only increased military threats against Syria but the possibility of a direct military attack on Syria,” Rozoff told Press TV on Tuesday.

The chance for an attack is “being complemented with the heightened deployment of US naval assets into the east of Mediterranean.”

“There are no fewer than four what are called Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers the United States has currently deployed in the east of Mediterranean,” he noted.

There are also “reports of, one for certain and possibly two, US submarines, each of which are equipped with 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles”, he added.

“So that’s a total 300 missiles there, 70 missiles apiece on the guided missile destroyers, so the total of almost 600 missiles are in the area plus aircraft carriers on each side of the Suez Canal attached to the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and the Fifth Fleet in the Indian Ocean.”

kongre-raporu-incirlik-atom-bombalarini-dogruladi
The U.S. and NATO maintain 60-70 tactical nuclear bombs at the Incirlik air base

A day after US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed there was “undeniable” evidence of a chemical attack in Syria, another senior US official, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Washington was ready to attack the country if President Barack Obama issues an order.

“We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take,” Hagel told the BBC on Tuesday.

Some unnamed senior American officials sounded more bellicose as they told NBC News that the US has planned to launch missile strikes against Syria “as early as Thursday”.

Also on Monday, Israeli newspaper Haaretz said the US and its Western allies may launch a military strike against Syria.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey was in Jordan on Monday to discuss Syria options with his Jordanian counterpart and other regional defense chiefs.

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Arnold Zweig: War was in the world, and war prevailed

August 28, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Arnold Zweig: Selections on war

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Arnold Zweig
From Young Woman of 1914 (1931)
Translated by Eric Sutton

Arnold%20Zweig

Rough hands, indeed, had seized him, brutal and bloody was the task to which they would put him…War was in the world, and war prevailed…The genius of life and indeed of humanity cared nothing for individual existences; over the most gifted of them it passed unheedingly. It recked only of the expansion of species, the onflowing surge of forms and types in which it found embodiment. Mutual adaptation rather than war best served its ends; but sometimes, after long labours with such instruments of peace, units called nations, turgid with their strength, dash upon each other, and grasp at what shall make them greater…

***

A fine rain sprinkled the glimmering roofs of the great city, wreaths of cloud-like mist moved over the houses, sank into the abysses of the streets, and enveloped the lamps in a pale globe-like radiance. They whirled over the whole North German plain, they swept in from the West, and even reached the entrenchments in the East. No voice spoke in them, they brought no sound of grief nor lamentation. And yet beneath the earth, or on the naked ground, already lay armies of dead Germans: two hundred thousand in the West alone, two hundred thousand in the East. Of wounded there were near a million, apart from the missing, who lay mouldering in the marshes, or ate their hearts away in prison. For their sake there was agony, and tears, and bitterness, in countless closed rooms; but never for other eyes to see.

***

In that hour of pallid morning light, when the wind and rain howled round the corners of the isolated house, Colonel Schieffenzahn grasped the indefeasible outlines of what was to come. If the present crisis could be surmounted, it was still possible to conquer. True, the War would then last for years, more than could be counted on the buttons of a tunic. The question of food supplies might become difficult, many raw materials would run short, and the nation itself might lose its nerve; but a few stout hearts would preserve the will to victory, and all might be well! It was therefore essential to forestall any possible disorders: everyone not doing indispensable work in field or mine or factory must be sent to the war as soon as possible, or at least put into an army tunic and subjected to military law. Properly considered, the non-combatant services were an important section of the army. In the beleaguered fortress that was Germany there must be no vacillations of mood; a man who was not in the firing line was, in any event, a very fortunate person. Thus would he shut the mouths of all those gentlemen for whom a war lasted a little too long, the trade unionists, the unskilled workmen, and the so-called intellectuals from the liberal professions. He would bundle them all into uniform and train them gradually for the battles to come.

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NATO To Hold Emergency Meeting On Syria

August 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Itar-Tass
August 27, 2013

NATO might hold emergency meeting on Syria on August 29

BRUSSELS: NATO is planning an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in Syria in the wake of the chemical attack in suburban Damascus on August 21. According to the available information, the meeting might take place on August 29, a well-informed diplomatic source told Itar-Tass.

The meeting is due to take place shortly, the source said.

NATO’s press service told Tass it could not confirm this information as yet.

The leading NATO countries including the USA, France and Great Britain, have announced that they have been considering possible options of military intervention in Syria. Until recently, NATO, as an organization, has adhered to the position of noninterference in this conflict.

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Israel, Other Syrian Neighbors Place Military On High Alert

August 27, 2013 1 comment

Journal of Turkish Weekly
August 27, 2013

Israeli army placed on high alert

In a live interview on Press TV, Voice of Russia regular contributor and the owner of the Stop NATO website Rick Rozoff, citing multiple sources, stated that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have been placed on high alert.

Mr. Rozoff verified the information to the Voice of Russia and added that Turkey may open its İncirlik Air Base, one of the most strategically important NATO bases in the world, to the United States if they decide to launch military aggression against Syria.

The base was effectively used for Iraq operations in the past, and also those against Kosovo.

Mr. Rozoff also stated that other countries in the region are also on high alert.

Voice Of Russia

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Jules Romains: War turns murder into a public and highly praiseworthy action

August 27, 2013 Leave a comment

====

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

Jules Romains: Selections on war

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Jules Romains
From Aftermath: Vorge Against Quinette (1939)
Translated by Gerard Hopkins

Jules_romains_1

Rimbaud’s prophetic phrase “Now is the time of the assassins!” would, it was argued, be fully justified. The war, by turning murder into a public and highly praiseworthy action, had dealt a mortal blow at all private initiative in crime.

“Crime,” maintained Fernand Gallot, “has suffered like every other trade. There was a shortage of technicians at home. All the murderers had been sent to the front – where they were found to make admirable raw material for heroes.”

***

There were plenty of honest persons who might want to commit murder, but generally speaking, they had no time for such activities, and, even if they had, would find that indulgence in them was injurious to their business interests. That being so, they delegated to the so-called professional assassin any job of killing which they might want done. The more peaceable honest folk were, the more they abstained from doing any killing themselves, the greater was the number of professional assassins. This being so, there was no cause for surprise in the fact that four years of war had dried up the supply of domestic murder at the source.

“…I grant you, Vorge, that, taken all round, the war has had a monopoly of death: those whom it didn’t kill had no wish to kill themselves, nor had they sufficient vitality left to kill anybody else in a sudden access of rage. At the time same, there is a whole class of crimes for which conditions have been remarkably favourable, for which the war ushered in a golden age.”

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Turkey Ready To Open İncirlik Base For NATO War On Syria

August 27, 2013 1 comment

Hürriyet Daily News
August 27, 2013

Turkey may open İncirlik base upon NATO decision
Murat Yetkin

Turkey may open its strategic İncirlik air base for possible military operations into neighboring Syria, if the Western defense alliance NATO decides for an intervention in the ongoing civil war, a ranking Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News on Aug. 26.

The official, who asked not to be named, said the reports of chemical weapons last week triggered the motivations of the international community in such a way that fewer leaders were now indifferent to what has been happening in Syria for the over two years of civil war. “According to the results of the political and military evaluations these days, it is possible that the NATO Council might convene with Syria on the agenda. If there is an intervention decision, Turkey would take part in it, which could include the opening of the İncirlik air base.”

One of the meetings that the official mentioned was the political meeting between the “Core Group” of the Friends of Syrian People and the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), representing the opposition against the Bashar al-Assad regime, which will take place in Istanbul on Aug. 26. The other meeting is a military one in Amman, Jordan, another neighbor of Syria, where defense ministers and/or the top commanders of 10 nations got together on the same day to discuss “preventing a spillover” of the civil war, and also to assess the scenarios of a possible intervention in Syria. Those 10 nations were Jordan, as the host country, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the U.K., France, Turkey, Germany, Qatar, Italy and Canada.

The possibility of a military intervention in Syria without a United Nations mandate had been ruled out by the U.S. and Western allies, up until the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near the capital Damascus in which hundreds of civilians were killed. The al-Assad regime still rejects responsibility (with the backing of Russia and Iran), pointing the finger instead at the rebel forces. However, Western intelligence insists that the al-Assad forces did it…

Turkey has been pressing for nearly two years now for a joint intervention in the civil war…owever, it has not got much of a response up to now, mainly for three reasons. The first was Russia and China’s blocking in the U.N. Security Council. The second was the reluctance of the U.S. and EU partners to provide weapons to the rebels that could end up in the hands of groups linked to al-Qaeda, such as the al-Nusra Front. The third was the policy of U.S. President Barack Obama not to send ground troops into conflict zones, drawing his lesson from the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns, where it was observed that the U.S. invasion helped some political Islamist groups to further grow and become radicalized under the wings of American protection.

However, the use of chemical weapons, which had been announced as a “red line” for Syria before, has seemingly changed the game. The Kosovo option that is now under discussion suggests the use of air and navy units, not ground forces, which could be a way out for Obama. All eyes are now on a possible NATO meeting.

The İncirlik air base, south of Turkey is one of the most strategically important NATO bases in the world. It was effectively used for Iraq operations in the past, and also in Kosovo.

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Syrian Bishop: Western Military Intervention Could Spark World War

August 26, 2013 1 comment

Voice of Russia
August 26, 2013

Syrian bishop warns intervention could spark ‘world war’

A Syrian Chaldean Catholic bishop on Monday warned that an armed intervention in Syria could unleash a “world war”, while the Vatican’s official newspaper called for more “prudence” from Western powers.

“If there is an armed intervention, that would mean, I believe, a world war. That risk has returned,” Monsignor Antoine Audo of Aleppo told Vatican radio.

“We hope that the pope’s call for real dialogue between the warring parties to find a solution can be a first step to stop the fighting,” he said.

Audo is also the head of the Syrian arm of the international Catholic charity Caritas and has repeatedly warned about the human cost of the war.

The Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano, meanwhile criticised Western powers in an editorial.

“The drumbeat of an armed intervention by Western powers is becoming ever more insistent and ever less restrained by prudence,” it said.

“Several representatives of these countries say they are convinced that the accusation that the Syrian army used chemical weapons is founded – a question which the United Nations is investigating,” he said.

Pope Francis on Sunday called for the international community to help find a solution to the civil war.

“I launch an appeal to the international community to be more sensitive to this tragic situation and to commit itself to the maximum to help the dear Syrian nation find a solution to a war which spreads destruction and death,” he said.

Voice of Russia, AFP

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Norway: NATO Launches Air Exercises Near Russian Border

August 26, 2013 1 comment

Exercise Brilliant Arrow 2013
Oerland Main Air Station, Norway

Diary

22 August 2013

Hot Preparation Phase of Exercise Brilliant Arrow 2013 Starts

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This Thursday the first of the 44 Allied aircraft from nine NATO nations participating in Exercise Brilliant Arrow (BAW) 13 touched down at Oerland Main Air Station, Norway, their deployment base for the coming two weeks.

Besides Turkish and Portuguese F-16 fighter aircraft and their counterparts from Norway, for which Oerland is the home base, additional transport aircraft landed delivering materiel for logistic support of the international detachments.

In the afternoon the touch-down of a British airborne early warning E-3D was something out of the ordinary for the fighter airbase. A total of two Airborne Warning and Control System or AWACS aircraft will be flying during BAW13 to provide command and control for the aircraft operating out of Oerland. The second French E-3F as well as the remaining jets and support aircraft will arrive here over the weekend.

25 August 2013

Over the weekend the remaining flying assets for the NATO exercise Brilliant Arrow 2013 (BAW13) arrived at the Oerland Main Air Station (MAS) in a second wave. The whole deployment of aircraft that began with a first wave on Thursday went smoothly and well-coordinated. The host nation tower personal guided all aircraft – a French E-3F airborne early warning aircraft, German Tornado, French Mirage 2000 and Polish, Greek and Portuguese F-16 fighters as well as various support aircraft from participating nations – were professionally guided to their apron positions.

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Ground crews from the respective nations were waiting to embed their aircraft, as on the previous day, to conduct maintenance work and aircraft checks during the whole weekend supported by host nation.

Over the weekend the remaining flying assets for the NATO exercise Brilliant Arrow 2013 (BAW13) arrived at Oerland Main Air Station (MAS) in a second wave. The whole deployment of aircraft that began with a first wave on Thursday went smoothly and well-coordinated. The host nation tower personal guided all aircraft – a French E-3F airborne early warning aircraft, German Tornado, French Mirage 2000 and Polish, Greek and Portuguese F-16 fighters as well as various support aircraft from participating nations and three Norwegian Bell 412 – professionally to their apron positions.

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Ground crews from the respective nations were waiting to receive and embed their aircraft to conduct maintenance work and aircraft checks during the whole weekend supported by host nation.

A total of 700 persons from nine nations have been deployed to Oerland MAS for BAW13 supported by some 200 staff from the Host Nation. From 10 a. m. on Monday morning the first wave of Allied aircraft will take off to their operational areas in northern and central Norway via assigned aerial corridors – and the execution of BAW13 will start.

26 August 2013

BAW 13 – Ready for take off

At 9:30 a.m. today, the French Air Force E-3F airborne early warning platform took off from Oerland Main Air Station as the first aircraft during NATO exercise Brilliant Arrow 13 (BAW13). A 31 fighter and support aircraft received their mission tasking and launched marking the start of BAW13. The mandatory operational briefings for the detachments were conducted the day before. An opportunity for BAW13 exercise director Colonel Frank Gerards, Royal Netherlands Air Force, and his Norwegian deputy, Lieutenant Colonel Hans Jørgen Nordskog, to welcome the participants from nine NATO nations.

After months of preparations by the responsible exercise planners at NATO’s Headquarters Allied Air Command (HQ AIRCOM), the long awaited execution phase of this multinational exercise has now begun. Each day some 80 so-called sorties, i. e. take offs and landings, are scheduled during which fighter and support aircraft will train various air-to-air and air-to-ground scenarios.

During BAW13 the focus is on providing qualified training of air crews and the exercise director underlines that the entire live flying will take place in a safe manner. “We are well prepared,” says Colonel Gerards, “so let’s get going!”

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Russian Foreign Minister: Western Ruling Circles Whip Up War Hysteria For Domestic Reasons

August 26, 2013 1 comment

Itar-Tass
August 26, 2013

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: Moscow has no plans for war with anyone

MOSCOW: “We are not going to war with anyone,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference on Monday, August 26, replying to a question about Russia’s possible reaction to possible military strikes on Syria.

“We understand restrictions on strategic thinking that are connected with very frequent electoral cycles when voters’ expectations have to be fulfilled, expectations that are whipped up by the ruling circles themselves. This is life. It’s bad that the rules of international law become increasingly insignificant for our Western partners, at least for leading Western countries,” the minister said.

“Those who think that this is the way to establish laws that existed at the time of lawlessness are short-sighted. This will boomerang on them sooner or later anyway,” Lavrov said.

“I heard Paris and London say NATO can interfere to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria without the authorization of the U.N. Security Council. This is very dangerous.”, Lavrov said, adding “I hope that common sense will prevail. We should think jointly to create conditions for reaching reconciliation and expressing tolerance to ethnic and religious minorities,” the minister said.

G8 summit agreements

The West’s statements on Syria run counter the agreements reached at the G8 summit in Lough Erne, Lavrov reminded.

“The hysteria is growing. Fighting means are being intensified. Threats are becoming oftener to use force against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad,” Lavrov said.

“Washington said it had proof that the Syrian authorities were guilty of the events in East Ghouta. Washington says the red line had crossed,” the Russian minister said.

“This runs counter the agreements reached by the G8 leaders in Lough Erne. They said any use of chemical weapons should be investigated,” he added.

Russia urges the Western countries “to act in a responsible way and not to repeat the mistakes of the past”, in particular the scenarios in Iraq and Libya, Lavrov said.

“We’ve discussed such scenarios: force has never ensured security or improved people’s life. At present, the situation is instable in the region,” he said.

All efforts taken by the international community should be aimed at expelling terrorists from the country and preventing confrontation in the region. “We should give common and clear signals to the government and the opposition to settle the conflict by direct dialogue,” Lavrov said.

Chemical attack allegations

The international community should wait for results of the U.N. investigation into alleged chemical attacks in Syria, Russia’s top foreign official said.

“We must wait for the results of the U.N. inspectors’ investigation in Syria, if they do not run into obstacles, of course,” the minister added.

Reports on the chemical attack in East Ghouta are aimed at wrecking the Geneva-2 conference on Syria, Lavrov believes.

He said: “Information on the chemical attack in East Ghouta was spread when the Russian and American experts prepared the Geneva-2 conference.”

“No doubts the hysteria will wreck the convocation of the forum. Maybe, this is one of the goals that its authors pursue,” the minister said.

UN experts

Russia expresses bewilderment about the fact that the West does not take care of evidence when it had blocked the arrival of U.N. inspectors in Syria, Lavrov said.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Lavrov said: “Those who want to realize the military scenario cannot consent with yesterday’s agreements under which the Syrian government allowed U.N. experts to visit the areas where chemical weapons had been used.”

“One says this agreement was late. Any evidence can be destroyed in five days. The question is why our Western partners do not take care of preserving evidence when they had blocked the arrival of U.N. experts to investigate the chemical attack in Khal al Assal,” the minister said.

Expert verdict

U.N. inspectors have no task to bring a verdict who used chemical weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, adding: “Experts, who are staying in Syria, have a mandate to determine if chemical weapons were used in Syria.”

“The experts have no mandate to bring a verdict on who used chemical weapons – the government or the opposition,” the minister said.

The G8 summiteers decided that an objective and professional investigation should be conducted. Then their results should be submitted to the U.N. Security Council, he said.

“Of course, the U.N. Security Council will take into account all information based on the analytical and factual materials placed on the Internet and other mass media,” Lavrov said.

Geneva conference

It is unreal to hold the Geneva-2 conference on Syria in September, the Foreign Minister stated.

“We should decide on the substance of problems to prepare the conference. I believe that then we’ll be able to agree on the date,” Lavrov said.

The position of the Syrian regime’s opponents is too negative to deal with the convocation of the Geneva-2 conference, the minister said, adding that Iran’s participation was one of the key problems.

“Iran plays the most important role related to what has happened in Syria. Certain states hope to take part in the conference. But their position is that Iran has no right,” he said.

“At present, the key task is to determine the date of the Geneva-2 conference. It is necessary to come to final agreement on the participants in the conference,” Lavrov said.

U.S. position

He also added that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had confirmed commitment to holding the Geneva-2 conference on Syria.

“John Kerry pledged to study our arguments. Then he will phone me to continue the conversation on this issue,” Lavrov said.

On Sunday, August 25, Lavrov and Kerry discussed the situation in Syria in light of reports on the use of chemical weapons. Lavrov said he was deeply concerned about the U.S. interference into the Syrian conflict.

Syrian opposition

The Syrian opposition comes against the talks and mass media reports on the chemical attack in Damascus’ suburbs hampers them, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

“The events prove that as soon as there is any chance to start a political process attempts are made to change the regime by force,” Lavrov told a news conference.

“The opposition agrees that the regime capitulates,” the minister said.

The information campaign around the events in East Ghouta will have an impact on preparing the Geneva-2 conference on Syria. “Maybe, there is one of the goals that the authors pursued,” he said.

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Russia Warns U.S. Again Against Syria Intervention

August 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
August 26, 2013

Russia Warns US Again Against Syria Intervention

MOSCOW: Moscow has once again urged Washington against possible military intervention in Syria, warning it would be fraught with unpredictable consequences for the Middle East region.

Russia is especially concerned about remarks by some US administration officials alleging the Syrian government was behind “the purported use of chemical weapons in eastern Ghouta last week,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his US counterpart John Kerry in a telephone conversation, according to a Foreign Ministry website statement.

The Syrian opposition has accused the government of killing hundreds of people in a massive nerve gas attack near Damascus on Wednesday, with death toll estimates varying from 100 to more than 1,000 people. The Syrian government promptly denied the reports as baseless and showed on state TV what it said was evidence of chemical weapons stocks held by rebel forces.

A team of UN inspectors started working in Damascus Monday to verify the claims of chemical weapons use. The team is expected to visit three sites where chemical weapons attacks allegedly occurred previously. One site is the town of Khan al-Assal, in Syria’s northern Aleppo province, where the Syrian government claimed rebels used chemical weapons in March.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday President Obama had asked the US military to “prepare for all contingencies,” following the alleged gas attack incidents, US media reported. Lavrov’s appeal follows an increasing force build-up by the United States Navy in the eastern Mediterranean. Four destroyers armed with cruise missiles are in the area, US defense officials told Fox News on the weekend.

“The impression is that certain circles [in the US], including those who are actively calling for military intervention in circumvention of the United Nations, are overtly trying to undo the joint Russian-US efforts to convene an international conference on the peaceful resolution of the crisis,” Lavrov told Kerry.

He urged the US to refrain from exerting pressure on Damascus and responding to provocations, stressing the need to facilitate the ongoing UN investigation into the Ghouta incident.

Kerry promised to carefully study Russia’s arguments. The two ministers agreed to address all aspects of the Syria crisis in the very near future, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The unrest in Syria began in March 2011 and later escalated into a civil war. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far, according to the UN.

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Interfax
August 26, 2013

U.S. interference in Syrian conflict will lead to chaos in Middle East – political expert

MOSCOW: U.S. President Barack Obama could possibly resort to military intervention in the Syrian conflict due to pressure of his political opponents, but will try to limit it to a short-term war, head of a working group under the Russian president’s human rights council, political expert Sergei Karaganov said.

Obama will do everything possible not to interfere in the Syrian conflict, however his political opponents insist on military intervention, Karaganov told Interfax on Monday.

“I do not know whether the Obama administration will be able to withstand this pressure. Unfortunately, the situation has unfolded in such a way that military presence is gradually increasing and weapon after weapon is being hung on the wall. That is why I do not exclude the possibility that this operation will begin, regardless of the common sense of acting otherwise. At the very least, bombing the positions of the Syrian forces in cities may occur,” Karaganov said.

“If the United States intervenes, it will be a symbolic war directed not against the region, where chaos will absolutely reign after this war, but at various political groups in the world and in the West,” Karaganov said.

The purpose of this military intervention will be to show that “the United States is ready to use force, that the United States is no longer a paper tiger losing all the time,” the political expert said. “Moreover, the Libyan conflict, in which the United States participated, clearly did not bring victory to them because Libya is now falling apart,” he said.

Russian involvement in this war is unlikely, Karaganov said. “I can hardly imagine Russia will interfere even if this war becomes international. I strongly suspect that it is senseless and impossible to supply the necessary hardware in such a situation and enough weapons have already been accumulated there. Therefore, I do not think that Russia could, nor should it, openly interfere,” he said.

It is obvious that foreign interference in the Syrian conflict will complicate the holding of the Geneva conference. “But it looks like that the development of the situation in Syria, where a comprehensive civil war is underway and where various groups do not want to negotiate, has already eliminated this possibility,” Karaganov said.

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Robert Merle: There’s no such thing as a just or sacred war

August 26, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Robert Merle: The present war, and all the previous wars, and all the wars to come

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Robert Merle
From Weekend at Dunkirk (1949)
Translated by K. Rebillon-Lambley

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“I don’t get it.”

“Oh yes you do, and most of the fellows think as I do at heart. They begin by thinking was is absolutely idiotic. Then little by little they come to take the same passionate interest in it as in a football game or a bicycle race. They become keen on it. After all, it’s their own war, you see. The real, the great, the one and only, because they’re fighting it. It’s the war of their lives, in short. That’s how they look on it in the end. But I don’t. For me this war is a war like all those that came before it, and all those that will come after it. Something as absurd and devoid of meaning as a page of dates in a history textbook.”

***

“You’d be happier if you took an interest in the war.”

“Why, damn it all,” said Maillat, “that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to make you understand! Of course I’d be happier if I believed in the war and all the reasons they give me why I should fight. But I just don’t believe in it, that’s all. For me war is absurd. And not such and such a war. All wars. In the absolute. Without exception. In other words, there’s no such thing as a just or sacred war, or a war for a good cause. A war is, by definition, an absurdity.”

***

“And war’s not the only thing,” he went on immediately. “There’s murder, too, and death sentences. It’s always absurd to kill a man.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s nature’s job. Let her do her dirty work herself.”

“I see.”

“That’s not the real reason,” said Maillat. “The real reason is that killing men is absurd because there’s no end to it; once you’ve started you have to go on. That’s why neither side wins. there was a time when I thought that the winners were those who came through alive on both sides. But even that fell short of the truth. Nobody wins, not even the survivors.”

“Yet you can’t say we didn’t win in 1918.”

“Oh yes I can, since we’ve had to start it all over again.

“When you kill a man,” he went on after a moment, “it’s exactly the same thing. There’s only one solution: to go on.”

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Georgian Defense Chief: Face Down Russia Over Full NATO Membership

August 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
August 23, 2013

Alasania on NATO, Ties with Russia and Internal Politics

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Tbilisi: Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, said he expects active discussions to start later this year and early in 2014 about specifics of what should be “next step” on Georgia’s path to NATO integration in the context of NATO summit in 2014.

“Georgia’s aspiration is to become a member of NATO and thus far we demonstrated and we will demonstrate again in upcoming presidential election that we deserve to be adequately assessed and adequately responded [by NATO allies in respect] of future integration process,” Alasania said while speaking at a public event organized by Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University on August 21.

Alasania, who is visiting Washington, urged NATO allies to think about “risks associated with not acting.”

Alasania said “not acting” and not providing sufficient help to aspirant countries in their efforts to pave the way towards eventual membership would send a “wrong signal” to Russia.

“We have to demonstrate that Russia does not have any say in relationship between NATO and Georgia,” he said. “We will have exemplary [presidential] election [on October 27] that will demonstrate that we are ready for the next step for integration.”

What this next step might be, he said, has yet to be defined.

In April PM Ivanishvili said that Georgia set a goal to get Membership Action Plan (MAP) from NATO when the Alliance holds its next summit in 2014. But speaking at a joint news conference with the NATO Secretary General on June 26 in Tbilisi, Ivanishvili said it “is not an issue, which should be elevated.”

Alasania also said on August 21 in Washington that there’s no need to create over inflated expectations from NATO summit in 2014. He, however, also said that after meetings with the North Atlantic Council after its visit to Georgia in June, he’s optimistic that NATO allies too were aware of the need to offer Georgia specific steps.

While speaking about this issue he mentioned that “we have to wait for elections in Georgia and also in Germany” and then start determining what this next step of integration might be.

In his remarks Alasania stressed Germany’s role in Georgia’s EU and NATO integration as very important.

“We are investing a lot in relationship with Germany. We are also thinking about working jointly with Germans in north of Afghanistan in post-ISAF [mission], under their command,” Alasania said.

On NATO integration, Alasania also said that membership in the Alliance was Georgia’s current government’s “top foreign policy and security priority”; he also said that it was already decided by the North Atlantic Council to make Georgia part of the NATO Response Force in 2015; he said this decision “speaks of itself how much Georgian troops and Georgian defense is valued.”

During his presentation, Alasania also noted that the role of previous governments in achieving the progress Georgia now has should also be acknowledged.

“The Georgia which we see today is hard work of a lot of people in the previous administrations. The first president was someone who brought Georgia the independence, President [Eduard] Shevardnadze was the first one who actually started talking about NATO and the future of Georgia in NATO. Then the third president, Mikheil Saakashvili, made all the efforts to make this progress and a lot of new initiatives were started to integrate more closely and to modernize Georgia’s state. And we have to acknowledge this and appreciate this and base the forward movement on the solid ground that was built by previous administrations,” he said.

Commenting on these remarks by the Defense Minister, President Saakashvili said on August 23 that Alasania “is really the most adequate minister in the current government.”

Alasania also said that despite of difficulties, political cohabitation was made possible in Georgia. “No matter that we all made mistakes of course – and there was a lot of emotions flowing after the elections, but I think things are now settled,” he said.

U.S.-Georgia Defense Cooperation

Alasania spoke at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute right after his bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon on August 21.

He said that he discussed with Secretary Hagel how “to expand our military-to-military cooperation”. Alasania said that it was confirmed during the talks that all six points of the agreement reached during a meeting of President Saakashvili and President Obama in the White House in January, 2012 to enhance defense cooperation “will be fully implemented.” But it won’t happen overnight, he added.

He said that before acquiring defense capabilities from the U.S. or any other partner, Georgia needs to learn how to then “sustain” those capabilities.

“We want to invest more [in] training, education, infrastructure and logistics so that we can sustain the defense capabilities that we will acquire” from the U.S. or from elsewhere, Alasania said.

During the presentation, Alasania also said: “The state of Georgian defense is not that weak as some people are alluding.”

Ivanishvili’s Intended Pre-Term Resignation ‘Not a Tragedy’

Asked if he thought that PM Ivanishvili’s statement about intended pre-term resignation would cause political uncertainty, Alasania responded: “As a partner, as an ally I urge Bidzina Ivanishvili not to do that.”

“But on the other hand from the very beginning he was saying that he was not intending to stay [in government] for a long time and we felt that at certain point he would be talking about this. So this time has arrived. We do not know yet exactly how it will work out,” Alasania said.

He, however, also said that Ivanishvili’s pre-term resignation would “not be a tragedy.”

“It will be even healthy for Georgian democracy. One of the flaws of [governance in Georgia] was [having] too many [political] heavyweights… They were dominating the whole political space,” he said.

“I think that if he departs from politics – and probably he will, but it’s too early to talk about timing now – I think there will be more competitive environment for the Georgian political parties for development… so I think it will only benefit to Georgia’s future democratic institutions. He [Ivanishvili] is a man of [his] word; so far he’s track record of saying things and delivering is very high,” Alasania said.

Relations with Russia

The Georgian Defense Minister said that current government’s “new policy” towards Russia, involving lowering rhetoric and launching direct talks on economic issues, would give Georgia more possibility to focus on internal development and its economy, as well as will give more space to Tbilisi to deal with Abkhazians and Ossetians.

He also noted that Georgia had not illusion that Russia would change its stance over Georgia’s territorial integrity or NATO aspirations.

On the breakaway regions, Alasania said: “A future in Europe together with Georgia will be more lucrative for them rather than staying under the Russian occupation; that’s a matter of time and patience.” He also added that he’s confident about starting talks with Abkhazians and Ossetians “pretty soon”.

Relations with Israel

Asked about relations with Israel, Alasania said that PM Ivanishvili’s recent visit to Israel was “a huge success”.

“We eased some of their concerns vis-à-vis our relations with Iran. They are confident that whatever we do in the region and [in relations with] Iran, it will not go against Israel,” Alasania said, adding that he’s looking forward visiting Israel “pretty soon.”

“Israel was one of the main partners in building our defensive capabilities…So we hope that we’ll be able to continue this,” he said.

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Obama Clones Bush In Drive To War: Russian MP

August 25, 2013 2 comments

Russian Information Agency Novosti
August 25, 2013

Russian MP Says Obama ‘Clones’ Bush in Drive For War

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MOSCOW: The United States is moving towards war with Syria, a senior Russian lawmaker said Sunday lashing President Barack Obama as “clone” of George W. Bush in his drive for war.

“Obama is restlessly heading towards war in Syria like Bush was heading towards war in Iraq. Like in Iraq, this war would be illegitimate and Obama will become Bush’s clone,” Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian lower house’s international committee, said on Twitter.

His remarks came after US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday the White House is studying different military options against Syria.

“President Obama has asked the Defense Department to prepare options for all contingencies. We have done that and we are prepared to exercise whatever option – if he decides to employ one of those options,” Reuters quoted Hagel as saying.

The unrest in Syria began in March 2011 and later escalated into a civil war. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far, according to the UN.

Syria’s information minister said on Saturday that any US-led military action against the regime would be “no picnic.” “US military intervention will create a very serious fallout and a ball of fire that will inflame the Middle East,” Syria’s official SANA news agency quoted Omran Zoabi as saying.

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Jean Giono: Rats and worms were the only living things

August 25, 2013 1 comment

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

Jean Giono: Led to the slaughterhouse

Jean Giono: War, nourishment and dismemberment

Jean Giono: War! Who’s the madman in charge of all this? Who’s the madman who gives the orders?

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Jean Giono
From To the Slaughterhouse (Le grand troupeau) (1931)
Translated by Norman Glass

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Twice already Oliver had stopped running to look at his feet. What was that running between his legs. And everywhere in the meadow, under the grass, like dew, and leaving such a trail behind! Rats! Waves of rats! Rats from all those burning walls, from all those disembowelled barns, rats from destroyed villages, rats from the battle and the corpses, rendered up into a black wave by the upheaval of the ground, they came out of the meadow below, overran the slope, and poured through the hollows of the tilled land like shining pitch.

***

At dawn, at the hour when the earth gives off its vapours there was always a truce. The dew sparkled on the greatcoats of the dead. Light and green, the early morning wind blew straight ahead. Water creatures were splashing at the bottom of the shell-holes. Red-eyed rats walked quietly along the trench. Rats and worms were the only living things there. There were no more trees, no more large furrows, no more grass. The hillside had been skinned down to its chalk bones. A mist rose gently. You could hear the silence pass by with its slight electric crackling. The faces of the dead were buried in the mud, or they jutted partly out of the holes, peacefully, with their hands resting on the rim and their heads lying on their arms. The rats came to sniff them. They jumped from one corpse to another. They selected the young ones first, those without any hairs on their cheeks. They sniffed the cheek, then they crouched down into a ball and started eating the flesh between the nose and the mouth, next the edge of the lips, and eventually the green apple of the cheeks. Every now and then the rats cleaned their paws on their whiskers. When they came to the eyes, they scratched them out slowly and licked the eyelids. They bit into the eye as though it was a little egg and chewed it gently, slanting their mouths to suck up the juice.

***

“Regotaz! Regotaz!” Oliver called.

He knew that Regotaz could no longer hear him, lying out as he was flat on the ground. But the sight of those broad shoulders, the solid torso, and the big legs with the feet turned in made him call. Oliver tried to push him on to his back to see his face, but he was too heavy. He was heavy and at the same time soft to touch. Oliver lay down beside the corpse, He dug his hands into Regotaz’s hair, he tried to lift up the face. No more face remained. No more mouth, no more nose, no more cheeks, no more expression. Only pulverised flesh and white, bristling bones. Just a scrap of forehead was left and that was dripping away into the ground.

“Regotaz!”

The dead man’s hand held on to a clod of earth in which a little clump of grass was growing.

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Interview On Manning And Bales Verdicts: To U.S., Exposing War Crimes As Punishable As Perpetrating Them

August 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Press TV
August 25, 2013

US criticized for Manning, Bales penalties

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An American anti-war activist Saturday criticized the US justice system for considering same penalties for two former US soldiers who committed totally different crimes: one “exposed” war crimes and the other “perpetrated” them.

Rick Rozoff was referring to Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, who got 35 years in prison on Wednesday for handing a massive cache of sensitive government files to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, and Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who was sentenced life in prison on Friday for the killing of 16 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children, last year.

“The fact that the two sentences of the two US servicemen occurred within a week, and that one was sentenced to 35 years for exposing a war crime and an atrocity and the other is given life in prison without a chance of parole for perpetrating one of the worst crimes suggests that the US considers exposing war crimes to be on the same level as perpetrating them,” Rozoff told Press TV.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Amnesty International have slammed the Manning’s punishment. The former soldier is viewed by many in America as a hero who exposed the inner workings of US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among the 700,000 files leaked by Manning was a video of a 2007 US helicopter attack in Baghdad that reportedly killed a dozen civilians including a Reuters cameraman and his driver.

However, in the Bales case, at least 48 Afghan children were impacted by the incident.

“Forty-eight children directly impacted by Sergeant Bales action – murdered, injured, witness to a murder, or left fatherless by Staff Sergeant Robert Bales,” prosecutor Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Morse said during the court martial.

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“It’ll Nuke You”: U.S., NATO Missile Crews Prepare For War On Syria

August 24, 2013 2 comments

Stars and Stripes
August 24, 2013

Eyes on Syrian border, US troops stand ready to defend Turkey’s skies
By John Vandiver

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GAZIANTEP, Turkey: Inside his cramped command post perched high above this southern Turkish city, 1st Lt. Brandon Burgess keeps a steady eye on the radar, looking for anything soaring high and fast.

He’s known as the “button pusher,” the guy who will release multimillion-dollar Patriot missiles into the sky should anything come screeching overhead from war-ravaged Syria.

“It’s a huge responsibility. I’m in there defending the sky,” said Burgess, a tactical control officer with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery’s Battery C, located less than 80 miles from Aleppo, a major hot spot in Syria’s bloody civil war.

It has been eight months since two Patriot missile batteries from the unit deployed to Turkey from Fort Sill, Okla…

Last year, Turkey called on NATO to send anti-missile Patriot batteries…The U.S., Germany and the Netherlands obliged, with each nation sending two batteries to protect the air above about 3.5 million people in southern Turkey.

Over the next few months, NATO, along with Turkey and the nations contributing the batteries, will assess the security situation and determine any further requirements, he said.

“All decisions will be taken in light of NATO’s strong commitment to protect and defend Turkey,” Janzen said.

For its part, the U.S. team of about 400 troops is close to wrapping up its year deployment in Gaziantep, a city of 1.5 million people that is just 40 miles from the Syrian border…

“There a have been some things that have put us on edge,” said Lt. Col. John Dawber, the U.S. commander on the ground in Gaziantep. “It’s a complex threat spectrum.”

While no missiles have crossed into Turkey, there have been some close calls, as soldiers eye the radar and watch as rockets make sudden breaks away from the border area. With Syrian jets routinely bombing rebel strongholds — Aleppo is one of the main sites for aerial bombardment and rockets flying through the air on a regular basis — the Patriot batteries’ high-powered radars are tracking it all.

“It sees anything that flies. It’s really high-fidelity stuff,” said Capt. Andrew Simons, commander of Battery C. “You have to be ready for anything.”

“It’ll nuke you,” added Staff Sgt. Brandon O’Brien, referring to powerful waves of radiation that project from the missile tracking device. “Drop a bag of popcorn in front of it and it’ll be cooked before it hits the ground.”

Needless to say, no one walks in front of a Patriot battery’s radar.

While the Americans’ primary mission is to defend Gaziantep from ballistic missiles, the unit keeps its eyes out for any aerial threat to the city they are charged to protect. That means 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operations. For Burgess and his “button-pushing” counterpart in Battery B — 1st Lt. Lenora Earley — that means 24-hour on-and-off shifts in the Engagement Control Station, eyes fixed on the radar.

Because of the unit’s heightened state of alert, it also means around-the-clock days for everyone else in the field. It’s an unprecedented pace of work for an air defense unit, according to Sgt. 1st Class Henry Scott, who serves as the first sergeant for Battery B.

“We’re rewriting Army doctrine,” Scott said. “No one [in air defense] has ever done this before.”

The primary challenge is keeping all the pieces working under the heavy strain. Each Patriot launcher — there are 12 on site — comes with its own high-powered generators that are unaccustomed to around-the-clock activation. That means technicians are constantly monitoring, tweaking and cleaning the system to keep it running.

The long hours can take their toll though. So can the day-to-day monotony of working on an isolated Turkish army base, where many of the usual amenities of an American base are missing. As the tour nears its end, part of the job of noncommissioned officers is keeping troops focused.

“It’s about keeping morale up and not getting too complacent,” said Sgt. Tina Streible.

Conditions on the base have steadily improved. There’s Internet access for the soldiers as well as a gym and dining facility.

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NATO War Games Center On “Baltic Invasion Scenario”

August 24, 2013 1 comment

Estonian Public Broadcasting
August 6, 2013

Steadfast Jazz to Feature Baltic Invasion Scenario

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More details have been reported by a daily regarding this fall’s Steadfast Jazz exercise, the first time that NATO member states play out a specific Article Five scenario in which they rescue members from a simulated foreign invasion.

According to Eesti Päevaleht, in the scenario the Baltic states have been invaded and the NATO Response Force – a special quick deployment cross-branch element – intervenes. In five days, 5,000 men will “put out the fire” in the operating area, supported by thousands of troops. The daily characterized the operation as troops “running through the Polish forests with Estonian maps.”

Estonia will contribute 300 personnel but host only the behind-the-scenes staff operations, while the “action” takes place in the Lithuanian and Polish countryside.

“The last exercise with this type of focus took place on Cape Verde in 2006, when the new NATO response strategy was still being tested,” said Roland Murof, Defense Forces spokesman.

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Steadfast Jaguar, Cape Verde, 2006

Taking place a few months after the joint Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2013 exercise, observers have sought a parallel. “Officially it’s not [related],” said Kaarel Kaas, a researcher with the Center for Defense Studies. “But unofficially, Russia’s aggressive behavior in recent years has undoubtedly impacted the local security picture and it is a clear reason that such an exercise is being held in such a place with such a scenario.”

Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu played down a direct link to Zapad, and emphasized deterrence effect. He also noted policy differences – NATO, unlike Russia, never names a specific adversary in its exercises, he said. He added: “The exercise is undoubtedly tied to real circumstances in our region and this area.”

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Henri Barbusse: The world has come to the end of its strength: it is vanquished by wars

August 24, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Henri Barbusse: Selections on war

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Henri Barbusse
From Chains (1924)
Translated by Stephen Haden Guest

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There we found a pyramid built in tiers and in the earth long skulls engraved with polished stone instruments. There we encountered natives and narrow heads and we asked them: “What has there been here?” and they answered us: “War and blood. And over there, whence you come, what has there been there?” We answered: “War and blood.” In the other half of the world we found war as we found evening.

***

They have stopped shouting, they are talking very low, like the pulse of my blood. What are they preparing? I know not. The words that gnaw me like graveyard worms have no contours: I cannot now reach up to the living source…

Yes, I can though: War.

Then I hear no more speech, only laughter. I pierced into the wheels of their laughter. In this hole where sumptuous mystery is distilled drop by drop I see them, for one moment, in their laughter, for sound and light are moulded into form – either their own laughter or the dragging bruit of weapons. The two enemies swear alliance above war itself. The laws and divisions of great forces are not what we suppose: they are greater.

***

In this region where I had lived the depopulation had been so great that I could feel the vacant spaces.

The people renews itself constantly, and yet, at the end, it had been driven away, scattered to the winds by war upon war. From every side the empery of despair had closed down upon them.

***

“What has been happening in the world?”

“Wars…But now a new age has begun!”

“What wars? Who?”

“Everyone – battles everywhere. The world has come to the end of its strength: it is vanquished by wars. But we have come to the end of the Iron Age.”

***

War is everywhere; kingdom against kingdom, and the towns of Italy against each other, – (Italy was once a single kingdom; now she is a world in herself) – and faction against faction in the bosom of each town. France against England or Navarre, Amagnac against Burgundian, York against Lancaster, Blois against Montfort, Beaumont against Gramont of Navarre.

There are not two districts, two families, or two people of importance who are not struggling one with the other to break free and climb higher, upon a heap of bodies. They and their hatreds are inseparable. They would attack their own shadows. All the hopes of this world are centred on the luck of war…Ah, the luck of war!

***

“Behind the great war between France and England we must discern two men, among the ant-heaps of men, disputing as to whether the nephew or the grandson has the better title of inheritance. The two high and mighty lords thus pursuing their proprietorial business in human flesh and blood were sprung from the same stock, spoke the same tongue, were bound by the same code of morals, produced by the same laws. There were no strangers confronted with one another save the Princes and their subjects. This dispute as to golden titles and as to the ceremonies of suzerainty caused a war which none could stop; a winter of a century and a half fell upon nature, famine laid its fell grip upon the poor and in France and in England mothers ate their children; human flesh was sold in the market-place, and many men built hovels at the crossroads to murder wayfarers and steal their corpses. Corruption began to infest the very fields; beneath all this sway of death came plague, the black plague. And worse than plague, and deeper, was hate. Not hate made the war; the war made hate.”

“Today the old battle-field of the world is divided up like a map with circles and lines – roads and administrations – radiating out from the centre. the capital: a spider’s web fashioned by a man.

“And behold they no longer form their royal armies with soldiers; now they take citizens, an army of innocents. Poor wretches are forced to become executioners: the peasant to become the maker of deserts! They say: We; they become one body with the people, for they have devoured the people.”

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U.S., Georgian Defense Chiefs Expand Partnership At The Pentagon

August 23, 2013 Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Defense
August 22, 2013

Hagel, Georgian Defense Minister Meet at Pentagon
American Forces Press Service

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WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met at the Pentagon yesterday with Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Little said Hagel acknowledged Georgia’s continuing contribution to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and that he thanked Alasania for the sacrifices Georgia’s soldiers and their families are making.

“Secretary Hagel praised Georgia’s efforts to enhance civilian oversight of the armed forces, as these actions are a strong example of democratic progress through defense reform,” he said.

Hagel expressed U.S. support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration efforts, Little said, and highlighted its holding fair elections and continuing to consolidate democratic gains as effective measures to advance those efforts.

The two leaders agreed to continue to broaden U.S.-Georgian defense cooperation, he added.

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Georgian Ministry of Defence
August 23, 2013

Defence Minister hosted in the Pentagon

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After a 5 year-long interval, the United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hosted the Minister of Defense of Georgia in the Pentagon.

Bilateral cooperation issues in the military field were discussed at the meeting. The sides agreed on further development of U.S.-Georgia cooperation.

The Secretary of Defense expressed support on behalf of the United States towards Georgia`s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and outlined that fair conduct of the elections and democratic progress will promote this process. The sides also drew attention to the enhancement of Georgia`s defensive capabilities and participation in the international mission in Afghanistan. Chuck Hagel appreciated Georgia`s contribution to the ISAF mission and thanked Alasania for the sacrifice of the Georgian military servicemen and their families. Hagel praised Georgia`s efforts to strengthen a civil control over the armed forces as a good sign of democratic progress in implementing defence reforms.

“We have talked over the joint operations in Afghanistan, and dedicated attention to our future partnership. The United States will help Georgia develop adequate defensive capabilities to be able to respond to the existing challenges in the region. The United States will further deepen military cooperation with our country. Under the U.S-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership concrete steps will be undertaken to implement 6-point Agreement on Military Cooperation. We have agreed to meet in Brussels in October, to discuss the future format of participation in the ISAF mission. I think the U.S-Georgia partnership in both military and political spheres is very intensive and will continue in future too”, stated Irakli Alasania at the meeting with the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

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U.S. Air Force Pulls Africa Into “Global Coalition Of Capable Partners”

August 23, 2013 Leave a comment

U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa
August 23, 2013

RACS emphasizes partnerships
By Capt. Reba Good
U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

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ACCRA, Gahna: As the 2013 Regional African Air Chiefs Conference came to a close here Aug. 22, some of the U.S. and African leaders in attendance shared their thoughts on the event.

“We are at the end of what has been an extremely valuable symposium,” said Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, 3rd Air Force commander. “The challenges we face are not ones that can be solved by a single country, and I was amazed at how quick you all were to offer help to your neighbors.”

The symposium consisted of three days of discussions, idea-sharing, and meetings with various officials to discover new ways that African air forces could partner together and create solutions for common challenges.

“We need to advance the development of our air forces,” said Col. Leonard Batossi, Benin’s air force chief of staff. “This symposium has given us a chance to strengthen cooperation partnerships between attending countries in order to meet security challenges at the regional levels.”

Heidi Grant, the deputy under secretary of the Air Force, international affairs, offered suggestions during discussions and highlighted the benefits of creating a global community of Airmen.

“We need a global coalition of capable partners that can share the responsibility for security around the world,” she said. “The message is simple: We can better accomplish our mission when we work together.”

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U.S. Air Force delivers French troops to Mail this January

One of the biggest takeaways was realizing how the scope of air capabilities varies throughout the region.

“It would enhance the strength of our air forces if we learned to cooperate with each other to fill gaps and tackle the challenges we face,” said Brig. Gen. Ousmane Kane, Senegal ‘s air force chief of staff.

Franklin expressed how he looked forward to meeting again at future symposiums to evaluate progress and adapt to new challenges.

“Let me end with a final thought that I think summarizes this symposium,” he said. “The challenges that we face alone are daunting. But, no challenge is too great that we cannot overcome together.”

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U.S. Air Force: Global Vigilance, Global Reach, Global Power For America

August 23, 2013 5 comments

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
August 23, 2013

AF leaders cite Airmen as bedrock in new core mission document
Air Force Press Services

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WASHINGTON: The Air Force released a new document explaining how the service provides airpower for America – titled “Global Vigilance, Global Reach, Global Power for America.”

The paper follows the January release of the Air Force’s Vision, “World’s Greatest Air Force – Powered by Airmen, Fueled By Innovation,” which focuses on Airmen.

Building upon the vision, this paper explores the Air Force’s five enduring core missions – air and space superiority; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; rapid global mobility; global strike; and command and control – and explains how innovative Airmen bring them together to provide Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power for America.

“You’re the foundation of our success,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. “We will remain the world’s greatest Air Force because you’ll make sure we do, and that when challenges arise you’ll figure out smarter and better ways to get the job done… you always have and I know you always will.”

Welsh introduces the document and emphasizes that the core missions of the Air Force have not changed since 1947, but what has changed is how the Air Force performs these missions.

“We now fly faster, farther, and higher than ever before using aircraft and spacecraft that no one could have imagined at the time of our Service’s creation,” he said.

But the effectiveness of these core missions comes directly from the power of Airmen.

You do them better than anybody in the history of warfare,” Welsh said. “Thank you for who you are, thank you for what you do, and thank you for how well you do it.”

Welsh ends his message with a call to Airmen to find themselves in the text, “This document is intended to tell you about what your Air Force does, but more importantly it’s “intended to let you see where you fit in it – an incredibly critical role that you play.”

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Ernest Hemingway: Nothing sacred about war’s stockyards

August 23, 2013 1 comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Ernest Hemingway: Selections on war

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Ernest Hemingway
From A Farewell to Arms (1929)

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“Yes, they give the battalions in the front line as much as they can but the ones in back are very short. They have eaten all the Austrians’ potatoes and chestnuts from the woods. They ought to feed them better. We are big eaters. I am sure there is plenty of food. It is very bad for the soldiers to be short of food. Have you ever noticed the difference it makes in the way you think?”

“Yes,” I said. “It can’t win a war but it can lose one.”

“We won’t talk about losing. There is enough talk about losing. What has been done this summer cannot have been done in vain.”

I did not say anything. I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice and the expression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them, on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity. Certain numbers were the same way and certain dates and these with the names of the places were all you could say and have them mean anything. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates…

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Souda Bay, Greece: Forward Base For U.S.-NATO Operations

August 22, 2013 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
August 21, 2013

Strategic since antiquity, Souda Bay outpost is key to Navy’s supply chain
By Steven Beardsley

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SOUDA BAY, Crete:…Souda Bay, a joint Greek-U.S. base where…the mission largely unchanged over the decades. The installation is a forward operating site for U.S. and allied operations around the Mediterranean, a remote base that offers a deep-water harbor for resupply and maintenance near Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Recent military operations have underlined Souda’s significance in the Mediterranean — and shown how larger strategic movements depend on the low-key activities of small, isolated outposts.

“It comes in spurts, depending on what’s happening in the world, pretty much,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Armando Calvillo, a boatswain’s mate, said of activity on the base. “Especially on my side. If something is popping off in the world somewhere, of course we’re going to get a lot of ships coming in to resupply, a lot of amphibious ships.”

Set on 110 acres inside a Hellenic Air Force base in western Crete, Naval Support Activity Souda Bay counts 1,100 personnel, of whom roughly a third each are military, civilian and local nationals, according to its executive officer, Cmdr. Demetries Grimes…

The U.S. presence formally began in 1969 as a detachment before moving to a full land presence in 1980. An airfield within the base and a NATO pier facility at the harbor below, which is run by the Hellenic Navy, currently feed Souda’s daily activity.

The Venetians, Ottomans and Germans have all prized the bay, which is roughly nine miles long, between one and two miles wide and shielded by mountains on both sides. It offers three anchorages, the deepest running between 390 to 490 feet and capable of anchoring an aircraft carrier.

“We’re the only pier in the Mediterranean where we can put a carrier pier-side,” Grimes said. “And the same thing with submarines.”

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Such flexibility, combined with its location, has made Souda an international stop in the Mediterranean. European vessels traveling to and from Africa for anti-piracy operations pull in to refuel and resupply. U.S. supply ships stop for security teams to board before they enter pirate-infested waters. Carrier strike groups operating in the area bring destroyers or cruisers to pier, and occasionally a flattop — a carrier — itself will anchor in the harbor.

Souda Bay averages several hundred ship visits a year and more than 75,000 personnel coming through the harbor alone, Grimes said. Aircraft sorties and detachments add another 30,000 to 40,000, he said.

The recent increase in deployment time for U.S. warships — from an average of seven months to nine — is translating to more visits from resupply ships. Ballistic missile defense patrols make regular stops at the harbor, as well. The Navy’s planned forward deployment of four Aegis ballistic missile destroyers in Rota, Spain, should also mean more traffic for the small installation, he said.

“I would expect that as we have more ships that are forward deployed, we’re going to have more frequent visits of vessels coming in,” he said.

Last year’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, brought another change to Souda Bay, when a Marine anti-terrorism detachment was stationed on site as a quick-response measure for the region.

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U.S. Space, Interceptor Missile Forces: Indelible Global Imprint

August 22, 2013 3 comments

United States Army
August 19, 2013

Space, missile defense symposium promotes defensive future
By Jason B. Cutshaw, USASMDC/ARSTRAT

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Rocket City once again became the launching pad for leaders in the space and missile defense universe.

With the theme of “Shaping Capabilities for a Dynamic Environment,” the 16th annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium was hosted at the Von Braun Center, Aug. 12-15. The conference was presented by the Air, Space and Missile Defense Association, the National Defense Industrial Association’s Tennessee Valley Chapter and the Air Defense Artillery Association.

“This year’s symposium will be a high-quality, interactive, professional development forum for dialogue between government, military and industry leaders in order to shape capabilities for a dynamic national and global environment,” said retired Maj. Gen. John W. Holly, SMD Symposium industry chairperson.

“Our warfighters have made an indelible mark in history with unparalleled performance,” he added. “This performance and commitment, coupled with a nationally supported industrial base, provide the necessary impetus to shape a dynamic future. We look forward to your attendance, engagement and vision as we endeavor to shape the future of our industry and our nation.”

On his first full day in command, Lt. Gen. David L. Mann, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, gave a USASMDC/ARSTRAT and Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense update to those in attendance. He talked about what the command is doing, not only today, but what the command aims to do tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

“I’ve been in command of SMCD/ARSTRAT for a little over a day now and I must say that I’m impressed,” Mann said. “We are definitely headed in the right direction. Our focus and lines of effort are good, and our personnel are dedicated to supporting the warfighter.

“I’ve also been impressed with the Huntsville community,” he added. “Huntsville has earned an Army-wide reputation for its close relationship with and support for Redstone Arsenal and the commands that serve there.”

Mann spoke of his past experiences and how it helped shape his career and him personally. He also discussed how technology is providing capabilities to our Soldiers.

“Along the way, I’ve come to understand and appreciate the contributions made by space and missile defense to both the warfighter and the nation,” Mann said. “The effect and impact that space has upon every aspect of our military operations and our day-to-day lives is amazing and ever expanding. Today there are about two satellite antennas per Soldier in current operations – these antennas provide: satellite communications; positioning, navigation and timing; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; missile warning; weather and environmental monitoring; as well as space control and space situational awareness.”

“The Army’s dependence on space as a force multiplier will continue to grow for Army of 2020 and beyond,” he added. “We, as an Army, depend on space capabilities in everything we do – pre-deployment, deployment and redeployment. Retaining our space superiority is a military imperative and there’s no going back.”

During the symposium’s “Salute to the Warfighter” dinner, Mann proposed a toast to the America’s space warriors who protect troops overseas in the field, and families at home in their beds.

“Throughout the world there are brave men and women who go into harm’s way,” Mann said. “It’s to these Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians that we’re committed to providing space and missile defense capabilities.”

During the week there were panel discussions with subject matter experts, social receptions and numerous other events to inform the public of the space and missile defense community’s current and future endeavors.

“This conference has shown in the past what North Alabama does for national security and national defense,” said Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks. “It shows how we are on the cutting edge of technology that enables our warfighters to achieve their mission goals with minimal loss of life. And quite frankly, what we have on display here at the Von Braun Center today is the envy of the rest of the world’s militaries.”

“This is an opportunity for SMDC and contractors to look at what each other have to offer, what their expectations are and to communicate,” he added. “In particular, you have the private sector, which is coming up with innovative ideas that are on display, and SMDC’s personnel can look at them and evaluate them and then they can have frank discussions with both sides participating and maybe put it in the queue for future development if it seems promising.”

At the symposium, one SMDC leader talked about the importance that the week means to the men and women in uniform who are in harm’s way.

“The symposium is going great,” said Command Sgt. Maj. James N. Ross, SMDC senior enlisted adviser. “This is not my first symposium, but it is my first in my capacity as the SMDC command sergeant major and I am looking forward to providing my perspective on the Army as a provider of space and missile defense capabilities.”

In the Von Braun Center, more than 200 companies, both large and small, had booths featuring everything from full-size displays to computer simulations of future technologies.

“This symposium is an opportunity for us to get the community together and to exchange ideas in an open environment,” said Larry Burger, SMDC Future Warfare Center director. “Everybody has good ideas, but it is being able to put that combination of two, three or four good ideas together that you wouldn’t have been able to if we did not have this symposium.”

“We learn something different every time we come here,” he added. “We learn new innovations that are being done by private industry, we learn some of the directions that the government is going and we learn from academic leadership. And it is that confluence of all three of those communities coming together in this forum that you can’t get anywhere else. That is why this symposium is very beneficial for the command and the entire community.”

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Jean Giono: War, nourishment and dismemberment

August 22, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Jean Giono: Led to the slaughterhouse

Jean Giono: Rats and worms were the only living things

Jean Giono: War! Who’s the madman in charge of all this? Who’s the madman who gives the orders?

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Jean Giono
From To the Slaughterhouse (Le grand troupeau) (1931)
Translated by Norman Glass

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The night thickened. The kitchen wagon, disembowelled by the first shells, was now splayed out in flames on the road. The mud hissed with carbon. Shot to pieces, a man hung over the wagon, his head resting on the bottom. The horse was down on its knees, moaning and shaking its head. Soldiers lay stretched out around a wine barrel, motionless, except for one who, face in the soil, clenched his hands to secure himself on the ground, find support, get up again and set off. A gaping wound in the neck weighed down his head.

“I’m going to see my donkeys,” the man said.

“Stay here!” Joseph shouted. “Stay here!”

But the man moved. Joseph saw him struggle along, looking like a toad, arms and knees bent. His flat face was stretched out, mouth open, and his big eyes reflected the fire of the kitchen wagon and the night.

“Stay there!”

The man jumped forward and at the same moment there was a flash of fire. He fell back in a heap on the road, raised his back, swung from left to right, then collapsed.

“Hey you! What’s your name now? Hey!” Joseph shouted. He edged toward him in the darkness. He stumbled first against a cold corpse lying on bread crumbs and kitchen implements. There was raw flesh in the mud.

“Hey!” Joseph called out quietly. “Hey, you! What’s your name?” He touched a body. It was the man’s. He neither moved nor breathed, he might have been a lump of earth. Joseph listened to the sound of blood gushing out of him.

***

Chauvin drew so near to him that their helmets touched. “Your haversack,” he said. “Your haversack. You’ve got something? Something we can eat?”

“Eat!” Oliver exclaimed in amazement. He looked abruptly at the hole where he’d been digging and smelled the rot.

“Yes,” Chauvin said, “eat.” He stayed there without moving his face away from Oliver’s. He looked at him fixedly. At the bottom of Oliver’s haversack, beneath the grenades, there was a chunk of bread covered in rust. He gave it to Chauvin who broke it in two.

“Half and half,” he said, handing a slice to Oliver. Suddenly he bent low and shrivelled up as a big shell hit the hole. Where Oliver had been digging the shovel was stuck fast now in the earth. When he took it out, it was oily with a black grease like cobbler’s wax. He didn’t dare continue digging.

Kneeling down, Oliver chewed at the bread. He sensed somebody behind him. Somebody looking at him. He turned round. A man was stretched out on the other side of the hole. His face was completely black, his brains poured out of a large wound in the corner of his head. No, he wasn’t looking at Oliver. A small, round, white piece of that brain was looking. It was stuck on to the black space of the eye that swarmed with rot and mud.

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Australia: Pentagon Adds Warplanes To Asia-Pacific Buildup Against China

August 21, 2013 2 comments

Stars and Stripes
August 21, 2013

Growing US presence in Australia to include aircraft
By Seth Robson

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F-16 Fighting Falcons conduct a training mission over Misawa Air Base, Japan, February 14, 2013

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan: The U.S. is preparing to add aircraft to its military presence in Australia, which will include 2,500 Marines rotating through the northern port of Darwin starting in 2016.

This summer’s rotation has involved about 250 personnel, but that will increase to a 1,150-strong force next year, including an aviation support contingent at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin, along with four heavy-lift helicopters, according to Australian officials.

More than 300 Marines and sailors, along with 12 F/A-18 Hornets and a KC-130 Hercules from Marine Aircraft Group 12, are training Down Under this month as part of the Southern Frontier 2013 exercise, according to U.S. Marine Corps Pacific.

Now the commander of Pacific Air Forces has signaled plans to rotate fixed-wing aircraft through Darwin and nearby RAAF Base Tindal.

Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle said the U.S. and Australia are talking about rotating U.S. aircraft to the bases, according to a transcript of comments he made to a group of defense writers July 29.

“The plan would be to rotate fighter and tanker capability initially, and then potentially long term, rotate bomber capability through, probably, Tindal,” he said.

Forces heading to Australia could come from the continental U.S. or include F-16s from Misawa Air Base or F-15s from Kadena Air Base in Japan, he said.

The Air Force has already made a test run with a bomber from Andersen Air Base on Guam, Carlisle said.

“We’ve landed it down at Darwin and turned around and took it off again,” he said. “So we’ve demonstrated it. We’ve brought tankers down there. And we do bring fighters down fairly often into Tindal and Darwin to exercise with the Australians.”

Before the rotations can start, the Air Force needs to invest in ground infrastructure and deploy some equipment, he said.

“I think over the next year, you’ll see it climb a little bit and then … based on budgets, it will start to increase in probably 2015,” Carlisle said.

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