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Pentagon Trains NATO Allies, Partners For Post-Afghan Missions

November 30, 2013 Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Defense
November 29, 2013

NATO Envisions Post-ISAF Train, Advise and Assist Mission
By Denver Beaulieu-Hains
7th U.S. Army Joint Multinational Training Command

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany: At the end of 2014, the ISAF mission in Afghanistan is scheduled to end and a new train, advise and assist mission called Resolute Support will begin.

During Europe’s recent combat training conference, the top brass of more than 35 nations outlined a way ahead to prepare for the transition that involves combined and joint training provided by the Joint Multinational Training Command here.

“There was a lot of discussion about the coming ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] and NATO operational transition in Afghanistan,” said Army Col. Thomas S. Matsel, the G3 or chief of operations at the JMTC.

“NATO is going to transition” from its ISAF operations centered in Afghanistan to a force that is prepared to respond across the full spectrum of conflict, Matsel said.

Since JMTC’s training events regularly include multinational participation, the discussion is different at other Army combat training centers, Matsel said.

“They are mainly concerned with Title 10 training [training for U.S. troops]. Their focus is on U.S.-based Army units and their ability to conduct combat or contingency operations,” he said. “We have that responsibility with our Title 10 forces also, but JMTC, the training command for the U.S. Army Europe also has the task to make sure U.S. Army units are well integrated with our NATO and multinational partners and the place where that happens, and is tested, is here in Europe during our multinational training and exercises.”

Simultaneously, at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, the exercise Combined Resolve looks at the post-ISAF relationship and the potential for future coalition operations. The training brought U.S. forces and those of Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, and Sweden together to challenge systems and develop cultural understanding and trust.

“The training … is exactly in harmony with what we want to attain in the whole of NATO. After years of training concentrated on Afghanistan, we again want to pay attention to the training of fundamental military activities,” the Czech Republic’s chief of staff Petr Pavel said about the training. “For us this means training in an environment that we are by no means capable of replicating in domestic conditions.”

Pavel said his Army benefits by training with the modern equipment and training facilities available at Hohenfels, as well as the professional cadre of observers, coaches, and trainers.

“We do not have the technical means to assess the training available here [in the Czech Republic] and we aren’t capable of ensuring the multinational participation,” he said.

A multinational exercise is planned every month for the next year. The next exercise is slated for Dec. 7-17. The New Jersey National Guard will train at the Hohenfels Training Area with more than seven multinational partners.

“It’s important to remember some of the best and most capable security forces in the world are right here in Europe and we must build on the past 10 years of combat operations with our NATO and multinational partners so we are ready for the next emergency or contingency,” Matsel said.

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Going On 15 Years: NATO Troops To Stay In Kosovo

November 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Tanjug News Agency
November 29, 2013

NATO troops “to remain in Kosovo”

PRIŠTINA: NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Philip Breedlove says KFOR at this point did not plan to reduce the number of its troops from Kosovo.

NATO is committed to supporting the agreement between Belgrade and Priština and will not reduce the current number of troops in the next few months, Breedlove said during a meeting with Kosovo officials.

NATO wants KFOR to be smaller and more flexible in the future, but that will only happen once the time for that comes and the conditions are right, he stressed.

The general made the statement after German and French media had speculated that their nations were intending to pull their troops out of KFOR.

KFOR currently has 5,000 soldiers from 31 countries.

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Mikhail Sholokhov: Selections on war

November 30, 2013 Leave a comment
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NATO Warships Dock In Israeli Port, Engage In Exercise

November 29, 2013 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

November 29, 2013

Standing NATO Maritime Group and MARCOM Commander Pay Visit to Haifa

Haifa, Israel: Two NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2), flagship ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN and FGS SACHSEN, arrived Wednesday 27 November 2013 for a visit to the historic port city.

In conjunction with the port visit, Vice Admiral Peter Hudson, Commander of NATO Allied Maritime Command, travelled to Haifa to visit the Group and participate in staff talks and activities with the Chief of the Israeli Navy.

On the way into the port, NATO and Israeli naval forces participated in a passing exercise (PASSEX) to enhance interoperability between the maritime partners.

The port visit will provide the crew of the SNMG2 ships an opportunity to interact with their Israeli counterparts in numerous ways, including personnel exchange visits to each partner’s ship, a wreath laying at Yad Vashem, a sporting event between the partners, and courtesy calls with local officials.

“We are very happy to be visiting our Mediterranean Dialogue partner in this friendly port,” said Rear Admiral Eugenio Díaz del Río, Commander of SNMG2. “The Israeli Navy is a key partner for NATO’s maritime forces in the region in a variety of areas, to include counter-terrorism, search and rescue, and maritime security.”

SNMG2 has been very busy in the preceding months supporting NATO’s counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR. As their support to this mission draws to a close, the Group will next head to the Indian Ocean to take command of NATO’s counter-piracy task group (CTF-508) in December.

Since joining the Mediterranean Dialogue in 1995, Israel has become a key strategic partner for NATO in the region. Israel was the first country within the MD to have an Individual Cooperation Programme approved, providing the framework for future cooperation.

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NATO Chief Helps Corral Former Soviet States Into European Union

November 29, 2013 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
November 29, 2013

Statement by the NATO Secretary General on the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius

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I welcome the results of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. The Vilnius Summit is a defining moment in the European Union’s relationship with Eastern European partners.

I congratulate Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova for making the sovereign choice to take important steps forward in their relations with the European Union with determination, courage and hard work.

Today’s agreements will further enhance reforms, trade, and people to people contacts. They represent a major contribution to freedom, stability, and prosperity in Europe. I welcome the forward looking agenda for the Eastern Partnership over the next two years, which will consolidate and develop the process of political association and economic integration. These are goals that NATO shares and supports through its own partnerships and security cooperation.

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Russia: Serbia’s NATO Membership A Red Line

November 29, 2013 1 comment

Beta News Agency/Tanjug News Agency
November 29, 2013

Serbia’s NATO membership – “red line for Russia”

BELGRADE: Russian Ambassador in Serbia Aleksandr Chepurin has said that his country would find Serbia’s possible future membership in NATO “unacceptable.”

Speaking at the Belgrade Academy for Diplomacy and Security, he noted that it would represent “utter stupidity if somebody from Serbia were to crawl over and beg (to join), after the bombing that incurred Serbia damages worth USD 120 billion.”

“That’s the red line that in no way suits Russia. NATO was created against the Soviet Union, which is long gone, and it is absolutely unclear what NATO stands against now – or do you really want to go to war in Iraq, Libya, or Syria? There’s no other advantage there – or would you like to fraternize with Turkey, which is a NATO member, ” the ambassador asked.

He then said that Austria, Sweden and Ireland are all EU members although they stayed away from NATO, and that membership in the EU does not mean a country must also join the military alliance.

“However, there are madmen who are trying to make use of that thesis,” he remarked.

Chepurin also spoke about Russia’s “second red line” when it came to Serbia – that “nobody should pressure Serbia during the negotiations to ‘tie itself to something’,” and that any form of integration “must not interfere with the long tradition of cultural, economic, and political Russo-Serbian ties – because that is primarily in the interest of Serbia.”

He stated that Russia accepts that EU membership is the main geopolitical goal of a sovereign Serbia, but that this should not damage its ties with Russia – “nor should it additionally complicate its ties with the Eurasian Union, which will be created in 2015, and which considers development of relations with Serbia as very important.”

“It is unacceptable for us that any form of integration should disrupt our relations, for example, our visa-free regime. When Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was in Belgrade recently, he received confirmation in all meetings that Serbia will not join NATO,” he said.

Responding to a question posed by former mayor of the Montenegrin town of Cetinje, Aleksandar Aleksić, who asked whether Montenegro’s accession to the western military alliance “could be stopped,” he remarked that there were “monkeys in politics, like everywhere else.”

“Have you seen the media poll about the popularity of foreign politicians in Serbia? If you have not, I will not tell you who is at the number one spot. And the second to last is the one you were probably referring to. It’s like fashion. At first somebody is doing it intentionally, and then many who are chasing after that person, hoping for a banana, show up,” Chepurin was quoted as saying by Tanjug.

He also stated that NATO represents an atavism from the last century, and stressed that in his previous answer he “did not mean anyone specifically, but gave a general appraisal,” while Serbia’s membership in NATO would represent a folly.

During his lecture to the students, the Russian diplomat on several occasions noted that “everyone has an imagination that is shattered when it meets the reality,” and mentioned Ukraine as an example of a country that “met the reality when it was supposed to sign the free trade agreement with the EU.”

“There was an impression that each year tens of billions of euros would be arriving to Ukraine from the EU, while in fact it was about one billion over seven years. The damage from severing the free trade with Russia would have been a hundred times greater,” he said.

Such things usually happen to countries that find themselves in a difficult position, when the appeal of “the western centrism” is great, the diplomat noted, adding that the situation was similar in Russia during the 1990s.

Chepurin stressed that his country was offering Serbia “absolute support” when it came to Kosovo, but that he “did not wish to comment too strongly on some internal issues in Serbia.”

“There are several possibilities within international law for the thing to be resolved in a way in which Serbian is interested to resolve it. An impression is being created here that everything had fallen through, but this question requires effort and persistence. You must have faith that you are capable of solving that issue. The truth is on your side, and much depends on you,” said the Russian ambassador.

At the end of his lecture, Chepurin noted that the privatization of NIS – Serbia’s oil monopoly now owned by Gazprom – was “successful,” and that if the country had “five such companies” it would not be facing economic difficulties.

Commenting on the start of construction works on the South Stream stretch in Serbia, he said that the pipeline should bring the country not only gas transit fees, but also income from storage, launching of gas heating plants, and other forms of industrial production.

“South Stream will give ten times more than Serbia will get from any donations in the (EU) integration process, and Serbia will control those funds in line with its own wishes. That should be taken into account. Serbia will become the energy hub of the region, and that is an economic, but also a political decision,” Chepurin concluded.

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Azerbaijan’s Military Being Totally NATOized

November 29, 2013 1 comment

AzerNews
November 29, 2013

Azerbaijan hosts NATO Days
By Nazrin Gadimova

A workshop titled Days of NATO was held at Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces on November 25-28, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry reported.

The workshop was organized by the NATO Allied Command Transformation and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SACT).

Led by group coordinator of preparation and implementation department of the NATO Office of Defense Cooperation and Colonel of the Turkish Armed Forces Yusuf Bayazit, the workshop aimed at informing faculty and commanders, military cadets, and students of educational institutions of Azerbaijan about the NATO.

During the event, round tables, presentations, and discussions on the NATO’s structure, history of creation, objectives, policies, strategies, concepts, processes, transformation, and reforms were held. The partnership deals, emergency operations, and peace operations of the North Atlantic alliance were also discussed.

NATO Days is held annually as part of the NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation, with the participation of the SACT expert group.

Earlier, the Azerbaijan-NATO cooperation was discussed at a high-level seminar organized by the Brussels office of the European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), attended by several members from the Friends of Azerbaijan Group in the EP.

NATO’s role in the region’s energy security was also discussed in Baku during a conference titled “Cooperative Approach to Energy Security: View from NATO and Beyond”, held on November 21.

NATO and Azerbaijan are actively cooperating on democratic, institutional, and military reforms, as well as conducting practical cooperation in various areas.

The cooperation plan between Azerbaijan and the NATO is set out in the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) on Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan aspires to achieve Euro-Atlantic standards and get closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions. In this regard, supporting the security sector reform and establishing democratic institutions are the key elements of the NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation.

Azerbaijan is also among the eight partner countries that have confirmed their presence in Afghanistan after 2014. Peacekeepers of the country will stay in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops from the country by the end of 2014. However, Azerbaijan will reduce its presence in Afghanistan after 2014.

The Azerbaijani peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan consists of 90 servicemen. A company and then a battalion of peacekeepers were established as part of the Azerbaijani armed forces in 1997.

Azerbaijani peacekeepers are part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

In the past, Azerbaijan has also actively supported the Alliance’s operations in Kosovo.

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Arnold Zweig: The final trump in the struggle for world markets: the Gun

November 29, 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 Education Before Verdun (1935)
Translated by Eric Sutton

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“My lad,” sighed Pahl; “it beats me to think that such a thing could happen in the world, that one man could inflict upon another such agony as that. I tell you it went right through me, up to my heart and brain and back again…It hardly goes with the world of blue skies and sunshine and birdsong that we’ve all heard so much about. It belongs to a society where men strike, and strike to hurt; to the under world, where a man is damned from birth to fetch and carry for others, and waste the talents that should be at the service of humanity.” He was silent and closed his eyes. “The slaughter bench,” he went on, shaking his head. “It is always there, and in war it is everywhere. We were conceived and reared and trained to serve it, and on it we at last die. And that is what is called life.” His breath came heavily, his hands moved over the coverlet, waxen pale; Bertin found himself looking for the red nail-wounds on the backs of them. Tears trickled out from beneath Pahl’s right eyelid. My God, thought Bertin, and I was crying over a dish of soup just now. “The slaughter bench must be destroyed,” went on Pahl in an undertone while the others snored; “at least, we can stop the supply of victims.” “If it is within our power,” agreed Bertin cautiously. “It lies in our power alone. Only the victims of injustice can abolish injustice. Only the oppressed can end oppression. Only those who have been under shell-fire can bring the war-factories to a stand-still. Why should those who profit by torture want to being it to an end?”

***

The French killed him, but theirs was not the guilt. No; behind the paltry little A.S.C. captains loomed the gigantic shape of what held and wielded power – of all those whose task it was to plan and accomplish the suicide of Europe; poor cretinous fools, who looked on their neighbours as mere objects of attack, and conceived, as the final trump in the struggle for world markets: the Gun.

***

He was of the same calibre as young Kroysing, and himself, Posnanski; men who labour to deliver the world and by the only effective means: justice, reason, and free discussion. Absurd as it might seem, whoever used that latter instrument inevitably stirred the fury of the evil principle and its slaves, the men of force; awakened their savage energy and brutality…And while Posnanski buttoned his jacket around his corpulent person, for the March night was cold and he was tired, he found himself, to his astonishment, marching angrily toward the fire at the end of the room, which was still glowing faintly, because it seemed to embody the enemy, the eternal foe of the creative impulse, the adversary, the personified force of resistance and obstruction: Satan. He saw him in visible shape, with claws and beak and bat-like wings, with dragon’s tail, and treacherous basilisk eyes, his face in a malignant grin. This savage and devouring element, allied with iron, had given birth to every science, cast every gun, and its almighty laughter pealed in the burst of every shell.

***

[He] had seen all varieties of destruction, he had seen how men can stand up against mud and hunger and the peril of death; murder massed and industrialized, devastation, streams of blood, chill contorted corpses, wounded men shivering beside a fire as the surge of fever shook them, and the hideous slavery from which there could be no relief but death.

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Swedish Warplanes To Join NATO Global Strike Force

November 28, 2013 Leave a comment

The Local
November 28, 2013

Swedish fighter jets to join Nato response force

Sweden will contribute a squadron of Jas Gripen fighter jets as well as a mine-sweeping ship to join the Nato Rapid Reaction Force (NRF), the government decided on Thursday.

The Swedish fighter squadron, ship, and roughly 120 service personnel will join the Nato force in 2014. By 2015, Sweden will contribute an additional eight Gripen fighters and an amphibious unit.

Last month, Nato agreed to let Sweden to join the Steadfast Jazz training exercise, allowing Swedish soldiers to train with the NRF, a multinational force of up to 25,000 troops that can act as a stand-alone force available for rapid deployment. The Swedish contribution could eventually participate in Nato missions, although Sweden would decide which missions its forces would join.

The initial contribution of eight planes and the minesweeper will be a part of the NRF’s reserve forces.

“This means that they will be available for deployment as part of the NRF reserve force during this period. They will be in Sweden, but they will be ready for duty,” Sweden’s Defence Minister Karin Enström told the TT news agency.

“These are units that have been certified by Nato as being sufficiently well-trained to participate.”

Parts of the NRF have been deployed in the past to help with security surrounding the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 2004 and during presidential elections in Afghanistan that same year. Finland has been a part of the NRF reserve force since 2008. Sweden declined to join at the time as there was insufficient support in parliament for Swedish participation in the Nato force.

This week, Sweden also participated in a major Nato cyber defence exercise dubbed Cyber Coalition 2013, to test Nato’s ability to defend itself against a cyber attack. In addition to the 28 Nato member countries, non-Nato members Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, and Austria participated in the exercise.

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U.S. Not Leaving Major Air Bases In Afghanistan

November 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Press TV
November 29, 2013

US ‘not leaving’ major air bases in Afghanistan

Audio

The United States is ratcheting up pressure against the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai because it has no intentions of leaving major air bases, an analyst says.

“The US has no intentions of leaving major air bases in Afghanistan,” Rick Rozoff, from Stop NATO Network, told Press TV on Thursday.

“Some of which have been dealt by the Soviet Union, but upgraded and modernized by the United States for the purpose of being able to threaten and perform extra military aggression against not within Afghanistan, but presumably in neighboring bordering countries,” he added.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has so far refused to sign an agreement with the United States that would keep thousands of American troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

Deep disagreements over legal immunity for American soldiers and the controversial issue of night raids by foreign troops have held up the security pact.

The US wants to keep as many as 10,000 troops in the country to train the Afghan national security forces. Without an agreement, all troops should leave the country by the end of 2014.

President Karzai said this week he would not sign the pact and reiterated his call for an end to American troop raids on Afghan homes and the start of peace talks.

“Whenever the Americans meet these two demands of mine, I am ready to sign the agreement,” Karzai said.

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Gerhart Hauptmann: American politics and warships

November 28, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Gerhart Hauptmann
From Atlantis (1912)
Translated by Adele and Thomas Seltzer

german-dramatist-gerhart-hauptmann

“I was kept in a military school until I was ten years old. The desire came upon me to commit suicide, and I was punished for insubordination. There was no fascination for me in being prepared for a great carnage.”

***

America was then suffering from a business depression, a crisis, as the political economists dub it. The causes of the depression came up for discussion. Most of the Americans present happened to be Democrats, and they threw the blame on the Republicans. The Tammany Tiger was the subject of especial execration. It not only controlled New York City, the mayor of which was a creature of Tammany, but had also put its men into the most influential positions throughout the land. And every Tammany man knew how to shear his sheep. As a result, the American people were thoroughly bled. The corruption in the highest offices was said to be on a tremendous scale. Millions of dollars were appropriated to the navy, but if a man-of-war actually happened to be built, the thing was a great achievement, since the money, long before it was applied to its proper purposes, sifted down into the pockets of peaceful Americans, whose interest in the navy was of the slightest.

***

“Americans are parrots, incessantly chattering two words, dollar and business, dollar and business. Those two words have been death to culture in America. An American doesn’t even know what it is to have the Englishman’s spleen. Think of the fearfulness of living in a country called the land of dollars. We have human beings living in Europe. The Americans regard everything, even their fellow-men, from the point of view of the number of dollars they represent. If a thing can’t be reckoned in dollars, they have no eyes for it. And then Carnegie and Company come and want to astonish us with their disgusting shopkeeper’s philosophy. Do you think they’re helping the world on by slicing off some of the world’s dollars and then returning some of the sliced off dollars with a great flourish of trumpets? Do you think that if they do us the favour to give us some of their money, we’ll throw overboard our Mozart and Beethoven, our Kant and Schopenhauer, our Schiller and Goethe, our Rembrandts, Leonardos, Michael Angelos, in short, all our wealth of art and intellect? What is a miserable cur of an American millionaire, a dollar maniac, as compared with all those great men? Let him come and ask us for alms.”

***

Existus,” said Frederick, after a prolonged investigation of the man’s heart. Even a few moments after the stethoscope had been removed, one could see the ring it made on his bluish, waxen skin. His chin dropped. Thy put it back in place, and Frederick bound his jaws with his white handkerchief. “He had a bad fall,” Frederick remarked. It may actually have been the unfortunate fall to which the helot owed his death. There was a deep bleeding gash in his temple from the edge of a large nut. “Probably a heart stroke,” Frederick added, “the result of the heat and overexertion.” He looked at the dead man, then at his mates, naked, blackened, illuminated by the jaws of the glowing furnaces, and thought of the fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” If we were to take the commandment literally, how far should we get?

The physicians mounted on deck, and several of the men picked up the victim of civilisation, the modern galley-slave, still covered with the sweat of his fearful occupation. With the handkerchief about his head, he looked as if he were suffering from toothache. They carried him out of the glowing pit to the cabin set aside for dead bodies.

Doctor Wilhelm had to notify the captain. Nobody on deck, where the band was playing the last measures, was to suspect that a stoker had died.

***

“I very much fear, very much indeed,” said Frederick, “That our world-wide means of communication, which mankind is supposed to own, really own mankind. At least so far, I see no signs that the tremendous working capacity of machines has lessened human labour. Nobody will deny that our modern machine slavery, on so tremendous a scale, is the most imposing slavery that has ever existed. And there is no denying that it is slavery. Has this age of machinery subtracted from the sum of human misery? No, most emphatically, no! Has it enhanced happiness and increased the chances for happiness? No, again.”

***

“…But the worst thing is the frightful, endless shedding of blood which human meat-eaters deem necessary for their preservation. Think of all the butchers in the world, think of those immense slaughter-houses in Chicago and other places where the machine-like, wholesale murder of innocent animals is constantly going on. People can live without meat. It isn’t indispensable to their welfare.”

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Brussels: NATO Holds Meeting With Persian Gulf Partners

November 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Qatar News Agency
November 27, 2013

Qatar participates in NATO-ICI meeting

BRUSSELS: The State of Qatar has participated in the meeting held between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and that Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) under the chairmanship of the NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels.

Addressing the meeting, HE Qatar’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Sheikh Ali bin Jassim Al Thani underlined the importance of reaching a real and comprehensive approach that includes new forms of joint cooperation.

In light of the rapid political developments in the regional and international arenas and the current challenges, especially the tragic situation in Syria.

HE the Qatari Ambassador pointed to the need to hold meetings and consultations in order to discuss the current threats, particularly terrorism, piracy and criminal activities such as drug smuggling.

The NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, launched at the Alliance’s Summit in the Turkish city in June 2004.

Aims to contribute to long-term global and regional security by offering countries of the broader Middle East region practical bilateral security cooperation with NATO.

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NATO Launches Largest-Ever Cyber Warfare Exercises

November 27, 2013 Leave a comment

RT
November 26, 2013

NATO launches ‘largest ever’ cyber-security exercises

NATO has kicked off Cyber Coalition 2013, the largest ever exercise of its kind intended to thwart massive, simultaneous attacks on member states and their allies.

The three-day exercise, based at the 27 member alliance’s cyber defense center in Estonia, will include participants from over 30 European states. Some 400 IT, government and legal experts from across the alliance will take part in the operation.

“With around 100 participants in Tartu [Estonia] and over 300 in national capitals from 32 nations, Cyber Coalition 2013 is the largest exercise of its kind in terms of participating countries,” NATO said in a statement.

The exercises are intended to check NATO and its partners’ “technical and operational responsibilities” and review how efficiently participants coordinate their efforts.

The alliance noted that as a host nation, Estonia will provide “exercise infrastructure, training facilities and logistics support.”

“Cyber-attacks are a daily reality and they are growing in sophistication and complexity. NATO has to keep pace with this evolving threat and Cyber Coalition 2013 will allow us to fully test our systems and procedures to effectively defend our networks – today and in the future,” Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO Headquarters, said in a statement. “NATO has to keep pace with this evolving threat.”

NATO has yet to decide if a cyber-attack against one alliance member would entail a collective response as outlined under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Currently, cyber security is treated as a national responsibility despite the interconnectedness of member state networks.

Estonia has hosted the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence since October 2008, following a series of cyber-attacks against the country in April of the previous year.

Roland Murof, a military spokesman for the Estonian Defense Forces, said that the games’ scenario includes “simulated multiple, simultaneous attempts to infiltrate information networks with different cyber warfare techniques, including botnets and malware-infected websites…

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Erich Maria Remarque: Peace?

November 27, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Erich Maria Remarque: Selections on war

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Erich Maria Remarque
From The Road Back (1930)
Translated by A.W. Wheen

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The thought of Peace had sprung up before us like a rocket, and though indeed we did not yet believe or understand it, the bare hope had sufficed to change us more in the few minutes it took for the rumour to circulate, than anything in twenty months before. Till now, the years of war had succeeded each other, year laid upon year, one year of hopelessness treading fast upon another, and when a man reckoned the time, his amazement was almost as great to discover it had been so long, as that it had been only so long. But now that it had become known that peace may come any day, every hour had gained in weight a thousandfold, every minute under fire seems harder and longer than the whole time before.

****

The fog moves and lifts. And suddenly I know what it is that has thrown us all into such a state of alarm. It has merely become still. Absolutely still.

Not a machine gun, not a shot, not an explosion; no shriek of shells; nothing, absolutely nothing, no shot, no cry. It is simply still, utterly still.

We look at one another: we cannot understand it. This is the first time that it has been so quiet since we have been at the Front. We sniff the air and try to figure what it can mean. Is gas creeping over? But the wind is not favourable; it would drive it off. Is an attack coming? But the very silence would have betrayed it already. What is it, then? The bomb in my hand is moist, I am sweating so with excitement. One feels as if the nerves must snap. Five minutes. Ten minutes. “A quarter of an hour now,” calls Laher. His voice sounds hollow in the fog as from a grave. Still nothing happens, no attack, no sudden, dark-looming, springing shadows –

Hands relax and clench again tighter. This is not to be borne. We are so accustomed to the noise of the Front that now, when the weight of it suddenly lifts from us, we feel as if we must burst, shoot upward like a balloon.

“Why,” says Willy suddenly, “it is peace!” – It falls like a bomb.

Faces relax, movements become aimless and uncertain. Peace. We look at one another, incredulous. Peace? I let my hand grenades drop. Peace? Ludwig lies down on his waterproof again. Peace? In Bethke’s eyes is an expression as if his whole face would break in pieces. Peace? Wessling stands motionless as a tree; and when he turns his back on it and faces us, he looks as if he meant to keep straight on home.

All at once – in the whirl of our excitement we had hardly observed it – the silence is at an end; once more, dully menacing, comes the noise of gunfire, and already from afar, like the bill of a woodpecker, sounds the knock-knocking of a machine gun. We grow calm and are almost glad to hear again the familiar, trusty noises of death.

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US/NATO continue simulating war against Russia in Germany

November 26, 2013 2 comments

Voice of Russia
November 26, 2013

US/NATO continue simulating war against Russia in Germany
John Robles

When the Cold War finished many intelligent, peace-loving and thinking people all over the world believed that there would be a drawing down of military forces and an end to the arms race as the ideological confrontation between the USSR and the USA was no longer a geopolitical reality. However as history has shown that has been far from the case and in fact the opposite is completely true. With the recent Steadfast Jazz training exercises, military buildup in Poland and the current exercises envisaging fighting against regular army forces in the Caucuses US/NATO continue military exercises and maneuvers that are clearly aimed against Russia. These moves by US/NATO are perhaps the most serious threat to world peace and stability that currently exists.

No more Phantom Menace

The Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, has been on the forefront of the fight for peace and as the Voice of Russia recently reported he stated that he anticipates the implementation of the Iran nuclear pact to render the US/NATO Anti-Ballistic Missile Shield in Europe obsolete.

Lavrov: “If the Iranian agreement takes its course, there will be no reason to create an ABM system in Europe, which is now being described as a necessity.”

Although as Mr. Lavrov states it is being described as a necessity many experts believe and have stated that with a few minor changes and the changing of war heads the entire ABM shield could be used to facilitate a US/NATO first strike on the Russian Federation. This became clear almost from the outset when all Russian attempts at cooperation with NATO, including the very workable and (if such a threat existed) necessary concept of Sectoral Defense, something absolutely necessary as the US/NATO radar is blind in key areas due to the curvature of the earth and as was detailed by an eyewitness is only effective against approximately 40 percent of large missiles and completely useless against small and hypersonic delivery systems.

Continued military escalation detracting from civil society

The Russian Federation has the inalienable and non-negotiable unwavering right as a sovereign nation to defend itself against all threats both internal and external and these include not just military threats and threats to its territory but threats against its economy, culture, language, religion and civil society, to mention a few, and this right has to be guarded and carried out with the utmost seriousness and unquestioning steadfast resolve on all fronts.

On the diplomatic front Russia has continued to attempt to reach compromise and improve relations with US/NATO although attempts at military cooperation have been continuously and repeatedly spurned by US/NATO making it clearer with every effort that US/NATO are apparently not interested in maintaining a peaceful mutually beneficial relationship with Russia but in fact wants to continue the Cold War paradigm.

On the military front Russia and other countries threatened by US/NATO global expansion have ad to divert funds and energies that could have been used for the betterment of their own populations to an escalation in military spending in order to maintain parity with the new global US/NATO.

On the civil front Russian security services and bodies of government have had to wage a battle and introduce legislation against organizations such as USAID and NGOs which evidence showed sought to undermine and influence Russia’s internal civilian and political life. Something that other countries around the world have also had to do.

Continued US/NATO war games

After the demise of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the disassembly of the Warsaw Pact many observers expected that NATO would follow suite and that would have been the logical and one would think only rational thing to do, but as with open war the end of the Cold War also fell under the self-serving banner of “to the winner go the spoils” and in this case the “spoils” were geopolitical influence and territory, that (by the Pentagon’s own words) would be projected “by force” through NATO.

US/NATO continue to seek ways to expand and stay relevant and are shifting their strategy into that of a “global security provider” but even this is disingenuous as exercises and scenarios continue to focus on attacking and fighting against a phantom Russian threat.

The OSCE and then NATO were organizations designed and created to contain and fight the Soviet Union and the spread of Communist ideology and the influence of the Warsaw Pact in Europe but that threat no longer exists and in reality NATO is now completely irrelevant. But like a Frankenstein monster created for a single purpose it refuses, or is truly incapable of adapting to modern geopolitical realities. This is made evident again and again by projects and exercises such as the ABM “shield”, Steadfast Jazz and current training exercises designed to train against Russian conventional forces in the Caucuses.

US/NATO openly training for war with Russia

According to the United States Army publication Stars and Stripes: on NATO training grounds in Hohenfels, Germany the “Joint Multinational Readiness Center” is hosting one of its largest multinational training exercises in recent years.

John Vandiver at Stars and Stripes writes: “Battalions of Czech and Slovenian troops, a US headquarters unit and a host of other forces, including US National Guard troops from California, have been war gaming around the clock inside Hohenfels’ sprawling battleground known as “the box.” Rather than training to take on the Taliban in Afghanistan, they’re working on other combat scenarios, such as taking on a conventional enemy force in the Caucasus region. “We don’t know what the future threats are going to look like, but we do know one thing; we aren’t going to fight it alone,” said Brig. Gen. Walter Piatt, head of the Joint Multinational Training Command. “We’re going to fight with our partners. If we don’t train together we’re never going to do it live.”

Obviously the only possible “conventional enemy force” that US/NATO would ever encounter in the Caucuses would be the Russian Army. This is further made obvious by the fact that US/NATO have successfully pulled other nearby countries into “partnerships” and the like.

Why the expansion?

As the headline for the above article reads US/NATO are working to prove their continued relevance but by creating more and more phantom threats they are in fact proving by their own actions that they are in fact an irrelevant and unnecessary burden on the countries of Europe and in fact a greater threat to world peace than any other force in the modern world. Especially the poor and decimated populations of the Middle East and Northern Africa which have fought against US/NATO occupation.

With it becoming an “open secret” that the US is in collusion with al-Qaeda, Israel and Saudi Arabia, in order to continue military operations and expand its spying/military/security/economic architecture, NATO itself must try to find new threats to justify its existence. It is difficult politically, except possibly against the most ignorant elements, to continue to wave around the boogeyman of al-Qaeda to justify expensive and unnecessary US/NATO military expansion and operations especially when there are more and more reports that not only was al-Qaeda created by the US in Afghanistan but that it is still actively arming/funding/training them, a fact brought home in Syria.

Forces in the shadows

After years of investigative research, further underlined by recent interviews and more extensive research I have conducted in to the JFK assassination, in particular with regard to Operation Northwoods, it has become clearer who the forces are that continue to promote and expand the archaic and irrelevant US/NATO military architecture.

These are forces that Andrew Kreig, a Yale Law School Graduate, writer and researcher calls the “Puppet Masters” and they are the forces that have in fact been the architects of the entire War on Terror, the current security state in the US and the current paradigm that we are all affected by. As Operation Northwoods showed these are forces that would kill hundreds if not thousands of innocent civilians in order to bring about even more war and death and advance their geopolitical and economic goals.

According to multiple sources these dynastic architects of war and geopolitical machinations are a multi-national conglomerate of individuals with a minimum of $500 million in assets each who meet yearly under the name of the Bilderberg Group to plan how to bring about complete and total world domination. They are in fact the true “Globalists” or “Shadow Government” that so many conspiracy theories cite.

There are no Russians in the Bilderberg Group and this is for understandable reasons. Russia with its vast territory and almost limitless resources is a sought after gem for the West and since there is no peaceful way that they could obtain control of Russia their war machine must continue to be primed and ready, that is one reason for the continued expansion of US/NATO.

It is all about the money

The other reason is much more mundane and in fact benign and that is that there are too many Bilderberg fortunes based on the US Military Industrial Complex, which has an endless appetite for expansion and economic gain. The US Military Industrial Complex has milked the US populace for all it can throwing the country into a debt of over $200 trillion, hence the expansion, at each country’s expense, into a global NATO force.

The forces in this group are so powerful that even the President of the United States is almost powerless against them. Which explains why Nobel Peace Prize winning US President Barrack Obama has continued policies of endless war and the illegal prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba.They are also so powerful that any journalist who has dared to even write about who the participants are has faced major backlash.

The opinions and views expressed here are my own. I can be reached at robles@ruvr.ru.

Thanks go out to Rick Rozoff at Stop NATO for the heads up on this one.

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Georgian “Reintegration” Minister Visits NATO Headquarters

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Rustavi 2
November 26, 2013

State Minister leaves for Belgium

State Minister for Reintegration Affairs, Aleksi Petriashvili has left for Belgium this morning to discuss Georgia-EU cooperation issues a few days prior to the EU Eastern Partnership Summit with NATO authorities.

Aleksi Petriashvili will participate in the NATO-Georgia Commission and hold bilateral meetings. The Minister will also meet with the NATO Secretary General to discuss Georgia`s cooperation with NATO and EU n the future.

`NATO-Georgia commission will assemble to discuss Georgia`s annual national program. We`ll hold meetings with the NATO ambassadors after the meeting with the NATO Secretary General. This is a very significant meeting, because, as we have learnt, Georgia will get a very positive assessment of the annual national program implementation,` the Georgian minister said.

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Video: NATO Practices War In Africa, “Anywhere In The World” In Cornwall

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

http://www.aco.nato.int/video-exercise-arrcade-fusion-is-well-underway-in-the-uk.aspx

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
November 26, 2013

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U.S., NATO Ally In East African Naval Exercise

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

U.S. Naval Forces Europe – U.S. Naval Forces Africa
U.S. Sixth Fleet

November 26, 2013

HDMS Esbern Snare Engages with East African Boarding Teams During Cutlass Express
By Royal Danish Navy 1st Lt. Peter Hojgrav, HDMS Esbern Snare (L 17) Public Affairs

During Exercise Cutlass Express 2013, sailors assigned to the Danish naval ship HDMS Esbern Snare (L 17) worked closely with Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya forces in developing skills for their boarding team members.

“It is rewarding to see the everyday improvement in the way in which our African friends conduct boarding operations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Carsten Hansen, the ship’s operations officer and training coordinator. “They listened to our back-briefs and took onboard the tips and tricks in a very constructive and positive way.”

Cutlass Express, which took place Nov. 11-18, was a regional capability building exercise that took place along the coast of East African. The purpose of the exercise was to foster and further improve regional naval cooperation and understanding procedures to improve maritime security.

As a whole, Cutlass Express involved multiple events taking place simultaneously in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Mombasa, Kenya, Djibouti, Djibouti, and Port Victoria, Seychelles.

Esbern Snare is currently serving under Task Force 508, which is conducting counter-piracy missions in East Africa as part of the NATO mission Operation Ocean Shield.

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Ignazio Silone: They have been warned of wars and rumors of wars

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Italian writers on war and militarism

Ignazio Silone: Resorting to the bloody diversion of war

Ignazio Silone: War with today’s hereditary enemy

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Ignazio Silone
From Bread and Wine (1936)
Translated by Gwenda David and Eric Mosbacher

author-ignazio-silone-sitting-witih-hands-folded

The mobilization of the paupers and the hungry at Fossa also involved the mobilization of the insolvent. The directors of the Fossa Bank had asked to be sent to Africa to forestall their trial for fraudulent bankruptcy, and their patriotic example had been widely followed. The haberdasher in the public square opposite the Girasole Hotel had failed and been compelled to put up his shutters, but that morning he had reopened, put his wife behind the counter and a large notice outside the shop, saying “Creditors are informed that the proprietor of this shop has voluntarily enlisted.” Henceforward no authority would dare decree the sequestration of the goods of a war hero…

“This is a mortgage war!” the tax-office clerk remarked, running his eye down the list of volunteers.

***

“So I ask myself: where is the Lord and why has He abandoned us?” he went on. “The loud-speakers proclaiming the outbreak of war in all the market-places were certainly not the Lord. The bells that rang to summon the ragged and hungry crowds were certainly not the Lord. The shelling of African villages and the bombing raids of which the papers tell us every day are certainly not the Lord. But if a poor man, alone in his village, gets up at night and takes a piece of chalk or charcoal and writes on the village walls: ‘Down with the war! Long live the brotherhood of all peoples! Long live liberty!’ behind that poor man is the Lord. In his contempt for the dangers that threaten him, in the secret love he nourishes for our so-called African enemies, in his love of liberty, there is an echo of the Lord…”

***

“I watched a popular demonstration at Fossa on the occasion of the outbreak of the war,” the young man said. “It almost made me afraid to see a whole crowd fall a prey to the most primitive instincts. The poor peasants believe in the Leader as in an all-powerful wizard, the priests believe in him as the man of Providence,”

“If the priests allow themselves to be deceived, it is their own fault,” the man interrupted. “They have been warned for two thousand years. They were told that many would come in the name of Providence and seduce the people, that there would be talk of wars and rumors of wars. They were told that all this would come to pass, but that the end would be not yet. They were told that nation would rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom; that there would be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places; but that all these things would not be the end, but the beginning. The Christians were warned a long time ago. Many will be horrified and many will betray. And if some one (even if it is the Pope himself) says: ‘Here is a Man of Providence! There is a Man of Providence!’ we must not believe him. We have been warned. False prophets and false saviors shall rise and shall show great signs and wonders, and shall deceive many. We could not demand a plainer warning. If many have forgotten it, it will not change anything of that which will come to pass. The destiny of their Man of Providence has already been written. Intrabit ut vulpis, regnabit ut leo, morietur ut canis. He will come in like a fox, reign like a lion, and die like a dog.”

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Iran Deal Nullifies U.S.-NATO Missile Shield Argument: Russian Foreign Minister

November 25, 2013 3 comments

Russian Information Agency Novosti
November 25, 2013

Iran Deal Nullifies Needs for Europe Missile Shield – Russian FM

ROME: Implementation of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program reached in Geneva this weekend will make the US missile defense system in Europe unnecessary, Russia’s foreign minister said Monday.

“If the agreement on Iran is implemented, the reason named as a necessity to establish a missile defense system in Europe will drop away,” Sergei Lavrov said while speaking at a media forum in Rome.

Iran and six international negotiators struck a deal early Sunday to slow the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Tehran will get some $7 billion in relief from sanctions. The deal also stipulates that international observers will monitor nuclear sites in the country.

NATO and the United States say the US missile defense system in Europe is designed to counter threats from North Korea and Iran. The system has been a sore point in US-Russian relations for years.

Russia and NATO formally agreed to cooperate over the European missile defense system at the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, but talks foundered, in part over Russian demands for legal guarantees that the system would not target its strategic nuclear deterrent.

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Interview: U.S. Continues Plots And Subterfuges In Afghanistan

November 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Press TV
November 23, 2013

Karzai ‘aware of’ US suspicious measures

Audio

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has postponed signing a pact with the United States until April, when presidential election in Afghanistan is to be held, as he believes the US may secretly be planning to help some “Taliban elements” get into the next Afghan government, says Rick Rozoff from Stop NATO International.

Karzai has rejected a US demand to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) by the end of the year, sticking to his stance that the pact should be signed after the 2014 elections.

Rozoff told Press TV on Saturday that the Afghan president is aware that Washington is providing “funding and perhaps some logistical support” for some elements of the Taliban, and fears that the new government “might include” those elements.

The US said on Thursday it wants the key security pact approved and signed by Kabul by the end of 2013. “Failure to get this [agreement] approved and signed by the end of the year would prevent the United States and our allies from being able to plan for a post-2014 presence,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Under the BSA, US troops would be allowed to remain in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal deadline. Kabul has agreed to US military operations under special circumstances and American troops’ immunity from prosecution in Afghanistan.

Anti-US sentiments have been on the rise in Afghanistan due to the deadly night raids carried out by the US and other foreign troops on Afghan homes. Afghan people have held several angry demonstrations against the deal.

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Horn Of Africa: U.S., NATO Allies Hold Unprecedented Mass Casualty Exercise

November 25, 2013 Leave a comment

U.S. Africa Command
Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa

November 22, 2013

US, Coalition partners conduct mass casualty exercise in the Horn of Africa
By Tech. Sgt. Megan Crusher
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti: Service members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, conducted a mass casualty exercise to test the base’s capabilities in the event of an emergency, Nov. 20, 2013.

“Our goals are to test our ability to react to multiple disasters simultaneously and the response,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Rom Stevens, Surgeon for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians joined together to provide emergency services, such as mass casualty care, mortuary services and air evacuation.

French forces contributed to the exercise by providing air evacuation and use of their hospital, while Germans provided ambulances, Stevens said.

The French Army along with U.S. Air Force pararescuemen flew simulated patients to base, to test medevac capabilities. The injured were assessed and treated by medical professionals on camp to prepare them for medevac.

This was the first exercise of its kind for CJTF-HOA and Camp, and was the result of many months of planning.

“The exercise went quite well,” Stevens said. “It pointed out further areas we need to refine to improve our response and most importantly improve our ability to interact in a crisis situation with our French and German allies, Stevens said.

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Giuseppe Berto: War destroys the soul even when it spares the body

November 25, 2013 1 comment

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

Italian writers on war and militarism

Giuseppe Berto: Selections on war

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Giuseppe Berto
From The Sky Is Red (1947)
Translated by Angus Davidson

berto_cocai

The biggest of the fires took almost a week to go out, and even after that the smoke continued to rise from the rubble for several more days, but it made no more noise. At last there was silence in the town. Cars could not pass through the streets now, but only along the avenue round the walls. And many people had gone away. All who could go, had gone into the country, or into the hills, or even farther away.

The others remained, in houses, or in public buildings converted into shelters, or in the wretched huts which were springing up here and there all over the town. And they were all alike now, the people who remained. They had cursed the foreigners who occupied the country and made war, or the other foreigners who had flown through the sky dropping destruction and death. Or they had cursed God, which was the most reasonable, because it was a way of cursing themselves and the evil that is in all men.

But now it seemed they had understood the uselessness of cursing and weeping and groaning, and even of praying. All of them, even the desperate, even the indifferent, were stricken with a dumb weariness. Nevertheless they felt more free than before. All that terrible slaughter remained in their consciousness as a deed of injustice. Even without knowing where the blame lay, they were able to say that it a deed of injustice. And the consciousness of this freed them from the bond of the law, both of God’s laws and of men’s laws. It urged them to be what they felt themselves most essentially to be, either better or worse, each one according to his nature. It increased piety and charity, and also perversity and selfishness.

Yet there was still one good thing to wait for – the end of the war.

***

People came back from the country and from the hills, from the places where they had taken refuge, and started greeting each other again and chattering together, walking backwards and forwards in the part of the main street which had not been completely demolished by the bombs. It was as though the war had ended, and they had reached that point alive, and yet they were not the same as before. However hard they might try, men could no longer be the same as before.

And it was not only on account of misery and hunger, of hatred and revenge and fear, that they could no longer be the same as before. Even they themselves did not know the reason why they felt always tired and always gloomy at heart, and discontented with themselves and with life. Perhaps that part of the universal evil which had touched them had accumulated inside them, and they could not get rid of it. Perhaps it was the certainty of having lost, for ever, things that belong to all humanity, things they had neglected before. They had lost their way in the immensity of the war, and they could not succeed in finding it again.

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Germany: U.S. Trains NATO Allies For War In The Caucasus

November 24, 2013 2 comments

Stars and Stripes
November 23, 2013

In postwar environment, US and European troops work to prove relevance
By John Vandiver

HOHENFELS, Germany:The troops picked a good location to set up their mortars, down in a valley near the cover of a ridgeline.

But the shouts from the Slovenian mortar men, echoing off the hillside, threatened to give away their location.

Such scenes are playing out daily at the rugged training grounds in Hohenfels, Germany, where the Joint Multinational Readiness Center is hosting one of its largest multinational training exercises in recent years. As the war in Afghanistan winds down, such training initiatives will play a key role in ensuring allies don’t lose hard-earned combat capabilities achieved during a decade of war, U.S. commanders say.

The two-week exercise, which brings together 1,200 U.S. and European troops, tests the ability of soldiers to work as a single multinational combat brigade.

Col. John Norris, the director of Combined Resolve and commander of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, said the training grounds in Europe are key to ensuring that the U.S. and allies can fight alongside each other.

“Because of our location in Germany, that’s why we’re value added,” said Norris, who noted that many smaller European partners couldn’t afford costly trips to the Army’s U.S. training centers. “This kind of training is not happening anywhere else in the world.”

Battalions of Czech and Slovenian troops, a U.S. headquarters unit and a host of other forces, including U.S. National Guard troops from California, have been war gaming around the clock inside Hohenfels’ sprawling battleground known as “the box.” Rather than training to take on the Taliban in Afghanistan, they’re working on other combat scenarios, such as taking on a conventional enemy force in the Caucasus region. “We don’t know what the future threats are going to look like, but we do know one thing; we aren’t going to fight it alone,” said Brig. Gen. Walter Piatt, head of the Joint Multinational Training Command. “We’re going to fight with our partners. If we don’t train together we’re never going to do it live.”

Combined Resolve, which was to conclude Nov. 24, also is serving as a test run for the new European Rotational Force concept that aligns a U.S.-based brigade with Europe for periodic training missions on the continent.

Elements from the U.S.-based 1st Cavalry Division were initially slated to take part in Combined Resolve, but the crippling budgetary effects of sequestration put that deployment on hold. Instead of canceling the program, U.S. Army officials called upon the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) in Vicenza, Italy, which, along with battalions from the Czech Republic, Slovenia and a host of other nations, pushed the mission forward.

“It just goes to show you the importance of having U.S. Army forces in Europe, and this training center here forward. Location counts for something. It matters,” Piatt said.

Piatt said he expects the U.S.-based rotational force to be in Hohenfels in May to pick up where Combined Resolve leaves off.

For the Army, a U.S.-based brigade that is aligned to Europe is aimed at offsetting the recent elimination of two forward deployed brigades in Europe, where only two units remain – the 173rd and the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck.

The plan is for the rotational force to pick up the slack of the departed 170th and 172nd Infantry Brigades by participating in exercises such as the recently completed Steadfast Jazz in Poland, which tested the capabilities of NATO’s response force, as well as missions at Army training centers in Germany.

For the U.S. Army, the training grounds at Grafenwöhr and Hohenfels remain the centerpiece of its shrinking, but still sizable, presence in Europe. U.S. commanders at the JMTC and Joint Multinational Readiness Center are now emphasizing the benefits of the area, which they say helps ensure the readiness of U.S. and allied forces.

For a decade, the JMTC’s existence was easy to justify. Since 2001, its trainers were tasked with preparing Europe-based Army troops for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But with the drawdown of U.S. forces in Europe and the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan, it’s a new era. The mission is now more nuanced: solidifying military partnerships and “interoperability.”

Piatt said the key is finding ways to operate more economically. One measure aimed at cutting down costs is to have allies and U.S. rotational forces forward position heavy equipment at the JMTC training grounds rather than hauling gear back and forth for training events.

As the U.S. comes to rely more on rotational forces in Europe, such measures will help cut down on transportation costs, making the location a more attractive destination for U.S. and European forces, officials said.

Preparing troops for war in Iraq and Afghanistan was a more costly enterprise as trainers at JMRC attempted to replicate the war experience. Fake villages were established, contractors were hired to play the roles of tribal leaders and Forward Operating Bases needed to be imitated. Combined Resolve, however, aims to prepare troops how to respond to a crisis and operate in hotspots where there is no established allied presence.

In the field, collaboration is key to being prepared for future, unknown conflicts, troops say. Whether in Europe or beyond, U.S. allies in NATO are likely to be in the fight together, said Lt. Col. Anze Rode, commander of the Slovenian regiment training in Hohenfels.

“The future operations will be joint and combined,” said Rode, a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Ranger school who served alongside Americans in Afghanistan. “I am sure we will be deployed somewhere together. So if you want to fight together, you have to train together. We have to synchronize our procedures.”

Small countries like Slovenia are eager to take part in more expeditionary missions, according to Cevriz, the Slovenian observer at Combined Resolve.

The older generation was focused on defending the country, protecting what we have. The younger generation is looking outside as a security provider,” Cevriz said. “We’re a small country and a small army, so this opportunity here [in Hohenfels] is very precious for us. This is the only way to keep the operational effectiveness.”

During a recent visit with Slovenian troops, Piatt reflected on the changes he’s witnessed in Europe over the years. As a young soldier during the Cold War, Piatt studied the equipment of the opposing force, such as the Soviet T-72 tank.

Now, the T-72 is maneuvering on the grounds at Hohenfels, part of the multinational brigade that is training together.

“This is what peace looks like,” Piatt said. “Why we are here is much different now. We are not here as a major ground force. We are here as a partner. Europe and NATO is a security provider.”

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Washington: Pentagon Guides Georgia Into NATO

November 24, 2013 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
November 23, 2013

Visit of Deputy Defence Minister of Georgia Mikheil Darchiashvili to Washington DC

North Atlantic Council visit to Georgia -  Press conference by the NATO Secretary General

Deputy Defence Minister Mikheil Darchiashvili pays a two-day official visit to Washington DC. He held a meeting with Dr. Evelyn N. Farkas, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. Issues of bilateral defense cooperation were at the core of the discussion with Dr. Farkas.

At the meeting Deputy Defence Minister highlighted the ongoing reform in the defence sphere, stressed commitment of Georgian Government to progress on its path to modernization and development, including in the framework of Georgia-NATO cooperation.

Mikheil Darchiashvili has an intensive program of meetings in the US Congress. He has already met with Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), Ranking Member of European Affairs Subcommittee, U.S. Committee on Foreign Relations; Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA). He also met with the key congressional staffers, both in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Discussions in the U.S. Congress were focused on Georgia’s foreign and defence policy priorities, Georgia-U.S. strategic partnership and contribution to global security. Successful conduct of last Presidential elections in Georgia has been duly acknowledged and there is a strong support in the U.S. Congress toward Georgia’s further democratic consolidation, its European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Deputy Defence Minister Darchiashvili also spoke about the role of Georgian military forces in the post-ISAF Afghanistan and country’s unwavering commitment to continue its contribution to international peace and security.

Mikheil Darchiashvili participates in Halifax International Security Forum held on November 22-24. Within the visit to Canada, Deputy Defence Minister will hold bilateral meetings with his Canadian counterpart and the officials of Defence Ministry of Israel. Mikheil Darchiashvili will also meet with Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, Deputy Secretary General of NATO.

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Arthur Schnitzler: Cannot praise war in general and oppose individual wars

November 24, 2013 1 comment

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

Arthur Schnitzler: Political reaction is the consequence of victorious wars; revolution the consequence of lost ones

Arthur Schnitzler: Remold the structure of government so that war becomes impossible

Arthur Schnitzler: War, making fathers pay wages to their sons whom we sent to their deaths

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Arthur Schnitzler
From Some Day Peace Will Return (Und einmal wird der Friede wiederkommen)
Translated by Robert O. Weiss

download

1914

I never believed that the age of perpetual peace had arrived, and I do not believe that this monstrous war – were it to last seven or even thirty years – is the last one that civilized nations will conduct against one another.

But let us not forget in the depth of our souls that the enemies against whom our troops are fighting also have fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and children; that they all have a country, which almost all of them serve in the firm belief that its cause is just; and that even those have to serve their country who may doubt the justice of its cause. Let us remember that our enemies too, the foes of our soldiers, are sent into battle by their governments or their kings; that – willingly or unwillingly – they are obligated, indeed forced, to use their weapons against us, regardless of the degree of enthusiasm they have for that task.

***

There are neutral states, so-called neutral states that is, and among these may be one or another that will yet take sides in this monstrous war…Not one among those hundreds of thousands will be guided by his personal feelings and decide for or against us in opposition to his government. If, however, one of these soldiers obligated to fight should inwardly arrive at a conclusion other than that of his government or his king, and should he act in accordance with that conclusion – which may possibly be a much more sensible one than that at which his king has arrived – he will probably have to pay for that action with his life.

***

And those who are able to make an accounting in their own minds would realize in a flash of enlightenment: “We don’t want to kill at all, we don’t want to bleed to death at all! We want to breathe, live, eat our daily bread, have a bit of land to live on, and work.” At that great moment, with peace spreading over the land, all of them would know that they never did want anything else – even those who a minute ago were aiming at the hearts of their enemies and who were ready to die for their country.

Not the most shocking but perhaps the most saddening fact is that this time the intellectuals, who, we had hoped, would make it possible for us to extend our hands to them across the abyss of this war, are failing us almost entirely, that they either will not or cannot see the real facts.

***

This war is unprecedented for the heroism with which it is being fought by the armies, and for the malice with which it is being waged by the countries, especially by some governments, and by the journalists.

The respect of the armies for each other is growing; the bitterness between the nations is increasing.

***

It will not do, however, on the one hand to praise war as a grandiose, a colossal, and in a certain sense a divine, necessity that causes everything noble as well as everything evil in man to attain magnificent heights; to declare that a long peace renders nations sluggish and cowardly; to claim that war cleanses and purifies – and on the other hand to curse those who unleash the war and to hold them responsible for the fact that they were handily available at the proper time, so to speak, for the divine necessity.

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Pakistan: Thousands Block NATO Supplies Over Drone Attacks

November 23, 2013 1 comment

Dawn
November 23, 2013

Thousands protest drone strikes, block Nato supplies in Peshawar

PESHAWAR: Thousands of demonstrators protesting US drone strikes on Saturday blocked a main road in Peshawar used to truck Nato troop supplies and equipment in and out of Afghanistan.

The protest was led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and his party, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) along with their allies in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government.

The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad (AJIP) also confirmed their participation.

“We are here to give a clear message that now Pakistanis cannot remain silent over drone attacks,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a senior member of the PTI, said in a speech to the protesters.

Party workers of the PTI and JI had arrived in the provincial capital from across the country. According to some estimates, around 10,000 people participated in Saturday’s protest. The protesters shouted anti-US slogans, such as “Down with America” and “Stop drone attacks.”

Strict security arrangements were put in place by the provincial government, including deployment of over 500 polce personnel to ensure safety and order. Transporters were directed to use alternative routes.

“I am participating in today’s sit-in to convey a message to America that we hate them since they are killing our people in drone attacks,” said Hussain Shah, a 21-year-old university student. “America must stop drone attacks for peace in our country.”

The US Embassy in Islamabad declined to comment on the protest at the present time.

The protest comes only two days after a rare US drone strike outside of Pakistan’s remote tribal region killed six people, including senior commanders of the Haqqani network, at a seminary in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Hangu district.

The attack outraged Pakistani officials, as did one on Nov 1 that killed the former leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, a day before the Pakistani government said it was going to invite him to hold peace talks.

Ring Road leads to Torkham, one of two border crossings used to ship supplies from Pakistan to Afghanistan, and is a key transit route to transport supplies to Nato troops in the war-torn country.

Tahir Khan, a government official at Torkham, says there is normally little Nato supply traffic on the route on Saturdays. Most trucks arrive at the border by Friday evening to clear customs.

‘Sit-in to continue until drone strikes stop’

PTI chief Imran Khan has been a vocal critic of US drone strikes, saying they violate Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Speaking to reporters earlier in Islamabad before heading to Peshawar for the demonstration, Khan said that the federal government was doing nothing on its part to stop drone attacks and the protest against the strikes would continue indefinitely.

Khan said that apart from issuing condemnation statements, nothing concrete had been done to put an effective stop to drone attacks.

He said that he had been protesting against drone attacks for the past nine years, but the government had yet to do anything about it.

Khan said Nato supplies would not be allowed to pass via KP, adding that the PTI-led government in the province possessed the mandate to block Nato supplies.

He moreover said PTI had promised to eradicate corruption from the country and it would fulfill its promise.

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Arnold Zweig: In the war you’ve lost all the personality you’ve ever had

November 23, 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 Education Before Verdun (1935)
Translated by Eric Sutton

Arnold Zweig

As he looked back on the whole period, he realized that in some strange fashion the books on art that he had read had served to sharpen his sense of reality. The painter’s images did not deceive; their respect for reality, their passionate search for form, had made him all the more sensitive towards the prevarications, the lies, and the quarter-truths, with which, in politics as in the war reports, day by day and month by month, men were satisfied. But he was no longer satisfied. When faced by the incredible he had begun to investigate. And now that his eyes had been opened he would not shut them. Then at last he had to face the fact that he had played his part and must retire from the stage. His loathing of the world he lived in was more than he could bear. He took no interest in women nor the usual masculine enjoyments and distractions. His relation to his father had taken the place of such diversions. He had been fond of travel, but after all the devastations of the war what country could a German visit unashamed?

***

That – so it was said – was war. From the point of view of legal theory – Mertens smiled to himself as he grew warmer – two strata could be distinguished: the unassailed sanctity of justice, existing objectively, and a right of retaliation and revenge, ultimately based on the interest of any given unit or group – both elements cunningly blended, so that formally, and in the eyes of the outer world, a facade of European civilization was maintained, though behind it reigned untrammelled all those impulses and passions the restraint of which was the process and purpose of civilization. One kind of justice was dictated by the Bible and by the conscience of humanity. Quite other kinds were permitted by contemporary thought and the customs of war. What was rather furtively provided for in the legal practice before 1914, now reign unashamed and undisguised, and nowhere was there any effective force that dared restrain or punish or abolish it…

The world had become an abode of horror, and it must inevitably grow more horrible; there was no appeasing or cleansing force now left within the world; no church, no prophets, no moral life whatever – nor the faintest suspicion that without them civilization must die. The world was besotted in its own self-complacency, and would so remain when the war was over.

***

“You must realize, my young friend, that you have not merely lost your place in the running; you’ll have to start afresh. Our hands have lost their skill, our brains are dulled, our judgment has deteriorated, and our technical knowledge has gone. We shall have to find out the meaning of civilization all over again, and that won’t be easy, let me tell you. And you’ll have lost all respect for human life after what you’ve seen and done. Won’t you find yourself reaching for a pistol when the landlord refuses to repair the shutters? I know I shall. And when the postman comes in the morning I shall want to throw my water jug in his face as I open the door. But you, my young friend, who’ve spent your time standing to attention and saying ‘Very good, sir,’ for the last two years, you’ll end up as a sort of coolie. Let us assume that nothing happens to you, that you finish the war as a private in the A.S.C. When you are released you’ll find that you’ve picked up the habit of obedience. You won’t grumble, whatever you’re asked to do, and if you’re asked politely and nicely, you’ll melt away like butter. You’ll find people who’ll save you the trouble of making up your own mind. And if you do manage to get a job, in an office or somewhere, one fine day you will realize that in the war you’ve lost all the personality you’ve ever had…”

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Armenia: NATO’s Third Partner In The Caucasus

November 22, 2013 Leave a comment

Public Radio of Armenia
November 22, 2013

The US commends Armenia’s partnership with NATO

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The U.S. Embassy has issued a statement congratulating Armenia on its successful hosting of the November 18 – 22 “NATO Week.” The United States values and supports Armenia’s partnership with NATO. NATO Week highlighted Armenia’s contributions to international peace operations and launched a joint Armenia-NATO effort designed to foster integrity and reduce corruption in the military.

Armenia is working to become a greater contributor to international peace and security. Armenia is actively seeking to expand its peacekeeping commitments, both with NATO and the UN, and is negotiating to support missions in Lebanon and Mali. We welcome Armenia’s willingness to contribute to peace operations around the world and are eager to support Armenian contributions to peace operations.

Armenia’s cooperation with NATO has opened up opportunities for joint training and exercises, and for gaining valuable experience serving together with NATO partners in peace operations. The U.S. government has provided robust support toward the development of Armenia’s peacekeeping brigade and continues to seek opportunities to expand our support. U.S. and Armenian soldiers are also working side-by-side in Kosovo in support of wider international efforts to build peace and stability in the area. Armenian peacekeepers tackle a broad range of assignments with distinction and honor.

Armenia is well on its way to developing peacekeeping brigade that is interoperable with its partners and capable to be deployed in support to various peace operations. Armenia is making great strides towards developing this highly-trained and capable brigade and the Embassy would like to congratulate Armenia on its excellent progress.

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Jakob Wassermann: Was there ever since the world began a just cause for war?

November 22, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Jakob Wassermann
From The Maurizius Case (1928)
Translated by Caroline Newton

wass11

Even battlefields are still when peace has been concluded, no matter how filthy a pretence of peace it may be.

***

“Was there ever since the world began a just cause for war? Did a general ever fight a battle for love of justice? Was ever any one of the famous men who invaded and stole property, or anyone who slaughtered masses of the population, called to account unless the act was unsuccessful? I advise you to think some time about the relationship, I almost used the word affinity, between the conceptions of justice and revenge. When and where in history were kingdoms established, religions founded, cities built or civilization spread with the help of justice? I don’t know of one. Where is the forum which shall pass upon the criminal extermination of ten million Indians? Or upon the poisoning by opium of a hundred million Chinese, or the enslaving of three hundred million Hindus? Who stopped the ships full of captive negroes which sailed in fleets to the North American continent between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries?”

****

“Well, let us turn the pages, a summer afternoon, heat which parches one’s lungs, the mazes of the stockyards; the sky a curious reddish yellow, the air sticky and thick enough to cut. Passages miles long, wooden tunnels, labyrinths of tunnels crossing the streets, the death-bridge for animals which are to be slaughtered. A dull bellowing, oxen and calves in endless trains, a quiet fateful stamping. At a particular place a hammer falls upon them, in a minute hundreds die and fall into the pit. It is oppressive to be there, so close to countless creatures about to die; I see them stepping forward, shoving and shoved, the necks of the rear ones resting upon the flanks of those in front, from morning to night, day in, day out, year after year, with big brown eyes full of foreboding and wonder, their distressed lowing resounds through the air; perhaps the invisible stars are shaken by it; the pillars tremble with the heavy bodies; the sweetish smell of blood rises from the tremendous halls and warehouses, a constant cloud of blood hangs over the whole city; the people’s clothes smell of blood, their beds, their churches, their rooms, their food, their wines, their kisses. It is all so tremendous, so unbearably immense, the individual scarcely has a name any longer, the separate thing nothing, nothing to differentiate it. Numbered streets, why not numbered people, perhaps numbered according to the dollars they earn with the blood of cattle, with the soul of the world?”

***

“Judge! That formerly had a high meaning. The highest in human society. I have known people who have told me that at every trial they have had the same horrible feeling in their testicles that one has if one suddenly stands over a deep abyss. Every cross-examination depends on the employment of tactical advantages which one mostly secures just as dishonestly as the subterfuges of a victim at bay. But the judge and the state attorney demand that they shall be regarded as omniscient, and to question their omniscience means unchaining their desire for revenge to the point of hopelessness, so that only the hypocrite, the cynic or the completely broken man can have mercy from them. How can one then have a just decision? How can one obtain the protection which your law demands? The law is only a pretext for the cruel organizations created in its name, and how can one be expected to bow down before a judge who makes of a guilty human being a maltreated animal? The animal howls and rages and bites and the people outside shudder and say: Thank God that we are rid of that. It is a frightful way in which they are rid of it, so much they admit, some of them at least; but they maintain that it cannot be changed. It all comes to the fact that those who live in heaven have no conception of hell, even if one tells them about it for days. There all fantasy fails. Only he can understand who is in it.”

***

‘…The secure ones, as soon as they merely commenced to be secure, to share in the security, were suspicious of me. I used words which they never used; I made allusions to things which they had never heard of. The sentences in which I spoke to them had a construction; there was a main clause and a subordinate clause. Never did the word dollar cross my lips. On the other hand, I liked to express myself in comparisons. And that was intellect, something extremely suspicious, something crushing, and the higher up one went socially, the more crushing it was. Naturally I became constantly more careful, constantly more modest. But the neatly devised, carefully planned avoidance and elimination of intellect which I pursued was still a kind of intellect. What could I do about it? I had not yet grasped a thing about the country. I merely saw one thing, that when a person showed a modicum of mind, no matter who he was, others made a wide circle to avoid him, and he could only make up for his faux pas if he eventually did something like saving a child from the torrents of the Mississippi…”

***

“The people in those days lived more vigorously than today.”

“More patiently, at any rate. When their houses were plundered and their cattle killed, they complained to the Kaiser, and if the Kaiser did not help them, they undertook pilgrimages of intercession. The people were always very patient, they are still so. All government is based upon that, upon the patience of the people; that is how governments manage to muddle along.”

***

If a person transgresses and accepts the soul of another person, secretly keeping his own soul, but behaving as if it were a fair exchange, he commits a crime, perhaps the greatest of all crimes.

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Indian Ocean: NATO Accelerates Integration Of Ukraine

November 21, 2013 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations/Maritime Command

November 21, 2013

NATO and Ukraine sign agreement on participation in Operation Ocean Shield
Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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LONDON, United Kingdom: On Thursday, 21 November 2013, NATO and the Ukrainian Navy formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding sealing the country’s participation in the Alliance’s counter-piracy operation OCEAN SHIELD.

This event occurred as the Chief of the Ukrainian Navy, Admiral Yurii Ilin, is attending the NATO Maritime Commanders Conference (MARCOMET) in Central London alongside with 20 Heads of Navy, 54 international delegations and 127 distinguished guests; including NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Philip Breedlove.

The signature is the final step in formalising Ukraine’s operational contribution to NATO which began three months ago with an exchange of official letters between Kiev and the Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM). On 10 October 2013, this led to the Ukrainian Navy committing one of its warships, UPS HETMAN SAGAIYDACHNIY, to NATO’s counter-piracy Task Force 508. This was the first time in the history of NATO that a Partner Nation was contributing with a naval unit to the counter-piracy operation.

“This celebrates a very successful partnership between Ukraine and the Alliance” said Vice Admiral Peter Hudson, Commander Allied Maritime Command. “Since the beginning of her deployment, UPS HETMAN SAGAIYDACHNIY has already disrupted a pirate action group in the Gulf of Aden on 18 November, thus contributing to the security of international shipping in the region. I am personally delighted that our efforts to work together at the highest level are now translating into a very satisfactory cooperation at the operational one.”

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NATO Chief Continues Integration-Merger With European Union

November 21, 2013 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
November 19, 2013

NATO Secretary General attends EU talks on European security and defence policy

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen discussed efforts to strengthen the European Union’s security and defence policy at a meeting of EU foreign and defence ministers on Tuesday (19 November 2013). The meeting comes ahead of a key European Council in December which will focus on defence issues. The Secretary General has described the summit as a unique opportunity to enhance European defence capabilities.

Mr. Fogh Rasmussen has called for even closer ties between the EU and NATO, “to coordinate, not duplicate,” and to ensure that the two organisations complement each other’s efforts. He has also urged EU member states to maintain investment in defence, and to continue addressing capability gaps, stating that “we need to develop capabilities, not bureaucracies; to commit to investing in security in those areas where we all need more capabilities, such as drones for surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance, heavy transport and air-to-air refuelling.” The December summit will be the first to discuss defence and security issues since the European Union Lisbon Treaty came into force in 2009.

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U.S. Deploys Troops For Missile Operation In Turkey

November 21, 2013 Leave a comment

U.S. Army Europe
November 19, 2013

U.S. Army Europe air defense Soldiers deploying to support NATO operation in Turkey
By Staff Sgt. John Zumer, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany: Two Patriot missile batteries from U.S. Army Europe’s 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command are deploying as part of the extension of a NATO operation providing missile defense support for Turkey.

The batteries from the 10th AAMDC’s 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, will replace the 3rd Battalion, 2nd ADA from Fort Sill, Okla., which has been in Turkey since last December augmenting the air defense capabilities of the NATO ally.

The Turkish government recently requested an extension of the original Patriot mission which began last January, and is designed to protect Turkish citizens from potential ballistic missile threats from Syria.

Approximately 300 Soldiers assigned to the 5-7th ADA will take part in the operation near the city of Gaziantep. The battalion, expected to be deployed for a year, joins Patriot batteries from NATO allies Germany and the Netherlands which are deployed to separate locations in southern Turkey.

The deploying Soldiers are expected to complete their handover from the Stateside batteries and fully assume the ballistic missile defense mission in mid-December.

Soldiers from the 5-7th have frequently partnered with Dutch, German and Polish air defense forces on training exercises in recent years.

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Azerbaijan: NATO’s Energy, Transport Gateway From Asia To Europe

November 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
November 21, 2013

NATO considers Azerbaijan important ally in energy security (PHOTO)
By Sabina Ahmadova

Baku: Azerbaijan has adequate resources to continue its cooperation with NATO, head of the NATO liaison office in the South Caucasus, located in Georgia, William Lahue said at the conference ‘Joint approach to energy security: Position of NATO and other parties’ today.

Addressing the meeting, head of the NATO energy security department Michael Rühle said that Azerbaijan is one of NATO’s most important allies in energy security.

Rühle said that Azerbaijan can also play an important role in joint energy security training with the organisation.

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Azeri Press Agency
November 21, 2013

NATO Officer-Coordinator: “Azerbaijan is an important partner for NATO”
Viktoria Dementeva

Baku: We signed an agreement on the next phase of IPAP last year,” NATO Officer-Coordinator for the South Caucasus William Lahu said, APA reports.

He said it is important for Azerbaijan and NATO to have close cooperation within the partnership program.
“Azerbaijan is an important partner for NATO,” he said.

To the question “Is there an agreement with Azerbaijan on the ISAF withdrawal from Afghanistan via Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway?” William Lahu said: “There is such a proposal. But as Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway has not been put into operation, we can speak about it only after the project is ready.”

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Frigyes Karinthy: Started war of self-defense by attacking neighbor

November 21, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Frigyes Karinthy: Lost his mind on the battlefield, thought he knew what he was fighting for

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Frigyes Karinthy
From Voyage to Faremido
Gulliver’s Fifth Voyage (1916)
Translated by Paul Tabori

karinthyfrigyes

Machines and compositions surpassed man; they became more perfect, and soon we reached the point where, if he wanted to be perfect, Man was forced to imitate the machines and works which had once imitated him. A human being was accorded less respect than his imitation. I remember how, shortly before my journey to Faremido, I was filled with deep indignation when the barbaric Germans began to shell the Cathedral of Rheims, and at the same time I hardly noticed the number of the soldiers killed in the battle. We all knew too how much more it meant, how much greater enthusiasm the news awakened that we had captured one of two ships or five or six cannon of our enemy – far greater than the report that we had succeeded in killing five or six thousand men. Five guns were the equal of five thousand people – and the loss of each amounted to the same thing.

***

The same evening I was found by a Norwegian farmer. I was told that I was in a neutral country, not far from Christiana, and that I had no cause to fear any harm until I reached the frontier. Whether I could get home without a passport was highly doubtful – for Britain, at war with Germany, happened to be on bad terms with the Scandinavian states. The Norwegian farmer was much surprised by my total indifference to the development of the World War during the past eighteen months; what territories the belligerent powers had occupied, how many men they had lost, how many they had enslaved, what was the number of those that had perished of the plague, how many planes had been shot down, how many cities bombed, how many generals decorated and how many dismissed from command.

From Capillaria
Gulliver’s Sixth Voyage
(1921)
Translated by Paul Tabori

When the Germans started their war of self-defence by attacking Britain and doing everything to occupy our country so that they, the Germans, should have no further need of self-defence, indignation over this dastardly attack summoned all honest men to arms; among them my humble self. The inspiring slogan that our women and children must be defended moved my beloved wife to tears – as a deeply patriotic daughter of her country, she was willing to give up everything for Britain – she did not hesitate for a moment to sacrifice even my life, if need be, for the holy cause. She encouraged me to volunteer as soon as possible…She prevailed upon me to take out a policy with a recently formed insurance company – a transaction that, in view of my status, was completed only with great difficulty and involved the payment of a very large annual premium.

***

Failing any other way, unification had to be achieved by invasion and occupation. As soon as war broke out, all exits were sealed up watertight so that the cowardly rabble could not escape and shirk their military duties. By locking the exits we succeeded in creating the enthusiastic mood necessary for attack – the whole tower was highly excited, everybody rushed toward the only exit left, the top ledge where the first clashes had already erupted and fighting with the soldiers of the neighboring tower had begun. I myself was sent to the front in the capacity as Chief Rallier. As a brave soldier, I soon distinguished myself, inspired greatly by the Idea of Tower Defence which promised eternal peace and full employment for the whole world.

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NATO Plans 40,000-Troop European War Games

November 20, 2013 3 comments

RT
November 20, 2013

40,000 NATO troops to stage massive European war games

After the 2014 pullout from Afghanistan, NATO is set to stage huge European war games involving 40,000 troops, about seven times the size of the recent drills in the Baltic, with critics in the crisis-hit EU calling it a waste of money.

The Western alliance claims this is to test the members’ capability and teamwork, mainly for reasons of matching America’s commitment to the alliance, as well as keeping their edge after the Afghan mission is over.

The exercises, set to start in 2015, will involve 40,000 troops deployed in Spain and Portugal. NATO land forces commander U.S. Army Lieutenant-General Frederick Hodges told Reuters that “this kind of exercise, this sort of complexity, is going to be the norm,” so the exercises are just the first in a series.

The major reason given by NATO is that troops need to stay sharp and practice their interoperability, especially after Afghanistan, in times of military inactivity.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has emphasized the importance of Europe’s role in the alliance, in September saying that “European nations can – and should – do more to match America’s commitment.”

But some in Europe say that the EU cannot afford such an expensive venture in times of economic hardship, and that it isn’t really necessary either.

Karl Rehbaum, a former officer with the East German security services, says that “there isn’t any need to put these troops in Europe. I think they would’ve ramped up operations even if Afghanistan wasn’t coming to an end… Instead of a defensive army, they want to make an army of intervention, of aggression. NATO is responsible for three-quarters of global arms spending at a time when many of its members are flat broke.”

In Berlin, for example, a group of demonstrators, known as “Mothers against War,” were downtown recently, holding banners that said “No to Intervention” – a call for Europe to stop throwing money at the military and take care of the pressing economic issues afflicting the continent on a massive scale.

“The population is getting poorer, and wars are getting more expensive. These type of exercises are a threat to society,” one of the demonstrators told RT’s Peter Oliver.

Another said that it was “crazy to think this has anything to do with any rogue state. By holding operations in Europe it shows that NATO is still looking toward Russia.”

The upcoming series of war games comes amid widespread military spending cutbacks throughout NATO, in the wake of the expensive military interventions in places such as Libya and Afghanistan, which were a great drain on resources.

Although the operation is reportedly being done to sustain the troops’ battle readiness and retain coordination, the new war games were announced just days after the Steadfast Jazz exercises that took place in early November, close to the Russian border and much to Moscow’s dismay.

Steadfast Jazz was ostensibly targeting a “fictional enemy,” although it was no secret that alarmists in countries like Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania were entertaining the possibility that Russia would amass its forces at their borders in a bid to conquer them and rebuild the Soviet Union.

Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks told Reuters: “Russia as a country in the last five years has been increasing its assertiveness in the Baltic… ‘Steadfast Jazz’ is important to us, as these are the first exercises where we are really training to defend our territory.”

NATO officials are denying that the exercises were aimed at intimidating Russia, but that did not do much to allay the fears of Russian officials concerned with the bloc inching closer and closer to the country’s western borders.

Suspicions remain with regard to NATO’s upcoming missile defense system, which the organization claims is preparing for rogue-state scenarios from the likes of North Korea or Iran. However, the system would be pointing its weapons directly at Russia. In the latest move, the US and Romania in early November began to revamp their military base in the eastern European country, which is to hold some elements of the ABM shield.

Rasmussen, speaking of the recent Steadfast Jazz exercise, told a news conference in Latvia on November 6 that the games are “of course a signal to anyone who might have any intention to attack a NATO ally, but I don’t expect Russia to have any intention to attack NATO allies, so the Russians shouldn’t be concerned. So you might say it is a signal to whom it may concern.”

Rainer Rupp, a former German intelligence officer with the HVA, believes that the current exercises should be examined against the background of the Afghan experience and that the upcoming games have little to do with European security or keeping everyone ready for whatever scenarios may come.

There, he explains, NATO “could test its interoperability” just as well. However, now, “with NATO countries – especially the United States – leaving Afghanistan beaten like a dog with the tail between its legs, they need to project and show the world that they still have their claws sharpened.” Rupp sees the games as nothing more than “part of a continued effort of…intimidating nations that don’t follow voluntarily the US and European lead.”

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Russia Concerned Over U.S. Plans For Bases in Afghanistan

November 20, 2013 1 comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
November 20, 2013

Russia Concerned at US Plans for Bases in Afghanistan

MOSCOW: A senior Russian diplomat has voiced concerns over US plans to retain nine military bases in Afghanistan after their planned withdrawal from the country.

Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, told RIA Novosti in an interview Wednesday that the bases would “exert a serious influence on the whole vast Asian region and become a powerful foothold for any large-scale military operation.”

Kabulov said Russia has many questions about the purpose of the bases.

The United States earlier said they would be used to train top brass of Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry and General Staff, which is estimated to count up to 400 people.

“Aren’t [400 people] too few for nine military bases?” Kabulov said. “Besides, what is the purpose of hiding the infrastructure of the Camp Shorabak training camp underground, which is moreover equipped with a three-kilometer runway?”

Kabulov said that while he accepted that Afghanistan was free to sign military agreements with any state, he hoped that Kabul’s authorization of foreign military bases would not result in security threats to third states, including Russia.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, which is currently estimated to comprise 100,000 servicemen, is to be largely pulled out of the country by the end of 2014.

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Giuseppe Berto: Then the war passed over our countryside

November 20, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Italian writers on war and militarism

Giuseppe Berto: Selections on war

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Giuseppe Berto
From The Brigand (1951)
Translated by Angus Davidson

Giuseppe-Berto

Then the war passed over our countryside. It happened at the beginning of autumn, when most of the crops were still ungathered. Curious are the thoughts with which the inhabitants of a small village, remote from the world, await the coming of a war. It was not as though the war had broken out the day before; and they knew fairly well what was likely to happen. They had seen squadrons of planes passing across the sky above the valley and had heard the sound of bombs dropped upon the town or upon the distant roads of the coast. They had lived closely packed in their houses in order to make room for hundreds of homeless people who fled to the village after air raids, and they had listened to their stories. They knew from the newspapers or from soldiers on leave of the existence of armored divisions and of divisions of parachutists. They knew that a small village like this one on the side of a mountain may be, for all anyone cares, either left in peace or destroyed without a thought, in a few minutes – if it is unlucky enough to be included within the radius of a battle. They had learned all these new, terrible things. And yet, in their minds, they are still a thousand years behind, still subject to the terror, handed down over centuries, of soldiers who go about looting and raping women. Therefore they do not concern themselves with escaping the death of the moment, from which there is no escape without the help of God, but the death which may come afterwards, through hunger and misery, and the disaster that may befall the woman or the home. They keep ready, within reach, an old dagger or a shotgun, for the defense of their own threshold. And hurriedly they hide in the house or bury in the yard the sack of flour and the jar of oil, they toil to gather in all they can from the land, whether it be potatoes or chestnuts or corn or merely the vegetables they do not dare to leave in the garden; and they are grieved because the olives are not yet ripe and cannot be gathered – as though the soldiers of the armored divisions would go round the farms stealing unripe olives.

We were so out of the world that we should never have imagined that the war would pass right under our eyes. A day came, however, when the armies started coming down the road from the high plateau, for the more important roads along the coast were being heavily bombed. There were interminable columns of guns and cars and trucks laden with soldiers white with dust or dirty with mud who passed through our village with an air of utter indifference and did not even look like living men. They did not stop, for they were in a hurry to escape northwards. And since they did not stop or harm us in any way, we stood looking at them with that feeling of astonished compassion that is so easily aroused in simple people by those who are unfortunate. They too had homes and families somewhere, and perhaps they had been forced to become soldiers, and now they had to escape so as not to be killed or captured. This was the German army in retreat.

***

And so the war had gone past and we were able to look around us again, as after a thunderstorm…Every week that passed, less could be bought with that money; and wages did not rise. And then there were the poor, who had always lived by odd jobs and small expediencies; and now, with the steadily increasing poverty, they could find neither expedients or jobs to save them from hunger. There were also the homeless, the people who had come out from the towns after the air raids, who stayed in our village because they had no where else to go. They were poorer than our own poor, and with them they lived, crammed into one-room huts, with the pigs and the hens, in the narrow, dirty alleys. And so even this war, though it had passed over us without bloodshed and without destruction, had left misery behind it.

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Cornwall: NATO Trains For Global War Zone Operations

November 19, 2013 Leave a comment

This is Cornwall
November 19, 2013

NATO strategists will be ‘war-zone ready’ after training at RAF St Mawgan
Military strategists from 17 nations have begun a key training exercise at RAF St Mawgan that will ensure they are ready to control any warzone worldwide

Around 2,200 personnel from NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) will remain at the base until mid-December in what is believed to be the largest deployment of ground forces in the county since the Second World War.

The team, which has operated in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, must be mobilised and ready to take strategic control of any Nato-led mission worldwide within 28 days.

At St Mawgan, they will run through role-play situations and react to mock incidents such as helicopter crashes and civilian massacres to ensure they are ready to deal with a host of challenging combat situations.

Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Fraser, who oversees infrastructure provision for the ARRC team, including accommodation, food, electricity and water, said: “RAF St Mawgan has provided great support, and is truly one of a very small number of locations capable of providing the space and the life support to run an exercise of this scale.”

Wing Commander Philip Lamb, station commander, added: “RAF St Mawgan, though clearly very much still an RAF Station, is also proud to host many tri-service visitors as part of our established mission providing high end training to a broad joint and international audience. That we can support the ARRC is testament to our capacity to support just about any deployment.”

A series of exercises will be run on the site, which now accommodates servicemen and women from countries including Denmark, Canada, Italy, the United States and Portugal, as well as personnel from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and New Zealand.

Flight Lieutenant Jeff Spencer, the station’s spokesman, said: “A deployment of this scale is testament to the operational and strategic value that RAF St Mawgan, currently celebrating its 70th birthday, continues to provide in support of UK Defence. It clearly shows the value being drawn from the existing resource by the small core of 280 military and civilian station personnel.

“The future of the station is based on clear value to the current defence plan. There is no doubt that the pro-active nature of the people at this station in encouraging and supporting major exercises such as the ARRC, as well as the operationally essential role of defence survival training underscores us as a centre of excellence in the South West.”

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Post Iraq, Afghanistan: NATO Prepares For Future Wars

November 19, 2013 1 comment

U.S. Department of Defense
November 19, 2013

Combined Resolve Reflects Post-2014 NATO Training
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

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WASHINGTON: A training rotation underway at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, offers a glimpse at the direction NATO training is expected to take as the alliance concludes its mission in Afghanistan next year and implements a new strategy focused on the future.

For more than a decade, the training center has centered on preparing U.S. and European militaries for combat rotations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Army Col. John Norris, the JMRC commander, told American Forces Press Service during a phone interview from Hohenfels, Germany.

That training focused predominantly on counterinsurgency operations, Norris said. Over time, it evolved to include stability operations and to prepare International Security Assistance Force members to train and mentor Iraqi and Afghan national security forces. But with the Iraq mission now completed and ISAF drawing down in Afghanistan, Norris said, it’s time for NATO to revamp how it trains its own forces.

So the JMRC cadre kicked off the first iteration of the new Combined Resolve series last week, reintroducing the full spectrum of combat operations into a multinational rotation for the first time in more than a decade.

“This is a paradigm shift,” Norris said. “This is now introducing our multinational partners to the post-ISAF, post-2014 environment and what is next. This rotation is clearly a pilot and example of that.”

Combined Resolve integrates armored vehicle, artillery and aviation maneuvers and other high-end operations into training that includes more than 2,200 U.S., Czech, Slovenian, Norwegian and French forces.

The U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade headquarters deployed from Vicenza, Italy, to serve as the rotational command element. A mechanized task force from the Czech Republic arrived with T-72 battle tanks, BMP-3 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles, engineer vehicles and artillery batteries. The Norwegian army deployed a mechanized task force, complete with Leopard-2 main battle tanks and other tracked vehicles, to serve as the opposing force. The Slovenians deployed about 190 members of the 10th Slovenian Mountain Regiment.

In addition, U.S. Navy SEALS and a French special operations team are supporting the rotation.

Together, they are conducting combined-arms maneuvers that Norris said had been sidelined for years due to real-world requirements that focused predominantly on lower-end operations.

NATO defense and military leaders recognized this gap when they adopted the Connected Forces Initiative last month. Part of the NATO Forces 2020 concept, the initiative aims to enhance NATO’s overall readiness and combat effectiveness, in part through tailored and expanded training.

“What we have going on right now in Hohenfels is in fact a living example, a proof of principle on the vision of the Connected Forces Initiative,” Norris said.

With the first week of training dedicated to situational training exercises, the participants are kicking off the “force-on-force” training today.

“This is powerful,” Norris said. “It is live, it is free play and it is 24 hours. You have a live enemy, you have a live friendly, and they both want to win.”

When Combined Resolve wraps up Nov. 24, Norris said, he’s confident the participants will take home valuable lessons and insights into what’s ahead for military training.

“This represents the future of warfare and how we will fight our nation’s wars,” he said. “We will always fight in a multinational environment. That’s why this training mission, Combined Resolve, focuses on sustaining the partnerships and the interoperability we have achieved during the last 12 years of war.”

JMRC represents the perfect site to do this, not only because of its vast training opportunities, but also because of its proximity to many multinational partners, Norris said. That makes the training affordable – a major consideration, he said, as all struggle with defense budget cuts.

The goal, Norris said, is to ensure NATO forces are prepared for the challenges they will face together post-2014.

“We want them to be compatible and interoperable so that we can all form a security blanket and work together in the future,” he said.

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U.S. Pushes Encirclement Of Russia Via NATO Trojan Horse

November 19, 2013 Leave a comment

RT
November 19, 2013

Pushing boundaries: US eyes Russian encirclement via NATO ‘Trojan horse’

The US is using NATO as a Trojan horse in order to take over militarily and politically the whole of Eastern Europe, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, and this is an open provocation vis-à-vis Russia, Rick Rozoff, manager of Stop NATO told RT.

RT: What’s the problem with NATO doing more war drills? We do live in a dangerous world and practice makes perfect doesn’t it?

Rick Rozoff: Right, we have to put matters into context. If we are talking about the most recent NATO war games in the Baltic Sea, so-called Operations or Exercise Steadfast Jazz 2013, we have to keep in mind it’s the largest joint military exercise held by NATO in seven years. And it was with the express intent of solidifying what is called the NATO Response Force, which is a global military strike force, and was conducted in two countries – Latvia and Poland – that share borders with Russia.

And it was again large-scale: 6,000 troops, and air and naval as well land, infantry, components in countries bordering Russia. It’s not an everyday affair, as your comments may have indicated. If anything analogous to this were to occur on an American border, say Mexico and Canada, and troops from 40 countries – all NATO members and a number of NATO partners were to engage in joint war games on the American border – you’d hear something from Washington, I’m going to assure you. And this isn’t an innocuous everyday affair of one nation, two nations, holding war games; this is the largest military bloc in history, to be honest, with 28 members and various partners over 70 countries in the world, which is over a third of the nations in the world and in the UN, for example. So this is a further indication that the US-led military bloc that is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization aspires, first of all, to hold what could be construed as reckless and perhaps even dangerous war games near Russia’s borders and at the same time design to further develop and give body to, activate its international response force.

RT: These exercises do not come cheap though – and many European nations aren’t in the best shape financially. Is it really worth it for them?

RR: Of course not, this is a phantom, an imagined threat that has been combated. It’s worth noting that the secretary general of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and other NATO officials including the deputy secretary general, Alexander Vershbow, who is the former US ambassador to Russia, made comments that the war games conducted in Latvia and Poland were meant to consolidate the gains that have been made over the last 12 years in Afghanistan, where NATO, through the International Security Assistance Force, has consolidated – in its own words – its interoperability with military forces of over 50 different nations. Can the peoples of Europe, the citizenry of the respective 26 NATO member states in Europe afford this sort of extravagance? No, of course, they cannot. So what we’re left to believe is that the United States finds it expedient to use NATO and is prepared to underwrite the majority of what it costs to conduct the war games or set up military installations to further the United States’ geopolitical interests in Europe and in the world.

RT: NATO’s just wrapped up exercises in Poland and the Baltic states. Any reason why it picked these specific locations?

RR: If you are talking about the rapid response force, which is a NATO mechanism used presumably to interfere, intervene militarily, as NATO has over the last 14 years outside of the area of responsibility, the self-declared area of protection of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, what we’re talking about of course is a serious military action, as serious as war, in fact.

In southeastern Europe 14 years ago, in former Yugoslavia; in Afghanistan over the last 12 years, in Asia; and two years ago in Libya and North Africa, that they have chosen such a sensitive spot vis-à-vis Russia – the Baltic states, the northwest border of the Russian Federation – almost looks like a provocation to me. But the official NATO explanation is that, now having established itself as an international military expeditionary force which can conduct military actions in Africa, in the Middle East, in the Gulf of Aden, in the Indian Ocean, in South and Central Asia, it now has to re-establish its ability to defend its member-states. Who else but Russia could be intended when NATO states, in the case of Latvia and Poland – they have to be able to defend their new NATO member-states such as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland – that any one nation that could be potential aggressor in that context and of course it is Russia. So this is an open provocation vis-à-vis Russia.

RT: Next year NATO will finish up its Afghanistan combat mission, which lasted over a decade. What will all these troops be doing after the 2014 withdrawal?

RR: There is going to be a period of rest and recuperation for the actual ground forces. And keep in mind that the NATO commanders in Afghanistan and US military commanders have mooted retaining as many as 8,000-14,000 US and other NATO troops in Afghanistan for the indefinite future. And this is of course an addition to the US sustaining and perhaps even expanding its presence and its strike capability in major airbases that the US has upgraded in Shindand, in Kandahar, and the Bagram air base outside Kabul, the capital, and so forth.

So what the NATO evidently intends to do, and the US in the first instance, is having integrated the military structures of over 50 countries – this a very significant event, there’s nothing like this even remotely comparable that has occurred before in history. We have to be honest about this. There have never been military personnel from 50 countries in any war, not even World War 2, much less on one side, much less in one theater of war and in one nation. So what NATO has done is use 12 years of indecisive war affair in Afghanistan in order to build up global NATO, in fact. And coming out of that, with the NATO summit that held in Chicago last year, the last NATO summit in May 2012, immediately before that NATO announced another partnership program. And this is one is the first that is not defined geographically, such as those in the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East region or Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. In this case it’s called Partners Across the Globe. This is the latest NATO initiative, which includes initially eight nations of the greater Asia-Pacific region: Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia. Mongolia of course, like Kazakhstan, which is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, borders both Russia and China. So what we are seeing is that despite all these efforts to seduce the world into believing it has become an adjunct to the UN, or that it’s a peacekeeping apparatus of some sort, NATO has in fact extended itself into a global military force. It may have a limited capacity to extend itself, at least not to the extent, perhaps, to what it would choose to. But its intent is still clear. The new NATO headquarters in Brussels which will cost over a billion dollars to construct are going to come online very shortly. Well, there is no intention by NATO to accept budgetary constraints and other factors mitigating its shrinking, its ambitions are even more grandiose than they have ever been before.

RT: What does the future hold for the organization in general? How can it continue to stay relevant and be an important force in the world?

RR: We will find out at the next summit in Britain next year, in 2014. What we do know is that at the summit in Chicago last year, one of the more significant decisions was that the so-called Phased Adaptive Approach interceptor missile system that the US – initially under the George W. Bush administration and now fully-integrated with NATO under Barack Obama’s administration – has achieved initial operational capability, meaning plans to base ultimately hundreds of intermediate- and medium-range interceptor missiles on the ground in nations like Romania and Poland and also on destroyers and other kind of warships in the Mediterranean, ultimately, I suspect, in the Baltic Sea and even the Black Sea if they can get away with it, that the US is using NATO again as a Trojan horse, not only to take over militarily, but also politically, the entirety of Eastern Europe, from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Every single member of the Warsaw Pact, with the exception of Russia itself, is now a full member of NATO. Half of the states of the former republic of Yugoslavia are now full members of NATO. So what we see is that the US uses NATO to extend its military from Berlin at the end of the Cold War all the way to the Russian border. And most alarmingly of late is that it has intensified its efforts to incorporate Ukraine, which has a sizeable border with Russia, as a major NATO partner. Ukraine is joining the Response Force, as well as Georgia, Finland and Sweden. Of course Sweden is the only one of those countries that doesn’t have a border with Russia. Finland, Ukraine and Georgia have sizeable borders. What we are seeing is that NATO in one form or another is continuing the push up to Russia’s borders and effectively the military encirclement of the Russian Federation.

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Erich Maria Remarque: On every yard there lies a dead man

November 19, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Erich Maria Remarque: Selections on war

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Erich Maria Remarque
From All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)
Translated by A.W. Wheen

Erich Maria Remarque Smoking Cigarette

My hands grow cold and my flesh creeps; and yet the night is warm. Only the mist is cold, this mysterious mist that trails over the dead and sucks from them their last, creeping life. By morning they will be pale and green and their blood congealed and black.

Still the parachute-rockets shoot up and cast their pitiless light over the stony landscape, which is full of craters and frozen lights like a moon. The blood beneath my skin brings fear and restlessness into my thoughts. They become feeble and tremble, they want warmth and life. They cannot persist without solace, without illusion, they are disordered before the naked picture of despair.

***

The days are hot and the dead lie unburied. We cannot fetch them all in, if we did we should not know what to do with them. The shells will bury them. Many have their bellies swollen up like balloons. They hiss, belch, and make movements. The gases in them make noises.

The sky is blue and without clouds. In the evening it grows sultry and the heat rises from the earth. When the wind blows toward us it brings the smell of blood, which is very heavy and sweet. This deathly exhalation from the shell-holes seems to be a mixture of chloroform and putrefaction, and fills us with nausea and retching.

***

One morning two butterflies play in front of our trench. They are brimstone-butterflies, with red spots on their yellow wings. What can they be looking for here? There is not a plant nor a flower for miles. They settle on the teeth of a skull. The birds too are just as carefree, they have long since accustomed themselves to the war. Every morning larks ascend from No Man’s Land. A year ago we watched them nesting; the young ones grew up too.

We have a spell from the rats in the trench. They are in No Man’s Land – we know what for. They grow fat; when we see one we have a crack at it…

***

Although we need reinforcement, the recruits give us almost more trouble than they are worth. They are helpless in this grim fighting area, they fall like flies. Modern trench-warfare demands knowledge and experience; a man must have a feeling for the contours of the ground, an ear for the sound and character of the shells, must be able to decide beforehand where they will drop, how they will burst, and how to shelter from them.

The young recruits of course know none of these things. They get killed simply because they hardly can tell shrapnel from high-explosive, they are mown down because they are listening anxiously to the roar of the big coal-boxes falling in the rear, and miss the light, piping whistle of the low spreading daisy-cutters. They flock together like sheep instead of scattering, and even the wounded are shot down like hares by the airmen.

Their pale turnip faces, their pitiful clenched hands, the fine courage of these poor devils, the desperate charges and attacks made by the poor brave wretches, who are so terrified that they dare not cry out loudly, but with battered chests, with torn bellies, arms and legs only whimper softly for their mothers and cease as soon as one looks at them.

Their sharp, downy, dead faces have the awful expressionlessness of dead children.

It brings a lump into the throat to see how they go over, and run and fall…They wear grey coats and trousers and boots, but for most of them the uniform is far too big, it hangs on their limbs, their shoulders are too narrow, their bodies too slight; no uniform was ever made to these childish measurements.

Between five and ten recruits fall to every old hand.

A surprise gas-attack carries off a lot of them. They have not yet learned what to do. We found one dug-out full of them, with blue heads and black lips. Some of them in a shell hole took off their masks too soon; they did not know that the gas lies longest in the hollows; when they saw others on top without masks they pulled theirs off too and swallowed enough to scorch their lungs.

Their condition is hopeless, they choke to death with haemorrhages and suffocation.

***

We see men living with their skulls blown open; we see soldiers run with their two feet cut off, they stagger on their splintered stumps into the next shell-hole; a lance-corporal crawls a mile and a half on his hands dragging his smashed knee after him; another goes to the dressing station and over his clasped hands bulge his intestines; we see men without mouths, without jaws, without faces; we find one man who has held the artery of his arm in his teeth for two hours in order not to bleed to death. The sun goes down, night comes, the shells whine, life is at an end.

Still the little piece of convulsed earth in which we lie is held. We have yielded no more than a few hundred yards of it as a prize to the enemy. But on every yard there lies a dead man.

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NATO Caucasus, Central Asia Envoy: Georgia To Join Global Strike Force

November 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
November 18, 2013

NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative calls cooperation with Georgia successful
By Nana Kirtzkhalia

Tbilisi: All the reforms conducted in Georgia under the leadership of Defence Minister Irakli Alasania deserve NATO’s positive assessments, NATO Secretary General Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai said in Tbilisi after the meeting with Georgia’s Defence Minister. Appathurai arrived in Tbilisi on the occasion of the president’s inauguration.

“We have just completed the annual assessment of the national program, which got a positive evaluation. We also discussed the issues of future cooperation in Afghanistan. We are preparing for the support mission and as far as I know, Georgia will participate in it. Georgia also intends to join the NATO Response Force. Many issues of cooperation with Georgia are carried out successfully,” he said.

Appathurai congratulated the Georgian people with holding exemplary presidential elections on Oct.27.

“I would like to congratulate Georgia and the Georgian people on the results. These elections were free, fair and democratic. This is what the member states of NATO expected from Georgia. I would like to congratulate Georgia with this result on behalf of them,” he said.

Alasania in turn thanked Appathurai for arriving at the inauguration.

“This is a sign of great respect to our newly elected president and reaffirms that our relations with NATO are irreversible and we will become the alliance’s member in the future,” he said.

During the meeting the parties discussed the reforms in the sphere of defense, as well as the issues of future Georgian-NATO cooperation.

The parties also talked about Georgia’s contribution to the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan (ISAF). According to Alasania, Georgia is ready to participate in the support mission in Afghanistan after 2014 and join the NATO Reaction Force.

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Interview: Libya In Anarchy As US-NATO Terrorists Reign

November 18, 2013 1 comment

Voice of Russia
November 16, 2013

Libya is in anarchy as US/NATO backed terrorists reign – Faraj Muftah
John Robles

Audio

The entire western intervention in Libya was a lie fabricated from the very beginning to allow the US/NATO to prevent: gold-based dinars from damaging the dollar, an international law suit filed by Libya over the violations by the West of treaties, Libyan oil trade to be done in Euros, and a non-US controlled block to grow strong. The “humanitarian intervention” was never about protecting the Libyan people. It was only about money, geopolitics and resources. By providing air-support, funding and weapons to Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorists groups US/NATO was successful in destroying the government, completely freeing up the resources and assassinating the leader. The Libyan people now live in a state of anarchy being decimated by US/CIA/Al-Qaeda (the CIA data-base), and the West is silent. Where is the “support for the people of Libya” now? Faraj Muftah is a representative of the tribes of Libya and is in exile, he granted the VOR an interview on the real situation in Libya.

You are listening to part one of an interview with Farazh Muftah– a spokesperson for the tribal nations of Libya.

Robles: Can you explain to our listeners about the real situation in Libya right now? What is really happening in Libya?

Faraj: Thank you so much for giving us a chance to explain everything to your people and to your listeners.
Our country was safe and secure until what happened with it in 2011. It was started by lies and dirty games by satellite from many journalists of CNN, al-Arabia, Al-Jazeera, BBC as well and Qatari channels which prepared all the propaganda before the game has been started.

They lied to the people and they said that they will come to Libya to protect the civilian people. They only used this reason as a pretext to destroy our country, destroy all establishment and destroy our regime.

You have to know that the majority of Libyans supported the former regime and we did not have any problem before 2011. Our regime was the fairest regime, it was against Al Qaeda and terroristic groups on the ground and around the world.

And our leader Col Gaddafi – the fairest guy – announced and reported to the United Nations Security Council, the US and other Western countries that they must arrest Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda groups, it was in 1987.

At that time no one listened to our side. The reality and the truth is that the Western world and especially the USA and the CIA, which gave control to America, they knew already that Bin Laden works with them.

Nowadays, they brought all the Al Qaeda terroristic groups to Libya at the beginning of the crisis and we call it a conspiracy against our country.

France, the United States, Italy, Qatar, Turkey, the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist groups – they used Security Council resolution of 1971-1973 to launch and intervention and “protect” the civilian people. But they killed the people, as you know now approximately more than 500,000 people have been killed in Libya.

Robles: 500,000?

Faraj: Yes, about half a million has been killed in Libya since 2011 up to now. The majority of this number has been killed by NATO and the United States, the rest of them have been killed by militias and terrorist groups, and Al Qaeda as well.

Al Qaeda has a full control of Tripoli – the capital. There is no government, there is no regime, there is not an agency in Libya.

The solution now is to return the people who have been exiled to their country, to their land, to try to sort out all the problems in Libya.

Americans supported Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and in Egypt as well.

Now in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime has been finished and destroyed by the Egyptian people, more than 32 million people went on the streets.

In Libya still America and some Western countries support Al Qaeda and terrorist groups, especially in Tripoli – the capital of Libya. This is the big problem facing the Libyan people that NATO and the USA supported Al Qaeda and terrorist groups.

And the American administration – Obama and John McCain – are representatives of Al Qaeda terrorist groups.

John McCain is their close friend, he supported them and he talks about them every day. They plan how to support them, how to protect them. This is the big problem which faces the whole world.

In the future, I warn all of the people, we report that in a few days it will become a big problem and danger facing the whole world, especially the Western countries.

Now the Libya is the main source for terrorists, the main source for Al Qaeda training, the main source of weapons, main source of crimes and criminal groups.

Now the danger has reached Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Mali, Chad – they get the resources and establish control over our cities in Libya. As you know, they burned more than four or five cities in Libya. In Tawergha all cities have been completely burned in 2011.

And where was Tawergha, now it is a place for Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood training.

Bani Walid attack of 2012 was by militias, about 20,000 militias attacked Bani Walid city to try to establish control over it, but it was hard for them, because the people in Bani Walid are brave and strong fighters, they were against and they defended their city. They got the out back to Misrata militias.

Now, we have another problem the international community must know about – the unknown and uncontrolled presence in Misrata and Tripoli which is controlled by Al Qaeda terrorist groups.

It is a hard situation for more than 30,000 Libyan civilian people inside the prisons. Nobody knows their fates. It is a situation of unknown presence without any control from the government, because there is no government.

Even the so-called Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been kidnapped by militias. And they still lie to the people, lie to the community, they lie to the media and he says he is the Prime Minister.

There is no Prime Minister in Libya, there is no parliament in Libya, there is no government in Libya, there is no regime in Libya now, only Al Qaeda and terrorist groups.

Let’s me tell you something about the problem with Interpol. When NATO and Americans invaded Tripoli with militias and terrorist groups, they attacked the Interior Ministry and the office of Interpol was taken over by militias.

The militias reported papers and documents to Interpol. That is why Interpol has now called and is asking (searching) for more than 200 Libyan people who are living abroad.

There is no Interpol in Libya, it is impossible. There are militias all cities,the whole country controlled by militias and where is Interpol? There is no Interpol in Libya.

2 million Libyan people have been exiled and they are living in a bad situation in Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Mali, Egypt, Malta and a small number of them in the Western countries. There is no United Nations that cares about us, there are no human rights organizations that care about us, there is no international community that cares about us.

This is the truth and this is the reality, and this is our story.

Nobody will bring control in our country, nobody will clean up our country, only Gaddafi loyalists know how to clean out the terrorist groups and Al Qaeda. And we have our own experts, more than 2,000 security experts outside Libya, they have been exiled. And they are followed by Al Qaeda terrorist groups.

Every day they kill an officer from our military, every day they kill one member of the security section in Libya, every day they kill civilian people, kidnap them, rape the ladies, rob stores and banks.

This is the situation now in Libya. This is the real story. This is the truth and this is what is happening in Libya right now.

Robles: It sounds like complete anarchy. Can you tell me what was life like before the NATO invasion?

What was life really like for Libyan people when the US and NATO said they were oppressed and they were being killed, and everybody hated Gaddafi? What was life really like?

Faraj: No! This is not truth. The truth is that all the Libyan people liked Gaddafi, supported our leader. Our leader was an honest man. He was a patriot, a strong man and defended our country.

He was against the international law which allowed them to invade any country, to attack any country, to bomb any country.

You cannot imagine how is it to burn and attack civil cities, to burn them and then bomb for two months about three or four times every day. Did you think about this? How is it that the NATO forces, their airplanes, their military, which were prepared to fight against Russia and then attacked a small city like Bani Walid?

From February 2011 up to October 2011 NATO attacked and bombed.

Most of the cities, as I told you, have been burned and destroyed, all cities – Sitra, Bani Walid, Tawergha, Qawalish, Mashashita, Ar Rayaniya, now Tiji.

Every day now Tiji is exposed to attacks from militias in Zintan.

This is the truth and this is the real story. We were living in so good situation, nobody was against Gaddafi. There were a few people and they say that this is a political group. But they ran away from the military in 1971-1973 to America and America protected them, and America used them as spies, as Ali Zeidan.

Ali Zeidan has stolen money from our embassy in India and ran away to Germany.

He’s stolen the Libyan Embassy’s money in Delhi which was sent to use to help Muslim people in India and he ran away to America.

America protected (Magallion?) and America used him as a spy.

(Magallion?) is a member of the CIA. Ali Zeidan is from Gestapo, a member of German intelligence. This is the truth, this is the story.

Robles: I see. Why do you think they want to keep a condition of anarchy in Libya?

Faraj: In Libya right now there is no control, there are no companies, there is no government, there are no embassies.

All the foreign people, all representatives of foreign companies, all diplomatic groups in Libya are threatened and killed by Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda announced a few days ago that they will start killing all diplomatic people in Libya.

And there is no infrastructure from 2011. There are no buildings, there is no development, there isn’t anything.

Even all the money in the Central Bank invested outside Libya has been stolen by these militias.
There is no money, there are no resources now because oil exports have been blocked by militias.

Robles: Who is in control of the oil right now?

Faraj: The militias since 2011 sell the Libyan oil in the Mediterranean Sea without any documents, without anything. It is a black market. Many groups from the eastern part did not allow Ali Zeidan, from the puppet government to sell oil unless they have a know and help to plan and organize how to sell our oil.

Robles: Is oil still flowing out of Libya right now?

Faraj: No, not any more. It’s been blocked by many groups in Ras Lanuf, Sitra, Zueitina. And even yesterday I think a group from west part militias has blocked gas, which is supplied to the south of Italy.

Robles: I’d like to ask you a question. In Egypt we now know the United States supported the Muslim Brotherhood, like they supported Al Qaeda, like they created Al Qaeda, like MI5 created the Muslim Brotherhood – the Egyptian people have filed crimes against humanity charges against the US and Barack Obama. Can the Libyan people do the same thing?

Faraj: Yes, we have a lot of things, we have a lot of documents which will show to the world what was happening because of Obama and the Western countries.

Of course, because they started to help the militias and the Muslim Brotherhood from the beginning of the conspiracy against Libya.

Robles: Is there any movement or any group of lawyers or former judges who could organize a formal criminal complaint and deliver it to Hague?

Faraj: Yes, our group and our lawyers, who have been exiled as well, they are preparing all the documents and all files to bring them to ICC or to any international court, to show them all the evidence how NATO and America destroyed the country and destroyed the land of Libya. They are working on it.

My friend John, you have to know that there is no stability, no development and infrastructure, there is no growth for all the countries who were invaded or attacked by NATO and America.

You were listening to part 1 of an interview with Faraj Muftah – a spokesperson for the tribal nations of Libya. You can find part 2 of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com in the near future.

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NATO Aircraft Spied On Indian Aircraft Carrier

November 18, 2013 Leave a comment

India Today
November 18, 2013

INS Vikramaditya was spied upon by NATO aircraft and ship last year but the matter was hushed up
Shiv Aroor

INS Vikramaditya, India’s largest aircraft carrier, is safely in the Indian Navy’s hands now, and will begin its journey home shortly. But just a year ago, there was an incident that created a major stir on board the massive ship as it was put through trials at sea off the Russian coast.

INS Vikramaditya was spied upon by NATO forces.

Headlines Today Deputy Editor Shiv Aroor, the first Indian journalist on board the aircraft carrier, has accessed exclusive images of that disturbing incident that was even taken up at the diplomatic level.

The images show a NATO maritime spy aircraft repeatedly buzzing.

Over INS Vikramaditya in an attempt to snoop on her communications and combat signatures. Never before revealed, these images captured from the deck of the ship show how the US-built P-3C Orion “buzzed” the ship just a few hundred feet over her deck and circled her in an attempt to harvest classified electronic and acoustic data about the vessel.

The snooping operation created such a stir that the Russian team on board the Vikramaditya summoned a Russian Navy MiG-29K from a shore base to chase away the intruding aircraft.

The spy aircraft beat a hasty retreat once the MiG-29K arrived on the scene.

During the spying mission, the P-3C aircraft dropped two sensor buoys into Vikramaditya’s immediate path in such a way that the ship sailed right through the gap between the two red bobbing devices, allowing the aircraft to record acoustic signatures.

Later, the Russian government sent photographs of the intrusion, including pictures of the sensor buoys, to the US Embassy in Moscow and NATO headquarters, but has received no reply yet.

Both the Indian Navy and the shipyard that modernised the Vikramaditya confirmed the incident but were tightlipped about the details of how much data about the battleship may have been compromised.

The NATO aircraft chose the early summer of 2102 when the sea was calm and the relative silence of neutral waters interfered least with sounds emanating from a ship – ideal conditions for airborne electronic snooping.

In another attempt to listen in on Vikramaditya’s communications and electronic emanations, a Norwegian ship attempted to snoop on the ship shortly after the airborne spying mission.

The vessel, known to have specialised electronic equipment on board that allows the recording of acoustics from a distance, came fairly close to the Vikramaditya.

By that time, command and crew on board the aircraft carrier had made her go near totally silent.

A NATO ship from Norway snooping on the Vikramaditya.

The spygame between NATO and Russia remains intact years after the end of the Cold War, with both sides routinely intercepting and escorting “stray” aircraft, or attempting to snoop on aircraft and ship movements near maritime boundaries.

However, the fact that the snooping incident was on an Indian ship was a surprise.

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Arnold Zweig: The costs of war are spiritual and moral desolation, economic catastrophes and political reaction

November 18, 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 Education Before Verdun (1935)
Translated by Eric Sutton

DDR-Arnold-Zweig

“Where are the blessings you were promised at the outset of the war? The real consequences of the war are all too plain: misery and privation, unemployment and death, starvation and disease. For generations the costs of the war will paralyze the strength of the nations, and destroy all that you have fought for and won to ennoble your lives. Spiritual and moral desolation, economic catastrophes and political reaction – such are the fruits of this horrible international conflict, as of all those that came before it…”

***

All that these men suffered, all that the world suffered in the war, slipped through the films of consciousness into the deeper chambers of the soul. Thence, in time to come, it would re-emerge, and demand a reckoning…From the darkness came the thunder of guns. It was Christmas night, a festival that meant a great deal to Germans, but they felt they must discipline the indulgence of such feelings by a display of manly vigour; so their guns were scattering steel Christmas gifts, and the French followed their example. Peace upon earth, sang the Gospel; War upon earth thundered the reality.

***

By now, however, individual cases had ceased to count. The whole scurvy race of man stood ripe for judgment, before the spiritual bar of one for whom the first four decades of life had been a quest for justice and truth, under guidance of a greater man – his father. He had reached the point when he could no longer hear certain words without a desire to cough and a sense of nausea; and especially the word “nation.” Men had ceased to exist; there was only a nation. Man had become absorbed into the herd, and must follow the appointed leader, no matter whom. Aristotle had known this, and Plato too. The zoon politikon; what else did this definition contain but the damnation of man to a vile and irredeemable dependence? Except that for the two Greeks and all their disciples in Europe this fact made manifest how great was the moral obligation laid upon individuals and men of intelligence to remedy this deplorable state of affairs, and by their wisdom and insight, their human loyalty and goodwill, their patience and self-restraint, to reform and purify humanity. Since the renascence of human reason in the Italy of Lorenzo the Magnificent, the churches and the secular seats of learning had tried to meet this duty; they had inspired religions, reformations, and revolutions – with the result that in this war the peak of our achievement stood in a glare of light; the spirit of Europe was arrayed in uniform; only nations now existed, in the scarlet, black, and white of their several self-isolated creeds, and civilization served at the best as a technique of slaughter, as a mask for villainy, as a phrase to justify the insatiable lust for conquest which had made the earth too narrow for Alexander of Macedon, and for which the Romans at least had paid the modest price of five hundred years of peace and a world civilization. What price should we pay? With merchandise and lies.

***

How long had this house stood? Certainly more than a hundred years. When it was new the great names of Goethe, Beethoven, and Hegel shed their glories upon Germany; Europe stood in the shadow of Napoleon the First, a commander who made good the devastation of his campaigns by political reform and codes of law. And now, a hundred years later, of these faded conquests nothing survived but moral disintegration, the destruction of all individual values, the deliberate wreck of the moral culture that had revived after the Thirty Years’ War. He wondered what his father would have said had he lived to see the unanimous glorification of war by all the intellectuals of Germany; a war of which they knew nothing, and which they busily palliated, falsified, and distorted until it suited their vision of reality. The jurists and theologians, the philosophers and the doctors, the economists and historians, and above all the poets, thinkers, and writers spread betrayal in all they said and wrote; they made haste to say what was not, and to deny what was, callow and ignorant, bloated with pride, making not the faintest effort to find out the facts before they blew their trumpets.

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NATO Capo Announces Military Bloc’s Summit In Britain

November 17, 2013 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
November 15, 2013

NATO Secretary General announces dates for 2014 Summit

I am pleased to announce that the next NATO Summit will take place on September 4‑5, 2014. I also welcome the recent announcement by the British Prime Minister David Cameron that the UK will host NATO Heads of State and Government in South Wales.

This Summit will be an important opportunity for NATO. We will mark the conclusion, at the end of 2014, of our ISAF mission, as well as a new phase of our engagement in Afghanistan. We will take further steps to modernise our Alliance so that it remains strong, flexible and ready to face any security challenge. And we will reaffirm the bond between Europe and North America that is the source of our strength, our security and our success.

In 1949, the United Kingdom was one of NATO’s twelve founding members and the seat of its first Headquarters. From the start, the United Kingdom has been a staunch Ally, and a strong contributor to NATO operations as well as to our political debate. As we plan for the Alliance’s future, I warmly welcome the United Kingdom’s offer to be our host, and I look forward to a successful Summit in September 2014.

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Giuseppe Berto: Selections on war

November 17, 2013 Leave a comment
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Arctic: Pentagon Deepens Military Cooperation With NATO Allies

November 15, 2013 Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Defense
November 14, 2013

Eucom Promotes Cooperation Among Arctic Partners
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

NATO Arctic

WASHINGTON: When travel brochures feature Arctic expeditions, adventure-seekers think of a once-unreachable fantasyland rich with wildlife and a pristine frozen tundra stretching as far as the eye can see.

Coast Guard Capt. Ed Westfall, chief of U.S. European Command’s Arctic strategy branch, thinks more of the second- and third-order effects of the melting polar icecap, in terms of not just tourism, but also its effect on maritime traffic, fishing and oil and gas exploration.

Although analysts’ forecasts range from about five to 25 years, almost all envision a day when the Arctic has no significant ice coverage for at least part of the summer.

“The conditions in the Arctic are changing, and we are already seeing increased human activity indicative of that easier access,” Westfall said during a phone interview from the Eucom headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

The United States, along with the seven other nations whose territory rings the Arctic Circle, recognize the commercial, energy and security implications, he said.

The Defense Department, in support of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, works closely with other federal agencies and the United States’ Arctic partners…

“The Arctic is an incredibly harsh environment, and everybody who operates there faces common challenges,” Westfall said. “Because the infrastructure is so sparse and the distances so vast, the resources that any individual nation is going to have [available to support a contingency] are likely to be limited.

The Defense Department modified its Unified Command Plan in 2011, in part to reflect the growing importance of the Arctic. The plan assigned U.S. Northern Command responsibility for overseeing the Arctic frontiers in Alaska and Canada. Eucom focused its attention on the six Arctic nations within its theater. With that charter, the two commands collaborate closely with their Arctic partners to ensure they’re ready to respond to a crisis in the Arctic.

Their senior officers sit down together discuss the issues involved through the annual Arctic Security Forces Roundtable that the United States and Norway co-sponsor…

The partners also regularly test their response capabilities through tabletop exercises and field and maritime drills…

In early September, for example, U.S. military forces joined participants from Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Russia and Norway during SAREX Greenland Sea 2013, a Danish-led search-and-rescue exercise centered on a notional cruise ship disaster between Iceland and northeastern Greenland that required a massive rescue.

The United States sent two New York Air National Guard aircraft and crews that regularly support scientific research missions in both the Arctic and Antarctica. In addition, U.S. Coast Guard members served as observers and subject-matter experts in command centers the Danish government operates in Greenland. Westfall was an observer aboard the Danish exercise control ship HDMS Vaedderen.

In the coming year, U.S. European Command and U.S. Northern Command plan to co-sponsor a multilateral tabletop exercise called Arctic Zephyr that will focus on search-and-rescue issues in the Arctic, Westfall reported. Other Arctic partners have indicated that they hope to host additional multinational exercises as well, he said.

Meanwhile, U.S. and partner nations are building on the foundation already laid as they learn about each other’s capabilities and how they can work together…

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Hungary: NATO Global Strategic Airlift Operation Reaches New Milestone

November 15, 2013 Leave a comment

U.S. Air Forces Europe – U.S. Air Forces Africa
November 14, 2013

Heavy Airlift Wing C-17s reach 12,000 flight hours
By Ville Tuokko
Heavy Airlift Wing Public Affairs

images

PÁPA, Hungary: About 6 1/2 months after reaching the significant milestone of 10,000 flight hours, the Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing fleet of three C-17 Globemaster III long range cargo jets has exceeded a total flying time of 12,000 flight hours.

The 12,000 flight hour mark was passed by a HAW C-17 on a Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian combined mission on Nov. 13.

Since its launch in July 2009 the Heavy Airlift Wing has carried out more than 840 missions delivering about 36,220 tons of cargo and carrying more than 47,000 passengers to serve the airlift needs of its 12 member nations.

The Heavy Airlift Wing declared full operational capability in November 2012. During 2013 HAW flew more than 2,800 flight hours and is expected to reach 3,165 annual flying hours – meeting the target amount set to it by the Strategic Airlift Capability member nations.

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