U.S. Department of Defense
December 30, 2013
Airlift Operations Complete in Central African Republic
By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON: A small U.S. Air Force support team and two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft began airlift operations Dec. 12 in response to a French request for airlift support. The U.S. airmen conducted 16 flights from Burundi to the Central African Republic, Warren said, transporting 857 Burundi troops, 73 pallets of equipment and 18 Burundian military vehicles.
The Burundi troops — a light infantry battalion — are part of an African Union-led international support mission intended to help prevent the further spread of sectarian violence, Assistant Pentagon Press Secretary Carl Woog said in a Dec. 9 statement.
Fewer than 10 Americans remain on the ground serving as liaisons with the French military, Warren said.
Also, three of the four U.S. service members wounded Dec. 21 in South Sudan have returned to the United States for treatment, Warren said. The fourth remains in a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.
All four service members are in stable condition, a Defense Department spokesman said.
The service members were wounded when they attempted to evacuate Americans from the town of Bor, South Sudan, according to a U.S. Africa Command statement. They were hit by small-arms fire from unknown forces when their three CV-22 Osprey aircraft attempted to land in Bor. Africom is reviewing the incident, Warren said.
To date, more than 870 people have been evacuated from South Sudan on a mix of military and charter aircraft, he said. The Defense Department has flown three airlift missions with C-130 Hercules aircraft and one mission with a C-12 Huron.
Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez, Africom’s commander, ordered a platoon-sized element of Marines and a Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules aircraft to Entebbe, Uganda, on Dec. 24 to serve as a contingency force, Warren said. The Marines are part of Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response, based at Moron Air Base, Spain, and were initially sent to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, before being moved to Uganda.
Rodriguez had earlier ordered elements of the East Africa Response Force to be positioned in Juba, South Sudan, to augment security at the embassy.
“This is all exactly what you’d expect [given the security situation],” Warren said. “It’s a combatant commander positioning forces in such a way that he’s got options.”
From The Re-Appearing (Il est ressuscité) (1911)
Translated by Coningsby Dawson
“Woe to ye enemies of peace, for you shall be called the children of the devil. Woe to ye who live among your brothers as wolves among a fold. All men are your enemies and you are perpetually at war with them. You beat your children and you ill-treat them. or even, and this is far worse, you are mere strangers to them. To the weak you are torturers, to the strong you are rogues. You call them up for judgment. You rob them by stratagem, hiding under the cloak of the laws. You have no faith, and no love, and yet you pretend to be honourable men because your crimes escape the legal definition of a crime, and would therefore be a danger for anyone to reproach you with them. But you will be reproached for them one day. On the formidable Day of Universal Witness.”
As they walked the lights grew fewer, and at the end it was quite dark. It seemed to Narda that these pilgrims of emptiness represented humanity, as it is, the immense neutral wave of time. These wise men did their day’s work every day, straightforwardly and proudly, sadly and patiently, and with no appreciable motive. If they now and again listened to the seers and the apostles, who tried to tell them of a motive which should ennoble their activities, who tried to show them beyond the dark streets where the town ended a brightness greater and purer than that of the lamps, they very soon realised that there was no truth in the words of the seers and the apostles. They soon turned away from them again to begin or continue their labour, to build great houses by the river side, to wait comfortably for death, or to carry heaps of stones from one side of the road to the other, to heap gold up in the cellars, to judge one another and to sentence one another, to torture one another ingeniously, to murder trees and animals, to make innumerable objects which were necessary to their useless lives…”
December 28, 2013
Libya releases four US detained military personnel
WASHINGTON: Four US military personnel have been freed after a brief detention by the Libyan government, a US official said late on Friday.
The four were released just two hours after the US State Department announced their detention, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Neither the State Department nor the Pentagon gave any further information on the case. The New York Times, citing unnamed US officials, said the military staff were attached to the security team at the US embassy in Tripoli and may have been scouting escape routes for possible future use by diplomats.
The Pentagon also said that the US military were prepared to train between 5,000 and 8,000 Libyan army troops at a base in Bulgaria. There were also plans to train a separate counter-terrorism unit, said Admiral William McRaven, commander of US Special Operations Command.
December 27, 2013
5-7 Air Defense Artillery Soldiers assume responsibilities in Turkey
By Staff Sgt. John Zumer
GAZIANTEP, Turkey: After months of hard training and expectation, the rubber finally hit the road in Turkey for the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command.
With a formal transfer of authority in the southeastern Turkey city of Gaziantep, Dec. 13, the formidable responsibilities…now becomes [sic] the daily mission for nearly 300 air defense Soldiers out of Rhine Ordnance Barracks in Germany.
“At the end of the day, never forget that there are more than a million people in the city of Gaziantep depending on you for protection from ballistic missiles across the border,” said Col. Greg Brady, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command commander, who had traveled with numerous United States Army Europe representatives, including Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, the U.S. Army Europe commander, to attend the event.
During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Lisa Bartel, 5-7 ADA commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Burnley, the senior enlisted adviser for 5-7 ADA, uncased their unit colors, signaling the official changing of the guard. The ballistic missile defense responsibilities in southeastern Turkey now assumed by 5-7 ADA had previously been held by the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, from Fort Sill, Okla.
The NATO-sanctioned mission in Turkey, expected to last up to one year for the 5-7 ADA contingent, includes air defense forces from The Netherlands and Germany. The NATO countries have been assisting the Turkish government…
“We are here for a tactical ballistic missile defense, and we look forward to working with all our partners,” she said.
“Our continued commitment to this NATO mission is stronger than ever,” said Brady, adding that Turkish assistance on deployment matters had been invaluable and much appreciated.
Multiple Turkish news outlets were present to cover the event, highlighting further the importance of the air defense mission. For many of the 5-7 ADA Soldiers, establishing a daily routine in the middle of the holiday season away from their families may take some getting used to. As difficult as that may be, however, it won’t prevent them from taking care of the most important piece of business, according to one leading authority.
“Protecting Gaziantep is our mission,” said Burnley.
Alaska Public Radio
December 18, 2013
Greely Missile-Defense Base Prepares For More Interceptors
By Tim Ellis, APRN Contributor
Fort Greely’s missile-defense base could get a big boost in spending this year if the U.S. Senate approves a measure worked out last week by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
The Senate this week will consider approving a federal-budget bill and National Defense Authorization Act, which calls for $80 million in construction at the missile base. That’s in addition to upgrades at the base that will increase the number of interceptor missiles there from the current 26 to 40.
Belt-tightening fever in Washington has been putting a lot of pressure on the Pentagon budget over the past couple of years. But Matt Felling, a spokesman for Senator Lisa Murkowski, says the bipartisan deals lawmakers cut last week favor a buildup at Fort Greely’s missile-defense base.
“Greely will benefit, and that will be good for our ground-based missile support up in Alaska,” Felling said.
But, those benefits depend on the Senate approving missile-defense funding in two measures. Those are the federal-budget bill passed by the House on Friday. The other is the Defense authorization measure, which sets Pentagon spending policy. That measure calls for construction of an 80-million-dollar mechanical engineering building at Greely’s missile field 1.
That’s one of three missile fields at the base, and it’s been shut down for more than four years because of water damage in its underground
Missile Defense Agency spokesman Richard Lehner says that damage was cleaned over the summer and fall in preparation for upgrades at missile field 1 that’ll take place over the next three years. When that’s done, six interceptor missiles will be placed in silos there, and another eight will go to
missile field 2.
Felling says Murkowski and others believe Greely’s missile base should be expanded even more. He says the senator sees that as more practical than a competing proposal to build another missile-defense base in the northeastern United States at an estimated cost of $3.6 billion.
“It would be far cheaper to add or make some upgrades at Greely than it would to buy real estate in New England and build something brand new, from scratch,” Felling said.
But the performance of the ground-based interceptor system remain unproven. The interceptors have failed to knock out dummy enemy missiles in 8 of 16 tests, most recently in July.
The 2014 defense budget would invest nearly $190 million for missile and radar upgrades to improve the ground-based system.
Murkowski says further expansion at Greely may well hinge on the Pentagon’s ability to demonstrate the ground-based system works. So she says there’s a lot riding on the next test, scheduled for March.
From Tolstoi (1928)
Translated by H.T. Lowe-Porter
Much, very much of the misprision and violence done to the idea and to human dignity, which our age complacently pockets up – for which it will stand in history – would not have been borne by the “fatalistic” nineteenth century. Often, in 1914, it occurred to me that the war would not dare to break out if the keen, shrewd eyes of that old man at Yasnaya Polyana had still been open on the world.
From Goethe and Tolstoy (1922)
Translated by H.T. Lowe-Porter
[On] the Iberian Peninsula, where the destruction of the liberal system was still more obvious than in Italy, things have taken the same course, even more decisively; military dictatorship has been well established there for some time. But, indeed, all over Europe – as a consequence of the war and as a sign of an anti-liberal temper – the waters of nationalism are mightily swollen. The individual peoples of Europe display a turkey-cock self-assertiveness, a furious self-deification, in striking contrast to the poverty and prostration of the continent as a whole.
Does not all our love of our kind rest on a brotherly, sympathetic recognition of the human being’s well-nigh hopelessly difficult situation? Yes, there is a patriotism of humanity, and it rests on this: we love human beings because they have such a hard time – and because we are one of them ourself!
Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 27, 2013
US Fighter Jets to Patrol Baltic Airspace
RIGA: The US Air Force will patrol the airspace over the Baltic states for four months starting from January, Lithuanian media reported Friday, citing the country’s military.
Four US F-15C Eagle fighter jets will replace the current Belgian F-16AM Fighting Falcons on a rotation basis.
A round-the-clock mission to guard the airspace over Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia has been conducted since 2004 when the ex-Soviet republics joined NATO. The three states say they do not have their own air assets to ensure safety and security of national and NATO airspace.
Patrols have been carried out on a three- to four-month rotation basis by 14 NATO states, including Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Poland from Lithuania’s first air base in Zokniai, near the northern city of Siauliai.
Deployments usually comprise four fighter planes and between 50 and 100 support personnel.
The three Baltic countries reportedly pay some $4 million per year to cover the deployment expenses.
Trend News Agency
December 28, 2013
Georgia hopes that NATO will offer new tool at next summit
By Nana Kirtzkhalia
Tbilisi: Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania hopes that NATO will offer Georgia a qualitatively new tool at the next summit. There is a certain agreement with the management of the alliance on this issue, Alasania said on Friday.
“The dynamics between Georgia and Europe in terms of integration gives us reason to believe that NATO will offer us a new tool,” he said. “I had several consultations with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, as well as NATO member-states and there is a general agreement that Georgia must get a new tool. We promote this by transformation. As you know, we had successful election. This will also depend on the justice reform. Based of this, I have a reasonable hope that it is necessary to wait for a successful summit in Great Britain next year.”
Translated by NH
Edited by CN
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 28, 2013
MoD’s Report on Georgia’s NATO Integration
Today Deputy Defence Minister Mikheil Darchiashvili summed up NATO-Georgia cooperation during 2013 with MPs. Permanent Representative of Georgia to NATO Levan Dolidze focused on Georgia’s aspiration to North-Atlantic Alliance at the meeting with the members of Defence and Security Committee. Deputy State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Davit Dondua and Director of Security Policy and Euro-Atlantic Integration Department of MFA, Giorgi Dolidze delivered information to the MPs on Georgia’s progress achieved to NATO integration path and the future plans.
While reviewing Georgia’s NATO membership, the progress achieved in Georgian Armed Forces was paid a special attention that is underlined in NATO Annual Assessment. Future plans of cooperation with NATO were the topics of the discussion as well. “We spoke Georgia’s path to NATO 2014 Summit. Georgian MPs’ engagement in this process is very essential. I’d like to extend my gratitude to our deputies for expressing attention and interest towards the process ongoing in the MoD. Parliamentary oversight is one of the important components of democracy development. We achieve effective progress in this direction” – outlined Mikheil Darchiashvili.
Chairman of Defence and Security Committee Irakli Sesiashvili positively assessed cooperation between Defence Ministry and NATO. As he stated, Georgia has positive expectations at NATO 2014 Summit.
Chief of General Staff of GAF, Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze and Deputy Defence Minister Irakli Gegechkori also attended the meeting on NATO issues with the members of Defence and Security Committee held in General Staff HQ.
December 27, 2013
Obama signs National Defense Authorization Act
President of the United States Barack Obama on Thursday signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2014, the White House announced. The annual measure authorizes appropriations and lays out policies for the Defense Department and other national security programs. The program includes cooperation and assistance to partner countries, including Georgia.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Davit Zalkaliani confirmed this fact at the meeting of several parliamentary commissions. Zalkaliani says that he was notified by Georgian ambassador to the United States about the decision on his way from Tbilisi to Kutaisi. The draft bill was under discussion at the House of Representatives and the Senate for past few years.
Davit Zalkaliani says the document is of greatest importance for Georgia.
From Death in That Garden (1954)
Translated by Humphrey Hare
Looking glasses are like Spanish inns: you find in them what you bring to them. In general, Captain Corazon brought to it a dashing musical-comedy officer who succeeded in all he undertook in life, both with women and in war, and who had attained the rank of general, though only twenty-four. Or again, he was a togaed Caesar or a Genghis Khan, personally decapitating subordinates. As he could not spend his whole life in this solitary pleasure, he often endeavored to transplant this beyond-the-looking-glass world into reality, frenziedly trying to impose on others, and on his men in particular, the part he was playing on a given day. Since he was never certain of having succeeded (for, indeed, it is only in solitude that it is possible to triumph over the universe without encountering resistance), he had a panic fear of what people might be saying of him and, confusing his own person almost unconsciously with higher authority, the derision he might be arousing with a crime against the State, he had organized a system of informers wherever he had served.
The captain had continued his discourse. And the whole time he was talking, Tormay had wondered who Bolivarolette was impersonating that evening. Robespierre perhaps? Robespierre rousing the Constituent Assembly by depicting the danger in which the country stood? Or Churchill in the House of Commons, in 1940, announcing blood, toil, tears and sweat? But perhaps he was impersonating no one but the general he believed himself to be, that Great Imaginary Soldier whose luster and heroism he was miming and whose historic gestures he no doubt rehearsed in the moth-eaten looking glass. In the cunningly timed pause that followed on a number of ridiculous remarks concerning “the restoration of the situation,” “the making of an example,” “the rumors to be scotched” and “the leaders of the riot to be suppressed,” Corazon demanded Bolivano’s head.
“Really, Father,” he cried, as if he were sounding a tocsin against himself, “you know what soldiers are!”
The old priest nodded, as if impersonal labels enabled him to see more clearly; it was enough to say “soldiers” or “police” rather than “men,” to get him to admit, on occasion, the ferocity of the species…
Voice of Russia
December 27, 2013
US “missile defense” is the key element in US first-strike attack planning. After the US launches a first-strike attack against a country like Russia or China they want to ensure that there is no retaliation, in effect guaranteeing a successful first-strike attack. This was stated by Bruce Gagnon the Coordinator for the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space in an interview with the Voice of Russia. Mr. Gagnon is an expert in US weapons system and proliferation and has been an activist against militarization for decades. He also said that the US needs to stop spending trillions on weapons and start using the money to help deal with the reality of climate change as well as improve infrastructure if we are to have a future for our children and our grandchildren. He also reminded us of the teaching of the native Americans who believed that every decision we make has to be based on the impact to the next seven generations.
You are listening to Part II of an interview with Bruce Gagnon, the coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. You can find the previous part pf this interview on our website at Voiceofrussia.com. This interview is in progress.
Robles: It’s interesting you’d mentioned that, yesterday Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of Communist Party here in Russia, was speaking on TV, he gave an interview and he said that the principles of the Catholic Church and the Church in general of humanism and caring for people are almost the same as socialist ideals.
Gagnon: If the Catholic Church would just sell all of their gold artifacts that surround the Pope that would help to be able to reduce poverty in a big way all over the planet.
Robles: Yeah. That is true. Back, if we could, to the weapons. You’ve given us some really interesting information about weapons systems. I remember you informed us about the space drones. We’re talking about hypersonic missiles and first-strike weapons and all of the stuff that is being put together in the guise of a “defensive shield”. Can you give us more details about the shield, the missiles, what is going into it and what the real dangers are?
Gagnon: So-called missile defense, this is a system that has had a long life ever since the days of Ronald Reagan. Bill Clinton kept it alive, George Bush the second kept it going, Obama now continues it. And the funding for it has held steady and continues to grow over the years.
The whole idea of quote unquote “missile defense” in the real world: it is the key element in US first-strike attack planning, after the US launches a first-strike attack against another country like Russia or China. They want to ensure that there is no retaliation, right? The US wants a successful first-strike attack.
So by surrounding Russia and China with the so-called missile defense systems. What they do is they say: “After we hit Russia or China with a first-strike attack, they then try to fire their remaining retaliatory capability”. And the US would them pick that off, pick off that retaliatory strike with these missile defense systems.
They would be ground-based, be put right now into Poland and Romania, there are radars going into several places and then there would also be sea-based. The US is putting these missile defense systems on navy destroyers that are going to be sent into the Mediterranean, into the Baltic, into the Bering and Barents Seas.
So clearly the US intention is to, and in as many ways as possible, encircle Russia and they are doing the same thing with China, they are putting these missile defense systems on the ground and on ships in Taiwan and South Korea, in Japan, in Okinawa, in Guam.
So, they are beginning the same kind of coastal encirclement of China with these missile defense systems.
So what is Russia or China to do? Well, Russia has early said that “it is not in our interest now to reduce the number of nuclear weapons when you are creating the so-called missile defense system to essentially take out our retaliatory capability”.
So, Russia is saying “we think, we might have to step back from some of these treaties that reduce our retaliatory capability”, that of course means we’re off to new arms raise. At the same time the US is working on what they call “global strike weapons”. And these are the weapons that Putin talked about in his big speech yesterday, that would be able to go from one end of the Earth to the other in a first strike capacity but not necessarily carrying a nuclear warheads.
The US would have bunker-buster missiles, for example, and their job would be to reach the other side of the world in a very short period of time and then burrow underground and destroy underground missile silos.
When Russia sees, or China sees, these global strike weapons coming through space towards them: do they know whether they are nuclear weapons or do they know whether they are conventional warheads? No. And so it is still the same reaction necessitated by the part of the country being attacked.
So the US knows that these new global strike systems are very destabilizing and they are going to create a new arms race but that is what they want to do.
They want to do it for two reasons. Number one is they want to say: “Look, Russia and China are building up their military, they are bad. We need more, we should be afraid of them. We here in the US need more”. And that is exactly what they are saying today.
And secondly, of course, it means that we have to cut more and more social programs in the US to fund these new military programs in a way that obviously the US, its moves are helping to create these counter moves which then justify further US military expansion. It’s all a big shell game on the part of the military industrial complex.
Robles: Now; social spending in the US, I don’t think there is too much more they can actually cut, do you?
Gagnon: They are getting down to the bone, but there still is some. They are trying to privatize public education now and that means that the corporations would take over public education and they would do a corporate brainwashing, teaching children that capitalism is the “Holy Grail”.
It would become like a religion even stronger than it already is in this country. So that is one goal to continue to defund public education.
They are dying to get a hold of people’s Social Security there, the meager retirement fund that we have in this country, one of the few socialized programs we have. And they are just dying to get their hands on that money.
Robles: I thought they’ve already had.
Gagnon: Well, no. People love Social Security and people don’t want it touched. They’ve touched it but they haven’t taken it apart yet.
Robles: I see. I think it is the only security that Americans have when they get old. That is it.
Gagnon: The corporations have gone after the private pension plans, because these private pension plans get invested in Wall Street and when Wall Street goes down, people lose money in their private pension plans. And so what the capitalism wants to do, what Wall Street wants to do is to get rid of self-security and move all that money into Wall Street so they can just steal it from the people.
But I have a friend who lost 40% of his retirement savings that is invested by the corporations that run these private retirement programs, it gets invested in Wall Street. He lost 40% of his life-time savings because of the shenanigans on Wall Street. This is a kind of thing that is going on today.
Robles: Have you seen anything linking NSA to space defense and NATO expansion and satellite surveillance and all that..
Gagnon: Sure it is all part of it. Two of the bigger NSA listening stations are Menwith Hill up in Yorkshire, England and Pine Gap in the outback in Australia. Those are two of the biggest US NSA spy bases and the very same bases are involved in flying drones, they are involved in espionage, both against the people of Asia or Europe and against companies, corporations in Europe for example, that are bidding against American corporations.
US is spying on those with the NSA spy base at Menwith Hill up in Northern England. And this has been brought to the EU in fact during the George W. Bush Administration, EU sent people to Washington to talk to Bush about it and he refused to meet with them to discuss this US industrial espionage. So the NSA, it is tied into all of that stuff, it is tied into surveillance, it is tied into war fighting, it is all playing the same shtick.
Robles: And it is all serving who? Just the military/ industrial/pharmaceutical/corporate/banking complex or…? What are we going to call it now?
Gagnon: Yeah, what I like to call increasingly: the corporate–criminal syndicate. Yeah, the interlocking boards of directors and don’t forget the media corporations, the oil corporations. That what it is about.
Robles: Scary part is the media part for me. I mean, there is like a war going on journalist now and it is coming from all sides, even though we are Russian state media we sometimes feel it here.
Gagnon: When people get in power, they don’t like anybody knowing what they do. So no matter what country you are from, I think everybody understands that.
We in the US are working hard to create our own media, alternative media, so that is a big task that we all take on.
I do it, I have a TV show that plays on 14 stations across the State of Maine where I live. I have a daily blog that a lot of people read. And in fact some of my best readership I think is coming out of your show to be honest with you, because since I’ve been a couple of times on your show and I’ve been picking up all these readers on my blog from countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine.
Gagnon: It is amazing, you know. So I don’t know how else they would have heard about this show than maybe Voice of Russia. It’s pretty amazing.
Robles: Well, thank you. I’m glad that we are appreciated by somebody. Get a lot of comments like that from a lot of people who have very real and very important things to say, but US mass media doesn’t want to hear it. Bruce, anything else do you think we should get into?
Gagnon: All I can say is that all of us everywhere, in every country have to continue to demand the end of the militarization of the planet. Because we face one common enemy today, that is called climate change. What we saw recently happen in the Philippines, the severe weather that is happening everywhere on the planet today. It is getting worse every season.
Robles: But that is the elephant in the room: no one wants to talk about it. I know, we are losing islands, we are losing territory, we are losing hundreds of kilometers of land every day due to rising sea levels, but no one wants to talk about that.
Gagnon: My feeling is that we need to all be focused globally, all of us need to be focused on: stop wasting our money on militarism, on more weapons. We need to use that money to help us deal with this coming reality of climate change.
I mean, in my country we need a national rail system to get us out of our gas guzzling cars that help contribute to climate change. And so we continue to call for the conversion of the weapons productions system so that we can do something else, build something else, build rail, build solar, build a solar society, imagine putting solar devices on every house and business in the USA, imagine the jobs created doing that, imagine how much less oil we’d need when we do that.
So, the use of the kind of things that we all have got to demand if we are going to have a future for our children and our grandchildren. That’s what we need to be talking about.
The native Americans talked about every decision we make has to be based on the impact to the next seven generations. So all this money on star wars and space technology and space weapons technology – my country is leading the way.
China and the EU, and Russia, India think about the money that has been wasted on this incredibly stupid plan to militarize space.
That was the end of Part II of an interview with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. Thank you very much for listening and I wish you the best wherever you may be.
Voice of Russia
December 26, 2013
Photo: RIA Novosti
With regard to Syria, President Vladimir Putin, in the words of George Galloway, “played a blinder” and prevented a cataclysm for the entire world an accomplishment more than worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was also instrumental in preventing the evisceration of the Syrian people and Syria and also had a “great year”. Outspoken defender of rule of law, sovereignty and the rights of the people, British MP George Galloway, spoke with the Voice of Russia about these issues and more. Calling US President Obama an “empty raincoat”, he blasted Obama’s hypocrisy and callousness with regard to his attitude to the mothers of children who are “eviscerated by Hellfire Missiles” under Obama’s illegal and extra-judicially murder by drone of people around the world.
This is John Robles, you are listening to an interview with George Galloway, a member of the British Parliament. This is part 2 of an interview in progress. You can find the previous and the following parts of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com
Robles: Can I ask your opinion, since this is the Voice of Russia, what is your opinion about Russia’s position on Syria?
Galloway: President Putin is my man of the year. And I don’t see how anyone could stand up against that nomination. He really has played a blinder, first of all on the Snowden affair and then seizing the moment: I mean, John Kerry was in London when he presented that opportunity, when he said at a press conference with William Hague beside him, he said that: “… the only thing that can stop this imminent attack is for President Assad to give up his chemical weapons in their entirety.”
And as soon as I heard that, I realized that an opening had just presented itself, that no sooner had Kerry spoken, when President Putin and Minister Lavrov, who is another man who has had a great year, seized that opportunity and saved the world from a cataclysm. And if you don’t get a Nobel Peace Prize for that, I’m not sure what you’d get it for. Perhaps, like Obama, you get it for actually creating war and mayhem around the world.
Robles: I think that Nobel has lost its credibility anyway, especially with Obama. I mean, they should have demanded it back. He is engaged in continuous, open extra-judicial execution and he is non-apologetic about it.
Galloway: That’s right! And he holds a meeting every week, I think it is on Thursday, but it may be on Tuesday…
Robles: Terror Tuesday.
Galloway: It’s Tuesday. He goes through a kill list and signs people’s death warrants. Absolutely extra-judicially, extra-territorially, murderously. And yet at Sandy Hook and other places, he goes there and sobs and breaks into tears rolling down his face over the death of innocents in these maniacal shootouts in American schools. But it doesn’t seem to occur to him that mothers whose children are eviscerated by these Hellfire Missiles, are crying just the same as the mothers at Sandy Hook.
Robles: What did you think about Obama at Nelson Mandela’s funeral? I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
Galloway: I do, of course. I felt that the Obama myth has survived in some parts of the world, perhaps, obviously and particularly in Africa, but in truth President Obama is just an empty suit. The only thing that he has going for him, the only thing that is praiseworthy about him, is that he was a black man who got elected as President of the US.
He is a little better, if better at all, than George W. Bush, and you can’t say worse than that. And he doesn’t even have the alibi that George W. Bush had of being an imbecile. President Obama is a professor. He is probably the best educated president there’s ever been. And the alibi that Bush had just doesn’t wash with him. So, that is all the more condemnable.
Robles: Who would you say…? People have said: “Well, it is not his fault, there is this shadow government controlling everything, it is the CIA, it is the banking interests and monied interests that are controlling everything, it is not Obama’s fault that he betrayed his own people and everybody else when he became President.”
Galloway: I just don’t buy that. The elected President of the US is the most powerful man in the world. And that, at the beginning of his first term in his landslide victory, with the American capitalism on its knees, with the country embroiled in unpopular and losing wars, it was open to Obama to become Roosevelt +. He could have utterly transformed the landscape and he utterly failed to do so. He is just an empty raincoat, I’m sorry.
Robles: That’s true! I mean, even black Americans, they are worse off now than they were even in the 60s, when they were trying to get out of segregation. And they can’t say anything, the liberal left can’t say anything in the US against Obama because he is supposed to be “their” man. How can you say something bad about the first black president in history? But…
Galloway: You know, feminists, were equally wrong footed, when Margaret Thatcher became the Prime Minister of Britain in 1979, for a decade they had been telling us how different things would be if only women were in the top positions of power, how many fewer wars there would be, how much less aggression there would be in public life, how nicer and kinder and gentler politics would be. And Mrs. Thatcher came along and proved that it is not the presence of testicles in a leader that makes them venal, it is the politics and the economic beliefs that they have running through their veins; that’s what counts.
Robles: Well I think it’s what they have as well – a complete lack of conscience. Speaking about Thatcher, I was shocked when I found out about the people she’d let that had starved themselves to death.
Galloway: Indeed, the Irish hunger strikers were willfully starved to death by the Thatcher administration, and ten men were dead and blood flooded pitifully in Ireland and in Britain for many-many years, directly as a result of her obduracy. She thought nothing of assassination, she thought nothing of killing and she certainly thought nothing of laying waste industrial Britain and leaving it as a kind of postindustrial slagheap which sowed problems an ocean deep.
Robles: She devastated, as I understand, all the unions and all the working collectives and everything.
Galloway: Indeed, she destroyed the trade unionism; she destroyed 35% of manufacturing capacity in Britain which was considerably more than Hitler’s Luftwaffe managed to do. And her legacy is still causing grief and pain, even now that she is dead and twenty years after she left office.
Robles: I would call you, if don’t mind, a champion of legality and rule of law. I think you are one of the few people that I’ve heard that I agree with almost everything you say. Sergey Lavrov and President Putin have also been calling on the rule of law in solving conflicts, respect for sovereignty, respect for international law. Do you see any way to bring back, or rein in, or somehow bring sanity back into the world?
Galloway: We have to draw a line in the sand now. And that line should have been drawn over Libya. The Libyan dictatorship was a vile one. And it took an act of real genius to replace the vile dictatorship of Gaddafi with a worse set of rulers than existed before them. And this should have been stopped, and it wasn’t.
And Russia and China should have vetoed the proposal to impose the NATO-led no-fly zone on Libya, which became not a no-flies but a plenty-fly zone, it became a free-bomb zone. And it led to the thirst for regime change by foreign attack, invasion of one kind or another, and that thirst becoming literally ravenous. And we are lucky that we stopped it after Libya, and we had to.
We have to undo the Blair-Chicago doctrine – this notion of a responsibility to protect – which of course is open to the interpretation of any member state. I mean, for example, according to the Chicago doctrine which has been now used in Yugoslavia…
Robles: You are speaking about NATO doctrines, as far as I know.
Galloway: Yes, but they have been allowed to become United Nation’s doctrine. They were stopped by Russia and China over Syria. But they must be rolled back, because if you allow any member state to invade any other member state, because it claims that it has a responsibility to protect people in that country, then the recipe for a total international anarchy is complete.
Imagine now, if President Putin were to invade Ukraine, he could easily claim that he had a responsibility to protect the Russian-speaking people there and he could move the Russian armed forces in there. He could easily have done so in Latvia and Lithuania, and other places where the rights and even the safety of Russian-speaking people there were being prejudiced, some of them extreme prejudiced.
You simply can’t have a world where any member of the United Nations can invade any other member on the basis of this responsibility to protect. We have to go back to a time, it seems long and distant. Alas, I’ve lived long enough to remember when it was the norm, which is that every nation state is sovereign and that it has sovereign rights, and one of those sovereign rights is not to be invaded and occupied and regime-changed by other states. We have to get back to that situation or the world will become increasingly lawless and anarchic.
That was the end of part 2 of an interview with British Member of Parliament George Galloway. You can find the previous and following parts of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com.
Russia & India Report
December 25, 2013
Why Russia deployed Iskander missiles at the EU borders
The German tabloid Bild’s recent report about Russia deploying 9K720 Iskander-M theatre ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad Region sparked an outcry in Europe and elsewhere in the world. All the more so that, according to the article, the Iskander (NATO reporting name SS-26 Stone) can destroy a variety of ground targets, from missile systems and long-range artillery pieces to air defence and anti-ballistic missile (ABM) infrastructure. Bild additionally stressed the Iskander system’s mobility, stealth, and short standby-to-launch times.
The tabloid failed to provide the “classified satellite imagery” it was referring to, so it is hard to believe its statements that there are indeed Iskander-M’s in Kaliningrad Region. In fact, the Russian military in its formal reaction did not mention any specific deployment areas, saying only that the missiles were not stationed in the Western Military District (of which Kaliningrad Region is a part).
Bild also omitted to explain to its readers what (or who) could have caused Moscow to put theatre ballistic missiles so close to the EU borders. The explanation is simple: Russia is being made to do so by Germany’s NATO ally, the U.S. But how, and why?
One of the reasons is that the U.S. keeps 180 tactical nuclear charges at six air bases in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey – unlike Russia, which stores all its tactical nuclear munitions within its borders. The B61 bombs are intended for delivery by McDonnel Douglas F-15E and Lockheed Martin F-16 warplanes. Both these aircraft types are in service with even non-nuclear NATO members, including the Belgian, Dutch, and Turkish air forces.
Germany and Italy operate Panavia Tornado fast jets, which can also carry B61 bombs. B61-capable NATO fighters from different European countries take turns on combat duty near the town of Siauliai in Lithuania, periodically flying patrol sorties along the Baltic coast. A supersonic fighter jet needs 15 to 20 minutes to get from the Baltic Sea to, say, Russia’s Smolensk. It would be extremely careless of the Russian top brass to ignore this threat to the country’s security and fail to take measures against a possible nuclear strike. The Iskander-M is only one segment of the defensive system the Russian army maintains to protect its citizens.
That system also includes the Voronezh-DM early warning radar station, also located in Kaliningrad Region. The radar monitors the Atlantic, which is patrolled by U.S. and British nuclear-capable submarines. Another reason why Russia is being forced to take security measures is because the U.S. is persistent in its attempts to introduce components of its ABM system in Europe. This would threaten the strategic missiles located in European Russia, which comprise one half of the Russian nuclear missile arsenal.
Washington originally planned to build an anti-missile radar in the Czech Republic and put interceptor missiles in Poland. Then the U.S. adopted a stepwise ABM deployment program; in the first phase of the plan, which is already on, an ABM base with SM-3 1B interceptors is being built near the Romanian town of Deveselu. A similar base should be built in Poland, not far from the border with Kaliningrad Region. Must Russia react to these plans, which Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu has described as confrontational? Any military man will tell you it must.
Some Russian citizens, apparently under the spell of the U.S. rhetoric, argue that the American ABM plans are not threatening Russia in any way, and are nothing but a measure to protect Europe and the United States against such unfriendly and unpredictable regimes as Iran and North Korea. But Washington appears to have finally persuaded Tehran to stand down its nuclear ambitions.
This prompted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to assume that Washington might now revise its European ABM plans. No such luck: both President Barack Obama, the U.S. Secretary of Defence and lower-rank U.S. officials keep insisting that Iran still cannot be trusted. Besides, they say, the ABM system is not aimed against any country in particular, but serves as a potential instrument of countering possible threats from all sides.
What is Russia left to do? Washington keeps complaining about potential threats, but are there no threats to Moscow? According to Shoygu, “The European ABM program is well under way, and our concerns are being disregarded. We see no predictability in the U.S. and NATO ABM plans.” The result is that Iskander-M theatre missiles are being deployed in Kaliningrad Region.
From First Harvest (Les Gens du pays) (1943)
Translated by Haakon Chevalier
He derived no pleasure from trampling the tilled fields pf others, whether they were Poles, Belgians, or Greeks – for he had traveled a great deal in the course of the following months – and he observed his companions with a disapproving eye, especially the young ones, ignorant and talkative townspeople like his brother-in-law, the café-waiter, who frantically went about ruining the land. Each time he saw a field delivered to the treads of the tanks, a cow galloping before a fire, he would think of his farm, and his heart would contract. He could not figure out why the builders of the New Order – certain magic words of the time had found their way to him – should begin by tearing down fences and burning barns. In short, in the triumphal march across the Continent which the world agreed in recognizing as the best organized in history, Huber discerned only a frightful mess.
Grimaces going back to an even more remote past were superimposed upon her features; her lower lip expanded, protruded as it did when she was a child to announce tears; and in a voice which her sister hardly recognized, not having heard it since their adolescence, Madame Jeanne said, “But they can’t shoot people that way, Marton.”
Perhaps she remembered the last war, the chef commenting at breakfast on the news in the paper; the pits of Vincennes, where spies were executed; Mata-Hari the flashy “and the officer waved his white-gloved hand”; perhaps she dumbly believed in the solemnity of death.
“Yes, they can,” said Marthe.
Xinhua News Agency
December 26, 2013
4 killed in U.S. drone strike in NW Pakistan
• At least 4 were killed in a U.S. drone strike late Wednesday night in Pakistan’s North Waziristan.
• U.S. unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at a house suspected of being a militant hideout.
• At least 166 people have reportedly been killed in such strikes so far this year.
ISLAMABAD: At least four people were killed and several others injured in a U.S. drone strike late Wednesday night in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area of North Waziristan, reported local Urdu TV channel ARY on Thursday.
According to local media reports, U.S. unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at a house suspected of being a militant hideout in Miranshah, a main town of North Waziristan which borders Afghanistan.
Identities of the killed and wounded and other details are not immediately available.
The U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan is the 26th of its kind (counted on daily basis) in Pakistan since this year. At least 166 people have reportedly been killed in such strikes so far this year.
While most of the victims are believed to be suspected militants, the U.S. drone strikes do often kill innocent people.
Late last month, U.S. drones launched an attack on a religious school in Pakistan’s northwest district of Hangu, killing at least 15 people including many students.
The strike triggered off a nationwide protest in Pakistan and has led to the blockade of the NATO supply routes via the country’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
December 23, 2013
The United Kingdom has been co-opted by the United States to carry out illegal surveillance and spying on its own citizens and on European countries, their citizens and officials. According to UK Member of Parliament, George Galloway, the way that the UK spyies on and hacks the phones of European leaders, while being paid a very small amount, is a crime against the world. Mr. Galloway described the way imperial powers and capitalist countries pretend to maintain legality as “lipstick on a pig”. In an interview with the Voice of Russia’s John Robles, Mr. Galloway also discussed his upcoming documentary, financed by donations from common UK citizens, titled “The Killing of Tony Blair” in which he will exposewhat he claims are heinous crimes committed by the former prime minister.
This is John Robles, you are listening to an interview with George Galloway, a member of the British Parliament. This is Part 1 of a longer interview.
Robles: Hello, Mr. Galloway. It’s a great pleasure speaking with you, I’m actually an admirer of yours from way back.
Galloway:Thank you! No, the pleasure is mine, thanks.
Robles: Thanks. First question I’d like to ask you about… if we could talk a little bit about your film that you are putting together regarding Tony Blair and his war crimes…
Galloway: Yes, not just his war crimes, but those will loom large in the charge sheet that the film intends to make.
It’s called “The Killing of Tony Blair,” it’s a triple entendre. It deals with his “killing of the Labor Party,” as we knew it, a party that working people in Britain had come to depend on for the best part of a century and which was murdered by him, and turned into quite the opposite of what it was intended to be.
The second “killing of Tony Blair,” of course, is the killing of a million people in Iraq and Afghanistan and by extension in Lebanon and in Palestine and other places.
And the third “killing” is the financial killing that he is making out of the previous two killings, having made the British economy more comfortable for the corporations, making their income tax bills shrink, easing their regulatory burden. He’s being rewarded by them now at vast eye-watering salaries as a consultant (whatever that means) for a variety of sundry corporations.
And of course having helped various tyrannies around the world he is now on the payroll of more countries than it is almost possible in one radio broadcast to adumbrate.
Some of them are very dodgy indeed, the Kuwait Royal Family for example, the previous Gaddafi dictatorship, and of course the government of South Sudan has also been the beneficiary of Mr. Blair’s “wisdom” and their country, the poorest in the world, the most corrupt in the world, just fell apart this very week and has collapsed as a state.
So, I’m not sure why these countries want to hire Mr. Blair. He did enough damage to the British economy. I don’t know why anyone else would want to employ him. But there you go.
Robles: I see. You mentioned Kuwait, Sudan, what about Saudi Arabia? Now there are coming out more and more revelations about their involvement with the 9-11 and terrorist groups in Syria, etc.
Galloway:Well of course, he is up to his neck with them, as the so-called “Peace Envoy,” and one of the objectives of our film is to have him dismissed from that position, which is I’ve said is the most inappropriate appointment since Caligula appointed his own horse as a Proconsul of Rome.
Mr. Blair is dripping in the blood of the people of the Middle East. And yet he’s employed by The Quartet as its Peace Envoy. But, so, he is up to his neck with the Saudis in that. I am not able to say at this point what if any financial involvement he has with them but of course he works for a number of corporations who do very big business throughout the Gulf, and that would not exclude Saudi Arabia.
Robles: I see. Now, you mentioned a number of a “million” people, I think it is purposefully obfuscated, the number of people that have died in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in Libya, that are being killed in Syria, etc. Where did you get your number of one million?
Galloway:Well, the Johns Hopkins University, one of the world’s greatest, and the Lancet, the journal of the British Medical Association, their estimation is that more than one million people have died in Iraq as a direct and indirect result of Blair and Bush’s invasion. And I think you don’t have to be Einstein to work it out: a vast number of people were killed in the “shock and awe” of the initial invasion,and then of course the “serpent” of sectarianism was unleashed by the war and occupation, and deliberately fostered by the occupation. And it’s now taking a daily death toll in Iraq, almost as high as it ever was, at the very highest point of the post invasion killing around 2006 and 2007.
And of course, you rightly say, the same mindset – although Mr. Blair had gone from office – the same mindset is involved in the imperial attacks against Libya and the one that was putative attack against Syria, and also those plans that definitely existed for an attack on Iran. All of these things run out of the same stable as the Bush and Blair stable.
Just a reminder, you are listening to an interview with George Galloway
Robles: You mentioned Syria, I’d like to complement you. I feel you were instrumental in preventing another invasion. I watched (we watched) your speech in front of the Parliament.
Galloway:Well, it is kind of you to say that. I must say that in a lifetime in politics I don’t think I ever experienced a better day, than the day that in our debate in the British Parliament, my own speech being one of two or three, perhaps four, taken at the very height of the debate definitely switched the audience, no doubt. And we only won by 13 votes, which means if we hadn’t persuaded 7 people,if those 7 had voted the other way, then Britain would now be at war with Syria, and Iran by extension, and with Russia and China on the other side. And that would be a catastrophe hardly worth thinking about.
Robles: Now, I’ve heard you speak about conspiracy theories before, and stuff,and I know you take a very realistic “show me the evidence” type of stand, I think, if I understand properly?
Galloway:Yes, yes, you are right.
Robles: Do you think…? This has been said several times by several people and some people I’ve interviewed that: they don’t care, they would love to start – “they” meaning the banksters, or the elites or the 1 percent or whatever you want to call them – it would be very profitable for them to start World War 3, and they don’t really care about anything?
Galloway:Up to a point, John. Because if there has been war throughout the region, all-out-war throughout the region, then you wouldn’t have been able to purchase a barrel of oil, not at $150, not at $550. And the British and other western economies would have slumped into collapse.
So, of course, there are always some who profit from war. But few would have profited from that war, which is one of the reasons why I think the imperial powers have stepped back from it.
It is a rather more complex matter. I don’t buy the thesis that the 1 percent are organized in a kind of Bilderberg type of formation. It’s rather more complex than that. The oligarchies and the political elites just all automatically face the same direction because they have the same interests, by and large. They don’t need a conference to discuss it, they don’t need even a telephone call between each other in order to coordinate it. They, as a matter of instinct know which way to face in any conflict, in any big issue.
And that’s not surprising because, well, on the other side I also instinctively know which way to face, I also can ask my question of “who benefits cui bono.” And that gives me a diametrically opposite conclusion to them.
So, and I don’t need to consult anyone, I didn’t need to consult Moscow in the old days, and I don’t need to consult anybody now. I know what is in the interests of the mass of the working people, and the poor and the downtrodden of the world, and I know what is in the interests of the rulers of the world. And I’m with the poor and the working people always.
Robles: Wonderful to hear that. Very few people will dare, especially with some sort of power, will dare to take that position. I think the record has shown that is entirely the case, and you should be commended for that.
Galloway:Well, I once said, John, to a certain Senator, now ex-Senator Norman Coleman in the US Senate in 2005, when he was trying to push me around procedurally before we got started. I said: “Senator, don’t make the mistake of imagining that I’m afraid of you. I’m afraid only of God.” And that is the way that I conduct my life.
Just a reminder, you are listening to an interview with George Galloway-
Robles: You are in the halls of power, I mean you are dealing with things and you are witness to things that most people don’t know about that are affecting everybody. I’d like to ask your opinion about all the illegality. I mean where do they get this carte blanche?
Galloway:Well, John, I never put much store in their faith, or faith in their attitude to legality. I think this is lipstick on a pig. The capitalist states and the imperial powers – this is all just window dressing – its cosmetic. They talk about Law, but they practice something completely different overseas, and now increasingly in their decline they are practicing that same something different in their own countries.
Let’s just take one example. Edward Snowden’s revelations which were a signal service to humanity, for which he should get the Nobel Peace Prize, were treated by the British State as an act of terrorism. And the British State then began acting like a pirate.
The Guardian Newspaper, one of the great liberal institutions in the land, was raided by the political police with sledgehammers; I’m not making this up. And with those sledgehammers they,by force and without the permission of the owners of the computers, namely the Guardian Newspaper, smashed the hard drives – smashed them into pieces – so as to destroy evidence of malfeasance and wrong doing on the part of the British State.
Now, such actions would have been caricatured in the past by the British State as being the kind of thing that happens in dictatorships and autocracies, the kind of thing that happens anywhere except Britain. But it did happen in Britain and it happened in 2013.
So, I’m afraid it’s all just a veneer, that is very easily shredded, and if the British State had to, it would cast that veneer aside altogether.
So, I never place much faith in laws and justice. At the end of the day all states will treat existential threats to their own continuance in exactly the same way.
Robles: Do you think that the UK has lost a lot of sovereignty to the US, especially with all this NSA spying and stuff? Or is that…?
Galloway:No, I do, I believe that the British State has essentially rented itself out, I don’t want to be too candid in the analogy, but it has …
Robles: I was going to say lapdog, but I tried not to.
Galloway:Well it’s worse than that. It has prostituted itself to the United States. The GCHQ at Cheltenham is doing most of the heavy lifting for the National Security Agency, in the illegal vacuuming of the spectrum, and is collecting uncountable scores of millions of telephone calls, texts and e-mails every day across Europe, and further beyond, as the fiber optics cross the British landmass, coming from the United States across the Atlantic and thence to Europe.
Now, the British State is doing this through GCHQ because of the fact that there are more restrictions on the American State – imagine – the American State is more circumscribed by law than the British State is.
So the British hire themselves out to the US to carry out those things which would be illegal in the United States and hand over the rest. And by the way, if we are talking of prostitution, the price is no more than a $20 hooker, metaphorically speaking. We get 120 million pounds per year for carrying out this crime against the world, hacking the telephone of other European state’s people. For £120 million a year – my goodness! How cheap do you think we are? Well, pretty cheap as it turns out.
END PART 1
That was the end of Part 1 of an interview with British Member of Parliament George Galloway. You can find the next part of this interview on our website at Voiceofrussia.com. Thank you very much for listening, and as always I wish you all the best, and Happy Holidays wherever you may be.
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/2013_12_23/UK-s-GCHQ-doing-the-heavy-lifting-for-the-NSA-George-Galloway-5123/
Voice of Russia
December 25, 2013
NATO countries show anti-Russian sentiment – Lavrov
NATO member countries show anti-Russian sentiments as they are guided by fears of the Cold War times, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes.
“It’s unproductive and short-sighted to be guided by fears of the long-gone times [the Cold War times],” the Foreign Minister said in an interview to RT television.
He noted that Moscow is interested in cooperation with its neighbors and developing ties with all these countries.
“But when they get together in the framework of NATO, all of a sudden anti-Russian sentiments spring up,” Lavrov added.
“Influenced by these sentiments, some European partners still want to maintain separating lines and even push them farther to the east. It’s fruitless to look at the situation on our huge continent, Eurasia, through the concept “our or alien, either with us or against us,” he said.
He also indicated he favors the NATO-Russia Council contributing to the solidification of trust which “Euro-Atlantic relations lack so much”.
Voice of Russia, RIA
Erich Maria Remarque
From The Road Back (1930)
Translated by A.W. Wheen
For the last time we stand drawn up in the barracks square. Part of the company lives here in the neighbourhood and they are being disbanded. The rest of us must make our own way, for the railway services are so irregular that we cannot be transported farther in a body. Now we must separate.
The wide, grey square is much too big for us. Across it sweeps a bleak November wind, smelling of decay and death. We are lined up between the canteen and the guardroom; more space we do not require. There, rank on rank, invisible, stand the dead.
Heel passes down the company. And behind him soundlessly walks the ghostly train of his predecessors. Nearest to him, still bleeding from the neck, his chin torn away, with sorrowful eyes, goes Bertinck, company commander for a year and a half, a teacher, married, four children; beside him with black-green face, Möller, nineteen years of age, gas-poisoned three days after he took command of the company; and next, Redecker, forestry surveyor, two weeks later bashed into the earth by a direct hit; then still paler, more remote, Büttner, captain, killed in a raid with a machine-gun bullet through the heart; and like the shadows behind them, already almost without a name, so far back, the others – seven company commanders in two years. And more than five hundred men. – Thirty-two are now standing in the barracks square.
“The misery of millions is too big a price to pay for the heroics of a few.”
“We do want a lot more! We want an end of war, an end of all this hatred! An end of murder! That’s what we’re after. We want to be men again, not war machines!”
The dim, uncertain light in the drying yard flickers – then suddenly, like a shadow, remote, another scene rises up away beyond it: fluttering linen, a solitary mouth organ in the evening, a march in the dusk – and scores of dead Negroes in faded blue greatcoats, with burst lips and bloody eyes – gas. The scene stands out for a moment, then it wavers and vanishes.
The rest of us gathered the corpses that lay about in the area ahead of us and put them side by side in a long row till the grave should be ready…A few of the dead had already black, putrefied faces – putrefaction was rapid during the wet months. On the other hand they did not stink quite so badly as in summer. Some of them were soaked and sodden with water like sponges. One we found lying flat, spread-eagled on the ground. Only when we took him up did we see that there was practically nothing left of him but the rags of his uniform, he was so pulped…Such stray arms, legs or heads as we found we set apart on a waterproof sheet by themselves…
The sergeant major stood there and peered down into the pallid face below, upon which the inconceivable expression of horror was frozen to a stillness that almost screamed.
“Better say the prayer now and get back,” said Albert coldly.
The sergeant major wiped his forehead. “I can’t,” he murmured. The horror had caught him. – We all had that experience: for weeks together a man might feel nothing. Then suddenly there would come some new, unforeseen thing and it would break him down. – With green face he stumbled off to the dugout.
Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 25, 2013
Russia, China to Ensure Security of Syrian Chemical Stockpile
MOSCOW: Russia and China are in charge of providing security for the Syrian government’s chemical arsenal as it is being taken out of the country, a senior Russian diplomat said on Wednesday.
“We have undertaken ensuring that those chemicals are safely loaded onto Dutch and Norwegian container ships and safely transported while in Syrian waters. In other words, we will convoy these vessels,” Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the foreign ministry’s security and disarmament department, told RIA Novosti.
“We are not going to do this on our own, our Chinese partners will assist us,” he said. “It will be the first time when the military of Russia and China will perform their professional tasks side-by-side in a real-life crisis, not during joint drills.”
The operation to destroy the Syrian government’s arsenal of more than 1,000 metric tons of weapons-grade chemicals is due to take place in two stages. The most dangerous weapons have to be removed from Syria by the end of December and destroyed at sea by April, whereas the rest is slated for destruction by mid-2014.
Russia is among many countries assisting the disarmament effort. Last week, Moscow deployed 75 vehicles in Syria to transport the dangerous cargo.
Russia will also donate up to $2 million to finance the international operation. The money is to be transferred to UN accounts soon.
The United States will provide a navy ship upon which the chemicals will be neutralized in international waters, as well as nearly 3,000 container drums to store the chemicals and GPS trackers to monitor their movement. It will also provide loading, transportation and decontamination equipment.
Denmark and Norway will provide ships and military escorts for transporting the Syrian chemicals at sea and for carrying chemicals to be disposed of at commercial facilities.
Finland has also offered chemical weapon “emergency-response” capabilities, and Italy has provided access to a port for trans-loading the priority chemicals from Danish and Norwegian vessels to the US ship.
William Cullen Bryant
(Supposed to be written by a Spaniard)
No trumpet-blast profaned
The hour in which the Prince of Peace was born;
No bloody streamlet stained
Earth’s silver rivers on that sacred morn;
But, o’er the peaceful plain,
The war-horse drew the peasant’s loaded wain.
The soldier had laid by
The sword and stripped the corselet from his breast,
And hung his helm on high –
The sparrow’s winter home and summer nest;
And, with the same strong hand
That flung the barbed spear, he tilled the land.
Oh, time for which we yearn;
Oh, sabbath of the nations long foretold!
Season of peace, return,
Like a late summer when the year grows old,
When the sweet sunny days
Steeped mead and mountain-side in golden haze.
For now two rival kings
Flaunt, o’er our bleeding land, their hostile flags,
And every sunrise brings
The hovering vulture from his mountain-crags
To where the battle-plain
Is strewn with dead, the youth and flower of Spain.
Christ is not come, while yet
O’er half the earth the threat of battle lowers,
And our own fields are wet,
Beneath the battle-cloud, with crimson showers –
The life-blood of the slain,
Poured out where thousands die that one may reign.
Soon, over half the earth,
In every temple crowds shall kneel again
To celebrate His birth
Who brought the message of good-will to men,
And bursts of joyous song
Shall shake the roof above the prostrate throng.
Christ is not come, while there
The men of blood whose crimes affront the skies
Kneel down in act of prayer,
Amid the joyous strains, and when they rise
Go forth, with sword and flame,
To waste the land in His most holy name.
Oh, when the day shall break
O’er realms unlearned in warfare’s cruel arts,
And all their millions wake
To peaceful tasks performed with loving hearts,
On such a blessed morn,
Well may the nations say that Christ is born.
December 24, 2013
US wants to ‘maintain military presence in Afghanistan’
The United States insists on maintaining a military presence in the region by keeping its air bases and troops in Afghanistan, says Rick Rozoff from Stop NATO.
“We have to remember that the US is going to under any circumstances maintain its military presence particularly its major ungraded air bases throughout the country, which should be a cause for concern not only for the Afghan people, but for their neighbors,” Rozoff told Press TV.
“Those airbases are not going to be used for peaceful purposes of course,” he added.
According to US and Afghan officials, the United States is backing away from a December 31 deadline for signing a controversial security deal with Afghanistan.
The Obama administration is going to wait in order to strike the deal that will allow the country to keep its troops in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal deadline.
US officials threatened that a complete withdrawal is possible if Afghan President Hamid Karzai refuses to sign the pact.
“The handwriting is on the wall that the US despite its attempt to stay in Afghanistan long passed the official deadline for complete withdrawal of Western troops, which is the end of next year 2014, insists on maintaining a military presence in the region in Afghanistan and bordering countries,” Rozoff explained.
“But that I think there is a recognition by neighboring countries that organizations like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of which China and Russia are the mainstays, but of which countries like Iran, Pakistan, India, Turkey now could and should fill the vacuum that will be created when the United States and NATO forces leave the country,” he said.
From The Doves (1960)
Translated by I. Petrova and Ts. Topuridze
The raindrops rapped on the bottom of the pail.
For a while they were silent. His hands in his pockets, Levan paced quietly around. Occasionally he stopped near the dovecot to look at the doves: heads stuck out of their nests, they cooed softly.
Nana turned toward the dovecot and listened to their cooing too. After a while, she said: “I can’t believe there’s a war on…”
“And towns are being destroyed, and people are dying…”
“I wonder when the war will end?”
“How do you mean?”
“There’s no war for my brother…There’s nothing for him. My mother cries all the time.”
“Do people really die just like that, so simply?”
“How do you know whether they die simply, of whether it’s hard?”
“I don’t know, how could I? But I just can’t believe that people die so simply. Yesterday at the algebra lesson I thought so much about it that I saw us quite clearly sitting together on the roof, just as we were last Sunday. You wanted to talk with the wounded soldiers. You stood up and began to talk to them by signs. Just then a third man came up to the window. You looked at him for a long time, then you suddenly went white. You said to me in a trembling voice, ‘Nana, come here!’ I came up. ‘Look at that man with the bandage over his eyes. Look at him!’ I looked at him, and I shook all over. You asked, ‘Why are you shaking, Nana, what’s the matter with you?’ And I yelled at the top of my voice, ‘Levan, it’s him, it’s really him! He can’t see anything, he’s got that bandage over his eyes. He doesn’t know what street he’s in, or what building! Levan, that’s your brother, really it is!…Let’s go to him, quickly.'”
Trend News Agency
December 23, 2013
State Commission meets for Georgia’s integration into NATO
By Nana Kirtzkhalia
A meeting of the state commission for Georgia’s integration into NATO was held in Georgia’s government office on Dec.23.
The main issue of the agenda was Georgia’s one-year national program and the steps taken by the country in 2013 towards the alliance, Georgia’s government office said.
Additionally, the action plan for 2014 was also discussed.
“The annual national program implemented by the Georgian government was assessed by NATO as the best one in the last five years. Currently the work is underway on six projects and we were discussing this issue”, Georgian State Minister for Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures Alexi Petriashvili said.
The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Security, Irakli Sesiashvili expressed confidence that the process of integration into the alliance will be even more active in the future.
“And the next plan of cooperation with NATO for 2014 will be paramount, it can even be said excessively loaded. Alongside with commitments we also have ambitions to provide a fast and efficient development of the country. Accordingly, we hope that with the implementation of this plan, our relations with NATO will be further reinforced and strengthened. Naturally, we are waiting for progress,” Sesiashvili said.
The meeting of the commission for Georgia’s integration into NATO was led by the Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
Translated by L.Z.
Edited by C.N.
December 21, 2013
Hagel shows US hegemony addiction
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday criticized a Chinese vessel’s encounter with US guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens as “irresponsible,” and claimed the US wishes to avoid conflicts in the South China Sea. He called on China to stay prudent.
What he failed to mention is that the encounter occurred on China’s doorstep, and that the US vessel trailed the Chinese aircraft carrier.
The US’ overbearing accusations sharply contrast with China’s comparatively late and low-profile reaction. The US has become used to its hegemony on high seas, which international society seems to tolerate, and that makes the US navy tend to forget the difference between the high sea and its territorial waters, or mistake the South China Sea with the Caribbean.
However, the South China Sea will never be the same as the Caribbean, thus the US navy will have to consider the national interests and the feelings of China while cruising in the South China Sea. The Chinese navy needs to remind the US of that difference – just because China was not capable of asserting its interests in the past doesn’t mean it has given up this right.
Only by struggling will China gain its proper level of rights and strategic space, and it holds no illusions that the US will automatically cede to the Chinese Navy. The US will never pleasantly accept China’s rise regardless of how China reaffirms its peaceful nature. China is not likely to stop advancing for the US’ sake, either.
In the future the Chinese Navy will send more fleets further into the ocean along with the expansion of China’s interests, making more conflicts with the US possible. China should avoid collisions of planes or ships with the US, but should also keep its bottom line. China needs to work out emergency plans for all possibilities. Prudence has to be used by both sides, otherwise the only option is cowardice, which is increasingly unacceptable to Chinese society.
The Chinese Navy has done a good job. However, the defense ministry hasn’t been able to keep pace with the Navy’s act of deterring the US vessel. Speaking has traditionally been a weak point for China, which should be strengthened.
We must see that China is still at an all-round disadvantage to the US, but China is rising and the US is in relative decline. The US is attempting to contain China’s rise within its designated frame. China doesn’t intentionally challenge the US, nor is it obliged to follow US rules.
Such conflicts are unavoidable yet controllable, and even necessary. China’s objective should be clear, the tactics flexible, and sometimes, patience is more important than determination.
The US has been the most common actor to interpret “international responsibility.” One day, China will teach the US that responsibility is not as simple as the way the US sees it.
December 23, 2013
Georgian minister lauds foreign policy achievements in 2013
TBILIS: The outgoing year 2013 was one of the most successful for Georgia’s foreign policy, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said.
“Georgian foreign policy efforts taken this year as regards concrete countries and in the international format focused on the achievement of the main goal,” she told a final press conference on Monday. “The goal is international involvement in the strengthening of Georgia’s territorial integrity, tangible progress in the achievement of European and Euro-Atlantic objectives, deepening strategic partnership with the Untied States and relations with partner countries and neighbors, and de-escalation of relations with Russia with due respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country.”
The Georgian Foreign Ministry unwaveringly urges international attention to the deployment of barbed wire and other artificial barriers along the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russian troops, she said.
“The negative international reaction to the illegal policy of Russia was extremely important in this context. The NATO Secretary General, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, the U.S. Department of state and representatives of other international organizations made their comments on the barbed wire entanglements deployed along the occupation line,” Panjikidze continued.
In her opinion, the outgoing year was one of the most successful for Georgia in the field of foreign policy.
Stories From a Primer (posthumous)
Translated by David Porter
Everybody has a sewing machine, a radio, a refrigerator, and a telephone. What shall we make now? asked the factory owner.
Bombs, said the inventor.
War, said the general.
Well, if there’s nothing else for it! said the factory owner.
The man in the white smock was writing numbers on a piece of paper.
He made little delicate letters to go with them.
Then he took off the white smock and for an hour tended the flowers in the window-box. When he saw that one flower had withered away, he grew very sad and wept.
And on the paper stood the numbers. With half a gramme, according to these, one could kill a thousand people in two hours.
And the sun shone on the flowers.
And on the paper.
Two men were talking.
Of course, with green tiles.
Forty thousand? Right. You know, my dear fellow, if I hadn’t gone over in time from chocolate to T.N.T., I wouldn’t have been able to give you this forty thousand.
Nor I you a bathroom.
With green tiles.
With green tiles.
The two men parted.
They were a factory owner and a building contractor.
It was war.
Skittle-alley. Two men were talking.
Hallo, schoolmaster, dark suit? In mourning?
Not a bit of it. Had a ceremony. Boys off to the front. Made a little speech. Recalled Sparta. Quoted Clausewitz. Gave ’em a few ideas:
Honour. Fatherland. Had some Hölderlin read. Touched on Langemark. Gripping ceremony, quite gripping. The boys sang: God, who made the iron grow. Eyes lit up. Gripping. Quite gripping.
My God, schoolmaster, stop! It’s horrible, horrible.
The schoolmaster gazed thunderstruck at the other. As he told his story he had been making lots of little crosses on a piece of paper. Lots of little crosses. He stood up and laughed. Took a new wood and played it down the alley. There was a soft rumbling sound. Then the skittles at the end crashed over. They looked like dead men.
Two men were talking,
Well, how’s it going?
Many many have you left?
If all goes well, four thousand.
How many can you give me?
Eight hundred at the outside.
They’ll be no change out of that.
Well, then, a thousand.
The two men parted.
They were talking about people.
They were generals.
It was war.
Two men were talking.
Eighteen. And you?
The two men parted.
They were two soldiers.
Then one fell down. He was dead.
It was war.
When the war was over, the soldier came home. But he had no bread.
Then he saw a man who had. He killed him.
You mustn’t kill people, you know, said the judge.
Why not, asked the soldier.
When the peace conference was over, the ministers walked through the city. They came to a shooting-gallery.
Would the gentlemen like a shot? shouted the girls with red lips.
Then all the ministers took a rifle and shot at little cardboard men.
In the middle of the shooting an old woman came and took their rifles away. When one of the ministers wanted his back, she boxed his ears.
It was a mother.
There were once two human beings. When they were two years old they hit each other with their hands.
When they were twelve, they hit each other with sticks and threw stones.
When they were twenty-two, they shot at each other with rifles.
When they were forty-two, they threw bombs at each other.
When they were sixty-two, they used bacteria.
When they were eighty-two, they died. They were buried beside each other.
When, a hundred years later, a worm ate its way through their two graves, it never noticed that two different people had been buried there. It was the same soil. All the same soil.
When in the year 5000 a mole peeped out of the earth he was comforted to observe:
the trees are still trees.
The crows still caw.
And the dogs still lift their legs.
The fish and the stars,
the moss and the sea
and the midges;
all have remained the same.
And sometimes –
sometimes you meet a man.
Stars and Stripes
December 21, 2013
NATO opens negotiations to allow troops to stay in Afghanistan
By Cid Standifer
KABUL: NATO is opening negotiations on a Status of Forces Agreement that would allow its troops to stay in Afghanistan past the end of 2014, but with the caveat that it will be signed only after a bilateral security agreement between the Afghan government and the U.S. is signed, according to a NATO release Saturday.
Talks between NATO and the Afghan government on a Status of Forces agreement began Saturday at a meeting of NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative Ambassador Maurits Jochems and Afghan National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta, the NATO statement said.
“I welcome the start of these talks today,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in the statement, “while stressing that the NATO Status of Forces Agreement will not be concluded or signed until the signature of the Bilateral Security Agreement between the Governments of Afghanistan and the United States.”
The SOFA agreement “will constitute a key element of the legal framework needed” for the deployment of NATO forces after 2014, the statement said.
The U.S. and Afghanistan have agreed on a draft bilateral security agreement laying out the terms for keeping a small U.S. contingent in the country past 2014, when all combat troops are to be withdrawn. Although a council of 2,500 elders convened by Afghan President Hamid Karzai in November to review the agreement urged him to sign it as soon as possible, Karzai insists it should only be signed after presidential elections to choose his successor in April.
The U.S. says it wants the agreement signed as soon as possible so it can plan for a follow-on force that would train, advise and assist Afghan forces, as well as continue counter-terrorism operations. The impasse raises the possibility of a “zero option,” in which Americans would be completely out of the country by the end of 2014.
Rasmussen said earlier this month at a defense ministers meeting that all international troops would withdraw if Karzai continued to stall the U.S.-Afghan deal.
The U.S. welcomed the NATO SOFA talks, but also reiterated the need for the bilateral security agreement to be signed swiftly.
“The message of the United States and its allies in Europe is clear,” Defense Department Press Secretary Adm. John Kirby said in a statement released Saturday. “The Bilateral Security Agreement should be signed without any more delay.”
As soon as Pangloss had a little refreshed himself, Candide began to repeat his inquiries concerning Miss Cunegund.
“She is dead,” replied the other.
“Dead!” cried Candide, and immediately fainted away; his friend restored him by the help of a little bad vinegar, which he found by chance in the stable.
Candide opened his eyes, and again repeated: “Dead! is Miss Cunegund dead? Ah, where is the best of worlds now? But of what illness did she die? Was it of grief on seeing her father kick me out of his magnificent castle?”
“No,” replied Pangloss, “her body was ripped open by the Bulgarian soldiers, after they had subjected her to as much cruelty as a damsel could survive; they knocked the Baron, her father, on the head for attempting to defend her; My Lady, her mother, was cut in pieces; my poor pupil was served just in the same manner as his sister; and as for the castle, they have not left one stone upon another; they have destroyed all the ducks, and sheep, the barns, and the trees; but we have had our revenge, for the Abares have done the very same thing in a neighboring barony, which belonged to a Bulgarian lord.”
At hearing this, Candide fainted away a second time, but, not withstanding, having come to himself again, he said all that it became him to say; he inquired into the cause and effect, as well as into the sufficing reason that had reduced Pangloss to so miserable a condition.
“Alas,” replied the preceptor, “it was love; love, the comfort of the human species; love, the preserver of the universe; the soul of all sensible beings; love! tender love!”
“Alas,” cried Candide, “I have had some knowledge of love myself, this sovereign of hearts, this soul of souls; yet it never cost me more than a kiss and twenty kicks on the backside. But how could this beautiful cause produce in you so hideous an effect?”
Pangloss made answer in these terms:
“O my dear Candide, you must remember Pacquette, that pretty wench, who waited on our noble Baroness; in her arms I tasted the pleasures of Paradise, which produced these Hell torments with which you see me devoured. She was infected with an ailment, and perhaps has since died of it; she received this present of a learned Franciscan, who derived it from the fountainhead; he was indebted for it to an old countess, who had it of a captain of horse, who had it of a marchioness, who had it of a page, the page had it of a Jesuit, who, during his novitiate, had it in a direct line from one of the fellow adventurers of Christopher Columbus; for my part I shall give it to nobody, I am a dying man.”
“O sage Pangloss,” cried Candide, “what a strange genealogy is this! Is not the devil the root of it?”
“Not at all,” replied the great man, “it was a thing unavoidable, a necessary ingredient in the best of worlds; for if Columbus had not caught in an island in America this disease, which contaminates the source of generation, and frequently impedes propagation itself, and is evidently opposed to the great end of nature, we should have had neither chocolate nor cochineal. It is also to be observed, that, even to the present time, in this continent of ours, this malady, like our religious controversies, is peculiar to ourselves. The Turks, the Indians, the Persians, the Chinese, the Siamese, and the Japanese are entirely unacquainted with it; but there is a sufficing reason for them to know it in a few centuries. In the meantime, it is making prodigious havoc among us, especially in those armies composed of well disciplined hirelings, who determine the fate of nations; for we may safely affirm, that, when an army of thirty thousand men engages another equal in size, there are about twenty thousand infected with syphilis on each side.”
Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 20, 2013
Russian Military to Decide on Missile Deployment at NATO Borders
MOSCOW: A decision on whether to deploy tactical ballistic missiles near borders with NATO countries will be made only following a threat assessment by the Russian military, Russia’s top diplomat said Friday.
“When such a necessity arises, it’s up to the military to decide,” Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
Lavrov said that only professionals could provide a reliable assessment of the risks to Russia’s national security that would be posed by the European segment of the US global missile shield.
“That’s how the game is played. Nothing personal, so to speak,” the foreign minister said.
He reiterated, though, that the deployment of Iskander-M (SS-26 Stone) nuclear-capable missile systems near NATO borders could eventually be part of Russia’s response to NATO missile defense plans.
It was claimed in media reports over the weekend that at least 10 Iskander systems had been identified by satellite photos in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad and along its border with Baltic states and NATO members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
However, President Vladimir Putin denied on Thursday the reported deployment of such Iskanders, saying the Russian leadership had not yet made such a decision.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in an ambiguously worded statement earlier this week that Iskander missiles had been stationed in Russia’s Western Military District, which includes Kaliningrad as well as much of the European part of Russia.
Following the statement, representatives of a number of NATO nations expressed concern that if true, the move would represent a deepening of tensions with Russia that could demand a NATO response. The United States said the move would be destabilizing to the region.
Polish authorities said Thursday, however, that the Iskander deployment reports had not been confirmed by the country’s military.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 19, 2013
Statement of U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State made a joint statement of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission Working Groups. In the statement essential attention is focused on meetings of Defence and Security working groups.
At the meeting of the Defense and Security Working Group, the U.S. expressed continuing support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and joint non-recognition efforts. Both sides highlighted Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. The United States restated its continued support for Georgia’s membership in NATO.
Both parties underscored Georgia’s contributions to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, where Georgia remains the largest non-NATO contributor, serves without national caveats in Helmand Province, and stands ready to contribute to the Alliance’s post-2014 mission in Afghanistan. The United States thanked the Georgian people for the significant contributions Georgia has made in Afghanistan and honored the sacrifices of the families of the fallen and the wounded.
Both sides underscored the progress made in fulfilling President Obama’s pledge to enhance cooperation in new areas focused on NATO interoperability and self-defense capabilities. The United States recognized the important progress achieved in Georgia’s defense reform process and expressed its continued support for Georgia’s reform efforts.
Working group meetings of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission was held in Washington on December 9.
First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Zalkaniani and Georgian Deputy Defence Minister Micheil Darchiashvili co-chaired the meeting
From the Georgian side, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Zalkaniani and Deputy Defence Minister Mikheil Darchiashvili co-chaired the working group meeting. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Greg Kausner and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Evelyn Farkas participated in the working group meeting from the American side.
Voice of Russia
December 19, 2013
Amid US spying we are living with information totalitarianism – Rick Rozoff
With the restructuring of the Russian media there are many people worldwide who are hopeful that the changes will produce a balance and a counterweight to the 5 worldwide newswires that are controlled by the West and possess a true and barely transparent bias. The way in which private news agencies make news and information only accessible to governments and bodies and effectively lock out the common people is more like the selling and buying of intelligence. This control of information by the NSA, CIA and other private companies run by the intelligence services are all part of a new paradigm that Voice of Russia regular Rick Rozoff call “information totalitarianism”. Information should be free, and as WikiLeaks says: “Information wants to be free.”
Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.
Rozoff: We have to be honest about this, it’s the new totalitarianism and it is information totalitarianism. And amongst other things the Internet not only permits me to communicate with you but it permits any powerful entity, governments in the first instance, to monitor the activity of its citizens and citizens in the world.
What else have we learned by the exposé about international security agency, but just that? That the US is monitoring down to the most minute particular, every telephone call, every key stroke, every visit of everyone on the planet.
You would need a million George Orwells today to anticipate something this far reaching this comprehensive and this frightening. And the fact is the person in charge of the National Security Agency four-star general Keith Alexander, is the same person who was put in charge of US Cyber Command, which is a cyber “warfare” command, pure and simple.
It should certainly alert people to the fact that what you are dealing with right now is the new mode of conducting warfare. What the Pentagon is referred to in terms of cyber warfare – the 5th battle space after land, air, sea and space.
Robles: And it is not against armies or governments or state actors, the target appears to be you, and me, and Joe Blow, and Marry Smith.
Rozoff: In the initial stages. And what I would suspect is that this is almost war time, blackouts and other activities so as not to alert the enemy to the presence of potential bombing targets or something, but in this case it is almost seeing who in a period of crisis might put out heterodox or unapproved information and so let’s compile a dossier on them so that if it ever comes to a serious crisis, military in the first instance, so we know who they are and we know how to round them up.
Robles: Preventative surveillance. Do you remember the film with Tom Cruise? “The Minority Report” I believe it was called. Where they had police that arrested people before they did a crime. You’ve got preventative detention in the US, now we get preventative surveillance.
Rozoff: For our own good of course!
Robles: Of course! It is against every Al-Qaeda terrorist, it is hiding behind every lamppost in Springfield, Illinois.
Rozoff: Actually they may be receiving military training by the Illinois National Guard, I wouldn’t put it past them. That is how they terrify us but in fact they are taking training courses at air training facilities in Florida and so forth. That is true. That is simply the truth, God knows where else they are getting training or arms.
The façade of combating terrorism, I was thinking about that earlier today: if there is one thing the US Government has no right to ever contend, is that it is combating terrorism.
It is certainly recently, currently in Syria, they may be less high profile about it, but they are supporting, as you described accurately with a lengthy series of hyphenated adjectives, the worst kind of terrorists probably known in history are being actively supported by the US.
Let’s end this nonsense about fighting terrorism.
Robles: I think William Blum who I had the honor of speaking to several times put it best, and he was quoted by Osama bin Laden himself, when he said that it is all the meddling by the US in these Middle Eastern Islamic countries that has caused the terrorists to terrorize.
Rozoff: Even that is too kind of a perspective. I don’t subscribe to it. I don’t believe that Osama bin Laden had any legitimate complaint against the US government. Quite the opposite. He would have been the playboy non-entity that he was prior to emerging as whatever he became but for the fact that the US ran a proxy war against the Soviet Union and the Afghan Government out of north-west Pakistan in the 1980s – that is where Mr. Osama bin Laden became a so-called political figure and that is where he became a terrorist in good earnest. And it is not that he had any complaints whatsoever against the US Government, which helped his jihad to win in Afghanistan.
Robles: Remember that Tim Osman, he was Mr. Tim Osman and he was known to the FBI station chief at the time in Los Angeles when he was staying at the Hilton, there have been documents released then, so no big secret there.
Rozoff: Yes, but I know there is an argument that but for US meddling around the world, that the Osama bin Ladens of the world would not be able to pick up support because people wouldn’t be disgruntled or upset, and even that I contest.
The fact is I don’t doubt that there are elements in the US government as well as in so-called al-Qaeda that exploit dissatisfaction or dissention around the world. There is no question about that they do. But that as often as not and far more often than not they’ve been at the beck of the US government working hand and glove with them.
Robles: Anything else you want to finish up about media? It’s been a pleasure speaking with you all these years. I hope we will be able to continue speaking to each other somehow and getting your voice out there and getting the voice of everybody else we’ve talked to and all the wonderful people I’ve interviewed over the years.
Rozoff: We just mentioned William Blum. And he is someone who has written several books and the fact that somebody like him who around the world is viewed as an authority, with good reason, he’d been published in Russia as a matter of fact, celebrating the anniversary of one of his key books.
And the fact that this man cannot even appear on a local college TV station because of the news blackout and censorship in the US but has been interviewed by yourself several times, where he is exposed to a world audience, I think makes our point as concretely and as effectively as it can be made. This is exactly why you need to continue running your show.
Honestly, this is what is needed. We need a fifth one (newswire) in the world, because all you’ve really got is the German Deutsche Presse-Agentur, the France’s Agence France-Presse, Reuters and Associated Press.
Here is another thing. DPA and AFP are really the best. They are maybe better than the Associated Press, they have correspondents in every damn country in the world. And they have news stories. But here is the thing. This isn’t public, you’ve got to subscribe to their press wire service. They don’t have a website except to sell their service.
So, if you are a government agency or you are a big corporation or a think tank, you’ve got access to all the DPA and AFP; I have none.
About 7-8 years ago or maybe 10 years ago I contacted the North American bureaus and I said: “How much does it cost to subscribe to get your material?”
The lowest rate I could get if I called myself an independent journalist was $600 a month, $7,200 a year, 10 years ago.
I contacted Interfax North America, they were going to give me $2,400 a year, but I could not reproduce anything.
So, this isn’t news John, this is intelligence for sale. This isn’t meant to get news out and information out to people. It is meant to be an intelligence service like Jane’s Defense Weekly in England, or Stratfor here, where these CIA, ex-CIA and MI-5 guys get together and they set up a news service to be sold to businesses and governments.
So, in that point if a real press agency would develop, that is a Russian press agency in English, that would be wonderful!
By the way, I have said for years too, the big mistake is that Mercosur and particularly Alban, Latin America have not put out a press agency in English.
Robles: What about ITAR-TASS? You haven’t been on their site?
Rozoff: ITAR-TASS is not very good. It is bad English, bad editing, it’s circumscribed news.
Now and again you find a good story; they have just reformatted and you can’t even read it now.
In the last week they’ve reformatted it, you can’t find anything. Whoever did that should be fired. They’ve made it worse and worse.
Robles: They are good for Russian news because you are not going to find it in very many other places.
Rozoff: Okay, okay, Interfax, if you go to their site, each page has 20 stories, 2 of their stories are accessible, you have to pay for the others.
They tease you, they give you a couple of hyperlinks, they draw your attention or that is maybe the way it is on the west. Why not sell theirs? Because you don’t get anything for free here. That is for sure. The only thing you get for free is the government sources, Radio free Europe, Voice of America etc.
They are more and more themselves relying on the services like AP, Reuters.
Robles: You are telling me that all the news, you have to pay for it. You have to go through a corporation to get it.
Rozoff: You have to go online, take out your credit card and pay maybe $10,000 dollars a year to read what is happening in downtown Bangkok.
Robles: It is going to get so bad pretty soon, they are going to bring back the short waves.
Rozoff: Exactly, like during the resistance in Nazi occupied Europe.
Robles: Maybe that is a good idea with all the surveillance because the shortwave is a way to reach people where they know they are not being surveilled.
Rozoff: Good point. With satellite surveillance now they are going to catch everything.
Robles: Can they actually pick up a shortwave radio when you turn it on?
Rozoff: I don’t know.
Robles: I suppose they can put a small transmitter chip in there or something.
Rozoff: If they want total surveillance, they are going to have it. The only way of combating that is fighting an information war, a clean information war, an above board one.
Let it be known, you are defending a position, but make it a decent position.
You were listening to part 3 of an interview with Rick Rozoff the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list. You can find the previous parts of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com. Thanks for listening and as always I wish you the best.
From The Tin Flute (Bonheur d’occasion) (1945)
Translated by Hannah Josephson
“There was never any lack of work to be done. Nor men either. I’ve seen fifty men fighting for one job. I wonder then what was lacking.”
“Money,” said Azarius.
“Yes, money,” thundered Sam. “There was never enough for old age insurance, never enough for the schools of orphans, never enough to give everybody a job. But look here, there’s money enough for war. They’ve got money for that!”
“There’s always enough money for war, that’s a fact,” replied Azarius.
In a flash of illumination she felt her kinship with all the women of distant countries, whether Poles, Norwegians, Czechs or Slovaks. They were women like her. Women of the common people. Working women. Women who for centuries had seen their husbands and children go off to war. One era passed and another came, but it was always thus: women in all ages had waved goodbye and wept to see their men march away. It seemed to her that she was plodding along this sunny afternoon, not alone, but in the ranks of thousands of other women, and that their sighs echoed in her ears, the weary sighs of the needy, of the working women of all ages. She was one of those who had nothing to defend but their husbands and their sons. She was one of those who never sang at the final leave-taking. She was one of those who looked on dry-eyed, cursing war in their hearts, as the men set out for battle.
“Why do you suppose we are going off to war, you father, your brother and I?” he asked.
She looked at him in surprise.
“You mean why did you enlist?”
Well, I can see only one reason,” she said soberly. “It’s because there’s something in it for all of you in the army.”
He studied her for a long time. Yes, he should have thought of that sooner. She was much closer to the people that he; she knew them better. Her answers were the right ones. He looked around at the crowd. And he seemed to hear the same answer that Florentine had just given him on thousands of lips. Behind the crowd’s deep breath of liberation he thought he could hear the sound of money clinking.
They too, he mused. They too have been bought, as much as anybody, more than anybody!
And it seemed to him that with his own eyes he was witnessing the final bankruptcy of mankind. Wealth had spoken the truth on the mountain.
But after a moment he took himself to task. He went on to think: But no, that’s not the whole truth. Those who fight profit least from the war. There are ever so many Léon Boisberts and Jean Lévesques who will rise in the world and perhaps make a fortune, thanks to the war, without taking any risks.
She was a tiny, shrunken, fragile old woman with a look of gentle resignation on her face, alone among strangers.
For one moment their glances crossed. And at that moment Emmanuel understood. The humble little woman was moving her lips as if to give him one last message. The words did not reach Emmanuel, but he could see by the movement of her lips that she was saying something that only he understood: “This will end. One day it will end. One day it will all come to an end.”
And Emmanuel saw the light. This was the hope, so ill understood by most men, that was uplifting mankind once again: to do away with war.
December 19, 2013
Changing power games
The Western stance on Ukraine’s recent public protests shows that although the Cold War ended many years ago there is still a strong sentiment in the West for countries such as Ukraine to choose between the West and Russia.
No country is willing to live amid tense military confrontation, and the strategy of major powers to force smaller ones to take sides will eventually backfire, said a People’s Daily commentary on Monday.
In the massive protests taking place across Ukraine, some hope Ukraine will draw closer to the European Union while others believe the country should take a practical approach when handling business ties with other countries and not take sides with either the EU or Russia.
Although relations between major countries have undergone some changes since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008, the scenario unfolding in Ukraine should remind us of the fact that there is no fundamental change in the traditional supremacy of the West in terms of strategic issues. The worse its economy becomes, the more its anxiety about any change in the status quo will grow.
When relations between major powers change, the traditional games between major powers remain on the world stage for a while, and the world has witnessed the big powers shift their stances on this year’s hotspot issues behind the scenes.
Such games that characterize traditional major country relations have not disappeared with globalization.
But as countries seek a more advantageous position in the global system in the future, the game between major powers will mainly take place in areas such as global governance and regional economic integration.
Such games will be extremely challenging to countries, such as Ukraine, which are of geopolitical significance. These countries may want to keep their distance from both powers, but they might be forced to take sides before they are capable of playing the role of a bridge between the powers.
Indeed, the relationships between big powers and smaller countries have an impact on relations between major powers. Such interactions will help decide the new type of relations between major countries in the future.
December 18, 2013
The US-Russia arms race
By Zhao Jinglun
America’s two major parties were hardly talking to each other. But they have come together to save the military-industrial complex. In a deal brokered with senate budget chair Patty Murray and Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan, federal spending will be increased by $45 billion, half of which will go to the Pentagon, in spite of sequestration.
Paul Ryan famously said on Oct. 20, 2012: “We are not going to gut our military.” They didn’t. They would cut every discretionary federal spending, especially social and welfare spending such as food stamps, but never military spending. The U.S. still out-spends all other countries put together on defense.
The US Navy has recently launched the next-generation aircraft carrier, the 100,000 ton USS Gerald R. Ford. It features a series of technological advances, including upgraded nuclear power plants, electromagnetic catapults and a larger flight deck to accommodate more carrier-launched stealth drones.
A new super spy satellite is also being added to U.S. orbital assets.
The Pentagon is developing a hypersonic (Mach 6, some 4,000 mph) aircraft known as Boeing X-51, the “Wave Rider” which can strike at any target in the world within an hour.
To counter that threat, Russia announced that it would retaliate any attack by launching nuclear missiles. The launch may even be pre-emptive.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Dec. 10 that in 2014, the Russian armed forces must receive more than 40 most modern intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), more than 210 airplanes and helicopters, and more than 250 armored vehicles. Nuclear rocket carriers the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh will take over the combat watch and six new satellites will reinforce the orbital grouping.
According to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Russia will see the continued deployment of the Yar ICBM to the Strategic Missile Forces.
Moscow has also deployed Iskander-M missiles with a range of about 400 km in the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, bordering Poland and Lithuania, both NATO members. These missiles have a capability of destroying components of the anti-missile shields deployed by the United States in Europe. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has just told Shoigu that the U.S. will continue to deploy those shields despite an interim nuclear deal reached with Iran.
Also notable is Putin’s announcement that Russia must possess every lever for the protection of its security and national interests in the Arctic. He said “The formation of new forces and military units of the prospective combat configuration of the Armed Forces is due to end next year. I request that you pay special attention to the deployment of infrastructure and military units in the Arctic.”
He stressed that Russia “was intensifying the development of that promising region and returning to it.”
In all, Russian Defense Ministry expenditures will reach 2.1 trillion rubles. Putin is also stepping up efforts to win over Ukraine.
Both the United States and Canada are asserting their presence in the Arctic. Some have even described it as a new Cold War between Russia and the United States.
Early this month, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper ordered a rewrite of Canada’s international claim for Arctic seabed rights to include the North Pole, a region Russia has already marked as its own. That territorial dispute will have to be negotiated between Ottawa and Moscow.
Washington’s objective is to secure territorial control on behalf of its oil companies as the Arctic is believed to hold up to 25 percent of the world’s oil and gas reserves. And from Washington’s perspective, the battle for the Arctic is part of broader global military agenda.
The race is on. Where it will lead remains to be seen.
The author is a columnist with China.org.cn.
Xinhua News Agency
December 19, 2013
Netherlands to sell Leopard tanks to Finland
THE HAGUE: The Netherlands would sell 100 used Leopard tanks to Finland, Dutch media reported Thursday.
The contract is likely to be signed next year after negotiations with Finland were completed in January. According to the media report, Finland will purchase the battle tanks for 200 to 250 million euros.
Dutch Defense Minister Antoinette Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert confirmed the deal Wednesday in the Dutch TV show, Pauw & Witteman. “It is almost certain,” she said, but refused to talk about further details, which she claimed to be confidential.
The Dutch Leopard tanks have been mothballed since 2011 due to budget cuts. An attempt to sell 80 of them to Indonesia for about 200 million euros was blocked last year by the Dutch parliament due to concerns about the human rights situation in Indonesia. Indonesia later bought similar tanks from Germany.
The Finnish army already has Leopard 2 tanks, which are an older type than the Dutch 2A6 Leopard tanks.
From The Crowning of a King (1937)
Translated by Eric Sutton
“…We are living now on what can still be wrung out of the land, and on garbage. Farmers cannot get on with their sowing for want of labour. What our working men’s wives have to say about all this, I leave to your imagination. There is a cleavage right through the nation that keeps me awake at night. Again and again I hear them say: We don’t want to be a world power, we want peace, we want to enjoy our children again, and get a little rest before we die…”
“You are a mother and see only your son, with the very best of reason. I am a plain soldier: I see a hundred thousand mothers, brides, and wives, none of them of less account in her grief than you. I see them without a quiver of an eyelid. When all is reckoned, my share in the Eastern campaign is not less than that of your husband, although I always worked off stage. Well, then, my share in those fallen millions – I permit myself to include the Russians and the Austrians – weighs just as heavy as his…”
But in the packed transports that left America’s Eastern coasts and unloaded on the Western coasts of Europe, and sent an unceasing flow of men and machines across the quays, in those convoys that no U-boat could reach, came not only Jack and Jim, Bob and Bill, from Texas, ‘Frisco, Chicago, and Seattle, from Boston and Philadelphia, and the human cauldron of New York. Something else also came creeping in, sinister and invisible, infinitesimal and multiplied a millionfold and filled with sinister forces. It clung to clothes and hair and mucous membranes, it made many people sneeze and cough and gave them a touch of fever – no matter, such agglomerations of humanity have always been centres of epidemics, and the plague has always played a part in war. This time it was called influenza. Perhaps the bacillus developed an unlooked-for energy in the new climate, when it made its way into the organs of Europeans, who were not accustomed to it; it was so with syphilis, so scientists said. Perhaps, too, it acquired fresh properties in the new climate. However that may have been, from the seaports a wave of disease spread irresistibly across the earth; over the whole earth, with the possible exception of certain islands or very distant corners of the world. Everywhere else influenza leapt upon the troops, the dug-outs, the leave-trains, the cities, and the plains. In May 1918, the lovely month of May, as the German poets sing, in rivalry with the starlings and the skylarks, a pestilence fell upon the warring lands and on the neutrals, and as it was at first taken for a harmless sort of catarrh and confused with the common cold, it had its fill of victims; the death toll very soon rose to fantastic heights. Those who died were above all young people between fifteen and twenty-five, especially girls and young women and prospective mothers.
Stars and Stripes
December 18, 2013
New US Army convoy live-firing training course inaugurated
By Michael Darnell
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany: Officials from U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria and the Joint Multinational Training Command have inaugurated their new convoy live-fire training course, marking the completion of the seven-year, $4.5 million project.
This nearly 5-mile-long range is dotted with training obstacles that will allow soldiers to practice detecting, identifying and engaging targets while in convoy. According to JMTC commander Brig. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, the course offers significant training and interoperability opportunities to U.S. and allied troops.
“Nobody knows where the next war is going to be or where the next crisis or contingency mission is going to be that our nation, or NATO or any nation is going to want to respond to,” Piatt said during the opening ceremony on Tuesday. “We’ll respond either as a coalition or as a NATO response, so we have to train together.”
While training has always been the focus of USAG Bavaria’s mission, the efficiency and feasibility of that training has not always been optimal, according to the designers of the new course.
This new extended range replaces a similar, but far less efficient, course, said Keith Dunson, range training program manager at Training Support Activity Europe.
“We had one other convoy live-fire course here on Grafenwöhr, but in order to use it, it would shut down every range,” Dunson said. “This course was created to reduce the issues with that and now it only affects 13 ranges, rather than 35.”
The increased usability of the newer range is already attracting the attention of the military community. Piatt said he believes 36 NATO and non-NATO alliance nations and more than 30,000 troops will take advantage of the convoy course throughout the next couple of years.
“We can do so much more at Grafenwöhr. We can do it better and we can do it together,” he added. “I’m very excited about this.”
December 18, 2013
Lavrov: Iranian nuke problem settlement makes unnecessary European missile defense
MOSCOW: The settlement of the Iranian nuclear problem will make unnecessary the deployment of missile defense in Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
“We presume that the solution of problems related to the Iranian nuclear program should lead to a revision of the concept of the U.S. missile defense network in Europe,” Lavrov said during “the Government’s Hour” at the Federation Council on Wednesday.
“In fact, the solution of the Iranian nuclear problem will do away with the premise, which explained the need for the deployment of missile defense in Europe,” he said.
December 17, 2013
US to deploy ABM systems in Europe despite P5+1 deal with Iran
The US will deploy its missile defense system in Europe despite progress in Iran nuclear talks, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said. The news came as Russia confirmed the deployment of Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad region, bordering the EU.
The US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has officially informed his Russian counterpart during a video teleconference on Monday that the P5+1 Joint Plan of Action, concluded between Iran and P5+1 member states regarding Tehran’s nuclear program, “does not eliminate the need for US and European allies to continue implementing missile defense plans in Europe,” the Defense Department’s website reported.
Hagel assured his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoigu, that “NATO missile defense efforts pose no threat to Russia and urged that both sides continue consultations on future missile plans in Europe,” the Pentagon said.
Moscow has been hoping that the US missile system would be withdrawn, since the Iranian deal signed by Tehran and the P5+1 on November 24 in Geneva.
Once the nuclear program deal was signed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed the hope that the US would no longer have a reason to build the long-touted missile defense shield in Europe – if Iran fulfills its obligations.
“If the Iran deal is put into practice, the stated reason for the construction of the defense shield will no longer apply,” Lavrov told journalists in Rome.
In his annual address to the Federal Assembly on December 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “any international problem can and must be solved through political means”.
“Iran’s nuclear program once served as the key reason for deploying missile shields,” Putin said. “And what do we have now? Iran’s nuclear problem is fading, while the missile shield remains in place. Moreover, it is still developing.”
Caught in Iskander’s crosshairs
Just hours ahead of the Moscow-Washington videoconference between the defense ministers, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed a German media report on the deployment of short-range Iskander missiles in the country’s western enclave of Kaliningrad, which is surrounded by NATO member countries.
Moscow said it does not violate international agreements, but said that US ballistic missile defense deployments in Poland are now within the 500-kilometer range of Iskander missiles, which can be armed with a nuclear warhead.
“The Iskander tactical ballistic missile systems are really in the inventory of the Russia’s Western military district’s missile and artillery forces,” Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told journalists. Konashenkov said that “specific deployment areas of Iskander missile divisions on the Western Command territory does not contradict any of the international treaties of agreements.”
The reaction from NATO was not long in coming. The US, Poland and three Baltic states: Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, have all expressed strong concern at Iskander being deployed in Kaliningrad.
“We’ve urged Russia to take no steps to destabilize the region,” AFP reported State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf as saying.
“This is a matter for NATO and we can expect possible consultations and action… at the NATO and EU level,” Poland’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Artis Pabriks, Latvia’s Defense Minister, said that Russia’s move threatened “several Baltic cities.”
“It is clear that it is alarming news, as it is one of the arguments changing the balance of power in our region,” Baltic News Service reported Pabriks as saying.
‘US real goal is new stage of superiority in Europe’
Russia has always suspected that the US was deploying not just missile defense systems in Europe, but fully-fledged first strike weapons. The first warning of Iskander missile systems being deployed in Kaliningrad in response to the European IBM deployment was voiced by then-President Dmitry Medvedev in 2008.
Putin was much more categorical in his latest assessment of the European ABM.
“We are well aware of the fact that the missile defense system is only defensive in name, whereas in reality it is an essential element of a strategic offensive potential,” Putin said his address to the Federal Assembly, adding that Russia was “closely following the evolution of the so-called ‘disarming nuclear strike’ concept” of the US military. Putin said the US program was designed “to upset what is known as the strategic balance of power.”
“We are well aware of that. And we know what we need to do about it,” Putin warned.
Last week, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin warned that Russia would use nuclear weapons if it came under attack, adding that this possibility serves as the main deterrent to potential provocateurs and aggressors.
“One can experiment as long as one wishes by deploying non-nuclear warheads on strategic missile carriers. But one should keep in mind that if there is an attack against us, we will certainly resort to using nuclear weapons in certain situations to defend our territory and state interests,” Rogozin, the defense industry chief said on Wednesday speaking at the State Duma, the lower house.
Aleksey Pushkov, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, said in an interview to RT that from the very beginning western argument backing the idea of the European ABM was “deeply flawed” and both North Korean and Iranian arguments used to justify American ABM in Europe “are just fake.”
“The real goal is to create a new stage of American superiority in Europe, to try to neutralize at least partially Russian nuclear potential and to create the new bond between the US and Europe,” Pushkov told RT.
Voice of Russia
December 18, 2013
Russia prepares response to US Prompt Global Strike program
Russia is preparing a possible response to the US Prompt Global Strike program by means of its Military Railroad Missile Complex. As expected, the work on the sketch project of the Military Railroad Missile Complex will be completed in the first half of 2014. The contractor is the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology. The development of the new complex is being carried out in response to the US Prompt Global Strike program. The matter concerns the possibility to hit hostile objects anywhere on the Earth within an hour after the decision declared by the US.
“The leadership of the Defense Ministry has presented a report to the Supreme Commander and set a goal to produce a schematic design of the Military Railroad Missile Complex in the framework of the State Defense Procurement. The deadline of the schematic design is the first half of 2014,” commander of the Strategic Missile Forces, Colonel General Sergey Karakayev said.
The new Military Railroad Missile Complex will be equipped with a solid-fuel multiple-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), created on the base of the ICBM Yars. “The matter concerns the modification of a number of missile weapons, which weighs 47 tons. For comparison, a rocket in the old Military Railroad Missile Complex weighed 110 tons,” Karakayev explained.
The commander noted that today, there was a possibility of disguising the complex like a refrigerator car, whose length was 24 meters, while the length of the missile was 22.5 meters.
“That is, it (the missile) is easily housed in a normal refrigerator car; there is no need to increase the number of axles of the car; the axle load is permissible and there is a possibility of choosing any route,” Karakayev said.
The USSR had already had the Military Railroad Missile Complex in its arsenal. In 2005, it was liquidated in connection with the Treaty on the reduction of strategic offensive arms (START), signed in January 1993 by presidents of the USA and Russia George Bush and Boris Yeltsin. Meanwhile, the current START-3 Treaty does not prohibit the creation of new missile systems, including the Military Railroad Missile Complex.
The work of Russian specialists on the railway missile train is coming to a close. On December 12, in his address to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would not allow military superiority over it. According to Putin, Russia possesses the potential necessary to respond to existing global challenges.
Voice of Russia, RIA, Interfax
Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 18, 2013
Russia Condemns Pressure on Ukraine to Turn Towards Europe
MOSCOW: Russia is surprised by blatant attempts to pressure Ukraine into signing an association agreement with the European Union, Russia’s foreign minister said Wednesday.
Sergei Lavrov said that pressure was continuing despite Kiev’s clear choice to develop closer ties with Moscow. He spoke a day after President Vladimir Putin agreed to cut the price of Russian gas exported to Ukraine by a third from $400 per 1,000 cubic meters to $268.5.
Russia will also buy $15 billion of Ukraine’s debt in Eurobonds in a deal struck in Moscow with Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych.
Mykola Azarov, Ukraine’s Prime Minister, said that the “historic” agreement had saved his country from imminent economic default and social collapse.
“We are surprised by the attempts to put blatant pressure on the Ukrainian government, which continue despite the decisions taken in Moscow,” Lavrov told Russian lawmakers.
Ukrainian opposition leaders and EU official have criticized the deal as a half-measure that failed to address the urgent need for economic reforms in the country, which they argue can be achieved only by integration with Europe.
“Kiev is demanded to make its ‘free’ choice in favor of Europe,” Lavrov said.
But these demands clearly contradicted the right of a sovereign state to resolve the situation by itself and to act in accordance with its national laws and interests, the minister added.
“Our position is based on respect for the sovereign choice made by the Ukrainian people,” he said.
Ukraine has become the focus of a diplomatic tug-of-war between Russia and the EU. The former Soviet republic stunned European leaders last month by announcing that it was giving up pursuit of an association agreement that would strengthen trade and political links with the EU, and would instead seek closer ties with the Moscow-led Customs Union.
Lavrov said after a meeting with his EU counterparts on Monday that the sides had agreed that Ukraine’s sovereignty should be respected, and that people should have a free choice over the future development of their country.
From Mårbacka (1922)
Translated by Felma Swanston Howard
The Old Soldier
“Mind, Selma, you mustn’t say a word about war in Father’s hearing!”
The little girl was astonished at that. She knew that Back-Kaisa’s father was an old soldier who had fought with Napoleon at Leipsic. That one could not speak with him about war seemed unbelievable.
“Why can’t I talk to him about war?” she queried.
“That one must never do with them that’s been out in a real war,” Back-Kaisa told her.
The little girl stared and stared at the soldier who would not allow any one to speak of war in his hearing. To her there was nothing so delightful as to hear tales of battles or read stories of wars. She thought it a great pity that she could not ask him to tell her about the things he had been through. She felt that if she opened her mouth she would forget, and say something about war, and then the old man might kill her.
After a time she began to think he looked horrible. It was so incomprehensible, this, that one could not talk to him about war. There must be something dreadful back of it all which she did not understand…
Now, if he had been like other old soldiers, and had said that war was the greatest thing in the world; if he had boasted of killing hundreds of men and burning down whole cities and villages, then the little girl would not have been a bit afraid of him.
Along in August a company of poor soldiers came to Mårbacka. The men were ragged, famished, and ill. Their bodies were nothing but skin-and-bone and in their eyes was the look of the ravening wolf. The mark of death was on them all.
They were from Fryksände and other parishes in the northern part of Fryksdalen, they said. But now that they were nearing home they feared their own people would not recognize them. Only two years before they had gone forth as well, strong men. What would the folks at home think of getting them back in such a state that they were only fit to be put in the ground…
They were many thousand strong when they marched away, but one thousand after another had succumbed. Great numbers had been sent out on open barges on the raging sea in midwinter. How it had gone with these voyagers none knew; but when the boats drifted ashore the crews sat at their oars dead and literally encased in ice. These surviving militia-men, now returning on their own, had often been stoned away from farms and villages on their homeward tramp.
The militia-men rested at Mårbacka, and then went on, somewhat strengthened.
But they had left the bloody flux in their wake. Everyone on the place became desperately ill. All recovered save Grandmother’s two little children, who were of too tender an age to resist the virulence of the sickness.
U.S. Department of Defense
December 16, 2013
DOD Continues Central African Republic Peacekeeping Support
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON: The Defense Department sent another Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport jet from Burundi to the Central African Republic today in support of the African Union-led International Support Mission in that beleaguered nation, Army Col. Steve Warren, a Defense Department spokesman, told reporters here.
The aircraft carried 39 personnel, a 1.5-ton truck, an armored personnel carrier and six pallets of equipment totaling 42 tons, he added.
Since Dec. 12, when the airlift mission began, eight C-17 flights have traveled from Burundi to the Central African Republic, carrying 432 passengers, 25 pallets of equipment and 13 Burundian military vehicles, Warren said.
“There’s another flight scheduled today, and two more scheduled for tomorrow,” he added. “We estimate another 165 personnel will move on those three flights.”
Two of the C-17s and a small command and support team were on the ground in Uganda by Dec. 11, preparing to conduct airlift operations in support the ongoing peacekeeping operations, Warren said last week.
Also last week, a Pentagon official said a second small team of Air Force logisticians was on the ground in Burundi to prepare equipment for loading, and a third team was in the Central African Republic to help with security operations at the airfield.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian requested limited assistance from the U.S. military to support this international effort, Assistant Pentagon Press Secretary Carl Woog said in a Dec. 9 statement.
“In the near term,” he said, “France has requested airlift support to enable African forces to deploy promptly…in the Central African Republic.”
In an audio message released Dec. 9, President Barack Obama called on the transitional government to arrest those who are committing crimes.
“Individuals who are engaging in violence must be held accountable…as forces from other African countries and France work to restore security…” Obama said.
On Dec. 10, the president authorized the State Department to use up to $60 million in defense services and equipment for countries that contribute forces to the international support mission.
The assistance could include logistical support such as strategic airlift and aerial refueling, as well as training for French and African forces deploying to the Central African Republic.
…In addition to troops from African countries, France has dispatched several hundred troops to its former colony to help quell the unrest.
(Claudette Roulo of American Forces Press Service contributed to this story.
U.S. Air Forces Europe – Air Forces Africa
December 17, 2013
Missile air defense mission changes hands in Turkey
By 1st Lt. David Liapis
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey: Soldiers and airmen from the U.S., Turkey, the Netherlands and Great Britain attended a transfer of authority ceremony between the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery and the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Dec. 13 at a Turkish army base in Gaziantep, Turkey.
The 5-7 ADA took over the responsibility of providing PATRIOT missile air defense capabilities as part of a multinational NATO mission to protect Turkey from Syrian ballistic missile threats from the 3-2 ADA.
The 3-2 ADA spent nearly a year in Gaziantep after arriving at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in January 2013 from Fort Sill, Okla. The 5-7 ADA deployed from their home station, Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Xinhua News Agency
December 17, 2013
U.S. reiterates need to continue missile deployment in Europe despite Iran deal
• Hagel told Shoygu the U.S. and its allies would continue implementing missiles defense plans.
• Hagel stressed that the U.S. and NATO missile defense efforts “pose no threat” to Russia.
• Russia confirmed it has deployed its tactical Iskander-M missiles along borders with NATO countries.
WASHINGTON: U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu on Monday the U.S. and its allies would continue implementing missiles defense plans in Europe despite the temporary deal to resolve Iran’s nuclear dispute.
During his first video teleconference with Shoygu, Hagel said the Iran deal reached by the P5+1 group last month in Geneva “does not eliminate the need for U.S. and European allies to continue implementing missile defense plans in Europe,” Assistant Pentagon Press Secretary Carl Woog said in a statement.
It was referring to the preliminary deal reached in Geneva in late November by Iran and the P5+1 group, the five UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany, on resolving the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Hagel and Shoygu discussed a number of issues including missile defense, Syria, cyber security and countering improvised explosive devices at the teleconference, which was agreed to by the two ministers on the margins of the August U.S.- Russia 2+2 meeting.
Hagel stressed that the U.S. and NATO missile defense efforts “pose no threat” to Russia, while urging the both sides to continue consultations on future missile plans in Europe, Woog said.
Today’s talks between the two defense chiefs came as the U.S. government voiced its strong concerns over Russia’s missile deployment near its western region.
“We’ve shared with Russia the concerns the countries in the neighborhood have…regarding Russia’s deployment of the Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad. We’ve urged Moscow to take no steps to destabilize the region,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said at a press briefing Monday.
Russia confirmed Monday that it has deployed its tactical Iskander-M missiles along the borders with NATO countries, but insisting that the deployment did not violate international treaties.
In 2011, then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia would station Iskander tactic missiles in Kaliningrad and southern Krasnodar region, should the U.S. implement its phased approach to the anti-missile defense program, which Moscow repeatedly warns may damage its ties with Washington.
Russia confirms deployment of tactical missiles near borders with NATO
MOSCOW: Russia confirmed Monday that it has deployed its tactical Iskander-M missiles along the borders with NATO countries, insisting the deployment did not violate international treaties.
“The deployment of Iskander missile battalions on the territory of the Western Military District does not violate any respective international agreements,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted the defense ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov as saying.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 17, 2013
Report to Defence Attaches
The Defence Minister of Georgia presented an annual report on fulfilled and ongoing reforms in the Defence Ministry and Armed Forces to military attaches accredited to Georgia. At the beginning of the meeting, Defence Minister expressed gratitude to the military representatives of foreign countries for firm cooperation and involvement in reformation process.
Minister summed up the fulfilled projects at MoD and emphasized the priorities of defence ministry. As Irakli Alasania outlined, one of the priorities refers to improvement of transparency and accountability. In this respect, MoD has taken important proactive transformation steps, such as strengthening parliamentary control; enhance cooperation with local and international NGOs, the MoD joined the NATO Building Integrity initiative. Minister also touched upon the financial transparency. As he highlighted, state procurement system has improved, as a result the number of open tenders has increased to 70%.
Improvement of infrastructure and logistics were one of the main issues of the report as well.
While summing up carried out reforms in 2013, Irakli Alasania focused on the main directions of cooperation with Euro-Atlantic structures: “Our directions refer to integration process to NATO and EU; Georgia’s engagement to EU crisis management operations and NATO-led ISAF international operation in Afghanistan. We also talked about structural reforms and the assistance Georgia institutionally gets from NATO. Georgia is able to become an experience exporter recently got in defence sphere”. Post-ISAF period and future cooperation plans in Afghanistan were also discussed at the meeting with military attaches.
While reporting, Defence Minister referred to the regional security issues, strategic cooperation with neighbor countries, Georgia’s participation in SEDM initiative, as well conflict resolution by peaceful ways. Minister focused on Georgia’s role in the region and stated: “We are becoming an example for the regional countries how to manage defence structure properly, democratically and transparently”.
Chief of General Staff of GAF, Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze reported to the military attaches on the carried out reforms in Georgian Armed Forces. He outlined several important aspects, including military education and training, improvement of infrastructure on the military bases, social projects for military servicemen and their family members and personnel management.
Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze highlighted Georgia’s involvement in post-ISAF period and joining NRF. “During meeting with military attaches we always discuss the works made and the issues we have already resolved or to be resolved. Firm cooperation with military attaches is very important for further improvement of Georgian Armed Forces” – stated Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze.
At the end of the report, defence attaches thanked the Georgia side for cooperation and expressed will to deepen relations in the future.
Voice of Russia
December 17, 2013
Iskander-Ms deployed by Russia along western border (years ago)
The Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation has confirmed reports regarding the deployment of a significant quantity of short-range Iskander-M (NATO classification “SS-26 Stone”) tactical ballistic missile systems near Russian borders with Baltic states and countries that are members of NATO, including along borders shared with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and at least 10 more complete Iskander-M systems into the Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, the westernmost territory of the Russian Federation.
Various sources including one quoted by Izvestia in the Defense Ministry have stated that the missiles have been in position for at least 18 months. Izvestia quotes the official as questioning the timing of the publication of the reports and why Germany has chosen now to raise an alarm. Judging from the current situation in Ukraine, US/NATO need to raise any outcry they can against Russia in order to continue their infringement on Ukraine. This is a particularly insidious tactic and must be called out for what it is.
Russian intelligence has long known of the first strike capabilities of US/NATO “defense” elements and this has forced Russia to defend itself.
Although it is typical for the West to demonize and spread propaganda which is against any country, state or power which can defend itself and/or attempts to do so, as we have seen in country after country that the West has demanded disarm, these claims do not change the fact that every state has the right to defend itself against any threat. This includes any threat to sovereignty, territorial integrity or any other from US/NATO. Yes dear reader, despite what US/NATO want the world to believe, countries do in fact have a right to defend themselves against US/NATO.
The Iskander tactical missiles systems which were cited by the German “Bild” newspaper are capable of delivering nuclear payloads and have been deployed for a time in response to long-term and long-running threats by US/NATO in their continuing placement of, and surrounding of Russian territory with, so-called European missile “shield” elements. Missile infrastructure which US/NATO have attempted to claim from the outset were in response to a self-conceived and endlessly self-promoted yet entirely non-existent threat to Europe from the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that the deployment of the Iskander missile battalions in the Western Military District does not violate any international treaties. An official spokesman for the Defense Ministry Major General Igor Konashenkov stated to Russian media that: “The deployment of Iskander missile battalions on the territory of the Western Military District does not violate any respective international agreements.”
Despite being nuclear capable but due to their effective range of only 400 kilometers the Iskander systems cannot be classified as intermediate-range nuclear missiles which were banned by the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between Russia and the United States. The Iskander-M is an advanced mobile theater missile system and a battalion includes the launch vehicle equipped with two solid-propellant single-stage 9M723K1 guided missiles with “quasi-ballistic” capability and the necessary support vehicles including transporter and loading vehicles carrying extra missiles, data processing and command vehicles and the like.
Russia’s response to US/NATO missile, fighter aircraft, radar installations, military personnel and all of the infrastructure to support them has been extremely low-key and symmetrical. Politically the announcement by German media and confirming statements coincide with recent reports and public statements by high-level Russian officials regarding the offensive nature of the US/NATO “shield”. Again, and I have been saying this for years; despite the fact that US/NATO claim their technology is defensive and was against some phantom threat from Iran this has clearly proven without a doubt to be false and the new claim by US/NATO that they need to keep surrounding Russia with missiles because of a new phantom threat by a whopping 30 more countries, is ridiculous propaganda and rhetoric based on fantasy.
In 2008, during his first State of the Nation Address, then President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev stated that Russia would place the Iskander-M systems in Kaliningrad and in fact did so. These latest reports are based on satellite imagery which was released by US/NATO and leaked to the German press and claim 10 installations. Again the timing must be questioned.
Given the length of time that has passed since 2008 Russia could have installed hundreds of Iskander-M missile batteries and deployed them all along Russia’s Western borders and in fact along Northern and Southern and Eastern borders as well, but has not done so. So the big uproar over 10 installations seems ridiculous and self-serving in promoting Russophobia and demonizing Russia yet is understandable with another US/NATO loss on the horizon in Ukraine.
In reality no matter the amount missiles it has on its own territory, this is legal and normal and Russia has the right to defend itself, its territory and its citizens from any threat, including the direct and in your face threat that is posed by US/NATO who have proven almost hell-bent on provoking Russia, at times it seems, to the brink of World War III with constant bellicose rhetoric and provocative military escalation in Russia’s own backyard and around the world.
Russia’s reaction to US/NATO has been refrained, measured and intelligently thought out and even though official Moscow states that all moves will be symmetrical one might argue, and I would put forth, that a true “symmetrical” response would be Russia placing missiles and military infrastructure throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and throughout Canada. While this is impossible given the current geo-political climate, that would be the true “symmetrical response”. Of course this has not been said by official Moscow nor by Russian officials, but such a response would in fact be symmetrical.
In the upcoming days officials from countries which are now technically in the range of Russian Iskander-M missiles, may be making a show of seeking “advice” from NATO, as has Lithuania but I would also put forward that it is in fact the populations of these countries who should be questioning the true intentions of NATO and whether their interests are best served in continuing to provoke Russia by allowing US/NATO free reign on their territories to install military infrastructure which for the large part they themselves are paying for.
The governments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and all of the other countries that have been pulled into NATO have willingly given up a large portion of their sovereignty in joining EU/NATO and it is this lost sovereignty that has allowed US/NATO geopolitical planners to continue their outdated Cold War strategy of surrounding Russia, provoking a response and guaranteeing an escalation.
It is in this escalation that US/NATO and the US military industrial complex that is driving them, will continue to make billions upon billions of dollars at the cost of the societies of the countries that are foolish enough or too weak to stand up to the US/NATO war machine and simply say no.
The irrationality of joining US/NATO and their desperation to expand at any cost can be made no clearer than in the current situation in Ukraine. US/NATO, and this has been proven time and again, will attempt to destroy any country and any government that does not give up its sovereignty and allow them to exploit and violate its territorial integrity to further US/NATO’s own geopolitical goals. Calls by Western-backed oppositionist for a new government and the resignation of the president of Ukraine for refusing to sign what was reportedly a simple “economic agreement” should be sounding off warning bells but apparently this is not the case.
Again the hysteria in the West over some Iskander-Ms is ridiculous, given that they were placed in direct response to US/NATO actions. US/NATO maintains American tactical nuclear weapons all over Europe and has recently conducted various war games envisaging different scenarios of war with Russia. The true hysteria should be directed toward US/NATO who continue provoking Russia, seeking new wars all over the world in which to pull in NATO member countries and expanding militarily.
In reality there is no need for NATO anymore. That is a fact. It is an outdated dinosaur which continues to attempt to make itself relevant. The creation of “threats” and continued lies and propaganda being spread by NATO only serve their own interests which is guaranteeing their own continued existence and profiteering. Russia would have never installed such weapons in Kaliningrad had it not been for NATO’s own buildup. This is also true of the Arctic and other regions.
President Putin recently said that the West will never be able to prevail over Russia militarily and this is true. One reason is that US/NATO are technically, financially bankrupt, another is that US/NATO are over-extended in every meaning of that word, from financially to politically, and another is the simple fact that their “shield” does not work. There are also the technological considerations and Russia has the technology to counter US/NATO and even dominate in a war scenario, and the final reason is that it is known that US/NATO defense installations are in fact offensive and hence will be responded to symmetrically. The US/NATO Trojan Horse of a missile “defense” shield therefore has no chance of succeeding. The cat is out of the bag and has been for some time. All they can do is scream bogeyman and demonize and shake and rattle their sabers endlessly now. The dream of installing all of the missiles in their “shield” and then one day flicking a switch and making it first strike capable, is over. They have been exposed.
To underline the ridiculousness of the West’s current hysteria we can recall that in November 2011, when US/NATO refused to make the missile “defense” shield a joint project with Russia, then President Dmitry Medvedev announced plans to deal with a threat to Russia’s national security. Again almost saying the same thing he said in 2008 regarding the deployment of defensive and other elements in the west and south of the country, as well as the current Iskander missiles installed in the Kaliningrad region.
Almost since day one Moscow has been calling for US/NATO to sign legally-binding guarantees that its missile “defense” system will not be aimed against Russia, but US/NATO have refused to sign any legal guarantees, meaning they have no interest in peace but only in escalation.
In his State of the Nation address to the Federal Assembly President Vladimir Putin recently stated: “We realize clearly that the anti-missile defense system is only called defensive, while in fact it is a significant part of the strategic offensive potential.”
Rather than attempting to continue to surround Russia and China with their missiles, something that will never be allowed to work given the fact that now the world knows that the “defensive” nature of the “shield” is a lie, US/NATO might begin to work for peace and security, something which of course they are incapable of given that they are outdated, irrelevant, controlled by the military industrial complex and willing to do anything to continue along the path they seek of endless war and military buildup.
The only way that people in the West and around the world are ever going to be safe and secure and free of war is if war machines such as US/NATO are disbanded and no longer allowed to control policy and self-perpetuate. However this is unlikely to happen. The West has been taken over by the military-industrial complex and they are bent on taking over the world.
There can be no question that they only way we, citizens of the world can have peace is to disband them and that can only be done when their money is cut off. Something which we may not have to worry about much longer for they are already over-extended and as I said earlier, with a real debt of over $200 trillion the US is already completely bankrupt, if they can be prevented from starting World War III a little longer, then perhaps they will implode into oblivion and the world will finally have the peace and security it deserves.
As for the Iskander-Ms, if those of you in the West who are concerned by such developments really want to improve security and stop a military escalation, please fight for peace and tell US/NATO to stop provoking sovereign nations into defending themselves. You cannot keep pointing your gun at your neighbor and not expect him to arm himself and then blame him for attempting to defend himself, and in exactly this manner US/NATO must stop their military escalation because their own well being is at risk. Economically, unless they can pull more countries in NATO, US/NATO do not have the resources to buy a bigger gun, and when their neighbor buys a bazooka, while they are still holding their pistol, they will have lost forever.
US/NATO are the largest threat to security and safety in Europe and in the world, and even in space, the only way we can all be safe and secure and enjoy peace is when they are stopped and the US military-industrial complex is dismantled. Will that happen? Unfortunately the answer to that questions is almost a definite no. Does US/NATO want peace? The answer to that is also in the negative.
About the Iskanders? Nothing to see here. Really. Move along.
The views and opinions expressed here are my own, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 17, 2013
Anti-Nato demo continues
Peshawar: Activist of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf along with their coalition partners continued their sit-in against NATO supplies on the 24th consecutive day where large number of people participated. PTI District President for Charsadda, Zahor Khan, General secretary Arif Ahmad Zai, President of Tehsil Shabqadar Ghafarullah, Regional Information secretary Noor Wali Khan and President for Peshawar chapter Younis Zaheer Mohmand were present on the occasion.
Addressing on the occasion the participants criticised Federal Information Minister Senator Parvez Rasheed and termed him a US agent in Pakistan. They said that PML-N govt has no courage to face the US pressure.
They said that PTI workers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will participate in Imran Khan protest rally in Lahore to support the poverty-stricken people of Punjab.
They said that PML-N leadership has failed to deliver as per their promises and they have no right to rule the country after compromising the sovereignty of the country to the US.
December 17, 2013
PTI to stop Nato supplies in Karachi
KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Zubair Khan has said the PTI has formulated its strategy to halt the Nato supplies from Karachi. The PTI has made this decision after consulting with the district office-bearers and the workers across the City. All the arrangements to halt the supplies were underway.
Addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club here on Monday, he said the PTI’s various wings, including Youth Wing, Student Wing and Women Wing had been given the task to complete all arrangements to halt the Nato supplies in Karachi.
“On December 18 (tomorrow), a party delegation from Karachi will visit Lahore to call on PTI chairman Imran Khan to consult and finalise the decision of the party. The date of halting the supplies would be announced in a press briefing on return of the delegation. He further informed the PTI will stage protest against the Nato supplies on December 17 (today) at KPC.
From The Sky Is Red (1947)
Translated by Angus Davidson
He forced himself not to get up and look. It was useless to look. The town was just as it always was; he had a clear picture of it in his mind, with its towers and belfries rising above the roofs, and its many ruined houses, and its heaps of rubble, pale or dark in color, where the bombs have fallen.
And the people too, he knew just what they were like, he had observed them in the streets and in the market. People who struggled without ceasing to find food so as not to die, who were falling more and more to pieces, because they had nothing more to live for except to find food so as not to die.
Suddenly he knew that his departure had brought him no solution. He felt more empty and alone and desolate that he had ever before. It was clear that there still was something wrong. He tried to put his thoughts into order, considering them carefully one by one. Giulia was dead, and his mother and his father and Tullio were dead also. He could find no remedy by depending on them, since they were no longer there. And Carla too was lost irremediably. There was nothing he could do about Carla, in spite of a few moments of weakness. He could not go back to her and tell her that together they would find an object in life, when he himself was so empty. It would have no meaning. And the old man had said such a lot of things, things that were meant to help him. You must have faith in humanity, he had said, and he had spoken of the great day when good would return to the earth for all men. But he did not want to wait for that great day; he did not believe in it. Neither did the old man believe in it, and anyhow he would never live to see it, for he had sold his bed in order to eat. Now he would not be able to sell anything more, and he would die, and death would be the best thing for him, since he was alone and desolate. And in any case it would not in the least matter to him, even if the old man died of starvation. He would not feel any grief on that account. He was indifferent, like all the rest of the world, to everything outside himself. He felt spiteful towards all the rest of humanity.
Gradually they came to understand. It was no longer a war that had to be endured, it was a war that had been lost. In spite of all that was said, it must be recognized that it was a lost war. And they had been left alone to bear the burden of defeat, a burden too great for an impoverished people, in a land devastated and disabled by war. Nor was it possible to foresee when the burden of defeat would be lightened. Perhaps this would not come about during the period of a man’s lifetime; and so all these men who were living and thinking now, could never be happy again in their lives, could never again have enough food and clothing and shelter from the cold, or any certainty of being still alive the next day.
Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 16, 2013
Russia Confirms Tactical Missile Deployment on NATO Borders
MOSCOW: Russia confirmed Monday that it has deployed tactical ballistic missiles near its borders with NATO but said the move did not violate international agreements.
Bild newspaper in Germany reported over the weekend that Russia had “quietly” moved 10 Iskander-M (SS-26 Stone) missile systems into its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad and along its border with the Baltic States and NATO members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The deployment marks the realization of threats from Moscow to respond with a firm gesture to NATO plans to place elements of the so-called European missile shield close to Russian borders.
“The deployment of Iskander missile battalions on the territory of the Western Military District does not violate any respective international agreements,” ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.
Konashenkov declined to provide details on the number of deployed missiles or their specific locations.
The Iskander-M is a mobile theater missile system equipped with two solid-propellant single-stage 9M723K1 guided missiles with “quasi-ballistic” capability.
With its reported effective range of 400 kilometers (250 miles), the Iskander does not fall into the category of intermediate-range nuclear missiles banned by the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between Russia and the United States.
The missiles deployed in Kaliningrad could hit NATO targets located in Poland, Lithuania and even in Germany, however.
Voice of Russia
December 16, 2013
Western media provides narrow, constricted, biased, unrepresentative view, unlike Russian outlets – Rick Rozoff
Since the days of the Cold War the West has launched illegal wars against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and attempted to do the same thing in Syria. They have been successful in avoiding blowback and responsibility due to their monopoly on the corporate controlled media and the fact that most of the media in the world passively accepts their interpretation of world events. This is one of the reasons that alternative media and foreign controlled media are important. For many people in the West, the only truth they can actually get comes increasingly from non-corporate and even “foreign” media sources. The Voice of Russia spoke to Rick Rozoff on media and the current paradigm where journalism has lost the honor and ideals it once had.
You are listening to Part 2 of an interview with Rick Rozoff the Owner and Manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list. You can find Part I on our website at voiceofrussia.com.
Rozoff: And we are seeing now what could be a major military altercation in the East China Sea where China’s announced a new air zone over what China knows as the Diaoyu and the Japanese as Senkaku Islands. And it is the typical US press wire services where we refer to them, 100%, as Senkaku by the Japanese definition.
Robles: Right, the same thing with the Maldives.
Rozoff: But also occasionally you will see US media, not infrequently by the way, and sometimes government media, refer to the Persian Gulf as the Arabian Gulf, which is a direct provocation to the government of Iran, of course; refer to Russia’s South Kuril Islands as Japan’s northern territory. So what you are seeing is, you know, the sort of political remapping of the world that would be a casus belli, I mean it would be a cause for a war, under other circumstances, and surely if the situation were reversed, so that the war of ideas, the battle of ideas is at least as critical as that of politics, economics and so forth.
And ultimately who presents the most accurate and the most persuasive view of the truth is the person who is probably going to emerge the victor in any contest around the world. And we’ve seen just such atrocious, egregious, unpardonable lies being spewed out by the West for every war they’ve conducted over the last 20 years, but particularly in the post-Cold War period with Yugoslavia, with Afghanistan, with Iraq, with Libya, with Syria. And I for one don’t believe the West would have been as successful, or however dubiously successful they’ve been, as they’ve been, if it wasn’t for the fact they could count on basically if not a monopoly then at least a preponderance of news around the world and knowing that most of the world would at least passively accept their interpretation of world events.
Robles: Very good what you’ve just said and I’m sure everybody will take it to heart and we all agree with you 100%. What you’ve just brought up raised in my mind recently a new phrase that has come out in alternative media I guess and some other sources that there is a war going on on journalists and on journalism by the US government in particular on whistleblowers, on truth seekers, on anyone who is against the official line. Would you like to comment on that?
Rozoff: That’s true, and this is again something that evokes both the Cold War, but I would say probably more World War 2 and the period leading up to it. When in Central Europe, when Nazi Germany became the dominant force in Central Europe, journalists were imprisoned, journalists were tortured, journalists were shot. And we are in a situation right now where truthfully we’ve already seen the prostituting of journalism, I can’t think of any other term for it, where it’s become more a profitable and prestigious career than it’s become a mission or a vocation in life, where people promote or peddle themselves as the story itself – that is, the journalist often times particularly the telejournalist – often times is the story. And whatever subject matter is being discussed is almost of secondary significance, it’s grist to his mill.
And we have to remember that there once was a time when journalists were very dedicated, usually self-effacing, oftentimes anonymous and people who were willing to risk their well-being, their economic well-being, and their lives. And that ideal image of a journalist is something that desperately needs to be revived right now. It, a journalist … journalism rather, can be a dignified and honorable profession instead of what it in many ways has become.
And this again is a distinctly Western phenomenon in that the prevalence of corporate media, mass entertainment media conglomerates that run supposed news sites, so that newspapers, television news programs, radio news programs are put out or issued by the same corporations that are putting out commercials and music videos and cartoons.
Robles: So that basically the days of the intrepid reporter trying to get this scoop, those days are long gone or do you think they are…?
Rozoff: Well certainly on the city beat. I’m living in Chicago where we have two, only two, newspapers, one is a tabloid. Most of the material in both of them is gathered as we were talking about earlier from the wire services, the press agencies, so that fewer and fewer countries have their own correspondents overseas, or even outside the city where they’re published. There is a tendency to streamline and consolidate the press.
At one time in Chicago a hundred years ago I’m sure there were dozens of newspapers, literally dozens of newspapers. You had five-star editions; the paper would be publishing five different editions in a day – one newspaper. You had competition between papers -you don’t have that anymore. So you don’t have that sort of journalist who is really going to go out and fight for a story because that is not what he is paid to do currently.
But that is more on the local level. I think that what we are talking about is, is the perception of world events, and I would say this: the framework within which we view events and this means basically – there is no other word for it – what is a person’s worldview? Is that a world view based on equity? Is it a worldview based on equity, is it a worldview based on peace and development, is it a worldview based on fairness and justice – or isn’t?
And if you have a world view cultivated throughout the globe based on what are essentially US, British, French and German press accounts of it, then it’s going to be, by definition, a narrow, constricted, biased, unrepresentative view of the news. And you hit on it keenly I think when you look at even the most basic terminology that appears in an Associated Press report, let’s be honest about it, Associated Press is for all intents and purposes the American government’s press agency.
Robles: Well we can’t, we can’t quote the Associated Press. I don’t even know if we can say their name, but go ahead – you said it, so it’s ok.
Rozoff: I’m not slandering them; I’m just reporting what it is. You go to a major American press government sources, armed forces online publications like Stars and Stripes, and the US government, the State Department, White House website and there’s photographs in there by Associated Press. The government itself doesn’t apparently even pay a photographer to accompany the president.
Here’s where it becomes a little bit more insidious, and this is another vital point I think people have ignored, that the fact that the US government has an obedient press corps at its beck and call, including Associated Press and Reuters, but pretends that they are independent, means one of the ways we can shut down independent journalists, particularly web journalists like ourselves, is through copyright infringement. So, for example, and I’ve argued his point for years, if the mayor of my city, Rahm Emanuel, goes to a neighboring city like Milwaukee, 80 miles away, and makes a statement there and there is a photograph of him there , I cannot put that out on the Internet because it’s copyrighted by Associated Press.
Robles: Even though he is a – I don’t want to say he is your public official – but I mean your tax Dollars are paying his salary, so…?
Rozoff: That’s correct. So even your content or photographs and other basic elementary material, you would think it was, is permissible to be passed on from one citizen to another is not. And you will be reined in quickly, you will be pulled up short, if you without seeking the written permission of Associated Press quote your own public official talking. You certainly can’t be there yourself, and be where these people go, and if you were you wouldn’t be a credentialed press person who is allowed to go into the briefing.
So where else are you are getting this information except by the government-approved private media, which then hides behind copyright infringement. This is a new form of political censorship that is not recognized as such.
Robles: I see. So, the new control mechanism is copyright infringement on the Net?
Rozoff: Yeah, copyright violation. It’s almost to the point where, if you clip out a newspaper article from your local press and mail it to somebody, I guess you could be accused of violating their copyright.
Robles: Maybe you can help me because I have a website, you have a website. Maybe you can tell me what the current standard is, but I remember it was AP that came out with something like: you could not publish more than the first three sentences or something of one of their stories and then include one or two links to it. What is the current standard?
Rozoff: I’d … to be honest with you, I’m familiar with what you are speaking about. I would have to go to each press agency and each newspaper to see what their particular policy is, but the long and short of it appears to be something quite like that: that you can tease the public with a short introductory …
Robles: The first paragraph or some…I don’t remember what it was, but they had it worked down to something like, even down to a word count or something, but it was pretty specific but…
Rozoff: But keep in mind, where else, if there is no official government site, are you going to find out what your own congressperson, what your own city council person, what your own president has said? Where else you are going to go unless you go to Associated Press, and then if you go there they are going to hold copyright penalties over your head. So you are effectively prevented from even saying what your own elected official said.
Robles: So by default, even just knowing the information, if you even report about it on the Internet you think you could be accused of plagiarizing or copyright or something?
Rozoff: This has happened to me with the Stop NATO mailing list. Roughly three years ago there was a series of websites all more or less subsumed under Military Times, run by the Gannett chain, the chain of newspapers, and they include Defense News, Marine Times, Air Force Times and so forth. They are all over the country, and they’ve been taking over small town, medium town newspapers and so forth. And then the printing is done in some other part of the country, and all that, so they are also eliminating jobs.
But anyway, the long and short of what had happened was, an article I had taken from, I believe, Defense News (part of the Military Times group), and I had sent it out on my private e-mail list – private e-mail list – it had been picked up by somebody (this a Yahoo list) it had been picked up by somebody else in Pakistan, and it was in the archives of a private e-mail list in Pakistan, and I was contacted by an attorney from Defense News and Military Times, saying if I didn’t remove it from a site that I didn’t even know exists – I have no idea who runs it – that they would consider legal action against me.
They turned me over to the Yahoo administration, which took their side and told me they would not only close down my e-mail news list, but all my private e-mail accounts, which I’ve used, in the case of Yahoo for 14 years. So, I’m told that any mode of communication I have is being cut off because somebody passed on something – God knows how many times – ended up in another country in the archives of a private e-mail list and I can face a legal penalty.
Robles: When was this, because that sounds exactly like what the SOPA bill was supposed to do and what this new TPP is supposed to be doing. When did that happen?
Rozoff: August of 2011.
Robles: 2011. Was there a legal foundation for that in the United States, or were they just huffing and puffing, or they were testing the water as to how much they could intimidate people, or what’s the deal?
Rozoff: When I heard from Yahoo News, they copied and pasted a legal argument against the use of it. Keep an eye on this, it wasn’t done for commercial purposes, it wasn’t published broadly, it was sent out privately.
Robles: I know, I’m a member of your mailing list by the way.
Rozoff: The only equivalent I could think of in the hard-copy age, in the pre-computer age is that somebody who is interested in fishing or something and they had magazines Field & Stream and they cut out an article about trout fishing, and they mailed it to their friend John, and he liked it so he mailed it to his friend Phil, and somebody caught Phil with the article and threatened the original person with cutting off his mail service.
Robles: It’s ridiculous when you take this stuff and put it in real world terms, all this stuff they are trying to do with the Internet. I mean, when Jeremy Hammond – had he in physical terms, as Susan Crabtree told me, when I talked to her right before he was sentenced to 10 years – if you had taken a car and driven right through the front doors of Stratfor and physically stolen all their files, he would have got something like three years and community service or something. And for doing this electronically he gets 10 years.
Rozoff: I know, that’s atrocious.
Robles: I’ve always wondered, it’s always seemed odd to me that cyberspace and the Internet and in reality it doesn’t exist, it’s not a tangible place. But why it has such real world effects when small things like this are done is beyond me.
Rozoff: It’s … we have to be honest about this, this is the new totalitarianism, and it’s information totalitarianism. And it’s, amongst other things, the Internet not only permits me to communicate with you, but it permits any powerful entity, governments in the first instance, to monitor the activity of its citizens and the citizens of the world. What else have we learnt by the expose about the National Security Agency but just that?
That the US is monitoring down to the finest most minute particular – every telephone call, every key stroke, every visit – of everyone on the planet. You would need a million George Orwell’s to be able to anticipate something this far-reaching, this comprehensive, and it’s frightening. And the fact is, we’ve had occasion to talk about it on your show before, that the person in charge of the National Security Agency – four-star General Keith Alexander – is the same person who was put in charge of US Cyber Command, which is a cyber-warfare command, pure and simple. It should certainly alert people to the fact that what we are dealing with right now is a new mode of conducting warfare. What the Pentagon has referred to in terms of cyber-warfare is the fifth battle space, and after land, air, sea and space.
Robles: And it is currently it’s not against armies or governments, or state actors; the target appears to be you and me and Joe Blow and Mary Smith.
That was Part 2 of an interview in progress. You can find Part 1 on our website at Voiceofrussia.com. Thanks for listening and I wish you the best wherever you may be.