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Montenegro To Become 29th NATO Member?

January 31, 2014 Leave a comment

Beta News Agency
January 31, 2014

Montenegro hopes to get NATO invitation this year

PODGORICA: “Despite different announcements” the Montenegrin government still expects the country to be invited to join NATO during the alliance’s summit in September.

The government said it would engage in “increased political activity to win greater public support for NATO membership,” Beta reported.

Leaders of political parties in the ruling coalition are said to have agreed that this was “one of the political priorities in the coming months.”

The party leaders met on Tuesday and agreed to also step up “party line” activities to create an environment that would lead to greater public support for membership in NATO.

That support is now at about 40 percent, “which is not yet sufficiently credible for NATO itself.”

The opposition, meanwhile, insists that Montenegro will not receive an invitation to join the Western military alliance at the summit to be held in Wales.

NATO has not yet specified whether the issue of its enlargement will be on the agenda of the summit.

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Lion Feuchtwanger: The privilege, the courage of fighting for peace

January 31, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Lion Feuchtwanger: Selections on war

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Lion Feuchtwanger
From Paris Gazette (Exil) (1939)
Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir

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He had suddenly realized that all his endeavours to preach peace without compromise, all his cry of “Peace, peace,” and “No more war,” had been of no use whatever to anyone. The privilege of fighting for peace without making oneself a laughing-stock was something that had first to be earned. To be able to fight for peace successfully one must have proved to the world that one was not doing it from timidity or cowardice, that one was willing to die if need be for the sake of peace. It was possible to become a kind of Messiah for the sake of peace, and there must always be people in the world dedicated to hold that ideal before the eyes of the nations. Yet only those were called to such a mission who had shown themselves ready to stake their very lives for such a purpose. What value could it have if cowards were to cry for peace? Only the really courageous could be allowed to preach apparent cowardice.

Benjamin could feel all this, yet he could not put it clearly into words. At least, he shrank from putting it into words. If he were really called to such a mission, if he were really one of a thousand successors of Isaiah, that was precisely why he should not proclaim himself as anything out of the ordinary. A genuine prophet of peace must never forget that he is nothing but a humble vessel for his message, and he must be clothed in humility. A worker for peace could not pride himself on his mission any more than on the fact that he drew breath; he must remain, in a high sense of the word, anonymous. The need for being humble, the need for silent self-effacing courage, that was what Friedrich Benjamin had learned in his cell when face to face with death.

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Pentagon Chief: Poland Strategic NATO Ally Throughout World

January 30, 2014 1 comment

U.S. Department of Defense
January 30, 2014

Hagel Hails Poland as Important Strategic Ally
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WARSAW, Poland: Poland continues to be an important strategic ally through NATO, in Europe and around the world, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said here today during a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak.

Hagel spent the day with Polish military and government leaders. In each meeting — with Siemoniak and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski — the secretary emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Poland strategic alliance, noting Poland is a strong U.S. partner and a good friend.

The secretary said he would continue that emphasis tomorrow during meetings with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

“I want to particularly acknowledge and thank Poland for its contribution in Iraq and Afghanistan. Poland was a partner with the United States in both of those wars at great sacrifice,” Hagel said.

“Over the last few years we have opened up a new chapter of friendship, of partnership that dates back to America’s independence, when Poland’s great Gen. Casimir Pulaski volunteered to serve under George Washington,” the secretary added.

Hagel began his first official trip to Poland as defense secretary this morning in a snow-covered urban landscape under cloudy Warsaw skies, in temperatures that a gusty wind dragged into the single digits.

This afternoon he visited Piłsudski Square and its Tomb of the Unknown, which holds the unidentified body of a young soldier who fell during the Defense of Lwów. The battle for control of that city took place in the early 1900s between attacking forces of the West Ukrainian People’s Republic and local Polish civilians who were later helped by regular Polish Army forces.

Afterward, at the Ministry of National Defense, Hagel met with Siemoniak before the joint press conference.

In his opening statement, the defense minister praised the United States’ decisive role in such historical events as the early years of Poland’s struggle for independence, and Poland’s entry 15 years ago into the NATO alliance.

Siemoniak said Poland is ready for concrete action to modernize its armed forces through the great financial effort that is taken by its citizens and through organizing regional security policy.

“The effectiveness of these actions and our efforts depends on the support and presence of the United States,” Siemoniak added. “There is no thinking about the safety of Poland and this part of Europe in the 21st century without the United States.”

For his part, Hagel noted tangible examples of growing U.S.-Polish military cooperation, including in missile defense, where the United States and Poland continue to work bilaterally and through NATO to respond to ballistic missile threats.

“The United States is firmly committed to deploying a U.S. missile defense system to Poland. We look forward to this system coming online in 2018 as part of phase three of the European Phased Adaptive Approach,” Hagel said.

A second example of cooperation is the groundbreaking joint aviation detachment at Powidz Air Base, where Hagel will travel tomorrow.

There, he said, American and Polish airmen train and work side by side every day. The detachment sends an important defense capability message to U.S. allies and partners, the secretary said, adding, “The message is that the United States remains committed to European and Polish defense.”

It also shows that the United States and its allies are open to new and innovative ways of thinking about how militaries can collaborate and bring more value to single and joint capabilities, Hagel said.

“The United States greatly appreciates Poland inviting us and hosting that detachment,” he added.

The two nations also are working to expand training and exercises through the aviation detachment, including regional partners such as Romania, which is the latest NATO member to acquire F-16 fighter jets.

Because Poland has demonstrated its leadership, willingness and commitment to play a significant leadership role in Central Europe, Hagel said, the U.S.-Poland partnership and the joint action site are particularly important and well suited to future exercises and training opportunities.

These are but a couple of the concrete, tangible expressions of American’s strong security relationship with Poland, the secretary said, and they clearly reaffirm the U.S. commitment to Central and Eastern Europe, and they form a foundation to support an enduring partnership with these countries in this region well into the future.

“As Poland explores options for its own missile defense capabilities,” Hagel said, “there is an unmistakable opportunity for us both to forge even closer cooperation in this area, leveraging cutting-edge technology and enhanced NATO capability.”

This, he added, will benefit Poland, the United States and the entire transatlantic alliance.

“The minister and I also discussed today a continuing commitment to supporting Poland’s defense modernization efforts,” the secretary said.

“In an era of fiscal pressures that reside on both sides of the Atlantic,” Hagel added, “this investment is particularly required to move our alliance further, deeper, closer into the 21st century, ultimately allowing both our militaries to collaborate much closer on more findings in the future.”

Following Poland, Hagel will travel to the Munich Security Conference in Germany to participate Saturday with Secretary of State John Kerry in a joint panel and to meet with counterparts and officials from other nations on the sidelines of the conference.

These will include a first meeting with the new German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, British Secretary of State for Defense Philip Hammond, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, Ukrainian Defense Minister Pavlo Lebedyev and Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.

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Bahrain: U.S, Expands Fifth Fleet Naval Base

January 30, 2014 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
January 30, 2014

Bridge for NSA Bahrain on the move — slowly

MANAMA Bahrain: A 2,600-ton tied-arch suspension bridge that will connect Naval Suppprt Activity Bahrain to 77 acres of new expansion land is on the move, but slower than officials had anticipated.

The initial plan to pre-position the bridge for a much-hyped move during the night from Thursday into Friday was delayed until Thursday morning while crews repaired a piece of equipment crucial to lift and move the nearly 400-foot bridge.

The bridge was lifted Thursday morning, but moving it has been stop-and-go because of unexpected issues.

The clock is ticking; Bahrain’s Ministry of Works gave the U.S. Navy a seven-hour window to install the bridge overnight and re-open the roadway, one of Bahrain’s busiest, by 6 a.m. Friday. Fridays in Bahrain are the equivalent of Sundays in the United States, when traffic is minimal.

Naval Support Activity Bahrain, home to the U.S. 5th Fleet, has outgrown the capacity of the existing facilities and the bridge is considered an important milestone in the base’s growth. The expansion will provide space for a vehicle maintenance facility, a warehouse, a dining facility and two barracks to house about 1,000 sailors.

Army Corps of Engineers officials say the bridge project is the first of its kind in the Middle East District’s history.

Even if Thursday night’s installation is successful, the $8 million bridge isn’t scheduled to open until sometime in the summer.

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Brookings Institution’s O’Hanlon Calls For Thousands Of U.S. Troops In Africa

January 30, 2014 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
January 30, 2014

Defense expert calls for thousands of US troops in Africa
By John Vandiver

STUTTGART, Germany:The U.S. should send a 5,000-strong security assistance brigade to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help stabilize a country ravaged by more than a decade of war, a prominent U.S. military analyst recommends.

In a “memorandum” to President Barack Obama, Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution also urges the White House to send several hundred military advisers to Libya to help train that country’s fledgling armed forces.

“The United States should, with a focused effort and in partnership with other states, make a significant push to improve security in Africa,” O’Hanlon wrote in his Jan. 23 memo, which was posted on the Brookings website. “No massive deployments of U.S. troops would be needed, and in fact no role for American main combat units is required. But we should step up our game from the current very modest training efforts coordinated through Africa Command (AFRICOM).”

The recommendation comes at a time of increased concern about instability in certain parts of Africa. The list of hotspots is long: Mali, Somalia and across ungoverned spaces in the Sahel region of western and north-central Africa, where extremists have taken root, armed in large part with weapons looted from Libyan armories during NATO’s air assault on Moammer Gadhafi’s regime in 2011.

In addition, ethnic divisions have exploded into bloody violence in South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the DRC.

AFRICOM has engaged in many of those hotspots, though U.S. military action generally takes the form of modestly sized training missions, intelligence gathering operations and logistical support to French forces on the ground in places like Mali.

It seems unlikely that the Obama administration would follow O’Hanlon’s recommendation.

In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, Obama emphasized that as the war in Afghanistan winds down, he would send U.S. forces into conflict zones only as a last resort.

“I will not send our troops into harm’s way unless it’s truly necessary. Nor will I allow our sons and daughters to be mired in open-ended conflicts,” Obama said.

In the case of lawless eastern Congo, where thousands of people have been killed in the past decade, despite the presence of U.N. peacekeepers, there are no clear national security risks at stake for the U.S. While the U.S. has provided some military training to support DRC troops in the past, sending a 5,000-striong brigade would be an unprecedented move in the region.

Asked about O’Hanlon’s recommendation, Maj. Fred Harrell, an AFRICOM spokesman, said it would be “innappropriate” for the command to comment on any potential policy decision.

O’Hanlon also recommended that the U.S. send several hundred troops to Libya to train that country’s military. Since Gaddafi’S fall, Libya has been in a state of virtual anarchy. The U.S. and European partners are drawing up plans to train government forces, but that will likely occur outside of the country.

O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, acknowledges that increasing the U.S. military’s profile in Africa could be a hard sell.

“At a time of national war fatigue and fiscal austerity, it may be counterintuitive to propose increasing American involvement, particularly if it involves military commitment, abroad. But, for a modest investment, the United States and other countries may be able to make major strides towards improving the prospects for peace and stability on the continent.”

O’Hanlon’s full memorandum can be read here.

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Pentagon Herding Serbia Into NATO

January 30, 2014 3 comments

U.S. Department of Defense
January 27, 2014

Hagel, Serbia’s Defense Minister Discuss Enhanced Defense Cooperation
American Forces Press Service

20140128_SerbianVisit

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met at the Pentagon today with Serbia’s Minister of Defense Nebojsa Rodic for discussions that included opportunities for broadening defense cooperation.

“Secretary Hagel was pleased to join Minister Rodic in signing a General Security of Military Information Agreement, which will ensure protection of military information and enable further military-to-military cooperation,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement issued after the meeting.

Kirby said Hagel “welcomed Serbia’s contribution to peacekeeping efforts and its leadership on the Balkans Medical Task Force,” and added that “Serbia’s decision to host bilateral and multinational exercises further demonstrates our growing defense relationship.”

In addition, Kirby said “the leaders discussed regional security concerns in the Balkans, and ways to build upon the positive momentum of the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue.”

Kirby said Hagel praised the progress Serbia and Kosovo have made in normalizing relations, and highlighted the positive influence Minister Rodic has had in securing regional cooperation.

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CELAC Declares (Most Of) Western Hemisphere Zone Of Peace

January 30, 2014 1 comment

Xinhua News
January 30, 2014

CELAC declares region nuclear-free

HAVANA: The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) has declared the region a nuclear-free zone, Cuban leader Raul Castro announced Wednesday on the final day of the summit in Havana.

Castro read out a statement highlighting the commitment of the CELAC’s 33 member countries to establishing a “zone of peace” in the region in keeping with the principles of the United Nations Charter and International Law.

“I solemnly declare Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace,” said Castro, citing the eight-point CELAC proclamation.

The document reaffirms that “preserving peace is a substantial element of Latin American and Caribbean integration.”

The countries reject “the use of force and non-legitimate means of defense, such as weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons in particular,” in favor of “the peaceful resolution of conflicts.” They also pledged to continue to promote nuclear disarmament as a “priority objective” in the region.

The members also agreed to non-intervention in the internal affairs of countries, with regard to sovereignty and “respect for the inalienable right of each state to choose its economic, political, social and cultural system, as an essential condition for ensuring peaceful coexistence among nations.”

Castro called on CELAC countries to use the contents of the declaration to guide their decisions in international fora.

Late Wednesday, the summit participants are expected to sign the final Declaration of Havana and approve the bloc’s 2014 Plan of Action, as well as some 30 different statements on issues affecting the region.

Cuba will then hand over the rotating presidency of the bloc to Costa Rica for the duration of the year.

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Over 300 US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 – leaked official data

January 30, 2014 Leave a comment

RT
January 30, 2014

 

Over 300 US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 – leaked official data

Supporters of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa Islamic organization hold placards and party flags as they shout slogans during a protest against U.S. drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region, in Peshawar November 29, 2013. (Reuters/Fayaz Aziz)Supporters of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa Islamic organization hold placards and party flags as they shout slogans during a protest against U.S. drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region, in Peshawar November 29, 2013. (Reuters/Fayaz Aziz)

 

Top-secret documentation collected by Pakistani field officers gives detailed information on 330 US drone strikes that have occurred in Pakistan since 2006. The CIA-run program is estimated to have killed 2,371 people.

From solitary individuals riding on horseback to mountain hideouts crammed with people, the CIA drone program has had no shortage of targets in the Islamic Republic, according to newly released information obtained by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).

The most complete official record of American drone activity in Pakistan yet published provides an account as to the time and place of each strike, even including in some cases the identity of the homeowners.

The document is unique in that it provides a “strike-by-strike account,” opening the window on Pakistan’s view of each incident with that of other authorities.

Strangely, the retrieved data stops recording civilian casualties after 2008, while even failing to mention details of civilian deaths that have been widely acknowledged by the Pakistani authorities. It also inexplicably excludes information from the year 2007.

The news watchdog said the leaked documents are based on information filed to the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) Secretariat each evening by local Political Agents in the field. However, TBIJ noted that the leaked documents are just one of several sources of information the Pakistani government has on US drone activity in the country.

 

Hafiz Saeed, head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa organisation and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, (2nd R) addresses supporters during a protest against U.S. drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region, in Lahore November 29, 2013. (Reuters/Mohsin Raza)Hafiz Saeed, head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa organisation and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, (2nd R) addresses supporters during a protest against U.S. drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region, in Lahore November 29, 2013. (Reuters/Mohsin Raza)

 

‘Naming the dead’

Last July, TBIJ published the first part of the document, which detailed US drone strikes in the northwest tribal areas of Pakistan between 2006 and late 2009.The information showed that Islamabad was aware of hundreds of civilian casualties – even in incidences where it had officially refused to acknowledge such deaths had occurred.

In the first part of the report, 746 people are listed as killed in the drone strikes, at least 147 of the victims are said to be civilians, 94 of which are thought to be children. From 2009 to Sept. 2013, it is estimated that 1, 625 people were killed by drone strikes, a figure that closely matches those of the TBIJ.

The London-based journalism watchdog emphasized that some entries in the report included ambiguous language, hinting that possible civilian deaths are being deliberately concealed.

On March 17 2011, for instance, a meeting of tribal elders fell victim to a US drone strike that left 41 people killed. The attack was condemned by Pakistani officials. The report, however, only states that ‘it is feared that all the killed were local tribesmen’.

TBIJ says it has repeatedly found evidence of civilian deaths in strikes where local media have used ambiguous terms, such as ‘villagers,’ ‘people’ and ‘local tribesmen’.

Another entry in the documents suggests problems with identifying exactly who is considered a ‘militant’. For a strike on April 12 2010, it shows 14 deaths and three wounded, noting: ‘The killed militants also include a 12 years [sic] old child.’

‘Whatever is happening, if this document is anything to go by, it’s clear the Pakistan government’s investigations are not adequate,’ Mustafa Qadri, a researcher for Amnesty International Amnesty, told the journalism watchdog. ‘First, this table does not appear to be telling us the whole truth about casualties.

‘Secondly, what steps have Pakistan authorities taken to assist civilians caught up in these strikes like access to medical services or provide them with remedies such as access to justice or compensation? … It doesn’t seem to be the case that this record keeping is carried out so that the Pakistan state can better assist people caught up in these strikes.’

The data also gives little information on other details, such as which organisation the killed are said to have belonged to, or even the names of those killed. Even in instances when senior militants are reportedly killed, they are rarely identified by name.

As TBIJ discovered with its Naming the Dead report, the overwhelming majority of those killed in drone strikes remain unidentified: only about one in five victims have so far been identified by name.

 

Supporters of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, an Islamic organization, burn a U.S. flag as they shout slogans during a protest against U.S. drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region, in Karachi November 8, 2013. (Reuters/Athar Hussain)Supporters of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, an Islamic organization, burn a U.S. flag as they shout slogans during a protest against U.S. drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region, in Karachi November 8, 2013. (Reuters/Athar Hussain)

 

Drone backlash

Amid growing evidence showing that US drone strikes are not as ‘surgical’ as the Pentagon believes them to be, US officials continue to downplay the collateral damage connected with its drone campaign.

In a report dated August 11, 2011, the New York Times quoted US officials, who spoke on the condition anonymity, that the US Drone program “has killed more than 2,000 militants and about 50 noncombatants since 2001,” a hit-miss ratio that the paper described as a “stunningly low collateral death rate by the standards of traditional airstrikes.”

The findings of the document are at odds with CIA Director John O. Brennan’s claim in June 2011 that that for almost a year, “there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we’ve been able to develop.”

The enduring belief in the flawless execution of aerial drone technology, which allows military personnel to take out enemy combatants, often many miles away from the action, is not without its critics. Indeed, some of them are members of the US military itself.

“What scares me about drone strikes is how they are perceived around the world,” retired General Stanley McChrystal said in an interview earlier this month. “The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes … is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.”

McChrystal said the use of drones creates a “perception of American arrogance that says, ‘Well we can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.'”

Meanwhile, Islamabad has so far refused to confirm the authenticity of the latest leaked information obtained by TBIJ, but it is not refuting the document’s claims of high civilian deaths.

‘I am not in a position to authenticate the veracity of this report, but the facts that are being revealed are something which is not new,’ Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Choudhry told Voice of America. ‘We have always said that drone strikes cause civilian casualties.’

 

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NATO Pats Georgian Lapdog On Its Furry Head

January 30, 2014 1 comment

Interfax
January 30, 2014

NATO lauds effort to fight corruption at Georgian Defense Ministry

TBILISI: NATO welcomes the effort to fight corruption and to lower corruption risks in the Georgian Defense Ministry, Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Tamara Karosanidze told a press conference on Thursday.

She said NATO experts had drawn up a report on reforms carried out by Georgia consistent with the NATO Building Integrity program.

The report positively evaluated the completed and upcoming reforms, the deputy minister said.

“The report by NATO experts accentuated the steps the ministry had taken for building up transparency and reducing corruption risks and indicated problems that had yet to be resolved,” Karosanidze said.

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Ministry of Defence of Georgia
January 30, 2014

The NATO Peer Review Team Report

The NATO peer review team praised the Ministry of Defence for its strong support for taking forward NATO’s anticorruption program and a significant progress in fighting corruption.

Deputy Defence Minister Tamar Karosanidze and Head of the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia William Lahue made remarks for media representatives regarding the results of the report.

The NATO Building Integrity (BI) Peer Review report analyzes the steps taken by the Ministry to promote transparency and integrity, and highlights the areas requiring further improvement.

“Increasing the use of electronic procurement systems, establishing of a simplified electronic tender procedure, engaging the civil society through regular contacts, establishing of the Citizen Reception Office, using military selection boards, independent testing of personnel and a balanced interview process in the hiring of new civilian staff, and using of an online asset declaration system were identified as examples of good practice and innovative approaches of the Ministry that it ought to share with others,” the report says.

The report has been sent to the Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Alasania by acting assistant secretary general, James Appathurai. In the letter attached to the report he commends the Ministry of Defence of Georgia for its frank and open exchange with the review team during the visit in December.

“It is recommended that Georgia make use of both NATO and Southeastern European Defence Ministerial (SEDM) tools to promote your experiences and lessons learned. The BI team and the NATO Headquarters, as well as the network of NATO BI Subject Matter Experts and Implementing Partners, remain at your disposal and stand ready to assist you in taking forward work to strengthen transparency, accountability, and the integrity as well promoting good practice,” says James Appathurai in his letter.

The report is based on the self-assessment questionnaire prepared by the MoD and information gathered during the visit of the NATO BI Experts Team in 9-12 December. The Building Integrity (BI) Programme is part of NATO’s commitment to strengthening good governance in the defence and security sector established by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 2007.

James Appathurai’s Letter to Irakli Alasania

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Civil Georgia
January 28, 2014

Tbilisi: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who met his Georgian counterpart Irakli Garibashvili in Jerusalem on January 28, said that the two countries should focus on how to “increase our friendship and cooperation.”

“And it’s an enduring and long friendship,” PM Netanyahu said in remarks for the press before the meeting. “We have a natural sympathy with Georgia that seeks to establish a prosperous and secure future for its people. We think we can do that together.”

“We have every area to cooperate in, technology and water, agriculture, education, everything. And we are open to further this cooperation in all fields. We’ve been doing that; we’ll continue to do that. I’m sure your visit enhances that. That is part of our quest to achieve security, prosperity and peace,” the Israeli PM said.

PM Garibashvili said in his remarks that Georgia strives “to build a favorable ground for full expansion of bilateral trade relations worldwide and therefore we attach special importance to the discussions toward a free trade agreement between the State of Israel and Georgia.”

Meanwhile in Tbilisi, Defense Minister Irakli Alasania told journalists on January 28 that “great opportunities have opened up” for military cooperation between Georgia and Israel.

“I visited Israel last month and an agreement was reached to set up a group that will start developing our military cooperation in all directions,” Alasania said.

A memorandum of understanding on launching Georgian-Israeli joint economic commission was signed by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his Georgian counterpart Maia Panjikidze on January 28.

This is a second visit of a high-level Georgian delegation to Israel in last seven months. In June, 2013 then PM Bidzina Ivanishvili visited Israel. In November, 2013 Georgia and Israel signed visa-free agreement, which has yet to go into force.

After the meeting with his Israeli counterpart, PM Garibashvili told journalists: “Israel is very important country for Georgia. We pay special attention to cooperation with Israel in whole range of areas – economy, culture, security.”

“I had a very important and fruitful meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister and the Israeli President [Shimon Peres]. We exchanged interesting ideas about how to further deeper our relations and first of all it concern economy as there is a huge potential,” the Georgian PM said, adding that he also had a meeting with a group of Israeli business people, who, he said, would visit Georgia in March to look into investment opportunities.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu assured me of his full readiness and support to personally recommend [Israeli] investors to visit and invest in Georgia,” he said.

PM Garibashvili also said that the newly launched joint economic commission should pave the way for signing of free trade agreement between two countries. Before the visit the Georgian PM’s office was reporting that the signing of this agreement was planned during the visit.

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

January 30, 2014 Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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1916

In realty, we are all without compassion. What do we care about the hundred thousand who are killed in an earthquake in Australia? What do we care about twenty thousand enemies killed? What – if we are to be quite honest – do we care about ten thousand fallen countrymen of ours, countrymen whom we do not know, who mean nothing to us? The range of our hearts’ vision is barely ten feet.

***

What we must remember now, however, is that a tremendous majority of mankind is virtually insensitive so far as the weal and woe of all is concerned, that by far the greatest number of human beings are prepared at any moment to permit – for the sake of honor, for fame, for the advancement of their career, for a decoration, for an opportunity to make money – thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people perish in the most pitiable manner, as long as they themselves are not among the victims.

***

The argument that there will always be wars because human beings will not change within the foreseeable future is untenable. One could have advanced the same argument with reference to the Inquisition, the burning of witches, the practice of torture…

***

War has never actually been waged for an idea; neither for a national nor for a religious one. (That can be proved not only with regard to this war.) Ideas are always used as a pretense – they are, so to speak, carried ahead as a banner, as the flags of the soul…Never has war been waged for the sake of an idea. Never has it been a matter of anything but a struggle for power. But ideas – whether believed or not – have always been indispensable as pretexts…Not only can it be proved that the ideas for the sake of which wars have been waged were fraudulently presented to the peoples or the armies concerned, but it can also be proved that the leaders, those who themselves unleashed the wars, disbelieved in the ideas which they claimed they were fighting for, or that they were monomaniacs.

***

The hate against people who enrich themselves through war and derive their livelihood from it has permitted the aversion against those who base their livelihoods upon the possibility, the expectation, the continuous taking into account the possibility of war – the military and the diplomats – to recede all too far into the background. It is they who always poison peace by thoughts of war.

***

They say he died the glorious death of a hero. Why do they never say he suffered the magnificent mutilation of a hero? They say he has given his life for his country. Why do they never say he has had both legs amputated for his country?

(The semantics of those in power!)

The terminology of war has been coined by the diplomats, the military, and those in power. It should be revised by those who have come back from the war, by the widows, the orphans, the physicians, and the poets.

***

[T]he men who are working toward world peace, even toward eternal peace, or, rather, toward making war impossible, must not be thwarted in their work by the domination of the dogma of war: War is inevitable, decreed by fate; it is rooted in the organization of human nature. This dogma is false. War is inherent not in human nature, but in the way nations are formed and in the way individual nations relate to each other. The individual as such never wants war…War, even if it ends in victory, is always in the interest only of an infinitesimal minority.

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So long as even one person exists to whom war can bring an advantage, and this one person has sufficient power and influence to unleash this war, any fight against war is in vain.

***

There are tremendous difficulties, but they are all cancelled out by the one incontestable fact that nowhere in the world does the overwhelming majority want war and this majority must prevail in the end against the small minority that either wants it or needs it.

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“Great times” are those during which the discoveries and inventions made in “little times” are exploited for the killing and mutilation of people as well as for the destruction of the values and works that originated during the “little times.”

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So long as war is considered a possibility at all – i.e., so long as there are professions based on the possibility of war, and even so long as there is just one person who can acquire wealth or increase it by means of war, and that person be one who has the power or the influence to bring about war – just so long there will be war.

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The individual as a soldier subject to compulsory military service never wants war, for if he wanted it, there would be no need for compulsory military service.

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Stroke of genius of kings: Money is not always at our disposal, but we do have power. Therefore, let us invent something new – compulsory military service. That comes cheaper for us. Let us make the citizens finance our soldiers, the fathers pay wages to their sons whom we sent to their deaths.

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The military can easily exist without war. They would get along quite well with maneuvers. Only the diplomats are in urgent need of it.

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Washington: McCain, Lieberman Clone At Joint NATO-Think Tank Confab

January 29, 2014 2 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

January 28, 2014

NATO ACT and CSIS host Transatlantic Forum
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam M. Bennett

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NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted the Transatlantic Forum in Washington, D.C. January 27 and 28.

The purpose of the two-day forum was to discuss rebalancing and reinforcing the transatlantic bond as the Alliance gears up for the 2014 NATO Summit in Newport, Southern Wales (UK). It included a keynote discussion featuring Arizona Senator John McCain and Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy and a series of workshops involving experts from North America and Europe.

During the keynote discussion, Senator Murphy said, “NATO is the exact kind of multi-lateral partnership that many of us want the U.S. to reinvest in and I think it probably bears repeating that over and over again.”

The second day consisted of workshops that covered major issues involving current capabilities and the future of NATO. Opening remarks were given by Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros (SACT), to set the tone of the workshops.

“The aim of these workshops is from my perspective very clear,” said SACT. “It’s to set the scene for the summit in September and several ministerial meetings before that, which are all stepping stones for the future of NATO and the transatlantic link.”

The forum concluded with a key takeaway summary from Dr. Kathleen Hicks, Senior Vice President, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, and Director, International Security Program, CSIS.

During the summary, Dr. Hicks said that NATO should convey at the September Summit a continuing vision for the Alliance’s purpose, centered around securing common interests, and a set of concrete initiatives to cement the interoperability of its military forces for 21st Century challenges.

SACT followed Dr. Hicks with closing remarks saying, “I don’t see this forum as a one-off event,” SACT said. “I appreciate this type of high-level debate with credible arguments; it is very helpful for us at ACT and I think it is important to do this more often.”

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Italian Warplanes In Training For NATO Baltic Patrol

January 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Lithuania Tribune
January 30, 2014

Italian Air Force is getting ready for the first rotation in NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission

On 27 January 2014 two members of the Italian Air Force flew in at the Air Base in Šiauliai with two Eurofighter Typhoon fighter-jets and a Boeing KC-767A refuelling tanker, the Ministry of National Defence of Lithuania, has informed.

Till Thursday the Italian airmen will be training in the Baltic airspace in advance of NATO’s Air Policing mission in the Baltic States which Italy is to take over for the first time in January 2015.

Italian troops with four Eurofighter Typhoon fighter-jets whose tour of duty at the Šiauliai Ari Base will run for four months starting with January 2015 have arrived to familiarise with climatic conditions in Lithuania and the NATO mission.

The latter was represented to the Italian military by Colonel Lieutenant Vidmantas Raklevičius, commander of the Air Base, and U.S. military service members who are in charge of the mission at the moment.

The representatives of the Italian Air Force also toured the infrastructure used for the Baltic air policing purposes that is installed in the territory of the Air Base – the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) area and NATO‘s Air Policing HQ building.

The Ambassador of Italy in Lithuania H.E. Stefano Taliani de Marchio and the U.S. Ambassador in Lithuania H.E. Deborah A. McCarthy met with the U.S. airmen that are carrying out Baltic air policing and the Italian military preparing for the duty.

The U.S. air contingent which has been deployed to the Šiauliai Air Base earlier this year will be replaced by Polish troops with 4 MiG-29 fighter-jets this May.

Defence co-operation between Lithuania and Italy is based on an intergovernmental treaty signed in 1999. Currently the intensity of the defence co-operation is building both in the contexts of NATO exercises and bilateral co-operation.

Italy took part in the NATO exercise in the Baltic region Steadfast Jazz 2013, it is also a contributing state in the Lithuanian-hosted NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence (ENSEC COE) and an Italian officer has been working at the ENSEC COE since 2013.

NATO member states began providing air personnel and assets for protecting the Baltic airspace in March 2004 upon the entrance of the three Baltic States – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – into the Alliance. The Baltic Air Policing mission has been carried out by 14 allies since then.

The airspace over the Baltics has been protected by Belgian, Danish, Czech, British, Spanish, U.S., Polish, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, French, Romanian, Turkish and German air contingents so far.

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Interview: US wants control of Afghanistan’s resources

January 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
January 29, 2014

US wants control of Afghanistan’s resources – Kathy Kelly

John Robles

US wants control of Afghanistan’s resources – Kathy Kelly

Photo: © Flickr.com/familymwr/cc-by

Download audio file

The amount of money that the US Government has poured into Afghanistan on non-military aid is approaching $100 billion yet children are starving and the country is completely decimated. The US agencies that are supposed to implement development projects are completely incapable of carrying out their missions due to corruption and a complete lack of oversight. In an interview with the Voice of Russia’s John Robles three time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly, who recently completed her twelfth stay in Afghanistan said she would not recommend that US agencies that are supposed to be involved in development work be given the authority or the funds to provide assistance because their abysmal track records. Ms. Kelly believes the reason the US wants to maintain a militarily presence in Afghanistan may be a US interest in controlling the pricing and flow of precious resources found in Afghanistan. When asked whether opium was one of these resources Ms. Kelly agreed that at this point that appears to be true.

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This is John Robles. You are listening to part 1 of an interview with Kathy Kelly, the coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence. She is also a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee. This is part 1 of an interview in progress.

Robles: Hello! How are you this evening?

Kelly: I’m good, thank you.

Robles: It is a pleasure to be speaking with you. I understand you’ve just returned from Afghanistan and I was wondering if you could tell us about your trip and what is going on with your fight against the drones.

Kelly: Thank you. I returned from Afghanistan about four days ago after having spent a month living in a working class neighborhood in Kabul as a guest of a group called the Afghan Peace Volunteers.

I think this was the twelfth time that I’ve been a guest of these young people. It is a privilege really to be with them. They are young people who want to live together inter-ethnically, they come from Hazara and Pashto and Tajik backgrounds and they share together also a good deal of altruism and had initiated projects that try to be of service to people who are extremely needy.

Of course there are many in Kabul special those who are living in refugee camps in the very cold winter time and mothers who are not able to see their children because they don’t have enough income to get anything more than stale bread and tea without sugar.

So a project has been devised in which people from the US and the UK and Australia have donated funds so that women can be paid a meager wage to manufacture very heavy blankets, wool-stuffed coverlets. And then those are given free of charge to people living in refugee camps and to widows, orphans and to several other institutions, they serve people who are pretty desperate.

So I’m able to watch that project unfolding and also be with the young people who have another project which welcomes street children.

There are 600,000 street children working as venders in various places across Afghanistan and many of them are in Kabul, and many of them are children of families who have been displaced by war and violence.

Amnesty International reported in 2012 that the war and violence displaces 400 people every single day. You can imagine living in already overcrowded cities that lack infrastructure to support them, people end up in these refugee camps and they don’t have enough food or water; generally men in the families cannot find work, maybe occasional jobs as porters at a construction side. But often the families resort to send their children out to work as street vendors. And the children can then become prey really to various kinds of criminal gangs. So this is a terrible situation for children.

The Afghan Peace Volunteers have welcomed 20 young children to stop working as street vendors and get ready to enroll themselves in school and they’ve also supplied them with boots and warm clothing and welcomed to come and get some tutoring, a kind of remedial preparation, so that they can eventually go to school.

During the winter months schools are closed down in Afghanistan because there is no way to heat the buildings, and it were just to be too cold to keep children in unheated schools all day long. But spring will come and then these kids, I hope, will be enrolled in schools.

This is a tiny effort in face of the need for as I mentioned 600,000 children under these conditions. It is a good project and I’m glad I had a chance to witness that as well.

Robles: I see. I’d like to ask you a very hard question now. Don’t you think it is a responsibility of the governments that have decimated Afghanistan and I’m talking about the US and its NATO allies? Don’t you think it is part of their responsibility to be helping the people of Afghanistan after they have pretty much destroyed their country?

Kelly: Well, I don’t want to recommend that US agencies that have been involved in development work so far be interested with either the authority or the funds, provide that kind of assistance because their track record has been abysmal.

You know, the Special Inspector General’s report on Afghanistan comes out every year and every year it chronicles and details tremendous corruption, shoddy workmanship, unfinished projects, and ways in which these developments funds have been squandered.

The most recent report this year is no different. And there is a graph in the most recent report which shows that the amount of the US development aid since 2001, non-military aid, is approaching $100 billion, but of that sum of money in all those years only $3 billion was ever spent in humanitarian aid, the other $97 billion was distributed for counter narcotics and governance and what they had called, I’m sorry I’m blanking on the other two things, but the humanitarian aid was only $3 billion.

And so I think the US should pay reparations unquestionably. Money should be invested to groups that have had some track record of being able to engage in development without corruption and without so much inability to complete projects.

Robles: I see, couple of thing before you move on. What you just said was very telling, very damming I think. So you are basically telling me that it is not a matter of that the US has no responsibility, you are saying that even the agencies that should be responsible for implementing development projects can’t be trusted? You said their records are abysmal.

You talked just a minute ago about $97 billion that have gone to counter narcotics and other operations and the level of opium growth in production in Afghanistan has risen 40 fold. And I’ve written on this, that is about the only success of the US-NATO military operation in Afghanistan for almost 13 years.

I think that is worse than abysmal, that is criminal. But if you could comment on development and why you think the opium trade has gone up and why you think the development agencies aren’t to be trusted other than corruption. I mean, is there any way to fix all this?

Kelly: I think that many of the provinces in Afghanistan being governed by very corrupt leaders some of whom are drug lords and some of whom are war lords and some of whom might be both. And I’m sure it is quite difficult for farmers who stand up to people who were saying: ‘We want you to plant opium’.

If they were to say: ’No, we’d rather plant another crop’. Well, then how are they going to have incentives to plant other crops when even the World Bank Report will indicate that growing the opium means that the farmer will have some assurance that people that are selling the opium and transporting the opium will provide them with seeds and tools and transport of the harvest eventually. it is difficult for farmers to say: ‘No, we don’t want to go along with’.

It is certainly a difficult crop to harvest from everything I understand and it requires labor intensive. It seems now that 93% of the world’s opium is coming from Afghanistan. And it is also I think worth noting that they transport of these crops most likely through truck convoys.

And even though the US is engaging in so much drone surveillance of Afghanistan 24 hours a day 7 days a week, it seems that there is almost no evidence that anybody collects about the transport of this opium from Afghanistan across borders by truck and then to other countries.

Robles: I’ve seen pictures and I don’t know if you can verify this, I’ve seen pictures and exposés of pictures of US troops guarding opium fields. Can you comment on that?

Kelly: No, I’m afraid I cannot comment on that. But I think it is also important to note that many of the roads that are used by the US military in order to deliver supplies to bases all across Afghanistan are controlled by drug lords and sometimes war lords or both and they don’t allow free passage along those roads.

The US just has to pay more or less a toll for the trucks in these convoys that go along those roads. And even in the New York Review Books a writer noted recently that these tolls that are paid are very likely ending up lining the pockets of some of the most corrupt people including possible Pakistani and Afghan Taliban leaders who control these roads.

We have to ask ourselves how can it be that it has been costing $2 billion per a week for the US military to maintain its presence in Afghanistan. And at least this past year they were saying that the price per soldier for one year would be $2.1 million.

Previously it was $1 million per year but amount of money required to keep one soldier in Afghanistan for one year went up because of so much money being spent on bringing supplies and equipment home to the US and to getting it out of the Afghanistan.

Robles: You are telling me that these poor soldiers – $2.1 million a year they must be driving Ferrari tanks and eating caviar? What is that? Are they wearing silk uniforms or something? What is going on?

Kelly: Again I want to emphasize that tolls are being paid for every truck that passes along the roadway. And then also there is a plenty of evidence of projects that the US military has undertaken which they then had to spend a lot of money to dismantle.

For example, mine resistant anti-personnel carriers were purchased and the US discovered that they were not mine resistant, they didn’t work very well. And they don’t want to bring those back to the US and they didn’t want to leave them for people in Afghanistan. And so they decided to turn all of them into scrap metal. Just that project alone cost $7 billion.

Recently in the province of Kandahar a big military facility was built that cost $345 million and then they decided that they didn’t really want this big building. So they are going to have to spend huge amount of money to destroy it. Just knock it all down.

These kinds of instances of ways and spending huge amounts of money in a country where right now the estimate is said 1 million children in the south are suffering from severe acute malnourishment really makes you wonder what in the world are the US people doing?

And every time there is an aerial bombardment or a night raid or some kind of a drone attack against people of Afghanistan it seems likely to exacerbate and prolong the war. Because when people are killed they have likely got relatives and friends who will then pledge themselves to engage in some kind of retaliation.

Robles: Millions of children are starving to death, millions of innocents being killed, lives destroyed, $97 billion to fight narcotics but it’s gone up 40 fold, you said 93% of the world’s opium is now coming out of Afghanistan. I think before the war started it was something like in the single digits if I’m correct – 7%-8% or 9% was coming out of Afghanistan 12 years ago. You told me about $345 million projects that were then just destroyed. What is the leadership thinking? Are they thinking anything? I mean, who are these people?

Kelly: Well, I think we should ask ourselves why the US wants to stay in Afghanistan and maintain a military presence in Afghanistan?

If a bilateral security agreement is signed it will allow for 9 major military bases, 3 airfields and the presence of some number of troops, I’m not sure how many, but the Joint Special Operations Forces (JSOC) would be a major contingent of US remaining troop presence. And these are some of the most highly trained professional warriors in the world: Navy Seals, Green Berets, Army Rangers and the other ones that have become very proficient in the night raids and calling in aerial bombardments and possible drone attacks.

Why does the US want to maintain this militarily presence? I think we should at least be asking about a US interest in controlling the pricing in the flow of some very precious resources found in Afghanistan.

Around the Caspian Sea base there are natural gas and fossil fuel deposits and under the Hindu Kush mountains where rare earth elements that are extremely valuable, they are the kinds of elements that are used in a manufacture of cell phones and computers and also iron ore and copper.

The US may not want China for instance to have access to these resources at cheaper rates than what the US might have to spend.

So I think the control over the pricing in the flow and the extraction of resources could be a reason why the US has spent all these years and so much money and resources to prolong the war in Afghanistan.

Robles: Opium is the recourse, isn’t it? I mean it is the biggest recourse, it is the biggest money maker coming out of Afghanistan.

Kelly: I should imagine at this point that is true.

This is John Robles. You were listening to part 1 of an interview with Kathy Kelly. She is the coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Thanks for listening and we wish you the best wherever you may be.
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_01_28/US-wants-control-of-Afghanistan-s-resources-Kathy-Kelly-9962/

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Friedrich Schiller: The citizen is naught, the soldier all; rude hordes, lawless grown in lengthy war

January 29, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Friedrich Schiller: Beauty, peace and reconciliation

Friedrich Schiller: Oh, blessed peace, may the day of grim War’s ruthless crew never dawn

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Friedrich von Schiller
From Wallenstein’s Camp (1798)
Translated by Charles E. Passage

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Amid these days we see the old fixed form
Disintegrate, which in its time a hundred
And fifty years ago a welcome peace
Imposed on Europe’s realms, the precious fruit
Acquired by thirty dismal years of war.
Now once again permit the poet’s fancy
To bring before your eyes that sombre age,
While more content you gaze about the present
And toward the hopeful distance of the future.

Into the middle of that war the poet
Now takes you. Sixteen years of devastation,
Of pillage and of misery have passed.
Dark masses of the world are still in ferment
And from afar there shines no hope of peace.
The Empire is a rumpus-field for weapons,
Deserted are the cities, Magdeburg
In ashes, art and industry are prostrate,
The citizen is naught, the soldier all,
Unpunished insolence makes mock of custom,
And rude hordes, lawless grown in lengthy war,
Make couches on the devastated ground,

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McCain on NATO: “We’re going to have to look at Africa”

January 28, 2014 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
January 28, 2014

NATO, state of European defense to be considered in Munich
By John Vandiver

STUTTGART, Germany: Is it a linchpin for global security or a relic of the Cold War that is becoming increasingly irrelevant?

NATO, at once described by observers as the greatest military alliance in history and a coalition that is shirking its responsibilities, is ever at a crossroads. Even the staunchest supporters of the trans-Atlantic military alliance seem at times conflicted over what to say about the 28-nation union, which was established after World War II.

“It remains a force for stability in the world,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during a think-tank discussion Monday about NATO’s future. “It still remains one of the most remarkable and enduring phenomenon of the 20th and now the 21st century.”

Seconds later, McCain aired his frustrations with the alliance and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. “Frankly, our secretary general seems to be compelled every morning to get up and tell the world that NATO won’t be involved in anything,” McCain said, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ session on the trans-Atlantic alliance. “I don’t know where he got that idea. It does worry me about the viability of NATO and whether they ever will intervene.”

McCain’s comments, which come on the eve of the Munich Security Conference, echo what will likely be a key issue when global leaders gather in Bavaria for three days of talks: What is Europe’s role on the global security scene at a time when the continent itself faces no external threats?

For 50 years, leaders have met annually in the Bavarian capital, where politicians, military leaders and academics have pondered the great security threats of the day. NATO’s first secretary-general, Lord Ismay, famously described the purpose of the alliance as being “to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.”

Beginning Friday and continuing through Sunday, officials, analysts and politicians will once again assemble to focus on Afghanistan, Syria, spying and surveillance, and a host of other challenges. Also front and center will be the role of NATO, which despite coming off its busiest decade in history, must now carve out a new identity as the war in Afghanistan winds down. NATO is at a defining moment, when it will either invest to confront future threats or fade into irrelevancy, according to experts.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is among those expected to attend the Munich conference.

During the past 10 years, the alliance has been busy. The war in Afghanistan has been its largest mission ever. In 2011, NATO air power also enabled rebel fighters in Libya to topple strongman Moammar Gadhafi. Meanwhile, NATO vessels off the coast of Somalia have been instrumental in curbing piracy around the Horn of Africa.

At the same time, critics, including U.S. lawmakers and top defense officials, have been calling out European allies for underinvesting in defense and freeloading off American military might. Other than the U.S. and a couple of other nations, most members consistently miss the alliance’s defense spending benchmark of 2 percent of gross national product. In fact, the U.S. accounts for nearly 75 percent of defense spending within NATO. By contrast, Europe’s great economic power Germany consistently falls short on spending, while also demonstrating a reluctance to send troops into global hot spots. Berlin, for instance, declined to participate in NATO’s mission in Libya, as did most other member states.

With so many internal divisions and competing national interests, some question whether an alliance like NATO can continue to be relevant. As the war in Afghanistan winds down, NATO and Europe’s role in the world could re-emerge as an area of focus and scrutiny despite Washington’s pivot toward the Pacific, experts say.

“America has been kind of asleep for the last several years on NATO,” said John Hamre, president of CSIS, during the group’s forum on Monday. “This alliance is the most fundamental resource we have.”

At the conference in Munich, Europe-focused sessions will look at the future of European defense and whether there a trans-Atlantic “renaissance” on the horizon.

While critics may question whether NATO still retains a viable military role, when there is a crisis, the U.S. tends to rely on it is allies in Europe.

“When there is trouble around the world the first place we turn is NATO allies,” Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., during the panel talk at CSIS.

Some officials have called out NATO for a reluctance to debate the merits of an intervention in Syria or engage in crises in Africa, but France has emerged as a key player in places such as Mali and the Central Africa Republic. Indeed, France has developed into something of the face of Western intervention on the continent, with ground troops taking on al-Qaida-linked fighters in Mali. With new plans for counterterrorism outposts in Africa, France’s actions could be a harbinger of more European focus on threats emanating from outside Europe.

Germany, for instance, says it has pledged to increase its support by providing logistical assistance in CAR and will send more troops for a training mission in Mali. Such developments could ease the burden on the U.S.’s Africa Command, which has expanded its activities in recent years and has provided substantial intelligence and airlift support to the French.

“We’re going to have to look at Africa,” said McCain, a regular attendee at the Munich Security Conference. “I would like to see much more NATO involvement, particularly in the area of training and equipping.”

For the U.S., which faces a shrinking military footprint in Europe and potential consolidation of more overseas bases in the years ahead, a more active European military establishment would likely be welcomed after more than a decade of conflict abroad.

As the U.S. military faces steep budget cuts in the years ahead, a more engaged Europe will be important, McCain said.

“With sequestration and reductions across the board … it will put a strain on our ability to bear as much of a burden as we do financially,” McCain said.

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Pentagon, Bulgaria To Develop NATO-Standard Libyan Army

January 28, 2014 Leave a comment

United States European Command
January 22, 2014

Bulgarian Deputy Chief of Defense Visits EUCOM
By U.S. Army Maj. Michael Cushwa, ECJ5/8 Political-Military Affairs Officer – Bulgaria Desk

The tenth biannual U.S.-Bulgaria Joint Commission meeting was held Jan. 9, 2014, at the Swabian Special Events Center on Patch Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany.

Maj. Gen. Randy Kee, director of U.S. European Command’s Policy, Strategy, Partnering and Capabilities directorate, co-chaired the event with Bulgarian Deputy Chief of Defense Rear Adm. Georgi Georgiev.

The biannual event, traditionally conducted in Sofia, was held in Stuttgart for the second time since the signing of the U.S.-Bulgaria Defense Cooperation Agreement in 2006.

This meeting is the formal bilateral engagement for senior U.S. and Bulgarian representatives to conduct consultations on matters pertaining to the Defense Cooperation Agreement and associated Implementing Arrangements governing use of shared facilities in Bulgaria.

Several key leaders attended, representing EUCOM components and the Bulgarian Armed Forces. U.S. Army in Europe Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Richard Longo; U.S. Air Forces in Europe Plans, Programs and Analysis Director Brig. Gen. Thomas Sharpy and Marine Corps Forces Europe Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. James O’Meara lent their support to the Joint Commission process and highlighted their respective component engagements with Bulgaria.

Representatives from the Bulgarian Armed Forces included Deputy Land Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Krasimir Kanev and Deputy Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Rumen Radev.

Discussions included updates on bilateral exercises and U.S.-Bulgaria cooperation on future training of a Libyan General Purpose Force in Bulgaria.

The next Joint Commission is tentatively scheduled for June 2014 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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U.S. Leads NATO Air Combat Training In Spain

January 28, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa
January 24, 2014

493rd Fighter Squadron Trains at TLP 2014
By Master Sgt. Lee Osberry
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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ALBACETE AIR BASE, Spain: Members from the 48th Fighter Wing along with six NATO nations, are participating in the 2014 Tactical Leadership Program which kicked off here Jan. 13, 2014.

The purpose of the TLP is to increase the effectiveness of Allied Air Forces through the development of leadership skills, mission planning and briefing, tactical air operations and conceptual and doctrinal initiatives needed for NATO operations.

“It’s an opportunity to bring NATO nations together in one location to build a really cohesive team, to safely and successfully tackle a tactical problem,” said Lt. Col. Mark Sadler, 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander.

More than 90 Airmen from the Liberty Wing joined with European partners from Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal for this year’s TLP, with the goal to enhance the tactical proficiency of NATO air forces through dissimilar air combat training.

“The TLP is an important partnership capacity with our NATO allies,” said Maj. Gen. Bill Hyatt, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Director of Operations, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration. “The program generates aircrew and mission commanders that are capable of leading Airmen across the spectrum of air operations.”

Throughout the month-long program, participants attend academic lessons, then face numerous challenges and must work as a unified component to plan and execute the mission, in an ever-changing environment. A building block approach is used to progress attendees through 15 carefully structured sorties.

With approximately five hours between the initial threat brief and aircraft launching, getting to a tactical common ground must occur quickly to achieve mission success.

“Being able to interact face to face with our NATO counterparts goes a long way in discussing tactics and understanding how each country will operate,” said Capt. Aaron Stevens, 493rd Fighter Squadron B flight commander. “The scenarios change every day, just as a real world scenario would and we’re able to establish standard operating procedures. Therefore, if any situation developed where we would be side by side with any of these countries, the planning would be simplified.”

This year marks the second consecutive year that the 493rd FS have participated in the TLP and the continuity has paid dividends.

“Repetition is always a good thing, so when you have folks that have been here before, it helps with the preparations and getting operations off to a smooth start,” said Sadler. “We took the lessons learned across the board and have seen improvement.”

The 2014 TLP concludes Feb. 7, 2014.

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Pentagon’s Oldest Military Ally: U.S., French Fight Side By Side From Afghanistan To Africa

January 28, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Defense
January 24, 2014

Hagel, French Counterpart Discuss Mutual Interests, Challenges
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met today with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to address shared interests and security challenges both nations face and to reinforce the oldest U.S. alliance.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters during a joint news conference with Le Drian, Hagel expressed his appreciation for “the important relationship and the big issues” both countries must navigate.

“We reinforced the deep and enduring security relationship between France and the United States,” he said. “France is America’s oldest ally. Our defense partnership continues to be one of great importance. It’s important both in Europe and around the world.”

Hagel announced that earlier this week, U.S. Strategic Command and the French Ministry of Defense signed a space situational awareness agreement. “This will enhance information-sharing between our two countries in this critical domain,” he said. “This is an important step that we’ve taken with some of our closest allies, and now with France.” It also will help to bring the U.S.-French alliance closer into the 21st century, he added.

In recent years, the defense secretary said, French and U.S. troops have served side by side around the globe, from Africa to Afghanistan.

“One area of focus today was our continuing cooperation and support of our international efforts in Africa, including significant French contributions in Mali and the Central African Republic,” Hagel said. “I commended Minister Le Drian for France’s leadership and taking decisive action in Mali, as well as other locations, to displace extremists that were gaining a foothold there.”

Hagel noted the United States has provided support to operations in Mali since early 2013, including continued airlift support, refueling for French aircraft, and intelligence cooperation.

About six weeks ago, the secretary said, U.S. aircraft, in coordination with France, began transporting some 850 peacekeeping troops from Burundi to the Central African Republic to help in quelling the violence in that area.

“Last week, we extended the support to peacekeepers from Rwanda,” he added. “Today, the minister and I discussed ways we can continue working together in Africa, and other locations, to address shared interests and challenges going forward, including its support of crisis response and counterterrorism efforts.”

The United States and its European allies, he said, have taken the threat of violent extremism seriously since 9/11. “We are working together to find new ways to combat this threat in Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” he added.

The defense secretary said he and Le Drian also discussed other critical issues, such as objectives for the NATO summit in September, better facilitation of cadet exchanges between service academies and cooperation in areas such as space flight safety and operations.

The French defense minister, speaking through a translator, noted that another reason for his visit was to prepare for an upcoming visit from French President Francois Hollande.

Franco-American cooperation has never been as important, he said, noting that both countries share the same analysis of threats, proliferation risks, terrorism and the same determination to fight extremists and violent groups.

“In our talks, we emphasized the questions linked to Africa,” Le Drian said. “I thank Chuck Hagel for the important support – the indispensable support – that the United States gave, both for France, but also gave to the U.N. missions [and] the African missions during these operations both in Mali … and the Central African Republic.”

Both defense leaders agreed on the need to pursue cooperation in dialogue on Africa, Le Drian said, which is a question both of development and security in Europe and the international theater.

The French defense minister said he and Hagel agreed to create a high-level group with a representative of each of country to discuss their analysis and common initiatives in Africa. Also, Le Drian said, he explained the new positioning of French forces in Africa to better identify and target terrorists in areas from Mauritania to the Horn of Africa.

He and Hagel also discussed the future of the NATO summit, the conclusion of the European Council and other topics they will readdress in February during a meeting of NATO defense ministers, Le Drian said.

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Military Chiefs Boost European Union Intengration

January 28, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

January 24, 2014

SACT Joins Chiefs of Defence during Meetings in Brussels
ACT Public Affairs

NATO Chiefs of Defence meetings - Joint Press Conference with the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation

NATO Chiefs of Defence concluded a two-day meeting at NATO Headquarters in Brussels January 23 by identifying the future priorities in NATO military Operations, Partnerships and Transformation, and setting the basis for the work on the 2014 NATO Summit deliverables.

Concerning Partnership and Transformation, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros contributed with five main speeches focusing on Partnership; Connected Forces Initiative (CFI) Implementation; Future Framework for Alliance Operations (FFAO); Smart Defence; Cyber in the NATO Defence Planning Process.

SACT updated the Chiefs of Defence (CHODs) on strategic engagements with all partners and opportunities through Smart Defence and CFI, and their participation in education, training and exercises. “The Smart Defence initiative has also proved to be an opportunity to develop NATO’s relationship with the European Union” said SACT. “The work being done through this initiative enables stronger cooperation with our Non-NATO/ EU nations and more generally to build trust and confidence with our partners.”

SACT also expressed to the national defence chiefs the need to enhance the quality of exercises such as ‘Trident Juncture 2015’. “It is the quality of training that will really bring sense and meaning to this ambitious approach. Our ability to take forward, together, lessons from operations and exercises will be key to this exciting enterprise.”

While sharing his vision of the future, SACT addressed FFAO and how it follows the Strategic Foresight Analysis (SFA) Report released last year. “FFAO aims to support defence planners and inform the defence planning process. We want it to be the main vehicle for Strategic Commanders to provide best military advice for future military operations.”

SACT also gave an update on Smart Defence (SD) in general including flagship projects and the Framework Nation concept with a particular focus on JISR.

The last intervention of SACT was about Cyber in NDPP targets, in Education Training Exercise and Education, in Smart Defence projects and in NATO-UE coordination.

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Iceland: Norwegian Warplanes Take Over NATO Air Patrols

January 28, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

January 28, 2014

NORWEGIAN JETS TAKE ON NATOS PEACETIME PREPAREDNESS MISSION

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ICELAND: Six Norwegian F-16 fighter jets touched down in Iceland on Monday, 27 January 2014, to take on NATO’s mission to provide airborne surveillance and interception capabilities to meet Iceland’s peacetime preparedness needs.

The deployment will both provide Iceland with a quick-reaction capability of fighter jets ready to scramble if required to conduct the peacetime NATO Air Policing mission, and ensure that Icelandic and NATO personnel are fully trained and experienced to support all future such deployments.

“The Norwegian Air Force is a highly capable and professional fighting force, and they add tremendous value to our collective defence posture,” said General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

The Norwegian jets will be deployed to Iceland until 21 February.

Starting on 3 February 2014, in the context of Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO), they will conduct a training event with fighter jets from partner countries Finland and Sweden, air-to-air refueling aircraft from the Netherlands and the United States, and Icelandic rescue helicopters and support staff.

The training event, ‘Iceland Air Meet 2014’, takes advantage of the Norwegian deployment, but will be fully separate from the peacetime-preparedness mission. At no time will the partner nations conduct air-policing duties or come under NATO operational command.

“NATO is looking forward to enhancing our relationship and interoperability with our partner nations Finland and Sweden during the Iceland Air Meet 2014,” General Breedlove said.

Story by NATO HQ and SHAPE Pubic Affairs Offices

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Voltaire: He did not put a sufficient number of his fellow creatures to death

January 28, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Voltaire: Selections on war

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Voltaire
From Candide

Voltaire 3

“You are acquainted with England,” said Candide; “are they as great fools in that country as in France?”

“Yes, but in a different manner,” answered Martin. “You know that these two nations are at war about a few acres of barren land in the neighborhood of Canada, and that they have expended much greater sums in the contest than all Canada is worth. To say exactly whether there are a greater number fit to be inhabitants of a madhouse in the one country than the other, exceeds the limits of my imperfect capacity; I know in general that the people we are going to visit are of a very dark and gloomy disposition.”

As they were chatting thus together they arrived at Portsmouth. The shore on each side the harbor was lined with a multitude of people, whose eyes were steadfastly fixed on a lusty man who was kneeling down on the deck of one of the men-of-war, with something tied before his eyes. Opposite to this personage stood four soldiers, each of whom shot three bullets into his skull, with all the composure imaginable; and when it was done, the whole company went away perfectly well satisfied.

“What the devil is all this for?” said Candide, “and what demon, or foe of mankind, lords it thus tyrannically over the world?”

He then asked who was that lusty man who had been sent out of the world with so much ceremony. When he received for answer, that it was an admiral.

“And pray why do you put your admiral to death?”

“Because he did not put a sufficient number of his fellow creatures to death. You must know, he had an engagement with a French admiral, and it has been proved against him that he was not near enough to his antagonist.”

“But,” replied Candide, “the French admiral must have been as far from him.”

“There is no doubt of that; but in this country it is found requisite, now and then, to put an admiral to death, in order to encourage the others to fight.”

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Interview: Ukraine: The authorities vs gangsters

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
January 27, 2014

 

Ukraine: the authorities vs gangsters – Rick Rozoff

John Robles

 

Ukraine: the authorities vs gangsters – Rick Rozoff

Photo: Golos Stolitsy

Download audio file

 

The situation in Ukraine is a fluid one and changing by the hour. Although it had appeared that there was a resolution to the protests that had broken out after the government of Ukraine had made the sovereign decision of sticking with Russia and saying no to closer European Union integration, excessive violence from the western backed opposition has spread like a wave throughout the country. The so called Ukrainian “opposition” now resembles something more akin to armed insurgents in Syria involved in a coup d’état than opposition protestors. The situation in Ukraine once again underlines US hypocrisy. The US, which prides itself on protecting its police, supports an “opposition” which is threatening, attacking, kidnapping and setting young police officers on fire. The scene currently playing out in Ukraine has all of the signs of a foreign engineered regime change operation and with the taking of government buildings, has unarguably moved into a scenario where the continuity of the state is in question. Voice of Russia regular and NATO expert Rick Rozoff discussed all of these issues and more as the situation threatens to spin out of control.

Hello. This is John Robles, I’m speaking to Voice of Russia regular contributor Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.

Robles: Hello Rick. I hope you had some happy holidays. How are you this evening?

Rozoff: I’m doing very good, John. Thanks again for having me on your show.

Robles: Thanks a lot. I was wondering if we can get your views on what is going on in Maidan or Independence Square in Ukraine. It seems like the level of violence is escalating with … looks like no end in sight, I don’t know. What do you think?

Rozoff: No, you are absolutely correct. Ukraine has become, you know, the center of attention I think , globally, right now, the cynosure. People are focused on it with good reason. In a way it’s replaced Syria as the, how would I put it, proxy conflict between the East and West with the West once again on the offensive. That is, in an attempt to do something, nothing short of toppling an elected government of a nation that has close state-to-state relationships with Russia.

And what is happening is fluid, of course, but it is also tense and it is also fraught with not only dangerous but potentially catastrophic consequences if the violence that exists in Kiev in and around Independence Square and now by recent reports spreading into parts of Western Ukraine where the hotbeds of nationalist and even fascistic extremism are…

So I think what you are seeing is well-coordinated series of activities that began in Kiev and may very well spread to the Western part of Ukraine.

Robles: I see. What are your views on who is behind all this, and the reasons for it? Now at first they came up with that there was the EU integration, then they were protesting the government, and then they were calling for early elections, then they were protesting against Russia.

Now one of the objects of the protesters’ actions is something about some students that were beat several weeks ago. It just seems like they are finding any reason whatsoever to keep escalating and continuing their violence.

During the night there were negotiations and the opposition said they had agreed to the conditions set by the government to stop their violent activities, and then they went out and announced this to their supporters. Their supporters weren’t happy about it and they went back on their word, they said: ‘No, we are not going to agree to any cease in our violence’.

And they are continuing with their violence which, they’re throwing Molotov cocktails at Police. All of the Police and the security forces they are suffering severe burns and the violence against the police is escalating.

And of we look at who the leaders are, it brings a lot of questions to my mind – as who is actually running all of this? I mean they’ve got this ex-boxer, he is promoting all this violence.

Can you give us some comments on him and on the resolution by the Russian State Duma yesterday, if you could, regarding the violence?

Rozoff: Yes, the opposition, and again we have to keep in mind in a fluid situation like this, and what we are looking at is really not only a destabilization but ultimately a regime change technique or scenario. But what we see is the boxer, the heavyweight boxer Vitali Klichko, and two other nationalists emerging as what is a typical color revolution scenario where there is a triumvirate or triad of political leaders.

This was true by the way during the Orange Revolution, so-called, in 2004 and 2005. We had Viktor Yanukovich (Yushchenko), Yulia Tymoshenko and Alexander Moroz as being the triumvirate, modeled after that in Georgia, incidentally, the preceding year, in 2003.

So, the question is begged of course, about whether the public or nominal leadership is really anything more than figureheads, or are anything more than figureheads, and whether in fact there is not something more substantive behind it both internally and of course externally.

So what we are looking at is a degree of violence against police officers that would not be tolerated in any other European country, I can assure you, certainly not in the West. But being cheered on and supported unequivocally by Western political leaders in the European Union, in the United States, in NATO I might add.

Yesterday Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said, “Violence can never be used for political means.” You know, a lightening bolt should come from the heavens and strike anyone making a statement like that when they’re the head of NATO which has used violence for political means uninterruptedly since 1995 in several countries on three continents.

Robles: Well that’s their only tactic. How could you say that?

Rozoff: But of course. But I mean there is a difference between official use of force by a government to maintain peace in a country – there could be abuses, there could be excessive use of that force, but at least it is legally sanctioned – as opposed to people who are a little bit better than gangsters at times, hitting police officers with hammers or throwing petrol bombs at them.

You don’t see much of it here in the West, but luckily with the Internet we can see a television broadcasts around the world. And we’ve seen the horrifying pictures of the results of the use of so-called Molotov cocktails in Kiev. Seeing your young police officers’ heads and arms are on fire and so forth and you can only imagine the degree of, third-degree I’m sure, of burns that they suffer as a result of gasoline bombs.

But I think rather than focusing on the mechanics of what is going on, which will be debated ad nauseam in the Western press of course, what is important to again come back to you, and you and I have had occasion to talk about this before, John, is the regional and ultimately the global context within which the battle for Ukraine, and I would term it exactly that the battle for Ukraine, is occurring.

One factor which is very significant but didnot receive the attention it certainly warranted was in the middle of last month, the middle of December, now former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, he had served in the US House of Representatives for eight terms, for 16 years- he is a native of my home state of Ohio, incidentally – wrote a very revealing article stating that the so-called European Union Association Agreement with – initiative rather – with Ukraine was simply NATO’s Trojan Horse in Ukraine. This is precisely how former Congressman Kucinich put it. And what he did indicate and he shows a fairly good degree of familiarity with how all these things are done that Ukraine would first to join NATO and then join the European Union because traditionally that is how it has occurred, with the newer members, with the exception of tiny island nations of Cyprus and Malta.

So that what we are looking at is Ukraine is a geo-strategically pivotal nation; it clearly is that nation that separates what geopoliticians or -strategists would talk about from East to the West. It borders, of course, Poland and other nations that are now considered to be in Central Europe for that matter and Russia to its East which of course is in Eastern Europe and even in Eurasia. I mean, in fact, the greater part of Russia being in Asia itself.

What we are seeing is something almost evocative of formal struggles, and there is a history of Ukraine being pivotal in that sense. Many of your listeners may be acquainted either with the 19th century novel Taras Bulba, by the Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol, who is from Ukraine, or the movie adaptation at the end of the last century, more people might know.

It is a fact that Ukraine is a bone of contention between the Westernized Slavic part of Europe, if you will, those with the Latin alphabet and the Roman Catholic religion and those with the Cyrillic alphabet and the Orthodox religion which Ukraine for the most part is. And that we’ve seen similar situations after World War 1, during World War 2.

In World War 1 Germany, in the first instance, tried to wean Ukraine away from Russia; in World War 2 Stepan Bandera and other Nazi collaborators, who are heroes incidentally to the modern nationalists in Ukraine, who under the Yushchenko government rehabilitated members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and others who had collaborated with the Nazi Germany,  so we are looking at very extremist elements..

Probably the most visible and prominent of the so-called youth activista are members of the so-called Svoboda or Freedom party, which up until a few years ago had as its logo a variant of the Nazi swastika. So let’s be very clear about what we are dealing with. There are may be any number of innocent youth who want, going out for a dare, much as Orange Revolution in 2004-2005, but behind it there are some very hardcore nationalists, and Russo-phobic extremists, who whether be known to themselves or not are serving the purpose of turning yet another country into a battle zone in a renewed post-Cold War East-West conflict.

Robles: Can you give us your views on the statement by the Crimean parliament and by the Russian Duma yesterday? The Russian Duma is calling for foreign actors, foreign players -we know who we are talking about: the West, the US – to refrain from interfering in Ukraine.

The Crimean parliament, they adopted a statement with a vote of 78-81 deputies in favor of it. The statement reads: ‘The political crisis, the formal pretext for which was a pause in Ukraine’s European integration has developed into armed resistance and street fights. Hundreds of people have been hurt and, unfortunately, some people have been killed. The price for the power ambitions of a bunch of political saboteurs – Klichko, Yatsenyuk and Tyagnibok- is too high. They have crossed the line by provoking bloodshed using the interests of the people of Ukraine as cover and pretending to act on their own behalf.’

And they finish up by saying:’ The people of Crimea will never engage in illegitimate elections, will never recognize their results. And will not live in Bandera Ukraine.’- they say. So, can you comment on that and on the Russian resolution, if you would?

Rozoff: First of all I want to commend you, as of I think yesterday or perhaps today, of compiling a list of I think significant statements by the Russian State Duma, the duma or the parliament in Crimea and others and putting them into a very condensed form that has been very useful to me.

A couple of things: the trio of opposition figures is exactly the triumvirate I alluded to earlier with Vitali Klichko playing what could only be described as a sort of Rocky Balboa-meets-Rambo Sylvester Stallone compilation of pseudo-populist, right-wing, dangerous and ultimately violent sort of activity.

The Bandera allusion we’ve talked about earlier; he was a leader during World War 2 of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and fought against the legitimate political authorities in what was then Nazi-occupied Soviet Union, but often times in conjunction with the Third Reich, with the Nazis. So they are using the same language you and I had used.

Now, what we are talking about here in Crimea is of the upmost importance. The US has for several years now been waging, in conjunction with its NATO allies, annual fairly large-scale naval war games called Sea Breeze, and they are conducted in the Crimea dangerously close to where the Russian Black Sea fleet is stationed at Sevastopol. And even though a public outcry led to, or resulted in, a Sea Breeze exercise I think three years ago, perhaps four, being called off, they have been resumed and what has happened over the last two or three years, this is very significant, and I hope your listeners pick up on this, the US as a matter of course has been sending missile cruisers into the Black Sea to go to Crimea, to dock there.

These are what are called the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers, of the sort that are part of the US international missile, so-called missile shield, that is they are to be equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptor missiles, and these ships are visiting Ukraine on a regular basis.

As the US continues its military takeover of the Black Sea, they’ve already done this with Bulgaria and Rumania, where they’ve acquired eight major military basses in those two countries. Turkey of course is a NATO ally and Ukraine then becomes a very significant factor in the US military takeover of the Black Sea largely through NATO expansion. But what is even I think of more concern, a WikiLeaks document of in the last couple of years revealed that in 2006 the then-head of the US Missile Defense Agency, he’s now retired, General Henry, or Trey, Obering, met with Ukrainian officials, this was during the Yushchenko [administration], to recruit Ukraine into the European missile shield.

And in the subsequent year, 2007, General Obering, head the Missile Defense Agency, visited to Ukraine during the Yushchenko years, administration years, and met with the defense minister and other key officials in Ukraine in an effort to bring Ukraine into that. If Ukraine were to join, along with Poland, Romania, Turkey and other countries, the beginning stages of the so-called European Phased Adaptive Approach for the interceptor missile system, this would be extremely dangerous. This would be such an open provocation to Russia that I don’t see how Russia could not take some fairly dramatic action in response to it.

So when we talk about the factors that are involved we have to keep several significant ones in mind. First of all, Ukraine is strategically vital, it is indispensable. In the energy wars that the US and its European Union allies, which is to say NATO allies, have been waging over the past decade to try to curtail Russian exports of natural gas and oil to Europe, ultimately perhaps to cut them off altogether in favor of natural gas and oil projects bringing Caspian Sea energy into Europe via the Caucasus, Azerbaijan and Georgia, but of course from there to Ukraine, from Ukraine into the Western Europe. So Ukraine is significant in that sense.

Ukraine is also one of four countries that NATO has announced, four non-NATO countries, that are to join the NATO Response Force, that is the international strike force that NATO has developed. The other three are Georgia, Finland and Sweden. Of course three of those four countries, all except Sweden, have lengthy borders with Russia. And that Ukraine has been gradually, I think unbeknownst to most people in Ukraine, and certainly outside, has been dragged into the NATO net deeper and deeper and deeper.

Ukraine is, and these are significant facts, so I hope you don’t mind my emphasizing them. Ukrainet became the first, and to date only, non-NATO country to supply a naval vessel to what is now NATO’s permanent surveillance and interdiction naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea – Operation Active Endeavor. Ukraine’s second to that became the first, and to date only, non-NATO country to supply a ship to NATO’s Arabian Sea – Operation Ocean Shield. Ukraine, during the Kuchma government, supplied 2,000 troops to the United States, NATO in Iraq. They have a small contingent of troops serving under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

That was the end of part 1 of an interview with Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com.

 

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Computer-Simulated Tour of New Billion-Dollar NATO Headquarters

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
January 26, 2014

New NATO headquarters in financial trouble

Completion of a new NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, could be in jeopardy as construction costs overruns could reach 245 million euro ($325 million), the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported last week.

On its website, the alliance said the new building would “be able to accommodate NATO’s changing requirements into the future.” The cost was estimated at 750 million euro (about $1.05 billion).

But the consortium that won the contract for the construction came in with a bid of only 460 million euro, according to the Der Spiegel report.

Now, the consortium is seeking an addition 245 million euro, according to NATO project manager Tony Carruth. Additionally, completion of the bulding will probably be delayed by 9 ½ months, Carruth said.

The consortium of firms building the headquarters is at risk of insolvency, Der Spiegel’s report says.

According to documents attained by the German magazine, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is aware of the problem but hasn’t seen fit yet to inform the public about it. At a meeting of NATO’s Deputies Committee on December 19, 2013, Rasmussen’s staff asked that the issue be dealt with “confidentially,” according to the report.

But a NATO spokeswoman who contacted Stars and Stripes on Sunday said the der Spiegel story is misleading.

The alliance’s ambassadors were fully informed of the funding request in December by Belgium, which manages the project on NATO’s behalf.

The request for additional funding to finish the project is a commercial claim which is being analyzed by Belgium, and those negotiations require a certain degree of confidentiality, she said in an email.

“Our host nation Belgium is responsible for the project … and we have confidence in Belgium to manage it,” the email stated.

NATO that has been fully transparent about the various construction stages, she said.

The current headquarters is reaching the end of its usable life, she said. The decision to build a new headquarters was made by the 28 NATO member nations in 1999, and the project continues to be actively steered by those nations.

“The new headquarters will house not just NATO officials, but the diplomatic representations of all 28 NATO allies, so it’s a large and complex project, with unique features driven by security requirements,” the spokeswoman said in the email.

Categories: Uncategorized

John Galsworthy: The procreative demands of war

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

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

John Galsworthy: Selections on war

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John Galsworthy
From The Burning Spear (1919)

JohnGalsworthy

“Fellow Britons, at this crisis in the history of our country I make no apology for addressing myself to the gathering I see around me. Here, in the cradle of patriotism and the very heart of Movements, I may safely assume that you are aware of the importance of Man-power. At a moment when every man of a certain age and over is wanted at the front, and every woman of marriageable years is needed in hospitals, in factories, on the land, or where not, we see as never before the paramount necessity of mobilizing the forces racial progress and increasing the numbers of our population. Not a man, not a woman can be spared from the great task in which they are now engaged, of defeating the common enemy. Side by side with our American cousins, with la belle France, and the Queen of the Adriatic, we are fighting to avert the greatest menace which ever threatened civilization. Our cruel enemies are strong and ruthless. While I have any say in this matter, no man or woman shall be withdrawn from the sacred cause of victory; better they should die to the last unit than that we should take our hands from the plough. But, ladies and gentlemen, we must never forget that in the place of every one who dies we must put two. Do not be content with ordinary measures; these are no piping times of peace. Never was there in the history of this country such a crying need for – for twins, if I may put it picturesquely. In each family, in each home where there are no families, let there be two babies where there was one, for thus only can we triumph over the devastation of this war.”

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Neue Afrika Korps: Germany Mulls More Troops In Africa

January 26, 2014 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
January 26, 2014

Germany considering troops increase in African missions

BERLIN: German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen is considering increasing the international engagement of German national defence forces, or Bundeswehr, local media Spiegel reported Sunday.

She said the Bundeswehr could provide a helicopter to evacuate wounded soldiers in Central Africa, where “a bloody war between Christians and Muslims unfolds.”

“We cannot allow that the conflict sets the entire region in flames,” said Von der Leyen.

The minister also said she was considering increasing the German contingent in Mali.

“Currently, the mandate upper limit is 180 men with 99 soldiers on site. We could strengthen this commitment, which is also expected from our allies, especially the French government. I could imagine that the mandate will be increased up to 250 men,” said Von der Leyen.

She replied “yes” when asked whether Germany should assume more international responsibility, suggesting the replacement of national armies in the European Union by united European forces in the long run.

However, the minister admitted that there is still a long way to go before reaching the goals, and the requirement of parliamentary approval needs to be considered as well.

“But I think unified armed forces will be a logical consequence of an ever-increasing military cooperation in Europe,” said Von der Leyen.

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Abyss Of Absolute Anarchy And Chaos: U.S. Obsessed With Overthrow Of Syrian Government – Key Russian MP

January 26, 2014 1 comment

Interfax
January 26, 2014

Assad overthrow Washington’s fixed idea – Russian lawmaker

MOSCOW: Attempts to explain all of Syria’s current problems by President Bashar al Assad’s tenure hold no water and only reflect Washington’s obsession with the idea of Syrian president’s overthrow, chairman of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov said in remarks about U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech at the Davos international economic forum on Friday.

“His speech suggests that the U.S. administration is absolutely obsessed with the idea of removing Assad from office. Kerry spoke exceedingly at length about Assad’s desirable resignation and tried hard to convince all that if Assad leaves his post, all problems will be solved at one go. I think, this is pure propaganda, and I don’t think this sounds convincing in any way,” Pushkov said.

If the Syrian leadership is overthrown, Syria will “plunge into an abyss of absolute anarchy and chaos, because people who are fighting against the current government, want to seize power, not to govern,” he said.

“Kerry argued that the highly intensive terrorist operations and the presence of 50,000 radical-minded Islamist militants in Syria is because Assad keeps attracting all radicals and terrorists like a magnet. This is not true,” Pushkov said.

“We can see the United States waging a war against radicals from the Taliban in Afghanistan. Assad is not to be found in Afghanistan, but the U.S. has been unable to defeat the Afghan Mujahedeen for 12 years now. We can see terrorists of all brands inundating Iraq since the U.S. overthrew Hussein. To claim that Syria is drawing radical-wing rebels linked to Al Qaeda because they are attracted by the magnet of Assad’s upcoming deposition is to distort the actual situation completely. They are there to seize power and to form a Shariah state, while Assad has nothing to do with this,” he said.

The problem is much deeper: Syria is increasingly becoming a country which is partly occupied by radical terrorist organizations through the fault of those who have been supporting, financing and arming the Syrian opposition since th beginning, he said.

Generally, Kerry’s speech at the Davos forum was a combination of reasonable and purely propaganda-motivated approaches, Pushkov said.

“The reasonable approaches boil down to the idea that the United Sates’ influence is not at all limited to its military power, that the U.S. is engaged in active diplomacy to settle the problem of Iran’s nuclear program and that the U.S. should not be viewed as a country that must tackle all problems with the use of weapons. Kerry made a point that the current American administration will lay the emphasis on diplomacy and political means, and that military force is not its chosen path,” he said.

This sort of rhetoric, said Pushkov, strongly differs from the rhetoric heard in Davos during George W. Bush’s tenure.

“Kerry clamed that there are countries and people who would like Americans to fight for them in other regions. He was directly hinting at Saudi Arabia which was spurring the U.S. to a war in Syria. But this is not the American choice, Kerry said. The U.S.’ choice is that of diplomacy and political methods. This, I think, was the strongest and most important part of Kerry’s speech,” said Pushkov.

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Kenzaburo Ōe: Nuclear war and its lemmings

January 26, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Kenzaburō Ōe: Categorical imperative to renounce war forever

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Kenzaburo Ōe
From A Personal Matter (1964)
Translated by John Nathan

oe-texto

“Bird, do you suppose there are people who want an atomic war, not because they stand to benefit from the manufacture of nuclear weapons economically, say, or politically, but simply because that’s what they want? I mean, just as most people believe for no particular reason that this planet should be perpetuated and hope that it will be, there most be black-hearted people who believe, for no reason they could name, that mankind should be annihilated. In northern Europe there’s a little animal like a rat, it’s called a lemming, and sometimes these lemmings commit mass suicide. I just wonder if somewhere on this earth there aren’t lemming-people. Bird?”

***

“It’s been ages, hasn’t it, Bird? Ever since that day we went over to the next town and saw a G.I. looking out of a train window with the bottom half of his face shot off.”

“It was during the Korean war and these gorgeous soldier boys who’d been all wounded in the field were being shipped back to bases in Japan. Whole trainloads of them and we saw one of those trains one day. Bird, do you suppose they were passing through our district all the time?”

“Not all the time, no.”

“You used to hear stories about slave dealers catching Japanese high-school boys and selling them as soldiers, there were even rumors that the government was going to ship us off to Korea – I was terrified in those days.”

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New York Times: NATO and “freedom of expression”

January 25, 2014 4 comments

Yesterday the New York Times published a brief op-ed piece entitled Expand NATO’s Influence and Reach by one Ryan C. Hendrickson, identified as a professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University.

I submitted a short comment taking issue with the author’s celebration of the expansion of the U.S.-led bloc into history’s first global military formation, one which to date has waged wars of aggression on three continents, and requested that a similar column be allotted to me as the manager of not only the most authoritative, but indeed the sole, anti-NATO website.

Five comments were cleared for posting in the interim, one which resulted in a correction added by the New York Times at the bottom of the column, but my comments – brief, relevant and polite – were not posted, neither was I contacted to inform me why they were not.

To be recalled the next time anyone in the U.S. presumes to pontificate on the alleged right to freedom of expression, the First Amendment, etc. In the uneven battle against the world’s politico-military Goliath, even a pebble for David’s sling is denied him.

Rick Rozoff

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Internal meddling, the new threat to state security

January 25, 2014 2 comments

Voice of Russia
January 26, 2014

 

Internal meddling, the new threat to state security

John Robles

Internal meddling, the new threat to state security

Photo: EPA

Throughout history states have risen and fallen and those that have risen and prospered have successfully understood and dealt with the threats to state security that were prevalent in their times. In the post 9-11 world we are faced with a new paradigm that the events of 9-11 were manipulated to bring about. Therefore it is of ultimate importance for the peaceful nations of the world to understand exactly who was behind those events. It is already clear who has benefitted and who has manipulated the events to engage in a plethora of activities that amount to crimes against peace and crimes against all humanity. Those actors have plunged our world into a lawless paradigm where the biggest threat to the states of the world today is not terrorism but those who would use terrorism and the threat of terrorism to bring about their own ends and in the extreme facilitate the destruction of states and the overthrowing of governments.

Goal

The subject of this article is one that warrants much further research and study by security specialists. My goal is not to attempt to properly address the issue but to shine light on it and hopefully stir debate and further study of the problem.

Real threat

Terrorism in itself is a real and continuing threat, that is an unarguable fact, but the bigger danger we have seen comes from those who finance and promote terrorism and even worse from those who use it as a pretext for military invasions and occupations.

Pretext for invasion and regime change

A perfect case in point is Afghanistan which has been occupied for almost 13 years by the US, has seen hundreds of thousands of troops deployed, has seen up to a million civilian lives extinguished and yet according to American intelligence agencies and even the Defense Department in an assessment to US President Obama in 2009  there were only 100 AL-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan.

In 2010, then CIA Director Leon Panetta said there were less than 50 Al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan and even worse in 2011 Congressman David Cicilline stated that there were only 25 to 30 Al-Qaeda fighters in the country. Meaning the US has spent over one trillion dollars of their taxpayer’s money, occupied a country for more than a decade and lost over 3,400 of the world’s best trained and equipped troops to fight a couple of dozen rag-tag Islamic terrorists, all of whom could have been quietly liquidated in one night in a JSOC operation.

Supporting anyone against the state

As we have seen in Yugoslavia, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, throughout the Middle East, in Syria, in Venezuela, Cuba, South America, Russia and now in Ukraine, the US and its surrogates have supported any element that is against the state in any country that the US has unilaterally determined requires regime change.

This support for destabilizing, militant, insurgent and more often than not murderous forces has worked for the West to affect regime change in scores of countries and this support is in fact the biggest threat that countries face today if they wish to follow a sovereign path independent of the US and NATO.

The hegemony of the empire

The tactic of using, supporting and promoting any “opposition” to bring about the collapse of states or the change of governments has been seen from Egypt to Ukraine and is used to maintain waning US hegemony in countries that the US has decided they need to control or which possess resources or other “interests” for them.

These interests can be of any type including economic, resources, geopolitical influence or even the projection of military force to maintain hegemony. The playbook is the same and we are seeing it played out once again in Ukraine.

Preventing, dealing with and identifying forces

Preventing

Organs of state security in all countries around the world need to be vigilant of any forces within, but most importantly without, their territories which may seek to bring about the destruction of their states.

A healthy open and just society and a government that looks out for the interests of its people is not an automatic cure or guarantee for security but it is a good foundation. A government that properly addresses the grievances of its citizens and subjects does more to prevent the growth of dissent and destabilizing forces than any other.

If grievances and the voice of the people are heard by the government then the state is almost guaranteeing its own security. However there is still the danger of outside forces and actors introduced into a country to destabilize it. Such as in Ukraine and Syria and the attempts in Russia.

Russia which has a long experience of dealing with almost every kind of nefarious force possible has dealt with the threat effectively, more or less quietly and identified methods and means that were being used and dealt with them. However for smaller countries with less robust organs of state security and more volatile less educated populations dealing with forces of outside interference is much more difficult if not impossible.

In the area of prevention in the age of the internet, special attention must be paid by the security services to the manipulation, dissemination and targeting of information that runs counter to the interests of the state and the people. This includes, for example, the introduction of previously non-issues into a populace to divide it and cause dissent. The West has been very successful at this and the most obvious case in point is the introduction of the divisive issue of same sex marriages, which although “normal” for Americans, was never an issue for the most of the rest of the world until the US introduced it and attached it to its foreign policy.

Identifying

The most important area when it comes to identification in my opinion is the timeliness and effectiveness of the identification.

Dealing with the threat

With the case of a normal opposition in a democratic or fair system, of course the threat is dealt with through normal political discourse, debate and an address of grievances. In short sitting down at the negotiating table and working things out. That is with a normal opposition. However when there are fanatical or extremist elements who use violence they must be dealt with using extreme prejudice and force and effectively liquidated immediately.

The new opposition

A new phenomena we have seen in the post 9-11 world is an irreconcilable opposition, and with the case of Russia, one which had no clear goal or even grievances other than the destruction of the state or the removal from power of the elected leader.

This is the form of “opposition” that we are seeing in Ukraine. An opposition funded, backed and instructed from the outside, in this case from the US. In a normal scenario these “traitors” would be dealt with using the full force of the state as they are a threat to the continuity of the state and the government and the people, but this new western backed opposition is like a disease, once you have it, it is almost impossible to get rid of.

As in Ukraine the “opposition” has the advantage of the full array of US instruments at its disposal, in this case the most important is a complete and total media onslaught, with the “opposition” even allowed on television to call for the kidnapping and punishment of police.

New methods to secure the state

Ukraine, due to western meddling and its open society has been an easy target for the West and in the current climate the state would be wise to take emergency measures which should have been in place before the current unrest escalated into bloodshed. But it is not too late.

First and foremost the state should shut down the instruments that are being used by the outside actors to communicate, instruct and propagandize their installed opposition. The most obvious and simple measure would be shutting down internet access and cell phone communications. The US has shown that this is their favorite tool and we saw it used during the Arab Spring and in Syria.

The other methods that must be developed and implemented to effectively deal with the threat are something the security services must study and bring about once the threat is identified and contingency plans put in place.

A free net

In this regard (identification) the internet can be an invaluable tool if it is kept free and allowed to operate without interference. A wise government will monitor the net and use it to connect with its citizens. It will use it to understand the wishes of its populace and to work out strategies to address grievances. Not as the US has done namely to manipulate, spy on and crack down on the population.

Isolation

If the threat of outside interference is in fact the largest threat to the security of the world’s states, as I have put forth, then the world community, and I mean the real world community not the US and its surrogates, needs to take measures to deal with that threat.

As more and more situations come about such as that in Ukraine, the US may find itself more and more isolated as more and more countries begin to realize that secretaries of state of foreign powers handing out cookies to violent protestors who wish to overthrow the government is not something normal but direct outside interference and part of a concerted effort to destroy the state.

Conclusion

My hope is that the above piece will stir debate and help the people of the world realize that just because your country does not allow gay marriage does not mean it is illegitimate. We are all different and all our differences are legitimate and must be respected and protected.

Finally, never take food from a stranger, especially when that stranger wants to overthrow your president.

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

 

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Georgia’s NATO integration: revealing NATO graphic

January 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
January 25, 2014

Georgia’s inter-ministerial delegation holds meetings in capitals of some NATO countries
By Nana Kirtzkhalia

NATO_051109

Georgia’s inter-ministerial delegation visited the capitals of several NATO member-states and met with representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the Parliament of Croatia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic from January 20-24.

The inter-ministerial delegation included the representatives of the office of the State Minister for Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic organizations, the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry, the Georgian Foreign Ministry told Trend today.

The issues related to Georgia’s integration into NATO in the context of preparations for the NATO summit in 2014 were discussed at the meetings. The Georgian- Russian relations and cooperation in the defense field were considered.

Translated by NH

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Russia Warns West Not To Encourage Ukrainian Violence

January 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Stop NATO
January 25, 2014

1) Moscow urges West not to encourage Ukrainian militants’ actions
2) Lavrov criticizes Europeans for inappropriate reaction to events in Ukraine
3) Protesters piling up firearms at Kyiv City Administration building – Ukrainian interior minister
4) Protesters blockade Ukraine’s Energy Ministry
5) Buildings of four regional state administrations remain seized in Ukraine
6) Crimean parliament urges Yanukovych to declare state of emergency
7) Lawmakers from ruling party banned from travel to U.S.
8) Policeman shot dead in Kyiv, another policeman sustains knife wound – Ukrainian interior ministry

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1)

Itar-Tass
January 25, 2014

Moscow urges West not to encourage Ukrainian militants’ actions

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a televised interview on Russian television.It is very important that there must be no calls from outside that the opposition and particularly actively operating militants take as encouragement allegedly to act relying on the European community’s view, the minister noted.

Sergei Lavrov in a talk with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry noted it was important not to interfere in the process in Ukraine and refrain from statements that may only heat up the situation.

The minister said about it in a televised interview on Russian television, when asked about the statements of the U.S. ambassador in Kiev.”I hope he (Kerry) heeded,” Lavrov added.

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2)

Interfax
January 24, 2014

Lavrov criticizes Europeans for inappropriate reaction to events in Ukraine

MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has criticized the European countries for not reacting appropriately to radical opposition activists’ actions in various parts of Ukraine.

Speaking on the phone with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Friday, “Lavrov, in particular, drew the German counterpart’s attention to the seizures of local administration buildings in a number of Ukrainian regions by opposition fighters and the lack of appropriate reaction from European partners,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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3)

Interfax
January 25, 2014

Protesters piling up firearms at Kyiv City Administration building – Ukrainian interior minister

KYIV: Ukrainian Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko claims that the opposition is piling up firearms in the building of the Kyiv City Administration and that a conflict among different groups of protesters is worsening.

“The events of the last several days in the capital of Ukraine have shown that our attempts to resolve the conflict peacefully, without resorting to forcible confrontation, were futile. Our calls have not been heard, and the truce agreement has been broken,” Zakharchenko said in a statement to the nation and foreign countries on Saturday.

“Information obtained by the law enforcement agencies indicates that firearms are being piled up at the Trade Unions House and the Kyiv City Administration building,” Zakharchenko said.

Protesters have started again pelting police, who are not using force now as the negotiations are under way between the Ukrainian leadership and the opposition, with pavement blocks and Molotov cocktails, Zakharchenko said.

Moreover, leader of the Ukrainian Radical Party Oleh Lyashko has called on his supporters to attack police, he said.

“One policeman was shot dead to the head last night, and three other law enforcement officers were captured on Independence Square. One of them was seriously wounded and is in the hospital now, and the other two are still being held at the Kyiv City Administration building,” he added.

The police’s negotiations with the protest leaders and opposition parliamentarians have not produced the desired result, Zakharchenko said. “They can no longer influence the radical groups, who are controlling the buildings they have seized and resorting to force actions,” he said.

“The opposition leaders have not disassociated themselves from the radical forces, but they are no longer capable of controlling them, and so they are exposing the citizens of Ukraine to danger,” Zakharchenko said.

The international community “should not turn a blind eye” to these events, which are reaching “a high degree of extremism,” he said.

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4)

Russian Information Agency Novosti
January 25, 2014

Protesters Blockade Ukraine’s Energy Ministry

KIEV: Protesters have surrounded the entrances of Ukraine’s Fuel and Energy Ministry in downtown Kiev, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported from the scene on Saturday.

The report came soon after an opposition leader said on national television that “activists have seized the building.”

The leader of the group Common Cause, Alexander Danilyuk, told Ukraine’s Channel 5 that “the guards did not put up a fight. We will continue our work to paralyze the central bodies of government.”

The RIA Novosti correspondent reported that several dozen protesters armed with clubs had entered the building’s courtyard, but the doors were sealed shut and the main entrance was barricaded.

Minister Eduard Stavitsky, however, attested in a statement on Saturday that “the ministry is functioning as normal.”

Protesters a day before announced that they had seized the Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry.

Dozens of demonstrators and riot police have been injured in a surge of violence that enveloped the capital Kiev last week after Ukraine’s government enacted laws severely restricting protests.

Authorities have confirmed that three protesters have been killed in the unrest, while the Ukrainian opposition claims at least three others have been killed.

No police fatalities have been reported, but many have been hospitalized with severe injuries.

In a bid to ease tensions in the country, President Viktor Yanukovych said Friday that Ukraine’s parliament next week would consider pardoning detained political activists and reshuffling the government’s top ministers.

Anti-government protesters have brought the heart of Kiev to a standstill for almost two months by occupying the central Independence Square in response to a government decision to pull back from a deal to forge closer relations with the European Union in favor of enhanced ties with Russia.

While initially focused on the EU decision, discontent in Ukraine has steadily taken on a more general anti-government character.

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5)

ForUm
January 25, 2014

Buildings of four regional state administrations remain seized in Ukraine

As of morning January 24, buildings of Lviv, Rivne, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk Regional State Administrations remained seized by the protesters.

Yesterday, January 23, protesters captured the building of the Lviv Regional State Administration and forced the governor Oleg Salo to resign. However, later he said that he wrote the statement under pressure.

Currently, there are about 50 activists near the building of the Lviv Regional Administration. During the last night protesters erected barricades of bags filled with snow, wooden logs and tires. Several dozen of people stay inside the administration.

Yesterday, several thousand residents of Rivne seized the Rivne Regional State Administration. Law enforcement officials after four hours of talks left the building of the Administration, and the Governor wrote letter of resignation.

Yesterday, Ternopil protesters went to the building of the Ternopil Regional State Administration, where the regional council was situated. After discussion with the police officers, thousand activists pushed them and entered the building.

In addition, on Thursday, at 9 pm, during a peaceful assembly of citizens at the meeting in Zhytomyr, a significant number of unknowns attempted to seize the building of the Zhytomyr Regional State Administration.

Also, as of 10.30 am on January 24, several hundreds of people stormed the building of the Chernivtsi Regional State Administration.

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6)

ForUm
January 25, 2014

Crimean parliament urges Yanukovych to declare state of emergency

The presidium of the Crimean Supreme Council, in connection with the seizure of administrative buildings in several regions in Ukraine, has said that there is a threat to the constitutional order and called on the president, the National Security Council and Defense Council and MPs to introduce a state of emergency in the country.

“Violence, like a cancer, is spreading from the Maidan in Kyiv to the Ukrainian regions. The unpunished seizure of Kyiv City State Administration and other administrative buildings persuaded Maidan activists that there is permissiveness. In seven regions of Ukraine the extremists are storming the state authorities and erecting barricades. The buildings of the Lviv, Rivne and Ternopil state administrations have already been seized. Participants in mass disturbances have announced that they ‘are taking power into their own hands,’ are subordinated to the decisions of the self-proclaimed ‘people’s council’ and started forming illegitimate government agencies. The principles of the constitutional order and the system of state governance are under threat,” the press center of the Crimean parliament said, citing an address adopted by the presidium on Friday.

The authors of the document noted that the Crimean parliament had earlier called for the introduction of a state of emergency to restore public order.

“If our voice had been heard in a timely manner, Ukraine would have not been on the brink of a civil war,” they said, Interfax-Ukraine informed.

“We appeal to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, the National Security and Defense Council and the people’s deputies of Ukraine with the request to stop lawlessness, anarchy and violence that swept through the country and declare a state of emergency in Ukraine. We propose stop funding from the state budget the regions that declared themselves to be out of law, in which where the authorities were overthrown by force, until the constitutional order is restored in them,” reads the document.

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7)

UNIAN
January 24, 2014

Lawmakers from the Party of Ukraine Volodymyr Oliynyk and Olena Bondarenko received a ban on entry to the USA.

“Now it is official information – Oliynyk and Bondarenko got ban to entry to the USA”, – she wrote.

A complete information is available by subscribe to UNIAN news feeds

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8)

Interfax-Ukraine
January 25, 2014

Policeman shot dead in Kyiv, another policeman sustains knife wound – Ukrainian interior ministry

Kyiv: Security guards working at a construction site in the Holosiyivsky district of Kyiv found the body of a dead policeman on Friday evening, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry organized crime department reported.

Witnesses saw two people running away from the scene, it said.

The policeman was 27 and served at the Holosiyivsky district police department’s investigations division, the Interior Ministry’s main investigations division told Interfax.

“This man served as a member of a detention unit reacting to alarm actuation at guarded sites. He had come off duty and was walking home in civilian clothing when someone shot in his head,” it said.

A law enforcement source told Interfax that the policeman had served not far from the base of the Berkut riot police task force and lived at a Berkut dormitory.

The Interior Ministry press service said also that protesters attacked three policemen near Independence Square in Kyiv on Friday evening, causing a knife wound to one of them.

“The captured law enforcement officials were held at the Kyiv City Administration building. The wounded policeman was later freed and hospitalized. The fates of the other two policemen are unknown,” it said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Video Interview: Serbian – Or Syrian – Scenario Unfolding In Ukraine?

January 25, 2014 Leave a comment

RT
January 25, 2014

Serbian scenario unfolding in Ukraine?

As riots resumed in central Kiev, Ukrainian affairs analyst Nebojsa Malic told RT that protesters are using extortion tactics to get the government to undemocratically hand power over to them.

RT: President Yanukovich said he will reshuffle the government and make other concessions. Why have the protesters started hurling Molotov cocktails again, and not waited for these concessions to take place?

Nebojsa Malic: What has been going on in Ukraine since November reminds me of nothing more than a Serbian scenario, which started out in September and October of 2000 with the early presidential elections for then Yugoslavia. The goal of the protesters who were trained and financed by the US government was to overthrow the government of president Milosevic. And they succeeded because police and the military and the government were already so taken over by these subversive groups that they refused to put up any resistance. I don’t know if that is exactly what is happening in Kiev, but it is the same playbook. The protesters camp out in the square and demand completely unreasonable, undemocratic demands, such as the immediate resignation of the government and turning over the power to the so-called popular opposition that hasn’t even been tested in elections and has a very small minority of support of the parties that have. And all of a sudden they are the democrats and the government is anti-democratic because John McCain says so.

RT: We are seeing some extreme measures from the protesters. They are throwing Molotov cocktails, throwing stones in an attempt to show force. Why are they doing this now, without waiting for the concessions to take effect?

NM: [Protesters] are trying to force the issue. This is a typical extortion tactic. The whole point is to force the government to react, to force Berkut and other police forces to confront the protesters and then scream “bloody murder, oh my god, they are killing us, they are oppressing us, please help, foreign intervention” and so on. It is a very basic tactic from the rebellion playbook, as was articulated in Serbia 15 years ago and is being implemented throughout the world in Georgia and elsewhere and in Ukraine in 2004 of all things. The protesters are trying to make a point that they are the ones that decide what gets done and who initiates the violence.

RT: We have seen government buildings taken over in different parts of the country. How much further do you think these riots will spread, and what would it take to end them?

NM: This could turn into another Syrian scenario. Syria also started as allegedly spontaneous protests against the government and ended up being a full-scale civil war. There are definitely forces in the western part of Ukraine that have always been hostile to the majority of the population in the country, even allied with the Germans during WWII. And it is not an accident that these opposition movements have the most support in that part of the country. The Crimeans already said they will not stand idly by and look at their future being stolen by these Westerners.

Then eastern Ukraine, where all the economic and industrial activity is located, is staunchly pro-Russian and intolerant of this sort of thing. So this could get very ugly, very quickly if the opposition and their Western backers push this.

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Interview: US/NATO objective: expulsion of Russian forces

January 25, 2014 1 comment

Voice of Russia
January 25, 2014

Recorded in late December

US/NATO objective: expulsion of Russian forces – Rick Rozoff

John Robles 

US/NATO objective: expulsion of Russian forces – Rick Rozoff

Photo: EPA

Download audio file

Since its creation in 1949, NATO has gone from an organization founded to protect against an imaginary self-conceived attack by the USSR to a global aggressive attack organization. In the final installment of a 2013 year-end-summary interview with the Voice of Russia’s John Robles, Rick Rozoff, the owner of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list, discusses the moves by the alliance and what they are planning for the future. According to Mr. Rozoff the alliance was stopped dead in its tracks in Syria in 2013, an event that may portend peace in the future and an end to the US/NATO aggressive wars.

PART 1,PART 2,PART 3PART 4

Rick Rozoff

This is John Robles, you are listening to an interview with Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list. This interview is in progress.

Rozoff: There are now 500 Swedish troops in northern Afghanistan, 500 Swedish troops! First time, again, in 200 years they are engaged in combat operations. 200 years. They have been killed, they killed. They’ve engaged in lethal combat in Afghanistan under NATO command.

Again, they supplied a number of warplanes for NATO’s air war against Libya two years ago. But what happened two or three years ago was in the name of professionalizing, this is the euphemism, the Swedish arm forces – and this is a demand of NATO – that conscript armies go out, no more draft, strictly professional army and so forth, that every single member of the Swedish arm forces had to sign a waiver that they could be deployed overseas for the first time.

I mean, there was formally a requirement up until then if you went to Afghanistan it was presumably voluntarily. Now every single member of the Swedish army forces has to sign a waiver acknowledging they’re prepared to be deployed anywhere in the world. And this is in conjunction with, of course, Sweden officially announcing it’s joining the NATO Response Force.

Robles: So basically they’ve given cannon fodder to NATO’s army, basically, right?

Rozoff: That’s it exactly: to be deployed any place in the world.

Robles: Any time they want? So NATO can just grab soldiers from all these countries which is why they need to expand, isn’t it?

Rozoff: Yes. But they do not need necessarily that each country becomes a full NATO member. I think this is a misconception. Georgia under Saakashvili, Ukraine under Yushchenko and company were perfectly fulfilling NATO’s demands short of full NATO membership.

The ultimate objective as we talked about a few minutes ago was the expulsion of Russian military forces from Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Crimea in Ukraine and Georgia.

But it’s good enough sometimes simply to be a NATO partner. We talked about the Asia-Pacific pivot – accidents don’t occur except in the movies, as somebody once told me – bad movies –  where too many coincidences occur.

And at the very time that the Obama administration announces its Asia-Pacific pivot – that is a shift away from Europe primarily to Asia, that is to contain China after having encircled Russia – there is no other way of interpreting that, encircling Russia through NATO expansion.

Robles: Sure.

Rozoff: Immediately before the May Summit of NATO in Chicago last year NATO announces a new international program called Partners Across the Globe.

I don’t know, if anyone in 1949, when the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was set up ostensibly to defend against a very unlikely if not impossible Soviet assault across the plains of Central Europe, were to be told that decades later NATO was going to institute a program called Partners Across the Globe without changing its name to what it ought to be, which is a Global Aggressive Treaty Organization.

And those eight countries, the initial ones, and there are going to be more following them, are all in Asia. They are – Asia-Pacific rather – they are: Mongolia, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq. These are the members of NATO’s new program, exactly at the time when the US announces its Asia-Pacific pivot.

Robles: I see. So, Scandinavia, the Arctic, Iraq and the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region are all places that NATO is looking to expand.

I’d like to back up just a little bit, because you didn’t say too much about the military-industrial complex’s relationship with NATO. How important is that relationship? And is that the true driving force of global militarization by NATO? Is it just the military industrial complexes or is it something else?

Rozoff: Several of your guests, in conjunction with yourself, have been very good at addressing this issue. I would argue Bruce Gagnon, who you’ve interviewed again recently, has made this point repeatedly and very trenchantly me . But behind it all, yes, are the merchants of death, behind them all are the Raytheons and the Lockheed Martins and Northrup Grumman and the other arms manufactures. There is no question about that.

The latest National Defense Authorization Bill is for a reported $633 billion. $633 billion.This is 23 years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact.

Robles: We are always talking about US-NATO as if it is one organization because that is what it seems like it has become to me. Would you characterize that, in that manner?

Rozoff: Yes, of course. Except there is a master-slave relationship obtaining between them, or a ventriloquist-dummy relationship.

I remember once the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche referring to certain theologians as God’s ventriloquists, people presuming to speak in the name of, right, throwing their voices so to imitate.

What you see when Barack Obama, the president of the US or any president in the US, or a Secretary of State of the US, you can count the hours before the Secretary General of NATO parrots or mimics exactly the same thing; you are going to hear slightly different words adjusted for the audience, but almost identical. Because they are reading off the same script, inevitably.

Robles: That was very clear recently in Ukraine. Do you remember that?

Rozoff: NATO comes out and says: “Ukraine’s future is in Europe.” Think about the unmitigated audacity to make a statement like that.

Robles: And then, at the same time he said: (I think you published it on Stop NATO or maybe it was even in the same speech that you are referring to), he also said that European countries need to throw (he didn’t say throw – I’m paraphrasing), more money or need to invest or whatever he said, more money into NATO or the US may decide it is not too interested in being a member of NATO.

Rozoff: That is a common statement by Rasmussen; his job is to hold up the whip hand and crack the whip on the European NATO members to make sure they cough up the minimum of its 2% of Gross Domestic Product that is required of NATO members. That’s his job, on behalf of the Pentagon and on behalf of the arms manufactures in the US, Britain, France,  Germany and Sweden.

He has been engaging in the most disingenuous, the most dishonest characterization I can imagine. Again, that if we don’t supply more men and women to kill and die overseas, if we don’t put US interceptor missiles on our soil, if we don’t spend 2% of our Gross Domestic Products on offensive weapons to be used in wars of aggression abroad; if we don’t, the US may abandon us to the big bad bear. No?. Isn’t that the inevitable? I mean, it is subconscious, but isn’t that the inevitable threat he’s making?

Robles: But it is a completely ridiculous one. It is a completely false one. Is there any other threat in the world that you know about, so called, that justifies anything about NATO?

Rozoff: No.

There is no justification, was not in my estimate, but certainly is not now any justification for the first attempt in history to build an international aggressive military formation, because that’s what NATO is.

The US has not had a serious military threat, it has not had a serious military challenger, it has not had a country outside of perhaps Russia that has even been able to defend itself since the end of the Cold War, over 25 years ago.

Let’s be clear about that: there is no adversary that necessitates the expansion of a US-led military bloc from 16 to 28 countries and, if you include NATO partners around the world, 70 or more countries, which is over a third of the countries in the world, are either full members of NATO or members of various NATO partnership programs, sometimes members of two or three or more.

Robles: So, I would dare say that the US has never been attacked or never been attacked where it could have prevented the attack, with the case of Pearl Harbor there was forewarning but anyway…

Rozoff: Let’s agree on this. The continental US has never been attacked by another nation except when the British came in from Canada and burned down parts of the capital in Philadelphia at the time after, at least according the Canadian interpretation, the US threatened to appropriate British Canada by launching an invasion thereof. But with that exception and that exception only the continental US has never been the victim of military attack by another nation.

Robles: So you’ve got the strongest nation in the world, that has never been attacked and it is constantly saying that everybody is a threat. It is insanity. Maybe this year we will see some sanity returning to the world. What do you think, Rick?

Rozoff: Yeah, I think the fact that there has been success against what had been an unbroken string or succession of acts of political but particularly military strong-arming and aggression around the world, and that really has characterized the post-Cold War period: It starts with a war against Iraq in 1991, the military intervention by the US in Somalia shortly thereafter, then the US bombing of Serbian forces and positions in Bosnia in 1994-1995, then the war against Yugoslavia, then the second war against Iraq and the invasion of Afghanistan and on and on and on.

This has been a steamroller that has been allowed to violate international law, threaten not only regional but ultimately world peace and that it seems to have stopped, it seems to have been stopped in its tracks as of last summer in Syria. Appears to have been stopped.

And if politically an equivalent of that in the Ukraine has been accomplished recently than what are we seeing is, I don’t want to be too fast and loose with historical analogies, so I won’t to revert to the obvious one, but it almost seems like a certain power in Europe that also went from victory to victory from 1939 to 1943 was eventually stopped in Southern Russia.

Robles: And it was the same thing – preventive invasion, aggressive invasion of course those guys you are referring to didn’t have a “responsibility to protect” clause, but..Rick, would you like to give our listeners a holiday greeting?

Rozoff: Yes, I certainly would. I first of all it would be remiss if I didn’t thank you and Voice of Russia for the unbelievably generous opportunities you’ve provided me and so many other people whom I greatly respect to be able to speak freely on a wide range of issues, to address concerns that simply are not being addressed any place else truthfully, nowhere else, at least as consistently as your show permits us to do.

And I’m astonished, really. You’ve had people from Michael Parenti to George Galloway to Michael Ratner to Bruce Gagnon. This is only within the last week. And I cannot think of any other program anywhere in the world where people of that caliber, with so much to say, so much expertise who are denied most every other opportunity to speak about this and now get to have their voices heard around the world. That is such an amazing contribution, not simply to something as abstract as the impartial dissemination of information, though that’is important, but to the fact that it is voices that are calling for end of militarism, as you mentioned, who imply strongly that $643 billion can be put to the better use in the US than building weapons, and that a new world where there’s some mutual respect and fraternity between nations, a real comity of nations, instead of this winner-takes-all sort of attitude where’s there’s competition, as we have had opportunity to talk about in this show, in this program, this episode, where we can almost take a map of the world and plot out where the next scramble for oil or for raw materials or for military bases or missile sites or so forth is going on right now. That has to come to an end and we need a forum in which to have those opinions, counter-opinions, expressed and you’ve provided a truly unparalleled opportunity for so many of us to be able to speak to that. And I thank you and I thank your employer.

Robles: I’m very grateful, humbled by your words, Rick. It is very nice to hear that a lot of the stuff that you hear here does not get said in the West, it does not get said in the media, it does not get said anywhere.

Rozoff: You’re correct. Unfortunately, and I’m offering this is an encouragement for other nations to follow suit, it is unfortunately not being heard in the Chinese media, it is not being heard in the Indian media, it is not being heard in Latin America – in English. It is not being heard other places where it needs to be heard. In Africa.

When more and more programs start emulating your own and providing a similar opportunity; particularly because of the language you’re broadcasting in, English, of necessity where people from the anglosphere, from the US and Britain, Canada and maybe, Australia and New Zealand. But we need something comparable where experts from around the world, especially in those countries and regions most immediately affected by the topic or by the crises that we oftentimes are talking about,  need to have an outlet also, because they don’t have one. And they don’t have one in any language. But the fact that they could have it in English, which reaches the world market, is an almost inestimable opportunity for them to be able to speak the truth in the way they are unaccustomed to do. And if there is one advantage (but there are many of course) to the worldwide web it is providing exactly that opportunity for the voiceless, right, for those who thought about things and talked about privately but now have the opportunity to formulating their thoughts in a give-and-take exchange as what we are doing right now where the end product is something more than what we thought when we began the discussion.

Robles: You are absolutely right. Once again I’m humbled by your wisdom, the way you are able to connect the dots and express the deep and complex thoughts better than I usually can even if I sit down and think about them for a long time.

Rozoff: You are too self-effacing, I won’t accept that. Thank you, John.

Robles: Thank you, Rick.

That was the end of an interview with Rick Rozoff, the Owner and Manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at Voiceofrussia.com. Thank you very much for listening and as always I wish you the best wherever you may be.

PART 1,PART 2,PART 3PART 4

 

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Russia, China Conduct Naval Training Exercise In Mediterranean

January 25, 2014 1 comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
January 25, 2014

Russian-Chinese Naval Training Exercise Begins in Mediterranean

MOSCOW: A Russian-Chinese naval training exercise in the Mediterranean Sea began on Saturday involving the Russian nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliky and China’s Yancheng frigate, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced.

The exercise, which began with a gathering of the ships and accompanying speedboats, is being performed to reinforce co-maneuvering, air defense collaboration as well as naval helicopter landings on the different countries’ ships, the ministry’s press service said.

The exercise is focused on “raising the level of operational compatibility between Russian and Chinese military ships during joint actions in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea,” the ministry said.

Russian and Chinese military vessels began collaborating in the region on January 7 to ensure security for transports of Syrian chemical weapons.

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Thomas Mann: War is a blood-orgy of egotism, corruption, and vileness

January 25, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Thomas Mann: Selections on war

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Thomas Mann
From The German Republic (1922)
H.T. Lowe-Porter

220px-Thomas-Mann-um-1939

War is romantic. No one has ever denied the mystic and poetic element residing in it. But today only the insensible world would deny that it is utterly debased romanticism, an utter distortion of the poetic. To save our national feeling from falling into disrepute, to keep it from becoming a curse, we must learn to understand that a warlike and brawling spirit is not its whole content, but more and more absolutely a cult of peace, in accord with the mysticism and poetry in its nature.

***

The side of peace is my side too, as being the side of culture, thought and art, whereas in a war vulgarity triumphs…The peoples of the world are old and sophisticated, their epic and heroic stage lies far in the past, any attempt to return to it involves a desperate revolt against the decree of time and constitutes a spiritual insincerity. War is a lie, its issues are a lie; whatever honorable emotion the individual may bring to it, that itself today is stripped of all honor, and to any straight and clear-eyed vision reveals itself as the triumph of all that is brutal and vulgar in the soul of the race, as the arch-foe of culture and thought, as a blood-orgy of egotism, corruption, and vileness.

***

But the god of battles is no more. The god has degenerated into a repulsive idol; to bring him offerings is out of date, quixotic.

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U.S. To Deploy Global Hawks To Japan

January 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
January 24, 2014

US to deploy Global Hawks to Misawa, Japan
By Seth Robson

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Northrop Grumman is already building five more Global Hawk’s for a consortium of 13 NATO nations. The NATO aircraft, along with some of the U.S. Navy’s Tritons, will fly out of Sigonella, Sicily, which is already home to Air Force Global Hawks…

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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan: Global Hawks, America’s largest unmanned surveillance aircraft, will fly out of Japan for the first time this summer, the Air Force says.

Interest in the drones — ranging from NASA to NATO and other U.S. allies — has been rising due to their versatility and endurance. Two of them, along with 40 personnel, will deploy to Misawa Air Base from May to October, according to 1st Lt. Caitlin Suttie, a public affairs officer with the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa.

“The plan to deploy more advanced capabilities in Japan, such as the Global Hawk, has strategic significance and further contributes to the security of Japan and the region,” she said in an email Friday.

The aircraft and personnel will travel from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, where Global Hawks — controlled by remote operators in California — have been based for three years.

The Guam-based aircraft played a key role in the disaster relief effort that followed the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that struck Japan in March 2011. More recently they flew missions over the Philippines as part of the Typhoon Haiyan relief effort in November.

Global Hawks are also a key tool in keeping tabs on North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and Chinese naval maneuvers. Both are of particular interest to the Japanese government, which recently approved plans to acquire three of its own large unmanned surveillance aircraft.

Global Hawk manufacturer Northrop Grumman appears confident that the Japanese will buy its aircraft.

“We have good reason to be optimistic,” Curtis Orchard, Northrop Grumman regional director and vice president, said in Japan this month.

George Guerra, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of strategic high-altitude, long-endurance ventures, said there’s also interest from South Korea and Australia, which is negotiating to buy the Triton — a maritime version of the aircraft.

Northrop Grumman is already building five more Global Hawk’s for a consortium of 13 NATO nations. The NATO aircraft, along with some of the U.S. Navy’s Tritons, will fly out of Sigonella, Sicily, which is already home to Air Force Global Hawks, Guerra said.

The Global Hawks at Misawa would support missions throughout the Pacific, he said.

“They can cover a vast area,” he said, noting that missions out of Guam last 30 to 31 hours.

The aircraft, which has logged more than 100,000 flight hours — about 90,000 in support of combat or humanitarian efforts — had the best safety record of any platform in the U.S. Air Force last year, he said.

“The Global Hawks on Guam are achieving more than 80 percent reliability… (and) we are seeing comparable performance at the other locations,” Guerra said.

A NASA Global Hawk will start six to eight weeks of operations out of Guam by the end of the month, gathering atmospheric and storm data for researchers, he said.

Later this year, the Air Force will send two or three “Block 40” models of the Global Hawk to Guam to join the “Block 30” aircraft that are there already. The Block 30s carry radar, infra-red sensors and signals intelligence systems whereas the Block 40s include advanced radar for interdicting ground targets, he said.

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Uganda: Hub for U.S. Military Operations in Africa

January 24, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces in Africa
January 22, 2014

Uganda supports US airlift missions
By Capt. Christine Guthrie
U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

ENTEBBE, Uganda: As U.S. airlift missions operating at the request of the French government and African Union authorities continue, Uganda maintains their role as a key U.S. strategic partner.

In just two months, the Ugandans allowed the U.S. military to stage at least three essential missions out of Entebbe.

“The Ugandans have been invaluable,” Col. William Wyatt, Office of Security Cooperation Uganda chief said. “Both the Civil aviation authority and Ugandan People’s Defense Force have been instrumental in helping us stage important missions out of Entebbe.”

Most recently, the U.S. Air Force has been staging two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft out of Uganda to provide airlift support to a Rwandan mechanized battalion. The U.S. military is transporting equipment and soldiers to the Central African Republic in support of the African Union’s effort to confront destabilizing forces and violence.

The ability to stage missions out of Uganda has been vital to mission success.

“Every day we coordinate with the Entebbe Handling Service and they provide us with crew buses and maintenance towing capabilities,” said Maj. Micah Vander Veen Contingency Response Element Commander, and overall mission commander for the Entebbe stage. “They provide us with everything we need around the airfield, including security services.”

The U.S. began the Rwandan airlifting mission January 16, 2014, and is scheduled to continue through the month.

In December of last year, the U.S. staged a Burundi airlift mission out of Uganda in support of the same African Union operation. The duration of the operation was approximately 10 days.

“With the rapid pace of events in East Africa the additional presence of the U.S. military was felt at Entebbe,” said Wyatt. “However the Government of Uganda was very helpful in allowing U.S. forces to conduct these important missions in support of the African Union for the Central African Republic and evacuation of noncombatants from South Sudan.”

The most notable support the Ugandans have shown to the U.S. occurred when three CV-22 Ospreys were forced to divert to Entebbe after being fired upon, wounding four personnel onboard. The aircraft were attempting to land in Bor, to evacuate Americans from South Sudan.

During this diversion the Ugandans were conducting their own noncombatant evacuation operations out of Juba, South Sudan.

The civil aviation authorities and Ugandan’s People Defense Air Force worked closely with U.S. Department of Defense authorities to make this mission and others a success.

Uganda is located in the geographical heart of Africa and it is evident they have played a critical role in past and current operations.

Vander Veen echoed positive sentiments as he spoke about the current airlift operation with the Rwandan soldiers, “Things are going extremely well, and the Ugandans have been strong partners in this operation.”

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Interview: U.S. Adopts Vindictive, Punitive Actions Against Afghanistan

January 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Press TV
January 24, 2014

US takes ‘vindictive, punitive’ actions against Afghanistan

Audio

Congress’s decision to halve the US aid to Afghanistan is aimed at punishing the Afghan government, an American peace activist says, as President Hamid Karzai is still refusing to sign a security agreement that would allow US presence in the war-torn country beyond this year.

“This is clearly a punitive, vindictive action by the US Congress against the current government in Afghanistan because they have been hesitant to sign an entirely one-sided bilateral security agreement with the United States,” said Rick Rozoff, a member of Stop NATO International.

US lawmakers have provided $1.12 billion to Afghanistan for fiscal 2014 for overall civilian assistance, a 50 percent reduction from the previous fiscal year. The funding is part of the massive spending bill signed into law on Friday by President Barack Obama.

The fact that the US Congress will cut what little non-military aid the US has been providing Afghanistan is clearly an act of “spitefulness and vengefulness,” Rozoff told Press TV on Wednesday.

“This is a warning or a threat moreover not only to the government of Afghanistan, but the other surrounding governments,” he further said. “That you play the game according to our rules, or else is the message that Washington is delivering.”

Tensions between the US and Afghanistan have escalated over the prolonged negotiations on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA). The negotiations began earlier 2013 and, if completed, will define the shape of the US military presence in Afghanistan for years to come.

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Arabian Sea: NATO Solidifies Partnership With Yemen

January 24, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
Allied Maritime Command

January 23, 2014

YEMENI COAST GUARD MEETS WITH COUNTER-PIRACY TASK FORCE

GULF OF ADEN: On Tuesday, 21 January 2014, the Head of the Yemeni Coast Guard, Brigadier General Ahmed Saleh Al-Soubhi, paid a visit to NATO’s Counter Piracy Task Force Commander, Rear Admiral (ESP N) Eugenio Diaz del Rio on board CTF-508 flagship ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN.

The purpose of this visit was to look at ways to further improve the cooperation between NATO and Yemen in the fight against piracy. The meeting was an opportunity for the Yemeni Coast Guard delegation and the CTF-508 staff to look at current security concerns and to discuss regional cooperation prospects.

The NATO staff and the Yemeni Coast Guard delegation looked at future joint training opportunities between their respective units. General Al-Soubhi and his staff were also given presentations on the DHOW PROJECT, an initiative launched in 2011 by naval forces operating in the region to better understand maritime activity in the Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

“What I felt during this meeting was an impressive willingness on Yemen’s part to cooperate with NATO. Last month, there were a couple of occasions on which cooperation between our units proved very effective.” said Rear Admiral Diaz del Rio. “We want to continue on that path.”

Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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Georgian Military Chief Meets With NATO Military Committee

January 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
January 22, 2014

Meeting with Chairman of NATO Military Committee

Note that conversation is in English

Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze held first meeting with Chairman of Military Committee, General Knud Bartels, as a Chief of General Staff of GAF. At the meeting with Chairman of NATO Military Committee, the sides discussed a wide range of NATO-Georgia relation in detail. As Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze stated, successful cooperation between NATO and Georgia was outlined at the meeting. Major-General once more emphasized that Georgia is ready to cooperate with NATO actively.

“Georgia as a reliable partner is ready to fulfill its contribution in ISAF operation and take active part in post-ISAF mission,“ stated Chief of General Staff of GAF.

At the meeting with General Knud Bartels, the information that NATO Military Committee will hold visit to Georgia on February 11-12 became publicly known. General Knud Bartels will lead the visit of top military brass of NATO to Georgia.

Chief of General Staff of GAF is continuing visit to Brussels. Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze is participating in the 170th NATO Chiefs of Defence meeting.

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NATO Military Chiefs Plan for Decade From Now

January 24, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Defense
January 23, 2014

Military Chiefs Look to NATO’s Future
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT: The NATO chiefs of defense “talked a little bit about today, a little bit about tomorrow, and a little bit about 10 years from now,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said as he returned to Washington today from alliance meetings in Brussels.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey took advantage of the 170th Chiefs of Defense Meeting to not only address NATO issues, but to strengthen military-to-military relations with other nations.

The chairman’s first engagement in Brussels was a meeting with his Russian counterpart Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov…The alliance’s possible future in Afghanistan after its current mission ends this year was also discussed. At the NATO meeting itself, he said, “We reminded ourselves that while the discussions are going on about our 2015 presence, we still have some tasks at hand to accomplish,” he said.

The chiefs looked at ways to increase the pace of development of the Afghan national security forces…

The chiefs also discussed how they can “preserve our options so when the political decision is made on 2015 and beyond, we’ll have a pretty clear understanding of how we will have to shift to accomplish it.”

The other main outcome of the meeting was an increased awareness of the threats and risks building on the alliance’s southern flank. The United States has long spoken about transnational threats emanating from North Africa and the Middle East. Terrorist organizations take advantage of weak governments or ungoverned spaces and use them as safe havens, Dempsey said. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Mahgreb is one of these groups and there are others.

“I am encouraged that the alliance is beginning to understand some of the risks that are building on its southern flank,” the chairman said. “Now we have reached the point of entering into conversations about what as an alliance we might do about it.”

The chiefs spoke about NATO’s nascent cyber defense capability. “It’s mostly all national level,” he said. “We’re trying to find ways to link it together to make ourselves more capable in the cyber dimension.”

The meeting in Brussels will be followed by a NATO defense ministers’ meeting next month, which will help set up a NATO Summit that will be hosted by the United Kingdom later this year.

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Russia’s Duma Calls on West to Not Interfere in Ukraine’s Internal Affairs

January 24, 2014 1 comment

Voice of Russia
January 23, 2014

Russia’s Duma calls on West to not interfere in Ukraine’s internal affairs

With an overwhelming majority vote of 388 out of 450, the Russian State Duma passed a resolution slamming foreign politicians and forces interfering in what is now an escalating political crisis in Ukraine between protestors and law enforcement. The Crimean Parliament has also issued a statement in an emergency session.

The declaration was proposed by the speaker of the Russian State Duma Sergey Naryshkin and calls on foreign politicians to refrain from involvement in the ongoing developments in Ukraine. This is the first time that such a declaration has been passed and it is unique because it calls out western powers for meddling in the internal affairs of another country, something they have done with impunity for decades, including here in Russia.

According to media sources the resolution reads: “The State Duma urges Western political circles to stop meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign Ukraine in violation of international law and to stop contributing to further escalation of conflict.”

The Duma resolution comes as the level of violence has increased in Kiev on the heels of new Ukrainian legislation that seeks to limit the violent nature of the protests and after remarks by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who said the situation in Ukraine is “spinning out of control” and demanding the West stop “artificially undermining” the legitimately elected government.

Russia is also calling on al members of the Ukrainian opposition to refrain from using violence and to seek ways to bring about a constructive dialogue with the authorities.

As if to underline their meddling into the internal affairs of the country and their complete disregard for official Ukraine, the US Embassy in Kiev has responded to the escalation in unrest by issuing a statement saying that it would revoke the visas of several unnamed Ukrainian officials it claims are responsible for the violence. Of course the US does not call on the opposition they are backing and which is responsible for all of the unrest in the country to put an end to the violence and their reckless statements only serve to add fuel to an already raging fire.

The protests which began in November in Ukraine after an EU integration deal which had almost nothing to offer to benefit Ukraine was put on hold in favor of a very beneficial widening of trade ties with the Russian

Federation and the countries that are members of the Customs Union. The simple almost benign sovereign economic and trade decision was met by an extremely violent reaction from the West which had planned to use EU integration as the carrot to entice Ukraine to join NATO and eventually evict the Black Sea Fleet and cut Ukraine off from its brethren in Russia. The violent reaction from the West was also due to the recent loss the US faced in attempting to wgae yet another war of aggression against Syria.

US meddling in Ukraine became a blatantly open fact rather than a covert operation after western organized, backed, paid and supported opposition forces began occupying Kiev’s Independence Square, and a parade of western politicians came out of the woodwork to blast the government, call for early elections and even make unprecedented visits to Kiev, such as European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and US Senator John McCain.

Although the US and the West continue to attempt to keep their dirty hands clean eschewing responsibility and obfuscating their ties to the violent protestors, many of whom receive 30 euros a day from the West, and continue to blame official Ukraine and Russia for the violence, even the Crimean Parliament has blasted the western backed opposition and even blamed them for the bloodshed.

In an emergency session the Supreme Council of Crimea adopted a statement on the political crisis in Ukraine which passed with the support of 78 of the 81 deputies. The Crimean parliamentarians blame opposition leaders for the bloodshed and have said they will not give Crimea to extremists and neo-Nazis who they state are attempting to seize power.

The Crimean Statement reads: “The political crisis, the formal pretext for which was a pause in Ukraine’s European integration, has developed into armed resistance and street fights. Hundreds of people have been hurt and, unfortunately, some people have been killed. The price for the power ambitions of a bunch of political saboteurs – Klitschko, Yatsenyuk, and Tyagnibok – is too high. They have crossed the line by provoking bloodshed, using the interests of the people of Ukraine as a cover and pretending to act on their behalf.”

The statement adopted by the Crimean Parliament also blasts European officials who previously condemned the activities of the all-Ukrainian association Svoboda but have now joined with nationalists in the Ukrainian parliament “… in an unnatural ‘political love’ with Ukrainian neo-Nazis and their allies to ‘be friends’ against Russia.”

The Crimean Statement finishes by asserting that the Parliament and its members will stick to their mandate and not be swayed: “On behalf of the people of Crimea who elected us, we are saying that we will not give Crimea to extremists and neo-Nazis who are looking to seize power in Ukraine by dividing the country! The people of Crimea will never engage in illegitimate elections, will never recognize their results, and will not live in a ‘Bandera’ Ukraine! We are full of determination to defend the historical choice that was made at a referendum on the issue of the restoration of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea 23 years ago.”

The level of violence in Ukraine is escalating as the West continues to meddle in the internal affairs of the country refusing to give up what was to be their crowning jewel in their takeover of Eastern Europe and their surrounding of Russia with missiles and NATO military infrastructure.

Unfortunately for the people of Ukraine the West has no interest in the people of Ukraine and the level of bloodshed will continue to escalate as the people in the country begin to realize what the people of the Middle East already know, there is absolutely nothing humanitarian about US/NATO intervention, and the people are just a frivolous pesky problem for the Washington geopolitical planners.

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

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Lion Feuchtwanger: Service at the front gave him a burning hatred for militarism

January 24, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Lion Feuchtwanger: Selections on war

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Lion Feuchtwanger
From Paris Gazette (Exil) (1940)
Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir

images

He had done more than anyone else to expose the secret military preparations in Germany and the Vehme murderers. He had had to suffer for it; the men of the General Staff were stern and powerful enemies who forgot nothing and persecuted him indefatigably with intrigues and law-suits. It was no joke to be libelled for years in hundreds of newspapers as a high traitor to Germany…

What he did in those days had had a meaning. It was worth fighting at that time to make Germany a land of industry and culture instead of a military state run by police. Few people denied that. But if he presented evidence today that the German General Staff was making ready for war, would there be any point in it? The whole world knew that already. What was the use of preaching, to people who wouldn’t listen, that the new German Reich was resolved to achieve the hegemony of Europe through war and violence?…

…Whether there was any sense in it or not, he must get these things off his chest. His four years’ service at the front had given him a burning hatred for militarism. That hatred was his greatest experience. He could no longer imagine his life without it. His enemies maintained that his absolute pacifism, his unbending anti-militarism, merely helped to produce the opposite of what he wanted; people like him precipitated war instead of preventing it. But ever since coming back from the horrors of front-line fighting he could not live without writing against militarism. For these seventeen years writing against militarism had been his very life.

***

…How good it had been, after four years of holding your tongue at the front, to scream out all the loathing that had accumulated within you. You were aware that hundreds of thousands, millions were screaming along with you. And later, proving to the Germans and to the world, again and again, with precise, incontrovertible evidence that the old generals, who had betrayed them once, were still swindling them, what excitement and relief you had, bringing out all your trumps! When the rage of your enemies, the men in power, was launched against you, when you knew that they were stretching all their resources to silence you and yet could not, then you really enjoyed yourself, then you really lived.

***
A financier, who doubtlessly represented other interests, had offered him capital to build up the Platform, the journal which at present appeared “at irregular intervals.” The money was not to bind him in any way. But although little was said, Benjamin knew nevertheless that behind the generous financier there stood people interested in the armament industry. These people wanted some experienced and well-known journalist to describe in a serious organ the full extent of the German military armaments, so that public opinion in other countries might be effectually prepared when the need for counter-armaments appeared. He, Friedrich Benjamin, was an absolute pacifist, a convinced opponent of all preparation for war, no matter by whom it was undertaken…

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NATO Chief on Ukraine: Violence Can Never Be the Answer

January 23, 2014 3 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
January 22, 2014

Statement by the NATO Secretary General on events in Ukraine

I am extremely concerned about the dramatic developments in Ukraine and the reports of several deaths in Kyiv.

I strongly condemn the use of violence. Violence can never be the answer to a political crisis.

It is urgent that all parties engage in a real dialogue, show restraint and avoid any further escalation.

CK_building_on_fire_1999
Yugoslavia 1999

13830935_221n
Libya 2011

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Video interview on Ukraine crisis

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

RT
January 23, 2014

Rick Rozoff exclusive RT TV interview

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NATO Continues Integration Of The South Caucasus

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Public Radio of Armenia
January 23, 2014

Chief of Staff of RA Armed Forces attends NATO meetings in Brussels

Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia, Colonel General Yuri Khachaturov participated in the sittings of the Chiefs of General Staff of NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), NATO’s new Resolute Support mission, as well as the Kosovo Force (KFOR).

The participants discussed the process of NATO-led missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo and referred to the future programs.

Within the framework of the visit to Brussels, Yuri Khachaturov had a meeting with General Philip M. Breedlove, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and the Commander of U.S European Command. Issues related to Armenia-NATO cooperation were discussed. Yuri Khachaturov met with his counterparts from a number of countries.

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Azeri Press Agency
January 23, 2014

Azerbaijani peacekeepers to remain in Afghanistan
Mubariz Aslanov

Baku: It is specified that Azerbaijani peacekeepers will continue serving in Afghanistan.

Member of the Azerbaijani parliament’s security and defense committee Zahid Oruj told APA that 94 Azerbaijani peacekeepers will continue serving within the battalion of the Turkish Armed Forces in Afghanistan.

Azerbaijani peacekeepers will protect a TV tower and drinking water reservoir in Afghanistan.

Oruj said that this issue was discussed again at Azerbaijan-NATO high-level meeting and both sides confirmed that Azerbaijani peacekeepers would continue serving in Afghanistan.

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will leave Afghanistan from this year.

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Trend News Agency
January 20, 2014

Georgian Armed Forces General Staff chief to participate in NATO Military Committee meeting
By Nana Kirtzkhalia

Tibilisi: Head of the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze is on a visit to Brussels.

A meeting of the NATO Military Committee will be held at the headquarters of the alliance on January 21-23, the Ministry of Defense told Trend on Monday.

Several meetings will be led by the head of the NATO Military Committee, General Knud Bartels. The member-states and partners will discuss the current operations, the process of transformation and the plans on strengthening the partnership within two days.

Kapanadze will take part in a meeting of the heads of the joint staffs of the non-NATO member-states participating in the ISAF operation. He will address his foreign counterparts. Several issues, the NATO-Georgia cooperation in the military sphere and Georgia’s readiness to support the Afghan security forces will be discussed.

A meeting of the military committee is planned to be held in the format of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.
Kapanadze will meet with General Knud Bartels as part of his visit on Jan. 21.

Bilateral meetings will be held with foreign colleagues. The chief of the Georgian General Staff will discuss the military cooperation with Lithuanian, Moldovan, Polish and Belarusian counterparts.

Translated by NH
Edited by CN

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Aeschylus: The unpeopled land laments her youth

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Aeschylus: Ares, father of tears, mows the field of man

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Aeschylus
From The Persians
Translated by Robert Potter

aeschylus

Through sad constraint, ah me! forsaken lie,
All pale and smear’d with gore:-
Raise high the mournful strain,
And let the voice of anguish pierce the sky:-
Or roll beneath the roaring tide,
By monsters rent of touch abhorr’d;
While through the widow’d mansion echoing wide
Sounds the deep groan, and wails its slaughter’d lord:
Pale with his fears the helpless orphan there
Gives the full stream of plaintive grief to flow;
While age its hoary head in deep despair
Bends; list’ning to the shrieks of wo.

***

He in realm-unpeopling war
Wasted not his subjects’ blood,
Godlike in his will to spare,
In his councils wise and good.

***

And was riot this the phrensy of the soul?
But much I fear lest all my treasured wealth
Fall to some daring hand an easy prey…
This from too frequent converse with bad men
The impetuous Xerxes learn’d; these caught his ear
With thy great deeds, as winning for thy sons
Vast riches with thy conquering spear, while he
Tim’rous and slothful, never, save in sport,
Lifted his lance, nor added to the wealth
Won by his noble fathers. This reproach
Oft by bad men repeated, urged his soul
To attempt this war, and lead his troops to Greece.

***

…now these glories are no more:
Farewell the big war’s plumed pride:
The gods have crush’d this trophied power;
Sunk are our vanquish’d arms beneath the indignant tide.

***

O thou afflicted monarch, once the lord
Of marshall’d armies, of the lustre beam’d
From glory’s ray o’er Persia, of her sons
The pride, the grace, whom ruin now hath sunk
In blood! The unpeopled land laments her youth
By Xerxes led to slaughter, till the realms
Of death are gorged with Persians; for the flower
Of all the realm, thousands, whose dreadful bows
With arrowy shower annoy’d the foe, are fall’n.

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U.S. Airlifts Rwandan Mechanized Troops To Central African Republic

January 22, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces Africa
January 20, 2014

US airlifts Rwandans to Central African Republic
By Capt. Christine Guthrie

KIGALI, Rwanda: Two U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft operating at the request of the French government and African Union authorities continued airlifting a Rwandan mechanized battalion Jan. 19.

The joint operation with personnel from the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force is in support of an African Union effort to confront destabilizing forces and violence within Central African Republic.

“The African Union has decided to stand up a mission in the Central African Republic to decrease the violence that has been occurring over the last several months,” Lt. Col. Allen Pepper, senior officer in Central African Republic, U.S. Army Africa said. “A part of that is getting enough troops on the ground to execute that mission.”

Each airlift mission stages out of Entebbe, Uganda and consists of transporting soldiers and equipment from Kigali, Rwanda to Bangui, Central Africa Republic.

Maj. Micah Vander Veen, Contingency Response Element commander, and overall mission commander for the Entebbe stage said, “Our goal is to provide logistical and airlift support to the Rwandan military in order to support their overall mission.”

In Kigali, forces from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, 435th Contingency Response Group, U.S. Army Africa and Rwandan mechanized battalion work together to prepare equipment to be loaded onto the C-17 aircraft. Personnel build pallets containing security equipment, clear weapons and create load plans.

The joint U.S. military contingent is expected to transport about 850 Rwandan soldiers and more than 1,000 tons of equipment in total over the next few weeks.

This is the second such operation in support of the African Union’s efforts to stabilize Central African Republic. The first occurred late last year when the U.S. Air Force transported Burundi soldiers.

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Crimean Parliament: Neo-Nazis Plan To Seize Power In Ukraine

January 22, 2014 1 comment

Interfax
January 22, 2014

Crimean parliament blames Ukrainian opposition leaders for bloodshed in Kyiv

SIMFEROPOL: Crimean parliamentarians have blamed opposition leaders for the bloodshed in Kyiv, saying they will not give Crimea to extremists and neo-Nazis who are looking to seize power in the country.

“The political crisis, the formal pretext for which there was a pause in Ukraine’s European integration, has developed into armed resistance and street fights. Hundreds of people have been hurt and, unfortunately, some people have been killed. The price for the power ambitions of a bunch of political saboteurs – Klitschko, Yatsenyuk, and Tyagnibok – is too high. They have crossed the line by provoking bloodshed, using the interests of the people of Ukraine as a cover and pretending to act on their behalf,” Supreme Council of Crimea said in statement on the political situation in Ukraine adopted at its emergency session. Seventy-eight of the 81 deputies voted for the statement.

The statement says European officials who previously condemned the activities of the all-Ukrainian association Svoboda and expressed concerns about the arrival of nationalists in the Ukrainian parliament “have now united in unnatural ‘political love’ with Ukrainian neo-Nazis and their allies to ‘be friends’ against Russia.”

“On behalf of the people of Crimea who elected us, we are saying that we will not give Crimea to extremists and neo-Nazis who are looking to seize power in Ukraine by dividing the country! The people of Crimea will never engage in illegitimate elections, will never recognize their results, and will not live in a ‘Bandera’ Ukraine! We are full of determination to defend the historical choice that was made at a referendum on the issue of the restoration of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea 23 years ago,” the statement says.

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Russian Foreign Minister: External Powers Plunge Middle East Into Worst Crisis In Its History

January 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Interfax
January 22, 2014

Lavrov warns external forces against attempts to disrupts Montreux talks

MONTREUX: Moscow hopes all external players involved in the Syrian conflict will refrain from attempts to predetermine the outcome of the Geneva II, as well as any steps capable of disrupting the talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“We hope that all external players will encourage Syrians to reach an accord, to refrain – and to prevent the sides – from attempts to predetermine final agreements, from other steps capable of disrupting the negotiating process,” he said at the opening of the Geneva II international conference on Syria.

The common task of the conference attendees is to secure an end to the Syrian conflict that has brought such woes to the Syrian people and has ruined this ancient land, the minister said.

“One should not let the wave of upheavals to inundate the neighboring countries, the entire Middle Eastern region is going through the most difficult period of its history,” the minister said.

While Russia supports the Arab peoples’ aspiration for a better life, sustained development and prosperity, the overdue reforms can be only efficient if implemented peacefully, non-violently, through a national dialogue, Lavrov said.

Attempts to force upon the countries of the Middle East and North Africa the recipes of reforms from outside and to stage social engineering experiments throw back the process of political and economic modernization. One does not have to go far to see examples,” Lavrov said.

“We are calling on all external players again to strictly abide by the basic principles of international law, including a respect for states’ sovereignty, non-meddling in their internal affairs, and peaceful settlement of disputes,” the minister said.

From the very start Russia has consistently maintained that the conflict can only be resolved on the basis of a mutual accord among the Syrians themselves, he said.

“This approach underlies the Geneva communique which, though with much delay, but still was unanimously approved by the UN (United Nations) Security Council in its resolution N2118 as an international legal framework for achieving peace in Syria,” Lavrov said.

All participants of the Syrian settlement process want to keep Syria as a sovereign, territorially integral, secular state which guarantees the rights of all religious denominations and ethnic groups, he said.

“It is on this basis that today we are launching a dialogue between the Syrian sides. They are to agree on the specific parameters of the implementation of the Geneva communique and the sequence of steps that would enable the Syrian people to decide its future on its own,” the Russian foreign minister said.

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