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Enemy Land Force: U.S. Leads Live-Fire Exercise In Poland

112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
March 6, 2015

Joint live-fire exercise kicks off in Poland
Story by 1st Sgt. James Wagner

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DRAWSKO POMORSKIE, Poland: Shots rang out on a blustery, cold winter morning as Polish infantrymen kicked off the first of a three-day joint live-fire exercise with U.S. dragoons at the Drawsko Pomorskie Land Forces Training Center here March 4.

The exercise is the latest iteration in U.S. and Polish land force exercises since the middle of last year, when Operation Atlantic Resolve began. OAR is a NATO exercise led by the U.S. to test the alliance’s interoperability with Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian military forces

The live-fire exercise is the culminating event of collaborative training held between the Dragoons of K Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, and Poland’s 3rd Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Mechanized Brigade. Since early February, the two units have been conducting multinational platoon level training as they work to fully integrate their operations in a combat environment.

The goal, according to 1st Lt. Geoffrey Hamilton, a 2 CR operations officer, is to increase the interoperability of Polish and U.S. land forces through shared training.

“The whole purpose is to make sure we can work with the Polish army side-by-side,” he said…

For the next three days, three platoons of 2 CR troopers and six platoons of Polish infantrymen will cycle through an exercise scenario – using live rounds and munitions – designed to test their skills in working together as allies facing an enemy land force.

In the scenario, a Polish forward operating base is attacked by an enemy force. The Poles defend their position while a quick reaction force and a U.S. infantry platoon is called up to make contact with the enemy while also mounting a hasty defense when enemy reinforcements arrive. The U.S. also employs its mortars during the exercise.

The allied units have communicated daily and undergone regular side-by-side exercises since February, honing their ability to fight effectively as one joint force. Overcoming the daily challenges of different languages, different doctrine and different tactics between the dragoons and Polish infantrymen is the goal, and after weeks of joint training, there is very little difference between the two allied units when training and fighting together.

Also in attendance at the launch of today’s exercise were a dozen journalists from various television stations and media outlets in Poland. According to a U.S. embassy official, spreading the word of the joint exercise provides mainstream Poland with a demonstration of the critical allied effort being conducted in their country to ensure safety and security in Eastern Europe.

The live-fire exercise is expected to conclude March 6.

Categories: Uncategorized

Top Army Commander In Europe Wants U.S. Tanks In Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania

March 6, 2015 1 comment

Ukrinform
March 6, 2015

Putin wants to destroy NATO – General Hodges

IA receives last shipment of GoI-purchased tanks
U.S. Abrams tanks

KYIV: Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to destroy NATO.

This was announced by Commander of the U.S. army in Europe, Lieutenant-General Frederick “Ben” Hodges, the Yevropeiska Pravda online newspaper reported with reference to an article published by The Telegraph.

“I’m sure Putin wants to destroy our alliance, not by attacking it, but by splintering it,” he said.

Hodges also said that Russia may try to destabilize one of the NATO member states by using “rebels” as in eastern Ukraine, or other forms of “hybrid warfare.” He also proposed positioning some of U.S. tanks in the countries located along the eastern flank of NATO to make it a limiting factor for Putin. In particular, he said, these are Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania, and Bulgaria.

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U.S., NATO Move Military Into Ukraine, Black Sea. Russia…Mildly Perturbed

Xinhua News Agency
March 6, 2015

Russia concerned with U.S. military deployment in Ukraine

MOSCOW: Russia is concerned with arrival of U.S. military personnel on Ukraine soil, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

“Up to 300 U.S. troops reportedly have been deployed to a peacekeeping center in Ukraine’s western Lvov region,” the ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters.

Noting that those U.S. military instructors would train Ukrainian soldiers from March 5 to Oct. 21 on western military hardware operations, Lukashevich said that U.S. military presence in that country has become a fact.

He also highlighted danger of U.S. plans to start massive arms supply to Ukraine despite successful implementation of the ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk, the Belarusian national capital, on Feb. 12 between Ukrainian government and Donbass insurgents in eastern Ukraine.

Moreover, the U.S. Congress has been drafting a bill on allocating one billion U.S. dollars for Ukraine’s army training and armament equipment, according to Lukashevich,

“It seems like Washington decided to take (Ukrainian armed forces) under full maintenance,” Interfax news agency quoted Lukashevich as saying.

Meanwhile, the spokesman blamed the U.S. for its military presence in the Black Sea, as NATO Maritime Command said Wednesday in an online announcement that six NATO warships had arrived in the Black Sea for joint exercises.

“This somehow contradicts the public statements of the U.S. administration supporting political settlement of conflict in Ukraine,” Lukashevich said.

He warned that such actions might lead to “the most serious consequences” for the peaceful settlement of the crisis.

Lukashevich also urged the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitoring mission in Ukraine to verify implementation of Minsk agreements, especially to monitor the weapon withdrawal by conflicting parties in the “impartial, well- organized and systemic way.”

Categories: Uncategorized

“Proactive Pacifism”: Japan Joins U.S., NATO In Global War Role

Xinhua News Agency
March 6, 2015

Japan’s ruling coalition eye new law to expand SDF roles amid concerns

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TOKYO: Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito Party on Friday approved the government’s plan for legislation to implement a Cabinet decision to reinterpret Japan’s pacifist Constitution and allow Japan’s forces to exercise collective self-defense and defend an ally, even if Japan is not under attack.

The change was presented by the government to the ruling coalition’s security talks. The move comes as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ‘s push to see Japan’s Self-Defense Forces ( SDF) granted a bigger role at home and overseas under Abe’s notion of a new “proactive pacifism” and is the latest step towards normalizing Japan’s military.

This new step came after increased military spending at the beginning of this year – marking the largest military budget since WWII – the contentious and unilateral reinterpreting of Japan’s decades-old war-renouncing Constitution last year, and, prior to that, the creation of a U.S.-styled Security Council.

Under the new pieces of legislation being eyed, the laws restricting Japan’s ability to respond to an armed attack and other connected matters will be revised, along the lines of the Cabinet’s current reinterpretation of the Constitution and forces will be allowed the right to collective self-defense in some scenarios.

Exercising the right of collective self-defense will be become the “primary mission” of the SDF, once the Self-Defense Forces Law has been revised.

As many as 10 new pieces of legislation will be submitted during the current Diet session, all aimed at expanding the role of the SDF overseas, with the ruing LDP and its Komeito coalition ally seeking to have the details nailed down by March 20.

Some Komeito members are still concerned about the government’s push to expand the role of the SDF and are calling for further debate and clarification on points, or new scenarios, still deemed overly ambiguous.

Possible scenarios the SDF could be involved in once the new legislation is passed, could see Japanese troops transport Japanese nationals who have been evacuated from conflict zones, or other dangerous predicaments overseas, or situations concerning minesweeping missions when an ally is under attack.

Some members of the Komeito party believe that the current plan is too vague and far more discussions need to be held, before any new legislation is drafted.

Similarly, defense analysts here have also suggested that without a public mandate, any change to the Constitution flies in the face of Japan’s Democratic ideals and proves that the government is not acting in the best interests of those it is purporting to serve and protect because the majority of the Japanese public are against revising the SDF law, amending the nation’s time-honored Constitution and expanding the role of the SDF in general.

The public are concerned that Japan could easily get drawn into a conflict oversees, which could have serious ramifications on home soil.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Real NATO Boss: NATO-EU Merger Needed For War With Russia

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
March 5, 2015

Deputy Secretary General: NATO-EU cooperation is more important than ever

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NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow has called for deeper cooperation between NATO and the European Union in the fight against new security threats. “We need to work together to manage crises, bring relief, and project stability beyond our borders,” he said. Ambassador Vershbow made his remarks in Riga, Latvia on Thursday (5 March 2015) in a speech to the Interparliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy. “This is a critical time for the security of all our nations,” Ambassador Vershbow said.

The Deputy Secretary General warned that the Euro-Atlantic community faces “new threats and challenges both on our eastern and our southern borders”. To the east, we see “an angry, revisionist Russia that breaks international rules” and continues to destabilise Ukraine and intimidate its neighbours, he said. Meanwhile, to the south, across the Middle East and North Africa, “ISIL’s violent ideology has poured oil on the fire of extremism and sectarianism”. Ambassador Vershbow noted that migrants fleeing turmoil have placed strain on countries like Italy and Turkey, and that violent ideologies have inspired terrorism on the streets of Europe.

The Deputy Secretary General stressed that NATO and its partners must also be ready to counter hybrid warfare, which combines military intimidation, economic and diplomatic duplicity, and media manipulation. Ambassador Vershbow noted that hybrid warfare has been “central to the Russian strategy” in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. He underlined that any response to hybrid threats should be “multi-faceted”, leveraging the complementary hard and soft power tools of NATO and the European Union.

Ambassador Vershbow also pointed to other areas ripe for deepened cooperation between NATO and the European Union, including support for partners like Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova; as well as for nations to the south. “There is a key role for the European Union to help these countries with political and economic reforms, to build strong institutions, and to fight corruption,” he said.

The Deputy Secretary General noted that while NATO-EU cooperation has intensified in recent years, “the logic of closer cooperation between NATO and the EU is more compelling than ever before.” He added that the two organisations should “further coordinate our approaches to counter hybrid warfare, dispel propaganda and misinformation, and defend our shared democratic values.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Grant Allen: I cannot continute to making peaceable Canadian citizens throw themselves into the devouring whirlpool of militarism

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

Grant Allen: War and blood money

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Grant Allen
Response to a request to contribute a piece in “the defence of the Dominion” for the Canadian Yearbook of 1898.

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You know very little of my aims and ideals if you think I would willingly do anything on a work whose avowed object is to arouse ‘military enthusiasm.’ Military enthusiasm means enthusiasm for killing people. My desire in life has been not to kill, but to help and aid all mankind, irrespective of nationality, creed, language, or colour. I hate war, and everything that leads to it, as I hate murder, rapine, or the ill-treatment of women. I dislike slavery, however disguised under the cloak of ‘Imperialism.’ I contribute to works designed to strengthen the bonds of amity between nations and to render war impossible, but I cannot contribute to one which aims at making peaceable Canadian citizens throw themselves into the devouring whirlpool of militarism.

Categories: Uncategorized

War For Water: NATO Drills For War In “Cerasia”

March 5, 2015 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation/Joint Warfare Centre

March 3, 2015

SOROTAN will challenge NATO against hybrid threats

Developed by Allied Command Transformation’s (ACT) Joint Warfare Centre (JWC), NATO’s new training scenario will be launched during TRIDENT JUNCTURE 15 (TRJE 15), the Alliance’s largest exercise this year.

TRJE15 is sponsored by ACT.

Dubbed “SOROTAN”, the new scenario reflects a very complex threat environment in the fictional “Cerasia” region and looks to challenge NATO forces with a wide range of conventional and unconventional threats, including hybrid warfare.

Unlike the “SKOLKAN” scenario, which presents a complex Article 5 Collective Defence of a NATO Member Nation, SOROTAN provides a setting that enables an out-of-area, non-Article 5 Crisis Response Operation to bring a border war to an end before it expands to the entire region.

Scenario Theme: War over Water

“The catalyst for conflict in the Cerasia region is based upon water,” said British Navy Commander Tristan Lovering MBE, JWC’s Chief Main Events List and Main Incidents List (MEL/MIL) for TRJE 15.

“With desertification, dry aquifers, riparian disputes and an ever diminishing resource, Kamon, the aggressor country in the region, refuses international arbitration and invades southwards in order to seize key dams in Lakuta, which was caught ill-prepared to counter the invasion.”

Based on SOROTAN, exercise TRJE 15 will certify Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFC Brunssum) to lead the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2016; an up to 30,000-strong force of land, air, sea and special force components, ready to deploy on short notice wherever needed.

SOROTAN was formed on an 18-month cycle, incorporating what NATO identifies as the greatest challenges to its Member and Partner nations, based on the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Annual Guidance on Education, Training, Exercises and Evaluation (SAGE).

Its use in TRJE 15 was approved by German Army General Hans-Lothar Domröse, Commander JFCB, in June 2014.

SOROTAN’s developers at JWC are a small team of uniformed officers and civilian experts.

Based on Lessons from contemporary Conflicts

“The scenario has harnessed the talents and experience of a wide range of experts. In effect, what we do is to take lessons identified from contemporary conflicts and weave them into a bespoke security scenario,” said Mr. Bruce Foster, a scenario specialist at JWC, adding: “With SOROTAN, several firsts have taken place in JWC such as war-gaming the STARTEX (Start of Exercise) conditions, multi-variant analysis of countries down to the provincial level and STRIKFORNATO (SFN) providing a dedicated Opposing Forces (OPFOR) staff. The scenario is flexible; it incorporates a myriad of Lessons Identified from contemporary conflicts and provides commanders with a wide range of operational level dilemmas. In particular, the Training Audience will be challenged to deliver coherency between lethal and non-lethal effects against a sophisticated, hybrid threat.”

The SOROTAN scenario sees a standoff in East Cerasia and a legion of problems caused by the standoff, including increasing regional instability, violation of territorial integrity and a deteriorating humanitarian situation. Additionally, enemy ships and aircraft threatening freedom of navigation pose a constant risk for high-intensity conflict in the Red Sea.

Commander Lovering noted that the scenario was not only about a conflict over scarce resources and the inevitable humanitarian consequences, but that it was also a “battle for the narrative.”

Indeed, an aggressive military dictatorship, Kamon, together with its proxies and surface-to-air missile systems, wage a hybrid war in the region while simultaneously carrying out a negative ‘strategic communication’ narrative that targets its own people and the international opinion.

“The scenario tests NATO operational level Training Audiences’ capabilities to work through the ambiguities that surround hybrid warfare as seen practiced today by various potential NATO competitor nations,” highlighted U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Charles Kurz, an exercise-planner at JWC.

Understanding the Limits of Military Engagement

He continued: “The operational dilemmas provided to NATO Training Audiences include analysing threat Courses of Action, when the threat nation retains plausible deniability of its true strategic goals. The focus is on understanding the limits of military engagement when working against hybrid threats, and developing operational Courses of Action that walk the necessary fine line between too much or too little kinetic actions inherent with trying to bring a hybrid war scenario to a successful political denouement. Also important is working inside an information environment that is risky both in NATO home countries as well as in the region where the intervention is occurring.”

When it comes to SOROTAN, the name “Cerasia” can be misleading as it had been the main geographical setting for NATO’s operational level exercises between 2008 and 2012. But, that’s as far as the comparison goes.

“Cerasia” in SOROTAN was designed and developed through the lens of a PMESII (Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information and Infrastructure) construct. It captures the complexities of conventional and unconventional threats, food insecurity, population displacements, cyber-attacks, chemical warfare and information war, and incorporates them all into the complex training environment of TRJE 15, supported by JWC’s advanced computer simulations.

German Army Major General Reinhard Wolski, Commander JWC, will be directing the Command Post Exercise (CPX) portion of TRJE 15 in October, which will involve more than 2,000 personnel, and that will be followed by a two-week joint LIVEX in November, co-directed by NATO’s Allied Air Command (AIRCOM), Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) and Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) – with participation of more than 25,000 troops.

Categories: Uncategorized

New Georgian Commanders Presented To NATO Defense Attaches

March 5, 2015 2 comments

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 5, 2015

New Commanders were represented to Defence Attaches

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The meeting between newly appointed commanders and defence attaches accredited to Georgia was held at the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces. Chief of General Staff of the GAF, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze presented Colonel Levan Beria – Commander of Education and Military Training Command, Colonel Mamuka Tskhvediani – Commander of Army Logistics provision Command and Colonel Mamuka Shiukashvili – Head of J-5/9 Strategic Planning, Military Policy and Military-Civil Cooperation Department to the defence attaches and military representative of NATO Liaison Office to Georgia.

New heads of Commands and J-5/9 Department delivered information to the foreign diplomats on their future plans and talked about the implementation issues of NATO-Georgian Substantial Package. Military diplomats wished newly appointed heads every success and pledged them support.

The changes were performed by the rotation rule. New heads were selected by theSpecial Selection Council elected on their positions. All of them have many years of experience of working in the Georgian Armed Forces.

Colonel Levan Beria has been serving in the Georgian Armed forces since 1992. Since December, 2012 he had been commanding National Training Center “Krtsanisi”. In the various times he worked in the II Infantry Brigade of the GAF, J-3 Operative Planning Department of the Joint Staff and Operative Group –West of Land Forces Command.

Colonel Mamuka Tskhvediani has been serving in the GAF since 1995. He worked as a head of one of the division of J-4/8 Logistics and resources Planning Department. In 2007-2009 Colonel Tskhvediani served as a Head of J-4 Logistics Department.

Colonel Mamuka Shiukashvili works in the Georgian Armed Forces since 1993. In 2013-2014 he was a Senior Military Representative of the Georgian contingent in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Colonel Shiukashvili commanded Command and Staff College of Davit Agmashenebeli National Defence Academy as well.

Categories: Uncategorized

Georgia, Moldova Coordinate NATO Integration, War Plans

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 5, 2015

Visit to the Republic of Moldavia (Moldova)

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The MoD delegation led by Deputy Defence Minister Levan Girsiashvili pays two-day official visit to the Republic of Moldavia.

Defence Minister of Moldavia Viorel Cibotaru hosted the Georgian delegation. Within the visit, the meetings were held with State Secretary at Ministry of Defence Aurel Fondos and Chief of National Army Main Staff, Commander of the National Army, Brigadier General Igor Gorgan.

Deepening of bilateral cooperation in defence sphere between Moldavia and Georgia, fulfilling the commitments undertaken by both countries with NATO and EU, ongoing reforms in defence sphere, as well as regional and global security issues were discussed at the meeting.

The sides signed bilateral cooperation plan for 2015 between the Defence Ministries of Georgia and Moldavia.

Within the visit to Moldavia, meetings with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Euro-Atlantic Integration and Secretary of Security Council are scheduled as well.

Categories: Uncategorized

325-Day War Not To Stop Ukraine’s NATO Membership: Defense Official

Ukrinform
March 5, 2015

Russia’s aggression not to stop Ukraine’s integration into NATO – Turchynov

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KYIV: Russia’s aggression in Crimea and eastern Ukraine will not stop the process of Ukraine’s integration into the EU and NATO.

Secretary of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov said this at a media briefing in Warsaw, an Ukrinform correspondent in Poland reported.

“There is no alternative to European and Euro-Atlantic integration for Ukraine and we are very grateful for Poland’s support in this direction. Russian aggression in Crimea and eastern Ukraine will not stop the process of Ukraine’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration,” Turchynov said.

He stressed that Ukraine “in any case, would return the temporarily occupied territories.”

According to him, Kyiv today counters a very strong aggressor, and therefore the support of partners from the EU is “very important.”

“Russian aggression against Ukraine should be considered in the context of aggression against the European security and therefore cooperation [with the West] in the field of security and defense is very important,” he said.

Turchynov also expressed his gratitude “to the Polish government and people for their support to Ukraine.

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Georgia In NATO To Complete, Not Start, War With Russia

Trend News Agency
March 4, 2015

Georgia to join NATO not to start alliance-Russia war – speaker

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South Ossetia 2008

Tbilisi, Georgia: Georgia wants to join NATO not to start a war between the alliance and Russia, but to complete it, the chairman of the Georgian Parliament David Usupashvili said at Georgetown University, Georgia Online reported.

Usupashvili discussed Georgia’s foreign policy priorities, the country’s desire to join the EU and NATO, threats coming from Russia and the lari devaluation, Georgia’s office of Voice of America.

“The purpose of my visit to Washington is to convince the US partners that Georgia is a reliable partner,” Usupashvili said.

Usupashvili discussed the Ukrainian conflict.

“This conflict is a continuation of the war of August 2008 in Georgia.

“Our position remains unchanged,” he said. “Ukraine’s events are a direct continuation of the incident in Georgia in August 2008. These are different components of the plan. We tell our friends that amid the horrific events in Ukraine, Russian aggression is underway in Georgia. This is a single process. We must confront it together.”

Large-scale military action was launched between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia on August 8, 2008.

Later, Russian troops occupied Tskhinvali and expelled the Georgian military.

Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in late August.

In response, Tbilisi ended diplomatic relations with Moscow and has called the two unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia occupied territories.

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NATO client Georgia prepared for war

Categories: Uncategorized

Europe: U.S. Marines Train Georgian, Moldovan Troops For Combat

United States Marine Corps
March 3, 2015

U.S. Marines, Georgian soldiers complete training
By Lance Cpl. Calvin Shamoon, Defense Media Activity

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HOHENFELS, Germany: Georgian soldiers and U.S. Marines completed their Mission Rehearsal Exercise with a final mission in a simulated Afghan village, at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany, Feb. 26. The MRE concluded at the Salaam Bazar, which Georgians called “Operation Mgheli”.

“What the MRE is designed to do is put the Georgians in an environment where they deal with civilians in the battlespace while having a living, breathing enemy in the form of the OPFOR (opposing forces) that’s working against them,” said Maj. James Geiger, the officer in charge of the Georgia Liaison Team. “The Georgians also have a higher headquarters that they have to interact with and make sure all their procedures are correct.”

Upon completion of the final portion of the MRE, the Marines embedded with the 43rd Georgian Infantry Battalion will make final preparations before deploying to Afghanistan.

The training events include close air support training where U.S. Marines and Georgian troops communicate with another to coordinate the use of air evacuation and strikes on the enemy targets. The second portion is the situational training exercise.

The Georgian battalion engaged in a six-day event where they complete operations with minimal support from the training teams. Georgian soldiers and U.S. Marines must integrate and face challenges replicating what they may face during their deployment to Afghanistan. During the MRE, the forward operating base simulates Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, to include a bazar [sic] within the base.

The Georgian troops also received support from Moldovan soldiers who are replicating Afghan National Army and Afghan Police Force…

The Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group trains the Georgia Training Team and the GLT in cultural emersion, basic foreign language and foreign weapon systems.

At our home station we did all of our annual training, marksmanship and basic combat skills, but we could not get the advisor training that MCSCG specializes in, said Geiger. The Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group prepared us for this deployment.

The Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group provides logistics, communication and operational support throughout the exercise. Marine Forces Europe oversees the Georgia Deployment Program while MCSCG handles the MRE and ensures its success.

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NATO Naval Group Enters Black Sea For Nearly 11-Month Ukraine War

Stars and Stripes
March 4, 2015

NATO maritime group enters Black Sea as Ukraine crisis continues
By Steven Beardsley

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NAPLES, Italy: International warships assigned to a U.S.-led NATO maritime group entered the Black Sea on Wednesday to train with alliance members in the region.

The arrival of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 continues a string of visits to the region by the U.S. and its allies over the past year — a response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year and its support of separatists in eastern Ukraine. The American destroyer USS Cole left the Black Sea in late February.

Six ships make up the current group,one of two immediate-reaction forces under the alliance’s maritime arm. The group is commanded by U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Brad Williamson, who is embarked with his staff on the guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg.

The ships will train with NATO member counterparts from Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, NATO said in a news release. Exercises will focus on anti-submarine and anti-air-warfare and defending small boat attacks.

The visit is the second by a NATO maritime group to the Black Sea in the past year and follows an exercise in September with American and Ukrainian navies. For that visit, three members of the group entered the Black Sea.

The maritime groups groups often exercise with counterparts across the alliance, and they rotate participation in NATO’s anti-piracy operation, Ocean Shield.

During its latest tour, the maritime group 2 has made stops in Italy and Croatia and participated in NATO’s post-9/11 counterterrorism mission, Operation Active Endeavor. The group also exercised with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which was on its way to Middle Eastern waters for participation in airstrikes against the Islamic State group.

The U.S. and NATO have sought to reassure allies in the Black Sea region after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, where Russia maintains a critical naval base in Sevastopol. The U.S., in particular, has increased its visits to the Black Sea, which provides Russia’s only access to the Mediterranean Sea and is home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

U.S. warships, which previously made only sporadic visits, now enter the region almost monthly. Russia has responded to the visits with more aggressive flight operations.

The other ships in the NATO maritime group are the Canadian frigate HMCS Fredericton, the Turkish frigate TCG Turgutreis, the German tanker FGS Spessart, the Italian frigate ITS Aliseo, and the Romanian firgate ROS Regina Maria.

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NATO Chief In Finland As War Drums Sound

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
March 5, 2015

Secretary General visit to Finland stresses strong partnership

NATO is determined to strengthen its partnership with Finland to better address security challenges to the east and south, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during his visit to Helsinki on Thursday (5 March, 2015). Mr. Stoltenberg thanked Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb for his nation’s close cooperation with the Alliance, calling Finland “one of our most active and closest partners.”

The Secretary General stressed the vital role partnerships with countries like Finland play in building peace and stability. He commended Finland’s commitment and contribution to NATO-led missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as exercises such as the ongoing crisis-management exercise CMX15, and discussed ways to strengthen political dialogue and practical cooperation between NATO and Finland for the future.

The Secretary General and Prime Minister Stubb expressed their concern about the situation in Ukraine, caused by Russia’s aggressive actions…

The Secretary General called for full implementation of the Minsk agreement, including a withdrawal of heavy weaponry, full access for OSCE monitors, and a halt to Russian support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine. He warned that any attempt to expand separatist-held territory would be “unacceptable to the international community.”

The Secretary General also discussed strenghtening NATO’s partnership with Finland in discussionw with Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, Defence Minister Carl Haglund, Speaker of the Parliament Eero Heinäluoma and other leading members of Parliament.

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Liam O’Flaherty: The foul horror of war

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

Liam O’Flaherty: Sounds from a dead world. Nothing but worms and rats feeding on death.

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Liam O’Flaherty
From Return of the Brute (1929)

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As the roar died away, swallowed by a more distant roar, lumps of mud and pieces of torn sandbags began to fall. Then the top of the parapet gave way and flopped into the trench. Somebody groaned. Others cursed. There was a horrible stench.

Then there was silence. As if it had effected its purpose, the firing shifted to the right.

“God!” cried a voice. “What’s this lying on top of me?”

“Eh?” said the Corporal. “Come on. Rebuild this parapet. Anybody hit? I heard somebody groaning.”

Nobody answered him. Everybody began to examine his own body. Then the first voice cried out again in horror:

“See? It’s a dead man’s leg. Blimme! One of them blasted Froggies that’s buried here.”

“Whew!” cried another. “I just stuck my hand into somebody’s rotten guts. God! What a stink!”

***

Grumbling, they began to rebuild the parapet.

The sacks of earth, with which the parapet have been paved, had rotted. The earth in the sacks had been turned to slime by the rain. It was almost impossible to do anything with them. When a man lifted a sack lifted a sack it broke in two and the fragments fell, leaving foul slime on his hands. In the pitch darkness it was impossible for a man to see whether he was lifting a sack or a piece of rotten corpse. They cursed violently.

***

There was no excitement, no haste, no grandeur, no drums, no banners, no gleaming weapons, no plumes, no terrifying devices, no shouting of war-maddened warriors; just little crowds of dirty, stooping men, with ugly steel hats, gas masks, bags of bombs.

A miserable heat-less sun now shone in the sky. The earth seemed a void, barren of life, the crater of a dead world…

***

The officer’s face was drawn and still more melancholy than on the previous night. Although he looked well nourished and quite clean, his countenance was even more repulsive than that of the soldiers because it contained the ghost of intelligence that had died of horror.

***

Only by the grinding of his teeth did he give any sign of the torture he was suffering.

It is such men who give glory to the foul horror of war.

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NATO Warships In Black Sea For “Collective Defense”

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

March 4, 2015

SNMG2 Begins Operations in the Black Sea

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Black Sea: NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) arrived today, Wednesday, 4 March 2015, in the Black Sea to operate and train with ships from the Bulgarian, Romanian and Turkish Navies. This training will include simulated anti-air and anti-submarine warfare exercises, as well as simulated small boat attacks and basic ship handling manoeuvers.

Led by Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA N), SNMG2 is currently comprised of the flagship USS Vicksburg (CG 69), HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337), TCG Turgutreis (F 241), FGS Spessart (A 1442), ITS Aliseo (F 574), and ROS Regina Maria (F 222). This potent NATO maritime force possesses substantial sea-control, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare capabilities.

Admiral Williamson’s command of SNMG2 has been a full one. In 2014, the group deployed to the North American coast where it participated in three high-tempo exercises with multiple allied nations. Returning to the Mediterranean SNMG2 again engaged in complex multinational exercises with Allied nations, including exercise Noble Justification, one of NATO’s largest exercises and the NATO Response Force certification event for 2014. This was followed by several at-sea periods in support of NATO’s counter-terrorism mission, Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR as well as further training opportunities, including with the French Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group. It has been the most robust training schedule for an SNMG in some years.

“The training and exercises we will conduct with our Allies in the Black Sea prepares us to undertake any mission NATO might require to meet its obligations for collective defense,” said Williamson. “We are here at the invitation of the Turkish, Bulgarian and Romanian governments and look forward to enhancing our interoperability with their navies.”

SNMG2’s deployment into the Black Sea is conducted in full compliance with international conventions as a scheduled visit in support of training as well as the assurance of Black Sea Allies. The Group will return to the Mediterranean later this month to resume patrols contributing to maritime situational awareness in the region.

Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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EU Missions First: Japan Mulls Permanent Law For Troop Deployments

Xinhua News Agency
March 4, 2015

Japan eyes enacting permanent law to allow SDF to assist EU troops

TOKYO:Japan is mulling the idea of allowing its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to be deployed to assist international missions of European Union troops, local media reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed government source.

For Japan’s SDF to join international missions of EU troops, the government first plans to enact a permanent law allowing the SDF to be dispatched overseas without Diet approval and legislation on a case-by-case basis.

The parameters of working with EU troops on international peace and cooperation missions are different from those allowing SDF personnel to join UN-led peacekeeping missions overseas, those with knowledge of the matter said.

The latest move by Japan comes at a time when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet have been busying themselves with the steps necessary to enact a permanent law to boost the scope of the SDF’s permissible duties in overseas operations, with an eye on normalizing Japan’s military, which runs contrary to the nation’s pacifist Constitution and the majority will of the public.

Abe’s administration, the general public aside who stand opposed to Japan’s military recasting, is also facing resistance from its coalition Komeito ally, as well as other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, who believe Japan should adhere to its time- tested pacifist Constitution.

Up until now, Japan has dispatched troops overseas in non-combative and humanitarian roles to assist the United States for example, by providing refueling logistics and heading up restoration and construction projects in areas such as Afghanistan, but each mission requires special legislation and the Diet’s approval.

Abe is hoping to ditch this system, in favor of a permanent law, so Japanese troops can be sent overseas without each case having to be deliberated over in parliament, meaning a faster deployment, as envisioned in the prime minister’s broader plan for the nation to be a more “proactive supporter of global peace.”

“With the ruling coalition parties’ talks on security moving forward, we will study how far the SDF can be involved in the EU troops’ missions,” the Kyodo News Agency quoted its source as saying.

Japan and the EU may also discuss ways in which their forces can share supplies and transportation in operations that fall within the European Union’s Common Security and Defense Policy framework.

With the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II being observed this year, a number of prominent Japan-based political pundits and defense analysts have suggested that Japan’s current military course be rethought and its war-renouncing charter followed for the good of peace and stability in the region and to regain the trust of other powers in the region.
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Xinhua News Agency
March 4, 2015

Interview: Japan misleads public by denying wartime crimes: Russian expert

MOSCOW: The Japanese government has tried to mislead the public by denying involvement in any acts of wartime aggression, former Russian ambassador to Japan told Xinhua in a recent interview.

“The Japanese political thinking is based on an assumption that the country has never in history participated in any acts of aggression, and that’s why Tokyo wants to deny that the Japanese troops have committed any crimes like Nanjing Massacre,” said Alexander Panov.

A Japanese rightist daily recently released a four-day report in which it denied the existence of the appalling Nanjing Massacre, at a time when the world gears up to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, since elected to his second term in 2012, has made consistent attempts to reinterpret the country’s invasion of Asian countries, a move that has provoked worldwide criticism.

“Unlike post-war Germany, Japan has neither fully recognized the results of World War II nor repented for its role during the war,” Panov said, noting that Tokyo is reluctant to highlight the fact that Japan was an ally of the Nazis during World War II.

“Neither Tokyo publicly condemns Nazi crimes, like those in the Auschwitz concentration camp, because Japanese special units committed similar atrocities during the war, including medical experiments on human beings,” he added.

As a former ambassador to Tokyo, Panov is well aware of how the Japanese government has misled the Japanese people over the past.

“Official propaganda has been trying to persuade people to believe that their country was a victim rather than an aggressor,” said the expert.

As one of the countries that played a significant role in World War II, Russia has invited leaders of the countries that fought against Nazi Germany and its allies in the Great Patriotic War to the annual V-Day parade in Moscow on May 9.

Meanwhile, this year China will hold a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.

As two main battlefields in Asia and Europe during World War II, China and Russia have repeatedly called on the international community not to forget the wartime history.

On Dec. 13, 2014, when China held a state commemoration for its first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre victims, Chinese President Xi Jinping noted that denial of the Nanjing Massacre will not be allowed by the Chinese people or peace-loving people anywhere in the world.

On Jan. 27, 2015, which marked the 70th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that attempts to distort and rewrite history were unacceptable and immoral.

“Moscow and Beijing estimate historical events from the similar point of view and they also have a common opinion over Tokyo’s actions and claims,” said Panov.

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NATO Exercise: Finland, Sweden In “Fictitious” Conflict Scenario

Finnish Broadcasting Company
March 4, 2015

Finland to participate in NATO crisis management exercises

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Finland is to participate in a series of crisis management exercises with NATO and its partners, starting Wednesday. The non-military training drills will last from March 4 to 10.

The week-long war games will be based on a fictitious scenario during which conflict breaks out between two distant states, resulting in humanitarian and maritime security implications. Along with Finland, other members of NATO Partnership for Peace, including Sweden and Ukraine, will also take part in the drills.

According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, Finland will participate in crisis management arrangements as well as national operations planning and decision-making.

NATO’s crisis management exercise CMX 2015 will involve Finnish foreign ministry and NATO mission representatives from Brussels, the defence ministry, military high command, the office of the prime minister as well as other officials as required.

The exercises will not see the deployment of troops and does not involve a physical theatre of war.

CMX is NATO’s regular decision-making and consultation exercise; partners will be participating for the sixth time this year. Finland has also taken part in the five previous training drills in 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011 2012.

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Richard Aldington: Selections on war

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Enhanced Partners: Ukraine To Participate In NATO Exercise

March 3, 2015 1 comment

Ukrinform
March 3, 2015

Ukraine to take part in NATO crisis management exercise

KYIV: The NATO begins Annual Crisis Management Exercise, the NATO headquarters has told an Ukrinform correspondent in Brussels.

Australia, Finland, Japan, Sweden and Ukraine will participate alongside Allies in the exercise. South Korea, New Zealand and Georgia chose to observe the exercise,” the NATO press office says.

The exercise is designed to test the North Atlantic Council procedures at the strategic political-military level.

The scenario for the crisis management exercise consists of a crisis developing between two non-NATO states at distance from Alliance territory. It contains a humanitarian and maritime dimension, with implications for the security of the Allies.

The exercise will take place between 4 and 10 March 2015.

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NATO Commander: U.S. Must Train, Arm Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine

Agenda.ge
March 3, 2015

NATO envoy: ‘Essential’ for US to train, advise and equip Georgia’s national security forces

Tbilisi,Georgia: A top NATO commander believes it is “essential” the United States (US) “train, advise and equip the national security forces of Georgia” as the country and region focus on maintaining stability and security.

NATO supreme allied commander in Europe and chief of the US European Command, Philip Breedlove, said it was “essential” the US offer support to Georgia and other US partner countries in light of the ongoing instability in the region.

As US partners, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine face a different security challenge from Russia than those facing NATO allies,” he said in report presented to the Senate Armed Forces Committee.

All three countries have implemented political and economic reforms to advance democracy and integrate with Europe. However, their ability to make further progress is significantly constrained by Russian interference and pressure.”

In the report Breedlove said Russia occupied portions of these countries’ territory with its military forces, used economic leverage and energy dependence as coercive measures, exploited minority Russian populations to serve its interests, interfered in democratic processes, engaged in bribery and coercion of government officials, and generated a constant propaganda deluge.

In addition to [all three countries] conducting expeditionary operations and while having differing objectives regarding the scope of their integration with NATO, [Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine] strive to develop military forces meeting NATO standards and interoperability requirements; however, their efforts face a number of challenges, as all three countries require deep institutional reforms to efficiently generate, organize, equip, and sustain their armed forces,” he said.

Post-Soviet countries which aspired to join NATO must also continue and accelerate their transition from Soviet-era systems to modern, NATO-interoperable systems and equipment, said Breedlove.

The report noted there were “growing security concerns” among Central and Eastern European countries that were members of NATO or the European Union (EU), or countries which were seeking closer ties with the trans-Atlantic community.

Having already experienced the use of Russian military force in the 1990s and in 2008, Georgia was “especially threatened” by Russian occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia), said the NATO official in the report.

Russia has signed a ‘treaty’ with Abkhazia and is pushing for another with South Ossetia to increase its influence while hampering Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration. In Moldova, Russian forces have conducted supposed ‘stability operations’ since 1992 to contain the conflict in Transnistria,” he said.

“In fact, Russia deliberately and actively perpetuates these conflicts by manipulating its support to the participants, while engaging in international diplomatic resolution efforts only to the extent necessary to prevent the resumption of all-out violence,’’ he said.

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Humphrey Cobb: The paths of glory lead but to the rats

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

American writers on peace and against war

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Humphrey Cobb
From Paths of Glory (1935)

The 181st had lost thirty-two men, the Tirailleurs seventeen. It wasn’t a bad record for a relief made during a heavy bombardment, nor did it make the slightest difference to the conduct of the war. Every day and every night men were killed at the rate of about four a minute. The line remained the same, everything remained the same – uniforms, equipment, faces, statures, men. Men standing at the same posts, listening to the same sounds, smelling the same smells, thinking the same thoughts, and saying the same words. Forty-nine men had been killed, and one set of collar numerals had been replaced by another. Rats weren’t interested in collar numerals, so it made no difference to them either.

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The moon faded from his sight, and he was still for while. A rat climbed noiselessly up the jamb of the gallery entrance and looked at Paolacci for a long time. Then it turned and went down again. Two shells burst along the opposite wall, and a shower of gravel fell upon the unconscious lieutenant…

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Later still, when the shadow cast by the moon was rising again on the side of the chalk pit, a rat climbed noiselessly up the jamb of the gallery entrance and watched Paolacci for a while. Then it stepped forward daintily, jumped onto the lieutenant’s chest and squatted there. It looked to the right and to the left, two of three times, quickly, then lowered its head and began to eat Paolacci’s under lip.

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Assolant glanced at the the bundles of motionless clothing without pausing in his stride. He noted that one group wore the uniform of a line regiment and that another, a smaller one, wore that of the Tirailleurs. Large blue flies were buzzing indiscriminately over both groups, and clusters of them were busily feeding at eyes, nostrils, mouths, and open wounds.

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Video: U.S. Marines Train Georgian Troops For New War

U.S. Marine Corps
February 27, 2015

Georgia Deployment Program Resolute Support Mission Rotation One

Hohenfels, Germany: U.S. Marines and soldiers and from the Republic of Georgia join forces for a pre-deployment training during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany. The month-long MRE is designed to test the capabilities of the 43RD Georgian Infantry Battalion before their deployment to Afghanistan. Video Produced by Cpl. Taylor Schrick.

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Poland: U.S., Polish Forces Coordinate War Moves

U.S. Army Europe
March 2, 2015

US, Polish forces hone interoperability skills
By 1st Sgt. Jim Wagner

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DRAWSKO POMORSKIE, Poland: On a sunny, winter morning, with the last of the morning’s frost dissipating into fog, U.S. troopers and Polish infantrymen met at the edge of the airfield here to await the UH-60 Black Hawk’s arrival and the beginning of medical evacuation training.

This is the latest in weeks of training between Dragoons assigned to K Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment and Polish infantrymen from 3rd Company, 1st Infantry Battalion, 12th Mechanized Brigade. The training will culminate in an upcoming live-fire exercise as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Operation Atlantic Resolve is a NATO exercise led by the U.S. to test the alliance’s interoperability with Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian military forces while demonstrating their commitment to a safe and prosperous Europe.

The Medical Evacuation (medevac) training was spearheaded by a Black Hawk flight crew from B Company, 3rd Battalion, 158th Assault Helicopter Brigade, based out of Katterbach, Germany. In the hours prior, Troopers from 2 CR prepared for the day by going over their training schedule before loading into Strykers and heading to the airfield. Meanwhile, the Polish moved out in their armored personnel carriers and plotted their own training points on a terrain map at the airfield’s edge.

Similar tactics, with different execution, is one of several challenges facing military members as they seek to streamline operations conducted in a joint coalition environment. Where the end goal is the same, getting the details right between forces and using different doctrine to achieve that end state can result in miscommunication and a potentially failed mission.

Polish and U.S. forces have trained for more than a year to hone their interoperability skills with the medevac training being no exception. Both militaries have spent years developing the most efficient means of removing injured troops from the battlefield and each have their preferred method of achieving that result.

For the Black Hawk air crew, responsible for the safety and security of all members involved, that meant providing instruction to Polish infantrymen using U.S. medevac procedures; watching for and responding to flight crew hand signals, removing thermal blankets (used to stabilize the injured soldier’s core body temperature) from the litter before it is sucked into the helicopter’s rotor blades, etc.

The lessons learned by military members of both armies will suit them well, not just in training, but in real-world situations in which they may find themselves in the future

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.

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U.S. Decision To Arm Ukraine “99% Ready”: Saakashvili

March 2, 2015 1 comment

UNIAN
March 2, 2015

US decision to give Ukraine defensive weapons ‘99% settled,’ says Saakashvili

The United States has “99% settled” the question of giving Ukraine defensive weaponry, former president of Georgia and current freelance adviser to the President of Ukraine Mikheil Saakashvili has told Ukrainian news broadcaster Channel 5.

“The main thing we are trying to achieve in the United States is that Ukraine receives defensive weapons,’ Saakashvili said.

“Almost everyone is standing by us – public opinion on our side. Giving defensive weapons to Ukraine is a powerful signal to save thousands of lives, to stop further Russian aggression: We all know that now Putin will try to capture not only Mariupol, but the whole southern flank [of Ukraine, and] then he will try to bring down the government in Kyiv. The Ukrainian state needs to defend and protect its security.”

“America is a democratic country, so it was very important to hear publicly voices in the Congress and the Senate, and to see a strong call next week regarding provision defensive weapons for Ukraine. This issue is in the spotlight of all U.S. media. When [Ukrainian] President [Petro] Poroshenko raised this issue in the Congress in his triumphal speech in September last year, for many it was a surprise and a lot of people refused even to listen to it. Now, the decision is practically settled – 99%. I don’t know when the last and most significant 1% will come – I hope soon, because Ukraine is running short of time.”

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Ukrinform
March 2, 2015

U.S. decision to provide Ukraine with weapons is 99% ready – Saakashvili

KYIV: The decision of the United States to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons is 99% ready.

Non-staff adviser to the President of Ukraine, president of Georgia in 2004-2013 Mikheil Saakashvili said this on the air of Ukrainian Channel 5.

“America is a democratic state, so it is very important that the strong demand to provide Ukraine with weapons has been stated in the Congress, in the Senate, and it will be stated the next week. This demand is now covered by all the U.S. media. When President Poroshenko said about this in the Congress in his triumphal speech in last September, it was a surprise for many and many did not even want to listen to that. At the moment, this decision is practically 99 per cent ready. I do not know when there will be the last, the most significant per cent. I hope that will happen soon, because Ukraine is short of time,” he said.

Saakashvili noted that in the U.S. “almost everybody is on our side.” Providing Ukraine with defensive weapons will be the strongest signal in order to save thousands of lives and stop further Russian aggression.

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U.S. To Allot $120 Million To Fuel Ukraine War

Ukrinform
March 2, 2015

U.S. to allocate $120 million to equip Ukrainian army

KYIV: The U.S. will allocate Ukraine $120 million in 2015 for training and equipping its troops.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt said this in an interview with Ukrainian television’s Inter channel, according to Espreso.TV.

“The U.S. Congress has approved the allocation of $120 million this year for training and purchasing equipment. The only question that is still being discussed is whether it should include defensive lethal weapons,” Pyatt said.

According to him, the allocation of lethal weapons is not as important as the issue of reforms in the defense sector.

He also confirmed that the United States already has ample evidence of Russia’s participation to the conflict – photos from satellites and other evidence of the presence of Russian troops and military equipment in Donbas, as well as weapons supplies.

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Kiev Junta To Boost Armed Forces To Quarter Million

Interfax-Ukraine
March 2, 2015

Poroshenko suggests army increases to 250,000 men
 

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has submitted a draft law enlarging the maximum size of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to 250,000 men, including 204,000 military servicemen, to the Verkhovna Rada.

The draft law was registered on Monday and presented for the parliament leaders’ consideration, says a report posted on the parliament website.

“The size of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in special periods shall grow by the number of servicemen recruited for military service consistent with the mobilization degrees of the Ukrainian president,” it said.

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Pentagon Hosts Georgian Defense Delegation

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 2, 2015

Levan Girsiashvili Held Working Visit to USA

The MoD delegation led by Deputy Defence Minister Levan Girsiashvili held two-day long working visit to the USA. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas hosted the Georgian side at the Pentagon. Within the framework of the visit, the MoD delegation also held meetings with Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Todd C. Chapman and the senators.

The sides discussed progress achieved by Georgia in the scope of intensified bilateral cooperation in the field of defence at the meetings. Implementation of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package and U.S. engagement in the process was referred at the meeting. Regional security issues and existing challenges were discussed at the meeting as well.

The American side expressed gratitude to the Georgian side for a huge contribution provided to the NATO-led ISAF operation and Resolute Support mission. The American side underlined the United States’ readiness to continue assistance for the development of national resources for rehabilitation of the Georgian military personnel wounded in international stability missions.

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Mark Twain: Maxims on battleships and statesmanship

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

American writers on peace and against war

Mark Twain: Selections on war

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Mark Twain

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By and when each nation has 20,000 battleships and 1,000,000 soldiers we shall all be safe and the wisdom of statesmanship will stand confirmed.

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If we had less statesmanship we could get along with fewer battleships.

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It is sound statesmanship to add two battleships every time our neighbor adds one and two stories to our skyscrapers every time he piles a new one on top of his to threaten our light. There is no limit to this soundness but the sky.

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NATO Chief: NATO’s Italian Headquarters Key To Wars In Africa, Balkans, Middle East

March 1, 2015 2 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
February 27, 2015

Secretary General visits NATO military headquarters in Naples

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Allied personnel for their service and for their contribution to NATO operations and missions during his first visit to Allied Joint Force Command Headquarters in Naples on Friday (27 February 2015). “You are helping to keep our Alliance safe, and our world more secure,” he said.

The Secretary General underscored the command’s “wide range of responsibilities” and its key role in running a large number of missions and operations. He noted that Allied Joint Force Command Naples has been at the forefront of NATO’s engagement to train Iraqi security forces, protect civilians in Libya, combat terrorism in the Mediterranean, and bring stability to the Balkans.

Upon arrival at Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Mr. Stoltenberg met with the Commander, US Admiral Mark Ferguson, and other key officials. Touring the facility, the Secretary General received a series of briefings in the Joint Operations Centre. He completed his visit with a town hall address to the headquarters’ personnel.

“Every one of you here today, and every one of your colleagues, can be proud of the work you do”, he said.

Secretary General Stoltenberg is wrapping up a two day visit to Italy. Earlier on Friday, he visited and addressed the NATO Defence College in Rome. On 26 February, Mr. Stoltenberg held talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, and other key officials and parliamentarians.

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U.S. Paratroopers Held Largest Arctic War Games In Decade

March 1, 2015 2 comments

U.S. Army
February 26, 2015

Exercise Spartan Pegasus demonstrates joint military partnership
By Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Smith

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Spartan Pegasus demonstrates rapid Arctic airborne insertion, mobility Paratroopers, with U.S. Army Alaska’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, await their exit as they fly inside a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft during Exercise Spartan Pegasus on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

DEADHORSE, Alaska: Paratroopers, with U.S. Army Alaska’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, performed the largest U.S. airborne mission north of the Arctic Circle in more than a decade during Exercise Spartan Pegasus 15, Feb. 24.

This exercise demonstrated their unique ability to rapidly mass power on an objective in extremely cold and austere environments.

The airborne operation, spearheaded by the Spartan Brigade’s 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion, or BEB, inserted nearly 150 paratroopers along with arctic-mobility equipment, including a small unit support vehicle and arctic sustainment gear.

The large-scale exercise involved intricate planning and coordination amongst several military components including U.S. Army Alaska, or USARAK, the Air Force, the Alaska National Guard, and the state of Alaska.

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The purpose of Spartan Pegasus was to validate Soldier mobility across frozen terrain, a key fundamental of U.S. Army Alaska’s capacity as the Army’s northernmost command.

The air support package included two Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and two Alaska Air Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft to fly the task force more than 800 miles north from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, or JBER, Alaska.

Pegasus was a joint operation. U.S. Air Force Maj. Kirby Chacon, with the Alaska Air National Guard at JBER, said working closely with the Army for Spartan Pegasus helped further relations, and that just being able to practice for real-world applications is important for both branches.

Air Force Capt. John Kline, commander of Bravo Company, 6th BEB, Spartan Pegasus, said the exercise demonstrated USARAK’s unique airborne and arctic skill sets and the unit’s ability to work closely with joint military partners.

“We do a lot of joint partnership missions,” Kline said. “We work with our Air Force brethren out of JBER and the Alaskan National Guard as well as many other partners from across Alaska.”

“This exercise showcases the rapidly-deployable capabilities of the paratroopers,” Kline said. “The arctic paratrooper can really survive in extreme conditions and can [deploy] in very short response time.”

USARAK is the Army’s proponent for extreme-cold-weather training. As home to the Northern Warfare Training Center, USARAK validates the training concepts taught there through operations across the state, including within the Arctic Circle and at the top of Mount McKinley.

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Adding to the exercise’s success was command and control communications provided by the 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 516th Signal Brigade. The mission marked the farthest north a command post node has been established by the unit and was a key factor in the success of the overall mission. The various military components were able to maintain constant contact with each other allowing for efficient order issue and receipt during the entire exercise.

Though the mission was at the top of Alaska, it was tracked within the Department of the Army as an emergency deployment readiness exercise.

With all jumpers and gear safely on the tundra, the airborne team within USARAK once again demonstrated USARAK’s ability to work closely with joint military partners to respond to emergencies and contingencies in the harsh, Arctic environment in Alaska and other parts of the Asia-Pacific region.

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Maxim Gorky: With arming of vast hordes of people, what can I get out of the war?

March 1, 2015 2 comments

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

Russian writers on war

Maxim Gorky: Selections on war

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Maxim Gorky
From The Specter (1938)
Translated by Alexander Bakshy

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It was quite clear to Samghin that the entire country was bursting with patriotic sentiment – exactly opposite to his observation at the commencement of the Japanese War. This time the liberal bourgeoisie had unanimously adopted the cry: “Unity of Czar and People!” The Duma solemnly erased all differences with the government. Students held patriotic demonstrations. Hundreds of telegrams flew from the provinces to the Czar, speaking of eagerness to fight, of confidence in victory. Newspapers reported “Teutonic atrocities.” Prose and verse writers threatened the Germans with destruction. Everywhere was praise of the Don Cossack Kozma Kryuchkov, who, in order to imbue civilians with military ardor, hacked with a saber and pierced with a lance eleven German cavalrymen.

…He was preoccupied with one question: What prospects, what paths, did the war open up for him? It had placed under arms such vast hordes of people that, of course, it could not last long – there would not be enough supplies for prolonged fighting. The Allies, of course, would defeat the Austrians and the Germans. Russia would obtain an outlet into the Mediterranean and secure a firm foothold in the Balkans. That was all very well, but what would be his personal gain? With all the determination of which he was capable, he decided he must make himself a position of prominence – as he should have done long ago.

“It is my duty to do that – out of sheer respect for my experience of life. It has a value which I have no right to conceal from the war, from the people.”

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Ukraine Receiving Lethal Weapons From “Whole World”: Junta

February 28, 2015 1 comment

Ukrinform
February 28, 2015

Ukraine receives foreign lethal weapons – NSDC

KYIV: Some countries supply lethal weapons to Ukraine.

Deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Oleh Hladkovsky has said this at the briefing, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“We are working with the whole world, and I may tell you, without going beyond the scope of state secret, that we receive lethal weapons from the countries, where there is no hype, where there is no impact, which we create, unfortunately, by ourselves,” he said, answering journalists’ questions whether Ukraine receives lethal weapons from some world countries.

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John Pilger: Why The Rise Of Fascism Is Again The Issue

February 28, 2015 5 comments

John Pilger

Why the rise of fascism is again the issue
February 26, 2015

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The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

“To initiate a war of aggression…,” said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, “is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.

Like the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent, repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission. Take the catastrophe in Libya.

In 2011, Nato launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that “most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten”.

The public sodomising of the Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi with a “rebel” bayonet was greeted by the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, with the words: “We came, we saw, he died.” His murder, like the destruction of his country, was justified with a familiar big lie; he was planning “genocide” against his own people. “We knew… that if we waited one more day,” said President Obama, “Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”

This was the fabrication of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be “a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda”. Reported on March 14, 2011, the lie provided the first spark for Nato’s inferno, described by David Cameron as a “humanitarian intervention”.

Secretly supplied and trained by Britain’s SAS, many of the “rebels” would become ISIS, whose latest video offering shows the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian workers seized in Sirte, the city destroyed on their behalf by Nato bombers.

For Obama, David Cameron and then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Gaddafi’s true crime was Libya’s economic independence and his declared intention to stop selling Africa’s greatest oil reserves in US dollars. The petrodollar is a pillar of American imperial power. Gaddafi audaciously planned to underwrite a common African currency backed by gold, establish an all-Africa bank and promote economic union among poor countries with prized resources. Whether or not this would happen, the very notion was intolerable to the US as it prepared to “enter” Africa and bribe African governments with military “partnerships”.

Following Nato’s attack under cover of a Security Council resolution, Obama, wrote Garikai Chengu, “confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold backed dinar currency”.

The “humanitarian war” against Libya drew on a model close to western liberal hearts, especially in the media. In 1999, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair sent Nato to bomb Serbia, because, they lied, the Serbs were committing “genocide” against ethnic Albanians in the secessionist province of Kosovo. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], claimed that as many as “225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59″ might have been murdered. Both Clinton and Blair evoked the Holocaust and “the spirit of the Second World War”. The West’s heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose criminal record was set aside. The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone.

With the Nato bombing over, and much of Serbia’s infrastructure in ruins, along with schools, hospitals, monasteries and the national TV station, international forensic teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume evidence of the “holocaust”. The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines”. A year later, a United Nations tribunal on Yugoslavia announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide. The “holocaust” was a lie. The Nato attack had been fraudulent.

Behind the lie, there was serious purpose. Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent, multi-ethnic federation that had stood as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. Most of its utilities and major manufacturing was publicly owned. This was not acceptable to the expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun a drive east to capture its “natural market” in the Yugoslav provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in 1991 to lay their plans for the disastrous eurozone, a secret deal had been struck; Germany would recognise Croatia. Yugoslavia was doomed.

In Washington, the US saw that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans. Nato, then an almost defunct Cold War relic, was reinvented as imperial enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo “peace” conference in Rambouillet, in France, the Serbs were subjected to the enforcer’s duplicitous tactics. The Rambouillet accord included a secret Annex B, which the US delegation inserted on the last day. This demanded the military occupation of the whole of Yugoslavia – a country with bitter memories of the Nazi occupation – and the implementation of a “free-market economy” and the privatisation of all government assets. No sovereign state could sign this. Punishment followed swiftly; Nato bombs fell on a defenceless country. It was the precursor to the catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria and Libya, and Ukraine.

Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations – 69 countries – have suffered some or all of the following at the hands of America’s modern fascism. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted, their people bombed and their economies stripped of all protection, their societies subjected to a crippling siege known as “sanctions”. The British historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. In every case, a big lie was deployed.

“Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.” These were opening words of Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address. In fact, some 10,000 troops and 20,000 military contractors (mercenaries) remain in Afghanistan on indefinite assignment. “The longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion,” said Obama. In fact, more civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2014 than in any year since the UN took records. The majority have been killed – civilians and soldiers – during Obama’s time as president.

The tragedy of Afghanistan rivals the epic crime in Indochina. In his lauded and much quoted book ‘The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives’, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of US policies from Afghanistan to the present day, writes that if America is to control Eurasia and dominate the world, it cannot sustain a popular democracy, because “the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion… Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilisation.” He is right. As WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have revealed, a surveillance and police state is usurping democracy. In 1976, Brzezinski, then President Carter’s National Security Advisor, demonstrated his point by dealing a death blow to Afghanistan’s first and only democracy. Who knows this vital history?

In the 1960s, a popular revolution swept Afghanistan, the poorest country on earth, eventually overthrowing the vestiges of the aristocratic regime in 1978. The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) formed a government and declared a reform programme that included the abolition of feudalism, freedom for all religions, equal rights for women and social justice for the ethnic minorities. More than 13,000 political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.

The new government introduced free medical care for the poorest; peonage was abolished, a mass literacy programme was launched. For women, the gains were unheard of. By the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up almost half of Afghanistan’s doctors, a third of civil servants and the majority of teachers. “Every girl,” recalled Saira Noorani, a female surgeon, “could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked. We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian film on a Friday and listen to the latest music. It all started to go wrong when the mujaheddin started winning. They used to kill teachers and burn schools. We were terrified. It was funny and sad to think these were the people the West supported.”

The PDPA government was backed by the Soviet Union, even though, as former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance later admitted, “there was no evidence of any Soviet complicity [in the revolution]”. Alarmed by the growing confidence of liberation movements throughout the world, Brzezinski decided that if Afghanistan was to succeed under the PDPA, its independence and progress would offer the “threat of a promising example”.

On July 3, 1979, the White House secretly authorised support for tribal “fundamentalist” groups known as the mujaheddin, a program that grew to over $500 million a year in U.S. arms and other assistance. The aim was the overthrow of Afghanistan’s first secular, reformist government. In August 1979, the US embassy in Kabul reported that “the United States’ larger interests… would be served by the demise of [the PDPA government], despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.” The italics are mine.

The mujaheddin were the forebears of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. They included Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who received tens of millions of dollars in cash from the CIA. Hekmatyar’s specialty was trafficking in opium and throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. Invited to London, he was lauded by Prime Minister Thatcher as a “freedom fighter”.

Such fanatics might have remained in their tribal world had Brzezinski not launched an international movement to promote Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and so undermine secular political liberation and “destabilise” the Soviet Union, creating, as he wrote in his autobiography, “a few stirred up Muslims”. His grand plan coincided with the ambitions of the Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, to dominate the region. In 1986, the CIA and Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, began to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. The Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden was one of them. Operatives who would eventually join the Taliban and al-Qaeda, were recruited at an Islamic college in Brooklyn, New York, and given paramilitary training at a CIA camp in Virginia. This was called “Operation Cyclone”. Its success was celebrated in 1996 when the last PDPA president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Najibullah – who had gone before the UN General Assembly to plead for help – was hanged from a streetlight by the Taliban.

The “blowback” of Operation Cyclone and its “few stirred up Muslims” was September 11, 2001. Operation Cyclone became the “war on terror”, in which countless men, women and children would lose their lives across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. The enforcer’s message was and remains: “You are with us or against us.”

The common thread in fascism, past and present, is mass murder. The American invasion of Vietnam had its “free fire zones”, “body counts” and “collateral damage”. In the province of Quang Ngai, where I reported from, many thousands of civilians (“gooks”) were murdered by the US; yet only one massacre, at My Lai, is remembered. In Laos and Cambodia, the greatest aerial bombardment in history produced an epoch of terror marked today by the spectacle of joined-up bomb craters which, from the air, resemble monstrous necklaces. The bombing gave Cambodia its own ISIS, led by Pol Pot.

Today, the world’s greatest single campaign of terror entails the execution of entire families, guests at weddings, mourners at funerals. These are Obama’s victims. According to the New York Times, Obama makes his selection from a CIA “kill list” presented to him every Tuesday in the White House Situation Room. He then decides, without a shred of legal justification, who will live and who will die. His execution weapon is the Hellfire missile carried by a pilotless aircraft known as a drone; these roast their victims and festoon the area with their remains. Each “hit” is registered on a faraway console screen as a “bugsplat”.

“For goose-steppers,” wrote the historian Norman Pollock, “substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.”

Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of superiority. “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being,” said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the 1930s. As the historian Alfred W. McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler devotee, Carl Schmitt, who said, “The sovereign is he who decides the exception.” This sums up Americanism, the world’s dominant ideology. That it remains unrecognised as a predatory ideology is the achievement of an equally unrecognised brainwashing. Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates western culture. I grew up on a cinematic diet of American glory, almost all of it a distortion. I had no idea that it was the Red Army that had destroyed most of the Nazi war machine, at a cost of as many as 13 million soldiers. By contrast, US losses, including in the Pacific, were 400,000. Hollywood reversed this.

The difference now is that cinema audiences are invited to wring their hands at the “tragedy” of American psychopaths having to kill people in distant places – just as the President himself kills them. The embodiment of Hollywood’s violence, the actor and director Clint Eastwood, was nominated for an Oscar this year for his movie, ‘American Sniper’, which is about a licensed murderer and nutcase. The New York Times described it as a “patriotic, pro-family picture which broke all attendance records in its opening days”.

There are no heroic movies about America’s embrace of fascism. During the Second World War, America (and Britain) went to war against Greeks who had fought heroically against Nazism and were resisting the rise of Greek fascism. In 1967, the CIA helped bring to power a fascist military junta in Athens – as it did in Brazil and most of Latin America. Germans and east Europeans who had colluded with Nazi aggression and crimes against humanity were given safe haven in the US; many were pampered and their talents rewarded. Wernher von Braun was the “father” of both the Nazi V-2 terror bomb and the US space programme.

In the 1990s, as former Soviet republics, eastern Europe and the Balkans became military outposts of Nato, the heirs to a Nazi movement in Ukraine were given their opportunity. Responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles and Russians during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian fascism was rehabilitated and its “new wave” hailed by the enforcer as “nationalists”.

This reached its apogee in 2014 when the Obama administration splashed out $5 billion on a coup against the elected government. The shock troops were neo-Nazis known as the Right Sector and Svoboda. Their leaders include Oleh Tyahnybok, who has called for a purge of the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum”, including gays, feminists and those on the political left.

These fascists are now integrated into the Kiev coup government. The first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the governing party, is co-founder of Svoboda. On February 14, Parubiy announced he was flying to Washington get “the USA to give us highly precise modern weaponry”. If he succeeds, it will be seen as an act of war by Russia.

No western leader has spoken up about the revival of fascism in the heart of Europe – with the exception of Vladimir Putin, whose people lost 22 million to a Nazi invasion that came through the borderland of Ukraine. At the recent Munich Security Conference, Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, ranted abuse about European leaders for opposing the US arming of the Kiev regime. She referred to the German Defence Minister as “the minister for defeatism”. It was Nuland who masterminded the coup in Kiev. The wife of Robert D. Kagan, a leading “neo-con” luminary and co-founder of the extreme right wing Project for a New American Century, she was foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney.

Nuland’s coup did not go to plan. Nato was prevented from seizing Russia’s historic, legitimate, warm-water naval base in Crimea. The mostly Russian population of Crimea – illegally annexed to Ukraine by Nikita Krushchev in 1954 – voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, as they had done in the 1990s. The referendum was voluntary, popular and internationally observed. There was no invasion.

At the same time, the Kiev regime turned on the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleansing. Deploying neo-Nazi militias in the manner of the Waffen-SS, they bombed and laid to siege cities and towns. They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions. More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the western media, they became unpeople escaping “the violence” caused by the “Russian invasion”. The Nato commander, General Breedlove – whose name and actions might have been inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove – announced that 40,000 Russian troops were “massing”. In the age of forensic satellite evidence, he offered none.

These Russian-speaking and bilingual people of Ukraine – a third of the population – have long sought a federation that reflects the country’s ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are not “separatists” but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland and oppose the power grab in Kiev. Their revolt and establishment of autonomous “states” are a reaction to Kiev’s attacks on them. Little of this has been explained to western audiences.

On May 2, 2014, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as “another bright day in our national history”. In the American and British media, this was reported as a “murky tragedy” resulting from “clashes” between “nationalists” (neo-Nazis) and “separatists” (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine).

The New York Times buried the story, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington’s new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims – “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says”. Obama congratulated the junta for its “restraint”.

If Putin can be provoked into coming to their aid, his pre-ordained “pariah” role in the West will justify the lie that Russia is invading Ukraine. On January 29, Ukraine’s top military commander, General Viktor Muzhemko, almost inadvertently dismissed the very basis for US and EU sanctions on Russia when he told a news conference emphatically: “The Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian Army”. There were “individual citizens” who were members of “illegal armed groups”, but there was no Russian invasion. This was not news. Vadym Prystaiko, Kiev’s Deputy Foreign Minister, has called for “full scale war” with nuclear-armed Russia.

On February 21, US Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, introduced a bill that would authorise American arms for the Kiev regime. In his Senate presentation, Inhofe used photographs he claimed were of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine, which have long been exposed as fakes. It was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s fake pictures of a Soviet installation in Nicaragua, and Colin Powell’s fake evidence to the UN of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The intensity of the smear campaign against Russia and the portrayal of its president as a pantomime villain is unlike anything I have known as a reporter. Robert Parry, one of America’s most distinguished investigative journalists, who revealed the Iran-Contra scandal, wrote recently, “No European government, since Adolf Hitler’s Germany, has seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population, but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly. Yet across the West’s media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this reality even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established… If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three – much as it did into world war one a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness over Ukraine that has proved impervious to facts or reason.”

In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media: “The use made by Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack… In the propaganda system of the Hitler State it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.” In the Guardian on February 2, Timothy Garton-Ash called, in effect, for a world war. “Putin must be stopped,” said the headline. “And sometimes only guns can stop guns.” He conceded that the threat of war might “nourish a Russian paranoia of encirclement”; but that was fine. He name-checked the military equipment needed for the job and advised his readers that “America has the best kit”.

In 2003, Garton-Ash, an Oxford professor, repeated the propaganda that led to the slaughter in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he wrote, “has, as [Colin] Powell documented, stockpiled large quantities of horrifying chemical and biological weapons, and is hiding what remains of them. He is still trying to get nuclear ones.” He lauded Blair as a “Gladstonian, Christian liberal interventionist”. In 2006, he wrote, “Now we face the next big test of the West after Iraq: Iran.”

The outbursts – or as Garton-Ash prefers, his “tortured liberal ambivalence” – are not untypical of those in the transatlantic liberal elite who have struck a Faustian deal. The war criminal Blair is their lost leader. The Guardian, in which Garton-Ash’s piece appeared, published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing image of the Lockheed Martin monster were the words: “The F-35. GREAT For Britain”. This American “kit” will cost British taxpayers £1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered across the world. In tune with its advertiser, a Guardian editorial has demanded an increase in military spending.

Once again, there is serious purpose. The rulers of the world want Ukraine not only as a missile base; they want its economy. Kiev’s new Finance Minister, Nataliwe Jaresko, is a former senior US State Department official in charge of US overseas “investment”. She was hurriedly given Ukrainian citizenship. They want Ukraine for its abundant gas; Vice President Joe Biden’s son is on the board of Ukraine’s biggest oil, gas and fracking company. The manufacturers of GM seeds, companies such as the infamous Monsanto, want Ukraine’s rich farming soil.

Above all, they want Ukraine’s mighty neighbour, Russia. They want to Balkanise or dismember Russia and exploit the greatest source of natural gas on earth. As the Arctic ice melts, they want control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia’s long Arctic land border. Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk, who handed his country’s economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.

The responsibility of the rest of us is clear. It is to identify and expose the reckless lies of warmongers and never to collude with them. It is to re-awaken the great popular movements that brought a fragile civilisation to modern imperial states. Most important, it is to prevent the conquest of ourselves: our minds, our humanity, our self respect. If we remain silent, victory over us is assured, and a holocaust beckons.

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NATO Allies Turkey, U.S. To Train 15,000 Fighters For War In Syria

February 28, 2015 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
February 27, 2015

Turkey, U.S. to start training Syrian rebels on March 1

ANKARA: Turkey and the United States will launch a program for training and equipping Syrian rebels on March 1, spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry Tanju Bilgic said on Friday.

On Feb. 19, Turkey and the U. S. signed an agreement for providing training and equipment for the Syrian opposition forces.

The program aims to train a total of 15,000 Syrian opposition fighters in a three-year period, 5,000 of them will be trained at a military base in the central Turkish city of Kirsehir.

The Syrian rebels will be trained and equiped to fight both the Islamic State (IS) militants and Syrian government forces, Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said.

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Poland To Deploy Military Instructors For 320-Day Ukraine War

February 28, 2015 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
February 27, 2015

Poland plans to train up to 100 instructors to be sent to Ukraine

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Poland plans to send several dozen military instructors to Poland, Minister of National Defence Tomasz Siemoniak said on Thursday.

“We want to train up to 100 instructors,” he said, adding that the exact number of instructors would be agreed with the Ukrainian side, as would be the time when they were to be sent to Ukraine.

“Actually, there will be several dozens. I don’t think 100 /instructors/ will be sent to Ukraine. Its centres are not ready for that,” he noted. In his words, the final decision would be taken in March.

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Georgia Is West’s Main Eastern Partnership Spearhead In Former Soviet Space

February 28, 2015 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
February 27, 2015

Georgia is Eastern Partnership leading country – European Council
Nana Kirtzkhalia

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Tbilisi: Georgia is a leading country of the Eastern Partnership, the European Council President Donald Tusk said at a joint briefing with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in Brussels, Garibashvili’s office said.

“This is not a compliment, but a fact,” he said.

Tusk has focused on the country’s progress in visa liberalization.

“As for the visa liberalization, we expect the result, positive recommendations,” Tusk said. “I hope that our next meeting in Riga will be successful in this direction.”

Tusk called the so-called agreement between Russia and the de facto regime of Abkhazia as a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, as well as international law.

He said that the EU supports the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders and firmly adheres to a policy of non-recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia.

Large-scale military action was launched between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia on August 8, 2008.

Later, Russian troops occupied Tskhinvali and expelled the Georgian military.

Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in late August.

In response, Tbilisi ended diplomatic relations with Moscow and has called the two unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia occupied territories.

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GUM: NATO-EU Eyes Georgia, Ukraine And Moldova

February 28, 2015 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
February 28, 2015

Romanian PM Reiterates ‘Strong Support’ for Georgia’s EU, NATO Integration

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Tbilisi: Romania is a “strong supporter” of Georgia’s EU and NATO integration, Romanian PM Victor Ponta told his Georgian counterpart Irakli Garibashvili at a meeting in Bucharest on February 27.

“It’s not an easy path… It’s true that everybody speaks about Ukraine; Romanians always speak about Moldova and I personally always speak about Moldova and Georgia,” PM Ponta said and added that Romania supports “equally” Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.

“It is important not to forget about us. We understand that we have a very tense situation in the region, very difficult situation – I mean crisis in Ukraine, but we should not forget about Georgia and we should keep our country on radar,” the Georgian PM responded.

In separate remarks after the meeting, PM Ponta said again that it is “our duty to remember Georgia”, which had the “courage to stand by the European Union, NATO” despite difficult situation in the region.

“Georgia’s European integration and accession to NATO were high on the agenda of our discussions today. We want to express our gratitude towards your country, dear friend, and your personal contribution; we feel your very strong support,” Garibashvili told his Romanian counterpart.

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PM Ponta said that energy and transportation projects, among them AGRI, were also the focus of discussions.

Liquefied natural gas transportation project, AGRI (Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania-Hungary Interconnector), envisages gas delivery via pipelines to a terminal in Kulevi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, where it will be liquefied and shipped by tankers to the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanţa and re-gasified to supply it to consumers in Europe.

Accompanied by Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili and Agriculture Minister Otar Danelia, the Georgian PM visited Bucharest on February 27 after talks with the EU officials in Brussels on February 26.

In Bucharest the Georgian delegation also met speakers of upper and lower houses of the Romanian parliament, Călin Popescu Tăriceanu and Valeriu Zgonea, respectively.

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Germany: NATO Trains Georgian Troops For Wars In Asia, Caucasus

February 28, 2015 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
February 27, 2015

COL Roman Jokhadze Familiarized with Georgian Military’s Pre-deployment Preparation

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The military servicemen of the Armed Forces of Georgia are going through pre-deployment preparation for the NATO “Resolute Support” mission. The Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the GAF COL Roman Jokhadze familiarized with the ongoing training of the Georgian troops in Germany.

During his stay in Hohenfels, COL Jokhadze visited the military bases of Germany`s Federal Ministry of Defence located in the US Joint Multinational Readiness Centre (JMRC) and Bad Salzungen. The 43rd Battalion of IV Mechanized Brigade of GAF is being trained in the JMRD. Quick Reaction Force (QRF) of the 32nd Battalion of III Infantry Brigade is going through preparation for the Afghanistan mission at the Bad Salzungen`s military base.

Deputy Chief of Defence familiarized with the Georgian troops` training led by the American and German instructors. The US and German Infantry Forces Advisory Group members positively assessed the preparedness level of the Georgian servicemen. The training scenario is maximally closer to the Afghan reality. In a simulated town specially created for the scenario, the Georgian military are being practiced in the skills of communicating with local population and in those required for staying in the country. They are putting up with an environment where they will have to fulfill their duties. The German and American instructors train the Georgian servicemen to be able to carry out counterinsurgency operations (COIN), prepare, clear up, protect and maintain the security of a battlefield.

After the preparation the Georgian military will be deployed to Afghanistan. They will carry out full spectrum operations in their area of responsibility.

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Finland: Referendum On NATO Membership?

February 28, 2015 Leave a comment

Focus News Agency
February 28, 2018

Finnish President: possible accession to NATO to be put up for referendum

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Helsinki. The issue of Finland’s possible accession to NATO will be put up for referendum, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told the media on Saturday, TASS reported.

“We had a referendum on [Finland’s] accession to the EU. In this case, we are talking about the issue of a similar scale,” Niinisto said.

He expressed hope that the new Finnish government that comes to power after parliamentary election in April will not include in its program the point on excluding accession to NATO. “In any case, I hope it [the new government] will not exclude the possibility altogether,” the president noted.

The incumbent authorities’ program includes a point that states that Finland will not file for accession to NATO in the period of the current government’s service.

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Upton Sinclair: U.S. invasion of Russia: nothing but wholesale murder; American army and navy as a world police-force

February 28, 2015 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Upton Sinclair: Selections on war

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Upton Sinclair
From Boston (1928)

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It was time to get excitable young rebels out of the country; the family realized that clearly more and more every day. For it appeared that the signing of the armistice was not going to mean peace; not even the signing of a treaty would mean it. Our troops were to stay in Germany; worse yet, they were to stay in Siberia and Archangel, and wage President Wilson’s private war upon the Russian people. The American army and navy were to service as a world police-force for the capitalist system. Exactly what Cornelia had seen the Boston police do in Plymouth, the national police were going to do all over Europe and Asia, sometimes under our command, sometimes under British command. And any persons at home who objected to this program would be hit over the head with the so-called espionage act; a law enacted to punish enemy spies, and now serving to jail American citizens for protesting against attacks upon a friendly people without a declaration of war.

It was the White Terror. Conducted partly by mobs, and partly by police and government agents acting as mobs, it had for its aim the destruction of every means through which the American people might learn how their blood and treasure were being wasted. It stopped at no crime; the law-enforcers of city, state and nation became the leading criminals. In New York four Russian boys and a girl, all of them under age, attempting to distribute a circular against the invasion of Russia, were seized by the police and tortured until one of them died; the rest were prosecuted in the federal courts and received sentences of twenty years’ imprisonment.

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“It is nothing but a coward’s attempt to frighten and distress us. Joe was connected with the American legation in Russia, when President Wilson begin his private war on the Russian people, which was nothing but wholesale murder for the benefit of the British Tories. Joe said what he thought about it, and he may actually have done something to try to stop it. If he has a ‘criminal record,’ that is it. I’m sure.”

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Albania: NATO’s Deputy Military Commander Discusses Wars In East, South

February 27, 2015 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

February 27, 2015

DSACEUR Discusses Hybrid Warfare during Visit to Albania

TIRANA, Albania: NATO’s current efforts to adapt to emerging hybrid challenges from the east and south were a focus of discussions between Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) General Sir Adrian Bradshaw and senior Albanian political and military officials during meetings in Tirana, Albania, on 26 and 27 February. During the visit, General Bradshaw met with the Albanian Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign and Defence Ministers, the Military Chief of Defence, and other senior Albanian officials.

A main area of discussion included Alliance plans to enhance and restructure the NATO Response Force (NRF) into a division-sized force that can move at short notice in response to hybrid threats. A vital new part of the NRF will be the creation of a ‘Very High Readiness Joint Task Force’ (VJTF), a multinational brigade of approximately 5,000 troops, with up to five manoeuvre battalions, supported by air, maritime and special forces. Some elements will be ready to move within two to three days, at the first indication of hybrid or conventional warning signs.

“NATO nations are resolute in their determination to respond to emerging security challenges from both the south and east, as evidenced by our ongoing and robust assurance measures, and our rapid establishment of an interim VJTF capability,” said General Bradshaw. “Every single Ally, no matter how large or small, is committed to the implementation of NATO’s Readiness Action Plan and I am pleased that Albania is contributing to our largest collective training event for 2015, Exercise Trident Juncture,” he said.

During the visit, DSACEUR also had the opportunity to visit an Albanian Special Forces unit and observe a military training exercise. He also had occasion to interact with soldiers and officers serving with the Albanian military.

“Albania is a relatively new member of NATO, and its troops have already made significant contributions to NATO operational missions,” said General Bradshaw. “Your ongoing efforts in Afghanistan on RESOLUTE SUPPORT and in Kosovo with KFOR and in BiH with EUFOR have been outstanding, and your contributions to last year’s NATO Response Forces were deeply appreciated,” he added.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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Italy: NATO Gears Up For Wars In East And South

February 27, 2015 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
February 27, 2015

NATO and Italy discuss how Alliance is adapting to face threats from east and south

Arriving in Rome at the start of a two day visit to Italy on Thursday (26 February 2015), Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg underscored that NATO is adapting to “defend all Allies against threats from any direction”, east or south. He added that the Alliance is implementing the biggest reinforcement of NATO’s collective defence since the end of the Cold War, in order to respond to emerging challenges, including ISIL and instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

In meetings with President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the Secretary General discussed NATO’s adaptation to new security challenges. This involves “improving our situational awareness over our southern borders, and developing our maritime strategy,” Mr Stoltenberg said. The leaders underscored the importance of working with partners to keep the region stable, particularly in light of the deteriorating security situation in Libya. The Secretary General noted that NATO “stands ready to support Libya with advice on defence and security institution building.” He added that “by helping countries in North Africa and in the Middle East build up their defence capacity, we can project stability without always deploying our own forces.”

The leaders further discussed the crisis caused by Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine, agreeing that the Minsk agreement remained the best opportunity for a peaceful solution. The Secretary General welcomed “recent indications of reduced fighting,” but noted that “Russia continues supporting the separatists with equipment, forces and training.” Mr. Stoltenberg called on all parties to “fully respect the ceasefire and withdraw heavy weapons.” He warned that any attempts to expand separatist-held territory would be “unacceptable to the international community”.

The Secretary General thanked Italy for its valuable contributions to the Alliance, including major deployments in both Afghanistan and Kosovo. Mr. Stoltenberg further welcomed the leading role that Italy will play in NATO’s new Spearhead Force, which will enable the Alliance to respond rapidly to threats emerging from any direction.

On Thursday, Secretary General Stoltenberg is also meeting with Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni. He also held separate talks with Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, as well as with members of the Foreign Committee and the Defence Committee of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, including Italian members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

On 27 February, the Secretary General will address personnel at the NATO Defense College in Rome, before travelling to Naples for a visit to Allied Joint Force Command Headquarters.

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Warlord Rock: U.S. Troops Lead War Games In Hungary

February 27, 2015 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
February 27, 2015

Joint U.S.-Hungarian military exercise consolidates Hungary’s security: minister

PAPA, Hungary: The ongoing joint U.S.-Hungarian military exercise, Warlord Rock 2015, consolidates Hungary’s security and strengthens its Defence Forces, Hungarian Defense Minister Csaba Hende said Thursday.

The exercise is “to express our commitment to boost our country’s” and regional security under the changed conditions, Hende told a news conference in Papa, in northwest Hungary.

Warlord Rock 2015, the outcome of last year’s NATO summit in Wales, started in four locations in western Hungary Sunday and lasts until next Tuesday, involving 750 soldiers — 450 Americans and 300 Hungarians — and the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team (“Sky Soldiers”), under the Hungarian command.

Hende, the Commander of U.S. Army Europe, Lt. Gen. Frederick Ben Hodges, Hungarian Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Tibor Benko, and U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Colleen Bell observed part of Warlord Rock 2015 airborne and live ammo exercise before the news conference.

Bell called the joint military exercise an excellent example of bilateral cooperation.

Thursday’s exercise involved a C-17 Globemaster III and two C-130 Hercules aircraft flying from Aviano Air Base, Italy, over the target area, Hungary’s Papa, where soldiers parachuted out from an altitude of 300 meters to conduct an offensive operation and “occupy” the airbase at Papa.

The purpose of the overall exercise is to give fighting and support forces a chance to practice airborne and offensive ground maneuvers.

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Edward Bulwer Lytton: The heartless and miserable vanity from which arose wars neither useful nor honourable

February 27, 2015 Leave a comment

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

Edward Bulwer Lytton: The sword, consecrating homicide and massacre with a hollow name

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Edward Bulwer Lytton
From Devereaux (1829)

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One evening I was engaged to meet a large party at a country-house about forty miles from Paris. I went, and stayed some days. My horses had accompanied me; and, when I left the chateau, I resolved to make the journey to Paris on horseback. Accordingly, I ordered my carriage to follow me, and attended by a single groom, commenced my expedition. It was a beautiful still morning, – the first day of the first month of autumn. I had proceeded about ten miles, when I fell in with an old French officer. I remember, – though I never saw him but that once, – I remember his face as if I had encountered it yesterday. It was thin and long, and yellow enough to have served as a caricature rather than a portrait of Don Quixote. He had a hook nose, and a long sharp chin; and all the lines, wrinkles, curves, and furrows of which the human visage is capable seemed to have met in his cheeks. Nevertheless, his eye was bright and keen, his look alert, and his whole bearing firm, gallant, and soldier-like. He was attired in a sort of military undress; wore a mustachio, which, though thin and gray, was carefully curled; and at the summit of a very respectable wig was perched a small cocked hat, adorned with a black feather. He rode very upright in his saddle; and his horse, a steady, stalwart quadruped of the Norman breed, with a terribly long tail and a prodigious breadth of chest, put one stately leg before another in a kind of trot, which, though it seemed, from its height of action and the proud look of the steed, a pretension to motion more than ordinarily brisk, was in fact a little slower than a common walk.

This noble cavalier seemed sufficiently an object of curiosity to my horse to induce the animal to testify his surprise by shying, very jealously and very vehemently, in passing him. This ill breeding on his part was indignantly returned on the part of the Norman charger, who, uttering a sort of squeak and shaking his long mane and head, commenced a series of curvets and capers which cost the old Frenchman no little trouble to appease. In the midst of these equine freaks, the horse came so near me as to splash my nether garment with a liberality as little ornamental as it was pleasurable.

The old Frenchman seeing this, took off his cocked hat very politely and apologized for the accident. I replied with equal courtesy; and, as our horses slid into quiet, their riders slid into conversation. It was begun and chiefly sustained by my new comrade; for I am little addicted to commence unnecessary socialities myself, though I should think very meanly of my pretensions to the name of a gentleman and a courtier, if I did not return them when offered, even by a beggar.

“It is a fine horse of yours, Monsieur,” said the old Frenchman; “but I cannot believe – pardon me for saying so – that your slight English steeds are so well adapted to the purposes of war as our strong chargers, – such as mine for example.”

“It is very possible, Monsieur,” said I. “Has the horse you now ride done service in the field as well as on the road?”

“Ah! le pauvre petit mignon, – no!” (petit, indeed! this little darling was seventeen hands high at the very least) “no, Monsieur: it is but a young creature this; his grandfather served me well!”

“I need not ask you, Monsieur, if you have borne arms: the soldier is stamped upon you!”

“Sir, you flatter me highly!” said the old gentleman, blushing to the very tip of his long lean ears, and bowing as low as if I had called him a Conde. “I have followed the profession of arms for more than fifty years.”

“Fifty years! ’tis a long time.”

“A long time,” rejoined my companion, “a long time to look back upon with regret.”

“Regret! by Heaven, I should think the remembrance of fifty years’ excitement and glory would be a remembrance of triumph.”

The old man turned round on his saddle, and looked at me for some moments very wistfully. “You are young, Sir,” he said, “and at your years I should have thought with you; but -” (then abruptly changing his voice, he continued) – “Triumph, did you say? Sir, I have had three sons: they are dead; they died in battle; I did not weep; I did not shed a tear, Sir, – not a tear! But I will tell you when I did weep. I came back, an old man, to the home I had left as a young one. I saw the country a desert. I saw that the noblesse had become tyrants; the peasants had become slaves, – such slaves, – savage from despair, – even when they were most gay, most fearfully gay, from constitution. Sir, I saw the priest rack and grind, and the seigneur exact and pillage, and the tax-gatherer squeeze out the little the other oppressors had left; anger, discontent, wretchedness, famine, a terrible separation between one order of people and another; an incredible indifference to the miseries their despotism caused on the part of the aristocracy; a sullen and vindictive hatred for the perpetration of those miseries on the part of the people; all places sold – even all honours priced – at the court, which was become a public market, a province of peasants, of living men bartered for a few livres, and literally passed from one hand to another, to be squeezed and drained anew by each new possessor: in a word, Sir, an abandoned court; an unredeemed noblesse, – unredeemed, Sir, by a single benefit which, in other countries, even the most feudal, the vassal obtains from the master; a peasantry famished; a nation loaded with debt which it sought to pay by tears, – these are what I saw, – these are the consequences of that heartless and miserable vanity from which arose wars neither useful nor honourable, – these are the real components of that triumph, as you term it, which you wonder that I regret.”

Now, although it was impossible to live at the court of Louis XIV. in his latter days, and not feel, from the general discontent that prevailed even there, what a dark truth the old soldier’s speech contained, yet I was somewhat surprised by an enthusiasm so little military in a person whose bearing and air were so conspicuously martial.

“You draw a melancholy picture,” said I; “and the wretched state of culture which the lands that we now pass through exhibit is a witness how little exaggeration there is in your colouring. However, these are but the ordinary evils of war; and, if your country endures them, do not forget that she has also inflicted them. Remember what France did to Holland, and own that it is but a retribution that France should now find that the injury we do to others is (among nations as well as individuals) injury to ourselves.”

***

“Yes,” renewed my comrade, colouring with evident shame and drawing his cocked hat over his brows, “yes, I received my last wound at Ramilies. Then my eyes were opened to the horrors of war; then I saw and cursed the evils of ambition; then I resolved to retire from the armies of a king who had lost forever his name, his glory, and his country.”

Was there ever a better type of the French nation than this old soldier? As long as fortune smiles on them, it is “Marchons au diable!” and “Vive la gloire!” Directly they get beaten, it is “Ma pauvre patrie!” and “Les calamites affreuses de la guerre!”

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Azov Battalion, Etc: U.S. Paratroopers To Train Ukrainian National Guard

February 26, 2015 Leave a comment

U.S. Army Europe
February 25, 2015

USAREUR commander visits with Sky Soldiers in Vicenza
By Staff Sgt. Opal Vaughn

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VICENZA, Italy: “I want to talk you today about Strong Europe,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, speaking to paratroopers assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade here on Feb. 24, 2015, about their role in Europe and what they represent.

“Think of it in terms of people, places and things,” said Hodges. “The people, that’s all of you paratroopers. You all play a vital role and we want to continue that.”

During his visit, Hodges observed the brigade’s preparation for its scheduled training mission in western Ukraine, providing feedback for paratroopers who will train the newly-formed Ukrainian National Guard.

Hodges emphasized the important role the 173rd Airborne plays in enabling the NATO Alliance through multinational exercises.

“When you train in all these exercises with your allies, you build relationships,” he said, referring to the brigade’s participation in exercises such as Operation Atlantic Resolve and the upcoming Swift Response and Saber Junction. “It is U.S. Army Europe’s contribution to Europe on behalf of the Army, NATO and all the components that we support.”

Strong Europe represents the strategic framework that Hodges introduced since taking command last year of the approximately 30,000 Soldiers forward stationed in Europe.

Training allows paratroopers from the 173rd to exercise their own quick-response procedures. As the Army’s Contingency Response Force in Europe, the brigade maintains the ability to deploy on short notice to conduct the full spectrum of operations across the U.S. European, Africa and Central Command areas of responsibility.

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Norway Hopes Most NATO States To Send Arms, Troops To Ukraine

February 26, 2015 Leave a comment

National Radio Company of Ukraine
February 26, 2015

Norway is ready to help training Ukrainian army – Defence Minister

“Norway is ready to help with training the Ukrainian military,” Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Sjoreide said in an interview with The Guardian.

She said the majority of NATO member countries would hopefully follow the example of the UK that had announced sending non-lethal equipment and 75 military instructors to Ukraine. Poland is also planning to send its military instructors. The Polish Defence Ministry said on Thursday the final decision would be made in March. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Defence has announced that a group of military experts will shortly travel to Ukraine to assist in training military doctors.

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U.S. Delivers 45 Armored Vehicles To Poland

February 26, 2015 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
February 26, 2015

U.S. donates 45 armored vehicles to Polish army

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U.S. MRAPs

WARSAW: The Polish armed forces received 45 MRAP-type (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) armored vehicles previously used in Afghanistan from the United States, reported the Polish Press Agency on Wednesday.

“Today’s delivery is only a small segment of our partnership,” said U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Stephen Mull, noting the United States’ unflagging engagement in the security of Poland.

Polish soldiers have been in cooperation with the U.S. army for a long time, Maciej Jankowski, Poland’s Under-Secretary of State said, citing his country’s participation in the Iraq and Afghanistan missions. Nowadays, the cooperation is mostly based on technical assistance and support, Jankowski noted.

Lieutenant General Lech Majewski, in charge of the General Command of the Polish armed forces, said the equipment sent to Poland would significantly increase the combat potential and the Polish army’s ability to survive on the battlefield.

The MRAP vehicles, produced by Oshkosh Defense company, were donated to Poland by the United States.

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Photographs: U.S., Lithuania Hold War Games Near Russian Border

February 26, 2015 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
February 25, 2015

Soldiers attend the U.S.-Lithuanian combined training in Pabrade, Lithuania, on Feb. 25, 2015. Lithuania held combined training with 250 U.S. soldiers on Wednesday’s media day. (Xinhua/Alfredas Pliadis)

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Poland To Send Military Instructors, Britain Troops To Ukraine

February 26, 2015 Leave a comment

Polish Radio
February 26, 2015

Poland to send military instructors to Ukraine

The Ministry of Defence has announced that Poland will send an unspecified number of military instructors to Ukraine, with the purpose training their Ukrainian counterparts.

”We are preparing a mission under the auspices of NATO for the training of non-commissioned officers,” Minister of Defence Tomasz Siemoniak told the TVN24 news channel on Wednesday evening.

”We want our instructors, who will be working in training centres in Lviv and Kiev, to school Ukrainian instructors so that they in turn can train non-commissioned officers,” he expanded.

Siemoniak’s comments followed a tweet from Generał Bogusław Pacek, who is in charge of preparing the training program, that “Ukraine’s Defence Ministry turned to NATO countries with a plea to help train its soldiers,” adding that ”Poland will respond affirmatively.”

This came just hours after President Bronisław Komorowski praised the UK for pledging to send soldiers to assist Ukraine.

Defence Minister Siemoniak has confirmed that the final decision about the numbers of Polish soldiers will be made in March.

Although the minister did not rule out delivering weapons to Ukraine in the future he stated that “like the US and the UK we believe that this is not a good moment [to transfer weapons], as it would escalate the conflict. That is why other forms of assistance are more important.”

Siemoniak also added that unlike Lithuania, Poland will not be reintroducing compulsory military service.

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