Category Archives: European Union

The US/NATO Enlargement Project: Building a Russian Wall

Renee Parsons writes for CounterPunch:

In February, 1990, US Secretary of State James Baker (1989-1992), representing President George HW Bush, traveled to Moscow to meet with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev regarding the possible reunification of Germany and the removal of 300,000 Soviet troops. There is little serious dispute that as the Berlin Wall teetered, Baker promised Gorbachev “there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east.” Gorbachev is reported to have taken the US at its word and responded “any extension of the zone of NATO is unacceptable.” “I agree,” replied Baker.”

Unfortunately, Gorbachev never got it in writing and most historians, at the time, agreed that NATO expansion was “ill conceived, ill-timed, and above all ill-suited to the realities of the post-Cold War world.”

President Bush’s National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and Bill Clinton’s Defense Secretary were also in agreement. But by 1994, that verbal contract had not deterred the concerted efforts of a handful of State Department policy professionals to subdue the overwhelming bureaucratic opposition according to James Goldgeier in his classic “Not Whether but When: The US Decision to Enlarge NATO.” By 1997, the Gorbachev-Baker-Bush agreement was a forgotten policy trinket as Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic were accepted into NATO. In 2004, former Soviet satellite countries Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were admitted and in 2009, Croatia and Albania joined NATO.

Currently, the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan are pending membership and all five former Soviet republics in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan) provide NATO with logistical support for the US war in Afghanistan.

As the US-led NATO alliance tightens its grip on the Caucasus countries, the American public has not been informed about the Ukrainian Parliament’s approval for a series of NATO military exercises that would put US troops on Russia’s border, even though the Ukraine is not yet a member of NATO. Rapid Trident is a 12-nation military ‘interoperability’ exercise led by the US who will commit the majority of participating troops and Sea Breeze is a naval exercise that will take place on the Black Sea adjacent to Russian ports. The NATO buildup includes joint ground operations with Moldova and Romania.

Most recently, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that the military alliance has cut Russia off from civilian and military cooperation and that there would be the deployment and reinforcement of military assets including increased air patrols over the Baltic Sea and AWACS surveillance flights over Poland and Romania.

It goes without saying that the NATO build up is in addition to the deployment of US troops and F-16 warplanes to Poland, F-15C warplanes to Lithuania and aircraft carriers to the Black and Mediterranean Seas.

All this raises the question about whether a promise and handshake in the world of international diplomacy is a real commitment and what is a 1991 international promise made by a Republican Administration worth in 1994 to a Democratic Administration? Apparently zilch.

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Putin says annexation of Crimea a reaction to NATO expansion, US missile defence plans

From Reuters:

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said Russia had been forced to respond to NATO enlargement and that its annexation of Crimea, home to its Black Sea Fleet, was partly influenced by the Western military alliance’s expansion into eastern Europe. Putin said Moscow will respond if the United States moves ahead with plans to base elements of a missile defence shield in eastern Europe, accusing Washington of fuelling a Cold War-style arms race.

“When the infrastructure of a military bloc is moving toward our borders, it causes us some concerns and questions. We need to take some steps in response,” Putin said in a televised call-in with the nation. “Our decision on Crimea was partly due to … considerations that if we do nothing, then at some point, guided by the same principles, NATO will drag Ukraine in and they will say: ‘It doesn’t have anything to do with you.’”

Putin accused the military bloc of 28 nations of seeking to squeeze Russia out of its historic stomping ground in the Black Sea region, where Russian warships are based in the Tsarist-era city of Sevastopol. “NATO ships would have ended up in the city of Russian navy glory, Sevastopol,” Putin said.

Putin said Moscow wants to continue talks with Washington over its objections to U.S. missile defence plans, but would take all steps necessary to ensure its security.

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Map: NATO Expansion 1990 to 2009

John Pilger: From China to Ukraine, the US is pursuing its longstanding ambition to dominate the Eurasian landmass

John Pilger writes for The Guardian:

Men wearing military fatigues in the eastern Ukrainian city of KramatorskI watched Dr Strangelove the other day. I have seen it perhaps a dozen times; it makes sense of senseless news. When Major TJ “King” Kong goes “toe to toe with the Rooskies” and flies his rogue B52 nuclear bomber to a target in Russia, it’s left to General “Buck” Turgidson to reassure the president. Strike first, says the general, and “you got no more than 10-20 million killed, tops”. President Merkin Muffley: “I will not go down in history as the greatest mass murderer since Adolf Hitler.” General Turgidson: “Perhaps it might be better, Mr President, if you were more concerned with the American people than with your image in the history books.”

The genius of Stanley Kubrick’s film is that it accurately represents the cold war’s lunacy and dangers. Most of the characters are based on real people and real maniacs. There is no equivalent to Strangelove today because popular culture is directed almost entirely at our interior lives, as if identity is the moral zeitgeist and true satire is redundant, yet the dangers are the same. The nuclear clock has remained at five minutes to midnight; the same false flags are hoisted above the same targets by the same “invisible government”, as Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations, described modern propaganda.

In 1964, the year Dr Strangelove was made, “the missile gap” was the false flag. To build more and bigger nuclear weapons and pursue an undeclared policy of domination, President John F Kennedy approved the CIA’s propaganda that the Soviet Union was well ahead of the US in the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles. This filled front pages as the “Russian threat”. In fact, the Americans were so far ahead in production of the missiles, the Russians never approached them. The cold war was based largely on this lie.

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French scientists: We’ve lost SARS virus vials

From The Local:

Photo: Frederic Brown/AFPFrance’s distinguished Institut Pasteur, which was among the first to isolate HIV in the 1980s, admitted on Monday that it has lost some 2,349 vials in 29 boxes, containing samples of the deadly SARS virus.

During a recent inventory researchers realized the vials were unaccounted for and so called in France’s drug and health safety agency “l’Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé” to help with the search, according to a statement from Institut Pasteur.

The drug and health safety people spent four days, from April 4th-12th, doing an ‘in depth’ investigation at the unnamed lab in question and came up empty handed as well.

SARS is not the kind of virus you’d want floating around.

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Corporate Lobbying: MEPs behaving like ventriloquist dummies for big business

‘Paul Murphy MEP speaking out against corporate lobbying in the European Parliament which sees MEPs, including Irish MEPs, act like ventriloquist dummies for big business, regularly attending corporate ‘breakfasts’ and even tabling their amendments directly. ‘ (Paul Murphy MEP)

EU elections: Anti-EU parties on the rise across Europe

French workers legally obliged to end after-hours emails

From The Telegraph:

Employers will no longer be allowed to bombard staff with messages in the time designated for restAlongside the 35 hour working week, six weeks of paid leave and generous striking rights, a portion of French workers can now also be grateful for the right to ignore bosses’ emails after work. Employers will no longer be allowed to bombard staff with messages in the 133 hours of the week designated for rest, according to a new agreement signed by employers’ federations and trade unions in the digital and technology sectors.

Staff have been ordered to switch off professional phones and emails, while employers are required to ensure there is no pressure for workers to keep up-to-speed after hours. Companies affected by the deal, which is legally binding, include the French arms of Google and Facebook. Critics have wondered how multinational companies such as these will keep in touch across borders, given the time differences between Paris and Silicon Valley.

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NATO Chief: US Troops May Be Sent to Eastern Europe

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove continued to play up the idea of an imminent Russian invasion of eastern Europe, saying the alliance ispreparing “countermoves” in the region that may include US ground troops deploying. Gen. Breedlove said the plan right now is for a buildup of land, air, and naval assets in the region to “build assurance for our easternmost allies,” and that it would mean troops from several nations, including potentially the US, heading to “front-line states.”

Breedlove’s comments at the conference centered around commercial satellite photos of Russian military bases in the westernmost portion of the country, which he presented as proof Russia has troops “ready to go” in the area. He went on to say that Russia’s assets include “fixed and rotary wing aircraft,” unsurprising since a major Russian air force base is in the area near the Ukrainian border.

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The Forgotten War: Libya After NATO

‘With the Libyan war, like so many wars before it, the public was lied to just enough to convince them that war was necessary to maintain peace. And now that the real mission has been accomplished and Libya’s gold has been stolen and its central bank has been established and its AFRICOM-resisting leader has been killed and it has been established as an operations base for NATO’s Al-CIAda mercenaries, the political misleaders who started the war couldn’t care less about the lives of the Libyan people. Find out more about what’s happening in Libya today in this week’s Eyeopener report.’ (Boiling Frogs Post)

European Court Strikes Down ‘Invasive’ Law Allowing Governments To Collect Private Metadata

From AFP:

barrosoThe European Court of Justice on Tuesday struck down an EU-wide law on how private data can be collected and stored, judging it too invasive — despite its usefulness in combating organized crime and terrorism. By allowing EU governments to access the data, “the directive interferes in a particularly serious manner with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data,” the court said.

The decision to scupper the Data Retention Directive, which was issued in 2006, comes as Europe weighs concerns over electronic snooping in the wake of revelations about systematic US snooping of email and telephone communications. The directive called for the European Union’s 28 member states to store individuals’ Internet, mobile telephone and text metadata — the time, date, duration and destination, but not the content of the communications themselves — for six months to two years, with national intelligence and police agencies having access.

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Italian Far-Right Activists Almost Drown Attempting To Prove How ‘Easy’ Illegal Immigration Is

Jessica Elgot reports for The Huffington Post:

lega nordItalian right-wing activists have reportedly had to be rescued from drowning, after a stunt attempting to show how easy it is to cross between Italy and Tunisia went embarrassingly awry.

Last week, seven hapless members of the anti-immigration party Lega Nord attempted to make a point about the volume of asylum seekers coming from Africa to Europe, by sailing a rubber dinghy from Italy to Tunisia, flying the party’s flag.

But just off the cost of Malta, the dighy’s motor caught fire and the men were forced to call for assistance, according to Malta’s Independent newspaper.

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NATO chief to allies: Spend more on defence to deter Russia

Editor’s Note: To a man with a hammer, everything tends to look a lot like a nail. And even when it doesn’t, he’s going to try to convince you that it’s a nail. The largest and most expensive military alliance in the world is always looking for excuses to prevent a drop in its defence spending and now they have it in the form of the Red Hitler who apparently wants to reform the Soviet Union and invade Eastern Europe. NATO chief Rasmussen steps down this summer, but his replacement and fellow Bilderberger will continue to push the same war hype propaganda. Last year the U.S. was talking about cutting its military budget in Europe as part of its ‘Asia Pivot’, now they’re looking to increase it. Never let a good opportunity go to waste the saying goes, especially if it keeps your job from becoming irrelevant. 

David Blair reports for the Telegraph:

Photo: ReutersBritain and its Nato allies must respond to Russia’s “illegal aggression” against Ukraine by spending more on defence, the alliance’s secretary general has said. Writing in The Telegraph, Anders Fogh Rasmussen appeals for Nato members to modernise their armed forces as Russia tries to “carve up” Europe.

“Every ally needs to invest the necessary resources in the right capabilities,” writes Mr Rasmussen. “That means modern equipment, intensive training for our forces, and closer cooperation among Nato allies and with our partners. I know how challenging this is in today’s economic climate, but the security climate makes it vital.” Mr Rasmussen adds: “In the long run, a lack of security would be more costly than investing now and we owe it to our forces, and to broader society.”

The burden of defending Nato’s 28 members falls increasingly on just one: the United States. Last year, America accounted for 72 per cent of Nato defence spending, up from 59 per cent in 1995. This reflects cuts in military budgets across Europe. Of the 25 European members of Nato, only Britain, Greece and Estonia met an unofficial target of spending at least 2 per cent of national income on defence last year. The average figure was only 1.3 per cent. America, by contrast, devoted 4.4 per cent of its national income to defence.

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Hungarian PM Orban wins third term, far-right opposition gains

Krisztina Than and Gergely Szakacs report for Reuters:

Photographer: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty ImagesHungarians handed their maverick Prime Minister Viktor Orban another four years in power, election results showed on Monday, while one in every five voters backed a far-right opposition party accused of anti-Semitism. Orban has clashed repeatedly with the European Union and foreign investors over his unorthodox policies, and after Sunday’s win, big businesses were bracing for another term of unpredictable and, for some of them, hostile measures.

But many Hungarians see Orban, a 50-year-old former dissident against Communist rule, as a champion of national interests. They also like the fact that under his government personal income tax and household power bills have fallen. After 96 percent of the ballots were counted from Sunday’s parliamentary vote, an official projection gave Orban’s Fidesz party 133 of the 199 seats, guaranteeing that it will form the next government.

That tally also gave Orban’s party the two-thirds majority needed for it to change the constitution, but only by one seat, and final results could still push Fidesz back below the threshold. The same projection gave the Socialist-led leftist alliance 38 seats, while far-right Jobbik was on 23 seats.

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Protesters Clash With Police in Major Brussels Protest

Matina Stevis reports for The Wall Street Journal:

An injured demonstrator lies on the ground after being hit by a stone thrown by other demonstrators during a European trade unions protest against austerity measures, in central Brussels April 4, 2014. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)Some 25,000 protesters from Belgian trade unions staged a march in Brussels Friday, according to police estimates, in one of the largest anti-austerity protests in the capital of the European Union. Protest organizers said as many as 40,000 showed up.

Riot police met the demonstrators at the heart of the so-called European Quarter, on Schuman Square where EU institutions are housed, leading to outbreaks of violence and major traffic disruptions around the city. The protesters were largely peaceful, with members making speeches on platforms as workers drank beer and chanted slogans.

They were protesting austerity in the EU and what they see as a move by governments across the bloc to signigicantly cut workers’ salaries and benefits in an attempt to reduce labor costs and increase competitiveness.

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Spanish anti-austerity protests continue

The European Central Bank’s War on Wages is Pushing Europe’s Economy to the Brink: Interview with Bill Black

Victory seen for PM Orban, far-right may gain in Hungary vote

Krisztina Than reports for Reuters:

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers a speech during an election rally of ruling Fidesz party in Budapest, March 29, 2014. REUTERS/Bernadett SzaboHungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban looks likely to win a second term in parliamentary elections on Sunday, but the far-right Jobbik party is on course for a strong showing. A good result for Jobbik, accused by critics of being anti-Semitic and stoking antipathy toward Hungary’s Roma minority, could be a harbinger of how other nationalist right-wing parties will perform in European Parliament elections next month.

In a poll published on Thursday, Orban’s Fidesz scored 36 percent, Jobbik had 15 percent support and the Socialist-led leftist alliance had 18 percent. Orban’s centre-right Fidesz is certain to have enough seats to form a government, a sign voters are not concerned about idiosyncratic policies that have angered the European Union and hurt foreign investment. The only question mark is whether Fidesz will retain the two-thirds majority that allows it to change the constitution.

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BBC poll: UK split on EU membership

From BBC News:

Nick Clegg and Nigel FarageSome 35% of those surveyed would vote to remain in the EU if there were a referendum today, according to a Populus poll for the Daily Politics. And 32% would vote to leave, with 27% saying they are undecided and 6% saying they would not vote.

The poll was taken on 2 and 3 April, partly in the aftermath of the Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage TV debate. The online poll of 2,067 people uses a model developed by Populus, that divides respondents into six types, based on attitude and world view.

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Eco-friendly makeover for Hungarian village devastated by toxic waste

‘A village in western Hungary which was devastated by a tide of toxic sludge has rebuilt itself as a eco-friendly settlement. Devescer was partly destroyed when a dam holding aluminum sludge collapsed and a wave of chemicals flooded homes. Today the bus station is powered by geothermal energy and the village is one of the few places in the country not reliant on Russian gas.’ (Al Jazeera)

Why PSG and the World Cup will not be enough for football-hungry Qatar

Owen Gibson reports for The Guardian:

Qatar graphicQatar‘s trolley dash around world sport could not have been more eye catching, even without the controversy and turmoil that has surrounded its successful World Cup 2022 bid. The PSG purchase was just one of a number that have been marked down as an attempt to both secure the Gulf state’s future beyond the point when its natural gas and oil reserves run dry, and afford it international profile.

That process reached its natural conclusion with the vote in December 2010 to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, a decision that remains mired in controversy as Fifa and organisers grapple with the desperate plight of the 1.4m migrant workers and questions still swirling around the bidding process. Yet it goes much broader and deeper, also encompassing a hitherto largely ignored parallel network of sports TV channels, branded BeIn Sports, that also play a significant strategic role.

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Male fish becoming ‘feminised’ by pollutants in Spanish waters

Antonia Molloy reports for The Independent:

Members of the Cell Biology in Environmental Toxicology group have found evidence that male fish in the estuaries in Basque Country are becoming “feminised” by chemical pollutants in the water. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) acting as oestrogens – the primary female sex hormones – are seeping into the waters and causing reproductive and developmental disturbances, according to a report published in the Marine Environmental Research journal.

Immature eggs were found in the testicles of a number of male fish, the scientists from the University of the Basque Country said.  The chemicals involved are found in everyday products such as pesticides, contraceptive pills and detergents. They are thought to enter the estuaries after getting through the cleaning systems in water treatment plants or as a result of industrial and farming activities.

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Ellen Brown: Banking Union Time Bomb As Eurocrats Authorize Bailouts and Bail-Ins

Ellen Brown writes at Web of Debt:

As things stand, the banks are the permanent government of the country, whichever party is in power.”  – Lord Skidelsky, House of Lords, UK Parliament, 31 March 2011)

On March 20, 2014, European Union officials reached an historic agreement to create a single agency to handle failing banks. Media attention has focused on the agreement involving the single resolution mechanism (SRM), a uniform system for closing failed banks. But the real story for taxpayers and depositors is the heightened threat to their pocketbooks of a deal that now authorizes both bailouts and “bail-ins” – the confiscation of depositor funds. The deal involves multiple concessions to different countries and may be illegal under the rules of the EU Parliament; but it is being rushed through to lock taxpayer and depositor liability into place before the dire state of Eurozone banks is exposed.

The bail-in provisions were agreed to last summer. According to Bruno Waterfield, writing in the UK Telegraph in June 2013:

 Under the deal, after 2018 bank shareholders will be first in line for assuming the losses of a failed bank before bondholders and certain large depositors. Insured deposits under £85,000 (€100,000) are exempt and, with specific exemptions, uninsured deposits of individuals and small companies are given preferred status in the bail-in pecking order for taking losses . . . Under the deal all unsecured bondholders must be hit for losses before a bank can be eligible to receive capital injections directly from the ESM, with no retrospective use of the fund before 2018.

As noted in my earlier articles, the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) imposes an open-ended debt on EU member governments, putting taxpayers on the hook for whatever the Eurocrats (EU officials) demand. And it’s not just the EU that has bail-in plans for their troubled too-big-to-fail banks. It is also the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other G20 nations. Recall that a depositor is an unsecured creditor of a bank. When you deposit money in a bank, the bank “owns” the money and you have an IOU or promise to pay.

Under the new EU banking union, before the taxpayer-financed single resolution fund can be deployed, shareholders and depositors will be “bailed in” for a significant portion of the losses. The bankers thus win both ways: they can tap up the taxpayers’ money and the depositors’ money.

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ECB considers printing more money

Valentina Pop reports for EU Observer:

The European Central Bank over the next months will consider various options of ‘quantitative easing’ – also known as money printing – to counter a very low inflation rate, ECB chief Mario Draghi said Thursday (3 April) in a press conference. “The ECB Governing Council is unanimous in its commitment to using all unconventional instruments within its mandate, in order to cope effectively with risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation,” he said.

Draghi said quantitative easing was part of a “rich and ample discussion” on Thursday among the central bankers from all 18 eurozone countries on what to do to counter the lower-than-expected inflation. Quantitative easing, popularly known as money printing, is the purchase of financial assets from banks to increase the amount of money in circulation when there is a risk of deflation.

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Secessionism on the March in Europe

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

Several thousand protesters from across the continent turned out today [March 30th] in the European Union capital city of Brussels. Several nations were represented, none of them currently recognized, and all had the same message: secession now.

Officials like to portray secession as a fringe tactic that comes up only in places like Crimea, and then only at the behest of a foreign power hoping to capitalize on it. That’s less and less the case, as secession grows in appeal across Europe.

Scotland aims to separate from Britain, and Catalan hopes to leave Spain. Even Brussels itself is in the midst of a major secession fight, as Flanders hopes to reassert itself as an independent nation, with Brussels as its presumptive capital.

Italy is the king of secessionist movements though, with three distinct major movements going on at once. Venice has already held a referendum on resuming its independence, while Tyrol is mulling a similar division, and Sardinia hopes to go the route of Crimea, ditching Italy in favor of Switzerland.

At the core of all these movements is a single question: is there an inherent right to self-determination, or is secession only acceptable when the major world powers feel it is convenient. It’s an argument that officials are likely to continue to bicker about, but which the secessionist movements see as obvious.

Amsterdam paying alcoholics with beer to help keep city clean

 

Political newcomer Kiska trounces PM Fico in Slovak presidential election

Jiri Skacel and Jan Lopatka report for Reuters:

Philanthropist and former businessman Andrej Kiska trounced Prime Minister Robert Fico in Slovakia’s presidential election on Saturday as voters feared Fico and his center-left party would amass too much power. Results from over 99 percent of voting districts showed the politically unaffiliated Kiska leading the center-left prime minister by 59.4 percent to 40.6 percent.

Kiska, 51, rode a wave of anti-Fico sentiment among right-wing voters as well as distrust in mainstream political parties because of graft scandals and persistently high unemployment… The wide margin of defeat was a blow to Fico, but he will most likely keep his post as prime minister, which is more powerful than the presidency in the day-to-day running of the euro zone country, said political analyst Grigorij Meseznikov.

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Pope Francis tells mafia to repent or ‘end up in hell’

Lizzy Davies reports for The Guardian:

Pope Francis  has made his strongest attack to date on the mafia, telling organised crime bosses they will end up in hell if they do not “convert” and give up their lives of “bloodstained money [and] blood-stained power”. In an echo of John Paul II’s appeal to mafia dons to renounce their “culture of death”, the Argentinian urged mafiosi to “stop doing evil” as he held an unprecedented meeting with hundreds of victims’ relatives in Rome.

“I feel that I cannot conclude without saying a word to the protagonists who are absent today – the men and women mafiosi,” he said, quietly but forcefully. “Please change your lives. Convert yourselves. Stop doing evil.”

The meeting in a church near Vatican City was the first time a pontiff had taken part in events tied to a day of commemoration held annually by the anti-mafia organisation, Libera. During a prayer vigil, the names of 842 victims were read aloud.

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Pepe Escobar: Why the EU won’t annex Ukraine (It’s all about NATO)

Pepe Escobar writes for RT:

European Council president Herman Van Rompuy (R) exchanges documents with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk during the signing of the political provisions of the Association Agreement with Ukraine at the EU headquarters in Brussels on March 21, 2014 on the second day of a two-day European Council summit. (AFP Photo)[...] Hysterical 24/7 Western spin conveys the impression Ukraine will be annexed by a (mostly bankrupt) EU tomorrow. No so fast! The final deal will be just an association agreement; afterwards there would be a long and winding road towards EU admission (which, by the way, the absolute majority of EU member-nations don’t want.)

Article 7.2. of the association agreement states that Ukraine will have to comply with the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and the European security and defense policy (ESDP). The conditions are spelled out here and here.

The obscure – even for most Europeans – ESDP happens to be the key European pillar of NATO. Translation: it details how the EU is subordinated to the US (which controls NATO). For instance, the EU may only act in a determined case if NATO first declines to. Additionally, the March 2003 Berlin-plus agreement allows the EU to use NATO’s hardware and software for military operations if NATO declines to.

What this essentially means is that Ukraine is on the road to become legally bound to NATO’s overall project. Along with other independent analysts, I’ve argued from the start that this whole geopolitical drama is first and foremost about NATO annexing Ukraine.

The NATO-Ukraine twisted love affair started in the early 2000s. After some soul-searching, it was decided NATO or no NATO should be the subject of a national referendum in the future. In the 2008 Bucharest summit NATO opened its arms, stating that Ukraine could join as soon as it met the criteria. In 2010 Yanukovich announced Ukraine was not interested anymore. Still, Ukraine remains quite a muscular member of NATO’s innocent-sounding Partnership for Peace (PfP).

No wonder NATO is now in overdrive selling the notion that Ukraine is “under threat” – and should join as soon as possible. NATO’s secretary-general – the astonishingly mediocre American poodle, Anders Fogh Rasmussen – said we’re living the most serious threat to Europe’s security since the end of the Cold War: “This is a wake-up call. For the Euro-Atlantic community. For NATO. And for all those committed to a Europe whole, free and at peace.’’

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Russian Officials See Growing Threats From US, NATO

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

Top Russian security official Alexander Malevany says his government faces growing threats from the United States and its allies in NATO, stemming from US “hysteria” about the annexation of Crimea.  Malevany warned he is seeing a growing number of US efforts to “weaken Russian influence in a region that is of vital importance,” referring to Eastern Europe.

Earlier this week President Obama began talking up a significant increase in US and NATO deployments into Eastern Europe, supposedly to reassure Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania that NATO would defend them from Russian invasion.

Instead of being a stabilizing influence, such deployments have fueled concern in Russia, and have Russia’s regional allies, notably Belarus, pushing for bigger Russian deployments in the area to reassure them against NATO expansion.

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