Category Archives: NATO

VIPS: Germany’s Merkel Needs To Ask Tough Questions at NATO Summit

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) recently published a memorandum for the attention of Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, on the subject of Ukraine ahead of the NATO Summit this week:

‘We the undersigned are longtime veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5.

You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian “invasion” of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the “intelligence” seems to be of the same dubious, politically “fixed” kind used 12 years ago to “justify” the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicions of charges made by the US State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.’

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£50 million spent on a massive fence to protect politicians ahead of NATO Summit

Michael Krieger writes for Liberty Blitzkrieg:

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 11.35.16 AM‘Most of us woke up this morning to news that the UK had raised its terror threat level from “substantial” to “severe.” Considering the competence and trustworthiness of the nation’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, there must be some specific threat they’re concerned about to justify instilling fear in a population of 65 million. Nope.

Although the new threat level rates the risk of an attack on the UK to “highly likely,” Home Secretary Theresa May stated that “there was no evidence to suggest one was imminent.” Well then.

It makes you wonder if the the change in threat level is being used in part to justify the extraordinary $80 million [£50 million] sum spent on building a fortress around the Newport and Cardiff city centers in Wales, which many are describing as “similar to the Berlin Wall,” or a “zoo,” in an unprecedented display of protection for many of the world’s most corrupt politicians.’

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Gorbachev: Internal Ukrainian conflict can’t be turned into inter-state one

Interfax reports:

‘Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev believes Russia has not intervened in the events in southeastern Ukraine and is right in doing so. “If our country intervenes, there could be a fire that the whole world would be unable to put out. And it’s right that the politicians are holding to their position,” Gorbachev said on Rossiyskaya Sluzhba Novostei (Russian News Service) on Saturday.

“Our proposal was to open passages and let people get out of all those entrapments. But no, someone is sitting in warm offices and intellectualizing. And at the same time – look what is happening to the people, to children and women. Maternity homes and schools are being shelled, hospitals are being destroyed. Two thousand people have been killed even according to official reports, and how many have been injured?” Gorbachev said.

He insisted that everything possible should be done to de-escalate the conflict. “Everything should be done so that the people stop killing each other. After all, this is one people. If states get involved, the scope grows, and everyone meddles there, we might see a horrible slaughter in Europe. But this can’t be allowed,” he said.’

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Pepe Escobar: From Minsk to Wales, Germany is the key

Pepe Escobar writes for RT:

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (L), Russia's President Vladimir Putin (top centre R) and Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko (3rd R from Putin) meet with high-ranking officials and presidents from Kazakhstan and the European Union in Minsk, August 26, 2014.(Reuters / Alexei Druzhinin)‘The road to the Minsk summit this past Tuesday began to be paved when German Chancellor Angela Merkel talked to ARD public TV after her brief visit to Kiev on Saturday. Merkel emphasized, “A solution must be found to the Ukraine crisis that does not hurt Russia.” She added that “There must be dialogue. There can only be a political solution. There won’t be a military solution to this conflict.”

Merkel talked about “decentralization” of Ukraine, a definitive deal on gas prices, Ukraine-Russia trade, and even hinted Ukraine is free to join the Russia-promoted Eurasian Union (the EU would never make a “huge conflict” out of it). Exit sanctions; enter sound proposals. She could not have been more explicit; “We [Germany] want to have good trade relations with Russia as well. We want reasonable relations with Russia. We are depending on one another and there are so many other conflicts in the world where we should work together, so I hope we can make progress”.

The short translation for all this is there won’t be a Nulandistan (after neo-con Victoria ‘F**k the EU’Nuland), remote-controlled by Washington, and fully financed by the EU. In the real world, what Germany says, the EU follows. Geopolitically, this also means a huge setback for Washington’s obsessive containment and encirclement of Russia, proceeding in parallel to the ‘pivot to Asia’ (containment and encirclement of China).’

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CSIS: NATO Allies Anticipate Strong Russian Response to Action Plan

RIA Novosti reports:

A Polish soldier stands near US and Poland's national flags and a NATO flag in Swidwin, northern west Poland, April 23, 2014‘A week before the September 4-5 NATO summit in Wales, a number of allies started to fear that the readiness action plan to increase the alliance’s military presence along Russia’s border would be provocative, a Center for Strategic and International Studies representative told RIA Novosti.

“The allies have already fully anticipated a very strong Russian reaction,” Director of the Europe Program at CSIS Heather Conley said Wednesday during an event on the upcoming NATO summit.

“I’m sure this is what has caused some hesitancy in our allies to put forward a more robust presence, because they are very fearful about provoking Russia,” she added.

France, Italy, Spain, Romania, Germany, Poland, and Hungary have all expressed reluctance to back NATO’s new readiness strategy.’

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NATO Summit to Focus on Escalations Against Russia

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

‘The upcoming NATO summit in Estonia is expected to focus heavily on new military buildups for the alliance, with a buildup in Eastern Europe expected to be finalized, including commitments for new bases in Poland and the Baltic States.

The deployments underscore rising tensions between NATO and Russia, with many in the alliance having designs on a new Cold War, and seeing such deployments as a way to further that narrative.’

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A third of Germans fear NATO-Russia war over Ukraine, poll finds

Reuters reported earlier this month:

‘One in three Germans thinks a war could break out between Russia and NATO over the conflict in Ukraine, according to an opinion poll published on Wednesday, a finding that helps explain the country’s cautious approach to the crisis.

Germans, whose country was devastated in World War Two and split into East and West during the Cold War, have applauded Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to prevent an escalation of Russia-NATO tensions.

Germany long resisted U.S. calls for tougher sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea, and shifted position only after the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed over Ukraine.’

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Willy Wimmer, former German Defence Minister and former vice president of the OCSE Assembly, interviewed recently on RT:

Britain facing ‘greatest terrorist threat’ in history, threat level raised to ‘severe’ (right before NATO summit)

The Telegraph reports:

‘Britain faces the “greatest and deepest” terror threat in the country’s history, David Cameron warned as he pledged emergency measures to tackle extremists.

The UK threat level was raised to “severe” — its second highest — meaning that a terrorist attack is “highly likely” in light of the growing danger from British jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria… The raised alert will lead to an increase in the number of armed police on the streets, especially around landmark sites and airports.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, insisted that the move was not a result of any specific plot, but in light of the increasing dangers posed by British fanatics and other foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria. The change also comes less than a week before a NATO summit in south Wales, which will be the biggest gathering of heads of state in the UK.’

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Back to the Cold War

Serge Halimi, president of Le Monde diplomatique, writes for CounterPunch:

‘In 1980 Ronald Reagan expressed his idea of relations between the United States and the Soviet Union in one short sentence: “We win, they lose.” Twelve years later, his immediate successor at the White House, George H W Bush, was satisfied that the task had been accomplished: “A world once divided into two armed camps now recognises one, sole and pre-eminent power, the United States of America.” The cold war was officially at an end.

That period too is now over. Its death knell sounded on the day Russia had had enough of “losing” and realised that its ritual humiliation would never come to an end, with one neighbouring country after another being persuaded — or bribed — into joining an economic and military alliance against it. Obama, speaking in Brussels in March, stressed that “Today, NATO planes patrol the skies over the Baltics and we’ve reinforced our presence in Poland. And we’re prepared to do more”. Vladimir Putin, addressing the Russian parliament, observed that this was part of the “infamous policy of containment” that the western powers had pursued against Russia since the 18th century.’

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Reports of Russian troops in Ukraine, but how credible is the evidence?

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

Embedded image permalink‘If it’s Ukraine and there’s a press conference going on these days, you can pretty much count on there being a spurious claim of a Russian invasion, which NATO and Western media will quickly parrot, but which none of them has any real proof for. Today’s “Russian invasion,” one of several in the past week alone, involves over 1,000 Russian ground troops, at least two columns of tanks, and as is so often the case, not a single credible photograph.

NATO piled on, as they are wont to do, and tweeted out an extremely blurry satellite photo which they claimed showed some sort of Russian vehicles on a road that could conceivably be in Eastern Ukraine. Media outlets reporting the invasion as absolute fact didn’t let their lack of photographic evidence get in the way, and rather recycled stock photos of Ukrainian military vehicles for the sake of making the article look like there’s a lot of vehicles involved. Russia was quick to deny the invasion, sparking a lot of cable news speculation of Russian deception, though the startling array of Ukrainian claims of “vanishing” tank columns and massive numbers of killed Russians that are never substantiated suggest that anything coming out of Kiev has to be taken with a grain of salt.’

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NATO chief Rasmussen: Ukraine free to seek membership

Andrew Rettman and Valentina Pop report for EU Observer:

‘Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said Ukraine is free to pursue membership of the Western alliance despite Russian opposition. He told press in Brussels on Friday (29 August): “I’m not going to interfere in political discussions in Ukraine. But let me remind you of Nato’s decision at the Bucharest summit in 2008, according to which Ukraine ‘will become a member of Nato,’ provided of course, Ukraine so wishes and fulfills the necessary criteria”.

“We adhere to the principle that each and every country has the right to decide [its foreign and security policy] for itself without interference from the outside”. Rasmussen spoke after an emergency meeting of Nato ambassadors with Ukraine’s envoy to the Western bloc. He also spoke after Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk earlier on Friday promised to pass a bill to scrap Ukraine’s non-aligned status. Yatsenyuk said the move is due to Russian “aggression” and would “resume” his country’s “course for Nato membership”. Rasmussen noted Ukrainian accession was not discussed at Friday’s meeting.’

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2011 NATO Bombing of Libya Led to Rise of Militias Now Fighting for Oil-Rich Land: Interview with Vijay Prashad

‘Libya is experiencing its most intense fighting since the 2011 NATO-backed campaign to remove Muammar Gaddafi. On Monday, the Libyan parliament that was replaced in an election in June reconvened and chose an Islamist-backed deputy as the new prime minister. This now leaves Libya with two rival leaders and assemblies, each backed by armed factions. Meanwhile the New York Times has revealed Egypt and the United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes twice in the last week against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli. Despite the strikes, the Islamist militants managed to solidify control of the capital of Tripoli by taking over the main airport. “[The U.S. and NATO] bombed the country and opened the door for the different militias to now compete against each other,” says Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College. “So the day Gaddafi was killed, from then onwards, the militias have basically been at each other’s throats.”’ (Democracy Now!)

Interview with Professor Stephen Cohen on the situation in Ukraine

Stephen Cohen is Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton, and he is a contributing editor to The Nation. He is also the author of Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War. You can find more interviews and articles by Professor Cohen here.

NATO Considers Missle Defense Shield Directed Against Russia

Spiegel reports:

‘NATO officials are considering deploying a long-planned missile defense system — aimed at protecting Europe from attacks from the Middle East — against Russia as well, SPIEGEL has learned.

Calls for such an expansion to the system’s remit, which is backed by the United States, are growing in Poland as well as in NATO member states Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. In the run-up to next week’s NATO summit, the four countries called for the remaining members to agree on language at the summit that would pave the way for the plan. They feel threatened by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

But the majority of NATO members, especially Germany, are opposed to the proposal, warning that it could result in an unnecessary provocation of Moscow. Representatives of these countries have warned that NATO has for years pledged to Russia that the missile defense system would not be directed at the country. Further debate on the issue has since been delayed until after the summit.’

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NATO Expansion Plan Raises Specter of Iron Curtain

Ivan Nechepurenko writes for The Moscow Times:

‘NATO will set up new bases in Eastern Europe in an attempt to deter President Vladimir Putin from meddling in the internal affairs of countries that used to be under Moscow’s control, the organization’s secretary-general told journalists in an interview published Wednesday. The move effectively returns the state of European security back to the Cold War era, when the collective defense ministry alliance that came into being in 1949 acted as a deterrent and main rival to the Warsaw Pact nations led by the Soviet Union.

“We have to face the reality that Russia does not consider NATO a partner. Russia is a nation that unfortunately for the first time since the Second World War has grabbed land by force. Obviously we have to adapt to that,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview with The Guardian and five other European newspapers. “The bottom line is you will in the future see a more visible NATO presence in the East,” he said ahead of a NATO summit in Cardiff next week.

The new bases would likely be located on Russia’s doorstep, experts said: in the Baltic states and Poland, which have been calling for a stronger NATO presence ever since the Ukraine crisis unfolded. The bases will be stationed on Russian borders “for as long as necessary,” The Guardian quoted Rasmussen as saying. According to analysts from across the political spectrum questioned by The Moscow Times, NATO’s decision will raise the stakes and invite a tough response from the Kremlin.’

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Finland and Sweden to strengthen ties with NATO

Associated Press reports:

Finland and Sweden plan to work more closely with Nato by signing a pact that allows assistance from alliance troops in the Nordic countries in emergency situations, officials said on Wednesday. The move comes as Nato prepares for a summit next week in Wales amid heightened tensions with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. Finland shares a 1,300km (800-mile) border with Russia.

The Finnish government said the host nation support agreement applies to situations which include “disasters, disruptions and threats to security”. It also enables joint training exercises and military cooperation. Finnish defence ministry senior adviser Mika Varvikko said Finland intended to sign the agreement at next week’s summit. Sweden is also expected to do so. Both countries, which already train and work closely with Nato in international operations, insisted the agreement did not mean they were moving closer to joining the alliance.’

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Over $1 TRILLION spent on “defense” by NATO members apparently not enough

Sam Jones reports for The Financial Times:

Nato member states spend more than $1tn on their collective defence annually. But, the alliance says, it is not enough.

Russia’s annexation of the Crimea and the crisis in eastern Ukraine will dominate headlines at next week’s Nato summit – perhaps the most important gathering of alliance leaders since the end of the cold war – but defence spending will be the most important, if least honestly addressed, issue.’

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Cardiff turned into high security ‘prison’ with 10 mile ‘ring of steel’ ahead of NATO conference

From The Daily Mail:

‘Cardiff city centre has been turned into a high security ‘prison’ with 10 miles of fencing – which is being dubbed the ‘ring of steel’ – ahead of the Nato conference next week. Police have erected the nine feet high security fencing around Celtic Manor resort in Newport where Barack Obama, David Cameron and other world leaders will meet in Wales on September 4 and 5, as well as the city centre. It comes as former foreign office minister, Kim Howells, issued fears that home grown Islamic State terrorists could be planning to attack the 2014 summit.’

Cardiff city centre resembles a high security ¿prison¿ with its 10 miles of fencing - dubbed the ¿ring of steel¿ - put up ahead of the Nato conference in Wales next week

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What links Gaza, Iraq and Ukraine? US and NATO foreign policy

Chris Nineham writes for Stop The War:

NatoUN agencies and leading charities confirmed over the weekend what many people are thinking and feeling about the state of the world – we are witnessing  an unprecendented  level of global  turmoil and violence. The UN added a series of countries to its extreme crisis list and a senior foreign policy advisor at Oxfam briefed “I haven’t seen anything of this scale before…across the board, the humanitarian community sees this as one of the worst moments we’ve ever had to confront in terms of simultaneous, mostly man-made crises.” This follows a UN announcement a few weeks ago that for the first time since World War II, the number displaced people worldwide exceeded 50 million.

This is the disturbing context in which the leaders of the Western world will be coming to Newport in South Wales for a high-profile NATO summit. The crises in Gaza, Iraq, Eastern Europe and beyond tend to be reported as entirely separate cases with little or no investigation of either wider context or history.  Palestinian representatives – on the few occiasions have been given air time – have argued that the long history of Israeli expansionism backed by Britain and the US is key to comprehending current events. Invariably they have been brusquely brought up to date, told that ‘we are where we are’ and that they should concentrate on finding  solutions. But there is no prospect of solutions to any of these terrible crises without understanding what is driving them.’

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Cold War Warnings: Dark Clouds Over Europe

Jan Oberg writes for CounterPunch:

‘A new Cold War is gathering over Europe. It should have been predicted by advisers, intelligence agencies, big research institutes and columnists. But it wasn’t. At the end of the Cold War, NATO/the West got everything it could ever wish – and without war. But it wanted more: keeping Russia down, making NATO bigger and “peace-making” as well as finding new enemies to keeping its Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex (MIMAC) alive and well: Saddam, Milosevic, the Muslim world, terrorism and – now re-cycling – Russia.

Those of us old enough to have lived under the old Cold War feel pain at witnessing today’s result of the post-1989 Western triumphalism and ignorance about all the alternatives to NATO and its expanson that the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact offered. NATO was established in 1949, the Soviet Union sought membership in 1954 and was turned down, West Germany got into NATO the same year, and the Warsaw Pact was established – partly in response to that – in 1955. The East has basically been re-active.

Today, Russia’s military expenditures is about 8% of NATO’s. Unless you consider Putin mentally ill or suicidal, it borders on hysteria to militarize and expand NATO’s military further. Not one NATO general would prefer to be employed in the Russian military. The Eastern side has always been comparatively weak – militarily, economically, and in terms of global projection capacity. It is NATO that still runs the show – but it can’t do that without finding enemies to legitimize its policies with.’

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NATO says would help defend Turkey if threatened by Islamic State

Today’s Zaman reports:

NATO says would help defend Turkey if threatened by Islamic State‘NATO would take all steps necessary to defend alliance member Turkey if it were threatened by Islamic State fighters who have made gains in neighbouring Iraq and Syria, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday.

“We are very much concerned about the activities of the so-called Islamic State, which is a bunch of terrorists, and it is of utmost importance to stop their advance,” Rasmussen told Reuters in an interview.

“If any of our allies, and in this case of course particularly Turkey, were to be threatened from any source of threat, we won’t hesitate to take all steps necessary to ensure effective defence of Turkey or any other ally,” he said.’

Amnesty International Report Details Crimes by US/NATO Forces in Afghanistan

Kevin Gosztola reports for Firedoglake:

‘Thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed by United States and NATO military forces since 2001, but, according to Amnesty International, there have been only six cases in which the US military has “criminally prosecuted” officers for “unlawfully killing civilians.”

The human rights organization put out a report [PDF] containing ten cases of apparent war crimes, where proper investigations and justice for the victims have been absent. These cases involve instances of night raids by US Special Operations forces, air strikes, drone strikes and torture that have occurred within the past five years of the Afghanistan War.

One hundred and twenty-five Afghan victims, family members and eyewitnesses to attacks, which resulted in civilian deaths, were interviewed by Amnesty. The organization also sifted through “documentary records” to research the US military’s investigative and prosecutorial practices in order to further highlight how war crimes are not punished.’

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The United States, NATO and the Destruction of Libya

Horace G. Campbell writes for CounterPunch:

global nato‘The evacuation of the western diplomats leaving the millions of Libyans to an uncertain fate has brought to the fore the Libyan dimensions of a wider theater of warfare from Tripoli through Benghazi to Cairo, Alexandria and Gaza and from Aleppo in Syria to Mosul in Iraq. The former allies of NATO such as Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are now connected to differing factions of the Libyan Civil War. In Libya, the war and bloodletting between the US supported General Khalifah Hifter (sometimes spelt Haftar) and the militias supported by Qatar is one indication of former allies falling out.   Citizens of the West have little understanding of the depth of the sufferings unleashed on the peoples of North Africa, Palestine, Syria and Iraq since the United States and NATO launched wars against the peoples of this region. The battles in Libya are merging with the criminal war against the people of Palestine, especially the peoples of Gaza.

It was three years ago when NATO had declared the end of the NATO mission, loudly announcing that the NATO mission to Libya had been ‘one of the most successful in NATO history.’ Despite this declaration of success there were clear signs of the remnants of the NATO suborned militias fighting for control of Libya. Today, that fighting has engulfed all of Libyan society to the point that the militias that had been deployed by NATO are now out of control while the funders of the militias are caught in the wider disputations over the future of the Africa, Palestine and the Arabian Peninsula. Calls for the United Nations and for the African Union to militarily intervene in Libya must now be accompanied by the call for ensuring that none of the current  members of the UN Security Council who were participants in the NATO intervention can be part of any UN force to demilitarize Libya to disarm the out of control militias.’

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Ukraine Crisis Reminds Americans Why NATO Should Not Expand

Doug Bandow writes for Forbes:

‘[...] Efforts to expand NATO are strikingly misguided.  Traditional military alliances were created to advance a nation’s security.  They were not intended to act as clubs for international business, associations for shared values, or tools for political integration.  Military alliances were supposed to prevent and win wars.  During the Cold War the U.S. established the alliance to protect the war-ravaged European states from America’s hegemonic adversary, the Soviet Union, and its satellite-allies.

The end of the Cold War eliminated the reason for creating NATO.  America’s dangerous global enemy had disappeared while Washington’s prosperous and populous allies had recovered economically and developed internationally.  The U.S. no longer needed to protect Europe.

However, alliance advocates acted like nothing had changed and proposed new justifications for the old organization, such as promoting student exchanges, fighting the drug trade, and encouraging environmental protection.  None of these dubious suggestions won much support, however, so member governments turned NATO into a mechanism to integrate Central and Eastern European states.  This task should have been left to the European Union, but Washington wanted to “lead” even when America was not directly concerned.  The alliance expanded up to the borders of Russia, the shrunken successor state to the Soviet Union.’

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U.S. Backs NATO Proposal For Russia Threat Response

Kosovo Leaders Have Been Accused of Killing and Harvesting Organs

John Dyer reports for Vice News:

KLA fighters in Pristina, 1999‘On Tuesday, Clint Williamson — an American diplomat appointed EU prosecutor in 2011 to investigate crimes against humanity in Kosovo — released a scathing statement that accused the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) of murdering a handful of people and then trafficking their kidneys, livers, and other body parts. KLA leaders now run the tiny Balkan country’s government…. The KLA also murdered, kidnapped, and detained people illegally, and in general oversaw a reign of terror against its non-Albanian and Albanian opponents after the group won Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in 1999.

The important thing for Americans to recall here is that the KLA achieved victory with the help of United States and NATO bombers attacking Serbian forces. At the time, President Bill Clinton portrayed the KLA as freedom fighters challenging Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic — a genocidal monster who died in a Hague prison cell in 2006. A few years ago, grateful Kosovars erected a bronze statue of Clinton in downtown Pristina, their capital. But now, it turns out, members of the KLA were probably monsters, too.’

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General Dempsey: We’re Pulling Out Our Cold War Military Plans Over Ukraine

Jon Queally writes for Common Dreams:

‘Hours after the U.S. State Department on Thursday claimed (though failed to describe) new evidence that Russia’s military was both increasing the flow of arms to rebel fighters in eastern Ukraine and firing artillery at Ukrainian Army positions across its border, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey elevated the  rhetoric against Russian President Vladimir Putin and directly invoked the idea that a new Cold War-like posture is now being taken by the U.S. military.

Speaking from the Aspen Security Forum, a defense industry conference in Colorado, Dempsey said Pentagon planners are now looking at military options “we haven’t had to look at for 20 years” and warned that Putin—who he characterized as escalating the crisis inside Ukraine—“may actually light a fire” he cannot control. And not just in Ukraine or eastern Europe, Dempsey said, but globally.

Drawing a dramatic historic comparison, Dempsey equated Putin’s alleged involvement in eastern Ukraine to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland in 1939: “It does change the situation. You’ve got a Russian government that has made a conscious decision to use its military force inside another sovereign nation to achieve its objectives. It’s the first time since 1939 or so that that’s been the case,” Dempsey said. “They clearly are on a path to assert themselves differently not just in Eastern Europe, but Europe in the main, and towards the United States.”’

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Obama on the new world (dis)order

Editor’s Note: Many people, especially within the conspiracy community, get excited whenever the term ‘new world order‘ is uttered by politicians. The ‘new world order’ often spoken of by U.S. leaders over the past 25-30 years, starting with George H.W. Bush at the end of the Cold War, refers to an American led global order. In recently years there has been a challenge to this American led system through the growth of the BRICS countries which has weakened U.S. global military and financial power. It is the growth of Russia and China in particular that TTIP and TPP are designed to stifle economically. You also have the Asia Pivot (aimed at China) and American/NATO involvement in Ukraine (aimed at Russia) which come into it on the side of foreign policy. It’s all essentially one big game of chess that has been going on for many years now.

Ben White reports for Politico:

‘President Obama at a fundraiser last night outside Seattle: “People are anxious. Now, some of that has to do with some big challenges overseas. I am very proud that we have ended one war, and by the end of this year we will have ended both wars that I inherited … But whether people see what’s happening in Ukraine, and Russia’s aggression towards its neighbors in the manner in which it’s financing and arming separatists; to what’s happened in Syria … to the failure in Iraq for Sunni and Shia and Kurd to compromise … to what’s happening in Israel and Gaza” …

“Part of people’s concern is just the sense that around the world the old order isn’t holding and we’re not quite yet to where we need to be in terms of a new order that’s based on a different set of principles, that’s based on a sense of common humanity, that’s based on economies that work for all people. … But here in the United States, what people are also concerned about is the fact that although the economy has done well in the aggregate, for the average person it feels as if incomes, wages just haven’t gone up; that people, no matter how hard they work, they feel stuck.”’

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General Breedlove calls for a retooling of NATO’s Response Force

Steven Beardsley reports for Stars & Stripes:

breedlove 722‘[...] The general also used the news conference, attended mostly by Italian journalists, to underline the need for changes to NATO posture during the alliance’s summit in September. Breedlove said Russian actions in Ukraine require a retooling of the NATO Response Force — a military unit combined from member nation forces stationed across Europe — as well as the creation of new headquarters focused on Article 5 military response in Europe’s north and south. Article 5 requires NATO members to support one another in case of attack. He also said that NATO needs to position resources forward on its eastern flank in response to the concerns of nations close to Ukraine.

“Pre-positioned supplies, pre-positioned capabilities and a basing area ready to rapidly accept follow-on forces,” he said. “And how we man that in a rotational or nonpermanent basis is what we’re looking at now to propose in NATO and we will be looking at that with the (North Atlantic Council).” Poland, in particular, has argued for forward supplies and permanent bases to be moved to eastern member states, a measure opposed especially by Germany, which claims a 1997 agreement between Russia and NATO prohibits such a shift. Poland argues the agreement, known as the Founding Act, is no longer valid after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in the spring. Italy, like Germany and France, has balked at harsh measures toward Russia favored by countries like Poland.’

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Pepe Escobar: A chessboard drenched in blood

Pepe Escobar writes for the Asia Times:

‘ [...] The Big Picture spells out the Empire of Chaos elites as extremely uneasy. Take Dr Zbigniew “The Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, who as a former foreign policy mentor has the ears of the increasingly dejected White House paperboy. Dr Zbig was on CNN this Sunday challenging Europe’s leaders to “stand up to Putin”. He wonders if “Europe wants to become a satellite” and worries about “a moment of decisive significance for the future of the system – of the world system”.

And it’s all Putin’s fault, of course: “We’re not starting the Cold War. He [Putin] has started it. But he has gotten himself into a horrendous jam. I strongly suspect that a lot of people in Russia, even not far away from him who are worried that Russia’s status in the world is dramatically being undermined, that Russia’s economically beginning to fail, that Russia’s threatened by the prospect of becoming a satellite to China, that Russia’s becoming self-isolated and discredited.”

Obviously Dr Zbig is blissfully unaware of the finer points of the Russia-China strategic partnership, as well as their concerted voice inside the BRICS, the G-20 and myriad other mechanisms. His trademark Russophobia in the end always gets the better of him. And to think that in his latest book, Strategic Vision (2012), Dr Zbig was in favor of an enlarged “West” annexing Turkey and Russia, with the Empire of Chaos posing as “promoter” and “guarantor” of broader unity in the West, and a “balancer” and “conciliator” between the major powers in the East. A quick look at the record since 2012 – Libya, Syria, Ukraine, encirclement of China – reveals the Empire of Chaos only as fomenter of, what else, chaos.

Now compare a fearful Dr Zbig with Immanuel Wallerstein – who was a huge influence in my 2007 warped geopolitical travel book Globalistan. In this piece (in Spanish) Wallerstein argues that the Empire of Chaos simply can’t accept its geopolitical decadence – and that’s why it has become so dangerous. Restoring its hegemony in the world-system has become the supreme obsession; and that’s where the whole “policy” that is an essential background to the MH17 tragedy reveals Ukraine as the definitive do or die battleground.

In Europe, everything hinges on Germany. Especially after the National Security Agency scandal and its ramifications, the key debate raging in Berlin is how to position itself geopolitically bypassing the US. And the answer, as pressed by large swathes of German big business, lies in a strategic partnership with Russia.’

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