Tag Archive: Nato


NATO’s second-in-command says Russia is now an enemy, not a partner

Published time: May 01, 2014 17:08
Edited time: May 02, 2014 06:51

 NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow (AFP Photo / Yuri Kadobnov)

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow (AFP Photo / Yuri Kadobnov)

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow now says that the allied group has been compelled to treat Russia “as more of an enemy than a partner,” according to an Associated Press report published Thursday.

The 61-year-old former United States ambassador to Russia reportedly told journalists this week that Moscow’s role in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine has forced NATO to reconsider the alliance’s opinion on Russia, and that additional troops may soon be mobilized to the region as tensions worsen.

AP journalist Robert Burns wrote on Thursday that Vershbow said the Kremlin’s perceived part in the recent events in Ukraine “marks a turning point in decades of effort by NATO to draw Moscow closer.”

NATO’s second-in-command reportedly told journalists that the alliance is now considering new measures meant to counter any future acts of aggression on the part of Russia aimed at partner nations, and soon could deploy a larger number of combat forces to Eastern Europe.

Journalists reporting for Civil.Ge wrote on Thursday that Vershbow told the audience at a panel discussion in Washington, DC one day earlier that NATO should deploy “defensive assets to the region.”

“We need to step up our support for defense reforms and military modernization of Russia’s neighbors, and not just of Ukraine, but also Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan,” Vershbow said, according to the Civil Georgia site.

 

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Pentagon orders 600 troops to Eastern Europe, criticizes Russia

Donald Cook

The U.S. guided-missile destroyer Donald Cook sails past Istanbul, Turkey, en route to the Black Sea. (Bulent Kilic / AFP/Getty Images / April 10, 2014)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Tuesday that it was sending 600 soldiers to Eastern Europe for military exercises in response to “aggression” by Russia in Ukraine, the first U.S. ground forces dispatched to the region in the 2-month-old crisis.

The 173rd Infantry Brigade, a U.S. Army airborne unit based in Vicenza, Italy, will deploy 150-soldier companies to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia over the next month and will rotate more U.S. forces to those and possibly other countries at least through the end of the year, Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters.

The four countries, all of which were under Moscow’s control during the Cold War and later joined NATO, have been among the most vocal in asking the U.S. and other alliance members to send forces to their territory in response to Russia’s military buildup along the Ukrainian border.

“What we’re after here is persistent presence, a persistent rotational presence,” Kirby said. “If there’s a message to Moscow … it’s that we take our obligations” to defend NATO members “very, very seriously.”

 

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Vice President Joe Biden meets with Ukraine's acting prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, in Kiev on Tuesday.

( Sergei L. Loiko / Los Angeles Times / April 22, 2014 )

Vice President Joe Biden meets with Ukraine’s acting prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, in Kiev on Tuesday.

 

U.S. will stand by Ukraine in face of Russian aggression, Biden says

 

KIEV, Ukraine — The United States will stand by Ukrainians against Russian aggression that threatens their nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Vice President Joe Biden pledged Tuesday during a visit to Kiev.

“No nation has the right to simply grab land from another nation, and we will never recognize Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, and neither will the world,” Biden said after meeting with Ukraine’s acting prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk. “No nation should threaten its neighbors by amassing troops along the border. We call on Russia to pull back these forces. No nation should stir instability in its neighbor’s country.”

Biden threatened greater costs and greater isolation for Russia, already facing fresh sanctions after annexing Crimea last month, and demanded that it “stop supporting men hiding behind masks in unmarked uniforms sowing unrest in eastern Ukraine.”

“I came here to Kiev to let you know, Mr. Prime Minister, and every Ukrainian know that the United States stands with you and is working to support all Ukrainians seeking a better future,” Biden said. “You should know that you will not walk this road alone. We will walk it with you.”

He accused Russia of failing to abide by commitments to help de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine made last week during meetings with officials from the U.S., Ukraine and the European Union.

“Now it is time for Russia to stop talking and to start acting on the commitments that they made to get pro-Russia separatists to vacate buildings and checkpoints, accept the amnesty,” Biden said. “That is not a hard thing to do …. We need to see this kind of concrete steps, we need to see them without delay.”

Biden pledged that the U.S. would provide nonlethal military aid to Ukraine. He also noted that the U.S. had committed to providing a $1-billion loan guarantee to help shore up the interim government in Kiev, which took power in February with the fall of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich.

 

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The New American

Did Team Obama Blunder or Conspire in Ukraine?

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While no one ever lost money overestimating the capacity of the U.S. government to blunder, we cannot rule out that American officials knew exactly what they were doing when they helped provoke the crisis in Ukraine.

It is hard to believe that all these officials are so ignorant of Russian history that they could not anticipate how President Vladimir Putin would respond to U.S.-backed machinations in Kiev. These machinations led to the ouster of elected (if corrupt and power-hungry) president Viktor Yanukovych after street demonstrations, which included neo-Nazi elements now represented in the new government.

About these machinations there is little doubt. We have a phone call between Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, in which they talk about who should rule Ukraine next. Nuland says, “I don’t think Klitsch [an opposition leader, Vitaly Klitschko] should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea…. I think Yats [Arseniy Yatsenyuk, another opposition leader] is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience.” Yatsenyuk became the prime minister after Yanukovych’s ouster.

Pyatt responds, “I think you reaching out directly to him [Yatsenyuk] helps with the personality management among the three [opposition leaders].”

The U.S. government worked to replace Yanukovych with its “guy” — which is not what the Obama administration tells the American people.

Pyatt adds, “But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast…. [W]e want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing.”

This phone call made headlines because Nuland used an obscenity regarding the European Union. But the news is that, contrary to public statements, the Obama administration sought to “midwife” regime change.

One need not be a Putin apologist to ask how the Americans failed to see that this activity would provoke the Russian president.

 

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Russia warns it will respond if interests attacked in Ukraine

US vice president Joe Biden and Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Joe Biden (left) and the Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at a joint news conference in Kiev. Photograph: UPI /Landov/Barcroft Media

Russia issued a blunt warning on Wednesday that it would respond if its interests were attacked in Ukraine, as pro-Kremlin rebels in the east of the country braced for a new military offensive by Kiev.

The threat by the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in which he recalled the 2008 war with Georgia over breakaway South Ossetia, came as Russia accused Kiev and the US of distorting an agreement reached in Geneva last week to defuse the crisis and of ignoring what it said were provocative actions by Ukrainian nationalists.

Lavrov used an interview with the Russian state-controlled broadcaster RT to accuse the US of “running the show” in Ukraine, claiming that it was “quite telling” that Kiev had announced a new offensive in the east of the country after US Vice-President Joe Biden had visited.

“If we are attacked, we would certainly respond,” Lavrov told RT.

“If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in accordance with international law.”

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that it believed the west was serious about seeking peace in Ukraine but “the facts speak of the opposite”.

Moscow also announced a seven-day naval exercise in the Caspian Sea and began military exercises in its Rostov region, bordering Ukraine. The US on Tuesday announced military exercises in Poland.The crisis deepened on Tuesday after Biden’s departure from Kiev following a two-day visit. In a late-night phone call, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, told Lavrov, of his “deep concern over the lack of positive Russian steps to de-escalate” the crisis in eastern Ukraine, a state department official said.

 

 

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Black smoke billows from barricades outside the Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, set alight by pro-Russia gunmen as they were driven from the site by Ukrainian national forces trying to recover occupied towns and cities in the east of the country.

( Mika Velikovskiy / Associated Press / April 24, 2014 )

Black smoke billows from barricades outside the Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, set alight by pro-Russia gunmen as they were driven from the site by Ukrainian national forces trying to recover occupied towns and cities in the east of the country.

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Ukrainian forces report killings, ouster of separatist gunmen

 

Ukrainian forces launch an operation Thursday to drive pro-Russia insurgents out of occupied buildings in the country’s tumultuous east, prompting new threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian government troops killed at least two pro-Russia separatist gunmen in Slovyansk on Thursday and drove away others occupying key public buildings in the city of Mariupol in an operation the Kremlin condemned as the Kiev government attacking “its own people.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the actions in eastern Ukraine and the deployment of NATO forces in member states bordering Russia to the west had “forced” the Kremlin to order more military drills of its troops amassed on Ukraine’s border.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said that “up to five” separatists had been killed in Kiev’s “anti-terrorist operation” targeting armed checkpoints set up by the Russian-speaking militants in Slovyansk.

A spokeswoman for the militants, Stella Khorosheva, confirmed to the Associated Press that two had been killed in the provincial town 100 miles west of the Russia-Ukraine border. Slovyansk has become the main flashpoint in the weeks-old confrontation between pro-Russia gunmen demanding autonomy from Kiev for the territory they are holding and Ukrainian officials trying to hold the country together.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the Ukrainian interim leadership of “consequences” for its move against pro-Russia militants who have seized a dozen towns and cities in eastern Ukraine in demand of local votes on whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia or revise the constitution to make their regions virtually independent. The separatists’ actions followed last month’s Russian  annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula after a swift occupation by Russian troops and a hastily called referendum on secession.

 

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Amid Russia warning, Ukraine is in a security bind

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russia’s foreign minister warned Wednesday that attacks on Russian citizens or interests in Ukraine would bring a firm response and drew a comparison to the circumstances that opened the war with Georgia in 2008.

“Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, a day after Ukraine announced it was re-launching a campaign against pro-Kremlin insurgents occupying government facilities in the mostly Russian-speaking east.

“If we were attacked we could certainly respond,” Lavrov said, speaking on the Kremlin-funded satellite TV channel RT.

Lavrov’s warning came as the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a separate statement demanding that Ukraine pull its armed forces out of the crisis-ridden region.

“If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia, I do not see any other way but to respond in full accordance with international law,” Lavrov said, referring to the 2008 war that led to the breaking away of the Georgian republic of South Ossetia.

In that conflict, Russia launched an invasion of Georgia after it unleashed an artillery attack on the capital of the separatist region, where Russian peacekeeping forces were stationed. However, unlike the conflict with Georgia, Russia has denied having troops or agents in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian warnings came as an accord reached last week in Geneva to defuse the Ukraine crisis continued to crumble, with pro-Russian insurgents in the east defying calls for all sides to disarm and to vacate the buildings they are occupying.

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, ordered resumption of an “anti-terrorist operation” against the pro-Russia forces. However, the highly publicized move produced little action on the ground Wednesday.

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Armed men outside an administrative building in Slovyansk, Ukraine. American officials say Russian troops or pro-Russian separatists under Moscow’s influence control such buildings. Credit Genya Savilov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry has accused Russia of behaving in a “19th-century fashion” because of its annexation of Crimea.

But Western experts who have followed the success of Russian forces in carrying out President Vladimir V. Putin’s policy in Crimea and eastern Ukraine have come to a different conclusion about Russian military strategy. They see a military disparaged for its decline since the fall of the Soviet Union skillfully employing 21st-century tactics that combine cyberwarfare, an energetic information campaign and the use of highly trained special operation troops to seize the initiative from the West.

“It is a significant shift in how Russian ground forces approach a problem,” said James G. Stavridis, the retired admiral and former NATO commander. “They have played their hand of cards with finesse.”

The abilities the Russian military has displayed are not only important to the high-stakes drama in Ukraine, they also have implications for the security of Moldova, Georgia, Central Asian nations and even the Central Europe nations that are members of NATO.

The dexterity with which the Russians have operated in Ukraine is a far cry from the bludgeoning artillery, airstrikes and surface-to-surface missiles used to retake Grozny, the Chechen capital, from Chechen separatists in 2000. In that conflict, the notion of avoiding collateral damage to civilians and civilian infrastructure appeared to be alien.

Since then Russia has sought to develop more effective ways of projecting power in the “near abroad,” the non-Russian nations that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has tried to upgrade its military, giving priority to its special forces, airborne and naval infantry — “rapid reaction” abilities that were “road tested” in Crimea, according to Roger McDermott, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation.

The speedy success that Russia had in Crimea does not mean that the overall quality of the Russian Army, made up mainly of conscripts and no match for the high-tech American military, has been transformed.

“The operation reveals very little about the current condition of the Russian armed forces,” said Mr. McDermott. “Its real strength lay in covert action combined with sound intelligence concerning the weakness of the Kiev government and their will to respond militarily.”

Still, Russia’s operations in Ukraine have been a swift meshing of hard and soft power. The Obama administration, which once held out hope that Mr. Putin would seek an “off ramp” from the pursuit of Crimea, has repeatedly been forced to play catch-up after the Kremlin changed what was happening on the ground.

“It is much more sophisticated, and it reflects the evolution of the Russian military and of Russian training and thinking about operations and strategy over the years,” said Stephen J. Blank, a former expert on the Russian military at the United States Army War College who is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council.

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American Forces Press Service

 News Article

Stavridis Presses for More NATO-Russia Dialogue

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2013 – Noting increased cooperation between NATO and Russia in several key areas, the top NATO and U.S. European Command commander emphasized today the importance of working through stumbling blocks in what he called a “complicated partnership.”

In a blog post, Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis cited concerted efforts by both parties since NATO’s 2010 summit in Lisbon, Portugal, where the alliance’s 28 heads of state and government agreed on the need to pursue “a true strategic partnership” between NATO and Russia and noted in the strategic concept that they expect reciprocity from Russia.

Stavridis recognized several areas where increased cooperation has shown signs of paying off: counterpiracy; support for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, military exchanges and training exercises, counterterrorism and counternarcotics, among them.

“Overall, we enjoy cooperation and some level of partnership in a variety of important areas,” he said. “On the other hand, there are clearly challenges in the relationship.”

Stavridis noted Russia’s objections to the European phased adaptive approach for missile defense. “Russia sees the NATO missile defense system as posing a threat to their strategic intercontinental ballistic missile force,” he said. “We strongly disagree, and feel that the system is clearly designed to protect populations against Iran, Syria and other ballistic-missile-capable nations that threaten the European continent.”

NATO and Russia also disagree over Russian forces stationed in Georgia and NATO’s role in Libya, Stavridis said.

“We maintain that we operated under the U.N. Security Council mandate to establish a no-fly zone, provide an arms embargo and protect the people of Libya from attacks,” he said, calling NATO’s actions “well within the bounds of the [U.N.] mandate and the norms of international law.

“Russia sees this differently,” Stavridis continued, “and whenever I discuss this with Russian interlocutors, we find little room for agreement. This tends to create a differing set of views about the dangerous situation in Syria as well.”

Stavridis noted Russian Ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko’s stated concerns that these differences — and the installation of NATO military infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders — threaten to unravel progress made in their relations.

“Notwithstanding differences on particular issues, we remain convinced that the security of NATO and Russia is intertwined,” Stavridis said, quoting the NATO strategic concept agreed to in Lisbon. “A strong and constructive partnership based on mutual confidence, transparency and predictability can best serve our security,” it states.

Stavridis recognized areas in which the growing NATO-Russian relationship is bearing fruit:

– Counterpiracy: Loosely coordinated efforts by NATO and Russian ships have reduced piracy by 70 percent over the past year and caused the number of ships and mariners held hostage to plummet in what the admiral called “a very effective operation.”

– Afghanistan support: Russia contributed small arms and ammunition to the Afghan security forces and sold MI-17 helicopters and maintenance training to the Afghan air force. In addition, Russia provides logistical support, including a transit arrangement that helps to sustain NATO-led ISAF forces and redeployment efforts.

– Military exchanges and exercises: Russian service members are participating in more of these engagements with the United States and NATO. These exchanges, including port calls in Russia, have been well-received by both militaries, Stavridis noted.

– Arctic cooperation: Russia is collaborating with other members of the Arctic Council, including the United States, Norway, Denmark, Canada and Iceland, to ensure the Arctic remains a zone of cooperation.

– Counterterrorism: In the lead-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, NATO is offering assistance and information-sharing via a variety of channels, Stavridis reported.

– Counternarcotics: NATO and Russia are working together to stem the flow of heroin from Afghanistan, a high priority for Russia.

Expressing hopes that NATO and Russia can continue to build on this cooperation, Stavridis said areas of tensions and disagreements need to be addressed.

“No one wants to stumble backwards toward the Cold War, so the best course for the future is open discussion, frank airing of disagreements, and hopefully seeking to build the ‘true strategic partnership’ set out in the NATO strategic concept,” he said. “Clearly, we have some work to do.”

 

Contact Author

Biographies:
Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis
Related Sites:
NATO International Security Assistance Force
U.S. European Command
Special Report: U.S. European Command

 

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9 April 2014, 09:47
NATO trains terrorists who destabilize situation in Ukraine - analyst

Contractors from private security companies are supposed to do what NATO cannot do openly, they train terrorists who destabilize situation in Ukraine, Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization told RIA Novosti Tuesday.

“Those organizations (private security companies) will do what NATO cannot do openly. They can train people to be terrorists,” Chossudovsky said, adding that in Syria private contractors were training al-Qaeda.

“We are talking about the continuation of US policy of military intervention in Ukraine and a preparatory stage for a massacre in southeastern Ukraine,” Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the National Defense monthly Russian-language magazine said, adding that the deployment of mercenaries from a private company Greystone Ltd. may be financed by Ukrainian oligarchs and organized in coordination with the US State Department.

Michel Chossudovsky told RIA Novosti that mercenaries are normally hired by governments, but options are numerous as they operate covertly and do not identify themselves.

“Private contractors could be hired by NATO, or by Ukrainian government or by an intermediary. Anyone can hire Greystone, they operate covertly, they don’t identify themselves, and make money,” Chossudovsky said.

“Considering that Ukraine’s security services show their obvious incompetence, foreign mercenaries are supposed to suppress the protests in the southeastern part of the country,” Korotchenko said.

Michel Chossudovsky expects Graystone to recruit Ukrainians for the operation and reminded that the company recruits different nationalities, who are trained by professional military personnel.

“Within the Ukrainian National Guard there are western military advisors, they have senior military people. They are supposed to train protective services, but in fact they train terrorists,” Chossudovsky said.

“NATO and the US won’t acknowledge the presence of these special forces. What is happening is an influx of special forces in Ukraine which are there with the purpose to sustain the current government, but also to sustain the state of destabilization,” Chossudovsky said stressing that mercenaries would infiltrate with grassroots movements to trigger violence across Ukraine.

Canadian expert also said that NATO advisors are already present in Ukraine and have been brought by Kiev authorities.

“We have reports that there were mercenaries in Eastern Ukraine in early March. Some of these mercenaries are used for sophisticated sniper operations which characterize Euro Maidan,” Chossudovsky said, adding that the similar operations have been seen in other countries.

Greystone Ltd. is a private company registered in Barbados that “provides the skilled professionals and program management services necessary to deliver rotary wing, protective security and training solutions.”

It used to be a subsidiary of Blackwater private security services provider, and now operates as a separate entity but still has links to it.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has earlier voiced concerns over the buildup of Ukrainian forces in the southeastern part of the country involving some 150 American mercenaries from a private company Greystone Ltd., dressed in the uniform of the Ukrainian special task police unit Sokol. Moscow called this move violation of Ukraine’s legislation.

 

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‘Kiev govt lost control of security forces in Eastern Ukraine’

Published time: April 08, 2014 11:53

Pro-Russian protesters gather at a barricade outside a regional government building in Donetsk, April 8, 2014.(Reuters / Maks Levin)

Pro-Russian protesters gather at a barricade outside a regional government building in Donetsk, April 8, 2014.(Reuters / Maks Levin)

Kiev has hired foreign mercenaries to take over law enforcement duties as well as most covert operations in eastern Ukraine, as the country struggles to regain control of its security apparatus, economist Michel Chossudovsky told RT.

RT: Activists in Kharkov are saying that policemen from other Ukrainian regions arrived in the city and they were the ones, who provoked the violence. What were they trying to achieve in your opinion?

Michel Chossudovsky: First of all the Kiev government has lost control of its security forces, its law enforcement in Eastern Ukraine. And this, they’ve realized several weeks back, because Ukraine’s interim government confirmed they were hiring a private military company, named Greystone Ltd, a company that was founded by (former) British SAS in the heyday, but actually they’re bringing in private mercenaries, which are now most probably integrating with the police forces, but they are also acting outside the realm of official law enforcement agencies.

 

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Barack Obama

Author  :  Elizabeth Cromwell

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Obama Issues Threats To Russia And NATO — Paul Craig Roberts

Obama Issues Threats To Russia And NATO

Paul Craig Roberts

The Obama regime has issued simultaneous threats to the enemy it is making out of Russia and to its European NATO allies on which Washington is relying to support sanctions on Russia. This cannot end well.

As even Americans living in a controlled media environment are aware, Europeans, South Americans, and Chinese are infuriated that the National Stasi Agency is spying on their communications. NSA’s affront to legality, the US Constitution, and international diplomatic norms is unprecedented. Yet, the spying continues, while Congress sits sucking its thumb and betraying its oath to defend the Constitution of the United States.

In Washington mumbo-jumbo from the executive branch about “national security” suffices to negate statutory law and Constitutional requirements. Western Europe, seeing that the White House, Congress and the Federal Courts are impotent and unable to rein-in the Stasi Police State, has decided to create a European communication system that excludes US companies in order to protect the privacy of European citizens and government communications from the Washington Stasi.

The Obama regime, desperate that no individual and no country escape its spy net, denounced Western Europe’s intention to protect the privacy of its communications as “a violation of trade laws.”

Obama’s US Trade Representative, who has been negotiating secret “trade agreements” in Europe and Asia that give US corporations immunity to the laws of all countries that sign the agreements, has threatened WTO penalties if Europe’s communications network excludes the US companies that serve as spies for NSA. Washington in all its arrogance has told its most necessary allies that if you don’t let us spy on you, we will use WTO to penalize you.

So there you have it. The rest of the world now has the best possible reason to exit the WTO and to avoid the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic “trade agreements.” The agreements are not about trade. The purpose of these “trade agreements” is to establish the hegemony of Washington and US corporations over other countries.

In an arrogant demonstration of Washington’s power over Europe, the US Trade Representative warned Washington’s NATO allies: “US Trade Representative will be carefully monitoring the development of any such proposals” to create a separate European communication network. http://rt.com/news/us-europe-nsa-snowden-549/

Washington is relying on the Chancellor of Germany, the President of France, and the Prime Minister of the UK to place service to Washington above their countries’ communications privacy.

It has dawned on the Russian government that being a part of the American dollar system means that Russia is open to being looted by Western banks and corporations or by individuals financed by them, that the ruble is vulnerable to being driven down by speculators in the foreign exchange market and by capital outflows, and that dependence on the American international payments system exposes Russia to arbitrary sanctions imposed by the “exceptional and indispensable country.”

 

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How alike are Crimea and Kosovo?

AP

Vladimir Putin’s key argument justifying Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and annexation by Russia following Sunday’s referendum is the West’s acceptance of Kosovo’s declaration of statehood in 2008.

With the strong support of the United States, the ethnic Albanian-dominated Kosovo seceded from Serbia despite Serbia’s strong objections. At the time, Russia argued that the Kosovo declaration was a serious breach of international law.

Here’s a look at Crimea and Kosovo:

How are Crimea and Kosovo similar?

Both Kosovo and Crimea have a majority who belong to an ethnic minority. Just as Kosovo Albanians feared Serbian repression during the autocratic rule of late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, Russians living in Crimea feared the Ukrainian nationalists who came to power in Kiev in February.

Both the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and the ethnic Russians in Crimea voted overwhelmingly in favor of secession, while the Serbian minority in Kosovo and the Ukrainian and Tatar minorities in Crimea mostly boycotted the votes.

There was foreign military intervention in both regions with NATO intervening in Kosovo and pro-Russian troops seizing control of Crimea ahead of the vote.

What are their main differences?

NATO intervened in Kosovo in 1999 only after significant evidence of Serbian abuses against ethnic Albanians, including mass killings and deportations. Pro-Russian forces intervened in Crimea with no major abuses or violence reported against ethnic Russians.

The West didn’t annex Kosovo after driving Milosevic’s forces out of the former Serbian province, but sent in peacekeepers. Russian troops, meanwhile, took control of Crimea before its referendum was held.

 

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Finian Cunningham (SCF),- Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Washington to drum up more direct NATO intervention in Syria’s conflict. The visit came in the wake of a twin car-bombing in the Turkish town of Reyhanli on 11 May in which more than 50 people were killed.

 

Tayyip ErdoganThe background suggests that the Turkish government may have had a hand in that bombing in a desperate attempt to get NATO to extricate Ankara from a failed, and criminal, tactic of regime change in Damascus.

 

Within hours of the double car-bombing in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli, Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan laid the blame for the atrocity emphatically on Syrian state forces. In an angry tone of defiance, Erdogan vowed that his country would not be “dragged into the quagmire” of the war in Syria.

 

But the truth is that Turkey is already deeply embroiled in Syria’s more than two-year bloody conflict that by some estimates has claimed over 80,ooo lives.

 

In a forthright denial of any involvement in the Reyhanli massacre, the Syrian government pointed out with fair reason that the Turkish authorities should take responsibility for its belligerent foreign policy towards its southern neighbour.

 

The Erdogan government has indeed allowed its border crossings with Syria to become logistical hubs for NATO-backed militants to launch attacks against the Syrian army of President Bashar al-Assad.These militant groups, which comprise so-called jihadist mercenaries from several Arab and other countries, are also accused of targeting civilian populations with atrocious acts of terrorism, including no-warning car bombs in urban neighbourhoods.

 

Yes, it is true than hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled for sanctuary in Turkey, where the Ankara government is providing humanitarian relief. Some 400,000 Syrian refugees are estimated to be residing in Turkey since the conflict erupting in March 2011, in border towns like Reyhanli in Hatay Province, at a total cost of $50 million a month to Ankara.

 

Nevertheless, the Erdogan government has permitted porous borders for the free flow of weapons and fighters into Syria. Infuriatingly for Damascus, these militants are allowed to retreat back into Turkey by the Ankara authorities in order to regroup and re-arm.

 

Credible reports also say that the American CIA and other Western military intelligence agencies are providing the Syrian mercenaries with training and logistics from the NATO Incirlik base in Turkey’s Hatay Province…

 

In addition, Turkish military officers have been captured or killed in battles with the Syrian army over recent months, according to Syrian state media.

 

There are also claims that chemical weapons have been supplied from Turkish territory to the mercenaries in Syria. The latter claim, if proven, has a certain irony, since Turkey’s prime minister Erdogan has been one of the most vehement voices among NATO and regional allies accusing the Assad forces of deploying chemical weapons in March near the northern city of Aleppo.

 

In short, Turkey under Erdogan’s leadership is already bogged down in the Syrian quagmire. Moreover, Erdogan’s government has, through its policy choices and actions, largely created this appalling quagmire.

 

But the problem for the Turkish leader is that the evident NATO agenda of regime change in Damascus has not gone to plan. Instead of a relatively quick covert campaign of destabilization, as in Libya, the Assad regime has proven to be surprisingly recalcitrant. Indeed, the evidence is that the Syrian authorities are increasingly gaining the military upper hand against the NATO-backed mercenaries, despite the carnage and mayhem unleashed on that country.

 

This protracted regime-change operation has rebounded most harmfully for Turkey out all of the NATO protagonists. The refugee crisis is reckoned to have cost Ankara $1.5 billion so far; and with the numbers of refugees in Turkey alone projected to double by the end of the year that is placing an unsustainable burden on Turkey’s once bustling economy.

 

The mercurial Syrian conflict is also rebounding to destabilize Turkey’s internal security problems with the long-running Kurdish separatist insurgency in its southern regions.

 

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State Department Conducts Secret Visit with Death Squad Leader in Syria

image source

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

As the Syrian army continues to gain the upper hand against the NATO-backed death squads made up of mercenaries, fanatics, and al-Qaeda terrorists, it appears that the Western powers responsible for the creation of the armed and violent rebellion have kicked into high gear as the advance of their proxy army has been stalled.

Even though the barbarism of death squad participants seems to have recently hit a fever pitch, while Israeli air strikes on sovereign Syrian soil are targeting military and civilian targets alike, and new found erroneous claims by Western nations of the use of chemical weapons by the Assad government, the Syrian army has managed to continue its mop up of the inappropriately named “rebels.”

Yet the Western agitators have not given up. This much is made clear by the recent “secret” visit by former U.S. Ambassador to Syria and notorious destabilization agent Robert Ford made to the current death squad leader, Gen. Salim Idriss.

This visit took place Wednesday, May 9, 2013 and was likely initiated via the Bab al-Salama crossing on the Turkey/Syria border. According to Deborah Thomas of NPR, “Ford met with the head of the Aleppo military council, Abdul Jabbar Okaidi, who thanked him for the shipment of nonlethal aid. Seven trucks transported some 65,000 MREs, or meals ready to eat, the U.S. military’s battlefield rations.”

Although no mention is made of the actual lethal aid that has been provided to the death squads by the generosity of the American taxpayer via Gulf State feudal monarchies such as Saudi Arabia, Thomas points out that the MREs were part of “an additional $10 million aid package” dedicated to the death squads by the U.S. government. Secretary of State John Kerry announced in April that the United States would be donating $123 million to the Syrian death squads, despite facing a worldwide economic depression, drastic levels of unemployment at home, and a manufactured crisis such as the “sequester” and a host of other domestic crises.

Ford’s visit to Syria is both part of the overarching attempt to further destabilize the country, organize death squad activity, and create a public relations campaign aimed at forming an image of Idriss as a figure around which popular support can be rallied. This, of course, is at least the third time Western interests have attempted to create a “freedom fighter” lead image for the Syrian death squads – Moaz al-Khatib and Ghassan Hitto being the more recent failures.

Idriss appears to be nothing more than the latest incarnation of a would-be puppet dictator set up to impose the Western will upon the Syrian people and act as a proxy stabilizing force in the event of the much-desired (on the part of NATO) removal of Assad. Idriss was actually a military officer in the Assad government himself until defecting in 2012. Now, he is the official commander of the Free Syrian Army and thus a comrade in arms of al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and a ragtag band of fanatics, mental deficients, traitors, and mercenaries.

As Webster Tarpley commented on PressTV on May 10, 2013,

Well, I think we have some mixed signals from the Obama regime here. Let us hasten to say that anybody calling themselves “Free Syrian Army” is, in fact, a representative of the al-Nusra Front because we’re getting reports everyday of more and more units of the so-called FSA showing their true colors or going over to Nusra and proclaiming themselves full-fledged terrorists, al-Qaeda disciples, death squads in every sense of the word. Now, we had, in the last twenty four hours, Ambassador Robert Ford of the State Department, somebody who did a lot to get this tragic rebellion going in the first place . . . Ambassador Robert Ford who is a taskmaster of death squad deployments, having learned it from Negrponte in Baghdad some years ago, he crossed into Syria, not with the permission of the Syrian government, but to go and meet General Idriss. And this General, Salim Idriss, is the new golden boy here. He is the new darling of the CIA and the State Department. And it looks like Ford is trying to coordinate the next move with Idriss. You can think of Idriss as the new Ahmed Chalabi – somebody the U.S. is grooming to become dictator of the country.

Of course, this is not the first time that Ford has engaged in a publicity-based visit to the Syrian death squads inside Syria, thus drawing the ire of the Syrian government. In 2011, after his travel as U.S. Ambassador had been restricted due to his destabilization efforts already taking place, Ford traveled to Hama in order to promote and encourage the violent assault waged by the Western-backed death squads against innocent Syrian civilians as well as Syrian soldiers.

Ford’s very presence in Syria was never anything more than a destabilization tactic. Indeed, he has managed to draw quite a bit of international attention to himself by traveling across the country at will, “meeting with protestors” and turning terrorists into martyrs in the minds of the gullible Western public.

Logically, by “meeting with protestors” one can read “instigating terrorism.” The mainstream media, however, reported Ford’s terror encouragement tour as a heroic act of solidarity with “the people.”

Ford’s action in Syria, even as the official U.S. Ambassador, served exactly the same purpose as his presence in Iraq only a few years previous. With Syria, however, it seems that Ford attempted to take on a more central role in the affair. Indeed, many Syrians, if not aware of the more specific sinister acts of Ford, are at least aware that he has been instrumental in fomenting violent rebellion and negative Western public opinion against the ruling government. This is why Ford’s convoy was attacked by “pro-government” Syrians as he rode through town meeting with his terrorist pets.

The reality is that Ford is nothing more than a globalist chaos promoter who is merely taking over from his mentor John Negroponte, who became quite refined as a enabler of mass slaughter in Central America and Iraq. Indeed, Negroponte’s Iraq affair is where Ford himself was able to hone his skills in the arming and assistance of ruthless death squads who target innocent people in campaigns of terror and mass murder.

It should be noted that Prof. Michel Chossudovsky of GlobalResearch.ca has provided an excellent historical presentation of the connections of Negroponte, Ford, and even David Petraeus in relation to death squads and destabilization in his article “The Pentagon’s ‘Salvador Option’: The Deployment of Death Squads in Iraq and Syria.” I encourage everyone to read this excellent piece for context and analysis as a companion to my own article.

Read Full Article Here

Published time: May 08, 2013 14:51

RT

President Vladimir Putin, center, chairs a Security Council meeting on May 8, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Alexei Druzhinin)

President Vladimir Putin, center, chairs a Security Council meeting on May 8, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Alexei Druzhinin)

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) does almost nothing to eradicate drug production in Afghanistan, and this drug-trafficking problem will likely worsen in the near future, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated.

The NATO security mission – which will pull out of Afghanistan in 2014 – has failed to bring stability to the region, Putin said at a meeting of the Russian Security Council on Wednesday.

There are all grounds to believe that we may face an escalation of the situation in Afghanistan in the short term,” the president said.

The foreign military contingent, whose backbone is American forces, has not achieved a breakthrough in the fight against terrorist and radical groups as yet. On the contrary, their activity has been particularly increasing lately,” Putin explained.

There has also been “a drastic increase in drug production in the territory of Afghanistan and the creation of stable drug-trafficking routes to other countries, including – unfortunately – to Russia,” he said. Putin also noted that the ISAF does little to address the problem, while Russia’s proposals on the matter have so far been ignored.

International terrorist and radical groups in Afghanistan “do not conceal their plans to export instability and will try to carry sabotage over to the territories of neighboring states and Russia,” Putin said, adding that this would lead to an increase in drug-trafficking, crime, fundamentalism and uncontrolled flows of refugees.

In that connection, we must have a clear strategy of actions, which would take into consideration various scenarios for the development of the events,” he stressed.

Read Full Article Here

 

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How MI6, CIA spend tax money on propping up drug production

Annie Machon is a former intel­li­gence officer for the UK’s MI5, who resigned in 1996 to blow the whistle. She is now a writer, public speaker and a Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Published time: May 07, 2013 10:48
Edited time: May 07, 2013 12:01

An Afghan farmer collects raw opium as he works in a poppy field in Khogyani District of Nangarhar province on April 29, 2013. (AFP Photo)

An Afghan farmer collects raw opium as he works in a poppy field in Khogyani District of Nangarhar province on April 29, 2013. (AFP Photo)

With both the CIA and MI6 secretly providing ‘ghost money’ bribes to the Afghan political establishment, it’s likely that Afghans will increasingly support a resurgent Taliban and the drug trade will be further propped up.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, has recently been criticized for taking ‘ghost money’ from the CIA and MI6. The sums are unknown – for the usual reasons of ‘national security’ – but are estimated to have been in the tens of millions of dollars. While this is nowhere near the eye-bleeding $12 billion shipped over to Iraq on pallets in the wake of the invasion a decade ago, it is still a significant amount.

And how has this money been spent?  Certainly not on social projects or rebuilding initiatives.  Rather, the reporting indicates, the money has been funneled to Karzai’s cronies as bribes in a corrupt attempt to buy influence in the country.

None of this surprises me. MI6 has a long and ignoble history of trying to buy influence in countries of interest.  In 1995/96 it funded a ‘ragtag group of Islamic extremists,’ headed up by a Libyan military intelligence officer, in an illegal attempt to try to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi.  The attack went wrong and innocent people were killed. When this scandal was exposed, it caused an outcry.

Yet a mere 15 years later, MI6 and the CIA were back in Libya, providing support to the same ‘rebels,’ who this time succeeded in capturing, torturing and killing Gaddafi, while plunging Libya into apparently endless internecine war. This time around there was little international outcry, as the world’s media portrayed this aggressive interference in a sovereign state as ‘humanitarian relief.’

And we also see the same in Syria now, as the CIA and MI6 are already providing training and communication support to the rebels – many of whom, particularly the Al Nusra faction in control of the oil-rich north-east of Syria are in fact allied with Al-Qaeda in Iraq.  So in some countries the UK and USA use drones to target and murder “militants” (plus villagers, wedding parties and other assorted innocents), while in others they back ideologically similar groups.

 

Read Full Article Here

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