Category Archives: Nato

How America Double-Crossed Russia and Shamed the West

NATO and Gulf States Conspiring to Drive the Middle East into Full-blown War

By Patrick Henningsen

March 12, 2013 “Information Clearing House –  The evidence is now in, as list of state actors can now be seen openly conspiring to drive the Middle East into full-blown war.

It’s well known by now that NATO and the Gulf States initial plans to overturn the sovereign state of Syria has been running behind schedule since their operation was launched two years ago. They had hoped for the sort of slam dunk which they enjoyed in overturning the country of Libya in late 2011.
This same formula could not be applied again however, so Plan B, a ground war using proxies has meant a longer drawn out conflict. It hasn’t been working fast enough in Syria, and western backed terrorist groups still sustaining heavy losses in their fight to topple the Assad government on behalf of the NATO and its Gulf allies.
The main obstacle with Plan B is that the very idea of directly arming terrorists in Syria is not one which can be sold openly in either the US or Britain.
From the NATO Allied corner, something drastic needed to be done…
Whilst politicians in the West, namely those in Washington DC, London and parts of Europe, have been publicly denying that they were helping to organise running arms into Syria and issuing very public pleads for ‘humanitarian aid’ for those they identify as the Syrian Opposition, activity back stage has been furious. The debate in government and the media has been mere window dressing for the real operation being quietly carried out.
NATO Gun-running via Croatia
It can now be revealed that NATO allied nations were busy using proxy states to drive their war in Syria – putting together one of the biggest international black operation transfers of military supplies in recent history. So it’s official: large caches of hardware from the West have been transferred to the Syrian jihadist mercenary collective known as the ‘Free Syrian Army’ , ‘Syrian Rebels’, or ‘Syrian Opposition’ – depending on who you ask, a brash move which may be vehemently opposed by other UN Security Council members – namely Russia and China.
Multiple media sources reveal the details of this massive airlift comprised of 75 airplanes, and an estimated 3,000 tons of military weaponry on board has left Croatia and has already been delivered… to Syria.
It is also confirmed from these reports that Saudi Arabia has financed a large portion of this purchase secretly transported to al Qaeda and other FSA fighters – who are working with the support of the CIA, MI6 and others, along with other financial and material support of Qatar and Saudi, to further destabilise and overthrow the Assad government in Syria.
“From the start of November last year, till February this year, 75 planes flew out from Zagreb Airport with over 3,000 tons of weapons and ammunition bound for Syrian rebels…The newspaper, quoting diplomatic sources, says that besides Croatian weapons the planes were full with weapons from other European countries including the UK. The weapons were organised by the United States of America.
Sources say that the first few flights to leave Croatia bound for Syria with weapons were operated by Turkish Cargo, which is owned by Turkish Airlines. After those flights, Jordanian International Air Cargo took over the flights. The deal to provide arms to the rebels was made between American officials and the Croatian Ambassador to the US.”
In addition to this huge gun-running operation, Croatia also appears to be guilty of either having advanced knowledge, or possibly coordinating with Syrian terrorists as evidenced by their recently withdraw all of troops from the UN observer mission in Golan Heights, indicating that the recent kidnapping by Free Syrian Army Terrorists of at least 20 UNIFIL peacekeepers in the Golan Heights was known in advance by Croatia. The incident may have been designed to pull Syria’s southern neighbor, Israel, even closer to the conflict, a development which would almost surely prompt the UN to declare this as trigger to a regional crisis, followed by an authorised military intervention.
If it was known by Croatia, then one can only conclude that this was also known by US and British operatives as well. Both the US and Britain will naturally claim deniability as their legal out in this case, by deniability through the use of proxies makes no innocent parties when the prospect of a multi-regional war beckons as a result of the west’s financial, logistical, political, and now material involvement in the overthrow of a sovereign state and internationally recognised government.
US officials are on record as admitting to helping arrange the weapons airlift, as cited in this Feb 25, 2012 article in the New York Times:
“An official in Washington said the possibility of the transfers from the Balkans was broached last summer, when a senior Croatian official visited Washington and suggested to American officials that Croatia had many weapons available should anyone be interested in moving them to Syria’s rebels.”
Terrorist receive recoilless guns from the former Yugoslavia.
Revelations are not limited to the Croatian news report, as we see the US and Europe’s mainstream media wall of silence has begun to crack, including here a recent report from London’s Daily Telegraph sent across Syria’s borders with Jordan and NATO-member Turkey. The article entitled, “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’“goes on to give further details of direct European involvement in illegal weapons running:
“The United States has coordinated a massive airlift of arms to Syrian rebels from Croatia with the help of Britain and other European states, despite the continuing European Union arms embargo, it was claimed yesterday…
Decisions by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, to provide non-lethal assistance and training, announced in the past week, were preceded by much greater though less direct Western involvement in the rebel cause, according to a Croat newspaper.
The shipments were allegedly paid for by Saudi Arabia at the bidding of the United States, with assistance on supplying the weapons organised through Turkey and Jordan, Syria’s neighbours.
as from Croatia, weapons came “from several other European countries including Britain”, without specifying if they were British-supplied or British-procured arms.
British military advisers however are known to be operating in countries bordering Syria alongside French and Americans, offering training to rebel leaders and former Syrian army officers…
… The weapons, including rocket launchers, recoil-less guns and the M79 anti-tank weapon, have been seen in rebel hands in numerous videos, and were first spotted by an arms expert Eliot Higgins, who blogs under the name Brown Moses. He traced them moving from Dera’a in the south, near the Jordanian border, to Aleppo and Idlib provinces in the north.”


Hague: Denies Britain’s involvement in gun-running. (right)
It is also no big secret that Britain has deployed a significant contingent of troops and support personnel to Jordan at least as far back as Autumn 2012 as part of its ongoing ‘joint military exercises’ with the Jordan military, but this latest revelation puts into clearer perspective the overwhelming likelihood that high level British military operation have actually been involved in the transfer of arms from Jordan into the hands of the international terrorist confab of mostly foreign fighter running under the west’s media banner of “Syrian Rebels”.
Consequences for Croatia, and Britain
What Britain may be guilty of here, is cynically – and illegally, trying to side-stepping the EU embargo on arms into Syria by using the fledgling EU state of Croatia as their delivery mechanism, because Croatia does not officially join the EU until July 1, and has not implemented any binding EU legislation. This flagrant violation of both EU and international law should mean that Croatia’s entrance into the EU could be appealed by other members states willing to raise an objection, with what are now clear grounds to mount a legal challenge against Croatia.
Regardless of any EU outcomes however, Croatia at least –  is guilty of international war crimes.
International and EU Sanctions Against the US, Britain, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia
As expected, Britain’s Foreign Office denies all of the claims connecting it to the Croatian gun-running program, but if Britain is involved – even indirectly, through a proxy like Croatia, or if British military personnel are aiding and abetting these known terrorist fighters in Syria through the transfer of weaponry, then Britain can also be brought into the international legal framework to answer for what it has done behind the public’s back.
The international war crimes which are now in the public view could test the legal framework of the EU, the UN and the ICC in the Hague. The legal door is now open for charges against state actors including US, Britain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – for the crimes of illegally arming a force of foreign fighters and known terrorists in Syria – designed to destroy the country from within. Many UN resolutions, including the recent Resolution 1973 applied in Libya by the UN, have been implemented on much more spurious and shaky grounds than the overwhelming evidence available regarding Syria.
Moreover, Israel’s unwarranted airstrike against a Syrian Military Research facility last month was also ignored by the UN, but this is not surprising as Israel has long been allowed to operate outside of international law and norms.
If the international community does not act in this instance, then it opens the door to more brazen criminality sans borders, which could spawn similar illegal operations against Iran, opening the door to a Third World War.
France sends ‘aid’ for Syria to Jordan 
France played an integral part in the destruction of Libya in 2011, and they might also have an interest in their former colonial possessions in Syria, but it’s not clear as yet if France’s commitment to overthrowing the Assad government is on par with the US and Britain’s efforts. Back in August 2012, France had also been sending large shipments designated for Syria via Jordan, claiming that these shipment contained ‘aid and medical supplies’ – intended for Syrian refugees. Real Syrian News reported:
“An Antonov 124 cargo aircraft landed at the Marka military airport in Amman on Saturday. The cargo is said to include a field hospital and medical supplies for the refugees in the Zaatari camp near the Syrian border. An A310 airliner carrying 85 French military staff and medical equipment arrived in Jordan on Thursday.”
After the Croatian airlift, it’s now not a stretch to suspect that other countries could be involved in similar operations under the cover of supplying ‘humanitarian aid’.
Syria Crisis Planned by the US and NATO Allies Before the ‘Arab Spring’
Despite previous denials and avoiding the issue by states persons like Hillary Clinton and William Hague, it is certain that ‘al Qaeda’ terrorists are operating in Syria and receive various kinds of support from the West and their Gulf allies, and that these are many of the same terrorist who are responsible for violence and killing in Iraq. The New York Times confirmed this fact recently:
“Iraqi officials said the extremists operating in Syria are in many cases the very same militants striking across their country. “We are 100 percent sure from security coordination with Syrian authorities that the wanted names that we have are the same wanted names that the Syrian authorities have, especially within the last three months,” Izzat al-Shahbandar — a close aide to the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki — said in an interview on Tuesday. “Al Qaeda that is operating in Iraq is the same as that which is operating in Syria,” he said.”
Bangkok based analyst, Tony Cartalucci, from Land Destroyer blog, adds another important piece of evidence in this mix, pointing out the fact that the US and its NATO operatives have been engineering the crisis in Syria well before the official ‘uprising’ began in 2011:
“Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, in his 2007 New Yorker report titled, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?“stated explicitly that:
“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
Cartalucci provides further background to support the west’s own knowledge and involvement is the current crisis: 

Is there any doubt that the US has executed this plot in earnest, arming and funding sectarian extremists “sympathetic to Al Qaeda” on both Syria’s northern and southern border? Where else, if not from the West and its regional allies, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, could extremists be getting their weapons, cash, and logistical support from? 

And of course, Syria’s borders with Jordan and Turkey have been long-ago identified by the US Army’s own West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) as hotbeds of sectarian extremist/Al Qaeda activity – hotbeds that the West is purposefully funneling thousands of tons of weaponry through, while disingenuously claiming it is attempting to prevent such weapons from falling into the hands of extremists.
The CTC’s 2007 report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” identified Syria’s southeastern region near Dayr Al-Zawr on the Iraqi-Syrian border, the northwestern region of Idlib near the Turkish-Syrian border, and Dar’a in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border, as having produced the majority of fighters found crossing over into Iraq throughout the duration of the Iraq War.
Image: (Left) West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s 2007 report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” indicated which areas in Syria Al Qaeda fighters filtering into Iraq came from during the US invasion/occupation. The overwhelming majority of them came from Dayr Al-Zawr in Syria’s southeast, Idlib in the north near the Turkish-Syrian border, and Dar’a in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border. (Right) A map indicating the epicenters of violence in Syria indicate that the exact same hotbeds for Al Qaeda in 2007, now serve as the epicenters of so-called “pro-democracy fighters.” 
These areas are now admittedly the epicenters of fighting, and more importantly, despite being historical hotbeds of Al Qaeda activity, precisely where the West is flooding with cash, weapons, and military “advisers.”
Just like in Libya where the West literally handed an entire nation to sectarian extremists, we are watching a verbatim repeat in Syria – where we are told Al Qaeda terrorists are “pro-democracy” “freedom fighters” that deserve US cash, weapons, and support, when it couldn’t be any clearer they aren’t.
Not only has the US and UK lied to the world about their policy toward Syria and their current level of support for increasingly overt terrorists committing an array of atrocities – their latest act including the taking of over 20 UN peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights – but have revealed once again the manufactured facade that is the “War on Terror…”
Terrorist Groups Currently Active in Syria
Known terrorist groups are operating in Syria and are receiving the full backing of NATO Allies and Gulf states Qatar and Saudi Arabia. They include – but are not limited to, Saudi Intelligence-backed Jabhat al-Nusra or ‘al Nursa Front’, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group,  Abdullah Azzam Brigades and Al Baraa ibn Malik Martyrdom Brigade, the jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham, the PKK (in northeast Syria), Kata’ib Mohadzherin from the Russian Caucus region – to name only a few.
Earlier reports of rogue Russian and Chechen terrorists filtering into Syria appear to be preceded by Salafists killing Sufi leaders in the Russian Federation. The Pakistan Christian Post reports:
“Recently in Dagestan the Sufi spiritual leader Said Efendi Chirkeisky was killed by a suicide bomber along with a few followers. This happened in late August and the closeness to the recent attack against Sufi leaders in Tatarstan is a clear reminder that Salafism is a potent force within parts of the Russian Federation. Therefore, not surprisingly the Russian Federation is extremely alarmed by major Western powers once more working in collusion with the FSA, al-Qaeda and a whole array of Salafi terrorist organizations.”
It’s worth noting also that like Libya’s new militant governor of Tripoli, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, terrorist group Kata’ib Mohadzherin’s leader Airat Vakhitov was also imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002 after being captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Both were released and filtered back into fighting regions to organise al Qaeda-type Islamist groups – both active in countries which the US and NATO have been actively vying for regime change, in Libya and Syria respectively. You can draw your own conclusions here about what Guantanamo is in reality.
The same New York Times article(above) also mentions terrorists’ theocratic designs of establishing some caliphate in the region:
“One Qaeda operative, a 56-year-old known as Abu Thuha who lives in the Hawija district near Kirkuk in Iraq, spoke to an Iraqi reporter for The New York Times on Tuesday. “We have experience now fighting the Americans, and more experience now with the Syrian revolution,” he said. “Our big hope is to form a Syrian-Iraqi Islamic state for all Muslims…
It’s important to understand that such claims by any shadowy ‘al Qaeda’ figures must also be balance with the reality that these militants have been historically, and are still today, directed and funded at the highest levels of both US and Saudi intelligence, and others. When you see terror spokesman like Ayman al-Zawahri, the alleged leader of Al Qaeda, praise the Syrian fighters by referring to them as “the lions of the Levant,” in messages released exclusively via a known CIA media dissemination outlets like SITE, or INTEL CENTER, then readers should be suspicious of why it’s been released and what political effect it is designed to have.
Now that some of the scope of NATO Allies operation in Syria has been exposed to the public, perhaps political representatives  and media journalist and editors will be able to report more accurately on the Syrian crisis, and demand a withdrawl of NATO, Arab League and others country’s support for the growing and highly dangerous paramilitary and other al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups who are currently working to take power by destabilising the country of Syria.

It’s all happening out in the open now.

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NATO funding, arming, & simultaneously fighting Al Qaeda from Mali to Syria.

France Displays Unhinged Hypocrisy as Bombs Fall on Mali

By Tony Cartalucci

January 13, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France’s military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME’s article, “The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?” decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome “War on Terror” narrative.

TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop “Islamist” terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:

“…there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they’ve identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack.”

What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO’s 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya – providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya’s government.
As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote “Algeria will be next to fall,” where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:
Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis.
And thanks to NATO, that is exactly what Libya has become – a Western sponsored sanctuary for Al-Qaeda. AQIM’s headway in northern Mali and now French involvement will see the conflict inevitably spill over into Algeria. It should be noted that Riedel is a co-author of “Which Path to Persia?” which openly conspires to arm yet another US State Department-listed terrorist organization (list as #28), the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to wreak havoc across Iran and help collapse the government there – illustrating a pattern of using clearly terroristic organizations, even those listed as so by the US State Department, to carry out US foreign policy.

Geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar noted a more direct connection between LIFG and AQIM in an Asia Times piece titled, “How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli:”

“Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda’s number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same – and Belhaj was/is its emir. “

“Belhaj,” referring to Hakim Abdul Belhaj, leader of LIFG in Libya, led with NATO support, arms, funding, and diplomatic recognition, the overthrowing of Muammar Qaddafi and has now plunged the nation into unending racist and tribal, genocidal infighting. This intervention has also seen the rebellion’s epicenter of Benghazi peeling off from Tripoli as a semi-autonomous “Terror-Emirate.” Belhaj’s latest campaign has shifted to Syria where he was admittedly on the Turkish-Syrian border pledging weapons, money, and fighters to the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” again, under the auspices of NATO support.

Image: NATO’s intervention in Libya has resurrected listed-terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate, LIFG. It had previously fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now has fighters, cash and weapons, all courtesy of NATO, spreading as far west as Mali, and as far east as Syria. The feared “global Caliphate” Neo-Cons have been scaring Western children with for a decade is now taking shape via US-Saudi, Israeli, and Qatari machinations, not “Islam.” In fact, real Muslims have paid the highest price in fighting this real “war against Western-funded terrorism.”

LIFG, which with French arms, cash, and diplomatic support, is now invading northern Syria on behalf of NATO’s attempted regime change there, officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007 according to the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). According to the CTC, AQIM and LIFG share not only ideological goals, but strategic and even tactical objectives. The weapons LIFG received most certainly made their way into the hands of AQIM on their way through the porous borders of the Sahara Desert and into northern Mali.
In fact, ABC News reported in their article, “Al Qaeda Terror Group: We ‘Benefit From’ Libyan Weapons,” that:

A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials.

“We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”

It is no coincidence that as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then, using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali, Algeria, and Syria with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.
French involvement may drive AQIM and its affiliates out of northern Mali, but they are almost sure to end up in Algeria, most likely by design. Algeria was able to balk subversion during the early phases of the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011, but it surely has not escaped the attention of the West who is in the midst of transforming a region stretching from Africa to Beijing and Moscow’s doorsteps – and in a fit of geopolitical schizophrenia – using terrorists both as a casus belli to invade and as an inexhaustible mercenary force to do it.

Tony Cartalucci blogs at Land Destroyer

Land Destroyer is an alternative news blog based in Bangkok, Thailand covering geopolitics.

NATO Intervention in Syria Imminent

By Stephen Lendman
December 09, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – On December 7, Voice of Russia (VoR) headlined: “Iraq 2.0, another false-flag invasion rated XXX,” saying:
“The US and NATO are set to invade Syria, something many of us have been warning about for a while now. It has been obvious that they have been looking for a pretext and that pretext has already been injected into the public debate.”
VoR cited fabricated claims about threatening chemical weapons. Media scoundrels hype them. Sarin nerve gas was mentioned. Reports claimed Assad readied it in bombs. No evidence whatever was cited.
They’re ready to go but haven’t been loaded on planes, said an unnamed US official. Pentagon spokesman George Little said “any consideration of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would be unacceptable.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said:
“I think there is no question that we remain very concerned, very concerned that as the opposition advances, in particular on Damascus, that the regime might very well consider the use of chemical weapons. The intelligence that we have causes serious concerns that this is being considered.”
“The president of the United States has made very clear there will be consequences, there will be consequences if the Assad regime makes a terrible mistake by using these chemical weapons on their own people.”
On December 7, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad was unequivocal, saying:
“Syria stresses again, for the 10th, the 100th time, that if we had such weapons, they would not be used against our people. We would not commit suicide.”
The alleged Syrian chemical weapons threat replicates bogus allegations about Saddam’s nonexistent WMDs. It’s similar to falsified claims about Gaddafi, the Taliban, and numerous other invented US enemies.
Big Lies launch wars. In “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu said “All war is based on deception.” It’s true now like in ancient times. Instant global communications, super-weapons, and scoundrel media complicity make today’s threat especially ominous.
Washington’s rage for war threatens humanity. Peace doesn’t have a chance. Media scoundrels hype false threats. Repeated ad nauseam, people believe them. 
No matter how many previous times they were fooled, they buy the Big Lie again. It happens every time. They’re being set up again now. 
Administration, congressional, and Pentagon officials are preparing the public for more war. Falsified headlines hype nonexistent threats. Humanity hangs in the balance. Where this ends, who knows.
In early December, UN officials said they’re recalling all non-essential Syrian staff. Growing conflict dangers were cited. Perhaps advance word of imminent NATO intervention was gotten.
On December 6, CNN cited a Pentagon spokesman Little saying Washington updated its military options for potentially striking Syria. “We are prepared for a full range of contingencies,” said Little.
He added that US forces have all the firepower needed in the region for full-scale war if ordered. A previous article said Washington positioned considerable military strength off Syria’s coast. 
It includes 10,000 combat troops, 70 fighter-bombers, 17 or more warships (including the USS Eisenhower and Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group), heavy armaments, offensive Patriot missiles, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System readiness, and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) capability.
It suggests US-led NATO intervention could happen any time. More than ever it looks imminent.
On December 7, Syria Deeply headlined “EXCLUSIVE: US Trains Rebel Brigades to Secure Chemical Weapons,” saying:
Washington and NATO allies “hired contractors” to train opposition Syrian mercenaries. Four unnamed diplomats, including a US official, said exercises are ongoing in Turkey and Jordan.
At issue is whether Washington plans a false flag chemical attack as pretext for full-scale US-led NATO intervention. Syria Deeply stopped short of suggesting it.
Obama and Clinton said using them crosses a “red line.” Washington would respond.
On December 7, Hillary Clinton urged all parties involved to make a “concerted push” to resolve the Syrian conflict. Perhaps imminent intervention was hinted.
France’s Le Figero said French military advisers met with opposition fighters inside Syria. So have US and UK elements. At issue is assessing operational capabilities of different groups and choosing which ones get weapons.
On December 4, NATO foreign ministers met in Brussels. They expressed solidarity with Turkey. They agreed to deter any potential threat Ankara faces. There’s none, but they suggested otherwise.
On December 6, Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) headlined:
“Nato-Führung erwägt militärische Intervention in Syrien (NATO leadership is considering military intervention in Syria).”
Multiple sources told SZ that NATO Secretary-General Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance can’t “stick its head in the sand.” NATO is prepared to intervene in Syria if ordered.
Earlier Rasmussen said NATO had no intention of doing so. He lied. Perhaps it’s been planned all along.
SZ said Rasmussen is supported by Washington, Britain and Turkey. The Pentagon will suggest ways to implement a no-fly zone.
Rasmussen asked what would NATO do if Syria uses chemical weapons? What if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz? Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Poland discount a chemical weapons threat.
Russia told NATO members to take inflammatory threats with a grain of salt. Previous ones proved false. This time isn’t different.
SZ said NATO foreign ministers failed to reach common ground. It’s unlikely to matter. Washington, Britain, Turkey, Rasmussen, and apparently France favor intervention. No combination of other countries can stop them.
On December 7, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile headlined “Paris: NATO-Arab Syria intervention imminent,” saying:
“Sources close to the French Defense Ministry” said intervention “is due to begin shortly with the participation of the US, France, Britain, Turkey, Jordan and other anti-Assad Arab nations.”
France deployed the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle in the Mediterranean. Combat marines are on board. Britain has at least five warships nearby. They’ve joined Washington’s battle group.
In November, British and French forces “performed landing-and-capture exercises against fortified locations on the coast and mountains of Albania as practice for potential operations against similar terrain in Syria, where the Alawite Mountains loom over the coastal towns of Latakia and Tartus.”
“French sources told Le Point magazine that the NATO mission for Syria, including the UK and the US, would be modeled on the Western intervention in Libya in 2011.” 
“It would combine an aerial blitz with ground action by special forces for destroying Assad’s chemical weapons stocks, his air force and his air defense systems.”
Apparently winds of war reached gale force. Expect full-scale intervention any time. It could come before or right after Christmas and New Year’s. 
A previous article called today perhaps the most perilous time in world history. Daily events should scare everyone.
Possible regional or global war looms. Disastrous consequences could follow. Obama may head humanity into the abyss. Perhaps there’s no way to stop him. 
It’s vital for anti-war activists to challenge what’s too potentially catastrophic to tolerate. The risks are far too great to stay sidelined.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War” Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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NATO packs it in; Turkey on the verge of a nervous breakdown

Another Fine Mess NATO Has Got Us Into

Post-Qathafi Libya…another fine mess, NATO

By Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
August 22, 2012 “Information Clearing House” —- Congratulations to William Hague, Hillary Clinton and the sickening little wannabe Napoleons who rule France these days. 
Gaddafi’s Libya: if you wanted to study, the Government paid for it. If you wanted to study abroad, the Government financed it. What dictator educates his people, what dictator educates his people for free? If you needed healthcare, the Government provided it, for free.
Black Libyans lived together with white Libyans, around 700 different peoples and tribes and sub-tribes cohabited the area formerly called Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan in peace, living in the people’s communes reporting their needs through the people’s councils to central Government which distributed wealth and provided for their requirements. This was called the Jamahiriya system.
The Government provided a house, the Government provided a job, the Government provided a car, the Government provided a wedding present of some 50,000 USD and the Government provided for basic needs, including food.
The Government also heavily subsidised transportation and staple items, provided farmers with land and seeds and tools. The Government even injected money directly into people’s bank accounts.
Gaddafi’s Libya sponsored the African Union finding African solutions for African problems and questions, by Africans and for Africans, Gaddafi financed the African satellite system which provided e-learning for the African continent, Gaddafi financed the satellite system which provided tele-medicine facilities to all Africans.
Gaddafi planned many African initiatives which freed 700 million people from the yoke of debt to western institutions.
And what have the FUKUS countries given Libya and Africa in return?
A growing AQIM (Al Qaeda in Maghreb), ethnic cleansing against black Libyans, hatred among tribes and sub-tribes, a Balkanization of Libya, women’s rights spiralling into nothing, women being raped, women having their breasts sliced off in the street, girls being sexually abused, boys impaled with stakes, terrorist gangs running amok in towns and villages.
Al Qaeda in control of parts of Libya – congratulations, because Gaddafi was the first international politician to put an arrest warrant out for this group. A growing number of explosions and car bomb attacks have been attributed to Al Qaeda. Gangs of thieves, murderers and psychopaths who used the “Revolution” to escape from prison are marauding around the country doing as they please. Kidnappings and theft, robbery, rape, murder and torture are now rife.
Gaddafi’s humanitarian and developmental aid and projects have ceased.
And William Hague, Hillary Clinton and the sickening little Napoleons will say the Libyans are better off? Ah right, they’re “free”. Ha! They aren’t even free to walk down the road to buy a loaf of bread. And hey presto! Africa is back in the grip of western institutions again.
Nice one, NATO, nice one… Chuckle smugly and look over your shoulders. Karma time’s a-coming!
This article was originally published at Pravda

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War on Syria and Imperial Hubris: Clinton Demands Russia And China to “Pay The Price”

By Rick Rozoff
Global Research
At the third meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria in Paris on July 6, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proved once again that diplomacy is to the United States what refined dining etiquette is to a jackal.
The third such meeting, earlier versions were held in “post-revolution” Tunisia and in Turkey, a NATO member with military forces massed on Syria’s border, was opened by French President Francois Hollande (who already is making his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy appear less anomalously egregious), who declaimed, “Bashir al Assad must go… a transitional government must be set up.”
The head of state of Syria’s former colonial master also engaged in comic opera theatrics by observing a moment of silence for – some – of the victims in Syria and insisted that the Syrian government’s “fall is inevitable.” Just as Sarkozy had done last year with the governments of Ivory Coast and Libya. Just as Clinton had done with both as well and now with Syria.
But Hollande was only the compère who warmed up the audience for the true personification of 21st century imperial hubris – Clinton.
She, who in February referred to Russia and China as being despicable for blocking a resolution in the United Nations Security Council aimed at the regime change in Syria mentioned above, abandoned any remaining element of restraint – a quality she has never been noted for, any more than for subtlety, judgment, humility, fairness and other seemingly outdated virtues – and exploited the Syrian crisis to crudely excoriate Russia and China once again.
Her shrill diatribe included an attempt to incite attendees from over 100 countries and organizations against the two alleged villains: “I ask you to reach out to Russia and China and to not only urge, but demand that they get off the sidelines and begin to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.”
The operative word is demand. As in démarche. As in diktat.
However, if the above suggests that she accused Russia and China of what is the international equivalent of criminal negligence, the following demonstrates that she intended something far more severe:
“I don’t think Russia and China believe they are paying any price at all, nothing at all, for standing up on behalf of the Assad regime. The only way that will change is if every nation represented here directly and urgently makes it clear that Russia and China will pay a price, because they are holding up progress.”
Clinton was born in a hospital on the North Side of Chicago and clearly knows cardinal rule number one of Machine politics there: Reward your friends and punish your enemies. Especially the second. Smite them ruthlessly and remorselessly. Crush them if possible. Teach them a lesson they – and others tempted to pursue a less than completely obedient path – will never forget. Make them “pay a price.”
Her commander-in-chief President Barack Obama, his Cardinal Richelieu, David Axelrod, and his first two White House chiefs of staff, Rahm Emanuel and William Daley (son of one long-term mayor and brother of another), all matriculated in the school of Chicago power politics where compromise is a foreign concept and negotiation isn’t a word in the dictionary.
For the past 81 years Chicago’s chief executive, the mayor, has belonged to the same political party, Clinton’s, and currently all fifty members of the legislative body, the City Council, do as well.
Bills and city budgets are regularly passed unanimously, often with little discussion, less debate and no public input.
To be recalled the next time Clinton launches into a tirade against the government of or elections in other nations, as she did in relation to parliamentary elections in Russia last December, which she denounced as “neither free nor fair.”
Following the all too brief reprieve provided by the mayoralty of Harold Washington (1983-1987), the city reverted to top-down, autocratic rule, with near-absolute power wielded from the mayor’s office on the 5th Floor of City Hall.
Although Chicagoans vote for members of the City Council, aldermen, the real power in the city has traditionally resided in the hands of Democratic Party ward committeemen and their precinct captains, known as ward heelers.
Politics in Chicago allow a citizen of the city only two options: He can capitulate in prostrate servility to the monolithic power structure or, in a trademark understatement by the late Chicago journalist Mike Royko, he will feel bad in the morning. If he wakes up at all.
It is the above style of strong-armed, zero-sum, take-no-prisoners, absolutist “statecraft” that has been applied first to the nation and now the world. The sort that Hillary Clinton is practicing on the international stage.
On the day before she threatened the two permanent members of the UN Security Council in the manner described, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued a threat of his own – to Syria – stating:
“It goes without saying that Turkey can count on NATO. NATO is of course prepared to defend Turkey if it is so necessary.”
Alliance solidarity.
Her style of abrasive, brazen, dogmatic, Manichean “diplomacy” is best indicated by a statement she made in 2001, after leaving the White House where as First Lady she was fond of employing the imperial we (as in “we are the president”) and reviving the once-discredited practice of carpetbagging in becoming a U.S. senator from New York.
Two days after the attacks of September 11, she told Dan Rather of CBS News:
“Every nation has to either be with us, or against us. Those who harbor terrorists, or who finance them, are going to pay a price.”
She has not veered from the practice of separating the world’s nations and people into those with or against her – there are no degrees in between – although her position regarding terrorists has evidently shifted with Libya last year and Syria currently.
The State Department has granted Clinton a forum from which to castigate, disparage, accuse and threaten others to her heart’s content. It has in particular emboldened her to issue orders for heads of state outside the Western world to vacate their offices and cede power to successors approved by Clinton and her nation’s allies.
Last February, within mere days of the beginning of anti-government actions in Libya, she pronounced before the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva: “It is time for Gaddafi to go – now, without further violence or delay.”
In April she ordered President Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast, who retained his office after an election whose outcome was disputed by the nation’s Election Commission and the Constitutional Court – not unlike what occurred in the 2000 presidential election in the U.S. – to leave, stating:
“The United States calls on former President Laurent Gbagbo to step down immediately. Gbagbo is pushing Cote d’Ivoire into lawlessness.
“The path forward is clear. He must leave now so the conflict may end.”
In the same month she ordered Yemen’s head of state, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to leave office:
“President Saleh was given a very good offer that we strongly backed. And, you know, we cannot expect this conflict to end unless President Saleh and his government move out of the way to permit the opposition and civil society to begin a transition to political and economic reform.”
The “very good offer” was one initiated by the U.S.’s main allies in the Arab world, the monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which whom the U.S. and its NATO allies have also conspired to overthrow the governments of Libya and Syria.
In January of this year, while visiting Ivory Coast – where Gbagbo was deposed last April by French and compliant United Nations military forces and replaced by former Washington, D.C.-based International Monetary Fund official Alassane Ouattara – she renewed her demand that the Yemeni president must abdicate:
“There have been agreements with respect to the way forward that have not been fulfilled. We regret that the president has thus far failed to comply with his own commitments to leave the country, to permit elections to go forward that give the people a chance to be heard and be represented.”
In October Clinton was shown an image of the battered corpse of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly after he was murdered in his hometown of Sirte and after uttering an adolescent (or preteen) “wow,” stated while laughing and puffing herself up, almost squealing with self-satisfied abandon: “We came, we saw, he died.”
The paraphrase of the statement attributed to Julius Caesar is not fortuitous. What Clinton at the moment embodies to the highest degree is imperial arrogance in its foulest manifestation.

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There will be hell to pay for NATO’s Holy War

By Pepe Escobar
July 10, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is running out of rhetorical ammunition in the US’s Holy War against Syria. Perhaps it’s the strain of launching a NATO war bypassing the UN Security Council. Perhaps it’s the strain of being eaten for breakfast routinely by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Hillary has just called on “Western powers” and their Arab stooges – the NATOGCC compound [1] that passes for the “international community” – to “make it clear that Russia and China will pay a price because they are holding up progress” regarding weaponized regime change in Syria.
In non-newspeak, this means, “If you block our new war, there will be payback”.
Howls of laughter in the corridors of the Kremlin and the Zhongnanhai notwithstanding, this shows how desperate the NATOGCC compound is to force regime change in Syria as a stopover in cutting off Iran’s privileged connection with the Arab world. And this while Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan – leading NATO’s eastern flank – itches to attack Syria but can’t find a way to sell it to Turkish public opinion. 
Into this incandescent context plunges WikiLeaks – releasing a batch of very embarrassing emails against the Assad system and the NATO rebels as well. A possible side effect will be to inspire waves of so-called progressives all across the West to start supporting the Holy War on Syria. A realistic effect will be to show how unsavory both sides – the police state Assad system and the armed opposition – really are. 
Car bombing tourism, anyone?
It’s useful to examine what price Washington itself, not to mention its NATO subjects, could be paying for this Holy War branch-out fought with – who else – the same bunch of “terrorists” who until yesterday were about to destroy Western civilization and turn it into a giant Caliphate. 
Washington, London and Paris have tried – twice – to twist the UN Security Council into yet another war. They were blocked by Russia and China. So plan B was to bypass the UN and launch a NATO war. Problem is NATO has no stomach – and no funds – for a very risky war with a country that can actually defend itself. 
Thus plan C is to bet on a prolonged civil war, using the Far-from-Free Syrian Army (FSA), crammed with mercenaries and jihadists, and the band of opportunistic exiles known as the Syrian National Council (SNC). 
The SNC has actually called for a Libya-style no-fly zone over Syria – shorthand for a NATO war. Turkey also formally asked NATO for a no-fly zone. NATO commanders may be inept – but they have a certain amount of experience with major embarrassment (see Afghanistan). They flatly refused it. 
The SNC – and the FSA – could not be more un-representative. The “Friends of Syria” – as in Hillary and the Arab stooges – barely acknowledge the existence of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCB), the main indigenous opposition movement in Syria, composed of 13 political parties, mostly from the Left, Arab nationalists and including one Kurdish party. The NCB firmly denounces any form of militarization and totally dismisses the FSA. 
Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari – a Kurd – has warned that Salafi-jihadists of the al-Qaeda mould are moving into Syria in droves. Apparently this bunch still listens very closely to “invisible” al-Qaeda ideologue Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri; five months ago he issued these marching orders to jihadis in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. It also helps that many of them are being weaponized – via different networks – by the House of Saud and Qatar. 
For months everybody knows that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) of al-Qaeda-linked Abdul Hakim Belhaj has been active in Syria – as well as remnants of al-Qaeda in Iraq now responsible for car bombings even in Damascus. 
In the event of a post-Assad Syria dominated by hardcore Sunnis infiltrated by Wahhabis and Salafi-jihadists, guaranteed blowback will leave Afghanistan after the 1980s anti-Soviet jihad looking like a ride on Disneyland Hong Kong. 
We accept yuan and rubles
As for China, it’s laughing about Hillary’s desperation all the way to the bank. As the House of Saud becomes ever more paranoid with what it sees as the Obama administration flirting with democracy in the Arab world, Beijing jacked up trade ties by delivering a bunch of new missiles to Riyadh. 
And while the “West” flirts with Holy War, Beijing’s state-sponsored corporations have been buying commodities like crazy all across the Middle East, North Africa and South America – as well as stockpiling rare earths for strategic reserves. China produces no less than 97% of the world’s rare earths – used on everything from iPads to those shiny new missiles now frying in the Arabian desert. 
Other side effects as in “the price to pay” for the bypassing of the UN and the obsession on NATO as global Robocop will be inevitable. It shouldn’t be forgotten that the Holy War on Syria is a stopover on the way to Tehran. For instance, a new system of maritime insurance, as well as a new international exchange mechanism – bypassing Western diktats – may be about to be born. 
Yet the most important element may be a concerted move by Russia, Iran and China to reorganize the global energy market by transacting outside of the petrodollar. 
So Washington cuts Iran off from SWIFT – the international bank clearing system? Iran’s central bank counterpunches; if you want to do business with us, you can pay in any currency apart from the US dollar, or you can pay with gold. 
This is the Holy Grail of the Holy War – not Syria; one thing is for Tehran to accept euros as payment for its oil and gas; another thing is to accept gold. On top of it with full support from both Russia and China. 
In a nutshell; the whole Holy War syndrome is accelerating the end of the US dollar as global reserve currency. And when it happens, will there be an American Spring? Or will US elites – like the Mob – have the guts, and the muscle, to force Russia and China to pay the price? 
1. NATOGCC is a compound of the North Atlantic treaty Organization and the Gulf Cooperation Council. 
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 
He may be reached at
This article was originally published at Asia Times
Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd.
See also – ‘Bloody bandits and Western lies: What’s really going on in Syria’: Everything you’ve heard about Syria is a lie says Ankhar Kochneva, a Russian journalist who has seen first hand the realities of the Syrian civil war. Kochneva told RT she has proof a Western invasion of Syria will be launched by summer’s end.

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NATO’s Global Open Door Policy

by Rick Rozoff

In the face of the inexorable spiraling down of Western predominance in the world, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen responds by charging on rather than retreating, in a typical flight forward attitude. Seeing, but preferring to ignore, that the world’s center of gravity is rapidly shifting from the West to the East, the Atlantic Alliance chief continues to dream of an even stronger and more ubiquitous NATO presence, straddling the entire planet, as diagnosed by Rick Rozoff in this article.
GIF - 77.1 kb
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Dr Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House, 4 July 2012.
On July 4 NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen delivered an address entitled “NATO – delivering security in the 21st century” at the Chatham House in London that should lay to rest forever any doubts about Western plans, already well underway, to create an international military network dominated by the United States and its major alliance partners.
Citing new challenges to Western preeminence in the world – with “many commentators predict[ing] the decline of the West as we know it” – especially to the virtually uncontested sway the U.S. and Western Europe have held in the quarter-century post-Cold War era, the military bloc’s chief cited “turmoil and uncertainty across the Middle East and North Africa” and “emergence of new powers – economically, politically, and militarily” as areas of concern the alliance must address.
Although the world is “increasingly unpredictable, complex and interlinked,” he intoned, nevertheless “Europe and North America still have tremendous resources, resolve, and ideas” and “there is no greater force for positive change” than NATO states on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean working in tandem.
With the emergence of trends toward multipolarity and the potential for a second-generation anti-colonial (or anti-neo-colonial) struggle in the non-”Euro-Atlantic” world – that is, the world of almost eight-ninths of humanity not residing in NATO member states – the “fundamental questions” have to be answered: “How can the Trans-Atlantic community keep its global power of attraction and influence? And as the world shifts, how do we embrace that shift and help shape it?” For which read divert and control contemporary dynamics emanating from beyond the “Trans-Atlantic community.”
The solution, of course, is “a strong NATO,” one moreover operating throughout the world. In Rasmussen’s words: “It is an essential contributor to wider international security and stability. It means we can face today’s challenges from a position of strength.”
With recent wars in three continents to back up his contention, he added: “We can launch and sustain complex joint operations in a way that no one else can. We can work effectively with partners in a way that no one else can.”
NATO’s purview, and theaters of war, having already expanded beyond its member states’ territory to the Balkans, South Asia, the Arabian Sea and North Africa, the bloc must extend its reach to crisscross the planet and “must continue to strengthen its connection with other countries and organisations around the globe.”
The armed forces of nations on all six inhabited continents (see below) must continue to be integrated for NATO interoperability and to provide troops and hardware for future missions. For, Rasmussen reminded his audience: “Militaries around the world aspire to our standards and the ability of our forces to work together. Importantly, we can integrate other nations’ contributions into complex multinational operations like no other organisation.”
The international partnerships NATO has cultivated over the past twenty years, often while conducting air and ground wars and post-conflict “peacekeeping” operations “From Afghanistan to the Balkans, and last year over Libya,” must expand beyond the forty or more nations enmeshed in them – which with NATO’s 28 members account for comfortably over a third of the nations in the world – and be added to in all parts of the world.
“Partnership is not a choice between staying at home or going global. It is not peripheral to our business – it is part of NATO’s core business…”
“We cannot deal with today’s security challenges from a purely European perspective. What matters is being engaged wherever our security matters. That means here in Europe. Across the Euro-Atlantic area. And around the globe.”
To do so the home front must be further secured, further integrated militarily.
“Alongside the European Union’s enlargement, NATO’s Open Door policy has already transformed this continent fundamentally, and permanently.”
European Partnership for Peace members and those with Individual Partnership Action Programs and Membership Action Plans in addition – Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Malta, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine – “have restructured their armed forces” as a prerequisite for NATO integration. That is, they have been “professionalized” by abolishing conscription and shifting their mandate from territorial defense to expeditionary deployments abroad and transitioning from domestic and often Russian armaments to Western ones.
In a statement more truly revealing than perhaps he intended it to be, Rasmussen added:
“At the same time, the prospect of NATO membership gave confidence to investors. Which in turn led to economic drive, development and dynamism. And it is no coincidence that those countries who have joined NATO over the past thirteen years have also joined the European Union, or are preparing to do so.
“10 years ago, I was Prime Minister of Denmark when my country held the presidency of the European Union. That year, at the Copenhagen and Prague Summits, we invited new members to join the European Union, and NATO…”
Under the Berlin Plus agreement adopted at the fiftieth anniversary NATO summit in Washington, D.C. in 1999 and several arrangements in the interim the distinction between NATO and EU military policy has become at most an academic one.
Although “Russian misperceptions about NATO’s Open Door policy persist,” NATO has done its ungrateful neighbor a favor by providing it “Stability on its western borders.” For example, military bases, training and cyber warfare centers, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and soon Standard Missile-3 interceptor batteries, air patrols by Western warplanes near its northwestern frontiers, and naval, air and infantry war games from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and the South Caucasus.
As if the import of the above comments regarding business investment and the economy could be missed, Rasmussen reiterated:
“Our economy is globalised. Our security is globalised. And if we are to protect our populations effectively, our approach to security has to be globalised too.”
“It means NATO must be able, and willing, to engage politically and militarily with other nations, wherever they may be…” Australia, for example.
The NATO chief recalled visiting Australia last month, where he met with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and signed a Joint Political Declaration. ”It is the first of its kind. But I am confident it won’t be the last.”
In Afghanistan, “Australia is part of a NATO-led coalition of 50 nations, the largest in recent history.” (The geography-challenged Rasmussen added “from all five continents.”) The largest – far the largest – number of nations supplying troops for a war in any country, or in any theater, in history.
Even when, or if, NATO withdraws the bulk of its 130,000-150,000 forces from Afghanistan, “we won’t get a holiday from history afterwards,” Rasmussen asserted, as “we must build on the practical experience of working with our partners in order to work even more closely together in the future.”
The ten and a half years NATO has spent in its first Asian war have provided it the opportunity to forge a coalition of 50 nations for the alliance’s next conflicts.
The post-Chicago summit concentration “is about NATO assuming a global perspective, about “[p]laying its part globally, and strengthening our ability to act in concert with our partners around the globe.”
The militaries of the world must be subordinated to NATO standards, practices and policy and be equipped with “interoperable” weapons:
“Today, many partner countries take the opportunities NATO offers to participate in our military education, training and exercises. But this is largely on an ad-hoc basis. I would like to see a much more structured approach. And the broadest possible range of nations being involved in such activities.”
Particular attention must be paid to the integration of and interoperability among special forces:
“We must build on the lessons that we learnt together in action in Afghanistan. So we can boost our ability to act together in the future.”
Ever-expanding global partnerships should focus on “maritime security, energy security, and cyber 
security” cooperation.

Admiral James Stavridis describing his global vision for a global NATO.
Rasmussen stressed building partnerships, by which it is not to be understood ones of equality, with China and India. In March NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Admiral James Stavridis, spoke to the U.S. Congress on the topic of building partnerships with India and Brazil. The “emergence of new powers” must be neutralized and if possible co-opted. In Rasmussen’s words: “To do all this, we need an alliance that is globally aware. Globally connected. And globally capable. That is my vision for NATO.”
“NATO’s partnerships play a key part in meeting the security concerns of today and tomorrow – be they local, regional, or global. The range of our partnerships reflects the world we live in.”
But among the scores of allies and partners around the world, NATO’s first among equals was, is and ever will remain the U.S.
“The transatlantic bond lies at the very heart of NATO…”
“Some see the United States’ pivot to Asia-Pacific as the end of this unique partnership. They are wrong. The security of America and Europe is indivisible. We are stronger, and safer, when we work together. And that is why NATO remains the indispensable Alliance.”
The indispensable, global military bloc. Rasmussen used the words globe, global, globally, globalized, world and international 27 times in his speech. No one can pretend not to understand what NATO’s plans are.

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"Fictitious Enemies" and "Combat Scenarios": The Pentagon and NATO Rehearse for War against Russia?

By Rick Rozoff

Global ResearchStop NATO – 2012-07-02
Last month was a busy one for U.S.-NATO military exercises in the Baltic Sea. Three major multinational training exercises, including naval maneuvers, amphibious landings and preparation for deployment to Afghanistan, occurred in the region in June, in one case overlapping.
From June 10-22 the U.S. Seventh Army’s Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC), based in Grafenwöhr, Germany, conducted this year’s Saber Strike, the largest multinational military exercise in the area. Approximately 2,000 troops from seven NATO nations – the U.S., Britain, France, Canada, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – participated in training to “engage the enemy, as they overcome challenges in interoperability, ” according to the JMTC’s account of the drills in Estonia and Latvia.
The former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are the rotating sites for Saber Strike exercises and “share resources and capabilities to meet the training requirements of organic units and elements, who may deploy in support of contingency operations in Afghanistan. ” 
JMTC’s lead exercise planner, Tony Bonarti, said of the training: “In pursuing operational cohesiveness, these nations expect to achieve vast improvements in their respective defense and host-nation governments that allow them to be prepared to address both national and international crisis events.” 
Live-fire and field training exercises were conducted at the Ādazi Training Area in Latvia and other events were held at facilities in Estonia. The scenario employed for the live-fire exercise was “defending a Forward Operating Base.” A U.S. Army Europe website report of a war game simulation held at the Tapa Training facility said: “Working cooperatively with allied partners, the Estonian forces are exercising a combat action scenario in a fictitious country that is undergoing civil unrest and facing an invasion by neighboring foreign forces sympathetic to the civil unrest.” 
During an exercise in Estonia, a local brigade was joined by multinational forces from several NATO and NATO partner nations. The Ämari Air Base in Estonia, recently upgraded to accommodate NATO warplanes, hosted airmen from the Michigan Air National Guard who operated fighter and aerial refueling aircraft.
American units participating in the war games were personnel from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, the Michigan Air Guard and the 4th Marine Division as well as a Joint Terminal Air Controller (in charge of directing air combat operations) team from the Washington Air Guard.
During Saber Strike 2012 the website of the JMTC, the only U.S. Army training command that regularly trains U.S. and multinational forces jointly, disclosed that its Joint Multinational Simulation Center conducts approximately 40 NATO exercises annually.
From June 1-16 the U.S.-led annual Baltic Operations (BALTOPS), the largest multinational maritime exercise held in the Baltic Sea, occurred in the territorial waters of Estonia, Lithuania, Germany and Poland. Thirty warships, as many aircraft and an estimated 1,500 marines and sailors from the U.S., Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia and Sweden participated.
For the first time in the exercise’s 40-year history a major amphibious landing operation was conducted in this year’s host nation, Lithuania (in Palanga). It involved the U.S. Marine Corps (including its Black Sea Rotational Force 12), Lithuanian Special Operations Force troops, personnel from Lithuania’s Iron Wolf Motorised Infantry Brigade, the USS Normandy guided missile cruiser, two B-52 strategic bombers, two German Pa 200 Tornado fighter jets, two Lithuanian Mi-8 helicopters, a joint battalion of the Estonian-Latvian- Lithuanian Baltic Naval Squadron (BALTRON), a Dutch diving team and two Polish Lublin class amphibious warfare ships. 
The scenario used for the exercise was described as a crisis in a fictitious nation named Arcadia which “affects the entire region of the Blue Sea.” Acting on a United Nations Security Council mandate, international forces are deployed to the imaginary (or only slightly disguised) Blue Sea region which enforce an arms embargo, a blockade, a stabilization operation in Arcadia and “assistance in counter-terrorism actions.”
Though separated from the Baltic Sea by Lithuania, Belarus could well be the scenario’s Arcadia.
An amphibious landing operation was also held in Estonia on the coast of Paldiski. Estonian Defense Forces Chief of Staff Peeter Hoppe said before the event that “Paldiski’s southern harbor will have a pre-positioning exercise, where a large array of various allied military vehicles will be brought ashore.”
The exercise was observed and led by the U.S. Marine Corps’ Lieutenant General Richard Tryon, Lieutenant General Frank Panter, Jr., Brigadier General Charles G. Chiarotti and Brigadier General Roger Machut as well as Britain’s Rear Admiral Russell Harding. 
Estonian Public Broadcasting published a report on June 4 which said of the exercise that “The aim is to practice bringing an over 1,000-strong battalion battle group to Estonia and readying it for combat.” 
Estonia’s Hoppe further spoke specifically on his nation’s armed forces working with U.S. Marines:
“They will learn survival skills from us, as we have a special climate, wetland landscape, which cannot be found everywhere. In return, we will learn from them patrolling, an ability that we do have, but which they are extremely skilled at.”
“The common denominator is [the] receiving of allies, cooperation between units, combined effort of civilian authorities and [the] private sector. All this strengthens Baltic cooperation with America and [other] allies. Naturally it also strengthens regional partnership in the northern region of the Baltic Sea and allows cooperation procedures to be tested.”
The integrated U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Expeditionary Strike Group Two website stated this year’s BALTOPS was “designed to promote regional cooperation and foster multinational interoperability to train for joint combat of regional and transnational threats.”
Vice Admiral Frank Pandolfe, commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet and of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (“a rapidly deployable Maritime Headquarters to plan, command and control maritime operations including if necessary a Maritime Expanded Task Force for larger scale operations”) , stated:
“BALTOPS has one common goal – to improve maritime security in the Baltic Sea through increased interoperability and collaboration among regional allies.
“As in past years, our sailors and Marines will be working side-by-side with their colleagues from partner nations, both on land and at sea, becoming familiar with each other’s military operating procedures and practices. That partnership – that collaboration – leads to increased understanding and increased interoperability.”
On June 28 the Baltic Host 12 NATO Host Nation Support exercise began simultaneously in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with the involvement of military personnel from Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, U.S. European Command and Naval Striking and Support Force NATO.
The fourth annual Baltic Host exercise is providing the U.S. and NATO the opportunity to increase military interoperability with the armed forces of the three Baltic nations and to prepare those nations for hosting NATO forces for assorted missions, including armed conflicts. That is, war. War close to home is the most likely prospect.
This year’s exercise will prepare for a NATO Response Force exercise codenamed Steadfast Jazz to be conducted in 2013.
The Baltic Sea region is an expanding theater for Pentagon and NATO operations. From regular ground, air and sea exercises to the training of multinational forces for deployment to Afghanistan and the beginning of the Northern Distribution Network to move supplies and equipment to that nation. From the eight-year-old NATO Baltic air patrol to the opening of a NATO cyber warfare center of excellence in Estonia and the upgrading of air bases in Estonia and Lithuania. From the deployment of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles to Poland two years ago to the scheduled stationing of Standard Missile-3 interceptors there in 2018. 
USS Normandy, which participated in this year’s BALTOPS, is equipped to fire Standard Missile-3s, and may well join other American guided missile cruisers and destroyers in the Baltic Sea as part of the U.S.’s global missile interception system.

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NATO Proxies Turkey and Saudi Arabia Move to War Footing on Eve of Syrian ‘Peace Summit’

By Finian Cunningham
June 29, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — The NATO-backed covert aggression against Syria could be reaching a tipping point for all-out war involving state forces. That should be no surprise. For the past 16 months, NATO and its regional proxies have been steadily increasing the violence and turmoil inside and outside Syria, while the Western corporate-controlled media maintain the ridiculous fiction that the bloody chaos is largely due to the government forces of President Bashar Al Assad cracking down on “peaceful protesters”.
Ironically, the crisis is culminating at the same time that the United Nations convenes an emergency summit on Syria in Geneva this weekend. The meeting, which is ostensibly aimed at “reviving the Kofi Annan peace plan”, will be attended by the five permanent members of the UN security council and other “invited” regional states. The irony is that leading NATO members, the US, Britain and France, as well as their Turkish and Arab allies who will also be attending the crisis conference, are the very parties that have deliberately created the precipice for all-out war in the Middle East.
As dignitaries fly into Geneva to “salvage peace in Syria”, there is a lockstep military build-up on the northern and southern flanks of Syria underway, with news that Turkey has dispatched battlefield tanks, missile batteries and heavy artillery to its Syrian border, while to the south Saudi Arabia has announced that its military forces have been put on a “state of high alert”.
Ankara’s military mobilization along its 800km land border with Syria came within hours of the declaration by Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slating Syria as “a hostile state”. The immediate cause of the deterioration in relations between the neighbouring countries is the downing of a Turkish fighter jet last week in Syrian territorial waters. Syria claims it was acting in self-defence after the Phantom RF-4E warplane entered its airspace on Friday. Ankara has so far failed to give an explanation for why one of its warplanes was making such a provocative low-flying manoeuvre into Syrian airspace. But the Turkish government has announced that any move by Syrian armed forces towards its border will be viewed as another “hostile act” that it will respond to. How’s that for a provocative tether? Especially towards a country that is being attacked by armed groups crossing over its border with Turkey.
Meanwhile, on the same day that Turkey is militarizing along its border with Syria, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah makes an unprecedented announcement putting his armed forces on high alert “due to the tense situation in the Middle East”. Using vague and contrived language, the Saudi ruler warned against “foreign or terrorist attacks” to justify the mobilization of the kingdom’s armed forces.
The military pincer movement against Syria tends to support the analysis that the downing of the Turkish fighter jet was a deliberate set-piece scenario designed to furnish a cause for war, or at least a stepping up of the international psy-ops campaign of intimidation against Syria.
It is notable that the circumstances surrounding the shooting down of the warplane have yet to be clarified. The Syrians seem to have firm grounds for acting in the way they did given the provocative conduct of the Turkish fighter jet. And there is an onus on the Ankara government to give some explanation for the unusual military manoeuvre, especially in the light of claims that the aircraft was on a reconnaissance mission on behalf of anti-Assad forces on the ground in Syria. Yet almost reflexively, before details have been established about the incident, Turkey has moved on to a war footing. Equally telling is that Saudi Arabia, a key ally of Ankara in opposition to Syria, has simultaneously moved also on to a war footing – without any substantive grounds for such a mobilization.
Some informed analysts have said that the Turkish-Saudi pincer on Syria is more aimed at intensifying the psy-ops pressure on Bashar Al Assad to cave in and relinquish power. Hisham Jaber, director of the Beirut-based Center for Middle East Studies, told Press TV that Ankara and Riyadh will balk at an all-out war with Syria because both are well aware that any such conflict will bring in Iran, Russia and China in support of their ally in Damascus.
Nonetheless, there is an ineluctable logic towards all-out war. Ever since the armed insurrection by foreign mercenaries was instigated in Syria’s southern town of Deraa in mid-March 2011, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have played key roles in fomenting the covert campaign of aggression to overthrow the Assad government – a campaign that is authored by leading NATO members, the US, Britain and France. The division of labour is such that Turkey has supplied land bases to organize the mercenaries from Libya, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq; while Saudi Arabia provides the money – up to $100 million – to buy weapons and pay wages for the soldiers of fortune; and ultimately it is Washington, London and Paris that are calling the tactical shots in the NATO war plan on Syria.
As several other commentators have pointed out, this war plan is aimed at asserting Western capitalist hegemony in the oil-rich Middle East and Central Asia regions. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria are part of an overarching bid for “full-spectrum dominance” that will eventually target, overtly, Iran, Russia and China.
It is this crucial wider context of war-making by the waning capitalist powers that underscores the gravity of the military build-up inside and outside Syria. The dynamic for war has a compelling, nefarious logic – as the history of world wars testifies.
Which makes the Geneva “crisis conference” this weekend appear all the more ludicrous. In attendance are the US, Britain, France, Turkey and the Gulf Arab monarchical states of Kuwait and Qatar. All are professing to support a peaceful solution in Syria even though all the above are funnelling weapons, logistics and personnel to wage a brutal, terrorist assault on that country – an assault that has now led to the precipice of all-out regional war.
Also attending the UN conference are secretary general Ban Ki-moon and the UN/Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan. The UN and the Arab League and these two figureheads in particular have shown themselves to be willing dupes to NATO’s war of aggression on Syria, and beyond, by indulging in the charade that the Western powers are “supporting peace” instead of denouncing them as “supporting war”. Significantly, the UN and Annan have not invited Iran to attend the conference as a result of US pressure. How provocative is that? Iran clearly has vital interests at stake given its proximity and geopolitical threats from the encroaching war on its Syrian ally.
The other ghost missing from the feast in Geneva this weekend is Saudi Arabia. The omission of Saudi Arabia should not be seen as some kind of consolation to Syrian and Iranian sensibilities, but rather as a way of shielding the House of Saud from embarrassment. Considering the incendiary role of Saudi Arabia in Syria, and possibly the region’s conflagration, the Saudi rulers should be summoned to a top seat at the “peace summit” – to face the most withering questions about their warmongering, criminal interference in a neighbouring state.
Then, using Nuremburg principles, prosecutors should proceed to arraign the rulers in Riyadh along with their accomplices in Washington, London, Paris and Ankara.
Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa Correspondent –
This article was originally published at Global Research
Copyright © Finian Cunningham, Global Research, 2012

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NATO War Council To Target Syria

By Rick Rozoff
Global Research, June 26, 2012
On Tuesday, June 26 Belgium time the North Atlantic Council, the highest governing body of the U.S.-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organization military bloc, will take up the issue of Syria under provisions of its founding document that in the past ten and a half years have resulted in military deployments preparatory to and the subsequent waging of full-scale wars.
The ambassadors of the alliance’s 28 member states constitute the council, nations whose collective population is 900 million. Its founding members include three nuclear powers – the U.S., Britain and France – the first the self-proclaimed world’s sole military superpower.
Until the day before the meeting NATO was to take up a request by member Turkey to hold consultations under the terms of the North Atlantic (Washington) Treaty’s Article 4, which allows any member state to call on the entire alliance to respond to alleged threats to its territorial integrity and security. 
On June 25, three days after a Turkish F-14 supersonic fighter-bomber was shot down over Syrian waters, Turkey announced that it was going to ask the military alliance to discuss its Article 5, which states that “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all” and commits NATO allies to “assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force…”
Article 5 was invoked for the first and to date only time in October 2001 and is the basis for the deployment of troops from 28 NATO and 22 partner states to Afghanistan over the past decade.
Article 4 was first invoked on February 16, 2003, again by the North Atlantic Council and again in relation to Turkey, on the eve of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq. So-called Operation Display Deterrence was launched as a result and five Patriot interceptor missile batteries, three Dutch and two American, and four Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance aircraft were deployed to Turkey in conjunction with NATO’s Integrated and Extended Air Defence System.
NATO, in its own words, deployed “1000 technically advanced and highly capable forces” to run the operation.
The first AWACS aircraft arrived on February 26 and three weeks later the bombardment and invasion of Iraq began. Although Iraq at the time had a population of approximately 25 million and Turkey 70 million, and although Turkey had one of the most formidable militaries in the region while Iraq’s had been weakened by the eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s, the U.S. and allied bombing campaign of 1991 and in the interim, and twelve years of crushing sanctions, NATO afterward praised Operation Display Deterrence as having “tested and proved the success of NATO’s military to respond immediately and with appropriate defensive force to a rapidly developing threat against a member of the Alliance.”
In what manner a fatally debilitated Iraq had presented Turkey with “a rapidly developing threat” was never specified.
The AWACS flew 100 missions and the Dutch Patriot batteries included Patriot Advanced Capability-2 missiles and “a more modern missile provided by Germany,” according to NATO.
The operation was concluded on May 3, 65 days after it began and 45 days after the invasion of Iraq. To provide an indication of what NATO will claim after its meeting on Syria, the then-Turkish ambassador to the bloc stated after the invoking of Article 4: 
“I convey once again the most sincere gratitude of the Turkish people and Government for the Alliance solidarity shown in reinforcing the defence of my country in response to the latest crisis in Iraq. We are convinced that, through such an active and collective display of deterrence, NATO has not only extended a much-appreciated helping hand to one of its members in her hour of need, but also proven, once again, its credibility and relevance as the cornerstone of collective security in the Euro-Atlantic area”.
Turkey was then, as it is now, portrayed as the victim – in its “hour of need” moreover – and besieged and soon to be devastated Iraq as the aggressor.
Syria’s population now is much the same as Iraq’s was then and Turkey is now a nation almost three times as large. Syria is isolated and its military forces are small compared to its neighbor Turkey’s. The latter can count on the support of 27 allies, including most of the world’s major military powers. The U.S. has an estimated 90 B61 tactical nuclear weapons stationed at the Incirlik Air Base 35 miles from Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
Activating the Article 5 mutual military assistance – in effect war – clause has been mentioned by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at least twice since April, on the first occasion over two months before the downing of the Turkish warplane last week.
On June 25 Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc announced that his nation “has made necessary applications with NATO regarding Article 4 and Article 5.” 
According to the Associated Press, he added:
“It should be known that within legality we will of course use all rights granted under international law until the end. This also includes self-defense. This also includes retaliation many-fold. This includes all sanctions that can be applied to the aggressor state under international law. Turkey will not leave anything out on this issue…” 
The U.S. and NATO have been itching for a pretext to attack Syria, and Turkey, the only NATO member to border the country, has always been the pretext which would be employed to justify military action against the Arab nation.
Last Friday’s incident and the NATO meeting following it signal the fourth act in a tragedy that the world community has precious little time to stop.
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Downed Turkish jet pretext for new provocations against Syria

US seeks casus belli

By Joseph Kishore 
26 June 2012
Led by the United States, the major powers have issued a series of bellicose statements and threats after Syria shot down a Turkish F4 Phantom jet that had entered its airspace. Backed by the Obama administration, the Turkish government has taken actions that mark a major step in the direction of all-out war.
Representatives of NATO countries will participate today in a meeting called under Article 4 of the alliance convention, which provides for discussion between members on joint action against a threat.
While the meeting is not being held under Article 5, which calls for military action of all NATO members, Turkey said on Monday it would press NATO to consider Article 5 at the meeting. It is also the first time Article 4 has been invoked since Turkey did so against Iraq in February 2003—one month before the US-led invasion.
After speaking with the US over the weekend, Turkey shifted from its initially more measured tone. “It was an act of war,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said Monday. Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc added that Turkey will use “all rights granted under international law until the end. This also includes self-defense. This also includes retaliation many-fold.”
Behind the scenes, the United States is employing a well-tested modus operandi: engage in a series of provocative measures that amount to acts of war, then reply with extreme belligerence to any response, using it to justify even more provocative measures.
For months, the US has been engaged in stoking civil war in Syria, funneling arms with the help of several Gulf monarchies. Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia announced, with the approval of the US, that it would begin paying the salaries of members of the opposition Free Syrian Army, effectively bankrolling (with payment in dollars or euros) anyone fighting against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has openly declared that it is US policy to help unify opposition forces into a more effective fighting body. This includes militia forces that have carried out massacres against Shiite and Alawite communities in Syria and terrorist attacks against Syrian government institutions. In a sign of the extent to which the conflict has turned into a civil war against a well-armed opposition, Syria announced that it had buried 112 members of the military over the weekend.
Syria is the latest target of a campaign to undermine or overthrow governments that the US deems, for one reason or another, to be a hindrance to its control of the Middle East and Central Asia. It has led wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and has rained drone missiles down on Pakistan and Yemen. At the same time, it is involved with Israel in a covert program of assassination and cyber warfare against Iran.
Under these conditions, the response of the US to the downing of the jet expressed the cynical hypocrisy and aggression that are the defining features of American foreign policy. Secretary of State Clinton called the act “brazen and unacceptable,” declaring, “It is yet another reflection of Syrian authorities’ callous disregard for international norms, human life and peace and security.”
British Foreign Secretary William Hague declared that the shooting was “outrageous” and called for action in the UN. Other EU powers have responded more cautiously, but slapped additional sanctions on the Syrian regime.
In fact, the details of the incident are still highly murky and disputed, and there are many inconsistencies in Turkey’s statements about the mission and location of the fighter jet.
On Monday, the Syrian government repeated its assertion that the plane was in Syrian airspace at the time it was shot down. “The plane disappeared and then reappeared in Syrian airspace, flying at 100 meters altitude and about 1-2 kilometers [0.6-1.2 miles] from the Syrian coast,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi. “We had to react immediately, even if the plane was Syrian we would have shot it down.”
Countering claims that the plane was shot down 24 kilometers from the Syrian coast, Makissi added that the plane was downed using an anti-aircraft machine gun, which has a maximum range of only 1.2 kilometers. Makissi said that Syria would be able to confirm from the wreckage that only machine-gun fire was involved, not a longer-range missile.
In its initial response, Turkey appeared to acknowledge that the plane was in Syrian airspace at the time it was shot down, and that it plunged into the sea about 13 kilometers from the Syrian coast. According to international standards, Syrian territorial space extends 12 nautical miles (about 22 kilometers) off the coast. Later, however, Turkey said the plane was actually 13 nautical miles off the coast (about 24 kilometers).
Turkey now claims that the jet only briefly incurred into Syrian airspace, and that it was hit 15 minutes later by a missile, as it was heading in a “different direction” from Syria. However, according to Turkey’s own account, the jet was near Syrian airspace when it was shot down, meaning that at the very least, it was traveling very close to the border for much of this 15 minutes, not headed in a “different direction.”
Moreover, initial reports from Turkish media reported that wreckage from the fighter jet had been located in Syrian waters, appearing to confirm Syria’s version of events. Indeed, Turkey continues to acknowledge that the plane crashed into Syrian waters. It is not clear how a plane that was hit 2 kilometers outside of Syrian airspace while traveling away from Syria could crash in Syrian waters.
The purpose of the jet’s mission is also unclear. Turkey has claimed that it was testing out Turkish radar. Several commentators have suggested that a far more likely explanation is that it was seeking to test Syrian air defense systems, including its radar systems recently acquired from Russia. Any outside military incursion into Syria would have to take out these systems. The air defense systems also hinder the arming of opposition forces and surveillance support.
“What all this tells us is that there are a lot of ’fishy’ tactics and strategies going on in the region, with numerous players behind many curtains,” Hayat Alvi, a lecturer in Middle Eastern studies at the US Naval War College, told Reuters. “The Syrian military has reason to be jumpy, given these circumstances.”
Syria upgraded its air defense systems after jets invaded the country in two separate incidents. First, in 2006, four Israeli jets flew over Assad’s summer palace, prior to Israel’s brutal war against Gaza. Then, in September 2007, Israel carried out an unprovoked bombing raid against an alleged nuclear energy site near the Turkish border.
Turkey is already working closely with the United States in its operations against the Assad government, including the arming and hosting of opposition forces. It has also moved significant military forces close to the Syrian border.
Any response to the downing of the jet will become the basis for more aggressive measures later. “I’m not of the opinion that Turkey will immediately respond militarily,” commented Beril Dedeoglu of Galatasaray University in Istanbul. “But if there is another action, then there will certainly be a military response, there is no doubt.”
One possible action from today’s NATO meeting will be to beef up Turkey’s air defense and surveillance aircraft with NATO supplied planes, which is what happened in 2003. The aircraft were deployed in February, and remained through early May, more than a month after the invasion of Iraq.
The deployment of NATO aircraft could easily become the basis for carrying out further provocations, aimed ultimately at justifying the bombardment of Syrian air defense.

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The Questions before NATO today

As NATO gets ready for a consultation with Turkey over the shooting down of an F4 and rumours appear that there was also an F16 shot down, let us see the questions they should be asking themselves and also the answers they do not wish to hear: NATO is a terrorist organization, the armed wing of policy implementation, a club for arms traffickers.
Question 1: What exactly was the Turkish jet(s) doing over Syrian airspace?
As the Israelis say when they strafe a wedding ceremony or a funeral or drop phosphorous bombs on schools, something which the FUKUS Axis (France, UK and US) never even refer to, is the victims shouldn’t have been there, should they? In which case, why were the Turkish jets in Syrian airspace if not to test the air defense systems ahead of a military incursion, or else was it to strike a military target deep inside Syria? The F4 everyone knows about and now there is chatter of an F16 which was hit and crashed in Turkey.
Question 2: Why does NATO exist?
The notion that NATO started as a defensive organization is bullshit because it has always been essentially a belligerent, offensive organization while the Soviet Armed Forces at the time were essentially defensive. As for today there is even less doubt. Was Iraq a defensive measure? Was Afghanistan? Was the Balkans? Was Libya? What threat were these nations posing to NATO?
Or is NATO a clique for arms dealers, another echelon of jobs for the boys, another club where the high and mighty rub shoulders together and implement US foreign policy by stealth?
Question 3: How many millions to the taxpayers have to pay for NATO?
This information is hidden. The answer is many billions of dollars every year for Washington to implement its geopolitical schemes. The UK is an easy fall guy because of London’s obsession to keep on good terms and have a “special relationship” with its ex-colony.
In fact, the cost is staggering. Did the citizens of NATO member states know, for instance, that there is not one NATO budget, but three? And did they know that NATO is not one organism, but a myriad of greyish bodies piled on top of one another, each one providing jobs for personnel whose work directly influences foreign and domestic policy, but who were unelected? There is the NATO Security Investment Programme, there is the NATO Command Structure, the NATO-wide Air Defence Structure, communications systems, the North Atlantic Council, the Resource Policy and Planning Board, Allied Command Operations, the Office of Resources among numerous other bodies, corporations, organisms and committees.
Did they also know that they pay a percentage of their country’s national income? So instead of funding hospitals, education, schools, roads, policing, ambulance services, housing and pensions, the taxpayers’ money is being siphoned off into this multinational greyish organism which controls their country’s policy. Who elected it?
Question 4: Is NATO Constitutional?
Is it Constitutional for a country’s policies to be controlled by a foreign body which was not elected? I do not think so.
Question 5: What are NATO’s policies?
I will answer that question directly. Let us imagine a railway line with different stations along the way, each station with its strategic importance and each one very much linked to energy resources. One by one, the stations are controlled. Despite claims and promises to the contrary, NATO advanced eastwards after the Warsaw Pact was disbanded. In fact, NATO lied through its teeth not once, but on several occasions, the latest shocking example being the mission creep in Libya. In fact, the Libya operation was so stupidly performed that nobody will ever believe a word NATO says, ever, ever again.
Afghanistan was a strategic cornerstone not only for its own vast mineral wealth but because it is a strategic connection centre between the Central Asian resources (one of the last stations) and access to the Ocean (Pakistan). Iraq was not only valuable for its oil but also covers the western flank of Iran, Syria covers the western flank of Iraq and denies Russia its last base in the Mediterranean.
Libya had a vast sovereign fund, which was literally stolen by the FUKUS Axis and by the way where is the money? Libya has vast mineral wealth. Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi was also frustrating the banking, weapons, telecoms, and energy lobbies through his pan-African humanitarian schemes which were denying them millions of dollars in profits from their loans.
The next station in the line is Syria, as we can see and after that lies the IR Iran and thereafter a branch northwards to Central Asia and Russia and Eastwards to the PR China.
Question 6: Why is NATO arming terrorists?
A very good question would be to Britain’s William Hague who has so far not managed to provide an answer: Why did the UK collaborate with LIFG, a terrorist organization on the FCO’s own list of proscribed organizations? Why is NATO arming terrorists in Syria, through Turkey?
Question 7: Is NATO accountable for its acts?
NATO seems to think not, that it can simply saunter into a country, destroy its infrastructure, attack civilian systems with military hardware, strafe homes with bombs, support terrorists and send armed gangs of assassins and mercenaries into populated areas, to torture, kill, steal, commit arson, rape, sodomy, slice the breasts off women in the streets, you name it.
There are laws. Maybe NATO should start investigating and imposing accountability before someone else does.
And for the citizens of the world who are tired of NATO and its murderous policies, the answer is perfectly simple: Hold the politicians you elect accountable to their promises. Find out whether NATO is Constitutionally compatible in your country and reject any candidate who collaborates with this evil and sinister clique of bullies.
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

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Saudi Arabia: Persian Gulf of Strategic Interest to NATO

NATO Promotes Lethal Mixture of Militarism, Monarchism & Theocracy in the Arab World

nato1On June 18 Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen met with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Nizar Madani at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
The head of the Western military alliance extended an invitation to the Persian Gulf kingdom to join NATO’s partnership program in the region, stating “Saudi Arabia is a key player in the region and NATO would welcome the opportunity to engage the Kingdom’s government as a partner in the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.”
The latter was launched in 2004 during the NATO summit in the Turkish city which gave the partnership its name, part of a series of sweeping measures that also saw the largest-ever one-time expansion of NATO membership – the absorption of seven new nations in Eastern Europe, including the first former Yugoslav and first three former Soviet republics – as well as committing the bloc to upgrading its other Middle Eastern military partnership program, the Mediterranean Dialogue (whose members are Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia), to that of the Partnership for Peace, which was used to elevate NATO’s 12 new post-Cold War members to their current status.
nato2The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) is aimed at the West’s political and military partners in the Persian Gulf, the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. All but Oman and Saudi Arabia have joined the ICI.
Over the past six years NATO naval groups have visited Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Leading NATO officials have paid visits to and the bloc has held conferences in ICI member states.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have troops serving under NATO command in Afghanistan, and Qatar and the United Arab Emirates supplied warplanes for NATO’s six-month air campaign against Libya last year.
Now, with the U.S. and its Western allies refocusing on the Persian Gulf and the threat of Western military action against Syria and Iran mounting, it is clearly NATO’s intention to recruit Saudi Arabia for the Persian Gulf partnership.
The Saudi diplomat, in addition to meeting with NATO chief Rasmussen, also met with the bloc’s deputy secretary general, the North Atlantic Council (which consists of the permanent representatives – ambassadors – of its 28 member states) and other alliance officials “who provided him with an overview of NATO’s outreach and cooperation programmes with partner countries in the Mediterranean and in the Gulf region.” That is, with the seven Mediterranean Dialogue and four Istanbul Cooperation Initiative members. (To date. Libya will be the next member of the first, with Syria and Lebanon to follow if the West succeeds in overthrowing the government of Syria. Iraq and Yemen are prospective members of the second.)
nato3As the NATO website wrote concerning the visit of the Saudi official, “For NATO, the security of its partners in the Gulf is a key strategic interest to the Alliance.”
Precisely how strategically important the Persian Gulf is to NATO and its leading member, the U.S., and in part why it is so was indicated on June 14 when Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro gave a briefing via teleconference on Global Economic Statecraft Day in which he demonstrated what the State Department in large measure exists for: To drum up business for American arms manufacturers.
His comments included:
“Global Economic Statecraft Day is a global event that we’re holding to highlight America’s commitment to put strengthening American jobs at the center of our foreign policy…Our work in the Political-Military Bureau, to expand security cooperation with our allies and partners, is critical to America’s national security and economic prosperity. And it is also an important part of the State Department’s economic statecraft efforts…[It is] the Secretary of State that is given the authority to oversee and authorize all arms sales in order to ensure they advance U.S. foreign policy.”
He also boasted:
“Today, I can confirm that this is already a record-breaking year for foreign military sales, which are government-to-government sales. We have already surpassed $50 billion in sales in Fiscal Year 2012. This represents at least a $20 billion increase over Fiscal Year 2011, and we still have more than a quarter of the fiscal year left.
“To put this in context, Fiscal Year 2011 was a record-setting year at just over 30 billion. This fiscal year will be at least 70 percent greater than Fiscal Year 2011…”
Sixty percent of the arms sales abroad so far this fiscal year resulted from a $30 billion weapons contract with Saudi Arabia signed last December for 84 F-15 fighter jets and assorted weaponry. Which is part of a $67 billion deal struck with the Saudis in 2010 for the multirole warplanes, 2,000-pound bunker-busting bombs, 72 Black Hawk and 70 Apache Longbow attack helicopters, Patriot Advanced Capability-2 and other missiles, and warships. The largest bilateral arms transaction in history.
And that in turn is part of an $123 billion arms package with Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates announced in the same year. The “Iranian threat” may be the most lucrative public relations scheme ever devised.
Last December 25 the U.S. signed a deal to sell 96 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor missiles to the United Arab Emirates, the first THAAD missiles to be deployed outside the U.S. It was also announced last year that the United Arab Emirates will become the first Arab state to open an embassy at NATO Headquarters.
On June 11 the U.S. and Turkey began the second round of this year’s Anatolian Eagle air combat exercises in the second country, whose purpose is, in the words of the Pentagon’s press service, “to conduct a variety of air missions to include interdiction, attack, air superiority, defense suppression, airlift, air refueling and reconnaissance.”
The joint U.S.-Turkey Anatolian Eagle-2012/1 was held in March. The ongoing Anatolian Eagle-2012/2 also includes the participation of NATO and warplanes from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Pakistan and Italy.
A U.S. Air Force press report, not mentioning Saudi Arabia’s involvement, offered this description of the exercise:
“The Blue Force, consisting of the United States, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Turkey and NATO, will perfect their large force employment skills against the Red Force of F-16s, F-4s and F-5s piloted by Turkish pilots.”
The same source quoted a U.S. Air Force official as contending, “If there’s ever another (Operation) Allied Force, these are the people we’re going to fight with side by side.”
There can be little doubt about who the victims of the next Allied Force, the name of NATO’s 78-day air war against Yugoslavia 13 years ago, would be in the current geopolitical context. Turkey borders Syria and Iran, which are the two main impediments to Turkey and Saudi Arabia further expanding their influence in the Middle East.
Late last month the two nations, both invested in overthrowing secular, republican Arab governments from Libya to Syria and beyond, signed a military training agreement in Riyadh. The pact provides for training Saudi soldiers in Turkish (NATO standard) military schools for participation in joint military operations.
In initiating her campaign against Russia and China over Syria in February, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invoked the Arab Spring and the Arab Awakening (the capital letters are hers): “They must understand they are setting themselves against the aspirations not only of the Syrian people but of the entire Arab Spring, the Arab Awakening.”
What in fact she and her Western counterparts are promoting in the Arab world from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf is a lethal mixture of militarism, monarchism and theocracy.

# # # #

Rick Rozoff is an investigative journalist based in Chicago and has been an active opponent of war, militarism and intervention for over 40 years. He manages the Stop NATO e-mail list , and is the editor of Stop NATO, a website on the threat of international militarization, especially on the globalization of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Mr. Rozoff has a graduate degree in European literature.

Posted in Rick Rozoff Column by Rick Rozoff

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NATO’s Nazi Beginnings: How the West implemented Hitler’s goals

by Robert S. Rodvik

Who gave NATO the right to rule the world? This author elucidates how the Western elite, many of whom were Hitler supporters, rescued a vast number of Nazi hierarchy and placed them in positions to continue the many decades long fight against Russia. The One Percent of the time and the One Percent of today have sent millions to their deaths in formulating and enacting Winston Churchill’s 1918 pledge to “strangle at its birth” the Bolshevik menace. Total control of the so-called mainstream media has furthered that odious task.
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Welcome to Munich: the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, during a controversial visit to Germany, are greeted by Hitler in the city in 1937.
Many writers have documented how British and American elites bankrolled Hitler’s rise to power and not until he turned his forces westward did they begin to mount defensive actions against the Third Reich. In Britain, elite members of The Right Club, often with government collusion, secretly supported Hitler’s actions against the Jews and against communists and socialists. The Duke of Wellington was a noted anti-semite and a member of the Right Club. Edward the VIII, known as “the Traitor King” was close friends with Adolf Hitler and was forced to give up his throne, not because of Wallis Simpson, but because it was discovered that he was passing British war operations documents to the Nazis. The aristocracy, after all, have never submitted to sharing the wealth with the lesser classes and Adolf was equally amenable to those ends, the destruction of the untermenschen being foremost in 
Plan A of his conquest strategy for Europe and Russia.

Until 1977 the BIS headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, hid itself from the world. Bankers told visitors to go to Frey’s Chocolate Shop and enter the unmarked entrance of the former hotel next door.
The Bank for International Settlements was a joint creation in the 1930’s of the western world’s central banks, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Montagu Norman, governor of the Bank of England was a wholehearted supporter of Hitler and, when the Nazis marched into Austria in 1938 most of the country’s gold was packed and loaded into vaults controlled by the Bank for International Settlements – the main central bank for the western world. One day later the Nazis marched into Prague, took the directors of the Czech National Bank as hostages and demanded they cede control of the country’s gold reserves representing some $48 million. Informed that the gold had already been transferred to London’s vaults, efforts were made to contact Montagu Norman – who immediately transferred the money to the Germans to outfit their war machine. Friends indeed.
The United States of America had not yet arrived at the position of world’s leading imperialist power, but many of its elites were aligned with British elite sentiments. One of the leading lights in furthering the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party was none other than Prescott Bush, father to George Herbert Walker Bush and grandfather to G.W. Bush, both future presidents and G.W. H. Bush as head of the CIA. These war criminals have maintained their popularity among right-wing Americans mostly due to a compliant media that has obscured their Nazi-loving history from the populace at large. 
In their book George Bush:The Unauthorized Biography, Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin write the following:
In October 1942…Prescott Bush was managing partner of Brown Brothers Harriman. His 18-year-old son George, the future U.S. President, had just begun training to become a naval pilot. On Oct. 20, 1942, the U.S. government ordered the seizure of Nazi German banking operations in New York City which were being conducted by Prescott Bush. Under the Trading with the Enemy Act, the government took over the Union Banking Corporation, in which Bush was a director. The U.S. Alien Property Custodian seized Union Banking Corp.’s stock shares, all of which were owned by Prescott Bush, E. Roland “Bunny” Harriman, three Nazi executives, and two other associates of Bush. [1]
Tarpley and Chaitkin add the following:
President Bush’s family had already played a central role in financing and arming Adolf Hitler for his takeover of Germany…By deciding that Prescott Bush and the other directors of the Union Banking Corp. were legally front men for the Nazis, the government avoided the more important historical issue: In what way were Hitler’s Nazis themselves hired, armed and instructed by the New York and London clique of which Prescott Bush was an executive manager? [2]
Among those supporting the rise to power of Adolf Hitler was industrialist Henry Ford, a noted Jew hater. Among his other crimes, Ford…”refused to build aircraft engines for England and instead built supplies of the 5-ton military trucks that were the backbone of German army transportation.” [3] The list of US industrialists linked to the Nazis is too long to recount here but can be accessed in Charles Higham’s excellent book, Trading With The Enemy: the Nazi-american plot 1933 – 1949. [4]
Clearly the west’s leading financiers were in Hitler’s camp, busy supplying funds for his military buildup and not till he betrayed them by attacking England did the Allies unite to defeat the Nazi forces. In this effort an unholy alliance was formed; that of the western powers and of the Soviet Union, the major force in defeating Hitler’s legions. Yet long before the war ended the Brits and Americans were plotting to redirect their energy against the Soviets, a déjà vu of the 1918 invasion that the west mounted against the Bolsheviks and certainly the most unknown major event of modern history. To this end the British and US rescued the most murderous Nazi war criminals being sought by investigators of the same governments and mingled them into British and US apparatus of terror.
As Michael McClintock writes:
It was immediately after the creation of the United Nations that American leaders found it necessary—as a matter of interest—to break the new rules they publicly lauded. In doing so, they developed new systems by which to evade accountability for lawbreaking–including an enormous apparatus for covert intervention–and, by means of extraordinary effort, to present the United States’ actions, whatever their 
nature, as in accord with international law. [5]

At the same time as the west was planning its covert actions against its WWII ally, it also created the formation of the terror club known as NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Almost in its entirety it was a Nazi enterprise. Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen, for example, who had headed the Russia Desk in the Oberkommando der Wermacht (OKW – Hitler’s Supreme Headquarters) and a consultant on the Final Solution, was secretly brought to the United States where he would deliver his vast storehouse of previously hidden files on the Soviet Union and then set up the Russia Desk for the soon-to-be-formed CIA. [6]
Gehlen would then be returned to postwar Germany where he was put in position as head of Germany’s new Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German Secret Intelligence Service. In essence, two Russia desks (at least) now functioned instead of just one; both with the same ultimate aim: destroy the Soviet Union and communism.
Hundreds if not thousands of old Nazis found new life working for the US, Britain, and Canada as the Cold War was cranked up and now the mass murderers were brought into policy making for the same Lords of the Manor who had supported Hitler to begin with. And, with the same old Nazis back in charge, every foul means was employed against the Soviets to prevent any challenge of global capital’s right to dictate the terms of enslavement.
West Germany, now being run by ex-Nazis under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, joined NATO in 1954 and Gehlen liaised with his pro-Nazi mentor Allen Dulles who would become head of the CIA, with brother John Foster as Secretary of State. Soon NATO began appointing the old tried and true Nazis into high positions within the organization.
General Hans Speidel, for example, became commander-in-chief in 1957 of AFCENT (Allied Forces Central Europe). Nazi Admiral Friedrich Guggenberger joined the highly important NATO military committee in Washington and General Adolf Heusinger (Gehlen’s old chief at Hitler’s OKW), became its chairman. At Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE), Gehlen managed to install several Nazi collaborators into vital positions [7]. Amongst these was Col. Hennig Strumpell, who became deputy to British Maj. Gen. Charles Traver, the Assistant Chief of Staff (Intelligence) at SHAPE. Col. Heinz Koller-Kraus was made head of logistics at Speidel’s AFCENT. Many other Gehlen men would soon join NATO to define its policies. [8]
With the same Nazis well integrated into NATO and the CIA becoming an extension of Gehlen’s old Nazi intelligence agency, the Nieue World Ordnung was essentially relocated from the Reichstag in Berlin and dropped into the Pentagon and CIA Langley, Virginia.
Added to the anti-Soviet battle plans, US elites recognized the value of Goebbel’s Ministry of Truth and turned the lessons learned into the world’s most sophisticated propaganda network ever created. All western wars would now be given illusionary titles, such as: “wars for democracy”, “wars for peace”, “wars for justice”, “wars for humanitarianism” and on and on. The corporate funded elites that run the UK and Canada were quick to adopt the same essential elements.
Two of those components of the propaganda wars for the US/UK/Nazi Nieue World Ordnung was the creation of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty – both staffed with Gehlen’s old Nazis and funded by the CIA. [9]
These Nazi mass murderers set up an Hungarian Desk, provided arms and assistance to underground pro-Nazi elements in Hungary and together with the CIA, instigated the Hungarian uprising – which the Soviets brutally put down [10]. The prime use of this episode however, had little to do with the dead and dying, rather it was the propaganda value which portrayed an “Evil Empire” that had to be destroyed. [11]
Dr. Eberhardt Taubert joined the Nazi party in 1931 and was soon promoted to the rank of Sturmführer, following Goebbels to the Ministry of Propaganda. After the war Taubert slid down to South Africa where he found comfort among the neo-Nazis in power in Johannesburg busy designing the apartheid system. In 1950 he returned to Germany and joined his old Nazi pal Reinhard Gehlen, becoming a member of the BND. In his new BND/CIA post, Taubert became chairman of the CIA-backed “National Association for Peace and Freedom” becoming also an adviser to German Minister of Defense, ex-Nazi Franz Josef Strauss and was then assigned by Strauss to NATO as adviser to the “Psychological Warfare Department”. Goebbel’s Ministry of Truth being recirculated to feed the Christian fundamentalists some newly constructed, yet old and familiar Tales from the Dark, only 
having different packaging. [12]

“NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe” by Daniele Ganser, Contemporary Security Studies, February 2005.…
NATO has also been closely linked to a series of terrorist bombings in Italy in the 1980s in order to create a “Strategy of Tension” designed to allow the fascist right wing into power and thereby bring “stability” to the country. This program made use of numerous far right terrorists like Stefano Delle Chiaie of Ordine Nuovoand other demented souls who planted bombs in public places that killed hundreds, aided in implementation by Gehlen’s NATO/Nazi terrorists. Though well covered in Europe, thanks to media complicity, the story barely made a blip here.
In essence these and their followers are the people that run NATO, presently killing its way around the world thanks to the likes of Barack Obama, Steve Harper, and the rest of the West’s puppet satraps; while posing as defenders of humanity. It’s all too much to embrace without losing one’s dinner over and over again.

[1] Office of Alien Property Custodian, Vesting Order No. 248. The order was signed by Leo T. Crowley, Alien Property Custodian, executed October 20, 1942; F.R. Doc. 42-11568; Filed, November 6, 1942, 11:31 A.M.; 7 Fed. Reg. 9097 (Nov. 7, 1942). See also the New York City Directory of Directors (available at the Library of Congress). The volumes for the 1930s and 1940s list Prescott Bush as a director of Union Banking Corporation for the years 1934 through 1943.
[2] Webster Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin, George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography.
[3] Charles Higham, Trading With The Enemy, A Dell Book, 1983, p.23.
[4Ibid, p.177.
[5] Michael McClintock, Instruments of Statecraft, Pantheon Books, NY 1992, P.24.
[6] E. H. Cookridge, Gehlen, Spy of the Century, Random House, NY, 1972.
[7Ibid, p.301.
[11The Progressive, “Turn it Off” September 1993, p.10.
[12Ibid, pp.10-11.

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When Protector Turned Killer

NATO has consistently blocked any attempt to scrutinise the war crimes it committed during the ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Libya
By Vijay Prashad
June 11, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Back in January Faiz Fathi Jfara of Bani Walid asked a simple question, “I just need an answer from NATO: why did you destroy my home and kill my family?” NATO refuses to answer him.
NATO went to war in Libya to protect civilians through a U.N. mandate (Resolution 1973). Given legitimacy by the U.N. Human Rights Council and by the International Criminal Court, NATO began its ten thousand sorties. It quickly exceeded the U.N. mandate, moving for regime change using immense violence. All attempts to find a peaceful solution were blocked. The African Union’s high-level panel was prevented from entering Libya as the NATO barrage began.
Several influential countries, including Russia and China, have asked for an evaluation of Resolution 1973 since late last year. They want to know if NATO exceeded its mandate.
A report by independent Arab human rights groups in January 2012 and a report by the U.N. Human Rights Council (March 2, 2012) have been largely ignored. Both show that the proposition that Muammar Qadhafi’s forces were conducting genocide was grossly exaggerated, and both called for an open investigation of NATO’s aerial bombardment. The U.N. report found that crimes against humanity and war crimes had been committed by the Qadhafi regime and by the rebels. It also found evidence of potential war crimes by NATO.
The saviours’ kill rate
The second finding is stark. If NATO went into the conflict with its “responsibility to protect” (R2P) civilians, what was the civilian casualty rate as a result of NATO’s bombardment? Would the U.N. Security Council sanction further NATO “humanitarian interventions” if the kill rate from the saviours is higher than or equals that of the violence in the first place?
When the Human Rights Council began its investigations, NATO’s legal adviser Peter Olson wrote a sharp letter to the commission’s chair:
“We would be concerned if ‘NATO incidents’ were included in the commission’s report as on a par with those which the commission may ultimately conclude did violate law or constitute crimes. We note in this regard that the commission’s mandate is to discuss ‘the facts and circumstance of … violations [of law] and … crimes perpetrated.’ We would accordingly request that, in the event the commission elects to include a discussion of NATO actions in Libya, its report clearly state that NATO did not deliberately target civilians and did not commit war crimes in Libya.”
NATO was eager to prejudge the investigation — it would not allow the investigation to take up issues of war crimes by NATO.
On March 25, The New York Times’ C.J. Chivers wrote a strongly worded essay “NATO’s Secrecy Stance,” which revisited a story that Mr. Chivers had written about the August 8, 2011 NATO bombardment of Majer (a village between Misrata and Tripoli). It is clear that at least 34 civilians died in that attack. It is a test case for NATO’s refusal to allow any public scrutiny.
NATO claims that it has already carried out a review of this case. Mr. Chivers is right to note that this raises an issue fundamental to democratic societies, namely, civilian control over the military. If the public and the political authorities are not allowed access to the evidence and provide oversight over the NATO command, the idea of civilian control of the military is violated.
Five days later, The New York Times editorial (“NATO’s Duty”) followed Mr. Chivers, noting that NATO “has shown little interest in investigating credible independent claims of civilian fatalities.” This is strong language from an editorial board that has otherwise been quite comfortable with the idea of NATO’s “humanitarian interventions.”
The next day (March 31), NATO’s spokesperson Oana Langescu responded that NATO has already done its investigation, and if the Libyan authorities decide to open an inquiry then “NATO will cooperate.” There is no indication that the threadbare Libyan government is going to question its saviours. On May 2, the Libyan government passed Law no. 38 which gives blanket amnesty to the rebels. Such a protection implicitly extends to NATO. Seven thousand pro-Qadhafi detainees sit in Libyan prisons. They have not been affordedhabeas corpus. Among them is Saif al-Islam. An International Criminal Court warrant languishes. The U.S. war crimes chief, Steven Rapp, joined the Libyans in refusing the ICC request for Qadhafi. “We certainly would like to see the Libyans provide a fair and appropriate justice at the national level,” he said on June 6. When the ICC was created in 1998, both the U.S. and Qadhafi’s Libya opposed it. During the rush to war, the ICC was very useful to build propaganda against the Qadhafi regime. Now it is to be set aside. Libya shows how “human rights” is used as a pretext for war making and is not taken seriously when conflict ends.
Failure to acknowledge
A Human Rights Watch report entitled Unacknowledged Deaths: Civilian Casualties in NATO’s Air Campaign in Libya released on May 14 revisits the theme of an investigation. When HRW was doing its work, it wrote to NATO requesting answers to some of its questions. NATO’s Richard Froh (Deputy Secretary General of Operations) responded on March 1 that NATO had already answered the U.N.’s Commission of Inquiry (which it actually had not) and that HRW should see those “detailed comments to the Commission, which we understand will be published in full as part of that report. We encourage you to consider these comments when drafting your own report.” It was a brush off. Because NATO refused to cooperate, HRW could only look at eight sites (out of ten thousand sorties). From this limited sample, HRW verified the killing of 72 civilians, with half of them under the age of 18. NATO’s silence led HRW to conclude, “NATO has failed to acknowledge these casualties or to examine how and why they occurred.”
The scandal here is that NATO, a military alliance, refuses any civilian oversight of its actions. It operated under a U.N. mandate and yet refuses to allow a U.N. evaluation of its actions. NATO, in other words, operates as a rogue military entity, outside the bounds of the prejudices of democratic society. The various human rights reports simply underlie the necessity of a formal and independent evaluation of NATO’s actions in Libya.
(Vijay Prashad, who teaches at Trinity College, Hartford, CT, is the author of Arab Spring, Libyan Winter — out this month from LeftWord Books, Delhi — and a frequent contributor to Frontline.)
This this article was first published at The Hindu

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NATO preparing vast disinformation campaign

by Thierry Meyssan

Member States of NATO and the GCC are preparing a coup d’état and a sectarian genocide in Syria. If you want to prevent these crimes, you should act now: circulate this article on the Internet and alert your elected officials.
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In a few days, perhaps as early as Friday, June 15, at noon, the Syrians wanting to watch their national TV stations will see them replaced on their screens by TV programs created by the CIA. Studio-shot images will show massacres that are blamed on the Syrian Government, people demonstrating, ministers and generals resigning from their posts, President Al-Assad fleeing, the rebels gathering in the big city centers, and a new government installing itself in the presidential palace.
This operation of disinformation, directly managed from Washington by Ben Rhodes, the US deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, aims at demoralizing the Syrians in order to pave the way for a coup d’etat. NATO, discontent about the double veto of Russia and China, will thus succeed in conquering Syria without attacking the country illegally. Whichever judgment you might have formed on the actual events in Syria, a coup d’etat will end all hopes of democratization.
The Arab League has officially asked the satellite operators Arabsat and Nilesat to stop broadcasting Syrian media, either public or private (Syria TV, Al-Ekbariya, Ad-Dounia, Cham TV, etc.) A precedent already exists because the Arab League had managed to censure Libyan TV in order to keep the leaders of the Jamahiriya from communicating with their people. There is no Hertz network in Syria, where TV works exclusively with satellites. The cut, however, will not leave the screens black.
Actually, this public decision is only the tip of the iceberg. According to our information several international meetings were organized during the past week to coordinate the disinformation campaign. The first two were technical meetings, held in Doha (Qatar); the third was a political meeting and took place in Riyad (Saudi Arabia).
The first meeting assembled PSYOP officers, embedded in the satellite TV channels of Al-Arabiya, Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN, Fox, France 24, Future TV and MTV. It is known that since 1998, the officers of the US Army Psychological Operations Unit (PSYOP) have been incorporated in CNN. Since then this practice has been extended by NATO to other strategic media as well.
They fabricated false information in advance, on the basis of a “story-telling” script devised by Ben Rhodes’s team at the White House. A procedure of reciprocal validation was installed, with each media quoting the lies of the other media to render them plausible for TV spectators. The participants also decided not only to requisition the TV channels of the CIA for Syria and Lebanon (Barada, Future TV, MTV, Orient News, Syria Chaab, Syria Alghad) but also about 40 religious Wahhabi TV channels to call for confessional massacres to the cry of “Christians to Beyrouth, Alawites into the grave!.”
The second meeting was held for engineers and technicians to fabricate fictitious images, mixing one part in an outdoor studio, the other part with computer generated images. During the past weeks, studios in Saudi Arabia have been set up to build replicas of the two presidential palaces in Syria and the main squares of Damascus, Aleppo and Homs. Studios of this type already exist in Doha (Qatar), but they are not sufficient.
The third meeting was held by General James B. Smith, the US ambassador, a representative of the UK, prince Bandar Bin Sultan (whom former U.S. president George Bush named his adopted son so that the U.S. press called him “Bandar Bush”). In this meeting the media actions were coordinated with those of the Free “Syrian” Army, in which prince Bandar’s mercenaries play a decisive role.
The operation had been in the making for several months, but the U.S. National Security Council decided to accelerate the action after the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, notified the White House that he would oppose by all means, even by force, any illegal NATO military intervention in Syria.
The operation has a double intent: the first is to spread false information, the second aims at censuring all possible responses.
The hampering of TV satellites for military purposes is not new. Under pressure from Israel, the USA and the EU blocked Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian TV channels, one after the other. However, no satellite channels from other parts of the world were censured.
The broadcast of false news is also not new, but four significant steps have been taken in the art of propaganda during the last decade. 
• In 1994, a pop music station named “Free Radio of the Thousand Hills” (RTML) gave the signal for genocide in Rwanda with the cry, “Kill the cockroaches!” 
• In 2001, NATO used the media to impose an interpretation of the 9/11 attacks and to justify its own aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq. At that time already, it was Ben Rhodes who had been commissioned by the Bush administration to concoct the Kean/Hamilton Commission report on the attacks. 
• In 2002, the CIA used five TV channels (Televen, Globovision, ValeTV and CMT) to make the public in Venezuela believe that phantom demonstrators had captured the elected president, Hugo Chávez, forcing him to resign. In reality he was the victim of a military coup d’etat. 
• In 2011, France 24 served as information ministry for the Libyan CNT, according to a signed contract. During the battle of Tripoli, NATO produced fake studio films, then transmitted them via Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, showing phantom images of Libyan rebels on the central square of the capital city, while in reality they were still far away. As a consequence, the inhabitants of Tripoli were persuaded that the war was lost and gave up all resistance.
Nowadays the media do not only support a war, they produce it themselves.
This procedure violates the principles of International Law, first of all Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights relating to the fact of receiving and imparting information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Above all, the procedure violates the United Nations General Assembly resolution, adopted after the end of World War II, to prevent further wars. Resolutions 110, 381 and 819 forbid “to set obstacles to free exchange of information and ideas” (like cutting off Syrian TV channels) and “all propaganda provoking or encouraging threats to peace, breaking peace, and all acts of aggression”. By law, war propaganda is a crime against peace, the worst of crimes, because it facilitates war crimes and genocide.

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Post-Soviet states help NATO crawl closer to Russia


Post-Soviet states help NATO crawl closer to Russia. 47302.jpeg
NATO agreed with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan on the use of land routes passing through their territory for the export of machinery and military equipment from Afghanistan. In the second half of 2012, tens of thousands of military combat equipment will march through the territory of the former Soviet Central Asia, and … go to Russia?
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reported on the agreements reached. The current number of the international coalition in Afghanistan is 130 thousand people. It is clear that they will withdraw in stages, but the movement of even a couple of thousands of trained and armed foreign troops on the territory of a country should cause a normal government a great deal of concerns.
There will be no complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. A few days ago, Russian President Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said that Moscow did not see anything dangerous in the strategic agreement between Washington and Kabul on the presence of the U.S. forces on Afghan territory after 2014.
It is important to note an explicit order for the relocation via the Central Asian land routes. Last November, Pakistan, the eternal ally of Britain and the United States in the region, has demanded to stop the transit through its territory. The reason was an “erroneous” U.S. airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani border guards.
At the same time there are options of airlifting the troops using an air bridge between the former Soviet airbase at Bagram with a Turkish NATO base Indzherlik. The airports of the American satellites in the Middle East – Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, are also located in the area. However, the timely “blockade” of the transit by Pakistan has closed the logistics in that direction.
Thus, NATO is now able to travel with its armed formations on the territory of Central Asia – a region immediately adjacent to the Caspian Sea. Naturally, this will cause anxiety of Iran, which will be surrounded by American troops from all sides, and is unlikely to cause optimism in China.
Although in December of 2011 the CSTO leaders have agreed not to deploy military bases of third-countries on their territory, clever wordings help to ignore the fact of the presence of foreign armed forces on its territory.
Sequential steps by Washington will be strengthening of its positions in the Central Asian region. Naturally, the states rely not only on the “transit”, but also bonuses, including those in the form of weapons and special forces.
“All Central Asian countries are preparing for 2014. And everyone wants to use this opportunity, mainly for additional financial assistance from NATO countries,” leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party Kabiri told “NG”.
In particular, Tajikistan would like to receive military equipment for the border and technology for military operations in the mountains. Kyrgyzstan is hoping for drones. In addition, the Central Asian countries will have drugs export accompanied by Islamic extremism on its territory.
This type of activity is the brand name and dynastic “profession” for the Afghan Mujahideen, and chaos in Central Asia will allow NATO to settle there permanently. Mysterious events in the dead Kazakh frontier are the grim backdrop of the reached transit agreements.
Under the refrain of the fight against drugs, the U.S., during whose operations in Afghanistan the export of heavy drugs in the country has increased 44 times, is building a loyal force apparatus in Central Asia, said Georgy Borodin, an expert of the Institute for Foreign Policy Studies and Initiatives.
One of the mechanisms of this process is the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Drugs (CARICC).
Today it has seven members: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Russia. The Center creation was funded by NATO member countries: USA, UK, Italy, Turkey, France, Czech Republic, as well as Finland and Luxembourg. These same states plus Afghanistan and Pakistan have observer status at CARICC, while China and Iran are not on the lists.
“Countries with observer status use the access to the entire volume of information collected and analyzed by the Centre,” said the expert. U.S. actions in Central Asia largely repeat their policy in Central and South America: it concerns the integration process, the “fight against drugs,” and the counterinsurgency war.
Meanwhile, as it became known in March, Moscow is in talks with NATO on the establishment of a commercial Transit Alliance in Ulyanovsk. The willingness of Central Asian states, including Kazakhstan that is a member of the Customs Union, to provide its infrastructure for the needs of NATO in this context it is not surprising.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, in the case of the Ulyanovsk base, we are talking about a “multimodal transit of non-lethal cargo for the purposes of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.” He said that the goods will be reloaded from trains to planes and continue their way to Afghanistan. “The annual turnover of the carriers is estimated at one billion dollars.
“Volga-Dnepr” company will be used to solve logistical problems. However, it would be too narrow of an approach to limit the essence of this company only to commerce. The main question now is whether or not this base will be involved in the movement of NATO troops and weapons.
Anatoly Miranovsky

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NATO Summit Highlights Neo-con/neo-liberal Overlap

More similar than different, both of America’s recent imperial ideologies have failed.

By Paul Rosenberg 

Information Clearing House” — San Pedro, CA – As the general election phase of the American presidential election gets underway, the recent NATO summit serves as a potent reminder of just how little difference there ultimately is between the neo-con extremists who dominated US foreign policy under George W Bush, and the neo-liberals who run just about everything in the Obama administration.
Most notably, dozens of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans returned their medals in a mass action that recalled Operation Dewey Canyon III, in April, 1971, when more than a thousand members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War held five days of marches and demonstrations against the Vietnam War in Washington, DC, including a memorial service near the Tomb of the Unknown and a ceremony on the Capitol steps where more than 800 veterans returned their combat medals. 
Sgt Alejandro Villatoro introduced the other veterans at the NATO protests:
“At this time, one by one, veterans of the wars of NATO will walk up on stage. They will tell us why they chose to return their medals to NATO. I urge you to honour them by listening to their stories. Nowhere else will you hear from so many who fought these wars about their journey from fighting a war to demanding peace. Some of us killed innocents. Some of us helped in continuing these wars from home. Some of us watched our friends die. Some of us are not here, because we took our own lives. We did not get the care promised to us by our government. All of us watched failed policies turn into bloodshed.”
Two sides of the same coin
Like their Vietnam-era forebearers, these anti-war veterans have broad, though often unacknowledged support among the American people. In the most recent poll, support for the Afghanistan War is down to 27 per cent, with 66 per cent opposed – levels similar to the Vietnam War in 1971, with support down dramatically, 20 per cent lower than just two years ago. Yet, President Obama recently signed a 10-year security pact with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a surprise trip to Aghanistan. There are virtually no traces of al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan, but our continued involvement there may continue creating enemies for decades to come.
This is not how most people expected things to be. Obama had, after all, given an anti-war speech in October 2002, hadn’t he? And that was a major reason netroots activists gave him a decisive advantage in the 2008 Democratic primary. He was the candidate people trusted to end Bush’s wars, and set out a new direction. Once in office, however, Obama’s policies showed far more continuity than change when compared to Bush’s – a pattern that’s only grown more pronounced over time, as the NATO summit clearly underscored.
This isn’t to say there aren’t some important differences between neo-cons and neo-liberals. Two in particular stand out: First off, the neo-cons only represent one faction of the conservative ideological kaleidescope, with their focus and influence limited largely to foreign affairs. In contrast, neo-liberals represent an integrated economic, military/foreign policy, social issues policy framework, applying naïve faith in market-based solutions to anything that moves. Second, the neo-cons are stupendously reckless, impulsive, undisciplined and dangerous, and could easily plunge the world into any number of military disasters, while the calmer, more methodical neo-liberals are far more prone toward drifting, or bumbling into disaster, rather than enthusiastically plunging in head first. These temperamental differences also lead the neo-liberals to be more multi-lateralist.
In the long run, however, the end results tend to be depressingly similar. Allies may find the neo-liberals more pleasant and less unpredictable to work with, but it’s all the same empire in the end. Neither the neo-cons nor the neo-liberals have any intention to realistically face up to the facts of imperial decline or the damage America’s empire does to its own democracy, much less anyone else’s. And neither group has any clue about how to build a sustainable economy with broad prosperity for all.
Obama was elected president largely based on the illusion his policies would not substantially overlap with the neo-con thrust of Bush’s policies, but would constitute a fundamental repudiation of them. Instead, Obama’s finally managed to “rationalise” Bush’s policies – in both a managerial and a propaganda sense – far more effectively than Bush ever dreamed of. Yes, the term “global war on terror” is gone, but the concept lives on, more unquestionable than ever by virtue of not even being named. Torture is out, but assassination by drone is in. More dissenters than ever have been prosecuted, or are under investigation, with far less vigorous public dissent than Bush ever faced. War criminals walk free under the rubric of “looking forward, not back”, while whistleblowers like Bradley Manning are prosecuted for aiding the terrorists. If Obama were still a state senator, he might even be morally outraged.
Return of the Project for a New America
Meanwhile, the shifting focus from ground troops to drone warfare, while continuing Reagan’s Star Wars missile defence fantasy, betrays a much stronger commitment on Obama’s part than Bush’s to the long-term neo-con endeavour of transforming America’s military into a highly agile, post-modern, cyber-age fighting force, what the neo-cons called “transform[ing] US Forces to exploit the ‘revolution in military affairs'” [RMD] – one of “four core missions” identified in the Project for a New America’s September 2000 campaign document, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses“. The report cited two defining aspects of RMD: “global missile defences” and “control of space and cyberspace”, but the shift to a central focus on information technology – heralded by the use of GPS technology in the first Gulf War – has ripple effects that profoundly impact plans for every service branch of America’s military.
Although the document was largely overlooked at the time, and Bush proved singularly inept at fulfilling the first “core mission” to “defend the American homeland”, in many ways “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” was eerily prophetic of America’s military response to 9/11 – despite the fact that the report barely even mentioned terrorists themselves, except for the possibility they might take over a communications satellite. At one point, the report frankly noted, “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” Elsewhere, it said, “The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” 9/11 was just such an event – and yet, for all their bluster, and all their enthusiasm, when all was said and done, the neo-cons were simply not up for the job.
It’s worth noting here that the other two “core missions” identified were:
fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars;
perform the “constabulary” duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions
On the first point, the neo-cons typical lack of impulse control not only drew them to the idea of multiple simultaneous wars in principle, but also in practice, invading Iraq while leaving Afghanistan not just unfinished, but deteriorating – yet another indication of their inability to execute their own fantasies. Obama’s firm commitment to multi-lateralism draws jeers – and worse – from the neo-con crowd, but ultimately it translates into a more realistic way of fighting multiple wars at once. On the second point, Obama’s neoliberal efficiency has manifested itself in a much more thorough and extensive attention to “fighting terrorism” in a wider range of countries than the neo-cons ever managed. Which brings us to the recent NATO summit, and the accompanying “No NATO” demonstrations.
Climbing the NATO summit
While America’s corporate media routinely downplayed the demonstrations, the range of issues and contradictions they highlighted was simply overwhelming, the organisers themselves implicitly admitted, when they moved the scheduled G8 meeting to Camp David, as private a locale as such a conference can have. In Maryland, the Occupy G8 Peoples Summit convened to discuss a radically different economic vision, reflecting the bottom-up perspective of the Occupy movement and similarly-minded movements in Greece, Spain, Britain and the Arab world.
That vision might seem hopelessly utopian, but every aspect of the modern welfare state once seemed equally utopian, from universal education, to minimum wage laws, to retirement insurance – and every aspect of the modern welfare state is now threatened by unaccountable elites who seem all too eager to destroy it. Neo-liberals like Obama may oppose the extremist austerity measures embodied in proposals like the Ryan Budget (even Romney has now admitted they would lead to renewed recession), but even if Obama were to win resoundingly in November, he’s still on record as favouring a multi-trillion-dollar “grand bargain” that would drastically slash core welfare state programmes like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Chicago saw a much wider array of activities spanning a full week, most prominently, a demonstration led by the National Nurses Union calling for a 0.5 per cent “Robin Hood” tax on financial transactions, and the already-mentioned joint anti-war march and demonstration led by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and Afghans for Peace. Many NNU members and their supporters showed up wearing red shorts and green felt Robin Hood-style hats.
NNU co-president Karen Higgins said the nurses want to fund healthcare instead of warfare. “We pay sales tax. It is time for Wall Street to start paying back what they owe the rest of the country and they need to pay sales tax.” Other countries have such a tax, as did the US from 1914 through 1966. It could raise up to $350 billion a year, according to the NNU. 
Doing this would at least start to shift us back toward the sort of tax structure that helped produce the decades-long robust economic success of the early post-WWII years from 1946 through 1968.
Of course, those years were far from perfect – women and minorities were limited to second-class citizen status, at best. But the basic promise of broadly-shared prosperity for all is not something easily forgotten, once glimpsed – even tasted. And if possible for virtually all white men, then why not for everyone? 
This is the question that haunts America – and the world – today. It is a question that neither neo-cons nor neo-liberals can possibly ever answer. And that is why, sooner or later, their failed ideologies must fall.
Paul Rosenberg is the Senior Editor of Random Lengths News, a bi-weekly alternative community newspaper.
You can follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulHRosenberg

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NATO glorifies its decline

by Thierry Meyssan

The 25th NATO summit ignored the nagging question which has haunted the Organization since the collapse of the Soviet Union: what is its real utility to the ensemble of its members, outside the United Kingdom and the U.S. Any questions concerning the massacre of 160,000 Libyans or a cessation of the attack on Syria having been disallowed, the heads of state were simply commanded to finance the military industrial complex of the U.S.

President Barack Obama receiving those invited to the opening of the summit (here in conversation with the High Commissioner of the European Commnunity, Baroness Ashton).
The NATO summit draws together not only the heads of state of its 28 member states but also the delegates of 32 other countries, revealing the global dimensions of the Organization.
Officially, it was to consider three main issues:
- How to exert control over Central Asia?
- How to deal with [impose?] more efficiently [with] the budget restraints imposed by the financial crisis?
- How to deploy an offensive weapon system against Russia and China?
The choice of Chicago for the NATO summit is obvious given President Obama’s political origins and that it is today governed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former Obama chief of staff, hawk and Israeli army officer.

A host committee was composed by the Bilderberg Group [1] centered around Madeleine Albright, Chairman of the NDI/NED [2] and John H. Bryan, who sits on the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs.
Outside the conference hall, there was no lack of opposition groups demonstrating against the NATO Alliance [3]. The unrest challenged the city’s ability to maintain order and tarnished the image of the summit. Notwithstanding, NATO used the disturbance to keep the press occupied; while the journalists were focused on police excesses going on outside the conference [4], the heads of state could discuss their arrangements in secret.
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The Summit of the CSTO, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, meeting on May 15, 2012. It may be less grandiose than NATO but it is capable of mounting resistance to it.

Controlling Central Asia

The allied intervention in Afghanistan was planned by the Anglo-Saxons even before the September 11th attacks although these were used to justify it and bring its Allies on board. [5] It was tailored to respond to the specific interests of the Coalition—as a pincer maneuver against Iran once Iraq was invaded; as a way of limiting the Russian zone of influence in the Muslim states formerly in the U.S.S.R.; as a means of opening a pathway for the exploitation of Caspian petroleum; as a way of controlling the world market of drugs derived from poppies; and lastly, to obtain access to huge reserves of precious minerals.
Ten years later, the attack on Iran remains postponed while the relations of the U.S. with Russia and China become ever more strained. Just before the summit, Washington concluded an emergency strategic pact with Kabul. The recent troop withdrawal cannot conceal the Pentagon’s long-term plans to remain in-country. Ironically, the Western countries need to maintain troops in Afghanistan to threaten Russian interests in Central Asia but need to pass through Russian territory in order to provision those same troops.
In recent years, Moscow created a military pact with its old Soviet partners, the Collective Treaty Security Organization, the CTSO. Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan joined, though without Azerbajan. Moscow and Bejing then established the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Its initial goal was narrowly conceived to prevent Anglo-Saxon interference in Central Asia but it is evolving into a military pact. The SCO came to include, either as observers or partners, Mongolia and the states of the Indian sub-continent, still without Azerbajan.
The principal question of the Chicago summit was not to establish if Allied troops are necessary for the stabilization of Afghanistan or whether their mission is finished [6] but whether the Allies are prepared to carry forward an encroachment on Russian territory (and Chinese while they’re at it). Since then, the decision of President Francois Hollande to pull French troops out as soon as possible should be understood for what it is, not simply to bring an end to an aberrant colonial expedition but above all to refuse to participate in Anglo-Saxon imperial strategy arrayed against Russia and China in Central Asia.
Russia’s response to the Anglo-Saxon plan was made clear in the agenda of its president.
May 7—President Putin is inaugurated.
May 8—Dmitry Medvedev is nominated Prime Minister
May 9—Commemoration of victory over Nazi Germany
May 10—Visit of the Russian military-industrial establishment
May 11—Reception for the President of
May 12—Reception for the President of South Ossetia
May 14-15—Informal meeting with heads of state of the CTSO
Things couldn’t be clearer. The new mandate of Vladimir Putin will be directed towards protecting Russian markets and defending its Allies.
In a gesture of appeasement, NATO invited to the Chicago Summit the presidents of the member-states of the CTSO, who all made the trip, with the exception of Vladimir Putin.
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Signing ceremony of the aerial ground surveillance program, the AGS. Those who will pay its costs are here nailed to the pillory by photographers: “Smile, you’re going to pay. And cut expenses.”

Slashing expenditures

While the Pentagon itself has been calling to cut expenditures, the ex-Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, demanded that the Allies make a significant effort to expand their military budget to compensate for reductions by the United States [7]. The Pentagon was later obliged to witness the sight of its Allies in their turn succumb to the U.S. financial crisis. Since then, the thinking has turned to the possibilities of spending reductions (what the spokespeople refer to as “intelligent defense”) it being construed that up to this point they were stupidly just throwing more money out the window [8].
In terms of armament, spending less implies buying weapons manufactured in in very large series. In practice this means that the Allies should abandon producing their own weapons and must instead buy from the largest manufacturer, that is to say the USA. The problem is that for the Allies this involves a loss of sovereignty, loss of jobs, and the obligation to continue supporting the dollar and thus the U.S. deficit. In summary, to be defended, the Allies have to sacrifice their defense industry – if they still have one – and offer their currencies to the Big U.S. Brother.
President Obama was awaiting his guests, sales catalogue in hand. This year, drones were at a premium. The summit approved a purchase program of aerial surveillance that has been under discussion for a decade [9]. The idea of combining drones with the purchase of cargo planes built by Euro-American consortiums was abandoned exclusively in favor of drones made in USA. This is a long-expected catastrophe for the firms EADS (Germany), Thales (France), Indra (Spain), Galileo Avionica (Italy), Dutch Space (Netherlands) and General Dynamics (Canada). The great victors of the summit were the U.S. firms, Northrup Grumman and Raytheon, which received 3 billion Euros in orders. The total cost is to be divided by NATO’s thirteen member states. France and Britain succeeded in escaping this hornet’s nest and will contribute their own materiel to the program.
Additionally, the Pentagon succeeded in imposing rule modifications governing the internal functioning of the Alliance to ensure the possibility of using NATO effectively “a la carte”. Historically, the organization was established to mobilize as an ensemble if one of its members was attacked. Today, Washington determines its colonial objectives and then creates a coalition ad hoc. For example, an alliance centered on France and the United Kingdom was formed to destroy Libya. The Germans did not participate. Yet they did assemble the fleet of AWACS surveillance planes. A moment of disorganization occurred before the coalition was able to utilize the materiel. Consequently, the Pentagon demanded the right to requisition materiel from their Allies should they refuse to take part in a coalition. From this perspective, “intelligent defense” basically means treating the Allies like idiots.

Threatening Russia and China

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Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General (shown here in conversation with Thomas Vecchiolla, sales director at Raytheon) inaugurating an exhibition that will explain the benefits of the “anti-missile shield” to Alliance members.
To eliminate the Russian and Chinese nuclear deterrent, the United States envisions protecting itself from enemy missiles to be able to launch theirs without fear of reprisals. This is the underlying principle of the “missile shield.” At the moment, interceptor missiles capable of destroying the ultra-sophisticated Russian and Chinese anti-ballistic missiles in flight do not exist. Under the phony rubric of “missile shield”, the Pentagon plans to deploy a radar system capable of surveilling global airspace and installing as closely as possible a ring of threatening missiles aimed at Russia and China.
The U.S. Defense Department has already negotiated with a great number of countries agreements to install the missile shield. It also promotes military pacts among those states that enter into them. For example, the U.S. invited Jordan and Morocco to join the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), making it into a sort of refurbished Bagdad Pact [10]. In short, it employs a soothing discourse to mask its real intentions. Directed at people what haven’t looked at a globe lately, it explains with a straight face that installations positioned in Central Europe are not aimed at Russia but instead are there to intercept Iranian missiles launched at the U.S taking the long way around.
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The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, expressed the support of Russia for the Syrian President Bashar el-Assad. (Damascus, February 12, 2007) More than 100,000 Russian nationals reside in Syria. They deploy notably the S300 antimissile system capable of holding NATO at bay.

No accountability

The Chicago Summit is important for the subjects it broached, and as important for the issues it dodged: the destruction of Libya and the pull-back from Syria. In every organization, the leaders are obliged to present an annual report on their activities. Not NATO. That is probably a good thing giving that their recent record is not flattering.
Since the last summit was held, the Alliance has won a war against an enemy that did not fight a battle. Muammar Kadhafi, believing he could negotiate until the end, forbade his army to counterattack the fleet and forces of the Alliance. The war, the real one, was limited to the siege of Tripoli. Everyone knew that the population was armed and that entering the city would result in a bloodbath. Knowing that the Allies were opposed to such a course, NATO Supreme Commander Admiral James Stavridis therefore did not bring the subject up before the Atlantic Council. Instead, he organized a secret meeting in Naples where only states already fully aligned were present. According to our sources, France was represented by Alain Juppé [11] The decision therefore was taken unbeknownst to certain Allies. In the aftermath, NATO conquered Tripoli within a week, the military commander of the capital, General Albarrani Shkal, having demobilized his men and offered the city to the invading force for several million dollars. Drones and combat helicopters easily massacred tens of thousands of inhabitants who thought they could defend their country with Kalachnikovs. NATO, supposedly intervening to protect civilians, killed in total 160,000 people, officially without suffering any losses.
In Chicago, the heads of state might discuss the logistical challenges of the war on Libya but not the Supreme Commander’s coup de force nor the political outcome that followed the annihilation of the Libyan state and the installation in power of the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda.
The same limits on discussion were placed at the summit with respect to Syria. The spokesmen who had employed the same pretext to target Damascus that they had for Tripoli—the so-called “Arab spring—had a ready-made explanation for backing down: any international military intervention on their part might unleash a civil war. It is obviously more convenient to say this than to acknowledge a pull-back due to a shift in the balance of power. Russia has deployed in Syria one of the world’s best system of anti-aircraft defenses. It may not prevent the bombing of the country but is capable of inflicting severe losses on NATO air forces. The game’s not worth the candle, as can be seen in the final declaration of the Summit which in its substance did not justify a reunion of sixty heads of state: “We are following the evolution of the Syrian crisis with growing concern and firmly support the current efforts of the U.N. and the Arab League and the full implementation of the Annan 6-point plan.” [12]
[1] “What you don’t know about the Bilderberg-Group,” by Thierry Meyssan, Komsomolskaïa PravdaVoltaire Network, 9 May 2011.
[2] “The networks of “democratic” interference,” by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 22 January 2004.
[3] “Massive anti-NATO protests in Chicago,” Voltaire Network, 21 May 2012.
[4] “The Empire Holds Its War Council in Chicago”, by Glen Ford,Voltaire Network, 18 May 2012.
[5L’Effroyable Imposture, by Thierry Meyssan, 2002; English edition: The Big Lie, published in 2003.
[6] “NATO Chicago Summit Declaration on Afghanistan,” Voltaire Network, 21 May 2012.
[7] “Les gros bras Gates et Rasmussen tentent un nouvelle extorsion de fonds,” by Lucille Baume, Réseau Voltaire, 16 juin 2011.
[8] “Quel est le prix de la ’défense intelligente’ de l’Otan?,” by Manlio Dinucci, Tommaso di Francesco, Réseau Voltaire, 21 May 2012.
[10] Signed in 1955, the Baghdad Pact was a complement to NATO grouping together Iraq (King Faisal II), Turkey (Adnan Menderes), Pakistan (Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad) and Iran (Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi), under the leadership of the Anglo-Americans.
[11] This point has been formally denied by his secretariat, who maintained that the minister was on vacation on that date.
[12] “NATO Chicago Summit Declaration,” Voltaire Network, 20 May 2012.

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The NATO/UN Army

Perpetual War … and Bankruptcy for U.S. 
By William F. Jasper
May 27, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Pretending to have achieved some kind of victory in Afghanistan, President Obama and the NATO leaders have pushed ahead on the globalist agenda to transform NATO more fully into the global military arm of the United Nations.
“We’re now unified behind a plan to responsibly wind down the war in Afghanistan,” declared President Obama, at the conclusion of the May 20-21 NATO Summit in Chicago. 
But don’t pop the champagne corks just yet; America’s longest war, now over a decade in duration, is not ending any time soon. What does “responsibly wind down the war” mean? According to President Obama and the other NATO leaders, it means NATO “combat troops” will have left Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Which is another way of spinning the grim fact that they intend to keep NATO forces (primarily U.S. forces) fighting in Afghanistan for another two-and-a-half years. And after 2014, an unspecified number of NATO/US forces will remain for “training” purposes for an indefinite period. 
The Afghanistan War, which has already cost half a trillion dollars (and over 12,000 American casualties), has succeeded in establishing Hamid Karzai and his clan in a ruling regime that is universally recognized as thoroughly corrupt and anti-American. It is also a regime without popular support that is sure to collapse after our withdrawal — if not before. And when the country breaks down into a bloody civil war? Well, in order to prevent that, President Obama says someone must come up with $4.1 billion per year to finance the equipping and training of the Afghan army and police force. 
The Washington Post reported: 
The United States spent $12 billion last year, 95 percent of the total cost, to train and equip an Afghan army and police force that is expected to total 352,000 by this fall. With a gross domestic product of about $17 billion, Afghanistan is incapable of funding a force that size.
As it looks for a way to cut future costs and assumes an eventual political solution to the war among the Afghans themselves, the administration has projected that Afghanistan’s security needs could be met even if the force were cut by up to one-third. It estimates the cost of sustaining the reduced force at about $4.1 billion a year, half of which the United States would provide. Afghanistan would pay about $500,000. 
President Obama, always generous with the taxpayers’ money, offered to cover half the costs of the “transition.” However, the other NATO partners failed to put any money on the table at Chicago. France said it was pulling its troops out.
NATO, impressive on paper, with its 28 member states and an additional 22 countries in its Partnership for Peace, is totally dependent on U.S. funding and U.S. military equipment and manpower. America’s foreign policy elites, as exemplified most especially by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), have been laboring for decades to empower the United Nations with its own global military, one that could carry out UN mandates without having to seek ad hoc military coalitions from often-reluctant member states. For the past two decades, NATO has increasingly filled this role: in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf of Aden, Libya. 
The one-worlders at the CFR want to go further. Anne-Marie Slaughter is a professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and a former director of policy planning in the Obama/Clinton State Department (2009-2011). Besides being a member of the CFR, she has served on its board of directors. She is one of the big guns in the CFR opinion cartel and can be counted on to push relentlessly for treaties and arrangements that will ever erode American sovereignty and increasingly subject the United States to “international law” and international institutions. In her syndicated column of May 19 (timed for the opening of the NATO Summit the next day) entitled, “Globalizing NATO,” Professor Slaughter signified that the globalist dream to arm the UN with its own military is still alive, and NATO is the vehicle to achieve it. She declared: 
Even skeptics of NATO expansion and operations like the intervention in Libya now recognize that joint operations by member countries, operating under a UN mandate and in conjunction with regional partners, is likely to be a model for the future. As General Brent Scowcroft, National Security Adviser for President George H.W. Bush, observed recently, the UN Charter originally envisioned a standing military force to enforce Security Council resolutions – a vision that the NATO partner model might ultimately realize. 
On May 22, Charles A. Kupchan, the CFR’s Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow (and a Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University) wrote in his blog on the CFR web site that: 
NATO’s Chicago summit went more or less according to plan. The allies agreed upon a timetable and strategy for winding down the war in Afghanistan…. And the presence at the summit of more than thirty non-NATO leaders advanced the alliance’s commitment to developing new partnerships and deepening its global engagement. 
Prof. Kupchan did not expound in detail in his blog about the referenced “new partnerships” and “deepening global engagement.” However, in his recent testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for its hearing on “NATO: Chicago and Beyond,” he asserted that “NATO should intensify and expand the numerous programs it already maintains” and initiate new ones. Here are some of the details he provided at the hearing: 
Some of the most important security institutions of the 21st century are likely to be regional ones – such as the Gulf Cooperation Council, the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asia States, and the Union of South American Nations. NATO should be investing in the efficacy of these regional bodies. 
In pursuit of this objective, NATO should intensify and expand the numerous programs it already maintains to advance these goals, including: 
• Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and Partnership for Peace: engages 22 European partner countries in multilateral and bilateral relations with NATO. 
• Mediterranean Dialogue: engages Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia in NATO activities. 
• Istanbul Cooperation Initiative: provides training and exchanges with Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. 
• NATO Partners: engages non-NATO members in NATO operations, including Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Mongolia. 
• Support for African Union: provides NATO assistance to the AU mission in Somalia and to AU peacekeeping capacity. 
• Training Mission in Iraq (2004-2011): trained Iraq’s armed forces. 
In similar vein, CFR Fellow James M. Goldgeier authored a Special Report for the Council in 2010 entitled,The Future of NATO (a pdf of the report can be downloaded here). 
Goldgeier, who is Dean of the School of International Service at American University, regularly writes columns favoring greater empowerment of NATO and the United Nations. He has teamed up in the past with Ivo Daalder (CFR) to co-author some of these columns. Mr. Daalder now, of course, is President Obama’s U.S. Permanent Representative on the Council of NATO, a position more commonly referred to as our “NATO Ambassador.” Before assuming this post, Daalder was on the staff of Bill Clinton’s National Security Council and served as an International Affairs Fellow at the CFR.
The internationalists at the Council on Foreign Relations have been pushing for providing NATO with its own independent, permanent military assets, so that national politicians responding to war-weary voters will not be able to stifle the globalist agenda. That has been partially achieved with adoption at the Chicago summit of the “smart defense” advocated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
CFR globalists like Slaughter, Scowcroft, Kupchan, Daalder and Goldgeier are deliriously happy that NATO has gone “out of area,” that is, that it no longer restricts itself to the North Atlantic (European) area it was formed, ostensibly, to protect against Soviet aggression. This is part of NATO’s “evolution,” of “reinventing itself,” of “finding a new purpose.” So where does this evolution end? Where does it take us?
Elmo Roper (CFR) explicitly spelled out the globalist vision in a 1960 speech to the Atlantic Union Committee entitled “The Goal is Government of All the World,” which was subsequently published as a pamphlet under the same title. Roper, who was then treasurer of the AUC, declared: 
But the Atlantic Pact (NATO) need not be our last effort toward greater unity. It can be converted into one more sound and important step working toward world peace. It can be one of the most positive moves in the direction of One World. 
Roper continued: 
For it becomes clear that the first step toward world government cannot be completed until we have advanced on the four fronts: the economic, the military, the political, and the social. 
Few of the one-worlders speak as candidly as Mr. Roper did in that speech. Vice President Joe Biden, however, comes close, vigorously championing the transformation of NATO’s armed might into the operational arm of the United Nations. During the Senate confirmation hearing for Warren Christopher (CFR), the nominee of President Bill Clinton (CFR) for Secretary of State, on January 13, 1993, then-Senator Biden stated
[O]rganizing for collective security — means strengthening the U.N. by assigning to the Security Council certain predesignated 
military forces and facilities: a conception unanimously endorsed by this committee last October. It also means converting NATO into a military instrument for peacekeeping, and peacemaking, under U.N. or CSCE auspices. (Emphasis added.) 
Sen. Biden went on to invoke Woodrow Wilson and to endorse Wilson’s radical vision of “world order” under a League of Nations with its own global army and navy. Said Biden: 
Collective security, a multinational commitment to repel aggression and defend the peace, was the central precept of Woodrow Wilson’s vision. Wilson recognized it as a principle so essential to world order that he would not yield it in the fight over the ratification of the Versailles Treaty. It is the principle that the Senate finally accepted in 1949 with the advent of NATO, though it took the carnage of the Second World War to prove Wilson right. And it is that principle we must now extend, by empowering the U.N. and transforming the Atlantic alliance. 
Finally, Sen. Biden called for a Wilsonian “new world order” with “sweeping, visionary change”: 
Today we stand at the threshold of this new world order. I believe the people and governments, in growing numbers worldwide, recognize what needs to be done. And I believe the American people are prepared to see the United States take the lead in engineering sweeping, visionary change. 
As a Senator and as Vice President, Joe Biden has helped propel that “sweeping, visionary change” forward. He was visibly elated when NATO went “out of area” to effect regime change in Libya. “NATO got it right,” he declared. “In this case, America spent $2 billion and didn’t lose a single life. This is more the prescription for how to deal with the world as we go forward than it has in the past.”
This “prescription” which he enthusiastically endorses (along with President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and much of the political establishment) is a prescription for endless illegal wars, fought without the constitutionally required declaration of war by Congress, that would drain America of her blood, treasure, and her liberty.
This this article was first published at The New American

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Why NATO Targets Syria and Iran?

Geopolitical notes from India

By M D Nalapat

May 27, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukio Amano, follows UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s policy of supporting whatever it is that the NATO powers want. In both their home countries, Japan and South Korea, NATO – in the shape of the US military – has been a benign force, defending them against attack by hostile powers. The NATO experience in East Asia has been much less negative for domestic populations than that in West Asia,while South Asia stands in between, except for Afghanistan, where NATO negativism has resulted in the revival of the Taliban and the weakening of forces that could be expected to defend the country against another takeover by the rag-tag militia that is creating panic in NATO headquarters.
Since the past decade, NATO has waged open war in order to alter the status quo. Its battles are not in furtherance of democracy, for it needs to be remembered that locations such as Qatar and Bahrain, where substantial numbers of NATO troops are based, are far from democratic in their governance. However, thus far, neither Barack Obama nor David Cameron have given any indication of noticing this fact. Instead, they turned their attention first to Iraq and thence to Libya and now Syria, with Iran a permanent target of war plans. After the occupation of Iraq in 2003 and the execution of Saddam Hussein, what was behind the NATO-assisted removal of the Muammar Kaddafy regime? Although BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera pretended that the uprising was entirely local, now the world knows that special forces from several countries got inserted to Libya and played the dominant role in the defeat of forces loyal to Kaddafy. Neighbouring countries provided weapons,money and training to mercenaries who were inserted into Libya throughout 2011,until the fall of Tripoli Conspiracy theorists claim that Goege W Bush and his “Executive President” Dick Cheney invaded Iraq in order to teach Saddam Hussein a lesson for seeking to assasinate the then US President’s father. George H W Bush was a good leader,although – like Lyndon Johnson before him – given much less credit by commentators than he merited.
However,it was not for him that Iraq was invaded.Rather,the common link between Saddam Hussein,Muammar Kaddafy,Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is that all four are opposed to the monarchies that rule the wealthy nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council. EliminatingSaddam would,it was calculated,strengthen the position of the GCC and other monarchies. It is no accident that while republican Egypt and Tunisia have undergone changes in the Head of State,the same has not taken place in Jordan and Morocco,both of which are monarchies It needs to be admitted that NATO has stood by its friends in West Asia and North Africa,namely the monarchies. After having taken out Saddam Hussein,another anti-monarchist,Muammar Kaddafy,was dealt within the same way,while a similar fate has been planned for Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Once the last two anti-monarchial Heads of State join Saddam and Kaddafy, NATO believes that their royal friends in the region will be secure,even if there be some public protest,asin Bahrain and Jordan. And their royal friends have stood by the NATO member-states,often at huge financial cost.During the 2008 economic meltdown caused by the greed of NATO-based financial institutions, investors (both public and private) within the GCC lost more than $1.3 trillion,through no fault of theirs.Despite this,they are still holding nearly $4 trillion in the same financial institutions that have been shown to be unreliable.Should the inevitable fall of Greece and Spain be followed by the collapse of Italy and France, GCC investors alone stand to lose $2.1 trillion dollars in financial assets. Despite the rising risk of a repeat of the 2008 meltdown,GCC investors are continuing to keep almost all their funds in financial institutions situated in NATO member-states.
It is this loyalty to the members of NATO that is being rewarded by the military alliance going to battle to rid the region of the principal anti-monarchial regimes there. A fallout of the tension that such a policy by NATO creates is a steady rise in oil prices.Rather than $30,which is the natural price of crude oil given supply and technological potentialities,it is still about $100 a barrel,entirely because of the tension created by NATO policy towards anti-monarchial regimes in West Asia,principally Iran. Such a spike in oil prices rewards companies based in NATO capitals,as well as the monarchies.
Even better,it slows down growth in China, thereby preventing that country from overtaking the US. It slows down growth in India as well, but Delhi is collateral damage. The real target of artificially high oil prices is Beijing. Given such geopolitical realities as the need for NATO-based financial institutions to retain the immense deposits made in them by GCC investors, and the negative impact on China of rising oil prices,it would be futile to expect a breakthrough in the Baghdad talks on the Iranian nuclear program. The pressure on Syria and Iran will continue, until NATO’s mission to rid the globe of key anti-monarchy regimes gets fulfilled.

The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.

This this article was first published at Pakistan Observer
© Pakistan Observer

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NATO Summit A Show Of Force

By Paul Heise 
May 24, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — The NATO summit held in Chicago last weekend reflects everything that is wrong with our society.
The NATO summit put on display how we can and do conjure up foreign and domestic threats to justify government control of our society. For it is fear that justifies not just our obscene military spending, but more importantly, the official violation of our civil and constitutional rights and the concession of political power to corporations.
This fear is then used to justify a growing military alliance even when there is no credible threat. It is the basis for the militarization of our police force, the erosion of our civil liberties and globalization of our economy.
This fear arises because the United States, more than any other country, still lives in the shadow of the Cold War. The culture of fear created at that time and continuing to this day frames our every government action and our federal spending of almost $1 trillion per year on our “security.” The NATO summit is the celebration of that culture of fear and constitutes a show of force.
The governing elite in the industrialized world, and these are the people who attend the summit, have framed their governance task in terms of security, not growth, freedom or peace. It is absurd, but we spend billions of dollars on antimissile batteries in Poland and Romania and the newly dreamed up East Coast Missile Shield to guard against Iran, which is not and never will be a threat.
Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars film fantasies continue to haunt us and cost us. The only thing they guard is the profits of the military-industrial-security corporations and their Congress.
We are supposed to fear not just Russian missiles, Muslim fanatics and the very idea of China but any organized group that protests the militarization and globalization of our society. And there were protesters aplenty in Chicago: the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, National Nurses United, Occupy Wall Street, the Mental Health Movement, Iraqi Veterans against the War, Poverty Agenda, Muslim Peace Council, the Coalition against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Occupy Chicago, the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and many more.
In total, 60 people were arrested, but no one anywhere that I could find, pro or con, gave an estimate for the number of protesters. Now that is really tight control.
Prior to the summit, the FBI and Chicago Police Department regularly announced dire warnings of terrorism, chaos and violence. None of this materialized, but it did intimidate and deter as intended. The best the police could come up with were some guys they accused of making Molotov cocktails – or maybe beer. Most of the detainees have been released; few were charged.
The Chicago NATO Summit was creating fear not only with all the shiny new equipment but also the latest in unconstitutional, but supposedly legal, police tactics. The police can and did use pre-emptive arrest, holding without charges, disappearances and threats of charges of terrorism to create fear. In the far western suburbs no one was allowed to get on the train to the Loop with a backpack or any liquid. Most of the downtown transit stations were closed.
This NATO Summit was, in effect, a show of force. The G-8 Summit about joblessness was more important. It had to be hidden at Camp David in Maryland.
This might be an age of government austerity, but not when it comes to security for a NATO summit. In just the last couple of months, Chicago police have spent more than $1 million on riot gear getting ready for this summit. The city even bought a sound cannon to be used to disperse crowds.
Homeland Security spending is where the real money is, and not just in Chicago. Fargo, N.D., hardly a hotbed of terrorism, used $8 million to arm its police officers with assault rifles and Kevlar helmets in every squad car. They bought an armored truck with a rotating turret for $256,643. Its biggest use is for picnics!
Remember, this money is used to make property and wealth secure, not life and limb or people – unless those people are corporations. This spending creates austerity elsewhere, like in our schools and hospitals.
And just in case you have any doubts about the readiness of our government to manipulate the citizenry, a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 would remove the 1948 ban on dishonest U.S. government propaganda aimed at American citizens.
They will soon be able to legally misinform, that is lie to, the American public to influence public opinion.
A resident of Mt. Gretna, Heise holds a Ph.D. in economics and is professor emeritus of economics at Lebanon Valley College. His column appears every other Thursday. He maintains past columns and can be reached through his blog,
This this article was first published at LDN News

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NATO continues to lie Russia in the face


NATO continues to lie Russia in the face. 47174.jpeg
The leaders of NATO members made another statement about missile defense during the Summit in Chicago: “The European missile defense of NATO is not directed against Russia and would not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrent force.”
They said that the main purpose of NATO is still clear – it is Persian rockets yet to be created (incidentally, in the foreseeable future, Iran’s strategic delivery is not expected as the technology is not available) and the notorious Korean “nuclear slingshot.” Allegedly, they are the principal adversaries of NATO and Russia was just at the wrong time and wrong place. 
The story is hard to believe. If everything is so rosy, then why only “political guarantees” are provided? After all, Russia has insisted, and continues to insist on legal safeguards. In principle, they do not provide much of the immunity either. For example, the USSR and Germany had a similar document, but when Hitler made a decision, the paper did not help to protect Russia.
Now the European missile defense does not threaten Russia technically. Only the first and second echelons of the defense will be implemented by 2015 that will not be able to “get” Russian ballistic missiles and especially submarines. The third and fourth ones, however, present a threat.
Incidentally, Germany that signed a nonaggression pact, for many reasons did not have enough forces for a “quick win” in the east, but two years later, the strengthened Reich did dare. Nevertheless, in 1939 the two countries legally agreed not to touch each other.
It is unclear what would prevent NATO from doing the same today. If they want to put pressure on Russia (and they will), no piece of paper will stop them. But now, there is a great opportunity to lull the vigilance of Moscow, pushing the problem to the back burner.
“Regretting the repeated statements by Russia on possible measures against the missile defense system, we welcome Russia’s willingness to continue the dialogue to reach an agreement on future cooperation on missile defense,” another “fresh” idea from the same summit in Chicago.
Probably the biggest “regret” over there is caused by the May revelation of Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov who said that in case of an exacerbation of the situation Russia will be ready to make a preemptive strike on the missile defense system in Europe. The US is far across the ocean, so Bulgaria and Romania will have to deal with it first. However, for now “the dialogue to reach an agreement” is continued.
It is believed that it would be great to unite different countries, including Russia, under one large “umbrella” to work together to fend off the “unruly neighbors” when they start misbehaving. Yet, this is not going to work. The global missile defense system is only possible when creating a unified command post (guess where?). Otherwise, it is not a common strategic system but rather a patchwork of tactical “conversations.”
The shield will have so many holes (with several staffs, the coordination and synchronization would take too many precious seconds) that it would be easier for each state to defend itself than to maintain the current status quo. It is clear that the countries that do not have their own effective means of defense agree to the U.S. terms.
For Russia, the adherence to the general (read – U.S.) “umbrella” means a loss of at least part of the defense sovereignty. And for what? According to public data from 30 states with missile capabilities, 17 have obsolete models with a range of 300 kilometers. In addition, a number of countries are considering opting out of the development of missiles as it is troublesome and expensive.
Mikhail Sinelnikov

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After the NATO summit: Afghanistan slaughter to continue

23 May 2012

The official declaration on Afghanistan issued from the NATO summit in Chicago on Monday speaks of a country “on its path toward self-reliance in security, improved governance, and economic and social development,” where “the lives of Afghan men, women and children have improved significantly” over the past decade of US-NATO occupation.
It promises an “irreversible transition” from the US-led war to a situation in which “Afghan forces will be in the lead for security nation-wide” by the middle of next year. And it envisions the emergence of a “peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan” that will “contribute to economic and social development in the wider region.”
Readers unfamiliar with the tone and rhetoric of such NATO documents can be excused for rubbing their eyes in disbelief. What country are they talking about?
The claims about Afghanistan emerging as a “prosperous” and “stable” nation are as preposterous as the pretense that the Afghan government is providing improved security, governance and development.
This is a country where over half the population lives below the official poverty line, and 30,000 children die every year from the ravages of malnutrition. Surveys continue to rank Afghanistan as one of the world’s ten poorest countries and the worst country on the planet to be a mother, given the astronomical rates of maternal and infant deaths. The unemployment rate has remained at roughly 40 percent since the US invasion of October 2001. A meteoric rise in emigration is a sure measure of deteriorating social conditions, with three times the number of Afghans fleeing their country in 2011 compared to four years earlier.

As for attributing “improved governance’ to the US-backed puppet Hamid Karzai, his government is universally recognized as one of the most corrupt on the planet, with a thin layer of warlords, crooks and crony capitalists pocketing billions of dollars in aid money. This wholesale and shameless graft has earned Krazai’s regime the hatred of the Afghan people while generating popular support for resistance to the foreign occupation that keeps him in office.
A recent series of high-profile attacks in the center of the capital have called into question even the old characterizations of Karzai as the “mayor of Kabul.” The tripling of the number of US troops deployed in Afghanistan under Obama has succeeded only in spreading what the Pentagon describes as a “robust” insurgency throughout the country.
As for the Afghan puppet security forces taking the “lead” in June of 2013, as recently as February the deputy commander of US forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, admitted that only one percent of Afghan army and police units are capable of operating independently. And even this tiny handful of units depends on US forces for intelligence and logistics as well as fire support. The Afghan military possesses neither an air force nor artillery.
The rosy declaration issued in Chicago makes no mention of the steady rise in so-called “green on blue” killings, the shooting of US and other NATO troops by their supposed Afghan allies, which has devastated morale among the occupation troops. Nor, for that matter, does it even hint at the occupation’s endless series of atrocities, from a US soldier massacring 17 civilians, to American troops urinating upon and desecrating corpses of slain Afghans, to aerial bombardments and special operations “night raids” claiming the lives of entire families.
The rhetoric about an “irreversible transition” followed by a “decade of transformation,” supposedly beginning in 2014, is meant to convince the public in the US—where polls show barely one quarter of the population supporting the war in Afghanistan—and in Europe that, as Obama put it, “the Afghan war as we understand it is over.”
The corollary to this bare-faced lie is that the new phase of the war is just beginning. An indication of the character of this new phase was provided by Gen. John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, who stressed that US and NATO forces would continue engaging in combat operations throughout next year and 2014 in what threatens to be a near-genocidal campaign to exterminate popular resistance.
A report issued on the eve of the Chicago summit by the Center for National Policy, formerly chaired by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, suggests what is to follow. It calls for keeping indefinitely in Afghanistan—and certainly for the ten years that are covered by the strategic partnership agreement signed by Obama and Karzai earlier this month—some 30,000 troops, three quarters of them American, under special operations command. They are to be backed by “fire and air support.” Working “in conjunction with the Central Intelligence Agency,” they will continue the “direct action campaign” against insurgents in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This force is to maintain control of three strategic bases—Kandahar Air Field, Camp Bastion/Leatherneck in Helmand Province and Bagram Air Field.
In other words, the “transition” is to more killing on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, more bombings, more night raids and more drone attacks. The aim, in what NATO leaders referred to as “the age of austerity,” is to prosecute the carnage more cheaply, under conditions where the US alone is spending some $10 billion a month on the war.
Obama is pursuing the same strategic goals as his predecessor, George W. Bush. Under the cover of the so-called global war on terrorism, US imperialism is determined to secure permanent bases in a country that borders both China and Iran, as well as the oil-rich region of Central Asia. The country is viewed within US ruling circles as a strategic launching pad for new and bloodier imperialist wars to come.
Since Obama came into office in 2009, thanks in large measure to popular hostility to the war policies of the Bush administration, 1,350 US soldiers and Marines have been killed, along with untold thousands more Afghan and Pakistani civilian men, women and children. Hundreds of billions more dollars have been expended on the nearly eleven-year war.
The NATO summit in Chicago only underscores that American working people can wage a struggle against war only by mobilizing their own independent political strength against the Obama administration and the entire two-party system. Such a struggle must be armed with a socialist program directed at putting an end to capitalism, the source of war and militarism.
Bill Van Auken

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Kucinich: “NATO Talks a Sham: War in Afghanistan is Not Ending”

By Dennis Kucinich

May 22, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Washington, May 21 – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement as world leaders meet in Chicago for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit.

“The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is not a benevolent organization. NATO is not about the North Atlantic and it’s not about our collective defense.

“NATO is a cost-sharing organization that finances aggressive military action. By hiding behind the claim that the organization provides for ‘common defense,’ NATO allows us to wage wars of choice under the guise of international peacekeeping. The most recent example was the unconstitutional war in Libya where NATO, operating under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians, instead backed one side in a civil war and pursued a policy of regime change.
“Today, NATO leaders are meeting in Chicago to discuss the future of Afghanistan. The talks are being billed as discussions of plans to end the war. The war in Afghanistan is not ending. These talks are simply about financing the next phase of the war.

“The Strategic Partnership Agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan commits us to the country for at least another decade, despite public support for the war being at an all time low. The United States will pay for half of the estimated $4.1 billion per year cost of supporting 352,000 Afghan army and police officers. Afghanistan’s contribution will be $500,000. The rest will be financed by our ‘NATO partners.’ It is not surprising that support for the war among NATO members is waning, with France threatening to pull out its troops by the end of this year.

“Our participation in NATO comes at a great financial cost to the U.S. We contribute the majority of funds for NATO’s common budget, including 25% of the military budget. Between fiscal years 2010 and 2012 alone, we contributed more than $1.3 billion to NATO’s military budget. We also incur significant costs through the deployment of our forces in support of NATO missions. According to The Atlantic, the war in Libya cost the United States $1.1 billion.

“NATO was originally founded to provide a strategic counterbalance to the Soviet Union. Its founding purpose no longer exists, but NATO continues to circumvent the authority of the United Nations and to provoke other nations. NATO is an anachronism. Instead of trying to bolster the organization, we should begin serious discussions to dismantle it.”

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NATO backs US plan on Afghanistan

By Bill Van Auken 

22 May 2012
NATO concluded its two-day summit in Chicago Monday with a formal ratification of the Obama administration’s plans for a phased drawdown of occupation forces from Afghanistan over the next two and a half years, while laying the groundwork for a continued US-led military presence in the country through 2024 and beyond.
US President Barack Obama used the summit to send two conflicting messages. The first, that “the Afghan war as we understand its is over,” is directed at placating the overwhelming opposition among the American people to the US military’s presence in Afghanistan in advance of the 2012 presidential election. The second was aimed at Washington’s NATO allies and centered on the appeal for them to support American plans to keep troops and bases in the country at least through 2024. This he referred to as the US and NATO “painting a vision” for Afghanistan’s future.
This “vision” includes the continued occupation of the country by upwards of 20,000 US troops and pursuit of Washington’s efforts to turn Afghanistan as a US base on the edge of oil-rich Central Asia. While re-branded as “trainers” and “advisers,” rather than combat forces, these troops are to include substantial numbers of special operations squads, backed by US air power, that will continue the night raids and bombardments that have claimed large numbers of civilian casualties and provoked the hatred and anger of the Afghan people.
The key preparation for the summit in Chicago was the signing of an “Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement” by Obama and President Hamid Karzai after the American president flew in and out of Afghanistan under the cover of darkness earlier this month.
While short on details, the pact did provide the means for US troops to remain in the country after the end of 2014, the date set by NATO for the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan. It likewise committed Washington and its allies to continue funding the Afghan security forces, whose numbers are set to peak at 352,000 next October and then drop to 230,000 by 2017.
The annual cost of sustaining Afghan troops and police is estimated at $4.1 billion, and a principal US aim at the summit was to pressure NATO’s European member states, which are confronting deep-going economic crisis and implementing drastic austerity measures, to shell out for the support of these puppet forces. NATO officials indicated that the plan is for Afghanistan to cover $500 million, for other NATO members to pay $1.3 billion and the US to fund the rest.
There was little public discussion of the military funding, which is deeply unpopular in both the US and Europe, under conditions in which working people are being told that there is no money to pay for jobs, health care, education and other basic necessites.
According to an estimate produced this week by the Washington think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the cost of the Afghan war between fiscal years 2001 and 2013 has risen to $641.7 billion, with over 30 percent of that spent in fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Virtually nothing has been done with these staggering sums to improve Afghanistan’s infrastructure or the abysmal conditions in which the majority of its population lives, with the vast bulk of this money spent for military operations and paid out to corrupt officials who have funneled much of it into foreign bank accounts.
Obama’s rhetoric about an end to war and a new “vision” for Afghanistan was joined with a warning that “the loss of life continues” and there will be “hard days ahead”. Gen. John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, was somewhat more blunt about the immediate future. He dismissed “the narrative out there”—promoted by the Obama administration—that US and NATO forces would turn over all security operations to Afghan forces in 2013. “Combat operations will continue in the country throughout the period” ending on December 31, 2014, he said. The US military will use this period to conduct counterinsurgency operations aimed at bleeding the forces resisting foreign occupation.
General Allen added that as the phased withdrawal of US troops goes forward, the Pentagon is prepared to reinforce the occupation in the event of a major advance by the Afghan armed opposition forces. “If we detect that there is, in fact, a Taliban presence beginning to surge in behind our forces, we have forces that are available that we intend to put against that to prevent that from happening.”
The summit was overshadowed by the failure of Washington to secure a deal in advance with the Pakistani government to reopen a supply route from the port of Karachi to the Afghan border that has been shut down for six months in protest over US military strikes on Pakistani border posts last November that killed two-dozen Pakistani soldiers.
The Pakistani government issued a series of demands as a condition for reopening the route, which carried between 30 and 40 percent of US supplies and which will become of vital importance as the Pentagon withdraws significant amounts of heavy equipment from Afghanistan. These demands included an apology for the massacre of the Pakistan troops, a review of the US drone campaign against Pakistan and an increase in transit fees from $250 to $5,000 per vehicle, a rate that US officials described as “extortionate.”
Obama met briefly with Asif Ali Zardari, on the sidelines of the summit Monday, amid widespread reports that the US had deliberately snubbed the Pakistani president to express anger over its failure to meet US-NATO demands for reopening the supply route. The US president failed to make any mention of Pakistan in his opening remarks to Monday’s summit session, while he praised the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, which have allowed US transshipments along the so-called Northern route from the Baltic and Caspian ports, a far more costly and time-consuming means of resupplying US and NATO forces.
While the unstable Pakistan Peoples Party government reportedly wants to restore the supply route, particularly in order to get US aid money flowing again, it is fearful that it could face attacks from not only Islamist parties, but also elements within the Pakistani military.
Also disrupting the facade of unity over future operations in Afghanistan was the announcement by newly elected French President François Hollande that he intends to keep his election promise of withdrawing all French troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, a year earlier than planned by his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. France has only 3,400 troops in Afghanistan, and Hollande has given indications that he may be prepared to keep forces there in the guise of “trainers.” Nonetheless, the move triggered fears that there could be, in the words of NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh, “a rush for the exits.”
While the summit was dominated by the more than decade-old Afghan war, it also served as a forum for new provocative military and diplomatic initiatives by the Western alliance. It announced that a European missile defense shield has become “provisionally operational.” While Washington and NATO have claimed that the anti-missile shield is meant as a protection against Iran and North Korea, Russia has denounced the proposed system as a direct threat to the credibility of its own nuclear deterrent.
The Chicago Summit Declaration included a passage “regretting recurrent Russian statements on possible measures directed against NATO’s missile defense system” and expressing hopes for future dialogue. Earlier this month, Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, warned that Moscow did not rule out a preemptive strike against a NATO missile shield in Europe.
The Chicago summit also saw the first-ever participation in the gatherings of the US-led alliance by Mongolia, the land-locked Asian nation that is surrounded by Russia and China. The NATO declaration welcomed the Mongolian government as the alliance’s “newest partner.” Mongolia has been given status within the alliance under its Individual Partnership and Cooperation Program as part of US imperialism’s “pivot” toward Asia and militarily confronting challenges its sees from the growing power of China.

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War and cheeseburgers

 By Pepe Escobar 

A specter haunts Europe. No, it’s not communism; it’s US rating agencies. Greece is bankrupt; the eurozone is about to crack; JP Morgan makes billion-dollar “mistakes”; there’s no (jobs) future for the new generations. And yet the weaponized arm of the Western 0.1% elites occupies Chicago – turned into an Orwellian police city-state – to discuss “smart defense”. 

In Afghanistan, the “smart” North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is in fact bound for a humiliating escape. “Smart defense” is code for “there’s no money”. Only five among 28 NATO member states spend 2% of their gross domestic product on the military – as NATO would have it. One of them was – surprise! – Greece. Here’s yet another crash course on weaponized neo-liberalism. First Greece was more or less forced to buy expensive submarines from the French and the Germans; then it was forced to make budget cuts. Call it the “food for subs” NATO relief plan. 

The US pays for no less than 75% of NATO’s bills – yet another graphic demonstration of NATO as the European arm of the Pentagon. Still, in 2011 European Union (EU) members spent no less that $180 billion on defense. Not anymore. There’s no money. So it will be up to the Pentagon to keep it going. 

And keep it going it will – with relish. As expected, this Sunday in occupied Chicago NATO approved – better yet, US President Barack Obama and his allies “just decided” – to go with the first phase out of four of the US missile shield for Europe. 

This means in practice an American warship armed with interceptors stationed in the Mediterranean, and a NATO, Turkey-based radar system controlled out of the headquarters in Ramstein, in Germany. The sprawling Ramstein base is led by an American general. Now, according to the Turkish newspaper Zaman, a Turkish general will be his second-in-command. This is the kind of carrot Turkey gets for campaigning for regime change in Syria. 

Those who believe NATO’s spin – this shield is not aimed at Russia, but as a defense against “evil” Iranian missiles – may join Alice in Wonderland. For all practical purposes, Russian military chief General Nikolai Makarov has already said Russia is bound to respond by stationing short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, near the Polish border. You can take NATO out of the Cold War but you can’t take the Cold War out of NATO. 

Medium rare, no ketchup 

On Afghanistan, the White House spin is that Obama has urged Afghan President Hamid Karzai to “implement electoral reform, cut out corruption and press the Taliban for a settlement”. That’s beyond wishful thinking; to believe that the corrupt-tainted Karzai system will “reform” is like believing the House of Saud cherishes Jeffersonian democracy. If there were to be a semblance of “electoral reform”, Washington’s allies in Afghanistan would lose every single election. And it’s the Taliban that would force Karzai into some settlement, not the other way round. 

So what’s left to save Western civilization? Cheeseburgers. With French – not “freedom” – fries. 

This new cheeseburger diplomacy, sealed at the Oval Office by Obama and new French President Francois Hollande, is supposed to save Greece, revamp the eurozone and reignite the US economy, just in time for the November US presidential election. How come the redoubtable US burger chain Five Guys never thought about that before? 

Here’s the Obama calculation. If his Republican challenger Mitt Romney gets elected in November, we are even more screwed than we are now. I need jobs. I need a recovering economy. I need those damned Europeans to put their house in order. I can’t sit down here waiting for them to solve the Greek problem; I’ve got an election to win. 

Here’s the Hollande calculation. I won my election. I promised to deliver jobs and growth. Now I need my coalition of the willing – for growth; otherwise we will be run over by the extreme right, everywhere. Mon Dieu, how come “Onshela” – aka German Chancellor Angela Merkel – can’t understand that? 

For the Franco-American duo, it’s a win-win situation. Hollande’s economic policy is in fact Team Obama’s economic policy. They may have laid down the (new) law to “Onshela” at the placid Camp David Group of Eight retreat – protected from the real world by an army that could effect regime change anywhere in five minutes. 

Problem is, neither Barack nor Francois has briefed the God of the Market – and European and American banks – about it. The Masters of the Universe couldn’t give a damn about Greece the birthplace of democracy; they want their money back. 

Obama is in a hurry. Current Italian Supreme Interventor Mario Monti – former Goldman Sachs – may have the market credibility to convince Berlin and the troika (European Central Bank, European Commission, International Monetary Fund) that either Europe grows or there’s no money to anybody. But Obama also needs a strategic political ally. That’s certainly not austerity dominatrix “Onshela”. 

I’d rather have a steak 

The problem is these cheeseburgers are drenched in oil. Iranian oil. Obama is playing the hardliner on Iran essentially for electoral reasons. Over the next five months he might be able to steer the debate were it not for the Europeans – following his directive, in fact – proceeding with their Iranian oil boycott starting on July 1. He dreads the inevitable consequence: an oil price spike. Then it’s bye bye European recovery – duly followed by bye bye Obama’s re-election. 

This is what makes the next round of talks in Baghdad this week between Iran and the P5+1 nations even juicier. From the point of view of Team Obama, the best possible scenario would be…let’s agree to talk some more. 

That would leave Obama with a window to press – through Hollande – the necessity for Europe to forget about the oil boycott, at least while both parts are talking, and at least for the next six months. After all, the ultra-harsh sanctions package remains in place – and that is certainly biting the Iranian population, much more than the Tehran leadership. 

The only thing that matters to Team Obama, above all else, is to guarantee victory on November 4. Will the cheeseburger diplomacy work? Or will Mitt Romney counter-attack promising a “No steak left behind” policy, with lots of Iranian ketchup? 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 

He may be reached at 

(Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.) 

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GLOBAL NATO: A Geostrategic Instrument of Worldwide Military Conquest

A Historical Review and Analysis (1949-2012)

by Ludo De Brabander and Georges Spriet

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was founded in 1949. Its supporters claim that this military alliance succeeded in building a dam against the aggressive expansionist communist system that threatened to wage war over Europe. This discourse of a threatening war was highly polarised by the media. They were keen on pointing at the Berlin blockade, the Korean war, the repression of the Hungarian uprising, the Prague spring, etc. Historical phrases such as the famous “Nous avons peur” in Paul-Henri Spaak’s speech – the then Belgian minister of foreign affairs – before the UN general assembly of September 1948 were to highlight the perception of a real threat. This context urged the West to arm itself and create NATO to deter the enemy and to respond militarily if necessary.
A more thorough reading and analysis of the facts, however, give a strongly nuanced and even different story. NATO’s founding had less to do with the external military threat of the Soviet Union than with ideological, economical and geopolitical interests. Even hardliner John Foster Dulles, US Secretary of State (1953-1959) said back in 1949 that “I do not know of any responsible high official, military or civilian in this government or any other government, who believes that the Soviet now plans conquest by open military aggression.”
Moreover, Paul-Henri Spaak was guided by political opportunism when he pronounced his famous speech. It has become clear in the meantime that neither he, nor any of his colleagues, really believed that the Soviet Union represented a concrete military threat. Originally Spaak was opposed to the establishment of an Atlantic Pact because this would confirm the European division. He essentially thought that Belgian interest lay in a rapid German recovery and therefore American assistance was crucial.(1)
The Marshall Plan
This assistance came with the Marshall plan, which wasn’t built on American altruism but was to serve American economical and political purposes. A first reason is to be found in the then worrisome situation of the American economy. After World War II the US risked an economic crisis due to the lack of European purchasing power. William Clayton, under-secretary of state for economic affairs in 1947, wrote the following to his chief George Marshall. “Let us admit right off,” he said in defence of the idea of foreign aid, “We need markets–big markets–in which to buy and sell.” (2) The intent was not to help foreign countries; it was to reward US-based multinationals who actually got the cash as the government purchased political influence abroad. The Marshall plan was also to the benefit of the US companies in Germany which had continued to produce during the years of war, and were now in need of markets. A huge West European recovery plan was to repair the production and consumption capacity. Another reason was the fear that European economic problems would increase the influence of the communist parties and thus of the Soviet Union in various countries which in turn would form an obstacle for American capitalist ambitions.
Germany played a crucial role. Washington was persuaded that a European recovery was only possible if the German economic recovery was part of the plan. In other European capitals the fear was still omnipresent that an economically strong Germany would entail a military strong Germany. At the Yalta conference the allied leaders – Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin – had agreed that the big German industrial companies of the Nazis, mainly in the Ruhr, had to be dismantled. This however would have been a tremendous setback for US capital and its German investments. President Truman – who succeeded the deceased Roosevelt – did all he could to gain the control over the Ruhr region which belonged to the British occupation zone. January 1, 1947, the American and British occupation zones were unified. In fact this was a first step for the split up of post war Germany. At the same time the Soviet Union was given a serious blow because Moscow had real interest in a unified, neutral and demilitarised Germany that should be capable of paying the war reparations to Moscow. The Ruhr was thus essential for Moscow. The one-sided separation of West-Germany, joined later on by the French zone, was accompanied by the installation of a German government and the introduction of a new currency in these zones. This caused a furious Soviet reaction with the Berlin blockade. The cold war turned into a very concrete reality in Europe.
Washington succeeded in taking away the distrust of the European nations in a new strong Germany by a double policy. Firstly, the mutual European cooperation was stimulated and the Marshall plan executed by a newly founded multilateral organisation of 16 countries, the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC). Secondly, a military alliance between Europe and the US was initiated which in the eyes of the European countries was to guarantee the impossibility of a German military rebirth. 
NATO and the military build up also served economical and geopolitical purposes as president Eisenhower explained: “We know that we are linked to all free peoples not merely by a noble idea but by a simple need. No free people can for long cling to any privilege or enjoy any safety in economic solitude. For all our own material might, even we need markets in the world for the surpluses of our farms and our factories. Equally, we need for these same farms and factories vital materials and products of distant lands. This basic law of interdependence, so manifest in the commerce of peace, applies with thousand-fold intensity in the event of war.”(3) Behind the NATO shield Western European countries could thus with the help of the Marshall plan rebuild and modernise their economies. In this way US capitalism could further develop as it gained access and control over Western Europe.
Economic Interests and Armament
US business was well aware of the advantages of overestimating the threat of the Soviet Union. The president of General Electric was really happy about the economic results a war could offer and made the proposal of a “permanent war economy” via a lasting alliance between business and army.(4) President Truman and his administration did their utmost to create a cold war atmosphere. The propaganda in the first post war years and during the Korean war (1950-1953) pushed towards a climate of fear and even hysteria about communism, and resulted in giant military orders giving the US economy a terrible boost. The US government did not have to face much of a resistance against its policy of rearmament. The high military expenditures lead to big military orders for the arms industry. In the year 1955 US military budget reached 40 billion dollar on a total budget of 62 billion. 
The companies working for defence gained fortunes. Two thirds of all military orders were placed with only twelve giant corporations which exclusively produced for the government’s military needs. The situation grew to the kind that forced president Eisenhower to warn the nation in his farewell address, January 1961, of what he called the military industrial complex. Although he thought the US was to develop a permanent war industry he stated that we should be vigilant for unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.(5) When Germany became a member of NATO in 1955 the Cold War got really institutionalised. Nine days later the Soviet Union reacted with the establishment of the Warsaw Pact together with the Eastern European communist states.
A year later the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s highest decision-making body, would adopt a resolution to approve a report of experts with recommendations for political, economical and cultural cooperation. In a clear reference to the communist economies the report states that a policy under the condition of competitive co-existence will show the superiority of free institutions in promoting human prosperity and economic progress.(6) The resolution suggested softly to expand the Treaty’s application zone to the whole world, because influence and interests of its members could be jeopardised outside the NATO area. NATO was thus formally given an economic task, i.e. to support free market.
In 1973, at the initiative of David Rockefeller, the Trilateral Commission was established which would give anti-sovietism a push and was to lead to a closer cooperation between the United States, Europe and Japan. The Commission wanted to stop the ideological, political and economical threat of communism and the revolutionary movements in the third world through a tricontinental capitalism, internationalisation and expansion of the system. The members of this elite group were situated in the up high political and economical circles of the three continents. It reached a plain sailing level when one of the founders, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was appointed security advisor by president Jimmy Carter (1977-1981). He had been chosen by Rockefeller to help establish the Commission. Brzezinski focused particularly on the normalisation of relations with the Popular Republic of China. At the same time he challenged the Soviet Union by arming the mujahedin in Afghanistan in their fight against a Moscow leaning government that had asked for the military assistance of the Soviet Union.
US policy inside and outside NATO would generally take form via the policy lines as Brzezinski had drawn them. He would develop his strategy later in more detail in his book The Grand Chessboard (see further). In Europe the US presence was to be consolidated as bridgehead for American geo-strategic and economical interests. The Soviet Union was to be isolated and pushed back, which seemed to be plausible through the support of the Afghan resistance which caused the Red Army a lot of problems. The breaking up of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the nineties would liberate the way for the Great Game over the oil and gas rich Central Asian region. Afghanistan was to play a key role for the opening up of that region.
End of the Cold War
At a historic summit between US president George Bush and Soviet leader Michail Gorbachev in Malta on December 3 1989, both world leaders made cold war era history. In media and political circles the idea emerged that the end of the cold war would also mean the end of the military pacts. With the breaking up of the Warsaw Pact (mid 1991), the Soviet Union (end 1991) and also the German unification (October 1990) the official reasons of existence for NATO had disappeared. Before being dissolved the Warsaw Pact launched the proposal of a ‘new European security system’ including both the former rival alliances. 
Others dreamed of a prominent place for the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) of which all countries concerned were member. It has the advantage of a political forum instead of a military organisation and moreover OSCE has regional security organisation status as described in the United Nations’ Charter. The US, however, were very concerned that with the end of NATO they would lose the politico-military and consequently economic control over Europe. So they opted to reform NATO through the establishment of cooperation structures (partnership for peace) with the former East-block countries or simply through admitting former Warsaw pact countries as new NATO members.
Although the heads of state confirmed the end of the cold war during the London NATO summit July 1991 there was no question of dissolving NATO, rather to reform it. They put it quite clear that the danger that could come from the Soviet Union was not completely over yet. It didn’t sound very convincing. In Atlantic circles the argument was therefore used that new threats forced NATO to get prepared: ‘When oppressing regimes disappear, the possibility emerges that long pent up political, economical and ethnical grievances could burst out’ according to the then British permanent representative to NATO, sir Michael Alexander.(7) He pleaded for a new out-of-area strategy to deal with NATO’s southern flank, North Africa and the Middle East, which was believed to provide the main sources of threat for the European security.
It was presumably not a fantasy that new threats could emerge from the breaking up of the political system in Eastern Europe, but quite other reasons did also push to maintain NATO. Some years after the fall of the Berlin wall a Pentagon security strategy paper for Europe and NATO (June 1995) mentioned political, economical and cultural arguments why Europe continues to be of great importance to the US. ‘It is in the interest of the US to have a democratic, undivided, stable and prosperous Europe, which is open to trade and investment opportunities and gives support to political, economical and military cooperation with the USA, in Europe and in other important parts of the world”(8). In this security strategy the Pentagon emphasised the many economical advantages for the US, thanks to cooperation with Europe. ‘These ties generate jobs for American workers, quality goods for American consumers, and benefits for American entrepreneurs.'(9) This document also explains why the US can accept an own European security policy: it not only reduces the American defence costs, but increases the security of the vital economic interests.
The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 gave an additional dimension to the old geostrategic incentives. An important part of Central and Eastern Europe was soaked off from the Soviet-Russian zone of influence. The Soviet Union ceased to exist on December 25 1991. The field lay open for new players. NATO didn’t miss the opportunity. Economic considerations certainly played a role. NATO ministers declared in Copenhagen (June 1991): ‘We continue to support with all possible means the reform of the East and West European states… just like the efforts aimed at a modern and competitive market economy.'(10) In Rome, November 1991, the declaration was still clearer about the developments in the Soviet Union: ‘The allies are absolutely convinced that political change has to be accompanied by economic freedom and the development of market economies. We support the development of an economic policy that promotes trade and economical cooperation between the republics in the interest of growth and stability.'(11) Of course, the US saw here an important role for NATO, for the alliance gives Washington the necessary presence in Europe and at the same time makes it possible for Washington to take the lead. European member states do not necessarily feel the same way. Germany – which later on would emerge as the strong engine for NATO’s first expansion round with Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic – seems to act in a very opportunistic way. Berlin was indeed concerned over a possible instability at its eastern borders, but its economical ‘Ostpolitik’ that was to give new oxygen to the “Deutsche Wirtschaft’ had at least the same importance. This latter objective could also be realised through the European Union. Germany was betting on two horses and so was an actor of changing coalitions.
Out of Area
The 1949 NATO treaty made quite some restrictions in the alliance’s territorial action radius. Article 6, that regulates the application of common reaction on an attack against a member state (art 5), was during the cold war commonly interpreted very restrictively so that out of area missions were excluded. The underlying objective was to avoid NATO getting involved in the decolonisation struggles of some member countries and to safeguard that the attention would stick paramount to Europe. Moreover, Germany’s war past made its political class extra sensitive to out of area operations. In 1983 the then German Minister of Defence, Manfred Wörner, wrote that for his country ‘troops deployment outside the NATO area was unmentionable.’ (12) The fall of the Berlin wall and particularly the Yugoslavia crisis would change this attitude.
The end of the Warsaw Pact and the dissolution of the Soviet Union made the whole strategic environment change. The trans-Atlantic alliance was presented with an existential dilemma which was often summarised as “out of area or out of business”.(13) NATO answered its fundamental threat for the first time with the extension of its powers in its new strategic concept (NSC), which was adopted at the Rome summit of November 7 and 8 1991.(14) Justification was found in Central and East European transformation that lead to economical, social and political difficulties, ethnical tensions and territorial disputes with possible consequences for security in the European NATO zone. Yugoslavia’s disintegration – in which some western countries hadn’t played an innocent role at all – was a suitable example to underline this argument, but NATO leaders certainly also had the Mediterranean and the Middle East in their mind. This first new strategic concept was to be the go ahead for a gradual transformation of the alliance from a collective defence force towards an intervention force. Initially emphasis lay on the security threats that had to be responded to. NATO member states would however claim the role of operating outside the treaty zone in order to control crises which could jeopardise the stability of the NATO zone.
On the eve of the 1999, Washington Summit NATO secretary general Javier Solana described the stake of the meeting as follows: ‘Kosovo shows us clearly the necessity that diplomacy is backed by military force’.(15) The principle that NATO should take up other than purely defensive tasks had been accepted at the beginning of the nineties and was amply tested in Bosnia. NATO bombing of Serb positions around Sarajevo presumably brought the fighting parties to the negotiation table at Dayton, USA. The point is on which legal base this is to happen. January 1994 NATO government leaders still stated that peacekeeping and other operations should be realised under the ‘authority of the UN Security Council’.(16) Washington, however, didn’t see the necessity to act any longer under explicit UN rule. Already in summer 1993 the US ambassador presented a memorandum to the allies at NATO headquarters in Brussels under the title: With the UN, whenever possible, without it when necessary. The document was produced some months after the disastrous ending of the Somalia operation which pushed Washington to a critical approach of military operations under the UN flag. It was to become the basic reasoning for the Kosovo war: NATO should not be limited to military actions under UN mandate, but should, if necessary, be ready to act without permission of UN Security Council.(17) 
What effectively occurred with the bombing of Belgrade, March 1999. Washington wanted in the first place to get rid of Russian and Chinese consent – both veto countries in UN – for NATO’s out of area operations. Britain followed the US point of view, as usual. A spokesman for the British government said before his parliament: ‘…all NATO operations must have an adequate base in international right… which should not always mean a resolution of the UN Security Council’.(18) In their declaration of the Washington summit for the 50th anniversary, April 1999, the heads of the NATO member states cryptically said there was to be respect paid to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, instead of the proposal from France ‘under the authority of the Security Council’. What this could mean was already clear in the nineties. NATO as well as leading member states began to operate beyond the Security Council. After Bosnia (1995) and Kosovo (1999) the war in Afghanistan was presented as a ‘defence’ against an attack (and so no UN permission was necessary) and also the British-American war against Iraq (2003) bypassed UN. The invasion of Afghanistan was followed by the biggest military operations ever in NATO’s history.
Towards a Global NATO
The formal inclusion of non-article 5 operations (i.e. out of area) in NATO’s core business at the Washington summit 1999 was on the one hand a logic next step in the gradual transformation of NATO towards a global military organisation. On the other hand it was still limited to contributions to ‘peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region’. (19) One could deduct from this second ‘new strategic concept’ that NATO’s operational zone had a limited geographical size. But this implicitness of the wording gave NATO leaders enough space for interpretation; for there was quite a lack of consensus between the US and most European countries. In the eyes of Washington NATO remains the instrument to help better defend its global strategic interests. The US National Military Strategy of 1997 speaks about a global commitment: ‘Because America is engaged worldwide, even in peacetime, significant portions of our Armed Forces are present overseas or readily available to deploy overseas, where many of our interests are found. US troops also preserve our access to important infrastructure’.(20) ‘Our troops abroad serve as role models for militaries in emerging democracies; contribute uniquely to the stability, continuity, and flexibility that protects US interests; and are crucial to sustained democratic and economic development’. US interests divide into three categories: vital, important and humanitarian. The important interests have an „influence on our well-being and the quality of the world we live in. Applying military power can be fruitful to protect our interest’. The same reasoning can be found in the reference book The Grand Chessboard by the former influential national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski. This book is about the basic objective of the United States, i.e. the will to be the sole but also the last world power. In this perspective Eurasia is the most important battleground in the power struggle for world-wide dominance. Eurasia goes according to Brzezinski from Lisbon to Vladivostok where three quarters of mankind live and which contains the same proportion of global energy resources.
In recent years NATO has constructed strengthened alliances at the southern and eastern flanks of this Eurasiatic region with Japan and Australia, that are essential partners to control the Pacific, and with Israel which continues to be the most important western ally in the Middle East.
Gradually, a debate on article 5 was started, in which the original central mission of the military alliance is formulated: an armed attack on one of the NATO-members shall be considered to be an attack on all members, whereby the allies assist the attacked party with, if necessary, armed violence. This principle risks making the boundaries between the defense of the territory on the one hand and the military tasks outside the zone on the other hand increasingly vague. The response to the terrorist September 11 attacks of 2001 would make this clear. Even though the US attacked Afghanistan in practice at first outside the military alliance, they contributed to the fact that NATO responded with the creative application of article 5. In that manner, the US and the allies could start an external war one month later without asking the UN Security Council for permission, because the Charter of the United Nations allows violence in case of defense against an armed attack. It was not important that the attacks were conducted by an organization (Al-Qaeda) and not by the Afghan Taliban regime. Further, in the background, the opening of natural gas resources from Turkmenistan played an important role and therefore the control over Afghanistan was a necessity. The energy project would finally take shape in the form of the TAPI-pipeline (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India). An arrangement on this gas pipeline had been come to in April 2008. (21) Up to the present, the concrete realization of this TAPI-pipeline is hindered by the situation of war in Afghanistan.
After the regime was changed and replaced by a pro-western government, the “defense against an attack” became a long-drawn occupation war. The first time that one could talk about a real out-of-area operation far away from the Euro-Atlantic zone happened with the NATO taking command of the ISAF-troops from the end of 2003 onwards. This was a clear move in the direction of a global NATO.
The conduct of operations in Afghanistan and the experiences gained there would be determining for the further remodeling of the NATO towards a global alliance in the run-up to the major NATO-top in Lisbon in November 2010, where a third NSC would be agreed on. In one of the preparatory seminars Secretary General of NATO Rasmussen declared that it was no longer satisfactory to draw up soldiers, tanks and military materials at the borderlines. Instead of doing that, NATO-members should address the threat and pull it up by the roots.(22) In another seminar, in Warsaw, Rasmussen said that the significance of territorial defense is changing. He argued that if we want to defeat terrorism, we should defeat it at its source and that this is what is happening in Afghanistan.(23)
This striking at the roots of the evil was considered on a gathering organized by NATO and Lloyd‟s of London, for a select audience out of the security and trade community on October 1 2009.(24) Organizer Lord Levene introduced the meeting as follows: “Our sophisticated, industrialized and complex world is under attack from a myriad of determined and deadly threats.” Furthermore Rasmussen enumerated a series of threats – going from climate change, droughts and food production drop to cyber security and energy supply problems – which have the non-military aspect in common. The tendency to include social and environmental problems in the military sphere is complementary to the globalization of the NATO and it engages the Treaty Organization ever more emphatically on the field of the UN.
After 10 years of war in Afghanistan, the officials in most NATO countries claim that the NATO mission is succeeding in stabilizing the country. It is asserted that the Afghan authorities are well on their way to take the helm and guarantee the country‟s security. With regard to human rights, NATO would also be doing well. However, reality is different. A leaked internal NATO document which states that the influence of the Taliban is growing amongst citizens and that the collaboration between rebels and Afghan security troops is getting closer, proves this.(25) According to the report, Afghan civilians would prefer Taliban governance to the corrupt Afghan Karzai government. Pakistan‟s intelligence service (ISI) is said to be still in touch with the Taliban.
After 10 years the situation in this country as a consequence of large-scale military intervention can be described as dramatic: insecurity and violence, poverty, hopelessness, corruption. An ‘International Crisis Group’ report entitled ‘Aid and Conflict in Afghanistan’ confirms this.(26) After a decade of massive security support, development aid and humanitarian assistance the international community has not succeeded in making Afghanistan a politically stable and economically livable country. As an international organization, Al-Qaeda is not at all tied to one country. By the time the US-invasion took place, the most important leaders had already fled. Meanwhile, they installed cells in other countries. The Taliban was initially quickly chased away from power but almost immediately responded with a strong defense. Especially since 2005 the influence of the Taliban grew considerably again and due to the permanent presence of foreign troops it even gained an image of nationalistic resistance. Already at that time a Spanish general did not question whether the foreign troops should leave rapidly, but rather how this could be sold not to make it look like a defeat, because such a perception could cause damage to the future of the NATO. 
Presently, many areas are de facto under control of the Taliban or individual warlords not connected with the central regime. This central government, with president Karzai as their signboard, is extremely unpopular with ordinary citizens. It is seen as a puppet government of the US and is known for its obstinate corruption. The training of the national army seems to get nowhere but is nevertheless the straw at which foreign leaders grasp. France, the US and also NATO now propose 2013 as the end of the combat operations, a year earlier than their former intentions. The US are looking for a way that would still ensure a ‘non-combatant’ military presence after the official retreat. Afghanistan indeed does have a strong geo-strategic importance.
Foreign Military Expeditions becoming Defense
In Lisbon the principle was accepted that there no longer is a difference for the future NATO between standard defense-missions and intervention actions far away from the own territory. In the NSC is written: “The Alliance can be hit by political and safety developments outside the borders or can influence these latter. The Alliance will engage actively in reinforcing international security, by way of partnerships with relevant countries and other international organizations.” NATO must therefore “develop and support stalwart, mobile and deployable troops in order to be able to execute both responsibilities mentioned in article 5 and the expeditionary operations of the Alliance, including the NATO Response Force”. In other words, in this new strategy every military action on or outside NATO-territory will be defined as an action in the interest of its members‟ security. Nevertheless the NSC states frankly that it can be necessary to take actions if the energy supplies are menaced. The capacity has to be expanded to “contribute to energy safety including critical energy infrastructure as well as regions and lines of transits…”
Further Militarization
The consequence of this principle is that NATO needs to have very mobile, well-equipped armies at its disposal, which costs a lot of money. This is the reason why former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates criticized the unwillingness of the European allies to follow the Americans‟ example and invest more in their military devices. In the year 2011, the US provided a record investment of 708 billion for military spending. As Robert Gates says: “The demilitarization of Europe has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st”.(27) In the NSC, member states of NATO make the commitment to “maintain the necessary levels of defense-spending…”. It also states that countries commit themselves not to take any decisions regarding arms control and disarmament without thorough consultation with NATO.
Furthermore member states engage in getting a maximal deployment of the troops and their capacity in order to keep operations going in the field. This means a de facto hollowing-out of the parliamentary sovereignty to take their own decisions on this matter, for example as a consequence of budgetary or political choices.
Nuclear NATO
NATO started its nuclearization in the 1950s. Under US president Eisenhower (1953-1961), the US developed as a global nuclear power and opted plainly for a reinforcement of the nuclear capabilities. Investing in nuclear striking power seemed cheaper and more effective than maintaining large, conventional military forces. The technological advances themselves pushed towards new nuclear doctrines. During the 1970s and 1980s the number of nuclear weapons placed in the US and the European allies as well as in the Cold-War enemy Soviet Union reached absolute peaks.
The official nuclear strategy remained nearly unchanged, despite the fact that in the preparatory process for the NATO summit meeting in Lisbon in November 2010 several member states signed with reservations about the American atomic weapons on European territory, that are of no strategic use anymore because their range of action is limited to the former Eastern bloc. In addition, Obama‟s dramatic speech in Prague on April 5 2009 in which he advocated a nuclear weapon-free world, is now downsized to nothing more than a general agreement without commitment to make further disarmament efforts in the final text of the third NATO Strategic Concept (NSC) as approved in Lisbon.
In the NSC it is written that the warning intimidation based on an adapted mix of nuclear and conventional capabilities remains a central element in the entire strategy. Article 17 states firmly that NATO continues to be a nuclear alliance, as long as nuclear weapons will exist. On the subject of the European nuclear weapons stored by the US on the territories of certain NATO members it is said that “the safety of our allies is chiefly ensured by the strategic nuclear powers of the Alliance, more specifically those of the US; the independent strategic nuclear powers of the United Kingdom and France, which function as nuclear deterrents and contribute to the deterrence in general and the safety of our allies”.
Political circles agree upon the fact that the tactical nuclear weapons are militarily not very useful anymore, but would still constitute a necessary political unity for the allied countries, in particular for a number of Eastern European countries. The NATO missile defense system needs to provide these countries with an alternative proof of the US solidarity with European defense, but apparently does not offer sufficient assurance to the Baltic States and countries such as Poland and Czech Republic. In other words, both nuclear weapons and a missile defense system are presently the political cement among NATO members.
The Missile Defense System becomes a NATO-mission
The 2010 Lisbon summit has indeed decided to include a territorial missile defense system in the NATO strategy. The US have lobbied actively for this change. In the International Herald Tribune (November 15) the American NATO ambassador Ivo Daalder emphasized the importance of the inclusion of the missile defense system as a NATO capability. And according to Daalder, only a small extra cost of 200 million dollars is involved, spread over the next 10 years. Although there is not much enthusiasm in Europe to invest in this useless project and although the majority of the European population probably absolutely does not support this, as was proved in the Czech Republic when former plans wanted to install a missile defense radar there, all governments, including the Belgian government, followed Washington at the Lisbon Summit. The NATO will now “develop the capability to defend our population and territories against ballistic missiles as a central element of our collective defense plan, which contributes to the invisible safety of the Alliance”.
President Obama had already changed the project of the missile defense system in Europe of his predecessor G.W.Bush in September 2009 by adapting the fundamental goal. Whereas G.W. Bush regarded this plan as a part of the US‟ continental defense, Obama declared the defense of the European territory and the Middle East as an objective that needs to be dealt with immediately. This had to comfort Russia but also the allies who wanted to avoid building up tension with Moscow. When he emphasized the use of functioning technology, Obama responded to the criticism over the technical readiness of the large-scale defense missile system.
To realize this thorough reorientation, the Pentagon had elaborated a Phased adaptive approach to the missile defense system in Europe. Firstly, from 2011 onwards, the US develops functioning anti-missile systems in Europe: inter alia the cruiser Aegis at sea (US base Rota in Spain), Patriot-rackets (Poland), SM-3 missile interceptors (Romania, Bulgaria) and sensors such as the „forward based‟ Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance System (AN/TPY-2 in Turkey). In latter phases both components – interceptors and sensors – are developed further and made more powerful.
The past debate whether our armies should be either European or trans-Atlantic, seems to be slid into the background definitively. During last years, the consensus that NATO too will benefit from the reinforcement of a European Common Safety and Defense Policy is growing. NATO Secretary General Rasmussen stated in November 2009 that he does not see the development of a European Security and Defense Policy in competition with NATO, but rather complementary to NATO. The European Lisbon Treaty (article 42 subsection 2) legitimized NATO as an important institution in terms of the common defense in Europe. In an attached protocol it is said that a more explicit role of the Union in the field of security and defense will enhance the vitality of a renewed Atlantic Alliance. EU countries who traditionally adopt a neutral standpoint and who are not members of NATO are nevertheless connected to the trans-Atlantic Alliance and thus to US politics via this Treaty.
Moreover, in the third NATO Strategic Concept (NSC) the relation between EU and NATO is highlighted and the partnership between the two is even reinforced, with the improvement of the practical cooperation during crisis operations, the broadening of the mutual consultation and more participation in developing military capabilities. “The EU is a unique and essential NATO partner”, as reported by the NSC. “NATO acknowledges the importance of a stronger and more competent European defense”.
Recently, nervousness in the Pentagon has seemed to increase about the limited European enthusiasm to raise the military budgets. The departing US minister of defense Robert Gates argued in mid-2011 in favor of more military expenses by the European NATO members. Otherwise, it is said that the danger of Americans no longer willing to pay a lot of money to finance the defense of others is growing. Robert Gates also repeated his concern with a stratified alliance: “In the past, I‟ve worried openly about NATO turning into a two-tiered alliance: between members who specialize in “soft” humanitarian, development, peacekeeping, and talking tasks, and those conducting the “hard” combat missions. Between those willing and able to pay the price and bear the burdens of alliance commitments, and those who enjoy the benefits of NATO membership but don‟t want to share the risks and the costs. This is no longer a hypothetical worry. We are there today. And it is unacceptable.” (28)
His second point concerned the NATO operations in Libya in 2011. Because of the lack of will and resources NATO may risk not continuing to realize an integrated, effective and persistent military campaign both in the air and at sea. He gives attention to the consensus decision on the operation in Libya taken by NATO, but points out that less than half of the members participate and that less than a third of the allies effectively take part in the air attacks. “For many of them it is not because they do not want to, but because they cannot participate. They simply do not possess the military resources”. He argues that certain missions can only be realized by virtue of an extra effort made by the US. “The most powerful alliance of history started an operation against an opponent that is not heavily armed in a sparsely populated country only 11 weeks ago, yet several allies are starting to run out of ammunition and once again the US have to come to their rescue”.
The military campaign against Libya shows clearly that NATO focuses on the oil-rich states, in which Europe and the US see a common interest. In order to protect civilians the NATO started bombing Libyan cities and places where Gaddafi-supporters resided during months in 2011.
Several issues are involved in the operation in Libya. European as well as American enterprises profited from the plunder of African raw materials. From a western point of view a new competitor has shown up as China is seeking to expand its presence in Africa. This is why the old European colonial countries feel constrained to give their partnership with Washington a new dimension: a cooperation to secure their interests on the African continent. A strong warning is to be given to China and other rivals that they are setting foot on private hunting ground. That is the raison d‟être of the Pentagon-department Africom and the current structural connection with Eucom and NATO.
The political and moral justification for an intervention in Libya – in which the Libyan leader Gaddafi was accused of attacks against his own civilians – primarily originated from Paris and London. NATO took over the military charge and coordination from France and Great Britain. On the official pretext of citizens‟ protection (with a UN resolution based on the „Responsibility to Protect‟ principle) a change of regime was compassed. Today, there is no question of a safe and stable Libya, among other reasons because the armed militias, supported by the NATO, refuse to disarm. During the Libyan war 30 to 50,000 people died, racist violence against black Libyans and African immigrants was organized and the insurgents are guilty of large-scale executions of opponents in Sirte. The „Responsibility to Protect‟ does not seem to have any value anymore for post-Gaddafi Libya in the western capitals, be it in the US, in Canada or in the EU. Full attention has turned to Syria and Iran.
In the whole course of its history NATO has tried to justify its existence with all kinds of arguments. During the Cold War emphasis lay on the military threat of Central and East European communism. When the Warsaw Pact had been dissolved new arguments were to be put forward. First it was about the consequences for our security caused by the unstable ex-communist states. When the latter were at the point to join NATO or the European Union, NATO saw itself play the role of humanitarian intervention force. After nine-eleven the war on terror, the danger of rogue states and cyberterrorism became the headlines of all speeches and analisys papers in western strategic and political circles.
NATO has little to do with the ‘defense of values, democracy, human rights, freedom and a law based state’ as then NATO secretary general Javier Solana claimed on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of NATO. NATO is about defense of economic and geostrategic interests, as its history shows abundantly. A number of memberstates were all but examples of good practice. Just to mention in this field Portugal under Salazar, the military regime of the colonels in Greece, the serial military coups in Turkey and the atrocities committed by the colonial NATO members. After the Cold war NATO continued to manifest itself as the military shield for the economic interests of its member states. Every now and then this is overtly admitted bu the NATO protagonists themselves as in the following quote of the former secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in his Brussels New Year’s speech of January 8, 2008. “This century will be, to a large extent, about energy. Energy security is a theme where NATO is in the process of defining its added value. Protection of critical energy infrastructure. You’ve heard me before. It has been discussed already previously. NATO certainly doesn‟t carry the primary responsibility in the framework of energy security. NATO’s not an economic organization. But there is certainly added value to be defined and you can be sure and certain that energy security will also figure on the agenda of the Bucharest Summit”
The Libya operation seems now to show something like the beginning of a new strategy. This is how president Barack Obama expressed it in his speech on defence January 5, 2012. “As a global force, our military will never be doing only one thing. It will be responsible for a range of missions and activities across the globe of varying scope, duration, and strategic priority. This will place a premium on flexible and adaptable forces that can respond quickly and effectively to a variety of contingencies and potential adversaries. 
Again, that’s the nature of the world that we are dealing with. In addition to these forces, the United States will emphasize building the capacity of our partners and allies to more effectively defend their own territory, their own interests, through a better use of diplomacy, development, and security force assistance.” Although conservative America reacted as if the end of the US as world power was announced, Obama’s speech doesn’t diminish at all his will to maintain both US hegemonical position and US war capacity. “As we shift the size and composition of our ground, air and naval forces, we must be capable of successfully confronting and defeating any aggressor and respond to the changing nature of warfare. Our strategy review concluded that the United States must have the capability to fight several conflicts at the same time.” 28
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta described this new strategy as building more on the air force and on indirect operations through mandated partners, in view of the lowest possible commitment of own American forces.

NATO as executor of US strategy, history repeats itself.


(1) Coolsaet, R., België en zijn buitenlandse politiek 1830 – 2000. Uitgeverij van Halewijck, Leuven, 2001
(2) Zinn, H., Geschiedenis van het Amerikaanse volk. EPO, Berchem, 2007, p. 504
(3) Julien, C., L’empire Américain. Editions Bernard Grasset, Paris, 1968, p. 218
(4) Zinn, H., Geschiedenis van het Amerikaanse volk. EPO, Berchem, 2007, p.519 – 520
(5) Sloan S., NATO, the EU and the Atlantic Community, Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, 2003, p. 29 – 35
(6) NATO, Report of the Committee of Three on Non-Military Cooperation in NATO approved by the North Atlantic Council, 13 december 1956
(7) Alexander, M., De rol van de NAVO in een veranderde wereld. In: NAVO Kroniek, nr. 2, april 1990
(8) Department of Defence. Office of International Security Affairs, United States Security Strategy for Europe and Nato, Washington DC, 1995, p. 3
(9) Department of Defence. Office of International Security Affairs, United States Security Strategy for Europe and Nato, Washington DC, 1995, p. 4
(10) NATO, Partnership with the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Statement issued by the North Atlantic Council Meeting in Ministerial Session in Copenhagen, 6-7 of June 1991, punt 6
(11) NATO, Developments in the Soviet Union. Statement issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, Rome 8 November 1991, punt 4
(12) Quoted in Yost David S. NATO transformed. The Alliance’s New Roles in International Security, United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC, 1998, p. 189
(13) Achcar, G., La nouvelle guerre froide. Le monde après le Kosovo, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1999, p. 67
(14) NATO, The Alliance’s New Strategic Concept, Rome, 7-8 of November 1991
(15) The Guardian, 22 of April 1999
(16) NATO, Declaration of the Heads of State and Government, Brussels, January 11 1994, punt 7
(17) Portela, C., Humanitarian Intervention, NATO and the International Law. Can the institution of Humanitarian Intervention Justify unauthorised Action?, Berlin Information Center for Transatlantic Security, Berlin, 2000, p. ii
(18) Geciteerd in Butler, Nicola, „NATO in 1999: A Concept in Search of a Strategy‟. in Disarmament Diplomacy, nr 35, maart 1999
(19) NATO, The Alliance’s Strategic Concept, NAC-S(99)65. Washington DC, 23 – 24 april 1999, punt 29, 31, 41, 43, 47, 49, 53, 54 en 61
(20) Shalikashvili, John M., Shape, Respond, Prepare Now. A Military Strategy for a New Era. National Military Strategy, 1997
(21) Foster, J., Afghanistan, The TAPI Pipeline, and Energy Politics. In: Journal of Energy Security, 23 maart 2010 (zie:
(22) Persbericht AFP, 4 maart 2010
(23) Speech by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at NATO’s New Strategic Concept – Global, Transatlantic and Regional Challenges and Tasks Ahead – Warschau, Polen, 12 maart 2010 (
(24) Rozoff, R., Thousand Deadly Threats: Third Millennium NATO, Western Businesses Collude On New Global Doctrine, 2 oktober 2009 (  )
(25) Pakistan helping Afghan Taliban – Nato, BBC, 1 februari 2012 ( )
(26) International Crisis Group. Aid and Conflict in Afghanistan, 4 augustus 2011
(27) Gates Robert M., NATO Strategic Concept Seminar. Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, National Defense University, Washington, D.C., 23 februari 2010 ( )
(28) Gates Robert M., The Security and Defense Agenda (Future of NATO), 10 juni 2011

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NATO occupies sweet home Chicago

By Pepe Escobar 

So the anthem now goes something like this: C’mon, baby don’t you wanna go/back to that same old place/sweet home ring of steel Chicago. 
Robert Johnson must be spitting fire in his bluesy grave because the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), for its 25th summit, is occupying Chicago like it was Kabul – with Americans treated as concentric circles of Taliban. The Department of Homeland Security has branded the summit a “National Special Security Event”; that means the Secret Service, in practice, has taken over Chicago. 
It’s lockdown time – complete with Iraq-style concrete barriers; battalions sporting upgraded riot gear; “extraction teams” to snatch and grab pinpointed protesters in a “low intensity conflict” environment; and an Orwellian guest star, the LRAD (long-range acoustic device) – a sound cannon bound to “ensure a consistent message is delivered to large crowds”, according to the Chicago Police Department. 
It sounds like a zany remake of John Landis’s immortal The Blues Brothers. So what role would US President Barack Obama, the Drone Godfather, play? Aretha Franklin singing Think ? Or Godfather of Soul James Brown leading the gospel choir to “see the light”? Obama, after all, is on a Mission from God himself – the MC of the militarization of Chicago mirroring NATO’s militarization of the planet. 
As for the masses of Americans who refuse to be occupied, or who are bent on turning Occupy Chicago into Occupy NATO, their plight sounds more like Albert King; Born under a bad sign/I’ve been down since I began to crawl/if it wasn’t for bad luck/I wouldn’t have no luck at all. 
Married to the mob 
NATO’s Chicago summit is essentially a celebration of the “Strategic Concept” [1] adopted at the Lisbon summit in November 2010 – which is a sort of more palatable version of the Pentagon’s “full spectrum dominance” doctrine. 
Crucially, last month in a Pentagon/NATO funfest in Norfolk, Virginia, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [2] stressed the Chicago summit would “recognize the operational, financial and political contributions of our partners across a range of efforts to defend our common values in the Balkans, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and North Africa”. 
One wonders what kind of “common values” are inbuilt in a bogus fight against a ghostly “al-Qaeda” in Afghanistan – which has meant in fact NATO getting its ass kicked for interminable 11 years by hordes of enraged nationalistic Pashtuns with Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers. 
And what kind of “common values” were packaged in the “humanitarian” bombing of Libya by the NATO/AFRICOM combo – when the end product, NATO rebel-controlled Libya, turns out to be a racist, hardcore Islamist heaven-cum-militia hell, now exported to neighbors such as Mali. 
Not to mention that NATO adamantly refuses to acknowledge it killed scores of civilians in Libya as part of its R2P (responsibility to protect) mission on behalf of … civilians. 
Yet, when it comes to NATO “partners”, things are as sweet as cherry pie. 
Becoming a “partner” to NATO, especially for smaller countries, is not entirely dissimilar to being forced to a marriage with the mob. 
More sophisticated techniques of extortion apply. Why don’t you join our (nom du jour) freedom coalition? Why don’t you contribute with some troops? Why don’t you buy some gorgeous weapons from us? Or else … 
Have you ever loved a drone? 
NATO itself says Chicago [3] will discuss three main topics: 
The “commitment to Afghanistan”. Translation; let’s occupy it forever, at least with three major bases (Bagram, Shindand and Kandahar), but we must find a way to spin it nicely. And then we gotta make those Central Asian “stans” give us more bases.
The “capabilities” to “defend its population and territory” – as in defending North America and Europe by bombing and/or occupying parts of Central Asia or Africa. This is all bundled up as “challenges of the 21st century”.
NATO’s “network of partners across the globe”. 
The NATO partnership maze stands as one of the most successful handouts of boxes full of chocolate in history. 
They include; the Partnership for Peace; the Mediterranean Dialogue; the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative; the Kosovo Force; Operation Ocean Shield (off the Horn of Africa); Operation Unified Protector (in Libya); Operation Active Endeavor (across the Mediterranean); the Troop Contributing Countries in Afghanistan, which feature Asia-Pacific nations such as Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea and Tonga; and the monstrous Partnership Cooperation Menu (with over 1,600 main dishes and side dishes). 
There is also the Russian-NATO Council (RNC); that’s as fractious a relationship as humanly conceivable, essentially because of the US obsession with missile defense. 
NATO secretary general, the unctuous Dane Anders Fogh Rasmussen, already stressed that in Chicago NATO will announce “initial operational capability” for the joint US-NATO interceptor missile system in Europe. Translation; a phenomenal business venture for Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. 
NATO spins it as a “defense system” for Europe against North Korean or Iranian inter-continental ballistic missiles. This is absolute nonsense. This “defense system” is bound to be integrated into the Pentagon’s first strike capability. Russian intelligence knows exactly who’s supposed to be the real target. 
No wonder Russia won’t be at the Chicago funfest. Nor China. Nor Iran. Pakistan – for a still undisclosed amount of shiny metal carrots – is back at the last minute. None of this deters NATO. There is an internal drive to forge some sort of partnership with the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) – all in the name of “security on a global level”. The BRICS are not interested. 
Still, “liberated” Iraq will inevitably be annexed to the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. “Liberated” Libya will be inserted into the Mediterranean Dialogue. The same will happen to Syria (provided a Mission from God installs regime change). “Evil” Iran, on the other hand, will always be excluded. Unless a Mission from God produces regime change. 
NATOspeak defines this partnership free-for-all as the need for “improving interoperability”, part of the overall plan to build a “hub of relationships around the world”. That’s the Lisbon 2010 Strategic Concept in practice; Globocop NATO expanding to – literally – reach the stars. 
So Chicago is just a test run – an advanced stage, compared to Gaza or Sadr City in Baghdad, of what the RAND corporation used to call MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain). NATO after all has seen the future – and is immersing itself body and soul in the “war of the drones”. If you can’t beat them in Pashtunistan, at least you can corral them in the home of the blues. Woke up this morning/and I found my baby droned. 
1. US a kid in a NATO candy store Asia Times Online, November 25, 2010. 
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 
He may be reached at 
(Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

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G8 and NATO summits take place without Putin

By Clara Weiss 

19 May 2012
Russian President Vladimir Putin is not attending the G8 summit taking place May 18 and 19 at Camp David, nor will he participate in the forthcoming NATO summit in Chicago. Putin’s cancellation of his plans to attend the G8 summit, which comes just three days after the start of his third term, is an unmistakable sign of deteriorating relations between Moscow and NATO, in particular the US.
The G8 meeting had been moved from Chicago to Camp David especially to accommodate Putin. In his place, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, who is regarded as wielding very little political clout since he exchanged offices recently with Putin, will represent Russia at the talks. Instead of taking part in the G8 meeting, Putin preferred to participate in the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which began on Tuesday in Moscow. The CSTO includes Belarus and the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, with the exception of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine.
According to a report in the Russian newspaperKommersant, the US administration was annoyed by Putin’s refusal to attend the G8 meeting. President Barack Obama has since announced that he does not intend to take part in the upcoming APEC summit for Asian-Pacific cooperation, which is scheduled to take place in Vladivostok, Russia in September.
At the heart of the conflict between Russia and NATO is the US’ plans to establish an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system in Eastern Europe, which Moscow regards as a threat to its security. In addition, the Kremlin is opposed to western war preparations against Syria and Iran. Tensions between Russia and the US have been on the rise in the recent period. Putin opposed the US-backed overthrow of Libya’s Gaddafi, which he viewed as a threat to Russia’s extensive economic interests in the region. In addition, the Kremlin has accused the White House of fomenting domestic opposition in Russia, which has witnessed a series of mass, anti-government protests in recent months.
Despite Russian opposition, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has stated that he will announce at the upcoming NATO summit that the first phase of the missile defence system is operational.
Russia has repeatedly relayed its concerns about the system. Most recently, the Kremlin has threatened to terminate its moves towards nuclear disarmament and cease cooperating with the new START treaty signed with the US in 2010, should NATO prove unwilling to compromise. Two weeks ago the Russian General Chief of Staff Nikolai Makarov threatened a pre-emptive strike against ABM bases in Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, Rasmussen and the German chancellor Angela Merkel have reaffirmed the necessity of the defence system and pronounced the concerns raised by Moscow to be unfounded.
While NATO is not prepared to compromise on the issue of the missile system, the escalation of tensions with the Kremlin poses a series of problems for the military alliance. In particular, the NATO powers are dependent on Moscow’s cooperation in order to draw down troops in Afghanistan and continue supplying those that remain. Against the backdrop of strained relations with Pakistan, NATO is reliant upon Russian transit routes to Afghanistan in order to move military equipment and personnel from the hinterland in the Hindu Kush.
The growing tensions between Russia and NATO have caused concern, particularly in Europe. In a commentary for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Wolfgang Ischinger warns of a “return of the Cold War” and urged NATO to “pause to consider”. Ischinger, president of the Munich Security Conference and a long-standing career diplomat, is one of the most influential voices in German foreign policy.
The background to Ischinger’s warnings is the dilemma confronting Germany and Europe as a whole with regard to its relations with Russia. Germany imports almost 40 percent of its oil and gas from Russia, with the EU importing around one-third of its total requirements. At the same time, Brussels and individual European governments maintain close ties with the United States. Among the political elites of Europe and especially Germany, there are consequently profound differences on the issue of how to orient towards Moscow.
Faced with growing geopolitical tensions and the fact that the attempt to establish a pan-European security policy has failed completely, EU countries have been working to develop a closer relationship with the US at the expense of Russian geopolitical interests.
The head of the Stratfor think tank, George Friedman, noted recently that a combination of the economic crisis in Europe, the recent defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy in France and the takeover of the Italian government by Mario Monti have significantly weakened the position of Russia in Europe. Unlike his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi, who was a close friend of Putin’s, Monti is pursuing a more pro-US policy. Having just assumed office, Monti recognises the legitimacy of the NATO ABM system. Friedman notes, “The days have passed when Putin could call a friend in Europe to help with NATO or with technological deficiencies.”
On the question of preparations for war against Syria and Iran, the European powers have now lined up solidly behind the United States. Alongside France, Italy and the UK, Germany has also indicated its readiness to participate in military action this time, despite its close economic and energy relations with Russia. Russia, however, together with China, has blocked two UN resolutions against Syria and repeatedly stressed its opposition to a military strike on Iran.
At an international forum in St. Petersburg on Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev warned that actions that undermine the sovereignty of Syria could lead to a regional war and the use of nuclear weapons.
The preparations for war against Iran were also the main theme of the CSTO summit held in Moscow on Tuesday. Taking part in the meeting with Putin were the leaders of Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The alliance decided to conduct comprehensive annual military exercises in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Both regions would be severely affected in the event of a US-Israeli military strike against Iran, which Moscow expects to take place this summer. Georgia and Azerbaijan, which quit the CTSO in 1999, are expected to line up with Israel and the United States in the event of a conflict with Iran.
The declaration adopted by the CSTO summit emphasized that member states would “strengthen their response to challenges and threats”. Large-scale military exercises are planned in the Caucasian states of Armenia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia in September, in preparation for a military strike on Iran. Unlike previous exercises which were confined to the army, navy and air force, the Russian security agency, the FSB, Interior Ministry troops and other security forces are due to take part. Russian General Leonid Ivashov, president of the Center for Geopolitical Problems, said in January that the planned manoeuvres were necessary for the preservation of Russia’s geopolitical interests in the Caucasus.

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Norway: NATO Rehearses For War In The Arctic

by Rick Rozoff

To the world’s military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources and long-dreamed-of sea-lanes. Rick Rozoff scrutinizes the feverish military activity taking place in the High North, under the official label of a joint Norwegian-NATO-Partnership for Peace endeavor, including preparedness drills against terrorist threats, mass demonstrations…and spies coming in from the cold!
Cold Response 2012 military exercise in Nordland, Norway. The yearly air land and maritime exercise is organized withing NATO with a UN mandate.
The largest military exercise in the High North, inside and immediately outside the Arctic Circle, since the end of the Cold War (and perhaps even before) was completed on March 21 in northern Norway.
Except for the crash of a Norwegian military transport plane in Sweden during its course the world would have been unaware of it.
Cold Response 2012 was conducted from March 12-21 primarily in Norway but also in Sweden with the participation of 16,300 troops from fifteen nations as part of full spectrum – air, sea, infantry and special forces – maneuvers against the backdrop of the past three years’ new scramble for the Arctic.
The term High North is a translation of the Norwegian designation nordområdene which was adopted by NATO in January of 2009 for its two-day Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in Reykjavík, Iceland attended by the bloc’s secretary general, chairman of its Military Committee and two top military commanders, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.
Four of the five Arctic claimants – the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark – are members of NATO. The other, Russia, is not. In 2010 Norway became the first Arctic nation to move its military command center within the Arctic Circle, transferring the Norwegian Operational Command Headquarters from Stavanger to Bodø, a five-story complex built during the Cold War to withstand a nuclear attack. The preceding year Norway purchased 48 Lockheed Martin F-35 fifth generation multirole fighters.
Last month’s Cold Response was the largest of five such exercises held since 2006. The first was the largest military exercise ever conducted in Norway, with 10,000 troops from eleven nations. All NATO member states, at the time 26, were invited to participate.
The next, in 2007, included 8,500 military personnel. The third, in 2009, consisted of 7,000 troops from eleven nations and the fourth, in 2010, included 8,500 soldiers from fourteen nations.
This year’s Arctic drills were almost twice as large in terms of troop numbers as any preceding one.
Information on the exercise was scarce before, during and after the event; even the full roster of participating nations was not disclosed by the Norwegian military.
According to the website of the Norwegian Armed Forces, military forces from fifteen nations were involved – NATO members Norway, the U.S., Britain, France, Canada and the Netherlands – as well as Partnership for Peace affiliate Sweden, part of whose territory was employed for the exercise.
The other eight nations were not identified but the exercise was described as a joint Norwegian-NATO-Partnership for Peace undertaking. One of only a handful of English-language reports on the subject, from Finland, confirmed that nation’s participation. Finland and Sweden are for all intents the 29th and 30th members of the Alliance.
The other Partnership for Peace states involved are likely to have been, among others, former Soviet republics like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine.
According to the Norwegian Armed Forces, “The main purpose of this year’s winter exercise is to rehearse high intensity operations in winter conditions within NATO with a UN mandate.”
The source added: “Participants will rehearse deploying and using military reaction forces in an area of crisis where they have to handle everything from high intensity warfare to terror threats and mass demonstrations. The soldiers have to balance the use of diplomatic and military force.”
High-intensity warfare, terror threats and mass demonstrations in the Arctic…
It also described live-fire infantry, naval and air – with the participation of fighter jets and helicopters operating from several Norwegian and Swedish bases and from aircraft carriers – components of the exercise.
The ground forces included U.S. Marines. According to the Marine Corps Times, “After years of fighting in a desert environment, most Marines may not think of the North Pole often, but the area abounds with oil, gas and other minerals, making it one of the most contentious regions of the world.”
The same source quoted a national security and Arctic expert at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for a New American Security with the improbable name of Will Rogers:
“The importance of why we need forces capable of operating in the Arctic is very basic power projection — to make a show to other players in the international community that we are an Arctic nation, and we are going to protect our interests in the Arctic Circle.”
Britain deployed HMS Illustrious, its last-remaining aircraft carrier, which had to return home early for repairs after being rammed by a tugboat, thereby eliciting a few paragraphs in the Daily Mail.
A Norwegian C-130 Super Hercules military transport plane crashed in Sweden, killing five soldiers. A memorial service was presided over by King Harald V, the titular commander-in-chief of the Norwegian armed forces.
The assault ship HMS Bulwark accompanied HMS Illustrious, which carried eight helicopters, and the first landed British commandos as well as American and Dutch troops, equipment and vehicles on the northern Norwegian coast.
In the words of the commanding officer of the Bulwark:
“It is not simply park the ship and offload it. In war – and therefore in training – we have to take account of the environment, enemy forces in the air, sea, and on land, coordinate people into boats and naval helicopters, all to arrive on target, in the right order, at the right time, to achieve the battle-winning effect. Few navies deliver this successfully and most aspirants look to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and Fleet Air Arm, with our war-proven capability, for guidance – on the sea in the air and on the land.”
Regarding “war-proven capability(ies),” Defense Media Network quoted U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General James M. Lariviere, commanding general of 4th Marine Division, present for the occasion:
“It was an opportunity to interact with our allies. Many of them are veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, and anti-piracy task forces off the coast of Somalia. They all have a lot of experience working with the U.S. and our allies in various capacities…”
The U.S. uses the Bjugn Cave Facility in Norway’s Fosen peninsula for Marine Corps Prepositioning Program Norway, the Marine Corps’ only land-based prepositioning program. According to a U.S. European Command article of last year:
“Well guarded within 671,000 sq. feet of six climate-controlled caves, $420 million worth of Marine Corps equipment and supplies lie ready for real world use. The caves, located in Norway, serve as a key strategic storage site for the Marine Corps….The Norwegian caves are strategically located to provide support to the United States Marine Corps’ operations around the globe…[T]he equipment from the climate controlled caves of Norway has seen action in places as diverse as the deserts of Iraq and mountains of Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.”
The Helsingin Sanomat, which reported 215 Finnish soldiers participating in the exercise, characterized Cold Response 2012 as “a major military training exercise being held in the far north of Norway [in which] armed forces from 14 nations are protecting civilians in the same way as last year in Libya, and are fighting against the local opposition just as in Afghanistan.”
The newspaper also quoted a Finnish military media and communications officer stating, ”It would be silly to rehearse a situation if it were not realistic.”
A Swedish website, which identified Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Latvia and Switzerland as having also supplied units for Cold Response, published a synopsis of the scenario for the Swedish part of the exercise provided by the Swedish Armed Forces, which included:
A “strange group of people” have settled in northern Sweden and established a state called “Gardaland” from which they have invaded “an area in Norway,” after which NATO intervenes under a United Nations mandate.
The Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands reported a potpourri of unrelated and even conflicting scenarios that leaves the door open for any pretext for military intervention:
“The Netherlands Defence organisation sent 800 military personnel to take part in the exercise, including a large maritime detachment and units from the army and air force. The Dutch units left the Norwegian training area on 21 March, after a simulated attack lasting 48 hours. The emphasis was on beating off air attacks, combating submarines and covertly landing amphibious units. The scenario also included taking terrorists into custody.”
The Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 was deployed to the Norwegian Arctic island city of Tromsø for the exercise. NATO established a Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, which at the time hosted the nation’s military command headquarters, in 2003. According to NATO’s Norfolk, Virginia-based Supreme Allied Command Transformation, the center is “the jewel in the Crown of Allied Command Transformation”.
On the opening day of this year’s Cold Response, Igor Korotchenko of Russia’s National Security Journal put the event in geopolitical perspective:
“The current military drill takes place amid NATO’s increased activities in the Arctic. Apparently, NATO is set on obtaining a share of Arctic resources and is carrying out the naval exercises to demonstrate that its geopolitical and diplomatic efforts lean on military might.”
Vladimir Yevseyev of the International Security Center of the Institute of Global Economy and International Relations, as cited by Voice of Russia, added:
“[T]he exercises are being held on the territories of Norway and Sweden, in close proximity to Russian borders. They might thus be seen as a provocation. Russia has all grounds for concern given that ships equipped with the…Aegis Combat System can be deployed in the Arctic.”
The last sentence is an allusion to the U.S.-NATO sea- and land-based interceptor missile system, which thus far is limited to Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea but could well expand into the Norwegian, Barents, Baltic and Black Seas in future.
The Western campaign for global dominance has reached the top of the world.

NATO prepares troop withdrawal from Afghan quagmire

By Peter Symonds 

21 April 2012
The meeting of NATO defence and foreign ministers this week in Brussels was dominated by a sense of desperation and crisis over the worsening military quagmire in Afghanistan. The US is escalating military operations in an effort to shore up the detested Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai, even as the US and its allies prepare to withdraw the bulk of foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.
The vulnerability of the US-led occupation was driven home last Sunday by co-ordinated, high-profile attacks against NATO and Afghan government targets in Kabul. While NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu praised the response of the Afghan security forces, nothing could hide the fact that a handful of Taliban fighters penetrated the highest security areas of the capital, held Afghan police and troops at bay for 18 hours and were only defeated with the support of US helicopter gunships.
Speaking in Brussels alongside Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged last weekend’s attack in Kabul. She nevertheless intoned the mantra: “The transition is on track, the Afghans are increasingly standing up for their own security and future, and NATO remains united in our support.”
In reality, the US strategy in Afghanistan is in tatters. Under the guise of its bogus “war on terror,” American imperialism invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to transform it into a client state and base of operations to further its ambitions in Central Asia. After more than a decade of war, large areas of the country, especially in the south and east, are controlled by anti-occupation militias, including the Taliban and the Haqqani network.
The Obama administration “surged” American troop strength to 90,000 and extended the war into Pakistan’s border areas, seeking to suppress and foster divisions among insurgent groups in order to cut a deal with at least some anti-occupation groups. The US military focus on southern Afghanistan, particularly Kandahar and Helmand provinces, only resulted in shifting Taliban attacks to the east and into the cities, including Kabul.
Negotiations with the various insurgent groups have to date been a dismal failure. In a lengthy report issued in late March, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) concluded that “the Karzai government is poorly positioned to cut a deal with the leaders of the insurgency. Afghanistan’s security forces are ill-prepared to handle the power vacuum that will occur following the exit of international troops.”
The ICG report pointed to the cynical calculations behind the entire “transition” strategy, noting: “Far from being Afghan-led, the negotiating agenda [with the Taliban] had been dominated by Washington’s desire to obtain a decent interval between the planned US troop drawdown and the possibility of another bloody chapter in the conflict.”
In other words, the Obama administration is well aware that Afghanistan will descend into civil war once foreign troops withdraw. Its “transition” efforts seek to prevent an immediate military debacle, prop up the puppet Karzai regime, at least in the major cities, and secure continued access to major military bases.
US officials have been at pains to avoid comparisons with the end of the Vietnam War, dismissing any characterisation of last weekend’s attacks in Kabul as a Tet-like offensive. Nevertheless, Obama’s strategy bears a remarkable resemblance to the criminal actions of the Nixon administration, which secretly bombed Cambodia and Laos, and “Vietnamised” the war, handing responsibility for fighting to South Vietnamese troops as the US military withdrew.
What is being billed as the final US military offensive before withdrawal is going to be a particularly bloody campaign. It is aimed in particular at terrorising areas of eastern Afghanistan, where the Haqqani network is entrenched and insurgent attacks increased by an estimated 20 percent last year. “It’s going to be a very busy summer,” US commander General John Allen declared recently. The ground war will be accompanied by continuing drone attacks inside Pakistan and pressure on the Pakistani military to attack insurgent bases.
NATO has already handed over frontline fighting to Afghan security forces in half the country and plans to complete the process by the end of 2013, ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign troops the following year. Despite the massive size of the Afghan army and police—set to peak at 352,000 in October—none of the units, as judged by the US Defence Department last October, is capable of operating without international support.
Behind the show of NATO unity in Brussels, intense haggling took place over the timing of the withdrawals, the size of the Afghan army and police, and who was to pay the bill to sustain them. The number of Afghan security personnel, and thus the cost, is due to be slashed by more than a third to 228,000 by the end of 2017, despite warnings by military analysts of a resulting disaster.
The US has pledged to pay $2.2 billion of the $4 billion required, and is twisting the arms of its allies to pay $1.3 billion, with the remainder provided by the Afghan government. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the media that Afghan troops were cheaper than international troops. “It is a good deal and it is very easy to make the case this is a good way forward,” he said.
The US and all its allies confront overwhelming opposition at home to the Afghan war and are seeking to speed up their withdrawals. Former commander of Australian forces in Afghanistan, retired general John Cantwell commented on the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s “Four Corners” program this week: “The electoral cycles of nations contributing to the fight in Afghanistan mean that politicians everywhere are looking for the exits.”
President Obama plans to withdraw 22,000 of the 90,000 US troops in Afghanistan by September, before the US presidential election. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, also currently campaigning for re-election, announced a complete French withdrawal by the end of 2013, instead of 2014, after four French troops were killed by an Afghan soldier. Likewise, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who faces election next year, has announced the pull out of most Australian troops by the end of 2013.
More than a decade of conflict in Afghanistan has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, the imposition of a vast police-state apparatus throughout the country and continued mass unemployment and poverty. The ugly face of the neo-colonial occupation was bared this week with the publication of revolting photos of American troops posing with dismembered Afghan bodies.
While short-term electoral considerations are a factor, the withdrawal of the US and its allies from Afghanistan is primarily designed to free up troops and money for new military operations. As the Afghan “transition” is being discussed, the Obama administration is threatening military intervention in Syria and a war against Iran, as well as intensifying its aggressive confrontation against China in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Dark Side of the West’s ‘Humanitarianism’ – How Nato Left Boat People to Die

By Matthew Vella

April 11, 2012 “Malta Today” — The 19 interviews by Goldsmiths researchers into the ‘left-to-die-boat’ ignored by Nato vessels in the Mediterranean in April 2011 has determined that 72 migrants were ignored by all Nato and non-military entities encountered in the two weeks drifting slowly in the sea, despite a clear distress call.
The migrants’ vessel was established to have been within Nato’s maritime surveillance area for 15 days, drifting in Libyan territorial waters, while Nato patrolled the area to prevent the flow of arms and mercenaries and prevent attacks.
The area was populated by at least 38 maritime assets as well as many additional aerial assets during the time of the event.
Nato maritime command in Naples and participating states were informed of the presence of a vessel in distress, and the military and naval assets had the detection capability to detect the migrants’ vessel during its 14 days of drift back towards the coast of North Africa.
The independent research’s geospatial report determined the movements of the boat, using a drift model to simulate the trajectory of the rubber vessel after the boat drifted in high waves for two weeks between 28 March and 10 April, when it landed in Ziltan.
“Left without food or water, the migrants began drinking sea-water as well as their own urine mixed with toothpaste. According to Dan Haile Gebre, after 2-3 days of this weather people started to die. According to Abu Kurke, the number of people dying increased daily. First two, then four, then five or six people died everyday.”
The most astounding revelation is that after five to six days drifting the bad weather, a military vessel approached the boat at a very close distance of 10 metres, but failed to save the migrants.
“We are watching them, they are watching us. We are showing them the dead bodies. We drank water from the sea to show them we were thirsty. The people on the boat took pictures, nothing else,” Dan Haile Gebre, a survivor, said.
The survivor’s testimonies provide indications that this was the Borsini ship of the Italian Fleet.
While both Italian and Maltese authorities were informed of the boat’s distress, the researchers’ drift model determines it is probably the vessel entered the Maltese search and rescue zone for at least part of one day, drifting in an area located 82 nautical miles from Lampedusa and 149 nautical miles from the Island of Malta: right within the zone of conflicting responsibility between Italy and Malta.
The report states that it appears that fishermen failed to assist the migrants in the open sea and that Italy and Malta, although informed of the distress of the migrants, did not intervene to rescue them or assure that their rescue was being coordinated.
The “left-to-die boat” remained adrift for 14 days within a non-operational Libyan SAR zone, but this same area was however populated by an intensified amount of Nato aerial and maritime assets.
At least 38 naval assets had been in operation in the waters off the coast of Libya for at least some time between 27 March and 10 April.
Malta’s Armed Forces’ involvement was ruled out, because the helicopters at their disposal, although being used in SAR operations, are not able to travel such long distances.
Leaving Libya
Most of the migrants interviewed testified to the active role that former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s troops played not only in organising and managing the crossing but also in often forcing Sub-Saharan migrants to leave.
The great majority among them did not have to pay for the trip, or paid just a small amount, and were searched by soldiers before embarking. This prevented them from carrying any water or food, cellular phones, or money.
Almost all migrants interviewed reported having crossed several vessels at sea, ranging from the boats of other migrants, fishermen, NATO ships, cruise ships, and the coast guard patrols of Malta and Italy.
In one of the interviews, Dan Haile Gebre said that while he worked and earned a decent living as a mechanic in a garage located in Tripoli, the Libyan conflict made life increasingly perilous for for Sub-Saharan migrants in particular. “The people are divided in two, pro Gaddafi and pro Benghazi groups. So anybody will ask you asked: who do you support? If you say ‘rebels’ the person you are speaking to might be pro Gaddafi, and if you say with ‘Gaddafi’ he might be with the rebels.
“They started killing black people. They come to our homes and steal everything you have. They stole everything from my workshop because of the green flag, mandatory if you want to find work under the Gaddafi regime. We were afraid. There was a lot of things: if you want to take a taxi, the driver will ask you the same question. In a bakery: buying bread was not allowed for Africans.”
Distress call
The distress call to Father Moses Zerai, in Rome, was relayed to the Italian rescue coordination centre on 27 March 2011.
A helicopter was scrambled into action soon enough, its approach described by survivor Dan Haile Gebre as follows: “It circled around us 4-5 times and came closer. It was making a lot of wind, and we almost lost our balance.”
Witnesses stated that it bore the English writing “ARMY”.
Abu Kurke Kebato adds: “The helicopter came very close to us down, we showed him our babies, we showed them we finished oil, we tell them ‘Please help us'”. He continues: “I think I saw them take our picture. I think I saw a photo camera or something like that.”
This description is consistent with protocols for vessel identification missions in the frame of Nato’s monitoring of the embargo over Libya during Operation Unified Protector.
Despite the fact that the helicopter clearly came very close, approximately 10 metres according to Abu Kurke Kebato, and that the migrants clearly communicated signals of distress, the helicopter left without providing any assistance. Following that encounter, the migrants believed they would be soon rescued.
Fisherman encounter
Once they resumed movement, the migrants tried to approach some fishermen whose boats they noticed around them to ask for help. Dan Haile Gebre believes that they were from Tunisia and Malta.
When the fishermen saw the migrants’ boat arriving though, they drew in their nets and sailed away swiftly, almost making the small migrants’ vessel capsize.
The researchers said that during this time, the migrants navigated for very short stretches in random directions, i.e. without following the direction of Lampedusa but rather moving from one boat to the other. “We can therefore estimate that during this time they did not move considerably from the previously established GPS position.”
Second helicopter encounter
According to Dan Haile Gebre, this encounter with the fishermen was immediately followed by the re-appearance of what appeared to be the same helicopter that had visited the vessel previously. This time, the military on-board lowered down eight bottles of water and small packets biscuits, both of which had Italian writing on them, and left again.
After the helicopter departed for a second time, the migrants encountered one more Tunisian fishing boat, which gave them the direction of Lampedusa in Arabic, pointing to the island’s direction the fisherman said “four hours”.

Copyright © MediaToday Co. Ltd

Straining NATO on short Syrian leash

By Vijay Prashad 

On February 18, I asked the Indian ambassador to the United Nations, Hardeep Singh Puri, why there was no appetite for a strong UN resolution on Syria. 

After all, the violence in Syria seemed to have already exceeded that in Libya. If the UN could pass Resolution 1973 (on Libya), why was it reticent to pass a similar resolution on Syria? Puri pointed his finger directly at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) states. 

They had exceeded the mandate of Resolution 1973, moving for regime change using immense violence. All attempts to find a peaceful solution were blocked. The African Union’s high-level panel was prevented from entering Libya as the NATO barrage began. Any UN resolution that was sharply worded and that was not explicitly against a humanitarian intervention would open the door to a NATO-style attack. That seems to be the fear. 

If there is a sense that NATO exceeded the mandate of 1973, I asked, would the UN now consider an evaluation of how it was used in the Libya war? “Russia has asked for the Security Council to undertake an evaluation of protection of civilians, because Resolution 1973 is about protecting civilians,” Puri said. “So what kind of damage was there, collateral damage to civilians, etc? There is great reluctance to undertake that.” 

A report by independent Arab human-rights groups in January 2012 and a report by the UN Human Rights Council (March 2, 2012) have been largely ignored. Both showed that the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi’s forces were conducting genocide was grossly exaggerated, and both called for an open investigation of NATO’s aerial bombardment. 

The point of the second call is simple: if NATO went into the conflict with its “responsibility to protect” (R2P) civilians, what was the civilian casualty rate as a result of NATO’s bombardment? Would the UN Security Council sanction further NATO “humanitarian interventions” if the kill rate from the saviors is higher than or equals that of the violence in the first place? 

Puri indicates that the NATO states in the Security Council have not warmed up to the idea of an evaluation. When the Human Rights Council began its investigations, NATO’s legal adviser Peter Olson wrote a sharp letter to the commission’s chair:

We would be concerned if “NATO incidents” were included in the commission’s report as on a par with those which the commission may ultimately conclude did violate law or constitute crimes. We note in this regard that the commission’s mandate is to discuss “the facts and circumstance of … violations [of law] and … crimes perpetrated”. We would accordingly request that, in the event the commission elects to include a discussion of NATO actions in Libya, its report clearly state that NATO did not deliberately target civilians and did not commit war crimes in Libya.

In other words, NATO was eager to prejudge the investigation – it would not allow the investigation to even take up issues of war crimes by NATO. That was to be stopped at the door. 

On March 25, The New York Times’ C J Chivers wrote a strongly worded essay “NATO’s Secrecy Stance”, which revisited a story that Chivers had written about the August 8 NATO bombardment of Majer (a village between Misrata and Tripoli). It is clear that at 34 civilians died in that attack. It is a test case for NATO’s refusal to allow any public scrutiny. 

NATO claims that it has already carried out a review of this case. Chivers is right to note that this raises an issue fundamental to democratic societies; namely, civilian control over the military. If the public and the political authorities are not allowed access to the evidence and provide oversight over the NATO command, the idea of civilian control of the military is violated. 

Five days later, The New York Times editorial (“NATO’s Duty”) followed Chivers, noting that NATO “has shown little interest in investigating credible independent claims of civilian fatalities”. This is strong language from an editorial board that has otherwise been quite comfortable with the idea of humanitarian intervention by NATO. 

The next day (March 31), NATO’s spokesperson Oana Langescu responded that NATO has already done its investigation, and if the Libyan authorities decide to open an inquiry then “NATO will cooperate”. There is no indication that the threadbare Libyan government is going to question its saviors. NATO is safe from scrutiny. 

Suspicion around NATO’s operations is now general among the BRICS states (Brazil, India, China and South Africa). In the Delhi Declaration of March 29, the BRICS noted regarding Syria, “Global interests would best be served by dealing with the crisis through peaceful means that encourage broad national dialogues that reflect the legitimate aspirations of all sections of Syrian society and respect Syrian independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.” 

Additionally, the BRICS states championed their “strong commitment to multilateral diplomacy with the United Nations playing a central role in dealing with global challenges and threats”. 

The threat of NATO intervention in the name of human rights is on the minds of the leadership of the BRICS. No longer will NATO be given a long leash with UN authorization. As Ambassador Puri put it, “Because of the Libyan experience other members of the Security Council, such as China and Russia, will not hesitate in exercising a veto if a resolution – and this is the big if – contains actions under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which permits the use of force and punitive and coercive measures.” 

Vijay Prashad has just published Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK Press, 2012). 

(Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

EU and NATO are Europe’s straightjacket


EU and NATO are Europe’s straightjacket. 46840.jpeg
by Olivia Kroth

According to dictionaries, a straightjacket is a “garment shaped like a jacket with overlong sleeves, used to restrain a person who might otherwise do harm. Once the arms are inserted into the straightjacket’s sleeves, they are then crossed across the chest. The ends of the sleeves are tied to the back of the wearer, ensuring that the arms are kept close to the chest with as little movement as possible. The sleeves of the jacket are sewn shut at the ends which means a significant restraint in itself because it restrains the use of the hands.”

Europe is strapped into such a straightjacket, the two overlong sleeves being the EU and NATO. Both entities ensure that Europe has as little free movement as possible.
The common man and woman in the streets did not vote for entry into either EU or NATO, yet most Europeans are stifled by them, with a few lucky exceptions such as the citizens of Switzerland, for example.
In former centuries, the mentally ill in poorhouses and workhouses were strapped into straightjackets as a means to keep them quiet. It was cheaper than giving them medication or placing them in special institutions.
Is straightjacketed Europe a poorhouse? Yes, it is. Europe is on its way to becoming a so-called Third-World-Continent, with high debt rates, unemployment and poverty.
Is straightjacketed Europe a workhouse? No, it is not. Work is scarce in Europe, as jobs tend to wander eastwards. Jobs emigrate to such Asian low-cost countries as China, Indonesia and Malaysia, while most Europeans cannot afford or do not dare to emigrate. Europeans should follow the jobs and follow the money, instead of sitting back home, complaining and whining.
In the 19th century, straightjackets were considered to be a humane form of treatment, far gentler than the chains for the mentally ill in prisons.
Similarly, EU and NATO officials are telling European citizens that they live in far better conditions than poor Africans or unruly Middle Easterners, who will surely need some more bombing soon, should they not keep quiet and do as they are told by western imperialists.
Is there a way for Europe to escape the straightjacket? Yes, there is.
The magician Harry Houdini demonstrated an escape technique. He showed that it is possible to get more room by pulling at the inside of the arms as they are being strapped or by keeping an elbow held outward to gain slack in the sleeves when the arm is relaxed.
Houdini then wriggled his arms back and forth, finally hoisting them over his head and peeling the jacket off over the head. In one of his popular shows, Houdini performed the straightjacket escape while hung upside down from a crane.
Who is going to be Europe’s Houdini, freeing the unhappy continent from the EU and NATO straightjacket?
Many people living in Europe are extremely desperate and furious at the EU imposed bureaucracy and the NATO imposed wars against Afghanistan, Libya, maybe Syria and Iran next.
Miraculously, none of these furious people ever make it to the top. None of them are serious candidates in presidential elections. Those elected serve as willing tools of their EU and NATO masters.
This might be a reason why many Europeans are cheering the return of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. He is seen as a possible savior of Europe, if he will extend a helping hand.
“We must create an axis Paris – Berlin – Moscow, which cannot be achieved within the actual EU limits. This will be the worst scenario for the Anglo-Saxons, but the only way to achieve peace for Europe,” French journalist Christian Tallon writes in Agoravox.
He thinks that the empire will not calmly watch its own dissolution. The imperialist strategy, according to Tallon, is to “create chaos when things are getting out of hand. Rather than seeing better systems developing elsewhere, the empire will organize chaos.
Tallon thinks that Vladimir Putin’s return as President of the Russian Federation is a major historic event, but it does not open the trap in which France has been caught.
“We are tied with hands and feet to the empire’s ill fate. As the USA is gradually impoverished, it will demand more financial participation in its efforts of defense. To say it clearly, it will cost us a lot. We’ll have to pay a higher tribute for our ‘protection’, in mafia style,” Tallon emphasizes.
In the second part of his article, Tallon suggests that the first step for France (and Europe) will be to leave NATO and sign a non-aggression-treaty with Russia. The second step for the French will be to start repairing all the damage which five years of Sarkozy’s regime have caused.
Remaining in NATO is a sure bet how to be embroiled in ever more wars and debts. NATO has turned into a dangerous monster that eats its own people.
Where is the Houdini who will wriggle Europe out of the straightjacket?
There was such a magician in the 1960s. France’s President, Charles de Gaulle, protested against the Anglo-Saxons’ strong role in NATO which straightjacketed the rest of Europe, leaving no space for independent national decisions.
In 1959, France withdrew its Mediterranean Fleet from NATO Command. Charles de Gaulle also banned the stationing of foreign nuclear weapons on French soil.
In 1967, the US had to withdraw 200 military aircraft out of France and return control of the 10 major air force bases to the French. Later Charles de Gaulle removed France’s Atlantic and Channel fleets from NATO Command. All non-French troops were asked to leave France.
SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) was transferred from France to Belgium, where it has been ever since, a shapeless monster squatting little Belgium, one of Europe’s tiniest countries.
Is there a new Houdini anywhere in sight? Yes, there is, in the feminine and pleasant shape of Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s Front National (FN). Born in 1968, twice divorced, a mother of three, a lawyer by profession, she is currently running for the French presidential election due at the end of April 2012.
Marine Le Pen has pledged to pull France out of NATO. She dislikes the Anglo-Saxon hegemonial aspirations as strongly as Charles de Gaulle did, regularly denouncing France’s bandwagoning towards the USA.
In an interview by the Russian media Kommersant, October 2011, she said that she believed in a multipolar world and that France must revise its geostrategic relations to the USA. Marine Le Pen is a fan of Vladimir Putin. She advocates forging a privileged partnership with Russia, claiming that a French-Russian partnership is necessitated by “obvious civilization and geostrategic factors as well as French energy interests.”
In her view, “France’s interests are in Europe, but in Great Europe, including Russia.” Charles de Gaulle had voiced similar ideas, 50 years earlier.
Marine Le Pen expressed her regrets about Russia being demonized by the European Union at the behest of the USA, which is trying to maintain a unipolar world. She values Vladimir Putin’s leadership qualities highly.
“I think that Vladimir Putin has principles and a vision of the future that is necessary to ensure Russia’s prosperity, which it deserves,” she told Kommersant.
In the same way, maybe on a smaller scale, Marine Le Pen and Front National are being demonized in France, probably at the behest of the USA as well, which would like to see its valiant knight Sarkozy squander more French taxpayers’ money on more NATO wars. Syria next, then eastward ho! To Iran!
Marine Le Pen does not join in NATO’s cacophony on Syria. She does not demand for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to demission. Neither has she ever said that Iran needs to be bombed because it might be producing bombs.
As president, Marine Le Pen will lead France out of EU, whose unbearable bureaucracy she deems too costly and anti-French. “Leaving the EU, we could allocate 15 billions of Euros to our French agriculture,” she pointed out.
In her eyes, such internationalist organizations as the EU are directly responsible for the food crises throughout the world. She advocates France’s food independence from multinationals.
Instead of the EU, Marine Le Pen advocates a “Europe of the nations,” a loose confederation of sovereign nations, as opposed to the straightjacket of the EU and its luckless euro-zone.
“The Treaty of Lisbon is the gravedigger of the independence and identity of the European nations, forever eliminating the budgetary sovereignty of the states,” she pronounced.
Implementation of the Euro entailed a rise in prices which have tripled, even quadrupled in certain EU countries, since the Euro was installed.
In order to recover monetary sovereignty, France would gradually leave the Euro under Marine Le Pen’s presidency, with a new conversion rate fixed to 1 Euro = 1 French Franc.
Many French people favor Marine Le Pen’s ideas, hoping for an end of the EU’s misery and NATO’s totalitarian dystopia.
It will be interesting to see if and how the new French Houdini can wriggle both arms out of the straightjacket.
Prepared for publication by:
Lisa Karpova

NATO suspends military projects to wage all-out economic war against Syria

by Thierry Meyssan

Despite applying until now the humanitarian military intervention model already tested in Yugoslavia and more recently in Libya, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is having to rewrite its script for Syria. It will now adopt the same strategy that was used in Iraq: To besiege the country, in defiance of the population, to weaken it sufficiently for the next assault.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Saban Forum in Washington, 3 December 2011.

NATO is currently reviewing its strategy for Syria. After eight months of low intensity war and despite the infiltration of many Arab and Pashtun fighters, Syrian society has not fractured. To be sure, some religious clashes took place in Deraa, Homs and Banias, but they were not widespread and were short lived. For the Alliance, it is no longer realistic to think that it can rapidly foment a civil war to justify an “international humanitarian operation.”

This realization comes at a time when the ad hoc military coalition is in the throes of a crisis. During the war against Libya, the initiative had been spearheaded by France and the UK. However, the two European heavyweights proved they were incapable of mobilizing the necessary resources. In fact, three quarters of the war effort was provided or funded by the Pentagon. Above all, the deployment of inadequate devices could have wrought disaster had Libya decided to attack NATO’s ships and helicopters [1]. The problem is much worse in the case of Syria, which boasts a population four times larger than that of Libya, and an army seasoned by previous regional conflicts.

It was therefore decided to strengthen the Franco-British duo by bringing in Germany. A tripartite agreement was to be negotiated on December 2 to mark, albeit belatedly, the anniversary of the Lancaster House Treaty [2] which laid down the organizational framework for the joint British and French expeditionary forces and sealed the fate of Libya [3]. However, the event was canceled. In the middle of the Western economic crisis, Berlin is loath to underwrite war expenses without a guaranteed return on its investment.

Germany’s budgetary rationality has shattered the epic dreams of the US-Israeli military-industrial complex. The departure of Robert Gates and the rise of Hillary Clinton have signaled the revival of the project for the “remodeling of the Greater Middle East” and its extension to North Africa. However, this doctrine – which stems from the imperial ideology of Leo Strauss – reeks of a perpetual headlong rush, the war having no other aim than itself. It may ideal for the war economy of the United States, but it hardly suits Germany’s peace-based economy.

The plan of a conventional war against Syria raises many economic issues. No European nation would have anything to gain either in the short or medium term, while many are likely to lose a few feathers. In the case of Libya, whereas British and French businessmen were swift to cash in on their dividends by renegotiating the oil concessions to their advantage, the Turks and the Italians were left holding the bag, losing nearly all their markets in the former colony.

Pending the creation of an ad hoc military coalition, NATO has temporarily turned to the economic war scenario. It intends to besiege Syria by cutting it off from all import-export trade, and sabotaging its means of production. Behind the moralistic label of “sanctions,” the Alliance member states and their Arab League vassals have already imposed a bank freeze that prohibits commodity trading. They are currently concentrating on shutting down lines of communication, including airlines, and the pull out of multinational companies, mainly oil companies. Thus, following in the footsteps of Shell and Total, Petro-Canada is on its way out, closing behind it the plant that supplies electricity to the city of Homs.

In particular, the first major act of sabotage was perpetrated against the pipeline supplying the same power plant, to make sure it could not operate once the Canadian engineers had gone. This terrorist act was claimed by the Syrian Free Army, although it is not possible to verify who was really behind it: military felons, Al Qaeda mercenaries or NATO commandos.

With the exception of fuel and electricity, no shortage has so far been reported in Syria. To mitigate the impact of the siege, Damascus is busy establishing new exchanges with Beijing. Because of the bank embargo, they have to be conducted on a barter basis, as China is already doing with Iran. This system should allow Syria to save its economy, apart from the tourist industry which has already been severely affected over the long term.

At any rate, the siege of Syria has already claimed many economic victims in Turkey, whose cancellation of the free trade agreement with Syria and the introduction of prohibitive tariffs have devastated the border regions. And although the Syrians are prepared to endure deprivations to save their country, the Turks are not willing to suffer the same fate on behalf of NATO’s ambitions.

In addition, this strategic reorientation has placed the Syrian National Council in an awkward position. Those political figures who endorsed a form of nonviolent action inspired by Gene Sharp’s orange revolutions [4] are now forced to subscribe to acts which have been claimed by members of the Syrian Free Army. The conflict is all the more acute considering that both groups are based in Istanbul and expected to work side by side.

The suspension of the international military intervention plan was confirmed by the return to Damascus of the US, French and German Ambassadors. It imposes a change in the media campaign. Already, the Anglo-American media have dropped references to the most outrageous and less credible accusations leveled against Bashar al-Assad, such as the allegation concerning the torture of children. The State Department itself no longer describes the Syrian President as a monster, but as a man “out of touch with reality” (sic) ” [5]. His case, therefore, no longer requires an urgent treatment. Moreover, the revelations made by several journalists about the situation in Syrian, belying the image conveyed by Western propaganda for the past eight months [6], calls for an indispensable lull.



[1] “Accidental Heroes. Britain, France and the Libya Operation,” by Michael Clarke, Malcolm Chalmers, Jonathan Eyal, Shashank Joshi, Mark Phillips, Elizabeth Quintana and Lee Willett, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Octtobeer 2011, 13 p, 1,4 Mo.

[2] “Déclaration franco-britannique sur la coopération de défense et de sécurité », Réseau Voltaire, 2 November 2010.

[3] “’Operation Odyssey Dawn’ breaking for Washington”, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 20 March 2011.

[4] “The Albert Einstein Institution: non-violence according to the CIA”, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 4 January 2005.

[5] Daily Press Briefing,” U.S. Department of State, 6 December 2011.

[6] Запад и ближневосточные монархии жаждут сожрать Сирию,” by Thierry Meyssan, Komsomolskaia Pravda, 29 November 2011.

Anti-Missile Shield: Rasmussen “very disappointed” by Russia’s reaction

The possible deployment of Russian missiles near Alliance nations, in response to the missile defense system created by Washington in Europe, is “very disappointing”, bemoaned NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Wednesday.

Rasmussen, however, welcomed “President Medvedev’s willingness not to close the door on continued dialogue with NATO and the U.S. on missile defence,” reads a statement released by the Alliance.

This statement came on the heels of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s threat to deploy in western and southern Russia modern offensive systems which would ensure the destruction of European missile defense facilities should the U.S. continue its deployment.

Source: Ria Novosti, 24 November 2011.

Four countries struggle for tiny ‘golden rock’ in North Atlantic

A fight over a tiny rock Rockall is unfolding In the North Atlantic. It is claimed by the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland and Denmark. It is unlikely that a piece of land with the area of ​​570 square meters would have caused such an interest if it had not been for the oil found under it. Now the UN will decide who will be the proud owner of the “Golden Rock”.

Rockall is the above-water area of the once-extinct volcano. There had never been fresh water there, hence, it was not livable. The only inhabitants of the island are guillemots, northern cormorants and other birds that stop at Rockall during their long flights. Some birds even build their nests on the cliff. At the same time there is plenty of fish and shellfish in the surrounding waters. The possession of seafood is another reason to fight for this area.

Rockall is referenced in Irish medieval folklore. There, it presents a mythical stone “Rocabarra” which should appear before the doomsday. As for the scientific description of the rock, it was fist mentioned in 1703 by a Scot Martin Martin. He also pointed to the existence of the Irish legend of the “Rocabarra.”

Centuries went by, and Rockall acquired a reputation of a deadly place. For example, in 1686 a fishing boat was stranded in its vicinity.  In 1812 a research ship “Leonidas” sank near it, and 12 years later – brigantine “Helen of Dundee.” In 1904, near Rockall “Norway” ship crashed on its way to New York. Then 635 people were killed and 150 managed to escape.

 No one was in a hurry to formalize the sovereignty over the ill-fated rock. Hardly anyone could resist the mistress of the seas, England , especially considering that Rockall lies not far from the British shores. But the British did not do so until 1955, when its officers arrived on the island and installed the UK flag and navigational beacons. In 1972 the accession of Rockall to the Scottish community Harris was announced.

Since then, however, the lighthouses broke down, but no one dared to take the flag off. The British did not take particular care of the rock and even choose not to register their rights to Rockall through the UN. They reinforced the sovereignty in strange ways. In 1975 two Marines came here for a photo shoot for a couple of hours. 10 years later, a retired British soldier lived on Rockall in a wooden box screwed to the rock for six weeks.

The first people to encroach British sovereignty over the islands were the activists of “Greenpeace”. Three environmentalists settled on the island for 42 days to protest the British oil exploration ongoing in this area. Representatives of the “Greenpeace” declared the island “a new global state of “Waveland”. Anyone could become its national. The political circus, however, did not last long.

Rockall would have remained either formally British, or nobody’s if the scientists had not begun to study the shelf around the rock to see if there was oil there. The oil was found, and, according to British experts, it may replenish the treasury of the United Kingdom by 100 billion pounds. It seems that there are also gas fields. Then other countries began to fuss.

Ireland, Iceland and Denmark have decided to challenge the British right to explore the mineral resources and marine fishery near Rockall. Icelanders and the Irish made a corresponding claim in the relevant commission of the UN. The United Kingdom followed the suit. Denmark joined the claim as well. It is expected to formalize all the documents by 2014.

Each side has their own arguments. Britain claims that the nearest territory to Rockall area is the island of Hirt located at the north-west coast of Scotland. It is 300 kilometers away from Rockall, while Ireland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands that belong to Denmark lie a little further. The English believe the rock to be an island; hence all the waters around it are to become the exclusive economic zone of the UK.

In contrast to the neighbors, Ireland is trying to prove that the Rockall is not an island but a rock. Under the international law, there can be no territorial waters around the rock. This means that the shelf shall be shared based on the distance from the shores of a country. The Irish claim that Rockall is the closest to their country. The coast of the UK is further, and the island of Hirt formally related to Scotland should not be taken into account.

Denmark has the weakest position in this dispute. The main part of the country is far away, and it can “cling” to Rockall only through the possession of the Faroe Islands located to the north of the rock. The Danes claim that there is an underwater micro-continent “Faroe Islands – Rockall Plateau.” If so, then Denmark can claim not only the shelf near the Faroe Islands, but also near Rockall.

In turn, Iceland has little interest in the ownership of the rock. The northerners are fighting only for the delineation of an underwater shelf near it so that they can claim a piece. Icelanders began working on the preparation of their application to the UN back in 2001, and were the first ones to file. In addition, it was Island that initiated negotiations on the controversial issue, and therefore, perhaps, the UN will appreciate its amicability.

The negotiations have been ongoing for five years now, but a compromise has not been reached. Denmark, Iceland and Ireland periodically discuss this issue without the participation of the UK, but there is no united front against the British. The situation would hardly escalate to a war. However, no one wants to share the oil and seafood. Rockall has the potential to become a new arena of international dispute that would unlikely be resolved without the participation of the UN.


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