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Israel to occupy Africa

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets people during his arrival at James Spriggs Payne Airport in Monrovia, Liberia on 4 June 2017 [Prime Ministry of Israel/Anadolu Agency]
By Helmi Al-Asmar | Al-Araby Al-Jadeed* | August 10, 2017

With the exception of the popular efforts made by the Conference for Palestinians Abroad to hinder the rabid Israeli efforts to hold a major conference next October entitled the Israeli-African Summit in Togo, we have barely seen any official or popular Arab efforts in this direction. This is despite the great danger posed by convening such a summit, which Israel has been laying the foundations for for several years, in light of the almost complete absence of the Arabs, which is an unprecedented development in Israel’s tireless efforts to bypass the wide wall of isolation and moral rejection it faces in Africa. It aims to present itself as a trusted partner for the continent’s nations.

The Conference for Palestinians Abroad viewed this summit, rightly so, as an insult to the struggles of the African nations and a disregard for their generations’ fair fight for liberation from colonisation and racism. It is also an attempt on the occupation government’s part to portray itself as a trusted partner for the African countries in order to fabricate its reality. It is not coming to Africa in order to spread love and unity, but instead aims to make Africa a market for the lethal products it produces and a place to export its mercenaries to help the dictators of the continent.

This is despite the fact that the African nations’ true interests and their efforts towards sustainable development, prosperity and growth do not align with the colonial racist occupation government in Palestine, given its record of hostility and terrorism. This is documented by several international and independent reports, including the ESCWA report regarding the escalations of the Israeli apartheid policies issued this year.

In addition to this, Israel, which commits war crimes, mass killings, flagrant violations and intimidation methods, as well as confiscates the Palestinian people’s land and resources and sponsors illegal extremist settler gangs, does not have the right to be a partner to developing nations seeking advancement, prosperity and the combat of terrorism.

The efforts of the Conference for Palestinians Abroad are focused on mobilising governments, official and popular institutions, parties, civil society organisations, public figures, community leaders and the media across Africa and the entire world, in order to rally the efforts against the Israeli government’s actions. These actions are an attempt on Israel’s part to promote itself in the continent in a misleading manner, ignoring the principles of justice, the peoples’ rights and international laws and conventions. The conference summoned its efforts and began taking action, contacting concerned parties, especially the influential forces in the African nations in order to confront Israel’s attempts of exploitation and deception.

These are commendable efforts but of course they are not enough to stop this hateful and racist emergence in Africa. Putting an end to the conference is the duty of all African countries, organisations, committees, and people specifically, and generally the duty of the Arab and Muslim countries. This is because Israel’s presence in the continent will not be in the best interest of the African people, but rather in Israel’s interest as it exports death, mercenaries and tyranny to all the countries of the world. It also supports the totalitarian regimes that commit the ugliest forms of aggression, looting and pillage. Therefore, resisting this conference and sabotaging it by all means available is the duty of all nations on Earth.

It is worth mentioning in this regard that the only Arab action against the convention of this summit was by the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, during his visit to Khartoum in July 2016. In his meeting with Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, Abbas raised the issue of developing the Arab strategy in the African continent and cooperating in order to stop Israel’s attempts to achieve a breakthrough in Africa.

We do not expect Sudan or the PA to do anything now, as it is too late and their political/diplomatic capabilities are limited. Moreover, their problems and misfortunes are too many to count, according to the former Egyptian Ambassador to Angola, Sao Tome and Niger, Belal Al-Masry, who, in an important article published on the Democratic Arab Centre website, listed five reasons why the Israeli summit in Africa is dangerous. These points should be considered and reflected upon, the most important of which is the fact that the conference’s purpose is to restore and develop the African voting bloc in order to use it to support Israel’s international status.

Israel views the countries of the African continent as a voting bloc consisting of at least 50 votes. This was confirmed by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seven African leaders with whom he met in Rwanda in July 2016. He also reiterated this in his speech to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Summit in Monrovia in June 2017. Hence, his statement regarding Israel having a bright future in the UN during his speech before the UN General Assembly at its regular session in September 2016, wasn’t too far from the truth. He also stated that his main diplomatic goal was to stop the African states from automatically voting against Israel at the UN and that the day he would achieve this isn’t too far. Therefore, holding the Israeli summit in Africa will mark the end of the Egyptian and Arab role, in general, in Africa and Israel will join the international forces competing for influence in the African continent. These countries include China, the United States, France, India, Russia, Iran and recently, Turkey.

It is not an overstatement to say that the Israeli conference in Togo will pave the way for Israel to reoccupy Africa, or at least a large part of it, politically, economically and militarily. This will further strengthen Israel’s international and regional standing and increase the suffering of the Palestinian people, who are paying the price for the fragmentation of the Arab system and their preoccupation with resisting the effects of the Arab Spring revolutions.

*Translation by MEMO

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

US govt spends $76bn to arm & equip Afghan forces – new report

RT | August 11, 2017

The Pentagon has spent $76 billion on weapons and equipment for the Afghan army and police since 2001, the US Government Accountability Office said. The report comes as President Donald Trump says he is “very close” to announcing a new strategy on Afghanistan.

The US has paid for 600,000 weapons, including rifles and pistols, for the Afghan army and police, the GAO report released on Thursday said. The funding also went to buy more than 25,000 grenade launchers and almost 10,000 rocket-propelled weapons to be used by the Afghans.

Additionally, the US has given to the government in Kabul 162,643 pieces of communications equipment and nearly 76,000 vehicles.

Earlier this summer, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) slammed the Pentagon for spending money on uniforms that Afghan forces didn’t need.

The US has spent $93.81 million over the past decade to provide Afghan troops with uniforms of a “forest” camouflage pattern which is largely unsuitable for Afghanistan’s landscape, a SIGAR report said.

Billions have been squandered on projects that were useless, or lost to waste and corruption, according to SIGAR.

The US’s profligate spending in Afghanistan is “the definition of insanity — doing the same things over and over again, expecting a different result,” Special Inspector General John F. Sopko told NBC News last year.

The US is overall estimated to have spent over $700 billion on military assistance, reconstruction and economic aid to Afghanistan in the past 17 years of war, which began in 2001 as a response to Afghanistan’s harboring of Al-Qaeda following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. With Al-Qaeda in the country largely defeated, the war has morphed into a fight with local Taliban insurgents.

On Thursday, President Trump told reporters that he’s “very close” to announcing his administration’s new strategy on Afghanistan.

“It’s a very big decision for me. I took over a mess and we’re going to make it a lot less messy,” he said.

US officials had earlier promised to deliver an updated strategy by mid-July, but the decision-making stalled.

The commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, as well as Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, suggested adding some 4,000 American troops to the nearly 9,000 already deployed in Afghanistan.

Trump reportedly lashed out at top US military officials in a July meeting for losing ground in Afghanistan and questioned whether America’s longest war is still worth fighting. “We are losing,” Trump said, according to an NBC report.

The president also reportedly considered firing the commander of US forces in Afghanistan.

In 2013 Trump tweeted: “We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Their government has zero appreciation. Let’s get out!”

The US-backed government in Kabul controls about 60 percent of the country – down from 65 percent the same time last year, according to the US military headquarters in Kabul.

Meanwhile, the Taliban is gaining ground. Last week, militants gained control of a key area in Afghanistan’s north Sari Pul province.

Earlier this summer, the Taliban raided and seized the district of Jani Khel in Paktia province, south of Kabul. The fall of Jani Khel marked its third victory in just four days.

Deaths of Afghan security forces in the early months of 2017 were “shockingly high,” SIGAR recently reported.

The Obama administration said a political solution that would involve the Taliban was necessary to end the conflict. The Trump administration has yet to outline its position.

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

McCain slams Trump over Afghanistan, unveils his strategy to win war

RT | August 10, 2017

Senator John McCain has blasted President Donald Trump over a lack of strategy in America’s 17-year war in Afghanistan, and filed his own plan for the Senate to vote on. It involves more troops, more bombing and an enduring US presence in the country.

“Now, nearly seven months into President Trump’s administration, we’ve had no strategy at all as conditions on the ground have steadily worsened,” McCain, who is the chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Thursday. “The thousands of Americans putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan deserve better from their commander-in-chief.”

“We must face facts: We are losing in Afghanistan and time is of the essence if we intend to turn the tide,” he said.

McCain has filed his plan to win the war as a proposed amendment to the annual defense bill. The strategy calls for beefing up the number of US troops in Afghanistan, “significantly” increasing the use of US air power there, as well as getting rid of current withdrawal timelines placed on the military, according to a released copy of the legislation.

The Republican senator’s proposed amendment does not specify the number of additional troops to be sent to fight the war which has gone on for 17 years – longer than any other war the US has been involved in.

President Trump himself reportedly lashed out at top US military officials in a July meeting for losing ground in Afghanistan. “We are losing,” he said, according to an NBC report.

The president reportedly considered firing the commander of American troops in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson.

Nicholson had earlier said that a few thousand more troops were needed to gain an advantage over the resurgent Taliban. The Trump administration was weighing the deployment of 3,000-4,000 additional forces, according to lawmakers briefed on the plans.

When testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in June, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the administration would be prepared to brief lawmakers on a new Afghanistan strategy in mid-July. However, the new strategy has yet to come.

The US-backed government in Kabul controls about 60 percent of the country, while the Taliban are gaining ground.
Last week, the militants gained control of a key area in Afghanistan’s north Sari Pul province.

“We requested reinforcement from the central government, unfortunately couldn’t get any support, that is why the forces lost control of Mirzawalang,” Zabi Amani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, told AP.

Earlier this summer, the Taliban raided and seized the district of Jani Khel in Paktia province, south of Kabul. The fall of Jani Khel marked their third victory in just four days.

The Taliban also overran the Kohistan district in the northern Faryab province after storming its government’s headquarters, forcing local security forces to retreat to another base. Just hours after the capture of Kohistan, they seized the Taywara district in western Ghor province.

The US is estimated to have spent over $700 billion on military assistance, reconstruction and economic aid to Afghanistan in the past 17 years. … Full article

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

‘Africans will be biggest losers after letting foreign military into their continent’

RT | August 9, 2017

Africa has become a staging ground where foreign countries can show off their military capabilities against one another away from their country of origin at the expense of Africans, says African affairs expert Ayo Johnson.

Turkey is gearing to open its largest overseas military base in Somalia.

The United Arab Emirates are building a military base at the port of Berbera, in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.

Africa is an attraction to foreign militaries: China opened its first overseas military base on August,1 in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. Djibouti is also currently housing Americans, Japanese and French troops.

RT discussed why Africa has become so popular with the foreign military with Africa affairs expert Ayo Johnson who believes the world powers are turning the continent into the latest theater of military confrontation.

“Back in colonial days, we saw Africa being cut up and carved up by the Western nations. Now we are seeing Africa again being the center ground for the new verge of a proxy war because all these different countries which are founding military bases on the African continent. It is a huge worry,” Ayo Johnson told RT.

In Johnson’s opinion, “it is showing that Africans can’t protect themselves and it is also showing that Africans can’t control their own affairs and ultimately it is finders keepers.”

“We have China who already has a military base of its own, the excuse is that it ultimately wants to protect its own investment which we know it has on the African continent. Also, it says it wants to prevent piracy and to be able to launch against such events,” Johnson said.

“The Americans have similar bases, not to mention the Europeans. So, on the ground itself, ultimately the African continent is becoming the staging ground for the next possibly violent confrontation between the superpowers of the world in their so-called proxy battles,” he continued.

According to Johnson, such interest in the continent might be explained by its strategic location.

“The Horn of Africa is the gateway for many shipping lanes, the protection of that area because of long term standing piracy issues. But others would say it is about land grab, control; it is about influence.”

“The Americans, the British and other Europeans, not to mention the Chinese most recently, all seem to have a huge stake and might show their muscles and their military capabilities against one another. Africa has now become a staging ground from which they can exploit those opportunities away from their own individual countries, a place where they can prowess their military might at the expense of Africans,” Johnson noted.

Despite the increased foreign military presence, the problem of piracy in the region remains unsettled.

“One thing for sure is that piracy still exists and it will continue and is unlikely to stop or to be slowed down.”

“Again in terms of terrorism, Al-Qaeda and ISIS still have strongholds and control, influence in that part of the world and the military bases that are physically positioned there. If they are there to prevent such attacks, I think in the short term or more long term it could create antagonism, create a problem for locals who may want to join those organizations to attack the military powers that are there. So the protection of Africa becomes the reverse, becomes an area where everyone wants to show each other what they are capable of doing and that is the worry, be it terrorist or be it an American, European or even most recently the Turks are also considering having bases there,” he told RT.

Johnson claimed “that comes at the expense of every single African nation – ultimately the biggest losers will be every single individual on the African continent.”

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

German Bombshell Bestseller Exposing CIA Media Control Blocked in US

Americans are being prevented from reading an important book by a hero who made a huge difference

By Charles Bausman | Russia – Insider | August 10, 2017

Udo Ulfkotte is near and dear to our hearts, because we wrote about him in October of 2014, (Top German Editor: CIA Bribing Journalists) a few weeks after our founding, and these articles were some of our first to go viral, getting hundreds of thousands of views, despite the fact that we were practically unknown.

His book caused a sensation in Germany, was a best-seller despite being completely ignored by the same media he was implicating, and was a major factor in turning German public opinion against the Ukraine war.

Ulfkotte’s book was extraordinary because it named names in the German establishment, a sure-fire path to massive libel lawsuits. We were the first English language publication to write about Ulfkotte, and he gave us an exclusive interview shortly after we ran the above article.

We were in touch with Ulfkotte after writing about him, and followed his story. He told us at the time that he wasn’t afraid of any lawsuits, because he was near death due to complications from gas poisoning he suffered while reporting on the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s (ironically it was German manufactured gas), another story suppressed in Germany.

Sure enough, he passed away in January 2017, at the age of 56.

Perhaps the English translation of his book has been taken out of circulation because of libel threats?

R.I.P. Mr. Ulfkotte, you are a hero, and remembered by millions, and not just in Germany.

We quote in its entirety below an excellent article which recently appeared at Global Research, who noticed that the English translation is being stymied.

The English translation of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte’s best-selling book, Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) appears to have been suppressed throughout North America and Europe.  On May 15, 2017 Next Revelation Press, an imprint of US-Canadian-based publisher Tayen Lane, released the English version of Bought Journalists, under the title, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News.

Tayen Lane has since removed any reference to the title from its website. Correspondingly Amazon.com indicates the title is “currently unavailable,” with opportunities to purchase from independent sellers offering used copies for no less than $1309.09. The book’s subject matter and unexplained disappearance from the marketplace suggest how powerful forces are seeking to prevent its circulation.

Gekaufte Journalisten was almost completely ignored by mainstream German news media following its release in 2014. “No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book,” Ulfkotte observed. “Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about.”[1]

Along these lines, publication of the English translation was repeatedly delayed. When this author contacted Ulfkotte in early December 2015 to inquire on the book’s pending translation, he responded,  “Please find the link to the English edition here,”

http://www.tayenlane.com/bought-journalists

The above address once providing the book’s description and anticipated publication date now leads to an empty page.[2] Tayen Lane has not responded to emails or telephone calls requesting an explanation for the title’s disappearance.

When a book publisher determines that it has acquired a politically volatile or otherwise “troublesome” title it may embark on a process recognized in the industry as “privishing.” “Privishing is a portmanteau meaning to privately publish, as opposed to true publishing that is open to the public,” writes investigative journalist Gerald Colby.

It is usually employed in the following context: “We privished the book so that it sank without a trace.” The mechanism used is simple: cut off the book’s life-support system by reducing the initial print run so that the book “cannot price profitably according to any conceivable formula,” refuse to do reprints, drastically slash the book’s advertising budget, and all but cancel the promotional tour.”[3]

Privishing often takes place without the author knowing, simply because it involves breach of contract and potential liability. Tayen Lane will likely not face any legal challenge in this instance, however. Ulfkotte died of a heart attack on January 13, 2017, at age 56.[4]

Udo Ulfkotte was a prominent European journalist, social scientist, and immigration reform activist. Upon writing Gekaufte Journalisten and becoming one of the most significant media industry and deep state whistleblowers in recent history, Ulfkotte complained of repeated home searches by German state police and expressed fear for his own life. He also admitted previous health complications stemming from witnessing a 1988 poisoned gas attack in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Ulfkotte’s testimony of how intelligence agencies figure centrally in Western journalism is especially compelling because he for many years functioned in the higher echelons of mainstream newsworkers. The German journalist explains how he was recruited during the 1980s to work in espionage. This began through an invitation proffered by his graduate school advisor for an all-expense-paid trip to attend a two-week seminar on the Cold War conflict in Bonn.

After Ulfkotte obtained his doctorate he was given a job as a reporter at “the leading conservative German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, oddly appointed despite no journalistic training and hundreds of other applicants. Serving as a correspondent throughout the Middle East, Ulfkotte eventually became acquainted with agents from the CIA, German intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Britain’s MI6, and Israel’s Mossad, all of whom valued his ability to travel freely in countries largely closed to the West. His editors readily collaborated in such intelligence gathering operations,”[5] for which journalist possess “non-official cover” by virtue of their profession.

“Non-official cover” occurs when a journalist is essentially working for the CIA, but it’s not in an official capacity,” Ulfkotte explains. “This allows both parties to reap the rewards of the partnership, while at the same time giving both sides plausible deniability. The CIA will find young journalists and mentor them. Suddenly doors will open up, rewards will be given, and before you know it, you owe your entire career to them. That’s essentially how it works.”[6]  He likewise ruefully admits to “publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service.”[7]

Ulfkotte’s insider knowledge of the relationship between mainstream media and the intelligence community has special relevance in terms of informing the CIA’s antipathy toward Wikileaks, as well as the media campaign centering on the Trump administration’s alleged “ties to Russia,” while also lending credence to Trump’s frequent claims of the US media’s political biases and deep state ties. Indeed, Ulfkotte “Tweeted” about these very subjects just two days before he passed.

Ulfkotte’s explosive revelations still have the potential to further intensify the much-deserved scrutiny corporate news media presently face. In a society that pays more than lip service to freedom of thought and expression Journalists for Hire would be required reading for college students—and particularly those studying in journalism programs intending to seek employment in the media industries.

In fact, journalism professors, some of whom have migrated to the academy following long careers at renowned news outlets, possess similar insider knowledge of the relationships Ulfkotte readily explains. As both journalists and educators they have a twofold burden of responsibility. This is the case more so than ever because the entire professional and intellectual enterprise they are engaged in (and one directly linked to the nation’s accelerating civic deterioration) has been made a farce. Journalists for Hire’s suppression suggests how Ulfkotte’s posthumous censors refuse for this important examination and cleansing to proceed.

Notes

[1] Ralph Lopez, “Editor of Major German Newspaper Says He Planted Stories for CIA,” Reader Supported News, February 1, 2015.

[2] Udo Ulfkotte to James Tracy, email correspondence, December 6, 2015. In author’s possession.

[3] Gerard Colby, “The Price of Liberty,” in Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press, Kristina Borjesson, ed., Amherst NY: Prometheus Books, 2002, 15-16.

[4] Former US military intelligence officer L. Fletcher Prouty relates a similar experience of how publication of his book, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, was greeted in 1972. “Then one day a business associate in Seattle called to tell me that the bookstore next to his office building had had a window full of books the day before, and none the day of his call. They claimed they had never had the book. I called other associates around the country. I got the same story from all over the country. The paperback had vanished. At the same time I learned that Mr. Ballantine had sold his company. I traveled to New York to visit the new ‘Ballantine Books’ president. He professed to know nothing about me, and my book … The campaign to to kill the book was nationwide and worldwide. It was removed from the Library of Congress and from College libraries as letters I received attested all too frequently.” Prouty, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, New York: SkyHorse Publishing, 2008, xii.

[5] Ronald L. Ray, “Reporter Admits Most Media Work for CIA, MI6, Mossad,” American Free Press, October 26, 2014. See also Tyler Durden, “German Journalist Blows Whistle on How CIA Controls the Media,” Zerohedge, October 9, 2014; Udo Ulfkotte, “German Politicians Are US Puppets,” Center for Research on Globalization, November 9., 2014.

[6] Durden, “German Journalist Blows Whistle on How CIA Controls the Media.”

[7] Lopez, “Editor of Major German Newspaper Says He Planted Stories for CIA.”

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Moldova to Become Foothold for US Military

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 10.08.2017

The former Soviet republic of Moldova may actually become yet another foothold for the US military in Europe. The US Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe Africa Southwest Asia (NAVFAC EURAFSWA) plans to construct eight training facilities for military operations in urban terrain at the Bulboaca training base in Moldova. The fact that the US Navy Department is involved makes believe the facility will host American Marines.

A total of $1.6 million has already been invested in the renovation of the Bulboaca base located near Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria or the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic. The largely Russian-speaking region broke away from Moldova following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The secession led to an armed conflict that ended in a ceasefire in July 1992. Russian troops were deployed to the conflict zone in accordance with the «Agreement on the Principles for a Peaceful Settlement of the Armed Conflict in the Transnistrian Region of the Republic of Moldova», signed in 1992 by the presidents of Russia and Moldova in the presence of Transnistria’s leader.

Today, 450 Russian servicemen are carrying out the peacekeeping mission in accordance with the decisions of the 1999 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) summit. Besides the peacekeepers, Russia holds units of the 1,200-strong Operative Group of the Russian Forces residing in Transnistria. The Transnistrian authorities strongly oppose Moldova’s plan to withdraw Russian peacekeepers, whom they see as guarantors of peace in the region. They point out that the mission has proved to be highly successful. The 25th anniversary since the start of the peacekeeping operation was marked in July.

Since 2005, talks on Transnistrian peace have been held in the so-called «5+2 format», which includes Moldova, Transnistria, the OSCE, Russia, and Ukraine, plus the European Union and the United States in external observers’ roles.

Moldovan President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Igor Dodon stepped in to suspend the implementation of the plans to build a US military facility in Bulboaca, saying the move was not approved by him. The president said he will examine the issue. Meanwhile, the US stopped financing the project.

Anatol Șalaru, acting leader of the Party of National Unity and ex-Defense Minister, said he is going to sue President Dodon for undermining national security as the US suspended the $12, 7 military aid to modernize Moldova’s military through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program.

Moldova closely cooperates with the US and NATO. It joined the NATO Partnership for Peace program in 1994 and the Individual Partnership Action Plan in 2006. A NATO liaison office is to open in Chisinau soon.

Since 2016, Moldova has been included in a US regional program to build «more formidable defense capabilities… against aggressive actions by Russia or from other sources». Areas targeted include «border security and air/maritime domain awareness, as well as building stronger institutional oversight» of defense ministries. Last March, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the commander of US Army Europe, said that military engineers would head to Moldova as the US looks «for ways to do more exercises in the southern flank of NATO».

In February, the US donated 41 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) and trucks to the Moldovan Army. The military vehicles would be used during national and international exercises. In 2014, the US donated some other 39 HMMWV and 10 trailers for the military vehicles.

On July 24 — August 5, the base hosted the Dragoon Pioneer 2017, joint drills of US and Moldovan troops. Army Maj. Gen. John L. Gronski, Deputy Commanding General for Army National Guard, US Army. Europe, visited Moldova to watch the training event.

In late July, the Moldovan parliament passed a declaration demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of the unrecognized Transnistrian Moldovan Republic. The resolution was supported by deputies from the ruling coalition led by the Democratic Party, as well as representatives of Liberals and Liberal Democrats. The lawmakers from the opposition Socialist Party left the meeting in protest. Moldovan President Igor Dodon condemned the parliament’s decision, calling it a provocation.

Moscow expresses concern over the Moldovan policy in Transnistria. Russian military personnel movements are obstructed by Moldavan authorities. In late July, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was barred by the Moldovan government from flying to Transnistria in a military plane to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Russia’s deployment of peacekeepers there. Russia retaliated by halting imports of Moldovan farm produce, depriving Europe’s poorest country of a key market for its wine, fruit and vegetables. In early August, Moldovan authorities declared Rogozin persona non grata. Actually, the relations had begun to worsen much earlier after the expulsion of five Russian diplomats in May. President Igor Dodon believes that the government embarked on provocations against Russia in order to complicate relations.

Moscow has accused Moldova of undermining their relations and threatening regional stability. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement reads: «High-ranking Russian representatives and peacekeepers but also ordinary citizens of both countries have recently become targets of provocations. It seems that Chisinau politicians are trying to get to the forefront of the hysterical and hopeless campaign that has been launched against the Russian Federation». It adds that dangerous actions may have a serious destabilising influence on the general situation in the region and Europe as a whole. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moldova’s decision to ban Rogozin was «much worse» than even the new tough US economic sanctions on Russia.

The US military presence is expanding everywhere, including areas in the proximity of Russia’s borders, such as Transnistria. This is a very dangerous development to make US forces and Russian peacekeepers watch each other through gun sights. Moscow and Chisinau may have different views and divisions but it does not make them adversaries.

With Russian peacekeepers gone, the situation would exacerbate and a spark would be enough to restart the hostilities – something that has been prevented since 1992. By hosting US-operated facilities on its territory, Moldova, a neutral state, will become a target for a Russian retaliatory strike. Parliamentary elections are expected to be held in Moldova in November 2018. Hopefully, the voters will make the right choice, electing more responsible people to end incessant provocations and adopt a more reasonable foreign policy. If the hopes come true, Russia and Moldova will become friends and good neighbors again.

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Siding with Washington on Korea May Be Dangerous

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 10.08.2017

In backing the latest US-led sanctions against North Korea at the United Nations Security Council, both China and Russia seem to have made a tenuous bet to resolve the crisis on the Asian peninsula. By deferring to Washington’s punitive sanctions, Beijing and Moscow are calculating that the US will relent on their proposals for comprehensive talks and a freeze on American military exercises with its South Korean ally.

China and Russia may regret their course of action. Since the imposition of new sanctions on North Korea last weekend, the tensions in the region have ratcheted up to alarming levels. US President Trump has even been accused of using «unhinged» language by members of Congress after he threatened to unleash «fire and fury» on North Korea «with a power the world has never seen before». Some American lawmakers were comparing Trump’s rhetoric with that of North Korea’s fiery leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea, predictably, responded to Trump’s outburst by declaring that its leadership was considering a pre-emptive military strike on the US air base on the Pacific island of Guam.

The region is being put on a hair-trigger for war – a war that would certainly involve the use of nuclear weapons. The American side has come to the conclusion that North Korea has finally mastered the technology to fit a nuclear warhead on its already proven intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability, reported the Washington Post this week. That means that if a military confrontation breaks out, the US will be tempted to use overwhelming force.

Trump’s words about deploying «power the likes of which the world has never seen before» are especially icy given the 72nd anniversary this week of the US dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

When the UN Security Council convened last weekend it passed Resolution 2371 unanimously with 15 votes to 0. It was a surprise turnaround by China and Russia. Last month, following North Korea’s ICBM test on July 4, both Beijing and Moscow rejected the US call for more sanctions on Pyongyang. They said then that sanctions policy doesn’t work and instead called for all-party dialogue to resolve the long-running Korean crisis. China and Russia also made the eminently reasonable call for the US and its South Korean ally to desist from their frequent joint war maneuvers, which the Communist North perceives as a threat of invasion.

Over the past few weeks, the US and China reportedly engaged in intense negotiations over the Korean issue. Trump accused his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping of not doing enough to rein in allied North Korea. The US also threatened to take punitive action against China over wider issues of trade and intellectual property rights. Before the weekend vote at the UNSC, Trump inexplicably cancelled a speech in which he was expected to lay out tough American actions against China over commercial disputes. That suggests some kind of bargain was done between Washington and Beijing – and that China voting for further sanctions on North Korea was part of it.

Following the unanimous vote at the UNSC, Trump and his ambassador Nikki Haley reportedly could hardly contain their glee over «the united response» against «rogue state North Korea».

What Russia gets out of it is not clear. Perhaps Russia felt that to veto the sanctions against North Korea would have incurred international wrath. But it seems curious that Moscow should go along with sanctions at the very same time that Washington is provocatively imposing similar measures against it too.

What appears to be in the calculus by China and Russia is that by giving a sop to the American desire to get tough on North Korea, they are anticipating that the US will agree to calls for multi-party talks and a freeze on military activities on the Korean Peninsula.

Both the Chinese and Russian ambassadors to the UN coupled the latest resolution for sanctions against North Korea with the reboot of the six-party negotiations involving the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the US. Those talks were abandoned in 2009 when the US and North Korea broke off in recriminations.

Last week, before the UN vote, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a significant speech in which he said that the US was not seeking regime change in Pyongyang, nor had any intention of going to war on North Korea.

Following the UN sanctions, Tillerson sounded a conciliatory note while attending the summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations in Manila. The summit was also attended by Chinese and Russian counterparts Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov. Tillerson said the US was open to dialogue with North Korea if the latter stopped its missile tests. That appeared to be a significant concession from the US side towards resolving the Korean problem.

However, this is where the calculation comes unstuck. The backing of more sanctions against North Korea by China and Russia may have softened the stance of the US somewhat, but at what price?

From the North Korean side, the increased sanctions are tantamount to an act of war. The new measures are aimed at banning the country’s top export earning commodities, including coal, minerals and seafood. The new sanctions will reportedly slash North Korea’s annual export revenue by one-third, down to $2 billion a year. Not surprisingly, Pyongyang responded furiously, saying the sanctions were an attack on its sovereignty.

Given Trump’s propensity for Twitter diplomacy, the spiral of rhetoric could lead to disastrous misunderstanding, as this week is tending to show.

In retrospect, it seems astonishing that Beijing and Moscow made the bet they did over new sanctions. The damage cannot be undone. But what China and Russia must do immediately is to insist that all sides proceed to multilateral talks and the standing down of military forces. The onus is primarily on the US to stand down its military power in the region. It needs to cancel its provocative maneuvers with its ally in Seoul – due again later this month – and it needs to halt the ongoing installation of the THAAD missile system on South Korean territory.

It is misplaced for China and Russia to pander to the US over sanctions and to expect something by way of concessions in return. The arrogant Americans don’t know the meaning of concessions, they only perceive weakness and will move to capitalize on weakness.

By indulging American demands for more sanctions on North Korea, the danger comes from emboldening Washington’s hubris and its own sense of impunity. One would think that Russia, above all, should understand that dynamic given its own experience over the US confiscating diplomatic properties and slapping on ever-more sanctions.

What Moscow and Beijing should do as a matter of urgency is to never mind new sanctions on North Korea; they should demand that Washington removes its military threat against North Korea – a threat that has been looming since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Then all sides must open talks without preconditions for a comprehensive peace settlement on the peninsula.

Pandering to a bully is never a good idea.

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Democratic Demagogues and ‘The Better Deal’

By James Petras • Unz Review • August 9, 2017

Introduction

After 6 months of blaming Russia for the Democratic Party’s Presidential election debacle, the Party stalwarts have finally realized that the American electorate is not listening.

Democratic Party investigators in Washington still hold hearings and the mass media are still scandal mongering, but the public is not rallying to their cause.

Trump’s demagogy may have lost its appeal, while the Republican Administration purges and internecine squabbles have been met with a huge collective yawn by the public. The Democratic Party proves itself to be a weird sideshow for the vast majority of American voters… and for good reason.

Their perpetual (corrupt and senile) leaders are unwavering supporters of every indignity and economic hardship that the majority of worker families have suffered for the last three decades.

Democratic Party Senator Chuck ‘the Schmuck’ Schumer and Congresswomen Nancy ‘The Loser’ Pelosi have spent a collective sixty-five years in Congress. Their joint tenure marks a period of long decline in working class living standards and even worker life expectancy, while they have made possible the greatest concentration of wealth in the hands of the 1% plutocrats.

The Democratic Party’s ‘Better Deal’ – But for Whom?

In July 2017, nearly a dozen of the top Democratic Party honchos and Congress people met to spin out a new electoral manifesto for American workers which they are marketing as ‘A Better Deal’.

They issued prophetic press releases claiming to have received (presumably from the Holy Mountain) ‘a new vision of the party’. They claimed ‘the vision’ was also the result of their humble ‘listening to the American people’. They confessed that ‘the American people deserve better’. But their sweetly harmonized collective ‘Mea Culpa’ omitted any mention of the four previous Democratic Party Presidential terms, under Bill ‘The Shill’ Clinton and Barak ‘The Con” Obama, which ushered in this deplorable state of affairs for the American working class.

The Democratic Party’s ‘new vision’ wallows in the muddy demagogic footsteps of ‘The Donald’ Trump: Their new ‘product’ is just ‘demagogy lite’.

Tossing electoral fodder to the multitude, they have trotted out three ‘new promises’: 1. cheaper drug prices, 2. the regulation of ‘monopolies’ and 3. more funds to retrain workers. Their new marketing campaign does not include even a tiny whisper about a single payer national health system (favored by the majority of the public and by tens of thousands of doctors and nurses). Their cheap shots on ‘drug prices’ does not mention how Obama and Clinton facilitated the Big Pharma’s pillage of the public for decades. They mention ‘monopolies’ but made no attack on Wall Street billionaires. Their ‘job re-training’ promises have no provision for any national public employment program. The ‘Better Dealers’ with their ‘New Vision’ have banished all mention of ‘trade unions’.

The minimalist program of these old hack Democrats, re-packaged as the ‘Better Deal’, will not attract American workers for several clear reasons:

Reason #1: The Democrats Have a Rotten Record

For the majority of the American electorate there is no reason to believe or trust the Democratic Party leadership in the Senate. The leading Senate Democrat is New York’s ‘Chuck, the Schmuck’ Schumer, best known for his three decade residence in the pockets of Wall Street, his open loyalty to the dictates of Tel Aviv and his cozy relationship with the Brighton Beach mafia.

Schumer promoted the ‘trillion-dollar tax-payer bailout’ of Wall Street while foreclosing on 2 million household mortgages. He consistently defended AIPAC officials caught spying for Israel and has led the Zionist attack against the UN whenever questions of Israel’s war crimes and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people arise. He led the Senatorial Pack of wolves into destroying Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011. He has now turned his tribal ire against his ‘fellow’ American citizens, leading the Senate campaign to make criticism of Israel by boycotting Israeli products punishable by a fine of $1 million dollars and 20 years in Federal Prison. Huge numbers of law-abiding Americans who support the BDS movement for justice and international law will now be targeted with felony convictions and loss of their civil rights by the Israel Anti-Boycott Law (S720). That Senator Schumer would condemn thousands of his own compatriots to virtual life imprisonment for the ‘crime’ of exercising their First Amendment Right of Free Speech speaks volumes about his respect for the Constitution. This thug has brow-beaten scores of his fellow representatives in Washington to support this tyrannical legislation by threatening them with the career-ending accusation of ‘anti-Semitism’ if they waver in their fealty to the war criminals in Israel.

Throughout his political career, Senator Schumer consistently supported Federal Reserve free marketer Alan Greenspan, whose wholesale deregulation of the banks and finance sector led directly to the financial crash of 2008.

Geographically closer to Senator Chuck than Tel Aviv are the factory towns, green hills and valleys of Upstate New York where his forgotten constituents have suffered from decades of de-industrialization, 30% de-population and a raging socio-economic crisis of which the opioid epidemic is only part. Meanwhile, the warmonger Schumer prefers to rant for war against North Korea demanding Trump impose trade sanctions on China. If Beijing finally decides to tell Netanyahu how ‘the Shumck’s’ sanction bombast would harm Israel’s lucrative trade with China, a gentle whisper from Tel Aviv would silence Schumer’s bluster.

Peering over his bifocals, ‘Commandante Schumer’ now claims to lead the “The People’s Resistance against Trump”. While his party activists vent against the ‘Trump and the deplorables’ over the internet, Chuck will be attending the Bar Mitzvahs of Brighten Beach mobsters at the Waldorf Astoria and soirees with his Wall Street billionaire backers, consulting over strategy with his real constituents. Under Schumer, New York City has become the most socially and economically polarized and unequal city in the US.

Most voters know that Schumer’s ‘reincarnation’ as a ‘resistance politico’ is laughable and that the Senator’s re-election rests comfortably with the multi-million dollar contributions from his brothers on Wall Street.

Across the nation, most working class voters have dismissed the antics of the Democratic Party’s ‘Maestro of Demagogy’, Bernie Sanders – who spoke pious piffle to the workers while running errands for the ‘Queen of Chaos’, Hilary Clinton, would-be President and life-long Wall Street warmonger.

The citizens rightly reject the Presidential and Senatorial demagogues, Trump and ‘The Schmuck’. According to a recent Bloomberg Poll, 58% of Americans disapprove of the Democrats, a few points lower than the Republicans level of disapproval. An ABC /Washington Post poll revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that the Democratic Party stands for something!

Nine months after the Clinton debacle, the Democrats remain at or below their dismal voter-approval. Trump has skillfully managed to sink a few points below the Democrats.

In other words, nearly 60% of the voters disapprove of leaders from both parties.

The ‘anti-Trump circus and road show’ increasingly takes place to an empty audience. Their “fight” for ‘transgender rights’ attracts the 1% while studiously ignoring the basic life supporting interests of the seventy million Americans (including both transgendered and straight) who work at lousy part-time contingent and minimum wage jobs and desperately need full-time employment at living wages.

In multiple national polls, one hundred and fifty million Americans have registered their support for a national, single payer health system to insure fairness and access to competent medical care. Instead the ‘newly visioned’ Democrats are merely offering cheaper opioids for their social pain. The people want billions of dollars in public investment for deteriorating schools and infrastructures, not bi-partisan (sic) expansion in military spending for seven ongoing wars and new wars in the making.

Warmongers are not Vote-getters

The high level of voter disapproval against the Democrats results from ultra-militarism, as well as their demands for provocative economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Palestine and China – exceeding Trump and his warmongers.

The voters know that the Democrats ‘new vision’ is a thinly veiled recipe for costly new wars and economic sanctions that will spill their children’s blood, cripple their families futures and reduce job opportunities everywhere for everyone.

New Candidates, Grass-roots Movements and the Democratic Party

The Democratic Party’s fiasco and their election losses, as well as the growing realization that the socio-economic demands of the American people are never going to be addressed by the ‘old-new visionaries’, have led to a new ‘crop’ of candidates for the 2018 elections.

Over 200 Democratic Party candidates have registered to run in 2018 elections, hoping that ‘new faces’ and a new style of demagogy will bring back the disenchanted voters. These much-ballyhooed ‘upstarts’ toss out empty promises to the victims of the dying economy, industrial towns in ruins, villages with social and health crises, big cities with skyrocketing rents and stagnant wages. They offer nothing that can bring workers back to a Democratic Party still tightly controlled by the Tel Aviv-Wall Street shilling, war-mongering Pelosis and Schumers.

The Democratic Party ‘insurgents’ try to imitate the ‘Bernie’ Sanders double-speak, attacking the billionaires while shilling for the oligarchs’ stable of loyal Democratic Party hacks. The ‘new vision’ Democrats have motes in both eyes and a long road to regaining the votes of the disillusioned ‘deplorables’!

Media-sponsored trips to Rust Belt States to bad-mouth ‘The Donald’ and his anti-health agenda provides no alternative to the decades of Democratic Party betrayal on health care, especially during the last Democrat Presidents whose policies facilitated the rise of Big Pharma’s prescription opioid epidemic which has killed over 500,000 overworked and underpaid workers since 1999. Their continued refusal to hold these policies and their authors to account does not reflect any vision of a viable solution to the crisis.

Conclusion

In place of the discredited bipartisan electoral system, numerous grass roots groups are emerging: Some are operating parallel to the flurry of new Demo-demagogues while many are working against it.

Many community-based groups have taken radical positions, which demand vast new job programs and public finance for a national, accountable, high quality health care system.

They demand prosecution and long prison sentences for Wall Street swindlers, money launderers, tax evaders and corporate drug pushers.

They demand a 90% tax rate ‘adjustment’ on the trillion dollar corporations- Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Google etc.

The grass roots movements are more than just an ‘anti-Trump’ bandwagon (secretly driven by the old pols of the Democratic Party): They are against both parties and all demagogues. They are especially opposed to any phony ‘Better Deals’ coming out of the backsides of the billionaire-backed ‘shilling and dealing’ Democrats!

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Economics, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Global Deception: “The War on Terror” is a Campaign for Permanent War and Terror

By Mark Taliano | Global Research | August 8, 2017

The “War On Terror”, an outgrowth of the crimes of September 11, 2001[1], was never a war on terror. It has always been a campaign for permanent war and terror. War is terror.

The terrorists in Syria, including al Qaeda[2], are proxies for the West’s dirty war on Syria. They are aided and abetted by illegal sanctions and every tactic used by the West to destroy the country and its institutions. Any action that the West takes against the Syrian Arab Army or the Syrian government aids the terrorists, since the SAA and the Syrian government are the dominant forces fighting the terrorists.

The veil of confusion drops every time the official narratives change. The terrorists who reportedly flew into the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon were, reportedly, al Qaeda[3]. Al Qaeda is the supposed enemy. But the West supports al Qaeda and all the terrorists in Syria, so whereas al Qaeda is one of humanity’s enemies, al Qaeda is the ally of those who control the levers of power. The enemy consists of the neo-con “power elites” who are orchestrating the terror, the globalized war, and the globalized poverty beneath their public lies and deceptions. The enemy consists of publicly-financed warfare states, like the U.S, and increasingly its allies, which endanger and impoverish humanity for the perceived benefit of the elites and corporate profits.

Whereas the public presumably believes that it is somehow benefiting from the carnage and mass murder, it is actually being fleeced. Gillian Kiley reports that

(as) the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approach, the United States has spent or taken on obligations to spend more than $3.6 trillion in current dollars on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria and on the Department of Homeland Security.[4]

Unfortunately, evidence-based reporting is conspicuously absent from totalitarian corporate messaging that blankets Western populations. Otherwise, the increasingly infantilized public might withdraw its tacit consent for the warmongering.

Corporate monopolies, bailed out and entirely dependent on public monies, are increasingly fused to the military industrial complex, and these monopolies are the governing “power elites”. They determine what we see, hear, and believe.

Syria, like its predecessors Libya and Iraq, was largely free of terrorist infestations before U.S.-led NATO and its allies waged their phony so-called “humanitarian” wars of mass destruction – largely for the benefit of corporate monopolies and imperial hegemony.

But all of this is (hopefully) changing. Despite the fact that that the U.S. continues to spray Syrian civilians with weaponized white phosphorous[5] and pretends that Assad is the bad guy, the days of a U.S./neo-con led unipolar world order may be behind us.

Syria and its allies are defeating imperial terrorism, and in doing so they are strengthening the rule of international law, and humanity’s chances for peace.

Syrians in government-secured areas are celebrating. We should all be celebrating with them.

Notes

[1] Mark Taliano, How To Break the Cycle of Delusions and Crimes. HuffPost 10/04/2014, Accessed August 7, 2017

[2] State Department: Renamed Al-Qaeda Not A Terrorist Organization – Can Receive CIA Supplies. Moon of Alabama, May 15, 2017. Accessed August 7, 2017

[3] David Ray Griffin, Was America Attacked by Muslims on 9/11? Accessed August 7, 2017.

[4] Gillian Kiley, The Costs of War: US Military Spending on Middle East Wars, Homeland Security Will Reach $4.79 Trillion in 2017. September 15, 2016, Accessed August 7, 2017.

[5] Syria urges UN to assume responsibility, end int’l coalition’s crimes against Syrian people. SANA, July 30, 2017, Accessed August 7, 2017.

Copyright © Mark Taliano, Global Research, 2017

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Nine Years After Georgia-Russia War, ‘NATO Hustle in Caucasus Looks Suspicious’

Sputnik – 08.08.2017

Exactly nine years ago Tbilisi launched the US-backed Operation “Clear Field” against South Ossetia and Abkhazia. While the operation led to the resounding defeat of the Georgian armed forces, it appears that the lesson remained unlearned, Sputnik contributor Alexander Khrolenko notes.

If Georgia, the US, and their allies don’t take into account the interests of Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the Caucasus, that’s not going to be good for anyone, Sputnik contributor Alexander Khrolenko points out, recalling that exactly nine years ago Georgia kicked off its Operation “Clear Field” aimed at depriving South Ossetia of its independence and sovereignty and invading Abkhazia.

“On the night of August 8, [2008] Georgian troops attacked the capital of South Ossetia Tskhinval and the positions of Russian peacekeepers with massive artillery shelling (including cluster munitions), followed by the invasion of the South Ossetian territories by Georgian Special forces and tanks,” Khrolenko wrote.

However, Georgia had not launched the invasion on its own — Tbilisi was backed by the US and its allies.

“The invasion was carefully planned and exercised in the course of joint Georgian-American military drills,” the journalist elaborated, “Kiev delivered ‘Buk’ and ‘Tor’ missile defense systems to Tbilisi along with Ukrainian combat crews. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) experts also provided their assistance [to Georgia].”

“In August 2008, the US urgently organized an ‘air bridge’ to transfer arms and ammunition from Jordan to Georgia,” he added.

Furthermore, Washington and NATO spent $2 billion from 2004 to 2008 to train the 20,000-strong Georgian national military contingent, which boosted its skills in Iraq. The alliance worked out a concept of conducting combat operations in mountainous conditions and developed a plan aimed at what they called “restoring the constitutional order” in South Ossetia.

Although the US and Georgia spent a lot of effort in preparing for the invasion of South Ossetia, their plan to create a NATO foothold in the South Caucasus failed.

“Their calculations proved wrong and Georgian troops fled in panic from Tskhinvali to Tbilisi, throwing down their weapons and equipment, from an adversary which was equal in number to [Georgian forces],” the journalist emphasized.

It transpires that the $2 billion was spent in vain, Khrolenko writes, citing the fact that neither the strategic nor the geopolitical goals of the US-Georgian partnership were achieved.

The journalist quoted Svante E. Cornell, a Swedish scholar specializing on politics and security issues in Eurasia, who underscored in his article for The American Interest that “the war in Georgia and the financial crisis were a double whammy that fundamentally altered the balance of power in the Caucasus to the detriment of the West.”

However, it seems that the lesson remained unlearned for Tbilisi, Khrolenko remarked.

“Georgia continues to accuse Russia of ‘infringement’ of sovereignty, persistently strives for NATO membership, and proceeds with its claims for the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, renouncing the principle of non-use of force,” the journalist noted.

On the other hand, Georgian military forces continue to take part in NATO drills on a regular basis.

On July 31, a US Army Europe-led exercise Noble Partner started at the Vaziani military base in Georgia.

“The exercise serves as home station training for the Georgian light infantry company designated for the NATO Response Force and includes eight participating nations: Armenia, Georgia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States,” the US Department of Defense official website reads.

Citing US Ambassador Ian Kelly the Pentagon reported that “this year’s exercise seeks to enhance interoperability and readiness by improving the participating nations’ ability to conduct multinational mission command and control and measure the ability to support a multinational operational scenario.”

In addition, the US Congress signaled its willingness in mid-July to mull over Georgia’s membership in the Atlantic military bloc.

It looks rather suspicious, Khrolenko emphasized, adding that by boosting its ties with NATO Tbilisi is seemingly making steps which may shatter the fragile balance of power in the region.

Interestingly enough, almost simultaneously, Europe is considering the issue of creating a refugee center in Georgia. Needless to say, that is likely to further aggravate tensions in the Southern Caucasus.

Alas, “after many years of devotional service to foreign interests, Georgia has not won the respect of its ‘senior partners’,” the journalist wrote, “One way or another, Tbilisi will have to pay for a visa-free regime and its pro-Western policy.”

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

California districts sue US govt for $1.4bn over water contamination from military base

RT | August 9, 2017

Two water districts in Sacramento, California are suing the US government for nearly one and a half billion dollars for groundwater cleanup. Plaintiffs claim heavy metals used by aircraft maintenance crews at the old McClellan Air Force Base have contaminated over 300 sites.

The lawsuits named the US Air Force and 10 major firms involved in supplying chromium products and chemicals to the base, and was filed by the Sacramento Suburban Water District and the Rio Linda Elverta Community Water District, according to the Sacramento Bee.

At contention is whether the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium, or chromium 6, came from the base, which was designated a federal Superfund site in 1987 for 326 contaminated sites identified for cleanup.

“[T]hey knew or should have known that this harmful compound would reach groundwater, pollute drinking supplies, render drinking water unusable and unsafe, and threaten the public health and welfare,” stated the complaint, which claims an underground storage tank “likely held” the chemical.

The lawsuits demands more than $1.4 billion to clean up the polluted wells, install treatment equipment and replace wells that have been decommissioned for being polluted with chromium 6.

“Sacramento Suburban seeks to recover the substantial costs necessary to protect the public and restore its damaged drinking water supply,” the water district’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in Sacramento says, as part of its claim seeking $1.1 billion in damages.

Rio Linda Elverta’s claim seeks more than $289 million in damages.

“Chrome 6 is a highly toxic compound and it shouldn’t be in the water,” Victor Sher, a San Francisco environmental attorney representing the plaintiffs, said Tuesday.

“Water districts are constantly balancing risks against cost,” he said, adding, “They’re committed to delivering water that is as free as possible of contaminants, but doing so is expensive.”

Plaintiffs argued that as far back as 1984, McClellan had burn and burial pits, trenches and unlined ponds and ditches contaminated with chemicals.

“[C]ontaminated with plating wastes, solvents, acids, waste oils, paint thinners, strippers and sludges and other hazardous compounds,” the lawsuits stated.

Plaintiffs argue that the chemicals have been found in groundwater under the base as high as 840 parts per billion, six times higher than levels that decrease away from the air base. The state set a maximum concentration for chromium 6 as 10 parts per billion in 2014.

The Air Force denied Rio Linda Elverta’s claim in a May 9 letter before the district sued in federal court on June 30.

The Air Force had consistently denied responsibility for polluting the groundwater around the base, which operated from 1936 through 2001, before being converted to a business park.

In addition to the Air Force, the water district lawsuits name 10 firms they say were associated with providing chemicals to the base: Elementis Chromium Inc., Occidental Chemical Corp., Honeywell Inc., BASF Corp., PPG Inc., E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Co., Luxfer Holdings PLC, Sigma-Aldrich Corp. and Dow Chemical Co.

Officials with Sacramento Suburban, which serves 175,000 customers just east of the old base, and Rio Linda Elverta, which serves about 15,000 customers to the west of the base, say the water they are currently providing is safe.

A 2016 Harvard study of some 36,000 EPA water samples taken from 2013 to 2015 at industrial sites, military fire training locations, airports and wastewater treatments plants contained levels of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), or perfluorinated chemicals, that go beyond what is considered safe by the federal government.

Researchers determined that drinking water for 6 million in the US is at or beyond the EPA safety threshold for PFAS levels.

Xindi Hu, the study’s lead author, warned that “the actual number of people exposed may be even higher than our study found, because government data for levels of these compounds in drinking water is lacking for almost a third of the U.S. population—about 100 million people.”

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

Philippines DENIES reports that US may intervene in Marawi against ISIS

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | August 8, 2017

Defence officials in Philippines deny reports from the United States that American military contingents are examining the possibility of a military intervention in the country due to the war with ISIS aligned terrorists and other insurgents on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao and specifically the besieged city of Marawi.

US based NBC news earlier reported that Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis stated that the US will shortly make an announcement on whether US bombers will commence military strikes in Philippines.

This recent development would imply that the US is considering and indeed may be planning a strike on targets in Philippines that may be illegal according to international law.

Sputnik reports,

“According to Philippine Star media outlet, the country’s Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Eduardo Ano said that US Air Force engagement in military operations in the Philippines was impossible, and that Washington’s direct involvement in the Marawi siege was beyond discussion.

The military officials stressed that the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty entails direct military support only in the case of a military invasion by a third party country. However, they also expressed their gratitude toward the United States for backing the Philippines in their fight against terrorism.

In late July, the United States supplied the Philippines with two new Cessna 208B Grand Caravan intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, 1,040 rocket motors and 992 rockets to fight against terror. In addition, Manila is expected to receive 250 rocket-propelled grenade launchers from Washington.

The so-called Marawi siege started on May 23, when the Philippine security forces stormed the city seeking to prevent two IS-affiliated groups from meeting, which sparked up a full-scale armed conflict. On May 25, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the southern island of Mindanao, which is often subjected to attacks by IS-linked terror groups. So far, over 500 militants and 122 government forces servicemen have been killed in the Marawi battle”.

Existing treaties between  Manila and Washington explicitly prohibit unauthorised US military action under the present circumstances. If the US does conduct illegal strikes in Philippines, this will be the second time in recent months that the US has acted unilaterally in its former colony.

In June of 2017, it was reported that Philippines had requested assistance from the United States in its battle against terrorists, but this claim was later totally refuted by President Rodgiro Duterte.

Duterte’s relationship with America has been a tenuous one ever since his election in July of 2016. Duterte has embarked an independent foreign policy that seeks to build historically good relations with both China and Russia. Duterte also has engaged cooperatively with China over the disputes in the South China Sea, a policy that is at odds with the provocative US policy of molesting Chinese water rights, a policy that Washington misleadingly calls ‘freedom of navigation’.

Meanwhile, Duterte has refused to travel to the United States in response to members of the US Congress questioning his war on drugs which remains popular among the vast majority of Filipinos.

Many in the US are eager to retain a foothold in Philippines at a time when Philippine public opinion is strongly with the independence minded President Duterte.

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | Leave a comment