U.S. bioweapons lab in Tbilisi, Georgia, reportedly experimenting on humans: hepatitis deaths linked

From Strategic Culture Foundation

US Biological Warfare Program in the Spotlight Again

9-13-18

PETER KORZUN |

This is a scoop to bring the US biological warfare effort back into the spotlight. On Sept. 11, Russian media reported that the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research laboratory, a research facility for high-level biohazard agents located near Tbilisi, Georgia, has used human beings for conducting biological experiments.

Former Minister of State Security of Georgia Igor Giorgadze said about it during a news conference in Moscow, urging US President Donald Trump to launch an investigation. He has lists of Georgians who died of hepatitis after undergoing treatment in the facility in 2015 and 2016. Many passed away on the same day. The declassified documents contain neither the indication of the causes of deaths nor real names of the deceased. According to him, the secret lab run by the US military was established during the tenure of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. The viruses could spread to neighboring countries, including Russia, Igor Giorgadze warned.

The laboratory’s work is tightly under wraps. Only US personnel with security clearance have access to it. These people are accorded diplomatic immunity under the 2002 US-Georgia Agreement on defense cooperation.

Eurasia Review reported that in 2014 the Lugar Center was equipped with special plant for breeding insects to enable launching the Sand Fly project in Georgia and the Caucasus. In 2014-2015 years, the bites of sand flies such as Phlebotomins caused a fever. According to the source,

“today the Pentagon has a great interest to the study of Tularemia, also known as the fever of rabbits, which is also equated with biological weapons. Distributors of such a disease can be mites and rodents”.

It makes remember the statement made by Nikolai Patrushev, Head of Russia’s Security Council, in 2015. He warned about the threat stemming from biological weapons laboratories that operate on the territories of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). He specifically mentioned the Richard G. Lugar Center in Georgia.

The US has bio laboratories in 25 countries across the world, including the post-Soviet space. They are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Foreign inspectors are denied access to them. It should be noted that independent journalist investigations have been made public to confirm the fact that the US military conducts secret research to pose a threat to environment and population. Jeffrey Silverman, an American journalist who has lived in Georgia for many years, is sure the Richard Lugar Center, as well as other labs, is involved in secret activities to create biological weapons. Georgia and Ukraine have been recently hit by mysterious disease outbreaks, with livestock killed and human lives endangered. The US military operates the Central Reference Laboratory in Kazakhstan since 2016. There have public protests against the facility.

In 2013 a Chinese Air Force Colonel Dai Xu accused the US government of creating a new strain of bird flu now afflicting parts of China as a biological warfare attack. According to him, the American military released the H7N9 bird flu virus into China in an act of biological warfare. It has been reported that the source of Ebola virus in West Africa were US bio-warfare labs.

Russian experts do not exclude the possibility of the use of a stink-bug by the US military as a biological weapon. A couple of years ago, mosquitoes with Zika virus have been spotted in Russia and South Ossetia to cause outbreaks of human and animal flu.

The US activities violate the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), a legally binding treaty that outlaws biological arms. It effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons and is a key element in the international community’s efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In force since 1975, the convention has 181 states-parties today. The BWC reaffirms the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which prohibits the biological weapons use. In 1969, US President Richard Nixon formally ended all offensive aspects of the US biological warfare program. In 1975, the US ratified both the 1925 Geneva Protocol and the BWC.

Negotiations on an internationally binding verification protocol, which would include on-site inspections by an independent authority to the BWC, took place between 1995 and 2001. The US did not sign up. Its refusal to become a party to the verification mechanisms makes any attempt to enhance the effectiveness of the BWC doomed. A Review Conference is held every five years to discuss the convention’s operation and implementation. The last one, which convened in November 2016, was a frustration with minimal agreement on the final document and no substantive program of work to do before the next event takes place in 2021. There is little hope the BWC will ever be strengthened to have teeth. With no verification mechanism, the US military bio-warfare labs will always be a matter of concern. The issue is serious enough to be included into global security architecture. The UN General Assembly is the right place to raise it. Its 73rd session will open on September 18.

*

Peter Korzun is an expert on wars and conflicts.

Featured image is from the author.

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How Russia was framed in Georgia, 2008 [Video]

August 13th, 2016 – Fort Russ News –

Various – by Inessa Sinchougova 

On the night of August 7, 2008 Georgian troops opened fire on the capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, killing Russian peacekeepers and civilians in the area. Peacekeepers were permanently stationed in the region due to inter-ethnic tensions that exist over disputed territories (South, North Ossetia and Abkhazia.) 
Russian and South Ossetian forces entered the territory en masse, where heavy fighting against Georgian, US-funded forces lasted until August 12th.
The 5 day conflict played an important role for those who had orchestrated it, one which would guarantee the demonisation of Russia for the years to come. The footage of Russian tanks rolling in to Tskhinvali, in order to defend the territory from its attackers, was put on ‘repeat’ to play across mainstream media, never disclosing the cause of the narrative. 
Mr Saakashvili, then President of Georgia, was eventually held to account for his actions, but gave up his Georgian citizenship to escape prosecution. Georgian authorities inquired with Interpol to place Saakashvilli on the international criminal search list, however Interpol refused. Instead, the US puppeteers installed Saakashvilli, a wanted criminal in his own country, as Mayor of Odessa in the Ukraine. The laughing stock of the world has very little to do with the Ukraine, but the Columbia University graduate is too useful of a pawn for the US to cease working though him. 
A number of years after the Georgian conflict, a similar scenario was recreated in the Donbass region, Eastern Ukraine. The Russian military had learnt some lessons in regard to how damaging distorted media attention can be. The “Russian invasion” that was so insatiably awaited by Western mainstream media vultures never took place. Instead, pro-Russian citizen militias formed within Eastern Ukraine, who continue to defend themselves to this day against the US-funded Kiev junta. 
In 2017, South Ossetia plans on holding a referendum to join the Russian Federation. Eastern Ukrainian regions also plan a referendum in 2017. Watch this space for externally-initiated unrest closer to the time.

US bioweapons labs, billions in research are a ‘real problem’ – Russian security chief

From RT
October 31, 2015

The head of Russia’s Security Council has warned of “a real problem” posed by the growing number of US-controlled laboratories that produce biological weapons. Nikolay Patrushev estimated that Washington allocates “tens of billions of dollars” to this research.

Speaking after Russia’s Security Council meeting, Patrushev mentioned the threat stemming from biological weapons laboratories that operate on the territories of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

“There are also other problems, such as the production of military oriented biological weapons and the very large funding allocated to this,” Patrushev said. “This is tens of billions of dollars. Additionally, the number of laboratories under US jurisdiction or control has increased 20 times.”

What is more worrying is that some of such laboratories “operated and operate” on CIS soil, said Patrushev.

“This is why the problem is real,” he said.

The head of the Security Council has also mentioned the chemical weapons issue, saying that Russia will dispose of its remaining arsenal by 2020 – eight years earlier than the US.

“We are putting into practice a program to get rid of chemical weapons. Russia will dispose of these weapons by 2020. It was expected that the US will also destroy these weapons by that time, but according to today’s plans, it will carry out the disposal by 2028,” Patrushev told journalists.

In June, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the US of encircling Russia with bioweapons labs, as well as obstructing international efforts to eradicate biological weapons.

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RT
@RT_com

US encircling Russia with bioweapons labs, covertly spreads them – Russian FM https://www.rt.com/news/266554-us-bioweapons-encircle-russia/?utm_campaign=trueAnthem%3A+Trending+Content&utm_content=557a248904d301132f000001&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter
5:15 PM – 11 Jun 2015

One of Russia’s particular concerns is the Richard G. Lugar Center for Public and Animal Health Research, a research facility for high-level biohazard agents, located near Tbilisi, Georgia, a CIS member and Russia’s neighbor.

“American and Georgian authorities are trying to cover up the real nature of this US military unit, which studies highly dangerous infectious diseases. The Pentagon is trying to establish similar covert medico-biological facilities in other countries [in Russia’s neighborhood],” the Russian ministry said in June.

At the time, Moscow also blamed the US for derailing “decades of international effort to strengthen” the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), a 1972 international treaty aimed at eradicating bioweapons worldwide.

https://www.rt.com/news/320211-biological-weapons-russia-us/

Raging special ops war in Novorossia despite official ceasefire

From Fort Russ

Svpressa.ru

May 29, 2015
Sergey Ishchenko
Svpressa.ru (“Free Press”)
Translated by Kristina Rus

The outcome of the war in Ukraine will be decided by special operations forces. And not Ukrainian.
Wiki: Special operations (S.O.) are military operations that are considered “special” (that is, unconventional), usually carried out by dedicated special forces units.
Special operations are performed independently or in conjunction with conventional military operations. The primary goal is to achieve a political or military objective where a conventional force requirement does not exist or might adversely affect the overall strategic outcome. Special operations are usually conducted in a low-profile manner that aims to achieve the advantages of speed, surprise, and violence of action against an unsuspecting target. Special ops are typically carried out with limited numbers of highly trained personnel that are able to operate in all environments, utilize self-reliance, easily adapt to and overcome obstacles, and use unconventional combat skills and equipment to complete objectives. Special operations are usually implemented through specific, tailored intelligence.[1]
The decade 2003–2012 saw U.S. national security strategy rely on special operations to an unprecedented degree. Identifying, hunting, and killing terrorists became a central task in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). Linda Robinson, Adjunct Senior Fellow for U.S. National Security and Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that the organizational structure became flatter and cooperation with the intelligence community was stronger, allowing special operations to move at the “speed of war”.[2] Special Operations appropriations are costly: Its budget went from $2.3 billion in 2001 to $10.5 billion in 2012.[2] Some experts argued the investment was worthwhile, pointing to the raid in May 2011 that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Others claimed that the emphasis on Special Operations precipitated a misconception that it was a substitute for prolonged conflict. “Raids and drone strikes are tactics that are rarely decisive and often incur significant political and diplomatic costs for the United States. Although raids and drone strikes are necessary to disrupt dire and imminent threats…special operations leaders readily admit that they should not be the central pillar of U.S. military strategy.”[2]Instead, Special Operations commanders stated that grand strategy should include their “indirect approach”, which meant working with non-U.S. partners to accomplish security objectives. “Special Operations forces forge relationships that can last for decades with a diverse collection of groups: training, advising, and operation alongside other countries’ militaries, police forces, tribes, militias or other information groups.”[2] 

[How about the Right Sector and volunteer battalions, whose resources are so envied by the Ukrainian military, in light of recent revelations that Kolomoisky is simply a front for US financing? – KR]

***
The recent events in Donbass deserve a closer look. The disturbing chronicle is as follows:

1. On May 22 at 13.00 from the Kambrod district of the city of Lugansk the police received a report from local residents that there was a suspicious group of armed men in camouflage calling themselves militias. Because the unknown were asking about the location of military bases, the townspeople became suspicious. To Kambrod went a rapid response team of the Ministry of Interior of LPR. It was fired on. During the ensuing fighting some of the strangers were killed, one detained. On his person was discovered a Western style camouflaged uniform, a mask and a list of unidentified phone numbers.

Lugansk is conducting passport checks to identify persons illegally residing on the territory of the city.

2. On May 23 at 17.40 on the territory of Donetsk region between checkpoints “Gorlovka” (under the control of DPR militia) and “Mayorsk” (held by the armed forces of Ukraine) the car of the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (SCCC) was fired on from automatic small arms. In the car was a head of the Russian office at SCCC, Colonel-General Alexander Lentsov, and the accompanying officers. The group was returning from the village of Shirokino, where there are continued clashes and shelling.

The attack on Lentsov’s car was not successful.

3. On the same day at 18.50 near the village of Mikhailovka on a land mine (according to other sources — an anti-personnel mine MON-50) a convoy of three cars was blown up and then shot at with machine guns. In one of them was the popular commander of the “Ghost” battalion of LPR army, Alexey Mozgovoy. The battalion commander was killed, along with six people accompanying him.

Let us leave aside bitter disputes immediately erupted about who actually killed Mozgovoy: his own (as argued by Kiev), “Ukrainian partisans” from the group “Shadows” (insists their leader Aleksandr Gladky) or someone very professional subversive group, specially sent to LPR for the elimination of Mozgovoy. Something else is more important. The sum of events of the last days, in my opinion, shows that a subversive war had sharply intensified in Novorossia. Intensified by whom is a separate issue. And more about it – below.

For now we will make another assumption. All winter military analysts on both sides of the front fed us with forecasts: the snow will melt, the thaw will be over, and the war for Donbass will ignite with a new force. And what? The snow is long gone, the land in those parts had dried up a month ago. But no one is going on the offensive, the parties are limited only to shooting weapons of all calibers.

The issue is that the nature of the civil war in Ukraine has changed dramatically.

Vladimir Putin already clearly stated that he will not allow anyone to destroy People’s Republics of Donbass. But Petro Poroshenko is not only unable to give his military the command “Stop!”, but even has no right to soften the hawkish rhetoric in Kiev. In this case, the President will simply choke on the smoke from burning tires. So all fall and winter both sides of the confrontation were digging trenches, building bunkers, mined fields, resupplied, trained and equipped combat units. This gigantic work produced a result.

At the front formed a kind of military parity, when any attempt to advance is fraught with high losses, but does not guarantee any reasonable result. What may be the goal of any offensive today? As for the militia, and for the Ukrainian military?

The militia decided not to go to Kiev last year. Did not take Mariupol, although they were just two steps away from it. In turn, the Ukrainian army and volunteer battalions unsuccessfully and incompetently fought all fall for a tiny (even at the scale of this war) Donetsk airport. How could this army seriously at least try to take control of the metropolis of one million people? Yeah, on the streets of a hostile Donetsk alone a 60 thousand-strong group that is involved on the part of Kiev in the so-called ATO will just dissolve, melt away and will be beaten by the enraged townspeople. And there are still Lugansk, Gorlovka, etc. Where can the Ukrainian military score so many garrisons?

So is it coming down to a so-called frozen conflict in Donbass? Like Transnistria? If there was no one standing behind Poroshenko’s regime, it would have most likely happened. But far beyond the borders of Ukraine there are many forces that need endless war in these parts.

Let’s skip the politicians and take the military — they are more frank and “militarily” straight forward. For example, U.S. Lieutenant General John Mulholland, from January 2015, the Deputy Director of CIA for military affairs. In a recent meeting with influential politicians in Washington, he declared that “everything must be done to draw Russia into a war with Ukraine”.

How can in such a difficult and risky business  General Mulholland help personally? Oh, he has skills. In recent past, the current deputy director of the CIA served as the deputy commander of special operations forces of the Armed forces of the United States. That is, Mulholland for four years supervised professional saboteurs and spies. Strangely after his joining the CIA it appeared that special operations forces today bear the brunt of the fighting in Donbass.

If so, than these are certainly not Ukrainian special ops. But if there are Ukrainian subversive groups in Donbass, then they are just a back up of the others. Because Kiev had only just begun to create their own special units of this type (“SP” wrote in detail in April about it).

However, the Ukrainian General staff for several months had a special ops directorate. There’s even a commander — Colonel Sergey Krivonos. But it is only in the beginning of the way. At least in April Krivonos said: “We have a deadline, so we have to start creation of special operations forces as soon as possible and not talk, but act concretely.”

Who, then, is fighting instead of Krivonos, who has a deadline? We will look through the old binders. For example, here is a report from July of last year. In an atmosphere of extreme secrecy 180 commando-instructors arrived in Kiev from the American special ops base in Fort Benning (GA). All speak Russian fluently. Foreign guests, without delay, were transferred to Mariupol, where they commenced the training of Ukrainian students. But we don’t know if the organized by Americans Mariupol special purpose courses are only about theory? Or is there supposed to be battle practice? And if Yes, then do the guests from the USA participate?

Second. There is a ton of information that the Georgian forces, already graduated from the Fort Benning school, are swarming in Donbass. For example, take the headline story of the capture on May 16 near the city of Schastje of the two wounded either former or current Russian special ops fighters from the 3rd brigade of GRU of the General staff of the Russian Armed forces, captain Evgeny Erofeev and Sergeant Alexander Alexandrov. In Ukraine a debate is raging: who had really captured our military? Who should receive the medals? Personnel of the 92nd mechanized brigade of the armed forces or the 24-th attack battalion “Aidar”? And maybe members of the military counterintelligence of SBU?

However, here is a comment of the deputy corps commander of the Ministry of Defence of DPR, Eduard Basurin: “There is a reason for all this confusion of Kiev, about who exactly participated in the capture of these fighters: soldiers of the 92nd brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces, or punishers from “Aidar”, or SBU. According to updated information of our intelligence, that day in the area there was a subversive group of Georgian spetsnaz“.

Basurin said that the base camp of Georgian spetsnaz operates under the cover of a training center of the Ukrainian national guard and is located in the district of Severodonetsk. So its existence was only known to the SBU. Neither 92nd brigade, nor “Aidar” knew about it. Therefore, having participated in the overall battle, they believe that when they shout in Kiev “Glory to the heroes!”, it is about them. And only them.

Note that reports about the participation of Georgian commandos broke through the veil of military secrecy even before. It was reported in the press that Alexander Grigolashvili who died in Donbass on December 18, 2014 served in the special forces of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia. Even earlier, in the battle for the Donetsk airport was killed either former or current Georgian commando Tamaz Sukhiashvili.

[Interestingly, one of the most famous Novorossia commanders Givi is Georgian, who grew up in Donbass, as many people of the Soviet Union moved freely and settled outside of their home Republics – KR]

There is even more evidence about the participation in the fighting in the South-East of Ukraine of special forces from Poland. So, on December 8 of last year, militia radio intelligence intercepted conversations of the enemy in Polish language. And after a few hours, on the night of December 9, 11 kilometers from the settlement of Nikishino there was a clash with a subversive group of eight people. All of them were killed. A detailed examination discovered stripes of the special forces regiment “Jednostka Wojskowa Komandosów” of the Armed forces of Poland.

On June 26, 2014 near the height of Saur-Grave a sniper from Poland was killed, the latest large-caliber American rifle was found by his side. Such weapons are used only by spetsnaz.

Earlier, on June 16, 2014, at the crash site of the downed by militia military transport aircraft Il-76 of the Ukrainian air force many charred documents in Polish were found. Although, whether it was a foreign spetsnaz or ordinary mercenaries, is impossible to conclude. However — it’s a possibility.

According to militia intelligence, there are nineteen subversive groups operating today on the side of the enemy, formed from commandos arrived from beyond the borders of Ukraine. It is obvious that in the coming months they will not let the war in Donbass fade away. No matter what the politicians say.

Partners in crime, McCain teams up with his friend, fugitive Saakashvili, on Ukraine “reform” advisory group

McCain and Saakashvili may cause a radical redefinition of the word “reform”.

Besides their open encouragement of and support for the far-right radical leaders of Ukraine, their war crimes, and the gutting of due process and civil rights, these two will, no doubt, have additional schemes for privatization (i.e. stripping Ukraine of its assets and handing them over to banks and investors), and further austerity measures which target the public.

More bad news for Ukraine.

Posted on Global Research, May 15, 2015
From RT

Georgia’s fugitive ex-president Mikhail Saakashvili and hawkish US Senator John McCain have been approved as members of the newly-formed International Advisory Group that will help Ukraine’s president in “conducting reforms.”

Saakashvili has been appointed as head of the new advisory group, says the statement on Ukraine’s presidential website.

The list of members included in the advisory group mostly includes current and former European politicians. Among them are the German member of the European Parliament and the current Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok, Sweden’s former Prime and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Slovakia Mikulas Dzurinda, and Lithuania’s former Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius.

Back in February Saakashvili was appointed as a non-staff adviser to Poroshenko. The ex-Georgian president, who was in power from 2004 to 2013, faces numerous charges at home, including embezzlement of over $5 million, corruption and brutality against protesters during demonstrations in 2007. Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched proceedings to indict Saakashvili and place him on the international most wanted list, but Kiev refused to hand over the fugitive president, despite an existing extradition agreement between Ukraine and Georgia.

Saakashvili is known for his strong anti-Russian stance, which garnered heavy US support. In August 2008 during his term in office Georgia launched an offensive against South Ossetia, killing dozens of civilians and Russian peacekeepers stationed in the republic. Georgia’s shelling of Tskhinval prompted Russia to conduct a military operation to fend off the offensive. Despite Saakashvili’s claims that the conflict was “Russian aggression,” the 2010 EU Independent Fact Finding Mission Report ruled that Tbilisi was responsible for the attack.

Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili's Page)Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili’s Page)

Meanwhile Senator John McCain, for years spearheading the anti-Russian and particularly anti-Putin crusade, said that while he “would love to do anything” to help Ukraine, he has not yet cleared his new appointment under the US Senate rules.

“I was asked to do it both by Ukraine and Saakashvili and I said I would be inclined to do it but I said I needed to look at all the nuances of it, whether it’s legal under our ethics and all that kind of stuff,” McCain told BuzzFeed.

At the onset of the Ukraine’s Maidan protests against former president Viktor Yanukovich, McCain appeared in Kiev to support the uprising that months later culminated in a coup.

“We … want to make it clear to Russia and Vladimir Putin that interference in the affairs of Ukraine is not acceptable to the United States,” the US Senator told a crowd of some 200,000 anti-government protesters in the central square of Ukraine’s capital.

Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili's Page)Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili’s Page)

Following the new Kiev authorities’ attempt to suppress dissent in the east of the country and Crimea’s ascension into the Russian Federation, McCain became the main engine of lobbying for lethal arms supplies to Ukrainian forces to “defend themselves” and Europe from “Russian aggression.”

“The Ukrainian people don’t want US or Western troops to fight for them; they are simply asking for the right tools to defend themselves and their country,” he said late last month at a hearing on US security policy in Europe. “Russia’s invasion and dismemberment of Ukraine should remind everyone of the true nature of Putin’s ambitions and the fragility of peace in Europe.”

McCain’s statements following the Minsk II ceasefire agreement make it clear that peace in Ukraine is not something the hawkish politician supports. Despite the general agreement that Minsk Accords is the only way forward for a political resolution to the crisis, McCain rejected the agreement as “solidifying the gains of Russian aggression.”

In addition, the Senator is a strong supporter of the NATO buildup on Russian borders. McCain insisted recently that the Baltic allies should help secure eastern borders of the alliance as they cannot “continue with business as usual” claiming that Russia poses a “geopolitical challenge… to our entire vision of Europe.”

McCain has also been hinting at starting a new nuclear arms race with Russia. “Negotiating further strategic nuclear reductions with Russia would be a dangerously naive non-starter with the US Senate. It simply defies common sense to negotiate nuclear reductions with Vladimir Putin,” he said last month following US administration’s call for further strategic nuclear reductions.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/mccain-appointed-to-ukraine-reform-advisory-team-headed-by-fugitive-georgian-leader-saakashvili/5449619

http://rt.com/news/258389-saakashvili-mccain-ukraine-advisors/

Battlefield: Black Sea; US-NATO escalation and provocation

It seems the policy now is to both prepare for war and work to ensure that it comes to fruition.

From New Eastern Outlook, May 14, 2015
By Eric Draitser

While the war in Ukraine has raged on for more than a year, the growing conflict between the US-NATO and Russia has taken on new dimensions. From economic warfare waged by the West in the form of sanctions, to the diplomatic rows over the commemoration of Victory Day in Moscow, more and more it seems that relations between East and West are fraying beyond repair. Though it may seem that this conflict is escalating into simply an extension of what was once known as the Cold War, the potential exists for a hot war of global dimensions.

Lost amid the cacophony of saber-rattling and chest-thumping in Washington and Brussels is the quietly emerging, and infinitely dangerous, military deployment in the Black Sea. Once seen as a no-go zone for the US and NATO, the Black Sea, with its expansive Russian shores, has recently become the site of a slew of provocative military moves by the US, and equally significant counter-moves by Russia. Adding fuel to this potential fire is the participation of Chinese naval assets in this quietly brewing cocktail of global conflict.

The presence of US military assets all throughout the Black Sea region is undoubtedly provocative as it is pushing perilously close to Russia’s borders. The potential for escalation – premeditated or otherwise – puts the entire region, and indeed the entire world, at risk of catastrophe.

This article will focus on the US-NATO military developments in and around the Black Sea. While by no means a comprehensive listing of all of Washington’s moves in the region, it is an attempt to provide a glimpse into a little discussed theater of deployment for the West – one that is regarded as a very serious threat by Moscow.

Washington Swimming in the Black Sea

There is no doubt that US strategy vis-à-vis Russia places tremendous strategic importance on maintaining and expanding a robust military presence in and around the Black Sea. Recent moves by the US-NATO military forces make this fact all the more apparent. Having deployed a significant amount of forces to littoral countries, as well as initiating a series of critical military exercises and drills, Washington is demonstrating unequivocally its commitment to escalating the conflict with Russia.

Nearly a year ago, in June 2014, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel laid bare US intentions. In the wake of President Obama’s public announcement of $1 billion to expand the US military presence in Eastern Europe, Hagel stated that the billion dollar commitment was for a “stronger presence of US ships in the Black Sea,” and that “[The US] will sustain that tempo going forward.” Put in slightly more understandable terminology, the US committed a significant monetary investment to the permanent expansion of its military presence in and around the Black Sea.

The permanence of this new commitment is what is striking because, unlike much of the bluff and bluster from Washington over Ukraine and related issues, this represents a military deployment with real tactical value. It is not mere rhetoric, it is military escalation. And, in the year since the announcement was made, this process has evolved in earnest.

The US Army is currently, or will soon be, leading a series of critical military exercises in the Black Sea. One notable one is known as Noble Partner. This series of exercises is being conducted with the de facto NATO member Georgia which has effectively become a forward arm of NATO military forces. As the official page of the US Army noted:

Noble Partner will support Georgia’s contribution of a light infantry company to NATO Response Force, or NRF… The exercise will focus on unified land operations … Exercise Noble Partner provides an opportunity for the U.S. military to continue its training relationship with the Georgian Armed Forces as the sponsor of Georgia’s participation in the NRF. The NRF provides a rapid military response force to deploy quickly, wherever needed…. Exercise Noble Partner will include approximately 600 U.S. and Georgian Service members incorporating a full range of equipment… Georgian forces will operate alongside U.S. forces with their BMP-2 Infantry Combat Vehicle. The exercise will consist of both a field training exercise and a live-fire exercise.

However, as part of the US military training, a significant amount of military hardware is being shuttled across the Black Sea in an unprecedented move by the US which has never so brazenly treated this body of water as its own backyard. As the US Army page wrote:

Fourteen Bradley Infantry Fighting vehicles and several wheeled-support vehicles, roughly 748 metric tons of steel and rubber, cut across the Black Sea…bound for the port in Batumi, Georgia, May 2. This is the first time that the U.S. Army has deployed a mechanized company worth of equipment across the Black Sea. The equipment will support the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers, participating in Exercise Noble Partner.

Taken in combination with Hagel’s comments a year ago, it is clear that the US is committed to escalating its military presence in the Black Sea. Of course, it is self-evident that such a strategic development must be seen as an attempt to both outgun and intimidate Russia in its traditional sphere of influence.

Additionally, and concurrent to these military exercises, is the planned Trident Joust 2015, which according to US Navy Admiral Mark Ferguson, will “test the capability of the NRF [NATO Response Force] command and control element to work at full operational capacity in a deployed location…TRIDENT JOUST 15…will reinforce the NATO Readiness Action Plan from the Wales Summit and project assurance measures to all NATO allies.” Trident Joust should be understood as an attempt to prepare NATO’s military architecture for possible rapid deployment in the Black Sea region, ostensibly as a defense against so-called Russian aggression while in reality seeking to expand NATO military capability against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and increased tensions with Moscow.

At no time during the Cold War did the US engage in such openly hostile and belligerent actions designed more to provoke than to defend. It seems the policy now is to both prepare for war and work to ensure that it comes to fruition. As if to make it even more transparent what Washignton’s intentions are with Trident Joust, Admiral Ferguson was quoted as saying “I appreciate the efforts of Romania as we work on other measures to transform the Alliance, such as the formation of the Multinational Division Southeast and the NATO Force Integration Unit.”

There are other important military moves that the US-NATO have made in the Black Sea in recent months, all designed to send a stern warning to Russia. NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) recently completed its training exercises “designed to improve interoperability and enhance rapid integration of Alliance maritime assets… The force trained on anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare procedures during separate exercises with the Turkish, Bulgarian and Romanian navies.” As part of SNMG2, NATO deployed significant military assets to the Romanian port of Constanta, not coincidentally a short distance across the Black Sea from Crimea and Russia’s fleet at Sevastopol. Participating in the SNMG2 was the USS Vicksburg with its Mark 41 Vertical Launching System, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and arsenal of guns. In addition were Canadian, Italian, and Turkish warships, all carrying significant firepower of their own.

Aside from these specific sets of naval exercises, the US has had major assets in and around the Black Sea to participate in a series of one-off maneuvers and a variety of drills in the past year, even before Secretary Hagel’s public announcement in June 2014. These include the recently decommissioned USS Taylor which spent much of 2014 in the Black Sea. Perhaps not so coincidentally, this US frigate is now slated for sale to Taiwan in a move that is likely to be met with disapproval in Beijing. Additionally, the USS Donald Cook, a missile destroyer, conducted exercises with the USS Taylor and Romanian Navy. Also, the USS Truxton and USS Vella Gulf both logged significant time in the Black Sea in 2014, undoubtedly motivating Russia to move quickly to ramp up its naval and military capabilities.

It is interesting to note that Russia’s moves in Crimea in 2014 came within a matter of days of the entrance into the Black Sea of these US naval assets. Anyone who doubts that Moscow’s decision to support Crimea’s vote for reunification with the Russian Federation was motivated by something other than military and strategic pragmatism would do well to examine this timeline of events.

All of this makes plain that the US and its NATO arsenal are gearing up for a “pivot” – to borrow the grossly overused terminology of the Obama administration and the Pentagon – that will see their forces focused on the Black Sea, just as they have shifted attention to the Baltic Sea even more so in recent months. It does not take exceptional powers of deduction to see what the US intends: continued escalation, force preparedness, and intimidation against Moscow. However, it is equally apparent that such provocative moves raise the risk of a misstep, an accident or misunderstanding that could touch off a major military conflict. Considering the players involved, such a blunder could spark World War 3.

A forthcoming article will focus on the countermoves that Russia is employing to confront US-NATO aggression near Russia’s borders. The article will focus specifically on the fast-developing military relationship between Russia and China.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
http://journal-neo.org/2015/05/14/battlefield-black-sea/

Russia Under Attack

By Paul Craig Roberts, March 20, 2015

While Washington works assiduously to undermine the Minsk agreement that German chancellor Merkel and French president Hollande achieved in order to halt the military conflict in Ukraine, Washington has sent Victoria Nuland to Armenia to organize a “color revolution” or coup there, has sent Richard Miles as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan to do the same there, and has sent Pamela Spratlen as ambassador to Uzbekistan to purchase that government’s allegiance away from Russia.  The result would be to break up the Collective Security Treaty Organization and present Russia and China with destabilization where they can least afford it.

For details go here:  http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/18/4656

 Thus, Russia faces the renewal of conflict in Ukraine simultaneously with three more Ukraine-type situations along its Asian border.

 And this is only the beginning of the pressure that Washington is mounting on Russia.

 On March 18 the Secretary General of NATO denounced the peace settlement between Russia and Georgia that ended Georgia’s military assault on South Ossetia. The NATO Secretary General said that NATO rejects the settlement because it “hampers ongoing efforts by the international community to strengthen security and stability in the region.”

Look closely at this statement. It defines the “international community” as Washington’s NATO puppet states, and it defines strengthening security and stability as removing buffers between Russia and Georgia so that Washington can position military bases in Georgia directly on Russia’s border.

In Poland and the Baltic states Washington and NATO lies about a pending Russian invasion are being used to justify provocative war games on Russia’s borders and to build up US forces in NATO military bases on Russia’s borders.

We have crazed US generals on national television calling for “killing Russians.”

The EU leadership has agreed to launch a propaganda war against Russia, broadcasting Washington’s lies inside Russia in an effort to undermine the Russian people’s support of their government.

All of this is being done in order to coerce Russia into handing over Crimea and its Black Sea naval base to Washington and accepting vassalage under Washington’s suzerainty.

If Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad, and the Taliban would not fold to Washington’s threats, why do the fools in Washington think Putin, who holds in his hands the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, will fold?

European governments, apparently, are incapable of any thought.  Washington has set London and the capitals of every European country, as well as every American city, for destruction by Russian nuclear weapons.  The stupid Europeans rush to destroy themselves in service to their Washington master.

Human intelligence has gone missing if after 14 years of US military aggression against eight countries the world does not understand that Washington is lost in arrogance and hubris and imagines itself the ruler of the universe who will tolerate no dissent from its will.

We know that the American, British, and European media are whores well paid to lie for their master.  We know that the NATO commander and secretary general, if not the member countries, are lusting for war.  We know that the American Dr. Strangeloves in the Pentagon and armaments industry cannot wait to test their ABMs and new weapons systems in which they always place excessive confidence.

We know that the prime minister of Britain is a total cipher. But are the chancellor of Germany and the president of France ready for the destruction of their countries and of Europe?  If the EU is of such value, why is the very existence of its populations put at risk in order to bow down and accept leadership from an insane Washington whose megalomania will destroy life on earth?

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/03/20/russia-attack-paul-craig-roberts-2/

http://www.globalresearch.ca/russia-under-attack/5438194

Why aren’t Victoria Nuland, Richard Miles, Pamela Spratlen, John Tefft, and their colleagues denied entry or thrown out of countries? They are international criminals.