100’s of U.S. tanks, heavy equipment flow into Europe to ‘counter Russian aggression’; not enough Americans are protesting

From RT

January 6, 2017

100’s of US tanks, heavy equipment flow into Europe to counter ‘Russian aggression’
Thousands of US and German troops, along with tanks and equipment, are being sent to Poland and countries bordering Russia, purportedly in “defense against Russian aggression,” author and journalist David Swanson told RT.

Europe is preparing to counter a perceived ‘Russian military threat.’ NATO countries in the East of the continent are awaiting the arrival of thousands of American soldiers as a part of a US-led battle group. The troops will be stationed along the Russian border from Estonia to Bulgaria.

However, ships carrying the first batch of troops were greeted in a German port by signs reading “Army Go Home.”

Scores of protesters marched through Bremerhaven, urging an end to the Alliance’s saber rattling…

In an interview with RT aired January 9, author and journalist David Swanson said

“…members of the Department of so-called Defense in Washington DC are almost openly talking to the media about profit being the motive for stirring up hostility with Russia. But this sending of thousands of troops – US and German – to Poland and countries on Russia’s border along with tanks and equipment – this is being done in the name of “defense against Russian aggression.” So unless you’re [the Pentagon] able to pretend there has been Russian aggression, you’re  not  going to be able to continue this; all this aggression has to be ‘defensive’. If Russia says otherwise, then what Russia is saying must be fake news.”

…you have serious protests in Germany by those who want peace [and are] against sending Germans or Americans from Germany eastward, as they should. There are not enough of us in the US similarly protesting.”
Hundreds of American tanks, trucks and other military equipment have arrived at the German port of Bremerhaven to be transferred to Eastern Europe as part of NATO’s buildup near Russia’s borders.

The Resolve cargo ship arrived on Wednesday, while two more vessels – Freedom and Endurance – are expected in Germany on Sunday, Deutsche Welle reported. The unloading of the ships began on Friday, with the heavy equipment to be transported to Poland via rail and road.

The US plans to deliverer a total of 87 Abrams M1A1 tanks, 20 Paladin artillery vehicles and 136 Bradley fighting vehicles to Eastern Europe, according to Reuters.  Four thousand American troops will reportedly be spread across Poland, the Baltic States, Bulgaria and Romania where they’ll remain on rotation basis.

Polish and US troops are scheduled to hold joint “massing” drills in Poland later this month, which NATO says is aimed at reassuring its European allies in the face of what it calls aggressive Russian behavior.

The 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, with 50 Black Hawk helicopters, 10 CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 1,800 personnel, as well as a separate aviation battalion with 400 troops and 24 Apache helicopters are also scheduled for deployment in Eastern Europe.

“The best way to maintain the peace is through preparation,” US Major General Timothy McGuire explained, adding that the deployment is about “just showing the strength and cohesion of the alliance and the US commitment to maintain the peace on the continent.” 

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will host troops from Germany, Canada and the UK, with each nation sending up to 1,000 servicemen.

NATO calls it military buildup near Russia’s borders a defensive measure, claiming it is justified after Moscow’s reunion with Crimea in 2014 and its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Russia views the military bloc’s actions aggressive and said the massive military is undermining the security balance on the European continent.

READ MORE: ‘No one in Russia plans to attack NATO’ – US envoy to alliance

In November 2016, the Pentagon shipped more than 600 containers of ammunition for Army and Air Force units in Europe, according military.com, marking the largest single shipment of US ammunition in more than two decades, the website reported.

Moscow has responded by stationing its most modern weaponry and armaments on its western borders, including the enclave region of Kaliningrad, and staging large-scale military drills on its own territory.

READ MORE: Russia not on Trump’s list of Pentagon priorities: Leaked memo worries establishment

Washington opted to speed up the deployment of its troops to Eastern Europe after Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election.

Trump, who is to be inaugurated on January 20, has been calling for improved relations with Russia and has voiced skepticism towards NATO, saying European powers would have to contribute a bigger part of the budget if they wanted to continue relying on US protection.

https://www.rt.com/news/372869-us-tanks-germany-nato/

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/373048-nato-us-europe-russia/

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U.S. to decide on striking SAA targets

October 6, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
RIANovosti – translated by J. Arnoldski –
White House press secretary Josh Ernest told journalists at a briefing that Washington does not rule out strikes on Damascus’ forces, even though it is doubtful that this is in the US’ interests. 
Earlier, US media reported that air strikes on military targets of the Syrian government’s army are among the number of possibilities being considered by the US.
The ministry of foreign affairs of Russia recognized that such “leaks” in Western media could be a prelude to real actions, and recommended “colleagues in Washington to cautiously calculate the possible consequences of such plans’ realization.” 
The US ceased direct cooperation with Russia in Syria this week, but US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are still holding telephone talks on the issue.

 

Washington, having announced its decision to cease cooperation, referred to Moscow’s failure to fulfill its obligations. The Russian foreign ministry has rejected these accusations and stated that the US cannot fulfill the responsibilities it took upon itself, including distinguishing between the “moderate” opposition and terrorists in Syria. 

Raising the stakes: Putin slams U.S. nuke threat with ultimatum

From Fort Russ

October 5, 2016 – Fort Russ –
– Rostislav Ishchenko, RIA Novosti
translated by J. Arnoldski –
Following the president of the Russian Federation’s decree on suspending Russia’s compliance with agreements with the US on the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium and the submission of the corresponding bill to the State Duma, disputes have begun in the media on whether this is connected to the rupture of the Syria deal. The second stumbling block is a question: Why is Russia, having known that the US has not fulfilled its part of the deal, only reacted now after a few years?
Some nuclear experts argue that the deal was objectively beneficial for Russia. Maybe. I’m not an expert in this sphere and it’s difficult for me to say how objective they are. Moreover, that which is beneficial from the standpoint of the nuclear industry might be disadvantageous from the point of view of security.
In principle, I think that there were no particular security problems. Russia has a sufficient nuclear arsenal capable of inflicting a deadly blow on the United States. Washington recognizes this as well. There was also more than enough material for the production of new warheads. In the event of full-scale nuclear strike exchanges, the production of another batch of weapons would already be redundant and, indeed, physically impossible. The real problem would be physically preserving the remains of civilization at least at the level of the stone age.
As for the Syria, this is not the first time, and not only in Syria, that the US concludes agreements only to disrupt their fulfillment and then conclude them again. The form of the Russian reaction is clearly not comparable to Washington’s public rejection of cooperation which, in fact, it has yet to do.
I think that in order to understand the scale of this incident, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that Putin has not simply taken Russia out of a contract. He has announced the possibility of returning to it, but he has furnished certain conditions.
Let’s look at these conditions:
(1) the US must lift all sanctions against Russia;
(2) compensation should be paid not only for the losses from American sanctions, but also for the losses incurred by Russian counter-sanctions;
(3) the Magnitsky Act should be repealed;
(4) the US’ military presence in Eastern Europe should be sharply reduced; and
(5) the US should abandon its policy of confrontation with Moscow.
Only one word fits in determining the essence of Putin’s demands: “ultimatum.”
As far as a I remember, the last time that Washington was given an ultimatum was by the United Kingdom over the Trent vessel incident. And that was in 1861 during the American Civil War. Even then, in extremely difficult conditions, America agreed to partially meet British demands.
It should be noted that the British demands in  1861 did not contain anything humiliating for the US. The captain of a US Navy ship had indeed broken international law, arrested people on a neutral (British) ship, and thereby encroached upon the sovereignty of the UK, nearly provoking a war. Then America disavowed the actions of its captain and freed the prisoners, albeit refusing to apologize.
But Putin is not demanding any apologies or the release of a few prisoners, but for all of American policy to be changed, and still more for Russia to be compensated for losses due to the US’ sanctions. This is an unmeetable, humiliating demand. This demand essentially means complete and unconditional surrender in the hybrid war which Washington does not consider to be irreversibly lost. And there’s still all those indemnities payments and reparations.
Something similar was demanded from the US by the British Crown before the end of the war for independence, when the Americans were still King George III’s rebellious subjects. For the last 100 years no one has even imagined talking with Washington in such a tone.
And so, the first conclusion is: Putin has deliberately and demonstratively humiliated the US. He has shown that it is possible to talk tough to the US, even tougher than the US itself has gotten used to talking down to the rest of the world. 
How was this done? What did Putin actually react to? Did he actually think that the US would fulfill the Kerry-Lavrov deal and is now upset over what happened? Russia also knew that Washington has not been observing the plutonium deal for years, but Moscow has extracted serious profit from this for its nuclear industry by nearly becoming a global monopoly and is clearly not perturbed by the US’ technological backwardness preventing them from disposing of weapons-grade plutonium as stipulated in the agreement.  
Russia’s tough and almost immediate reaction followed the statements of the US Secretary of State’s spokesperson to the effect that Russia will have to start sending its troops home from Syria in body bags, is going to start losing planes, and that terrorist attacks will begin to plague Russian cities.
In addition, the State Department’s statement was immediately followed by the Pentagon’s announcement that it is ready to launch a preventative nuclear strike on Russia. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also reported that Moscow knows about the US’ intention to launch an air war against Syrian government forces, which also means against the Russian contingent legally stationed in Syria. 
What else formed the background for Putin’s ultimatum?: The exercises from six months ago involving air and missile defense and strategic missile systems which practiced repelling a nuclear attack on Russia and then launching a responsive counter strike. Add to this the other day’s emergency exercises involving up to 40 million Russian citizens that inspected the readiness of infrastructure and civil defense structures for a nuclear war and provided additional information to citizens on the plan of action in the cause of “X hour.”
If we take all of this together, then we can see that the US has long since informally frightened Russia with a nuclear conflict, and Moscow has regularly hinted that it is ready for such a turn of events and is not going to back down.
However, given the end of Obama’s rule and lacking absolute confidence in a Hillary Clinton victory in presidential elections, the Washington hawks have decided to raise their bets once again. And now things have reached an extremely dangerous limit in which conflict begins to reach the stage of developing independently. At this stage, nuclear Armageddon could begin over any kind of incident, including due to the incompetence of some senior Pentagon officials or White House administrators. 
At this precise moment, Moscow has seized the initiative and upped the ante, but by moving the confrontation onto another plane. Unlike America, Russia is not threatening war. It is simply demonstrating its capability of giving a harsh political and economic response which can, in the event of further inappropriate behavior by the US, realize just the opposite of Obama’s dream: tearing apart Washington’s economy and financial system.
In addition, with these actions, Russia has seriously undermined the international prestige of the US by showing the whole world that America can be beaten with its own weapons. The boomerang has come back. Given such dynamics and turn of events, we might see hundreds of representatives of the American elite at the dock in the Hague not only in our lifetime, but even before the next American president serves their first four-year term in the White House.
The US has been given a choice. Either it will carry through with its threats and start a nuclear war, or it will accept the fact that the world is no longer unipolar, and begin to integrate into the new format.
We don’t know what choice Washington will make. The American political establishment has a sufficient number of ideologically-blinded, incompetent figures who are ready to burn up in a nuclear fire with the rest of a humanity rather than recognize the end of US world hegemony, which has turned out to be short-lived, senseless, and criminal. But they have to make a choice, because the longer that Washington pretends that nothing has happened, the greater the number of its vassals (who are called their allies, but have long since been bogged down in dependency) will openly and explicitly ignore American ambitions and cross over to the other side of the new perspectives of global power arrangement.
In the end, the US could be faced with the status of one of the centers of the multipolar world no longer being available for it. Not only Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans, but also Europeans will gladly take revenge against the former hegemon for their former humiliation. And they are not so humane and peace-loving as Russia.
Finally, Putin’s ultimatum is a response to all of those who were outraged that Russian tanks didn’t take Kiev, Lvov, Warsaw, and Paris in 2014 and pondered over what Putin’s plan could possibly be. 
I can only repeat what I wrote back then. If you are going to confront the global hegemon, then you have to be sure that you will be capable of responding to any of its actions. The economy, army, society, and state and administrative structures should all be ready. If everything is not fully ready, then one needs to buy time and build muscle.
Now things are ready and the cards have been put on the table. Let us see what the US will respond with. But the geopolitical reality will never be the same. The world has already changed. The US has had the gauntlet publicly thrown down before it and they have not dared to pick it up right away. 

Paul Craig Roberts: Armageddon Approaches

Increasingly true.

July 22, 2016

Armageddon Approaches
Paul Craig Roberts

The Western public doesn’t know it, but Washington and its European vassals are convincing Russia that they are preparing to attack. Eric Zuesse reports on a German newspaper leak of a Bundeswehr decision to declare Russia to be an enemy nation of Germany.
http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/06/09/germany-preparing-for-war-against-russia.html
This is the interpretation that some Russian politicians themselves have put on the NATO military bases that Washington is establishing on Russia’s borders.

Washington might intend the military buildup as pressure on President Putin to reduce Russian opposition to Washington’s unilateralism. However, it reminds some outspoken Russians such as Vladimir Zhirinovsky of Hitler’s troops on Russia’s border in 1941.

Zhirinovsky is the founder and leader of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party and a vice chairman of the Russian parliament. In a confrontation with the editor of a German newspaper, Zhirinovsky tells him that German troops again on Russia’s border will provoke a preventive strike after which nothing will remain of German and NATO troops. “The more NATO soldiers in your territory, the faster you are going to die. To the last man. Remove NATO from your territory!”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQm8L8d8uDc 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed his frustration with Washington’s reliance on force and coercion instead of diplomacy. It is reckless for Washington to convince Russia that diplomacy is a dead end without promise. When the Russians reach that conclusion, force will confront force.

Indeed Zhirinovsky has already reached that point and perhaps Vladimir Putin also. As I reported, Putin recently dressed down Western presstitutes for their role in fomenting nuclear war. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/07/08/are-you-planning-your-retirement-forget-about-it-you-wont-survive-to-experience-it/See also: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45055.htm
Putin has made it clear that Russia will not accept US missile bases in Poland and Romania. He has informed Washington and the imbecilic Polish and Romanian governments. However, as Putin observed, “they don’t hear.”

The inability to hear means that Washington’s arrogance has made Washington too stupid to take seriously Putin’s warning. If Washington persists, it will provoke the preventive strike that Zhirinovsky told the German editor the Merkel regime was inviting.

Americans need to wake up to the dangerous situation that Washington has created, but I doubt they will. Most wars happen without the public’s knowledge until they happen. The main function of the American left-wing is to serve as a bogyman with which to scare conservatives about the country’s loss of morals, and the main function of conservatives is to create fear and hysteria about immigrants, Muslims, and Russians. There is no sign that Congress is aware of approaching Armageddon, and the media consists of propaganda.

I and a few others try to alert people to the real threats that they face, but our voices are not loud enough. Not even Vladimir Putin’s voice is loud enough. It looks like the West won’t hear until “there remains nothing at all of the German and NATO troops,” and of Poland and Romania and the rest of us.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate.

Armageddon Approaches — Paul Craig Roberts

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

Congress Government Accounting Office (GAO) says U.S. government accounting is fraudulent

By Washington’s Blog
Global Research, April 08, 2016
Washington’s Blog 7 April 2016

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the non-partisan auditor and investigator for Congress.

The GAO says that the U.S. government’s records are so poorly kept that it can’t really audit them. 

Specifically, the GAO provided a report to Congress yesterday stating:

The federal government was unable to demonstrate the reliability of significant portions of its accrual-based financial statements as of and for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2015, and 2014, principally resulting from limitations related to certain material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting and other limitations affecting the reliability of these financial statements. For example, about 34 percent of the federal government’s reported total assets as of September 30, 2015, and approximately 19 percent of the federal government’s reported net cost for fiscal year 2015, relate to three CFO Act agencies—the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture—that received disclaimers of opinion on their fiscal year 2015 financial statements. As a result, we were prevented from providing an opinion on the accrual-based financial statements.

The federal government did not maintain adequate systems or have sufficient appropriate evidence to support certain material information reported in its accrual-based financial statements. The underlying material weaknesses in internal control, which have existed for years, contributed to our disclaimer of opinion on the accrual-based financial statements as of and for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2015, and 2014.  Specifically, these weaknesses concerned the federal government’s inability to:

***

  • adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal entities;
  • reasonably assure that the government wide financial statements are (1) consistent with the underlying audited entities’ financial statements, (2) properly balanced, and (3) in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP); and
  • reasonably assure that the information in the (1) Reconciliations of Net Operating Cost and Unified Budget Deficit and (2) Statements of Changes in Cash Balance from Unified Budget and Other Activities is complete and consistent with the underlying information in the audited entities’ financial statements and other financial data.

These material weaknesses continued to (1) hamper the federal government’s ability to reliably report a significant portion of its assets, liabilities, costs, and other related information; (2) affect the federal government’s ability to reliably measure the full cost as well as the financial and nonfinancial performance of certain programs and activities;(3) impair the federal government’s ability to adequately safeguard significant assets and properly record various transactions; and (4) hinder the federal government from having reliable financial information to operate in an efficient and effective manner.

Moreover, the Pentagon hasn’t even attempted to comply with government audits …  and “$8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon [between] 1996 [and 2013] has never been accounted for.”  The military wastes and “loses” trillions of dollars.

In addition:

  • Paulson and Bernanke falsely stated that the big banks receiving Tarp money were healthy when they were not. The Treasury Secretary also falsely told Congress that the bailouts would be used to dispose of toxic assets … but then used the money for something else entirely
  • The government knew about mortgage fraud a long time ago. For example, the FBI warned of an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud in 2004. However, the FBI, DOJ and other government agencies then stood down and did nothing. See this and this. For example, the Federal Reserve turned its cheek and allowed massive fraud, and the SEC has repeatedly ignored accounting fraud (a whistleblower also “gift-wrapped and delivered” the Madoff scandal to the SEC, but they refused to take action). Indeed, Alan Greenspan took the position that fraud could never happen

Yesterday’s GAO report also predicted:

By 2089 … debt held by the public as a share of GDP reaches 314 percent in our baseline extended simulation or 568 percent in our alternative simulation

As the head of the GAO put it, “We’re going to owe more than our entire economy is producing and by definition this is not sustainable.”

The Hill reported in November:

The former U.S. comptroller general says the real U.S. debt is closer to about $65 trillion than the oft-cited figure of $18 trillion.

Dave Walker, who headed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said when you add up all of the nation’s unfunded liabilities, the national debt is more than three times the number generally advertised.

***

“If you end up adding to that $18.5 trillion the unfunded civilian and military pensions and retiree healthcare, the additional underfunding for Social Security, the additional underfunding for Medicare, various commitments and contingencies that the federal government has, the real number is about $65 trillion rather than $18 trillion, and it’s growing automatically absent reforms ….”

But former Senior Economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and current Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff says that – when unfunded liabilities are taken into account – the fiscal gap for the U.S. is actually 3 times higher … $205 trillion as of 2013 (and getting worse all the time).

We believe that an accurate would show that the government already owes more than the entire economy is producing …Government Accounting Is Fraudulent

The original source of this article is Washington’s Blog

Copyright © Washington’s Blog, Washington’s Blog, 2016

http://www.globalresearch.ca/u-s-government-accounting-is-fraudulent/5519261

American football Super Bowl promotes war and the American war industry

By David Swanson, teleSUR
February 6, 2016

Super Bowl 50 will be the first National Football League championship to happen since it was reported that much of the pro-military hoopla at football games, the honoring of troops and glorifying of wars that most people had assumed was voluntary or part of a marketing scheme for the NFL, has actually been a money-making scheme for the NFL. The U.S. military has been dumping millions of our dollars, part of a recruitment and advertising budget that’s in the billions, into paying the NFL to publicly display love for soldiers and weaponry.

Of course, the NFL may in fact really truly love the military, just as it may love the singers it permits to sing at the Super Bowl halftime show, but it makes them pay for the privilege too. And why shouldn’t the military pay the football league to hype its heroism? It pays damn near everybody else. At $2.8 billion a year on recruiting some 240,000 “volunteers,” that’s roughly $11,600 per recruit. That’s not, of course, the trillion with a T kind of spending it takes to run the military for a year; that’s just the spending to gently persuade each “volunteer” to join up. The biggest military “service” ad buyer in the sports world is the National Guard. The ads often depict humanitarian rescue missions. Recruiters often tell tall tales of “non-deployment” positions followed by free college. But it seems to me that the $11,600 would have gone a long way toward paying for a year in college! And, in fact, people who have that money for college are far less likely to be recruited.

Despite showing zero interest in signing up for wars, and despite the permanent presence of wars to sign up for, 44 percent of U.S. Americans tell the Gallup polling company that they “would” fight in a war, yet don’t. That’s at least 100 million new recruits. Luckily for them and the world, telling a pollster something doesn’t require follow through, but it might suggest why football fans tolerate and even celebrate military national anthems and troop-hyping hoopla at every turn. They think of themselves as willing warriors who just happen to be too busy at the moment. As they identify with their NFL team, making remarks such as “We just scored,” while firmly seated on their most precious assets, football fans also identify with their team on the imagined battlefield of war.

The NFL website says: “For decades the NFL and the military have had a close relationship at the Super Bowl, the most watched program year-to-year throughout the United States. In front of more than 160 million viewers, the NFL salutes the military with a unique array of in-game celebrations including the presentation of colors, on-field guests, pre-game ceremonies and stadium flyovers. During Super Bowl XLIX week [last year], the Pat Tillman Foundation and the Wounded Warriors Project invited veterans to attend the Salute to Service: Officiating 101 Clinic at NFL Experience Engineered by GMC [double payment? ka-ching!] in Arizona. …”

Pat Tillman, still promoted on the NFL website, and eponym of the Pat Tillman Foundation, is of course the one NFL player who gave up a giant football contract to join the military. What the Foundation won’t tell you is that Tillman, as is quite common, ceased believing what the ads and recruiters had told him. On September 25, 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Tillman had become critical of the Iraq war and had scheduled a meeting with the prominent war critic Noam Chomsky to take place when he returned from Afghanistan, all information that Tillman’s mother and Chomsky later confirmed. Tillman couldn’t confirm it because he had died in Afghanistan in 2004 from three bullets to the forehead at short range, bullets shot by an American. The White House and the military knew Tillman had died from so-called friendly fire, but they falsely told the media he’d died in a hostile exchange. Senior Army commanders knew the facts and yet approved awarding Tillman a Silver Star, a Purple Heart, and a posthumous promotion, all based on his having died fighting the “enemy.” Clearly the military wants a connection to football and is willing to lie as well as to pay for it. The Pat Tillman Foundation mis-uses a dead man’s name to play on and prey on the mutual interest of football and the military in being connected to each other.

Those on whom the military’s advertising succeeds will not typically die from friendly fire. Nor will they die from enemy fire. The number one killer of members of the U.S. military, reported yet again for another year this week, is suicide. And that’s not even counting later suicides by veterans. Every TV pundit and presidential debate moderator, and perhaps even a Super Bowl 50 announcer or two, tends to talk about the military’s answer for ISIS. What is its answer for people being stupidly ordered into such horrific hell that they won’t want to live anymore?

It’s in the ads

At least as big a focus of the Super Bowl as the game itself is the advertising. One particularly disturbing ad planned for Super Bowl 50 is an ad for a war video game. The U.S. military has long funded war video games and viewed them as recruiting tools. In this ad Arnold Schwarzenegger shows what fun it is to shoot people and blow up buildings on the game, while outside of the game people are tackling him more or less as in a football game. Nothing here is remotely warlike in a realistic sense. For that I recommend playing with PTSD Action Man instead. But it does advance the equation of sport with war — something both the NFL and the military clearly desire.

An ad last year from Northrop Grumman, which has its own “Military Bowl,” was no less disturbing. Two years ago an ad that appeared to be for the military until the final seconds turned out to be for Jeeps. There was another ad that year for Budweiser beer with which one commentator found legal concerns:

“First, there’s a violation of the military’s ethics regulations, which explicitly state that Department of Defense personnel cannot ‘suggest official endorsement or preferential treatment’ of any ‘non-Federal entity, event, product, service, or enterprise. … Under this regulation, the Army cannot legally endorse Budweiser, nor allow its active-duty personnel to participate in their ads (let alone wear their uniforms), any more than the Army can endorse Gatorade or Nike.”

Two serious issues with this. One: the military routinely endorses and promotes the NFL. Two: despite my deep-seated opposition to the very existence of an institution of mass murder, and my clear understanding of what it wants out of advertisements (whether by itself or by a car or beer company), I can’t help getting sucked into the emotion. The technique of this sort of propaganda (here’s another ad) is very high level. The rising music. The facial expressions. The gestures. The build up of tension. The outpouring of simulated love. You’d have to be a monster not to fall for this poison. And it permeates the world of millions of wonderful young people who deserve better.

It’s in the stadium

If you get past the commercials, there’s the problem of the stadium for Super Bowl 50, unlike most stadiums for most sports events, being conspicuously “protected” by the military and militarized police, including with military helicopters and jets that will shoot down any drones and “intercept” any planes. Ruining the pretense that this is actually for the purpose of protecting anyone, military jets will show off by flying over the stadium, as in past years, when they have even done it over stadiums covered by domes.

The idea that there is anything questionable about coating a sporting event in military promotion is the furthest thing from the minds of most viewers of the Super Bowl. That the military’s purpose is to kill and destroy, that it’s recent major wars have eventually been opposed as bad decisions from the start by a majority of Americans, just doesn’t enter into it. On the contrary, the military publicly questions whether it should be associating with a sports league whose players hit their wives and girlfriends too much.

My point is not that assault is acceptable, but that murder isn’t. The progressive view of the Super Bowl in the United States will question the racism directed at a black quarterback, the concussions of a violent sport that damages the brains of too many of its players (and perhaps even the recruitment of new players from the far reaches of the empire to take their place), sexist treatment of cheerleaders or women in commercials, and perhaps even the disgusting materialism of some of the commercials. But not the militarism. The announcers will thank “the troops” for watching from “over 175 countries” and nobody will pause, set down their beer and dead animal flesh and ask whether 174 countries might not be enough to have U.S. troops in right now.

The idea that the Super Bowl promotes is that war is more or less like football, only better. I was happy to help get a TV show canceled that turned war into a reality game. There is still some resistance to that idea that can be tapped in the U.S. public. But I suspect it is eroding.

The NFL doesn’t just want the military’s (our) money. It wants the patriotism, the nationalism, the fervent blind loyalty, the unthinking passion, the personal identification, a love for the players to match love of troops — and with similar willingness to throw them under a bus.

The military doesn’t just want the sheer numbers of viewers attracted to the Super Bowl. It wants wars imagined as sporting events between teams, rather than horrific crimes perpetrated on people in their homes and villages. It wants us thinking of Afghanistan not as a 15-year disaster, murder-spree, and counter-productive SNAFU, but as a competition gone into double quadruple overtime despite the visiting team being down 84 points and attempting an impossible comeback. The military wants chants of “USA!” that fill a stadium. It wants role models and heroes and local connections to potential recruits. It wants kids who can’t make it to the pros in football or another sport to think they’ve got the inside track to something even better and more meaningful.

I really wish they did.

http://davidswanson.org/node/5045

Russia waiting for explanation from NATO over shelling of Syrian territory from Turkey

Global Research, February 02, 2016
TASS 1 February 2016

Russia has “irrefutable evidence” of Turkey shelling Syrian territory from large-caliber artillery

MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Russian Defense Ministry is waiting for explanations from representatives of NATO and the Pentagon of the actions of Turkish military which the ministry accuses of shelling the Syrian territory, official spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Monday.

“Those who warn us about consequences without understanding what happened, should first of all think about the trap their Turkish partners are dragging them into,” Konashenkov said.

Russian Defense Ministry has ‘irrefutable evidence’ of Syria’s territory shelling by Turkish troops

According to Konashenkov, Turkish military shell Syria’s territory from large-caliber artillery, and Russia has “irrefutable evidence” of these cases.

Turkish army's armored vehicles and tanks drive in Syrian town of Kobani, Feb 22, 2015

Turkish army’s armored vehicles and tanks drive in Syrian town of Kobani, Feb 22, 2015
© AP Photo/Mursel Coban, Depo Photos

The general said Russia’s military have received footage provided by Syria’s General Staff that shows deployment of large-caliber self-propelled artillery weapons in one of near-border areas. The ministry also received a video from Syria’s opposition showing the shelling of Syria, he said.

“This is called a fact. This is irrefutable evidence that Turkey’s armed forces shell near-border Syrian settlements from large-caliber artillery systems,” Maj. Gen. Konashenkov said.

He showed the journalists a video that pictured a part of the Syrian-Turkish border. “This facility is a Turkish frontier post where several months ago there were no firing points,” he said.

Speaking on Ankara’s new allegations that Russia’s Su-34 bomber violated Turkey’s airspace last week, Konashenkov said: “Those who warn us about consequences without understanding what happened, should first of all think about the trap their Turkish partners are dragging them into.”