Joint U.S.-Australian military exercise is “preparing for a war with China”, says Greens leader

Global Research, July 15, 2015

Acting Greens leader, Senator Scott Ludlam, made statements last week that are noteworthy not only for their content, but for the fact that they generated absolutely no controversy or debate within the Australian media and political establishment.

Ludlam was a speaker at the national conference of the recently established Independent Peace and Activist Network (IPAN), held in Brisbane on July 9. IPAN is a coalition of pseudo-left groupings and individuals that advance pacifist and nationalist opposition to the US-Australia alliance and US bases and military activity in the country. Among the issues IPAN discussed was the large-scale, joint US-Australian “Talisman Sabre” military exercise currently taking place across northern Australia.

Speaking after the event with reporters, Ludlam made off-the-cuff remarks that Talisman Sabre was training for “expeditionary wars and invasions.” Most significantly, he stated: “I don’t think we should be preparing for a war with China … I don’t think we should be participating in that kind of provocation.”

It is difficult to think of more newsworthy comments by a public political figure. The acting leader of the third largest parliamentary party, and the Greens foreign affairs spokesman, asserted that Australia, as part of its alliance with the United States, is “preparing for a war with China.”

An Australian Associated Press stringer filed a story on his remarks within hours. The online Guardian and Murdoch media’s news.com.au posted it. Ludlam then posted a link to the Guardian story on his Facebook page, with the text, “our dress rehearsal for world war three.”

And that is where any public reference to Ludlam’s remarks ended. The television news and the major newspapers did not report them. No member of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition government was asked about them. The Labor opposition said nothing. The Greens themselves did not issue a press release about Talisman Sabre and Ludlam has not repeated his statements since.

The explanation for the silence is that what Ludlam said is true and the Australian establishment does not want it discussed. As the WSWS explained in its July 7 article, “Japan joins US-Australian rehearsal for conflict with China,” Talisman Sabre is a “large-scale dress rehearsal for a military confrontation with China in the Asia-Pacific region.” Over 33,000 American, Australian and New Zealand troops, and a small contingent of Japanese personnel, are practising naval assaults and amphibious landings within the context of sharp tensions over the provocative US allegations that China is threatening “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea.

Under the auspices of the US “pivot to Asia” since 2011, Australia is fully integrated into the American strategic plans for war on China. Northern and western Australian airbases and ports are regularly visited by the American military. US Marines are based in Darwin. The Australian military is treated by the Pentagon as an adjunct to its own forces, trained to operate as part of larger US units. Such is the integration that if the US goes to war in the Asia-Pacific, Australia will immediately be involved.

The scope of exercises like Talisman Sabre reflect military calculations that the US is planning for war sooner rather than later, when China could be in a stronger position to oppose an onslaught by the US and its allies like Japan and Australia.

Ludlam’s posture of concern over the war danger is belied by the record of the Greens. They have loyally assisted the former Labor and current conservative governments block any broad public debate about the preparations for a confrontation with China. In parliament, they do not raise any opposition to the US alliance or the military integration taking place as part of the pivot.

Ludlam, as the Greens foreign affairs spokesman, has played a key role in suppressing critical information about the ever-expanding US military activity in Australia. In November 2013, Ludlam asked questions in the Senate foreign affairs committee about plans for greater “rotation” through northern Australian airbases by US aircraft. He obtained an effective admission from senior military commander Air Marshal Mark Binskin that US aircraft, such as B-52 bombers, would neither confirm nor deny whether they were carrying nuclear weapons when operating from Australia.

Following the admission that Australia might be hosting nuclear-armed long-range bombers, behind-the-backs of the population, Ludlam made no attempt to make an issue of it on the floor of the Senate. Likewise, he did not use parliament to condemn Talisman Sabre as a “dress rehearsal for World War Three.”

Ludlam epitomises the cynical manner in which a section of the Greens occasionally pose as “left” and “anti-war” to select audiences, while at all times serving the interests of the Australian ruling class. No less than the rest of the official political establishment, the Greens have worked to keep the working class in the dark and prevent an anti-war movement developing that challenges the militarist agenda of US and Australian imperialism.

The Greens are assisted in their duplicity by the social types that make up organisations like IPAN. A number of the figures who are active in the network are current or former members of the Stalinist Communist Party of Australia (CPA), Socialist Alliance or the fraudulent “left” of the Australian Labor Party. Hostile to the fight by the Socialist Equality Party to develop an anti-war movement in the working class on an internationalist and socialist perspective, IPAN has been established to try and channel opposition to militarism into politically harmless protests and reactionary Australian nationalism.

The “IPAN Statement” asserts that the US alliance has “put our independence at risk” and calls for Australia to have an “independent foreign policy.” Such demagogy, which implies that Australia’s alignment with the US is simply because politicians are Washington’s lapdogs, is intended to obscure that the danger of war arises from the breakdown of global capitalism. It reflects the standpoint of a faction of the Australian corporate elite who believe that supporting the reckless US attempt to reverse its economic decline by military means will end in disaster and undermine Australian capitalism’s substantial economic ties with China, which is now the country’s largest trading partner.

The dominant factions of the Australian ruling class, however, are prepared to tie their fate to US imperialism. Both the government and Labor opposition are committed to the US “pivot to Asia” against China. This political bipartisanship flows from calculations that Australian imperialist interests—strategic influence in the South Pacific, major investments in Wall Street and the prospect of greater market share in Asia and China in particular—are best served by ensuring the US retains its dominant position in the Asia-Pacific and globally.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/australian-greens-senator-talks-of-war-with-china/5462536

Interview with Michel Chossudovsky: US/NATO playing war games on Russia’s doorstep, threatening Russia with a first-strike nuclear attack

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, June 28, 2015
Press TV

Press TV has conducted an interview with Michel Chossudovsky, of the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, concerning NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg calling on Moscow to stop “supporting” pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine.
Press TV: Do you think it is in the role of NATO Secretary General to warn Russia against the situation in eastern Ukraine?

Chossudovsky: I think NATO has the ability of turning the realities upside down, because recent reports confirm that it is not Russia which is supporting the rebels but NATO and the United States which are supporting Ukraine not only with so-called nonlethal weapons but also with military advisers, training and so on. Moreover, they are now providing core support not only to the armed forces but also to the neo-Nazi National Guard. And the US Congress has debated this issue and they said yes, we will support the National Guard but we will not support the Neo-Nazi Azov battalion.

Other countries such as Canada are supporting the Azov battalion, but I should say that while the Azov battalion has been recognized as a neo-Nazi entity, the Right Sector Nazi party has an oversight and control over the entire National Guard.

In recent developments, Ukraine’s military has been bombing civilian areas including schools. There is ample evidence to that effect, and ironically NATO is accusing the separatist forces of Donbass of killing their own people, so to speak, when in fact those strikes were perpetrated by the Ukrainian armed forces.

Press TV: Basically you are saying that the US and NATO have set the grounds to ensure this grace period that there is of relative calm in eastern Ukraine is used to basically once again increase hostilities and ensure that there is no separatist movement left within eastern Ukraine. However, my question to you is what does NATO get out of it?

Chossudovsky: I think we have to look at the broader military agenda, because NATO – and when we say NATO we are saying the United States – the United States and NATO are involved in war games on Russia’s doorstep.

They have several initiatives, they are moving military hardware to Eastern Europe, and this serves as an act of provocation directed against the Russian Federation; and they accuse Russia without evidence of supporting the rebels when in fact they have their own troops right on Russia’s doorstep supporting the Ukrainian government, which is an illegitimate government.

And I think there is another element which has not been understood or even reported in the media, is that the president of Ukraine, President Poroshenko, has made the statement and it is with Ukraine Constitutional Court that the coup directed against his predecessor Yanukovych was an illegal act rather than a “transition towards democracy” n.

So within Ukraine there is there is division within the leadership. The country is in crisis situation following the imposition of the IMF’s deadly microeconomic reforms and the impoverishment of large sectors of the population. And within the armed forces there are also divisions and there is also a movement at the grassroots to refuse to fight, in other words not to join the armed forces, not to be involved in a civil war in eastern Ukraine.

Press TV: So if Russia is the big enemy here, what do you make of that? Is Russia a threat to the West – militarily or strategically speaking?

Chossudovsky: I think that Russia is not a threat and neither is China. The United States is engaged on a very dangerous path, because they have adopted the doctrine of preemptive war and they are in fact also saying that they can use nuclear weapons against Russia on a preemptive first strike basis.

Now that type of discourse is extremely dangerous, because it could ignite a World War III scenario.

First of all, they say that the new generation of nuclear weapons, namely the tactical nuclear weapons, are harmless to civilians and can be used against non-nuclear states; this is an outright lie.

And now they that they are threatening Russia with nuclear weapons, and this is very clear, the nuclear option has been debated in the US Congress.

We are at a very dangerous crossroads in our history – the unthinkable: a possible World War III scenario.

And this is no longer at the abstract level, it has been envisaged by decision makers in the Pentagon and it could unleash World War III.


Order Michel Chossudovsky’s Book directly from GR,  

Towards a World War III Scenario, TheDangers of Nuclear War,

Global Research, Montreal, 2011, also available in pdf.

WWIII Scenario

Nuclear war has become a multibillion dollar undertaking, which fills the pockets of US defense contractors. What is at stake is the outright “privatization of nuclear war”.

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

Central to an understanding of war, is the media campaign which grants it legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion. A good versus evil dichotomy prevails. The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims. Public opinion is misled.

Breaking the “big lie”, which upholds war as a humanitarian undertaking, means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force. This profit-driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.

The object of this book is to forcefully reverse the tide of war, challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.

Reviews

“This book is a ‘must’ resource – a richly documented and systematic diagnosis of the supremely pathological geo-strategic planning of US wars since ‘9-11’ against non-nuclear countries to seize their oil fields and resources under cover of ‘freedom and democracy’.”
John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy, Guelph University

“In a world where engineered, pre-emptive, or more fashionably “humanitarian” wars of aggression have become the norm, this challenging book may be our final wake-up call.”
-Denis Halliday, Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations

Michel Chossudovsky exposes the insanity of our privatized war machine. Iran is being targeted with nuclear weapons as part of a war agenda built on distortions and lies for the purpose of private profit. The real aims are oil, financial hegemony and global control. The price could be nuclear holocaust. When weapons become the hottest export of the world’s only superpower, and diplomats work as salesmen for the defense industry, the whole world is recklessly endangered. If we must have a military, it belongs entirely in the public sector. No one should profit from mass death and destruction.
Ellen Brown, author of ‘Web of Debt’ and president of the Public Banking Institute

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/06/26/417607/Russia-Ukraine-NATO-US-Europe

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-nato-playing-war-games-on-russias-doorstep-threaten-russia-with-a-first-strike-nuclear-attack-michel-chossudovsky/5458752

Protest the U.S. Navy’s war games in Alaska

Two excellent articles on the situation:
http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/war_games_set_to_begin_today_ in_the_pristine_gulf_of_alaska/v
http://grist.org/climate-energy/the-navy-gears-up-for-huge-war-games-in-alaska-wildlife-and-environment-be-damned/

A letter of protest to the US Navy can be sent directly from the Eyak Preservation Council’s website, with a letter that can be customized.

From the Eyak Preservation Council
http://www.eyakpreservationcouncil.org/navy-training-facts/write-letter-navy-2/

Make Your Voice Heard!

Send a letter to the Navy 

Background: In June 2015 the US Navy is going to conduct military training activities in the Gulf of Alaska to “achieve and maintain military readiness.” (Source www.goaeis.com).

The Navy is planning to use active and passive sonar for submarine exercises, plus a wide variety of live weapons and explosives (bombs, missiles, torpedoes, etc.) This area is vital habitat for many species of marine life including whales and salmon. The water here supports the most sustainable and economically valuable fisheries left in the USA.

If these trainings occur it will set a dangerous precedent for unchecked military expansion in the most pristine waters left on earth.

Please send the letter below to let the Navy know that you oppose the use of live ordnance and sonar in the Gulf of Alaska.

This letter will be sent to: 

– Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert
– Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Harris Harris Jr.

Copies of this letter will be sent to:

Alaska Command Leadership:

–       Lt. Gen. Russell Handy
–       Maj. Gen. Michael Shields
–       CMSgt. Gay L.C. Veale
Tommie Baker – Public Affairs at JBER
Jeffrey Fee – Director of Training, Readiness and Exercises at JBER
Jon Montague – Tribal Coordinator at JBER

This letter is at the Council’s link above. The letter can be customized.

Dear Admiral Greenert & Admiral Harris,

I would like to request that the Navy’s ‘Northern Edge’ combined training exercise scheduled for June 2015 be postponed until after mid-September and not use any live ordnance or sonar in Gulf of Alaska waters. There is no question that military preparedness drills are of national importance. However, I am gravely concerned about the risk and potential damage to Alaska’s subsistence, commercial and recreational fisheries, marine habitats, fish and wildlife resources, and the regional economy.

The coastline around the GOA is home to many coastal communities and Alaska Native people who rely on marine and freshwater resources. The Temporary Maritime Activities Area is 20-24 nautical miles from communities on Kodiak Island, and other communities on the South Central Alaskan coast including Cordova, Valdez, Homer, Seward, and Yakutat.

These exercises are planned during the most prolific breeding and migratory periods of the marine supported life in the region (salmon, whales, birds and more).

The waters of the GOA include Essential Fish Habitat for many species of subsistence and commercial fisheries, including those found in Prince William Sound, which has still not fully recovered from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The area of the TMAA also supports the most sustainable and economically valuable fisheries in the USA. Commercial fishing is the largest private sector employer in Alaska, providing some 80,000 jobs as well as a healthy food source. Nearly 100% of sockeye salmon in the USA comes from Alaska. Alaska is also home to the largest wild sockeye salmon run in the world, Bristol Bay.

The Navy’s Environmental Impact Statement includes a long list of potential stressors and effects of these trainings on fish (disruption of habitat; exposure to chemical by-products; disturbance, injury, or death from the shock (pressure) wave; acoustic impacts; and indirect effects including those on prey species and other components of the food web). As the Navy states in its EIS, no studies have established the short-or long-term population-level effects of cumulative exposure of fish to any type of sound.

Given this information, I/we are extremely concerned about the potential impact the Navy’s proposed plan may have on Alaska’s fish and wildlife resources, Native subsistence activities, commercial and recreational fisheries and the regional economy. I formally object the Navy’s use of live ordnance and sonar in the GOA this June and request that all trainings be postponed until after mid September and be moved a minimum distance of 200 nautical miles offshore.

Sincerely,

 

U.S. Navy’s massive war games in pristine Gulf of Alaska — wildlife and ocean be damned

The war “games” run from June 15 – June 26, 2015.

War Games Set to Begin Today in the Pristine Gulf of Alaska
by Sonia Luokkala – June 15, 2015
Earth Island Journal

As the Navy unleashes 6,000 personnel for training exercises, local communities protest impacts on wildlife and fisheries

Today the US Navy plans to unleash 6,000 sailors, soldiers, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members along with three Navy Destroyers, 200 aircrafts, untold weaponry, and a submarine to converge in war games in the Gulf of Alaska. The training exercises are scheduled to continue through June 26.

The Navy’s choice of the Gulf of Alaska – one of the most pristine places left on Earth, and at the peak of migration and breeding periods of marine life – has left locals baffled and upset.

In the last month, protests have been held in Cordova, Kodiak, and Homer, Alaska. Emily Stolarcyk, a program manager with the Eyak Preservation Council, an environmental and social change organization based in Cordova, says local communities have never before united in such a way, pointing to the 100-plus fishing vessels that joined the protest against the Navy.

“It was incredible to see the commercial fleet turnout and unite like that with tons of support from people on shore as well,”
she says.

Regional tribal villages have also been vocal in their opposition, worried that the Navy’s trainings could affect their subsistence foods. Several tribes have passed resolutions opposing the trainings and others are requesting formal government-to-government consultations regarding the plans. Local people are also concerned about the possible impacts on marine life.

According to Stolarcyk, the Navy has not been receptive to these concerns. “The Navy is refusing to negotiate at all with local communities,” she says.

The Navy has conducted Northern Edge training exercises in Alaska every two years since 1994. In 2011, the Navy expanded the scope of their training exercises and the use of the highly controversial low-frequency active sonar was authorized for the first time. The 2013 training was cancelled due to the federal government’s budget crisis.

The Gulf of Alaska training area includes more than 42,000 nautical miles of surface and subsurface waters. The area of impact spans more than 8,429 nautical miles, including Alaskan Marine Protected Areas and NOAA designated Fisheries Protected Areas

Residents of Homer, Alaska have been vocal in their opposition to the Navy’s war games in the Gulf of Alaska.

The pristine waters of the Gulf of Alaska provide critical habitat for over 383 species of marine life. Its nutrient-rich waters call forth as many as 20 different species of whales every summer, including three different species of elusive beaked whales that are especially sensitive to the effects of the Navy’s active sonar.

Training exercises will be carried out simultaneously with the key breeding and migratory season for marine life in the area, including five species of Pacific Salmon that return from the ocean to lay their eggs in the rivers and streams of their origin.

Continue reading

The doctor who treated women raped by “Azov” fighters, died from a stroke in Mariupol

From Fort Russ

March 30, 2015
Varjag2007
Translated by Kristina Rus
 
A Mariupol doctor, who frequently treated women raped by soldiers of punitive battalions, died of a stroke.

“Kharkov” news agency has reported about atrocities by soldiers of punitive battalions stationed in Mariupol. Residents said that they live like under the occupation during the Great Patriotic War (WWII). The only difference is that back then it was the German invaders who went on a rampage, but now they are – Ukrainian.

Almost weekly raped and battered women are brought to the hospital.

Fortunately, Mariupol clinics have highly qualified doctors. They managed to save the lives and health of even those women who were not just raped, but abused in particularly brutal ways. For example, by filling the anus with construction foam. Such incidents shocked the staff of the clinics.

The facts of the atrocities of the punishers were confirmed by the “Kharkov” news agency and an employee of the Mariupol female penal colony, reporting that the soldiers from battalions stationed here are raping young female inmates.

Commanders of the battalion take 15-20 women under 35 from the 107th Azov female penal colony on a daily basis. The inmates are taken to their base, raped, and in the morning returned to the colony barely alive. Many of them had to be treated by Mariupol doctors.

The other day one of the doctors who saved the lives of the female victims died of a stroke, unable to cope with stress. To live and work in such conditions was a real trial.

KR: 

Mariupol is a largely pro-Russian city, which held a referendum in May 2014, like the areas of DPR and LPR, while Azov battalion is notoriously filled with those neo-nazis, russophobes and ultra-nationalists, who volunteered to go to war with Donbass on their own.

Azov is one of the battalions working with the U.S. military in upcoming training and war “games”.

U.S. war moves in Ukraine; U.S. military trains murderous Ukrainian National Guard

Lviv is a hotbed of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism.

By Greg Butterfield
March 16, 2015
International Action Center

As activists, students and workers gather in Washington, D.C., for the “Spring Rising” anti-war mobilization March 18-21, many are probably unaware that 300 U.S. troops arrived in Ukraine this month, with another 300 expected to join them shortly.

The U.S. soldiers are stationed at the Yavoriv Training Area in Lviv, near the Polish border in western Ukraine. Their mission, according to the Pentagon, is to train divisions of the Ukrainian National Guard.

 But their presence also establishes a provocative U.S. military “footprint” in this key agricultural and industrial country on the Russian Federation’s western border.

 The first open and public U.S. military presence on Ukrainian soil comes amid a civil war raging in former southeastern Ukraine, now the independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, also called Novorossiya. It’s accompanied by unprecedented NATO war games and military buildup threatening Russia.

 All this despite a ceasefire agreement, negotiated by Russia, Germany and France, which went into effect Feb. 15. As happened during previous ceasefires, the U.S.-backed government in Kiev routinely violates the terms and is using the “breathing spell” to rebuild its military forces to assault the embattled Donbass mining region.

 “Before this week is up, we’ll be deploying a battalion minus … to the Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces for the fight that’s taking place,” the U.S.’s 173rd Airborne Brigade commander, Michael Foster, told a meeting of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington on March 3. (Global Research, March 3)

 U.S. forces are scheduled to stay six months. But discussions are underway about “how to increase the duration and the scope of the training mission,” Foster said, echoing remarks made in January by former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Derek Chollet.

 Meanwhile, in London, Prime Minister David Cameron told a House of Commons committee on Feb. 24 that up to 75 British soldiers would be sent to Ukraine to develop “an infantry training program with Ukraine to improve the durability of their forces,” the BBC reported.

 “Today’s announcement builds upon the work that we have already undertaken through NATO and bilaterally,” added British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon. (Sputnik, Feb. 24)

 Poland, too, plans to send military instructors to train Ukrainian soldiers, Boguslaw Pacek, advisor to the country’s defense minister, told Reuters on Feb. 26.

 What is the Ukrainian National Guard?

When most people in the U.S. hear the term “National Guard,” they think of the recruiting commercials touting “one weekend a month, two weeks a year” of training to “serve your country.” The Pentagon is playing on this association to make their mission sound benign.

Of course, the National Guard in the U.S. has a long history of being employed to put down rebellions and strikes in the U.S., often with the most brutal methods. And in the last 15 years, since the start of Washington’s “war on terror,” many National Guard soldiers have been required to serve long stretches in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the Ukrainian National Guard is something else altogether. The brainchild of far-right Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, it came into being one year ago, shortly after the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected president.

The National Guard is based on neo-Nazi street-gangs and fascist political organizations that formed the power base of the Euromaidan protest movement which carried out the February 2014 coup in Kiev. It answers to Avakov, not the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which the coup makers considered unreliable, and which has continued to disintegrate during the war in the southeast.

The National Guard, in fact, has been the backbone of Kiev’s brutal “Anti-Terrorist Operation” against Novorossiya. This operation has targeted civilians throughout the Donbass mining region since April 2014. It is nearly as ruthless as the “volunteer” fascist battalions affiliated with the openly fascist Right Sector.

While the Ukrainian Armed Forces today are a meat grinder for workers, unemployed people and youth forcibly drafted, and who frequently desert at the first opportunity, the National Guard comprise the forces most loyal to the junta of oligarchs, neoliberal politicians and fascists in Kiev.

This is the force the U.S. wants to train and strengthen.

NATO provocations

But there’s much more to the story.

Throughout Europe, the Baltic and Central Asian states bordering Russia, and even on U.S. soil, an unprecedented volume of provocative war games are underway, all clearly threatening Moscow.

Why? Because the real aim of the U.S. power play in Ukraine is to establish NATO military power on Russia’s border, with the aim of fomenting regime change aimed at breaking up the Russian Federation into pliable, profitable pieces that can be easily dominated by Wall Street and its European junior partners.

That’s why since day one of the Ukrainian crisis, Democrats, Republicans and the corporate media have united to turn reality on its head by portraying Russia as the aggressor — a Big Lie to cover up their own role.

Here’s a sampling of the provocative moves in the past month, culled from U.S. military sources, Ukrainian and Russian media, as well as anti-war sites like StopNATO.org and Global Research:

  • On Feb. 10 — as ceasefire talks were underway in Minsk, Belarus — the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to authorize $1 billion for training, equipping and providing “lethal aid” to Kiev through September 2017.
  • On Feb. 24, U.S. military vehicles took part in a NATO parade in the Estonian town of Narva, just 300 meters from the Russian border. It included 140 armored vehicles and nearly 1,500 troops, including U.S. soldiers.
  • The same day, in Alaska, paratroopers from the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team performed the largest U.S. airborne mission north of the Arctic Circle in more than a decade as part of Exercise Spartan Pegasus. “This exercise demonstrated their unique ability to rapidly mass power on an objective in extremely cold and austere environments,” said an Army press release.
  • U.S. Marines and soldiers from the Republic of Georgia staged a “pre-deployment training” during Mission Rehearsal Exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, on Feb. 27.
  • NATO Supreme Commander in Europe and Chief of the U.S. European Command Philip Breedlove told the Senate Armed Forces Committee on March 3 that it is “essential” for Washington to provide “military support” to “U.S. partners Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine [which] face a different security challenge from Russia than those facing NATO allies.”
  • On March 6, U.S. and Canadian soldiers carried out drills “in winter conditions” with their Latvian counterparts, while live-fire training exercises were conducted at Drawsko Pomorskie in northern Poland.
  • Some 450 U.S. soldiers and 25 Black Hawk helicopters will be deployed to Illesheim, Germany, in March “in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a multinational training mission to reassure Poland and the Baltic countries of NATO’s commitment in the face of Russia’s aggressive moves in Ukraine.” The deployment is to last nine months.
  • The European Union needs its own army to confront Russia, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a German newspaper on March 8.
  • Latvia received more than 120 armored units, including tanks, from the U.S. on March 9. U.S. Army Gen. John O’Connor, who witnessed the tanks’ arrival, declared that “Freedom must be fought for, freedom must be defended.”
  • A major NATO naval force is amassing in the Black Sea, including U.S., Canadian, German, Italian, Turkish, Bulgarian and Romanian warships.

Washington’s unreal ‘debate’ over arming Ukraine

“Watch what they do, not what they say” — the old adage is always good advice when dealing with U.S. imperialism. And nowhere is that more apparent than in Washington’s current “debate” over arming Ukraine.

The media depict a dispute over whether the U.S. should provide “lethal weapons,” heavy weapons and offensive weapons to Ukraine for its war against “pro-Russian separatists,” as the anti-fascist resistance in Donbass is usually labeled.

For example, on March 6, leading congressional Republicans and Democrats, headed by John Boehner, urged President Obama to provide “lethal defensive weapons” to Kiev due to Russia’s “grotesque violation of international law.”

The White House states that it is still “considering” whether to provide so-called lethal aid. However, top administration officials, from Secretary of State John Kerry on down, have voiced their support.

All of this amounts to smokescreen and posturing for political gain. In fact, the Obama administration and Congress have colluded all along to arm the fascist junta, which they collaborated with in bringing to power. In December, Congress overwhelmingly approved and Obama signed the “Ukrainian Freedom Support Act,” in fact authorizing “lethal aid.”

Airfields in eastern Ukraine immediately shut down as U.S. military cargo planes flew in massive amounts of old and new NATO weaponry. Much of this war materiel was captured and put on public display by the Novorossiyan people’s militias following the defeat of Ukraine’s January 2015 military offensive.

In February, Ukrainian President Peter Poroshenko inked an arms agreement with the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. client state that frequently serves as a hub to funnel advanced weaponry to right-wing regimes and counterrevolutionary movements supported by Washington.

On March 11, Obama approved $75 million in additional “nonlethal” military aid to Ukraine, including secure communications equipment, drones, counter-mortar radars, night-vision goggles and military ambulances, to be delivered in the next six to nine months. He also approved the provision of 30 armored and 200 unarmored Humvees, Sputnik reported.

The same day, the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund approved a new $17.5 billion financial aid package for Ukraine in exchange for additional painful austerity measures. (RT.com, March 11)  This is meant to ensure that Kiev will remain solvent enough to continue its proxy war in the coming months, despite its collapsing economy.

Whether or not the U.S. openly arms Ukraine with offensive weapons, or continues to do so covertly and through third countries, is far less significant that the blatant war moves of U.S. and NATO forces in the region.

Every day, it grows more urgent for the anti-war forces in the U.S. to stand up and demand: Stop the weapons, stop sanctions, stop provocations against Russia! Stand with the people of Donetsk and Lugansk resisting austerity and genocide!

http://www.iacenter.org/ukraine/ukraine031715//

Atlantic Resolve — continuous NATO war games on Russia’s western, southern borders

Washington and NATO control the narrative. Here, Lt. Gen. Hodges meets with “defense writers”, and tells them the spin.

Was he able to talk about diplomacy with a straight face?

From Rick Rozoff

U.S. Department of Defense
March 19, 2015
Army Commander in Europe Details Assurance Efforts
By Jim Garamone

nato2-aa05c-2-e50f3

WASHINGTON: Thirteen months after Russia began its occupation of Crimea, the United States and its European allies must remain steadfast against the threat such actions pose, the commander of U.S. Army Europe said here this week.

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges told the Defense Writers Group at a March 17 breakfast that the Russian action of illegally annexing Crimea from Ukraine and its continuing threat to the eastern part of Ukraine is a game-changer on the continent.

Atlantic Resolve Enables Cooperation

…Hodges told reporters to think of Atlantic Resolve as a continuous series of exercises, with American troops operating with troops in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, demonstrating America’s commitment to the defense of these NATO allies. Later this month, Atlantic Resolve exercises will expand to include Bulgaria and, later in the year, Romania, he said.

An airborne battalion from Vicenza, Italy, will jump into Romania and link up with a Stryker squadron coming by rail from Vilseck, Germany, Hodges said. “That will begin the introduction of [Operation Atlantic Resolve] into the south,” he added.

U.S. Army Europe also is working with countries in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, including Georgia and Ukraine. Beginning next month, troopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade will train Ukrainian Interior Ministry troops, and in May, U.S. paratroopers and tankers will exercise in Georgia, Hodges said.

Using Diplomatic, Economic Pressures

Reporters pressed Hodges on whether the United States should provide weapons to Ukraine. He said he can see both sides of the argument, but that the focus should not be on the weapons decision. “The focus should be on what is the desired end state, and can we get there using diplomatic and economic pressures and support,” he said.

https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/atlantic-resolve-continuous-nato-war-games-on-russias-western-southern-borders/