Six CF-18 Hornets from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron take off from Bagotville, Quebec on April 29, 2014 to fly to Romania as part of Canada’s contribution to NATO’s reassurance measures in order to ‘promote security and stability’ in Eastern and Central Europe. Photo: NATO
Harper again raises spectre of Russian threat in speech to troops
Steve Rennie CP/National Newswatch Canada August 26, 2014
BAFFIN ISLAND, Nunavut – An emboldened Russia is a threat to it neighbours in the Arctic and Canada must be ready to respond to any Russian incursions in the region, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday as he ended his yearly tour of Canada’s North.
In a chest-thumping address to troops who took part in a series of military manoeuvres off the coast of Baffin Island, Harper spoke of how Canada must never drop its guard in the face of growing Russian aggression.
“In Europe, we see the imperial ambitions of Vladimir Putin, who seems determined that, for Russia’s neighbours, there shall be no peace…,” Harper said.
“And because Russia is also Canada’s neighbour, we must not be complacent here at home.”
The prime minister told military personnel they would always be needed to fend off threats to Canada in an increasingly dangerous and uncertain world.
“As we look at the world around us today, we see growing threats in a growing number of places and the growing strength of people who disdain democracy, despise modernity and kill people who don’t share their religion,” Harper said.
“People who, given even a sliver of a chance, would destroy everything that we, as Canadians, hold dear and have repeatedly fought to protect.”
Related: Below: Renee Parsons was a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives and a lobbyist on nuclear energy issues with Friends of the Earth. in 2005, she was elected to the Durango City Council and served as Councilor and Mayor. Currently, she is a member of the Treasure Coast ACLU Board.
NATO – New York Times convoy fabrications
Renee Parsons CounterPunch USA August 25, 2014
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On Saturday, the entire humanitarian convoy of 227 trucks crossed back into Russia without incident after having successfully delivered its contents to the Luhansk distribution center. The unwavering round trip project from Russia surmounted considerable bureaucratic delays and political obstacles including wild assertions that the convoy’s true purpose was to ‘smuggle weapons’ to the east Ukraine rebels.
Amidst a multitude of frenzied claims from the Kiev government and its western allies that the convoy was intent on fomenting violence and escalating the conflict as it constituted an ‘illegal incursion” and ‘violated the sovereignty of Ukraine,” the trucks peacefully avoided any confrontation with Ukraine military forces by taking advantage of back roads.
Given the very urgent need to provide immediate medical relief and other life necessities to Ukraine citizens, what has been especially noteworthy during the ten day period in which the Russian convoy was stalled at the border is the extent to which the Kiev government and its EU/US/NATO partners would go to impede a convoy carrying humanitarian supplies.
Now that the mission has been successfully completed without any of the predicted dire consequences, the considerable amount of egg on the collective public faces of its opponents who deliberately provoked an unnecessary combative situation would normally be cause for considerable public embarrassment; yet will be easily overlooked by an obedient submissive media. Obviously, the leaders of the western triumvirate were fully conscious of the fact that the convoy was totally dedicated for humanitarian purposes but sought to use the convoy as part of the larger goal of sowing the seeds of distrust and hostility toward Russia and toward Vladimir Putin in particular. Deepening public enmity towards Putin and eroding his reputation as a world leader is essential for the next chapter in Ukraine – that is the take-back of Crimea, after the defeat of the east Ukraine rebels.
With an irresponsible pen more committed to reiterating the Obama Administration’s public relations campaign than journalism, the New York Times again failed in its role as guardian of the truth allowing inaccurate exaggerations and entirely false anecdotes to masquerade as news.
While relying on the usual unnamed, unspecified vague “intelligence reports from several alliance members,” the Times categorically stated that “Russia … escalated tensions with Ukraine…, sending more than 200 trucks from a long-stalled aid convoy and, NATO said, conducting military operations on Ukrainian territory.”
Curiously, the Times article is a somewhat odd, overlapping mixture of reference to the humanitarian convoy interwoven in a story about an alleged Russian military incursion as if the existence of the convoy somehow confirms that a military intrusion has occurred while strangely suggesting that “200 trucks” had something to do with ‘conducting military operations’.
According to the Times “NATO officials said that the Russian military had moved artillery units inside Ukrainian territory in recent days and was using them to fire at Ukrainian forces” and yet the Times reporters did not cite any of NATO’s proof that such artillery movement had occurred or how NATO could confirm that the artillery was firing at Ukrainian forces. In other words, NATO could say that the Moon is made of blue cheese and the Times would run the news in their Food section.
The basis for the assertions were a series of quotes from their favorite prattler NATO Secretary General Rasmussen who insisted (despite a total lack of verification) that “There has been “a major escalation in Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine since mid-August, including the use of Russian forces” and “Russian artillery support — both cross-border and from within Ukraine — being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces.” Again, the amazingly-incurious Times reporters dutifully wrote whatever they were told with no independent confirmation or analysis.
So as the Times not only included unsubstantiated, circumstantial quotes as fact but Mr. Rasmussen’s acknowledgment that he “did not say how many Russian artillery pieces had moved into Ukraine or where they were located, but one [unidentified] Western official said the number of Russian-operated artillery units was “substantial.”
Until finally, buried at the end of the lengthy article “There were no signs of Russian military vehicles or any other indications of an armed escort by Russian troops.”
NATO chief eyes more bases in E. Europe to confront Russia
RT Russia August 27, 2014
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Photo: Laurent Dubrule/Reuters
Under the pretext of an ‘overt’ Russian threat, NATO is pushing for a ‘readiness action plan’ that will bring the Cold War military bloc closer to Russian borders than ever – even despite objections from some NATO members.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the 28-nation military bloc, which meets next week in Cardiff, Wales, would attempt to overcome internal opposition and agree to the deployment of military bases near the Russian border.
Amid the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, which is fracturing the country along east-west ideological lines, NATO is preparing to install for the first time military “reception facilities” in Eastern European countries, including Poland and the three Baltic countries: Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
“We have something already called the NATO response force, whose purpose is to be able to be deployed rapidly if needed,” Rasmussen said in an interview with several European newspapers. “Now it’s our intention to develop what I would call a spearhead within that response force at very, very, high readiness. In order to be able to provide such rapid reinforcements you also need some reception facilities in host nations. So it will involve the pre-positioning of supplies, of equipment, preparation of infrastructure, bases, headquarters.”
British Foreign Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague (L) and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (R) unveil the logo for the upcoming NATO summit in Wales during a family photo of NATO Foreign Affairs ministers at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on June 25, 2014. Photo: AFP
The bottom line, according to the NATO chief, is that there will be “a more visible NATO presence in the east.”
Asked whether there would be permanent NATO presence in Eastern Europe, he said, “The brief answer is ‘yes’. To prevent misunderstanding, I use the phrase ‘for as long as necessary’. Our eastern allies will be satisfied when they see what is actually in the readiness action plan.”
Rasmussen, whose term expires on September 30, said the new NATO forces in Eastern Europe could be “deployed within hours.”
Needless to say, NATO’s militarization of the region will not sit well with Moscow, which has watched with increasing alarm since the collapse of the Soviet Union – despite pledges from the Western military bloc not to expand further east – as NATO continues its march towards Russia’s western border.
Currently, the Polish port city of Szczecin, which military experts anticipate will serve as one of NATO’s new “reception facilities,” represents NATO’s easternmost military presence.
Ironically, NATO’s latest enlargement plans are being opposed not just by Russia, but by its very members, some of whom do not see the point in aggravating tensions with Moscow.
It should come as no surprise that the United States and the United Kingdom, distant as they are from any potential fireworks on the European-Russian border, favor a military escalation in Eastern Europe. Other major NATO members, however, including France, Spain and Italy, have expressed serious reservations to the plans.
Meanwhile, Germany, NATO’s second strongest member, remains uncommitted to the expansion plans.
This should come as no surprise considering the recent deterioration in relations between Washington and Berlin.
Two NATO warships heading to Black Sea – report
RT Russia August 26, 2014
The guided-missile destroyer USS Ross. Photo: US Navy/AFP
A US Navy destroyer and a French frigate are expected to enter the waters of the Black Sea next week, a diplomatic and military source said.
“Two NATO warships at once will arrive in the Black Sea on September 3. They are US Navy’s destroyer USS Ross and frigate, Commandant Birot, of the naval forces of France,” the unnamed source told RIA-Novosti news agency.
There’s currently one NATO ship present in the Black Sea, with French surveillance ship, Dupuy de Lome, expected to remain in the area until September 5.
USS Vella Gulf, which was patrolling the black Sea since August 7, recently left for its port of commission.
The maintenance of the operational rotational presence of NATO ships does not promote stability in the Black Sea region in any way, the source noted.
According to the Montreux Convention of 1936, warships of non-Black Sea states can stay in the Black Sea for no more than 21 days.
But, earlier this year, the convention was violated by American frigate USS Taylor, which exceeded the authorized time limit by 11 days, the source said.
In July this year, the grouping of NATO ships in the Black Sea reached nine units, setting a record for the post-Soviet period.
Russia’s Putin says military escalation won’t solve Ukraine crisis
Alexei Anishchuk Thomson Reuters Canada/UK August 26, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with high-ranked officials representing Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the European Union in Minsk, August 26, 2014. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin/RIA Novosti/Reuters
MINSK (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday the crisis in Ukraine could not be solved by a further military escalation or without dialogue with representatives of the country’s Russian-speaking eastern regions.
“We are convinced that today, (the Ukraine crisis) cannot be solved by further escalation of the military scenario, without taking into account vital interests of the south-eastern regions of the country and without a peaceful dialogue with its representatives,” Putin said.