Tuesday 10th of December 2019

welcolme to nato, by jens stoltenberg...

umbragella

Good morning. It’s great to see you all.

Let me start by thanking Germany for hosting our conference this year.

And for being a major driver in technology and innovation.

Let me also thank all of you for being here and for joining us at this NATO Industry Forum. A very important platform for strengthening the cooperation between NATO, NATO allies and Industry which is so important for the whole Alliance.

I would also like to thank commissioner Elżbieta Bienkowska for being here today I think that’s a great example of how we are strengthening the cooperation between the European Union and NATO.

The NATO-Industry Forum plays a critical role in our long-standing engagement with industry.

And it is important that we continue to work hand in hand as we prepare for the future.

You are helping NATO to translate our standards and capability targets into practice.

Meeting you gives us all a clearer picture of how to increase our cooperation.

This is especially important as NATO continues to adapt to fast-changing security challenges.

At the Brussels Summit in July, we took significant steps to further bolster deterrence and defence.

With a new readiness initiative – Which we call the Four Thirties:

- 30 mechanised battalions 
- 30 air squadrons, and 
- 30 combat vessels 
- Ready to use within 30 days or less.

And this readiness initiative comes on top of all the other things we have done to increase the readiness of our forces. With tripling the size of the NATO response force and also by the fact that for the first time in our history we have combat ready forces, four battlegroups in the three Baltic Countries and in Poland and we also increased our personnel in the South East of the Alliance. So we are now in the midst of the biggest adaptation of the Alliance since the end of the Cold War and working with Industry is an important part of that adaptation.

We also decided at the Summit in July to adapt our command structure.

With a new Atlantic command in Norfolk, Virginia.

And a new command for support and logistics here in Germany in Ulm.

Both commands will help our forces become more mobile enabling rapid reinforcement within the Alliance ensuring the right forces in the right place at the right time, with the right readiness.

For our forces to be ready, they must be well-trained but also well equipped. And again the Industry is key to make sure we have the right equipment.

Our biggest exercise since the end of the Cold War, Trident Juncture, Has been taking place in Norway.

All 29 Allies participated.

Along with our closest partners, Finland and Sweden.

This is a defensive exercise.

Not directed against any country.

But it sends a clear message to any potential adversary that NATO is there to protect and defend all Allies. That we have the resources and capability to do so and by doing that we prevent conflict.

Trident Juncture included around 8,000 German troops. Because Germany will lead NATO’s Response Force next year. And through Trident Juncture we were able to test and certify the German troops being the lead troops for Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2019.

And it also included thousands of troops from the United States and Canada.

Demonstrating the enduring strength of bond between Europe and North America.

Trident Juncture was also a showcase of NATO’s ability to innovate.

From micro-drones and robotics to 3D printing.

For instance our commanders noticed that vehicles were breaking down more frequently due to the cold. It was actually not so cold but it was colder than in Brussels. It can be cold in Norway, that’s what I’m trying to say.

We started using 3D printing to make spare parts. These could be distributed immediately so we avoided the wait for spare parts to arrive from distant suppliers.

We also tested one of the smallest drones in world. A drone which can see in the dark.

Many of these technologies are about reacting and responding more quickly, seeing further and detecting threats well in advance.

Technologies like these could change the way we protect troops and conduct our operations.

We must continue to ensure that our skills and equipment are second to none.

***

NATO is likely to shape future of the defence industry in many different ways.

But let me mention three:

- How much Allies spend on defence. 
- What we spend on. 
- And how efficiently we spend the money we have.

First, how much we spend.

As you all most likely know, we made a defense investment pledge at the Summit in Wales, in 2014. We promised to stop the cuts, gradually increase, and then move towards spending 2% of GDP on defence within a decade.

And to be honest, just to be able to stop the cuts was a great promise. Because you have to understand that the starting point was that almost all Allies had cut defence spending, almost every year, for many years, since the end of the Cold War.

At the end of the Cold War we spent almost 3% of GDP that was the normal level of spending across Europe. 3% of GDP on Defence.

And now we are below 1.5%.

And it is extremely difficult to get political support on Defence because then you have to spend less on something else. It is easy to be in favour of spending more on something, it is much more difficult to identify what will get less, or to advocate for higher taxes.

So actually, just to stop the cuts was really a change. We have delivered, meaning that all Allies have stopped cuts, all Allies have increased.

And more and more Allies meet the 2 % target. And the majority of Allies have put forward a credible plan to reach 2% within a decade.

We also have to remember that we did not promise 2% next year, we promised within a decade.

So I am not saying we have delivered everything we shall already but I am saying that the whole Alliance have really turned a corner from reducing defence spending and now starting to increase defence spending. We have made significant steps in the right direction. The picture is still a bit mixed but at least it is much better than it was just a few years ago. In 2014 it was three Allies who met the 2% guideline now it’s 9 Allies. And the majority has put forward plans to be there within a decade.

So we will continue to address the issue of Defence spending.

This year European Allies and Canada have boosted their combined defence budgets by 5.2%

And just over past two years, those same countries have spent a cumulated US$41 billion more on defence.

We will have the national plans by the end of the year. And how to reach the 2% guidelines will be discussed by Defence Ministers next February so we must keep up the momentum.

If all European Allies and Canada met the 2% spending guideline, that would mean an extra 100 billion dollars every year for defence across Europe and Canada. That is roughly the equivalent of the combined defence spending of the United Kingdom and France.

So we speak about big money and this is also money that will sooner or later end up in the defence industry. At least some of it, not all, because we have to pay some salaries to the soldiers too. But a lot of it will be spent on equipment and research and development.

This will ensure Alliance remains at the leading edge of military technology in a world remains competitive and unpredictable.

***

The second way NATO is shaping the future of defence industry is: what we spend money on.

What capabilities we buy and for what purpose.

Allies have committed to invest 20% of all defence spending on major equipment.

Including related Research and Development.

In fact, this year NATO Allies are expected spend over 250 billion US dollars on major equipment.

And associated Research & Development.

More than 60 billion will be invested by European Allies.

Which represents an increase of some 10 billion over the last year.

And even more expected in the coming years.

To make sure our armed forces have the right quantity.

But also the right quality of equipment.

We identify priorities for defence across the Alliance.

And provide guidance to nations about where they should direct their investments.

This is actually one of the most important thing NATO does and this is what we call the Defence Planning Process where we identify the different capabilities that different Allies are supposed to deliver into our collective defence efforts.

We need to maintain an advantage in key areas such as Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

The alliance Future Surveillance and Control system.

Our Ballistic Missile Defence system.

And Alliance Ground Surveillance.

These projects are funded together, planned jointly and implemented cooperatively.

By several or all Allies.

And they bring together industries from both sides of Atlantic.

We also need to stay on top of new wave of technology.

Like artificial intelligence, machine learning, future computing techniques, and big data. This is a great challenge because we are challenged not only Russia but also China in these domains.

Restructured NATO Command Structure, we are setting up a Cyber Operations Centre in Mons, Belgium.

But we depend on our industry partners help stay ahead.

For example in the cyber domain we partner closely with industry to enhance capabilities.

So we can respond to increasingly complex cyberattacks.

Germany is a good example.

With the creation of Agency for Innovation on Cybersecurity.

***

Let me turn to the third point:

And that is how efficiently we spend our defence dollars, euros, pounds, and krone.

Many of you will have heard me say this before, but we must address the fragmentation of our defence industry, especially in Europe. We can and we must achieve greater efficiency by working more closely together.

For instance in Europe there are 17 different types of main battle tanks.

In the United States there is only one.

In Europe 13 different types of Air-to-Air Missile.

United States has three.

And European nations 29 different types of naval frigate.

United States has four.

This is something I addressed. But I also appreciate or welcome the fact that European leaders have addressed this again and again, the fragmentation of European defence industry. Difficult, political and sensitive but we need to address the challenge in one way or another.

By planning and spending together, we spend smarter.

For decades, through the tried and tested NATO Defence Planning Process.

We define requirements and set capability targets.

For individual Allies. And for NATO.

Better coordination of Allies’ requirements allows us to move forward on key capabilities.

Like precision-guided munitions.

Strategic airlift.

And air-to-air refuelling.

We also coordinate capability development with the EU.

And I welcome the renewed initiative by the EU leaders to strengthen cooperation with industry.

This is an important element of the EU’s Global Strategy and the European Defence Action Plan.

It is essential that we work together to ensure new EU initiative is fully coordinated with NATO.

Which is one reason I very much welcome presence, once again, of Commissioner Bienkowska at this Forum.

Elżbieta, your participation underscores your commitment to transparency and collaboration with NATO.

And I appreciate that very much.

It is important for NATO and important the European Union.

***

NATO has long history of working with industry partners.

Which is underscored by the fact that NATO Industrial Advisory Group is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

It is essential we continue to work closely together.

Now and for many decades to come.

I put my trust in knowledge, skills and ingenuity of our partners in industry and academia.

Industry is full of extraordinary people.

By harnessing their talents and ideas.

By putting the most advanced technologies in hands of our brave men and women in uniform.

And by working effectively and efficiently together.

We will continue to defend our countries, uphold our values and preserve the peace.

So I wish you a successful debate at this Forum.

 

Read more:

http://www.voltairenet.org/article203900.html

back in recent hysterics (2011)...

...

The Atlantic alliance is now engaged for the first time ever in a military operation without the leadership of the superpower that created the organisation and that remains its raison d'être. And we mustn’t fool ourselves: a NATO without U.S. leadership is no longer NATO, but something quite different. No wonder it is damned for doing and damned for not doing: France and the United Kingdom condemn it for its lack of resolution, while Germany and Turkey harp at it for the civilian casualties caused by the bombing.

The non-doctrine doctrine

A NATO riven by such conflicting voices and such distinct practical positions looks like a twin of the European Union. So why do we need a NATO that carries on like the EU, when we already have the EU? If the EU had been ready and willing to take command the talk would be over. It was the chance to step forward. A wave of change across the Mediterranean that needs everything from humanitarian relief to military action to financial and political support for the transitions was the chance for a common European foreign and defence policy to emerge at last. It probably won’t turn out like that, and out of this huge crisis will stagger just another couple of political corpses: NATO, which will never go back to what it once was, and the EU, which will never again be the sole body able to give any significance to what it still is.

Washington initially took action and committed itself at the urging of France and the UK. Without that decision by Obama, Gadhafi would have run amuck by now and the rebellion would have been crushed. But afterwards Obama buckled under to domestic pressure, which discouraged him from getting involved in a third war, quickly qualified from America as a choice and not a necessity; pressure to defend values, and not interests. The confusion in his strategy is colossal. Richard Cohen, a columnist for the Washington Post, calls the new orientation the “Non-Doctrine Doctrine”: Obama has no international strategy at all, and this is his strategy. Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group think tank explains that the world is now being governed by the “G-Zero”, which is taking over from the G-8, G-20 or G-2 (U.S. and China) clubs that are supposed to represent the economic leadership of the world. In other words, no one is in charge.

All this is of great interest in understanding the new world passing before our astonished gaze. But then there is a more practical and urgent problem that geopolitics will not resolve, because it is the responsibility of policy to do so. How do we end for once and for all this war that is bleeding Libya and destabilising the entire Mediterranean area?

Translated from the Spanish by Anton Baer

 

From:

https://voxeurop.eu/en/content/article/601831-eu-and-nato-tail-spin

military

 

Read also: meanwhile, il pagliaccio returns to libya... 

 

Pleae note in regard to the "30" whatever (read at top), should war be "inadvertently" started by NATO, which is a high possibility, NATO would have less than 15 minutes to clear its positions before being hit by "hypersonic" missiles. 

Jens Stoltenberg lies...

 

The nuclear lies of Jens Stoltenberg


by Manlio Dinucci



Just as NATO denounces the boarding of Ukrainian ships by Russia, without noting that they had violated its maritime space, so its Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, denounces the danger of Russian missiles. The principles of propaganda never change – avoid the context and distort the scale of the facts.



« Russian missiles are a danger » - the alarm was sounded by the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, in an interview with Maurizio Caprara published in the Corriere della Sera, three days before the « incident » in the Sea of Azov which added fuel to the already incandescent tension with Russia [1]. « There are no new missiles in Europe. But there are Russian missiles, yes », began Stoltenberg, ignoring two facts.

- First : as from March 2020, the United States will begin to deploy in Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Holland (where B-61 nuclear bombs are already based), and probably also in other European countries, the first nuclear bomb with precision guidance in their arsenal, the B61-12. Its function is primarily anti-Russian. This new bomb is designed with penetrating capacity, enabling it to explode underground in order to destroy the central command bunkers with its first strike. How would the United States react if Russia deployed nuclear bombs in Mexico, right next to their territory? Since Italy and the other countries, violating the non-proliferation Treaty, are allowing the USA to use its bases, as well as its pilots and planes, for the deployment of nuclear weapons, Europe will be exposed to a greater risk as the first line of the growing confrontation with Russia.

- Second : a new US missile system was installed in Romania in 2016, and another similar system is currently being built in Poland. The same missile system is installed on four warships which, based by the US Navy in the Spanish port of Rota, sail the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea close to Russian territory. The land-based installations, like the ships, are equipped with Lockheed Martin Mk41 vertical launchers, which – as specified by the manufacturer himself – are able to launch « missiles for all missions : either SM-3’s as defence against ballistic missiles, or long-range Tomahawks to attack land-based objectives ». The latter can also be loaded with a nuclear warhead. Since it is unable to check which missiles are actually loaded into the launchers parked at the frontier with Russia, Moscow supposes that there are also nuclear attack missiles, in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which forbids the installation of intermediate- and short-range missiles on land bases.

On the contrary, Stoltenberg accuses Russia of violating the INF Treaty, and sends out a warning : « We can not allow the Treaties to be violated without punishment ».

In 2014, the Obama administration accused Russia, without providing the slightest proof, of having tested a Cruise missile (SSC-8) from a category forbidden by the Treaty, announcing that « the United States are considering the deployment of land-based missiles in Europe », in other words, the abandon of the INF Treaty. This plan, supported by the European allies of NATO, was confirmed by the Trump administration : in the fiscal year of 2018, Congress authorised the financing of a programme of research and development for a Cruise missile to be launched from a mobile platform. Nuclear missiles of the Euromissile type, deployed by the USA in Europe during the 1980’s and eliminated by the INF Treaty, are capable of hitting Russia, while similar nuclear missiles deployed in Russia can hit Europe but not the USA. Stoltenberg himself, referring to the SSC-8’s that Russia had deployed on its own territory, declared that they are capable of reaching most of Europe, but not the United States ». This is how the United States defends Europe.

And in this grotesque affirmation by Stoltenberg, who attributes to Russia « the highly perilous idea of limited nuclear conflict », he warns : « All atomic weapons are dangerous, but those which can lower the threshold for use are especially so ». This is exactly the warning sounded by US military and scientific experts about the B61-12’s which are on the verge of being deployed in Europe : « Low-powered, more accurate nuclear weapons increase the temptation of using them, even to using them first instead of as a riposte ».

Why is the  Corriere della Sera not going to interview them ?

The  Corriere della Sera is a historical Italian daily newspaper, founded in Milan in 1876. Published by RCS MediaGroup, it is the most important Italian daily in terms of distribution and the number of readers.

Manlio Dinucci

Translation 
Pete Kimberley

Source 
Il Manifesto (Italy)

 

Read more:

http://www.voltairenet.org/article203443.html

 

 

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tomorrow there will be no time to decide...

The EU votes for the installation of new US missiles in Europe


Opinion » Columnists 

By Manlio Dinucci



Near the United Nations Glass Palace in New York, there is a metallic sculpture entitled "Evil Defeated by Good", representing Saint George transfixing a dragon with his lance. It was donated by the USSR in 1990 to celebrate the INF Treaty concluded with the USA in 1987, which banned land-based short- and mid-range nuclear missiles (a reach of between 500 and 5,000 km). Symbolically,the body of the dragon is in fact made with pieces of US Pershing-2 ballistic missiles (originally based in West Germany) and Soviet SS-20 missiles (originally based in the USSR).

But the nuclear dragon, which in the sculpture is shown as dying, is now being reborn. Thanks to Italy and other countries of the European Union, which, at the United Nations General Assembly, voted against the resolution presented by Russia on the "Preservation and Implementation of the INF Treaty", rejected by 46 to 43 with 78 abstentions.

The European Union - of which 21 of its 27 members are part of NATO (including the United Kingdom, which is currently leaving the EU) - has thus taken a uniform stance with the position of NATO, which in turn has taken a uniform stance with that of the United States.


The Obama administration first, followed by the Trump administration, have accused Russia, without any proof, of experimenting with a missile from the forbidden category, and have announced their intention of withdrawing from the INF Treaty. At the same time, they have launched a programme aimed at renewing the installation of nuclear missiles in Europe to guard against Russia, while others will also be based in the Asia-Pacific region against China.

The Russian representative at the UN has warned that "this constitutes the beginning of a full-blown arms race". In other words, he warned that if the United States should once again install in Europe nuclear missiles pointed at Russia (as were the Cruise missiles based in Comiso in the 1980's), Russia would once again install, on its own territory, similar weapons pointed at targets in Europe (but which would be unable to reach the USA).

Ignoring all that, the EU representative at the UNO accused Russia of sabotaging the INF Treaty, and announced the opposition vote by all the countries of the Union because "the resolution presented by Russia avoids the question under discussion". Essentially, therefore, the European Union has given the green light to the possible installation of new US missiles in Europe, including Italy.


On a question of this importance, the Conte government, like its predecessors, has abandoned the exercise of national sovereignty and aligned itself with the EU, which, has in turn adopted the position of NATO, under US command. And across the entire political arc, not one voice has been raised to request that it should be the Parliament which decides how to vote at the UNO. And similarly, no voice has been raised in Parliament to request that Italy observe the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires that the USA must withdraw its B61 nuclear bombs from our national territory, and must also abstain from installing here, as from the first half of 2020, the new and even more dangerous B61-12's.

So this is a new violation of the fundamental constitutional principle that "sovereignty belongs to the people". And since the politico-media apparatus swaddles Italians in the ignorance of these questions of such vital importance, it is also a violation of our right to information, not only in the sense of the freedom to inform, but also the right to be informed.

We must do this now, or else tomorrow there will be no time to decide - a mid-range ballistic missile can reach and destroy its target with its nuclear warhead in between 6 and 11 minutes.

 

Manlio Dinucci

Translation by
Pete Kimberley

Source 
Il Manifesto (Italy)


See more at http://www.pravdareport.com/opinion/columnists/23-01-2019/142192-us_miss...

 

 

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Note this was also posted earlier, when sourced from the Voltaire Network but this warranted to be posted again and again...

sleepwalking wilfully on a hanging rope...

Leonid Bershidsky makes a good case against bringing North Macedonia into NATO:

For the U.S., which provides the security umbrella for NATO countries, North Macedonia looks to be just another freeloader. Its military spending will amount to 1.19 percent of gross domestic product this year – roughly the same level as in Germany, which Trump has repeatedly upbraided for its pacifism. In absolute terms, it’s a pittance, some $153 million in 2019 for a military with about 8,000 active personnel. NATO gains nothing by taking it in and stretching the umbrella a little more.

The alliance isn’t losing much, either. Once can hardly see Russia, or anyone else, attacking Montenegro or North Macedonia. But the U.S. does need to consider what it gets out of an alliance with an increasing number of small members primarily interested using it as a step on the way to EU accession. 

Everything Bershidsky says is true, and it lines up with what I have been sayingabout adding Montenegro and (North) Macedonia to the alliance for years. The U.S. doesn’t need more security dependents, and expanding the alliance to include these states doesn’t make the U.S. one iota more secure and it doesn’t make the alliance any stronger. 

By padding the alliance’s membership with small states that add little or nothing to U.S. and European security, NATO expansion has become a zombie process that continues for its own sake long after it ceased to serve any legitimate purpose. Bershidsky is more generous about previous rounds of expansion than I am, but adding North Macedonia is so ridiculous and unnecessary that he throws up his hands in dismay:

It’s hard, if not impossible, to make any kind of geo-strategic case for North Macedonia’s NATO membership. The country didn’t play a major role in the Balkans conflict. It is tiny, landlocked and resource-poor. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s government hasn’t even tried to make the case. It’s interested in a NATO membership less as a security guarantee than as a de facto prerequisite for EU membership.

The funny thing about the latest round of expansion in the Balkans is that it has taken place on Trump’s watch. Atlanticists have been pulling their hair out for years over Trump’s alleged anti-NATO attitudes, but when it comes to how the alliance is run Trump has done nothing significantly different in practice from his predecessors. He will whine about how other members aren’t paying what they “owe,” and he doesn’t seem to grasp that alliances are not protection rackets, but that hasn’t stopped the alliance from adding two new free-riding allies while he is president. The president’s supposed hostility to NATO has never been as strong or as serious as his hawkish detractors have claimed, and this is just one more issue on which the president likes to make a lot of noise while doing nothing to change the status quo.

The danger from these useless rounds of expansion is that it will tempt the alliance into trying to bring in even more states in areas that matter more to Russia. Russia protests all NATO expansion, but there are some countries along its borders that it will absolutely not allow to join. The alliance has had a bad track record of understanding the second part. The alliance should be satisfied that it now has a nice round number of 30 members and never add another. Unfortunately, there will likely continue to be agitation for more expansion in both the north and the east. Based on the experience of previous rounds, there will be almost no serious debate in Washington over whether to make NATO even bigger.

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/zombie-nato-expansion-st...

 

 

 

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adding undemocratic nato rules in ukraine...

 

Ukraine : NATO in the Constitution

by Manlio Dinucci

 

Moving always further away from democratic principles, the Ukrainian parliament has outlawed political parties and personalities who contest the project of membership of NATO and the European Union.


The day after the signature of NATO’s membership protocol with North Macedonia as its 30th member, Ukraine did something without precedent : it included in its Constitution the engagement to enter officially into NATO and the European Union at the same time.


On 7 February, on a proposition by President Petro Poroshenko – the oligarch who made himself rich by plundering public properties, and who is once again a candidate for the presidency – the Kiev parliament, by 334 votes to 35 with 16 abstentions, approved these amendments to the Constitution.


The Introduction pronounces « the irreversible movement of Ukraine towards Euro-Atlantic integration » ; articles 85 and 116 state that it is a fundamental duty of the parliament and the government to « obtain Ukraine’s full membership of NATO and the EU » ; article 102 stipulates that « the President of Ukraine is the guarantor of the strategic decisions of the State aimed at obtaining full membership of NATO and the EU ».


The inclusion in the Ukrainian Constitution of the engagement to enter officially into NATO bears with it some very serious consequences.


On the interior, it alienates the future of Ukraine from this choice, by excluding any alternative, and outlaws de facto any party or person who might oppose the « strategic decisions of the state ». Already, the Central Electoral Commission has forbidden Petro Simonenko, director of the Ukrainian Communist Party, to participate in the Presidential elections to be held in March.


The merit for having introduced into the Ukrainian Constitution the engagement to enter officially into NATO goes in particular to Parliamentary President Andriy Parubiy [1]. Co-founder in 1991 of the Ukrainian National-Socialist Party, on the model of Adolf Hitler’s National-Socialist Party ; head of the neo-Nazi paramilitary formations which were used in 2014 during the putsch of Place Maïdan under US/NATO command, and in the massacre of Odessa [2] ; head of the Ukraine National Security and Defense Council, which, with the Azov Battalion [3] and other neo-Nazi units, attacked Ukrainian civilians of Russian nationality in the Eastern part of the country and used his squadrons for acts of ferocious abuse, the plunder of political headquarters and other auto-da-fés in a truly Nazi style.


On the international level, we should keep in mind that Ukraine is already linked to NATO, of which it is a partner : for example, the Azov Battalion, whose Nazi character is represented by the emblem copied from that of the SS unit Das Reich, has been transformed into a special operations regiment, equipped with armoured vehicles and trained by US instructors from the 173rd Airborne Division, transferred to Ukraine from Vicence, and seconded by other NATO members.


Since Russia has been accused by NATO of having illegally annexed Crimea, and of launching military operations against Kiev, should Ukraine officially join NATO, the 30 other members of the Alliance, on the basis of article 5, would be obliged to « assist the party or parties under attack by adopting immediately, individually and in agreement with the other parties, any action that it should deem necessary, including the use of armed force ».


In other words, they would have to go to war with Russia.


These dangerous implications of the modification of the Ukrainian Constitution – behind which are most certainly strategies by the USA and NATO – have been met with political and media silence. Including that of the Italian parliament, which, in 2017 established an agreement with the Ukrainian parliament, supported by Laura Boldrini and Andriy Parubiy. Thus cooperation has been reinforced between the Italian Republic, born of resistance against fascism and Nazism, and a régime which has created in Ukraine a situation similar to that which brought about the arrival of fascism in the 1920’s and Nazism in the 1930’s.


Manlio Dinucci

Translation 

Pete Kimberley


Source 

Il Manifesto (Italy)

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article205172.html

 

 

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Soon the Ukrainian lingo will be outlawed for looking a bit too Roosky and will be replaced with Yankee English...

fighting the blue smoke...

The timing of the article could hardly have been better. On Feb. 12, just three days before the beginning of last weekend's Munich Security Conference, it was published on the website of the U.S. magazine National Interest. And it quickly became a topic of fevered discussion among conference participants, particularly those from Europe. "Dump NATO," blared the headline.The piece wasn't written by a no-name. Its author is Christian Whiton, a former State Department adviser during the administrations of both President George W. Bush and Donald Trump. His central message in the piece is that the United States should back out of NATO. The sooner the better.

"A rich continent with a $17 trillion economy -- more than 10 times the size of Russia's -- does not need America to underwrite its defense," he writes. NATO, Whiton believes, "is little more than a mechanism for Old Europe to freeload off of America." 

Freeload. That's the tone in which the entire article is written. It is both hostile and scornful in the extreme. And along with NATO, Whiton also throws the entire canon of Western values onto the trash heap of history. "Most of the countries in Old Europe have chosen atheism, globalism, multiculturalism and decadent decline," he writes. "What exactly are we defending?"

In normal times, it would be simple to just dismiss the "Dump NATO" article as the ramblings of a fringe lunatic -- as a provocation or aberration that has little to do with reality. But not these days. Not in an era in which Whiton's article likely reflects exactly what the American president is thinking.

Piling On the Pressure

Donald Trump has publicly called the Western defensive alliance into question on several occasions and has reportedly discussed with his advisers whether the U.S. should simply withdraw from NATO entirely. According to participants in those discussions quoted by the New York Times, he doesn't see the point of the alliance. Not only that, but he orders European countries around as though they were his subordinates, he piles on the pressure and he carries out secret talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

 

Read more:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/trump-attacks-on-nato-force-eu...

 

 

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nato's anti-democratic goals...

With NATO turning 70 next week it’s a good occasion to revisit the creation of a military alliance operating under the stated principle that an “attack  against one ally is considered as an attack against all allies.” Now encompassing 29 member states, the north Atlantic alliance was instigated by US, British and Canadian officials.

Formally, NATO was the West’s response to an aggressive Soviet Union, but the notion that the US, or even Western Europe, was threatened by the Soviet Union after World War II is laughable. Twenty-five million people in the Soviet Union lost their lives in the war while the US came out of WWII much stronger than when they entered it. After the destruction of WWII, the Soviets were not interested in fighting the US and its allies, which Canadian and US officials admitted privately. In April 1945 Canada’s ambassador to Russia, Dana Wilgress, concluded that “the interests  of the Soviet privileged class are bound up with the maintenance of a long period of peace.” The Soviet elite, the ambassador continued in an internal memo, was “fearful of the possibility of attack from abroad” and “obsessed with problems of security.” Wilgress believed the Soviets wanted a post-war alliance with the UK to guarantee peace in Europe (with a Soviet sphere in the East and a UK-led West.) Internally, US officials came to similar conclusions.

Rather than a defence against possible Russian attack, NATO was partly conceived as a reaction to growing socialist sentiment in Western Europe. During WWII self-described communists opposed Mussolini in Italy, fought the fascists in Greece and resisted the Nazi occupation of France. As a result, they had a great deal of prestige after the war, unlike the wealth-holders and church officials who backed the fascists. If not for US/British interference, communists, without Moscow’s support, would probably have taken power in Greece and won the 1948 election in Italy. In France the Communist Party won 30 percent of the first post-war vote, filling a number of ministries in a coalition government.

At the time of Italy’s first post-war election, prominent Canadian diplomat Escott Reid, explained that “the whole  game of the Russians is obviously to conquer without armed attack.” For his part, Pearson decried an “attempt  at a complete Russian conquest of Italy by constitutional or extra-constitutional means” and described class struggle by workers as a “new and sinister kind of danger, indirect aggression.”

US officials were equally concerned. George Kennan, the top US government policy planner at the time of NATO’s formation, considered “the communist  danger in its most threatening form as an internal problem that is of western society.” For his part NATO commander Dwight D. Eisenhower explained: “One  of the great and immediate uses of the [NATO] military forces we are developing is to convey a feeling of confidence to exposed populations, a confidence which will make them sturdier, politically, in their opposition to Communist inroads.”

NATO planners feared a weakening of self-confidence among Western Europe’s elite and the widely held belief that communism was the wave of the future. Tens of thousands of North American troops were stationed in Western Europe to strengthen the Western European elite’s confidence to face growing left-wing parties and movements. Apparently, “Secret anti-Communist NATO protocols” committed alliance countries’ intelligence agencies to preventing communist parties from gaining power. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, information surfaced regarding groups the CIA and MI6 organized to “stay-behind” in case of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. No invasion took place, of course. Instead, NATO’s Secret Armies notes: “The real and present danger in the eyes of the secret war strategists in Washington and London were the at-times numerically strong Communist parties in the democracies of Western Europe. Hence the network in the total absence of a Soviet invasion took up arms in numerous countries and fought a secret war against the political forces of the left. The secret armies… were involved in a whole series of terrorist operations and human rights violations that they wrongly blamed on the Communists in order to discredit the left at the polls.”

Informally known as “Operation Gladio”, these right- wing “stay behind” groups were overseen by NATO’s Office of Security. A Spanish paper reported, in November 1990, “The Supreme  Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe (SHAPE), directing organ of NATO’s military apparatus, coordinated the actions of Gladio, according to the revelations of Gladio Secretary General Manfred Wörner during a reunion with the NATO ambassadors of the 16 allied nations.” At the time the European Parliament condemned Operation Gladio and requested an investigation, which hasn’t been undertaken.

Canada was one of two NATO countries omitted from Daniele Ganser’s NATO’s Secret Armies (Iceland was the other). No researcher has tied the two together, but the year after NATO was established the RCMP began a highly secretive espionage operation and internment plan known as PROFUNC (PROminent FUNCtionaries of the Communist Party). In October 2010 CBC’s Fifth Estate and Radio-Canada’s Enquête aired shows on “this secret  contingency plan, called PROFUNC, [which] allowed police to round up and indefinitely detain Canadians believed to be Communist sympathizers.” In case of a “national security” threat up to 16,000 suspected communists and 50,000 sympathizers were to be apprehended and interned in one of eight camps across the country. Initiated by RCMP Commissioner Stuart Taylor Wood in 1950, the plan continued until 1983.

Blunting the European Left was an important part of the establishment of NATO. As odes to the organization ring across the dominant media during this week’s 70thcelebrations, it’s important to remember that NATO was birthed with an elitist, anti-democratic intent. Its reason for creation was to manage “democracy” so that existing elites maintained their status.

 

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jens serves the same NATO crap again...

 

‘Obscene’ Bipartisan Applause for NATO in Congress

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress fanning the fire of a ‘Russian threat.’ Peter Kuznick says it is an ‘obscene bipartisan spectacle applauding war’; Pietro Shakarian discusses the self-serving NATO expansion and the hyperbolic Russia threat narrative

 

SHARMINI PERIES: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

NATO’s Secretary General Jans Stoltenberg addressed a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, on the occasion of NATO’s seventieth anniversary since its founding. In his speech, Stoltenberg warned about the threat posed by a more assertive Russia. Here’s what he said.

JANS STOLTENBERG: We will need to continue to deal with a more assertive Russia. In 2014, Russia illegally annexed Crimea, the first time in Europe that one country had taken part of another by force since World War II. And we see a pattern of Russian behavior, including a massive military buildup from the Arctic to the Mediterranean and from the Black Sea to the Baltic, the use of a military grade nerve agent in the United Kingdom, support for Assad’s murderous regime in Syria, consistent cyberattacks on NATO allies and partners targeting everything from parliaments to power grids, sophisticated disinformation campaigns, and attempts to interfere in democracy itself.

SHARMINI PERIES: In order to guard against this assumed threat, Stoltenberg advocated for a further expansion of NATO, which will soon take in northern Macedonia as its 38 member country. Another country that is in waiting is Georgia. And let’s listen to what he said about this.

JANS STOLTENBERG: We have increased the readiness of our forces, tripled the size of the NATO Response Force, modernized the command structure, bolstered our cyberdefenses, and we have stepped up our support to our close partners, Georgia and Ukraine, sovereign nations with a sovereign right to choose their own path.

SHARMINI PERIES: Shortly before Stoltenberg’s speech to Congress, he met with President Trump, where Trump contradicted Stoltenberg about the alleged threat that Russia poses.

DONALD TRUMP: I hope we have a good relationship with Russia and with, by the way, China and everybody else. But I think the fact that we have NATO—and NATO is a lot stronger since I’ve been President, would you say that’s correct? We’ve taken a lot more money and—

JANS STOLTENBERG: Allies are investing more, and that provides some new capabilities. We need to maintain credible defense and defense for all NATO countries.

DONALD TRUMP: But I think we’ll get along with Russia. I do believe that.

SHARMINI PERIES: Joining me now to discuss the significance of Stoltenberg’s visit and NATO’s expansion is Peter Kuznick and Pietro Shakarian.

Peter Kuznick is Professor of History and the Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University. He’s the author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists in 1930’s America. He’s also the author of The Untold History of the United States, along with Oliver Stone. Thanks for joining us, Peter.

PETER KUZNICK: Good to be here, Sharmini.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. Pietro Shakarian is a PhD candidate in History at Ohio State University focusing on history of Russia and the Caucasus and the former USSR. He’s also the host of a podcast called Reconsidering Russia. Pietro, thanks for joining us.

PIETRO SHAKARIAN: Thank you, Sharmini. It’s pleasure to be here.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. Pietro, let me start with you, then. The government of Georgia has been quite eager to join NATO. We should keep in mind that NATO has been increasing in size from its start; 12 members to 16 members in 1999, to 29 members today. Why is this expansion of NATO happening, and what is it adding for member states such as Georgia or Northern Macedonia and others who are eager to join NATO?

PIETRO SHAKARIAN: Well, I can’t speak to the case of Northern Macedonia, but I can certainly speak to the case of Georgia. I study the Caucasus region, I’m very familiar with these countries. And I think that from the Georgian perspective, there is this idea that if we were to join NATO, then we could use NATO as a means to regain control of these two breakaway territories known as Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which basically broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s. There was a nationalist president of Georgia at the time, Zviad Gamsakhurdia. And essentially, these regions have been kind of living a separate existence from Georgia since this period of time.

And Russia originally played like the mediator in these two enclaves’ relations with Georgia, and then Saakashvili came to power. And already, Shevardnadze was flirting with the idea of NATO, but Saakashvili really was pro-Western, and he came to power in the Rose Revolution of 2003. And he really, really pushed the idea of NATO and the EU in Georgia. And it was Saakashvili who started the war in 2008 by attacking South Ossetia and triggering a bear-like response from Russia. And since then, Russia has actually recognized and fully supported the breakaway enclaves of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

And so, this is the situation right now. You have these two breakaways that are supported by Russia. And if Georgia were to attack them again, it would be a very, very dangerous situation. Fortunately, in Georgia, even though NATO–it should be contextualized that even though NATO is still on the table in Georgia, the new leadership since 2012, this is the Georgian Dream party of Bidzina Ivanishvili, have been more in favor of dialogue with Russia. Unfortunately, the United States, in the process, has been more and more–I mean certain politicians in the United States, the war hawks in the United States, have been encouraging Georgia’s NATO aspirations. NATO officials like Stoltenberg have been encouraging Georgia’s NATO aspirations, which I think draw more of a wedge between Georgia and its breakaways and Russia.

And I think Georgia’s keeping NATO right now on the table under Ivanishvili and his party–now it’s Zurabishvili, actually, she’s the figurehead president. But they’re keeping NATO on the table as like a bargaining chip, as a form of leverage. So that’s kind of the context.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. Peter, now let me go to you. Historically, NATO was supposed to ward off the Soviet Union, but the Soviet Union no longer, obviously, exists. So give us some context here as to is Russia replacing the Soviet Union, and is it the threat that Stoltenberg is posing to Congress in this way?

PETER KUZNICK: Russia has never been the threat that NATO made it out to be. Go back to 1949. Wall Street Journal had an article in 1949 saying that if Russia wanted to attack the United States, it would have to swim to get here to attack us. People knew in the beginning that there was no threat from Russia, no serious threat. Russia never had a plan for world conquest. They weren’t aggressive, they were very defensive. They wanted a buffer zone between themselves and Germany, which had invaded them twice in a short period of time in the 20th century. Russia did not pose a threat in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Russia did not pose a threat in 1999 when the expansion began. It hasn’t posed a threat since, really, militarily. The NATO countries spend 75 percent of the world’s armaments. They also sell 75 percent, sometimes the United States alone sells 75 percent of international armaments.

Russia does not pose a military threat, but Russia has increasingly become defensive because of this NATO encroachment up to Russia’s doorstep. So Russia has built up its military defenses. In Putin’s March 1, 2018 State of the Nation Address, he said that Russia has now developed five new nuclear weapons, all of which can circumvent U.S. missile defense. He said, “You didn’t listen to us, but you’d better listen to us now.” When you get Stoltenberg and George W. Bush in 2008, who says, “We want to expand NATO to Georgia and Ukraine,” that was a red line that was too far for Putin to accept. So we see what happens, that Pietro was just talking about, in Georgia. And then we also saw what happened in Ukraine when the United States began pushing that after the coup. And there are red lines that Russia will not tolerate NATO and the United States and the West crossing. But we are not paying attention to that, and that’s created a very, very dangerous global situation now.

SHARMINI PERIES: Now, Peter, of course in NATO’s founding raison d’être, the Soviet Union was the focus and the threat. But its expansion today, is it needed? Is it something that is required except for the development of the arms industry in these countries?

PETER KUZNICK: There have been so many times that NATO could have been stopped. It should have not happened in 1949. It had opponents in 1949, the Russia experts, George Kennan, Charles Bolden. You had Henry Wallace, of course, on the left, you had Robert Taft on the right, Mr. Republican, all opposing NATO, saying that dividing the world into two armed blocs and alliances is a path to war, not a path to peace. In 1953, when Stalin died, the Soviets reached out to the United States, wanted to end the Cold War at that point. We could have done it in ’57. We could have done it in ’62 after the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Kennedy and Khrushchev wanted to do so. Reagan and Gorbachev in 1986 at Reykjavik. And then 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, was a perfect opportunity. They didn’t have a raison d’être anymore.

Gorbachev said, “We’re going to do the worst thing possible for you, we’re going to leave you without an enemy.” But we needed enemies. As you say, the military, the defense establishment, the arms industry, they needed an enemy, and we found new enemies. Did Russia pose a threat to us when they were the first country to support the United States after 9/11? No. In 2003 when they supported us in Afghanistan? No. They didn’t pose a threat until we started to expand in ways that they found very, very threatening to their own national security.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. Pietro, let’s break down the role NATO is playing for these countries in Eastern Europe that are lining up to join NATO–I mean, of course with the exception of what you were saying earlier in terms of Georgia, its being used as a bargaining chip of some sort. But what interests do these countries have in joining NATO?

PIETRO SHAKARIAN: Well, I think in part, I don’t think they have any interest. I think that actually what this does is it just destabilizes the region more, it ratchets up the potential for conflict in the region. And on top of that, the other issue that Peter was mentioning, which is this idea of arms sales, it beefs up the arms industries and defense industries of the countries, that’s a very, very good point. Because really what this does is it kind of markets around NATO almost as like a business for the arms industry.

And actually, it’s naked ambition. The reason why I say it’s naked ambition is because listen to Stoltenberg’s speech today. One of the things he talks about is “NATO, we create jobs, we are good for the economy, we boost the economy.” And so, I think that this is something we have to keep in stock. This is not about–first of all, it’s ridiculous that this would be about democracy or peace or anything like that, because war is antithetical to democracy and peace. But also, I would say it’s about business. I mean, fundamentally at the end of the day, that what it’s about. And little Georgia, it’s being played in terms of these kind of business ambitions that go along with the ambitions of the defense industries. So that’s, I think, another very important point that should be mentioned in this discussion as well.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. Peter, how do you see this role of NATO within U.S. politics. I mean, historically, NATO has been a very bipartisan issue, apparently Congressional Republicans and Democrats want to keep it that way. Why is it important for them to have Stoltenberg speaking to Congress and prop up NATO in this way, where in the last two years, Trump has actually been a bit dismissive of NATO, and talking about how they’re not carrying their share of NATO’s costs and membership fees and so forth.

PETER KUZNICK: Sharmini, wasn’t the visuals there pretty shocking, looking as though the race there in the Congress was who could jump up first to applaud for Stoltenberg; was it going to be McConnell or was it going to be Pelosi? Who’s going to be quicker to prostrate themselves in this way? You know, there’s something going on that’s quite bizarre. The Democrats have really moved to the right of the Republicans in terms of foreign policy on issue after issue. That’s very distressing to me. Democrats should at least be somewhat critical of U.S. warmaking, somewhat critical of U.S. empire, somewhat critical of the military-industrial complex. But they fall over themselves just to be obsequious in this way. Why? Because Stoltenberg implicitly, symbolically is coming there as the antidote to Trump because of Trump’s attacks on NATO and Trump’s dismissiveness toward NATO.

We know in reality Trump is not anti-NATO. Trump has said things on a couple of occasions, but he is not sincerely anti-NATO any more than he wants to pull out of Afghanistan or Syria. Trump is militarist. So Stoltenberg comes there to reassure them, but it’s an obscene bipartisan spectacle where people are applauding war. We look at some of the history of NATO, we look at the invasion of Afghanistan, we look at the NATO bombing and overthrow of Gadhafi in Libya, we look at NATO increasing involvement in Africa. NATO was once supposed to be a defensive institution that’s turned very much into an offensive institution, and an aggressive one and [inaudible] U.S. empire.

SHARMINI PERIES: Also, Peter, when you look at the role NATO is playing these days, it seems to be an advocate for the arms industry, although it is instilled in the Constitution of NATO that one of the tactics it will pursue is peace and dialogue in the world. But you don’t see much of that taking place.

PETER KUZNICK: No. That’s the problem that Pietro and I are talking about. Yesterday, Oliver Stone and I put out the new, updated edition of our book, The Untold History of the United States. We’ve got an almost book-length chapter on the period from 2012 to 2019. When you look at that, the world has gotten so much more dangerous since late 2012 when we put out our first edition. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist had the hands of the Doomsday Clock at eight minutes before midnight at the end of 2012. That’s too close for comfort, but now the hands of the Doomsday Clock are two minutes before midnight. Back then, the United States’ main national security threat was thought to be international terrorism. Now, according to the new national security doctrines that Mattis put out, it’s Russia and China.

We have confrontations with Russia and China; the Freedom of Navigation operations we’re waging in the South China Sea, the confrontation between the U.S. and Russia in Syria, in Ukraine, Crimea, the Baltics, Eastern Europe, they’ve added 5000 more NATO troops in Eastern Europe. This is getting more and more dangerous. The world needs to step back. We don’t need more militarism, we don’t need more defense spending, whether it’s the craziness of Stoltenberg or the craziness of Trump, who said we need more defense spending. The Germans are right, we need to be cutting defense spending. In fact, Russia did cut defense spending last year. So to create Russia as this threat to us, this aggressive force threatening Europe, that’s nonsense. That’s not what Russia is about. That’s not what Putin is about.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. Pietro, let me give you the last word here. Whenever Stoltenberg is talking about NATO, at least on this side of the Atlantic, he always says “NATO, led by the United States.” He realizes how the very existence of NATO is so dependent on the U.S. and he’s hoping that this kind of language, really, helps U.S.’s integral involvement and continued support for NATO. So let me give you the last word here in terms of how pivotal is the United States for the existence of NATO?

PIETRO SHAKARIAN: I think it’s extremely pivotal. I mean, NATO is put forth as this alliance of several European nations, but the United States is the core, it’s the heart of NATO. And Stoltenberg even made this point today in his speech. I mean, so you can’t look at NATO necessarily independent of the United States. I also want to throw in one more thing really quick, which I want to kind of flag from his speech today which I think was very concerning. He basically endorsed the U.S. withdrawal from the INF treaty. I mean, he was there and he basically said that we should not be in one-sided treaties. He was calling on Russia to comply with the INF, he said that Russia violated the treaty. But in reality, there have been articles that have shown that the United States, before Russia was in violation of this, that the United States was advocating for missile defense in Europe. We forget about this. So I think that that’s another important thing to highlight today, a very concerning development, potentially.

And also, one final note, what Peter was saying about the defense spending which I think is very interesting. Trump has been advocating for NATO countries to spend more, their fair share, that kind of thing. And it was kind of funny, because at the beginning of this speech, Pelosi is almost like giggling. She’s like giddy that Stoltenberg’s is there, she invited him and all this. But what happened is, when Stoltenberg effectively was saying Trump is right on defense spending of NATO, if you noticed how she was reacting, she wasn’t too thrilled about that. And it shows, again, the power of the parties in the United States politics in determining whether you’re for or against something. That because Trump was against this, then she was not so thrilled about it. But if you’re sponsoring somebody like Stoltenberg, this is the natural result.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. Peter, let me also get you to respond to the INF treaty. I know we’ve had you on talking about that specifically. Is Russia in compliance with INF or not?

PETER KUZNICK: Probably not. But there’s not some major, cataclysmic, great breaking of the INF treaty. It doesn’t change the strategic balance at all. And they’ve got countercharges against the United States, which probably are not as valid as the American charges against Russia, but Russia can be brought back within compliance if we use diplomacy. The problem is that you’ve got the Boltons and Pompeos advising Trump, and they were looking for an excuse to break out of the INF treaty. They don’t want the U.S. to be constrained by any international treaties, and it’s for that reason that Trump has signaled to Russia that when the New START treaty ends in 2021, the U.S. is not going to renew it. What frightens us is that what that means is the possibility of going back to a 1980s-style nuclear arms race.

In the mid 1980s, we had almost 70,000 nuclear weapons in the world, now we’re down to 14,000. We had a destructive capability equivalent to 1.5 million Hiroshima bombs. So then, there was a little bit of sanity. Reagan and Gorbachev started it and other presidents have followed through. Obama was a huge disappointment with his one trillion dollar, 30 year nuclear modernization program to make nuclear weapons more usable, which we know now is 1.7 trillion and going up from there. But if they do away with the INF treaty and they do away with the New START treaty, entire architecture of arms control that has made the world a tiny bit safer over the past decades is going to be eliminated. And that’s the danger of what’s going on. That’s the danger of reinforcement of NATO, that’s the danger of looking at the world through the eyes of military methods of resolving conflicts. We’re past that point. We need diplomacy on a global scale.

SHARMINI PERIES: Peter Kuznick, Professor of History and the Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, and the author of The Untold History of the United States. And I was also joined by Pietro Shakarian, PhD candidate in History at Ohio State University. Peter and Pietro, thank you so much for joining us today.

PIETRO SHAKARIAN: Thank you.

PETER KUZNICK: Thank you.

SHARMINI PERIES: And thank you for joining us here on The Real News Network.

 

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trump's alliance with the US deep state on NATO...

 

https://www.voltairenet.org/article200376.html

 

PLUS

 

INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM 

« 70 years of NATO: what is the historical report? 

Leave the war system - now »


Sunday 7 April in Florence (Cinema Teatro Odeon, 10.15 a.m. to 6 p.m.).


Themes for the round tables: 

- Yugoslavia: twenty years ago, the founding war of the new NATO. 

- NATO’s two fronts - the East and the South. 

- Europe on the front line of the nuclear confrontation. 

- Culture of peace or culture of war?


Speakers: 

M. Chossudovsky, Director of Global Research (Canada): V. Kozin, politico-military expert from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Russia); Ž. Jovanovi, President of the Belgrade Forum (Serbia); P. Craig Roberts, editorialist (USA). 


Among the Italian speakers: A. Zanotelli, F. Cardini, F. Mini, G. Chiesa, A. Negri, T. Di Francesco, M. Dinucci.


In order to participate in the Symposium (free entry) please communicate your name and place of residencce to G. Padovano: Email giuseppepadovano.gp@gmail.com / Cell phone: 393 998 3462


Manlio Dinucci

Translation 

Pete Kimberley

Source 

Il Manifesto (Italy)

 

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altum statum... or stato profondo... or gladio...

On the hot summer morning of Aug. 2, 1980 a massive explosion ripped apart the main waiting room of the Bologna railway station. Eighty-five people were killed and hundreds more injured. Though at first blamed on Italy’s legendary urban guerrillas, The Red Brigades, it soon emerged that the attack had, in fact, originated from within the ‘deep state’ of the Italian government itself.

The full nature of this secret parallel state would only come to light a decade later when the Italian premier, Giulio Andreotti, under questioning from a special commission of inquiry, revealed the existence of arms caches stashed all around the country and which were at the disposal of an organization which later came to be identified as ‘Gladio’.

The members of this group turned out to include not only hundreds of far-right figures in the intelligence, military, government, media, Church and corporate sectors, but a motley assortment of unreconstructed WW2 fascists, psychopaths and criminal underworld types to boot. And despite Andreotti’s attempts to airbrush the group as ‘patriots’ it appeared evident to much of the rest of the Italian polity that these seemed rather more like pretty bad folk indeed. Little did they know. Follow-up research by the likes of Daniele Ganser, Claudio Celani, Jurgen Roth and Henrik Kruger traced connections to similar groups spread throughout Europe of which all were found to be deep state terrorist organizations, and all of which were found, ultimately, to be subservient unto the highest levels of the CIA and NATO command structures.

The moniker ‘Gladio’ (after the two-edged sword used in classical Rome) was eventually broadened to include a bewildering host of related deep state terrorist structures including: ‘P2’ In Italy, ‘P26’ in Switzerland, ‘Sveaborg’ in Sweden, ‘Counter-Guerrilla’ in Turkey and ‘Sheepskin’ in Greece. This (hardly definitive) European list was then found to have connections not only to virtually every US sponsored secret state terrorist organization the world over (including the likes of Operation Condor in Latin America), but also to many of the global drug cartels that provided the secretive wealth needed to fund and otherwise lubricate the whole rotting, corrupt shebang.

If all this sounds sinister enough, it pales in light of the detailed structure of the dazzlingly diabolical Gladio edifice. And it is to those details we now repair vis a vis an overview of the remarkable, if otherwise unheralded, 2015 work by journalist Paul L. Williams entitled, ‘Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance Between the Vatican, the CIA and the Mafia’. Though there are other books on the subject worthy of honourable mention (including Daniele Ganser’s seminal tome, ‘NATO’s Secret Armies’, and Richard Cottrell’s recent and stylishly written, ‘Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe’), it is to Williams that I believe we owe a particular debt of gratitude in having provided a more or less fully integrated portrait of the global machinations of Operation Gladio.

Before embarking on our grim, if yet fascinating, journey it is worth first noting that whilst ‘Gladio’ was officially acknowledged and condemned by the European Parliament (in Nov., 1990; Washington and NATO having ever after refused ‘comment’ on the matter), and its multifarious organs and factions ordered dismantled, it is hardly likely that the latter was ever fully enacted. The historical context of ‘Gladio’, then, is really the quintessential backdrop to understanding the trademark false flag events of the modern era.

OF SPOOKS AND MADE MEN

The general origins of this labyrinthine network of deep state actors lay in the so-called ‘stay-behind-armies’ set up at the end of WW2 by the Allied powers (principally the US) ostensibly to act as resistance forces should the Soviets ever decide to invade Europe. Quickly, however, the raison d’etre of the ‘armies’ transmogrified into a mission to counteract, not external invasion, but ‘internal subversion’. Such would eventually result in the undermining not just of post-war European socialism, but of Italian, Greek – and later global – democracy itself.

But we get ahead of ourselves.

The primal author of the ‘stay-behind-armies’, Williams informs us, was General Reinhard Gehlen, the head of German military intelligence during the Second World War. Having foreseen early on that the Reich was doomed to defeat, Gehlen had “concocted the idea of forming clandestine guerilla squads composed of Hitler youth and die-hard fascist fanatics” ostensibly to fend off the inevitable Soviet invasion. These guerilla units he referred to as ‘werewolves’.

Not ones to miss a fascist opportunity when they saw it, the US Office of Strategic Services (the OSS, and the forerunner of the CIA), under the leadership of William ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan, quickly enlisted both Gehlen and SS General Karl Wolff (in 1945) in forming the Gehlen Organization (later to transform into the present-day German BND) and which received its initial funding from US Army G-2 intelligence resources.

The American point-man on this was Allen Dulles, the first president (in 1927) of the Council on Foreign Relations, and later the first head of the CIA. Duly incorporated into the American fold, the ‘werewolves’ were, given that their initial meddling took place in Italy, rebranded as ‘gladiators’. Operation Gladio was born.

In 1947 the CIA (having, that year, superseded the OSS) was faced with its first daunting task, i.e. how to prevent the Italian Communist Party (PCI) from forming the next government. Elections were scheduled for 1948 and the PCI was a virtual shoe-in not just in Italy proper, but in Sicily as well. Fortunately, ‘Gladio’ was ready and waiting. The gladiators had been training in a special camp set up in Sardinia under the local command of the former WW2 Italian fascist leader, Prince Junio Valerio Borghese.

In addition, hundreds of American mafioso began to arrive on the shores of Italy to lend a hand with the communist ‘problem’. The arrival of the ‘made men’ was the result of Donovan’s efforts from 1943 onward in working with American mobsters Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano and Vito Genovese to conger new (drug) funding for the OSS’s off-books’ operations, and to reinstall the Sicilian mafia on the island in the leadup to Operation Husky (the Allied invasion of Sicily). These forces were now unleashed on the Italian electorate, and through 1948 an average of five people a week were murdered by the CIA-backed terrorist units. The results were grimly predictable. Hallelujah, the PCI were defeated and the Christian Democrats returned to power.

Still, the threat remained. Fully half the Italian electorate were communist sympathizers and, moreover, leftist politics pervaded much of the rest of the diseased European body. More would have to be done. The problem, however, was money. There simply wasn’t enough of it. Thus, the initial $200 million in funding for Gladio (which had come from the Rockefeller and Mellon foundations) was quickly exhausted. And though the National Security Act of 1947 had provided the loophole that allowed for the CIA’s covert operations, it had not allowed for their overt Congressional funding. There lay the rub. Thankfully, Paul Helliwell knew how to salve the itch.

Paul Helliwell was an inner member of the original OSS (along with key scions of the Morgan, Mellon, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, DuPont and Ryan families) and, according to Williams, likely the greatest unsung hero of the nicknamed ‘Oh-So-Social’ club. It was he, who having cut his teeth in the drugs-for-arms trade by shepherding opium deals with the Kuomintang (KMT, the Chinese National Army fighting against Mao Zedung), conjured the brilliant inspiration to do the very same thing – in the United States itself.

Thus, it was at his suggestion that Donovan elected to forge the deep bond (and that exists to this day) between the nation’s intelligence services and organized crime. Enter stage left such notables as ‘Lucky’ Luciano, Vito Genovese, Meyer Lansky and the Trafficante and Gambino crime clans. Quickly the streets of, first, New York, and later many an American metropolis, were flooded with heroin. These early, halcyon days would soon lead to the infamous ‘French Connection’, thence to the ‘Golden Triangle’ (where the CIA’s very own ‘Air America’ transported drugs out of South East Asia during the Vietnam War) and, later, to the Balkan, Mexican, and Colombian drug cartels.

All very well and good. But, to begin with, there was yet a fly in the whole drugs-for-arms-for-terror ointment. To wit: how to pay off the mafioso without anyone noticing; indeed, how to stash, launder and hide all of this financial derring-do from the prying eyes of the authorities; you know, the real-enough authorities, the Treasury cops and so forth. How do you do that?

THE VATICAN CONNECTION

Article 2 of the Lateran Treaty of 1929 was clear and unequivocal. The Article, which served to regulate matters between the Holy See and the Italian state, expressly forbade any interference of the latter in the affairs of the former. It is hardly conceivable, of course, that the framers of the Treaty ever foresaw what such immunity could actually mean in practice. But then they probably hadn’t reckoned on the fiendish formation of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), or more colloquially, the Vatican Bank.

Established by Pope Pius XII and Bernardino Nogara in 1942, the Bank would quickly come to serve as the principal repository post-war both for the Sicilian Mafia and for the OSS/CIA wherein all of the monies and documents relating to drug trafficking and to Gladio would be stored and laundered. Already in 1945 the pope had held private audiences with Donovan to discuss the implementation of Gladio and where, as Williams reports, Donovan was knighted as an anti-Communist crusader with the Grand Cross of the Order of Sylvester. Prior to this time Pius XII had proven himself a loyal ally in working with Dulles and the OSS to establish the ratlines used to help prominent Nazis escape Europe. Now, new horizons beckoned. The first duty at hand, of course, was to destroy the communist menace in respect of the 1948 elections. To this end the pope authorized his own terror squads (under Monsignor Bicchierai) to assist the gladiators and the ‘made men’ in intimidating the Italian electorate. Task accomplished.

The second duty at hand, however, was longer term. Communism, socialism and, indeed, any Godless form of progressive government, anywhere, had to be stamped out at source. For this money would be needed. Lots of money. Untraceable money. Drug money. Now in the months before the 1948 election the CIA deposited some $65 million into the Vatican Bank. The source of these monies came from heroin produced by the Italian pharmaceutical giant, Schiaparelli, and which was then transported by the Sicilian mob into Cuba where it was cut and then distributed to New Orleans, Miami and New York by the Santo Trafficante family. Lucrative though this trade was, it was not nearly enough to suit the needs of the CIA and ‘Gladio’. More would be required. More drug networks and more banks. Gladio was about to global.

To start with a new alliance was forged with the Corsican mafia. Unlike the Sicilian mob, the Corsicans had extensive experience in processing heroin, a skill they had picked up through years of working with Laotian, Cambodian and Vietnamese technicians in French Indochina. A supply route then emerged running from Burma through Turkey to Beirut and thence to Marseille. Alas, there was a slight hitch when the leftist dockworkers in Marseille, being sympathetic to the rebel army under Ho Chi Minh, refused to load and unload the boats from Indochina. No worries. A deft bit of terror administered by the Corsican boys (and funded by the CIA), and problem solved. By 1951, then, Marseille had become the center of the Western heroin industry. Voila, the ‘French Connection’.

Meanwhile, Wild Bill Donovan had ‘resigned’ from the CIA to form the World Commerce Corporation (WCC) whose primary function was to facilitate the arms-for-drugs deals with the KMT. Paul Helliwell lent a needed hand at the helm by heading up Sea Supply, Inc., a CIA front company gainfully employed in shipping heroin from Bangkok. By 1958 the whole operation was so successful that a second supply route was established running through Saigon. Here, the help of Ngo Dinh Diem, the US installed despot of South Vietnam, proved invaluable.

Still, there was a potential cloud on the horizon, i.e. word of all these shenanigans was bound to leak out. What to do? The first reflex, naturally, was to pin the blame for the West’s growing heroin problem on the Communist Chinese under Mao Zedung. Check. The second, more considered response, was to organize an ongoing campaign to deflect attention away from, and burnish the image of, the CIA. And to this end, in 1953, did the CIA establish ‘Operation Mockingbird’. Under ‘Mockingbird’ the Agency recruited hundreds of American journalists to spread false stories and propaganda about the Company’s ‘benign’ activities. Eventually, this depraved fabric of anti-journalism enlisted entire news networks including ABC, NBC, Newsweek, Associated Press, and The Saturday Evening Post. Now the guys and gals at Langley could relax. Henceforth, American (and global) eyes were dutifully prismed through the rose-coloured lens of ‘Mockingbird’.

But back to the Vatican. The IOR, solid banking pillar of the Gladio community that it was, could hardly be expected to do all the heavy lifting itself. After all, the global heroin industry would, by 1980, be pulling in a cool $400 billion annually. En route an extensive and orchestrated financial network would be required to supplement God’s Bank. As with any fine orchestra it helps to have a maestro of exquisite genius to run the show. A nice round of applause, then, for one Michele Sindona. The biography of Sindona begins, humbly enough, with his degree in tax law from the University of Messina in 1942 after which, in quick succession, he rockets to stardom as a leading financial adviser to the Sicilian mafia, an agent for the CIA, and, thereafter, a financial intimate of the Holy See. By the late 1950s Sindona had become the lynchpin in a nexus between the mob, the CIA and the Vatican that would eventually, as Williams chillingly puts it, “result in the toppling of governments, wholesale slaughter and financial devastation.”

Though a full elaboration of this bewilderingly complex financial system is best left to the author, it is worth briefly savouring a few highlights. To begin with Sindona purchased Fasco AG, a Liechtenstein holding company and through which he purchased his first bank – the Banca Privata Finanziaria (BPF). The BPF then became, by way of a Chicago-based intermediary bank, Continental Illinois, a principal conduit for transferring drug money from the IOR for the purposes of Gladio. In fact, it was this banking pipeline in particular which provided the filthy lucre that fueled the 1967 coup d’etat in Greece. But more on this heady stuff in a bit.

It was through his Chicago contacts that Sindona first met Monsignor Paul Marcinkus, popularly known as ‘the Gorilla’. The Gorilla was six foot four, “a gifted street fighter…and a lover of bourbon, fine cigars and young women”. Under Sindona’s patronage Marcinkus would soon rise to become both Pope Paul VI’s personal body guard and the head of the IOR. A third musketeer in the person of Roberto Calvi (the assistant – and later full – director of the famous, Milan-based Banco Ambrosiano) came to complete the three Vatican amigos. Together they would cut a dramatic, collective figure in the global banking underworld all through the ‘anni di Piombo’ (the Gladio ‘years of lead’ in Italy from 1969 to 1987). Exactly how dramatic is illustrated, par excellence, by Calvi’s eventual dark demise. Who among us, old enough to remember, can forget the macabre spectacle (June, 1982) of Calvi’s body hanging from Blackfriars Bridge, his feet dangling in the Thames and pockets stuffed with five masonry bricks. Sindona would also later be murdered (1986) by means of a cyanide-laced cup of coffee whilst in jail and under ‘maximum protective custody’.

Calvi was a key figure in establishing a series of eight shell companies (six in Panama, two in Europe) through which drug lords like Pablo Escobar in South America were encouraged to deposit their ill-gotten loot. (The CIA put shoulder to wheel by helping ferry the Escobar cocaine in a fleet of planes operating out of Scranton airport in Pennsylvania). The monies were then transferred via Banco Ambrosiano to the IOR which took a 15 to 20 percent processing fee. From there funds were distributed to a host of European banks set up by Sindona for use by Gladio units spread throughout the continent. In addition to the flow of cash from the cartels, funds were bled from Banco Ambrosiano into the eight shell companies – again for use by the CIA in funding its covert operations.

This points up a general operating procedure of the entire Gladio ‘banking’ system, i.e. the system, far from being designed to turn a profit, was expressly designed to ‘lose’ money; that is, to have it siphoned off into covert ops. Such explains the regular and spectacular failure of a host of CIA-related banks including: Franklin National Bank (purchased by Sindona), Castle Bank & Trust, Mercantile Bank & Trust (both set up by the ubiquitous Paul Helliwell), Nugan Hand Bank (in Australia, and from which funds were diverted to undermine Prime Minister Gough Whitlam during the Vietnam War), and the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International (based in Karachi in aid, primarily, of the Southeast Asian heroin trade). Indeed, it was precisely the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano itself that brought both Calvi and Sindona to their untimely ends.

Finally, it is worth noting here that these august institutions were linked in a tight criminal embrace with many of the most prestigious financial firms in America including Citibank, the Bank of New York, and the Bank of Boston. The base of the iceberg, in short, extended far and wide. But then, what was all this money really doing?

THE TERROR

Following the thwarting of Italian democracy in 1948 the Gladio ‘secret armies’ entered into a period of what one might characterize as pregnant incubation. Thus, it was during the 1950s that the various drug supply routes and financial networks were being created, as were some of the principal political organizations. Probably the most important of the latter was ‘Propaganda Due’ otherwise known as ‘P2’.

Created in 1877 as a Freemasonry lodge for the Piedmont nobility, it was banned by Mussolini in 1924 only to be resurrected post-war with the approval of Allen Dulles, himself a thirty-third degree Mason. The lodge, though at first dominated mainly by spooks, spies, military and mafia figures, would soon encompass a who’s who of Italian political, corporate, banking and media supremos to boot. Indeed, the organization would eventually spread shoots throughout Europe as well as North and South America, and its members would come to include such luminaries as Henry Kissinger and General Alexander Haig.

A ‘P2’ denizen of especial significance was Licio Gelli. The latter’s pedigree was impressive: a former volunteer in the 735th Black Shirts Battalion, a former member of the elite SS Division under Field Marshall Goering and, thereafter, a chummy employee of the US Counter Intelligence Corps of the Fifth Army. Working with William Colby, the OSS agent in France, and Allen Dulles, the OSS director, Gelli soon gained entry to the Vatican where he helped set up the Nazi escape routes to Argentina. His ties with Argentina would later prove critical in facilitating Operation Condor (the US-backed mass assassination program in 1970s and ‘80s South America). Moreover, in 1972, Gelli would emerge as P2’s supreme ‘Worshipful Master’ under whose leadership the lodge would reach its full, horrific flowering. Finally, it is worth mentioning at this juncture that it was as a result of a police raid on Gelli’s villa in 1981 that the full, tentacled structure of Gladio would come to light. But we digress.

One of the first substantive actions of Gladio was the Turkish coup of 1960. Here the incumbent Prime Minister, Adnan Menderes, made the fatal mistake of believing he was really in charge and thereafter initiating a visit to Moscow to secure economic aid. The ‘stay-behind-army’ in Turkey known as Counter-Guerilla, in alliance with the Turkish military, quickly disabused him of any such delusions by arresting and executing him. Throughout the 1970s both Counter-Guerilla and its youth wing, the Grey Wolves, would stage “ongoing terror attacks…that resulted in the deaths of over five thousand students, teachers, trade union leaders, booksellers and politicians”.

Counter-Guerilla would also figure in the Turkish coup of 1980 when its commander, General Kenan Evren, toppled the moderate government of Bulent Ecevit. According to Williams, US President Jimmy Carter phoned in his approval to the CIA station-chief in Ankara, Paul Henze, with a jubilant, ‘Your boys have done it!’ What they had done, of course, was set up a tyranny in which thousands more would be tortured while incarcerated. The Turkish Gladio boys would also be unleashed in the 1980s upon the PKK – the Kurdistan Workers Party. All of this was in keeping with Zbigniew Brzezinski’s (Carter’s national security advisor) core vision of the importance of controlling Central Asia to which Turkey was both a vital portal and, thus, a key NATO ally.

Alas, Gladio would prove something of a disappointment in France, where, after having backed a series of assassination attempts against the regrettably too independent President Charles de Gaulle, it found itself on the receiving end of de Gaulle’s boot. Actually, it was NATO itself – at the time, headquartered in Paris – that was unceremoniously kicked out of France (in 1966, whence it took up its present cozy and famously corrupt abode in Brussels). But, of course, de Gaulle was ahead of the curve and understood all too well who was really behind the mayhem and murder.

Greece, unfortunately, did not fare as well. In 1967 the ‘Hellenic Raiding Force’, a franchise of Gladio and playing to a NATO authored script entitled Operation Prometheus, overthrew the left-leaning government of George Papandreou. The ensuing military dictatorship would last until 1974 though this would hardly signal the end of Greece’s tribulations. From 1980 until near the turn of the millennium, the nation would suffer under a reign of terror and political assassinations nominally attributed to ‘November 17’, an alleged Marxist revolutionary group, but which in fact (and here I briefly tag-team with authors Cottrell and Ganser) was yet another faction of Greek-Gladio known as ‘Sheepskin’.

This illustrates a point originally brought home by Ganser’s research to the effect that virtually every alleged ‘leftist revolutionary’ group said to have been operating in Europe throughout the post-war years was, in truth, either a Gladio ‘secret army’ unit or else had been completely infiltrated by state intelligence services, and was subsequently being steered by them for Gladio-style state-terrorist ends. Such is well documented for the ‘Red Brigades’ in Italy and the ‘Baader-Meinhof Gang’ in Germany (the ‘gang’ being conveniently and cold-bloodedly exterminated on the ‘night of the long knives’, Oct.18, 1977, whilst under custody in Stammheim prison). It also, just by the by, speaks to the universally attested prior association of many a modern-day ‘terrorist’ and their police and intelligence handlers.

In Spain, during the early ‘70s, Stefano delle Chiaie and fellow Gladio agents from Italy provided their consulting expertise to General Francisco Franco’s secret police who conducted over a thousand violent acts and some fifty murders. Following Franco’s death in 1975, delle Chiaie moved to Chile to lend a fatherly hand in helping the CIA-backed Augusto Pinochet set up his death squads. In later years the Spanish Gladio unit would find gainful employment hunting down and assassinating the leaders of the Basque separatist movement.

Of Italy we have already mentioned the ‘years of lead’, but just to capture a few highlights. The ‘strategy of tension’ unleashed in 1969 in Italy – the same year ‘Condor’ was unleashed in Latin America – was in response to the renewed popularity of Communism throughout the country and which, itself, was partly in response to the uptick in revolutionary sentiment globally as a result of antipathy towards the US war on Vietnam. The antidote, naturally, to this woeful state of progressive affairs was a healthy dose of terror. According to Williams, “Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s National Security Advisor, issued orders to Licio Gelli through his deputy, General Alexander Haig, for the implementation of terror attacks and coup attempts.” The terror attacks began on December 12, 1969 when a bomb exploded in the crowded lobby of a bank in Milan’s Piazza Fontana in which seventeen people were killed and eighty-eight injured. Over the ensuing years (from 1969 to 1987) there followed more than ‘14,000 acts of violence with a political motivation’. The most infamous of these was, of course, the Bologna bombing in August of 1980 and which led to the initial exposure of Gladio in Italy.

Of the many attempted coups and related high-level political machinations engineered by Gladio forces in Italy (1963, 1970, 1976) and Sicily (more or less continually on tap throughout the decade), the kidnapping on March 16, 1978 – and murder a month or so later – of Prime Minister Aldo Moro was likely the most sensational. Moro had dared to include communists in his new coalition government. At first blamed on the usual suspects, i.e. the Red Brigades, further investigation (to begin with by journalist Carmine ‘Mino’ Pecorelli who paid with his life) led to the real usual suspects including CIA operative Mario Moretti (eventually convicted of the killing) and thence up the line to Gelli, then to Italy’s interior minister Francesco Cossiga and onwards to Zbigniew Brzezinski.

The high-level intrigue did not stop at the murder of a prime minister however. At least two Popes felt the sharp end of the Gladio sword as well. In August of 1978, Pope Paul VI died. His successor, the preternaturally timid John Paul I, soon gave his handlers a very real shock when, after looking at the IOR accounts, he issued a ‘call for reform’. The very next day the otherwise fastidiously health-conscious pontiff – in office barely a month – was dead. Not just dead but expired with the telltale bulging eyes and horrific grimace of acute poisoning. His autopsy was definitively thwarted by an illegal and hastily contrived embalming, and his personal papers disappeared without a trace. Archbishop Marcinkus, having been temporarily removed prior, was returned to office whilst Calvi and Sindona, also under scrutiny at the time, breathed a (temporary) sigh of relief.

Having been (almost) burned once the overseers of Gladio made sure to engineer the follow-up Papal succession. Thus did Cardinal Karol Wojtyla shuffle onto the historical proscenium as Pope John Paul II. Now, at first, John Paul worked seamlessly with the CIA and Gladio. Together they oversaw the destruction of Liberation Theology in Latin America, the continued undermining of Italian democracy, and the dispensing of black funds for Solidarity in Poland. Ah, but how the best laid plans do oft go astray. By the spring of 1981 not only were events spinning out of control for Gladio itself, but so too were they for Banco Ambrosiano, and by extension, the IOR. The Pope, inexplicably, refused to act. Compounding this lapse was an unaccountable trifecta of moral turpitude that witnessed the Holy Father suddenly breaking into treasonous song singing the benefits of rapprochement with the Soviets; recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization; and, egads, nuclear disarmament. The order from on high was given: ‘Kill the Pope’.

But best blame it on the Soviets. So issued the ‘Bulgarian Thesis’ wherein a lowly Bulgarian airline employee (Sergei Antonov) was set up as the patsy. In truth, the key actors in the Papal plot came straight from Gladio central casting. The starring role in the drama fell to General Giuseppe Santovito, the head of Italy’s military intelligence (SISMI) and the commander of the Italian Gladio units. His co-star, Theodore Shackley, was the infamous CIA mastermind who had already served as executive producer on such epics as Operation Phoenix (involving the murder of some 40,000 non-combatants in Vietnam), Operation Condor, the setting up of Nugan Hand Bank, and, along with delle Chiaie, the murder of Salvador Allende. West Germany’s BND (the national security services) garnered a significant credit by harbouring and financing the two actual assassins, Mehmet Agca and Abdullah Cath (both from Turkish Gladio). And, of course, the Mighty Wurlitzer, i.e. Operation Mockingbird, figured prominently in the aftermath grinding out endless tunes on the ‘Bulgarian Thesis’ – despite the fact of Agca’s eventual (lone) conviction in the shooting.

The production ended all somewhat anticlimactically when the Pope (on May 13, 1981) was only seriously wounded. In a fascinating denouement, however, on Christmas Day 1983, the Pope opted to publicly forgive Agca. Italian state television was allowed to record the moment when John Paul asked his assassin from whom he had received his orders. Leaning forward to hear Agca’s response the Pope appeared momentarily frozen, then clasped his hands to his face. Though the Pontiff kept it secret, there was little need to guess at the answer.

The adventures of both Agca and Cath are the stuff of legend. Indeed, Cath figures in events well beyond the time line of Gladio proper, enough to suggest that Gladio never really shut down at all. But that, as they say, is a whole other story – and one I leave to the author to take up.

*

Paul Williams has made a fine contribution here. Certainly, if the day ever comes when, seated across from some smug establishment interlocutor, you are taken to task for being a ‘conspiracy monger’ – well, you need only lean back, smile gently, and utter but two words….’Operation Gladio’.

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/04/06/operation-gladio-the-unholy-alliance/

--------------------------

This disturbing exposé describes a secret alliance forged at the close of World War II by the CIA, the Sicilian and US mafias, and the Vatican to thwart the possibility of a Communist invasion of Europe. Journalist Paul L. Williams presents evidence suggesting the existence of “stay-behind” units in many European countries consisting of five thousand to fifteen thousand military operatives. According to the author’s research, the initial funding for these guerilla armies came from the sale of large stocks of SS morphine that had been smuggled out of Germany and Italy and of bogus British bank notes that had been produced in concentration camps by skilled counterfeiters. As the Cold War intensified, the units were used not only to ward off possible invaders, but also to thwart the rise of left-wing movements in South America and NATO-based countries by terror attacks. 

Williams argues that Operation Gladio soon gave rise to the toppling of governments, wholesale genocide, the formation of death squads, financial scandals on a grand scale, the creation of the mujahideen, an international narcotics network, and, most recently, the ascendancy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit cleric with strong ties to Operation Condor (an outgrowth of Gladio in Argentina) as Pope Francis I.

Sure to be controversial, Operation Gladio connects the dots in ways the mainstream media often overlooks.

Industry Reviews

 

"[Operation Gladio] is riveting, incredibly well researched, and horrifying in its implications; it should be mandatory study in universities and government." 

--IQ al Rassooli, member of the Advisory Council for the Intelligence Summit and author of Lifting the Veil: The True Faces of Muhammad and Islam

"The people and their misdeeds exposed in Paul Williams's Operation Gladio will cause the reader to question what person of authority and leadership can be trusted, especially since these foul acts are not confined solely to the dusty pages of history." 

--Sgt. Thomas Juby, retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police Forensic Crime Scene Investigator and member of the Advisory Council for the Intelligence Summit 

"The Court of Public Opinion is finally in session. We, the Jury, will read aloud this critical verdict to the world: 'These Emperor Caesars definitely have no clothes!' Vicious felons have been hiding in plain sight. Williams's book is not just a book but a blatant indictment against these exposed, treacherous, and ruthless tyrants!" 

--Brent M. P. Beleskey, producer for The Intelligence Summit: International Educational Forum, former consultant for the Ontario Gang Investigators Association, member of Drug Watch International, and investigative researcher for Paul Palango's Dispersing the Fog: Inside the Secret World of Ottawa and the RCMP

"For decades the CIA has been conducting covert wars without the knowledge or consent of the United States Congress or the American people. The CIA has funneled billions of dollars into dark operations, funding gun running, criminal figures, and attempted coup operations that resulted in the deaths of scores of people--all under the guise of 'national security.' Paul Williams exposes one such operation--Gladio--and courageously reveals the shadowy connections between US intelligence, the secret Vatican bank, and the global Mafia. Williams demonstrates a level of courage I have seen in few authors today." 

--Kevin M. Shipp, former CIA operative and author of From the Company of Shadows

Read more:

https://www.booktopia.com.au/operation-gladio-paul-l-williams/prod9781616149741.html?

 

 

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See also:  a certain arrogance...

when lies become truth, there is no going back...

 

"Without disinformation, NATO would crumble"

by Manlio Dinucci

 


Q: What is the result of the Symposium in Florence?


Michel Chossudovsky: The event was a great success, with the participation of speakers from the United States, Europe and Russia. We presented the history of NATO. We identified and carefully documented its crimes against humanity. And at the end of the Symposium, we presented the “Declaration of Florence,” a way of exiting the war system.


Q: In your introduction, you affirmed that the Atlantic Alliance is not a true alliance…


Michel Chossudovsky: On the contrary, under the appearance of a multinational military alliance, it is the Pentagon which dominates the decision-making mechanisms of NATO. The USA controls the command structures of NATO, which are incorporated with those of the United States. The Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR) is always a US General nominated by Washington. The Secretary General, currently Jens Stoltenberg, is essentially a bureaucrat who handles public relations. He has no decision-making role.



Q: Another theme you raised was that of the US military bases in Italy and other European countries, including in the East, despite the fact that the Warsaw Pact has not existed since 1991, and despite the promise made to Gorbachev that no extension of NATO towards the East would ever occur. What is the purpose of these bases?


Michel Chossudovsky: NATO’s tacit objective – an important theme in our debate in Florence – is to implement, under a different denomination, the de facto “military occupation” of Western Europe. The United States not only continue to “occupy” the ex-members of the Second World War “Axis countries” (Italy, Germany), but have used the badge of NATO to set up US military bases in all of Western Europe, and, thereafter, in Eastern Europe in the wake of the Cold War, and in the Balkans in the wake of the NATO war against Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro).


Q: What has changed in terms of the possible use of nuclear weapons?


Michel Chossudovsky: Immediately after the Cold War, a new nuclear doctrine was formulated, focused on the preventive use of nuclear weapons, in other words, on a nuclear first strike as a means of self-defence. Within the framework of USA-NATO interventions, presented as peace-keeping measures, a new generation of “low power” and “non-usable” nuclear weapons was created, described as “inoffensive for civilians”. US political leaders consider them to be “bombs for pacification.” The Cold War agreements, which established certain safety measures, have now been abandoned. The concept of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” relative to the use of nuclear weapons, has been replaced by the doctrine of preventive nuclear war.


Q: NATO was “obsolete” at the beginning of the Trump presidency, but now it has been rebooted by the White House. What relation is there between the arms race and the economic crisis?


Michel Chossudovsky: War and globalisation go hand in hand. Militarisation relies on the imposition of macro-economic restructuration in the target countries. It imposes military spending in order to support the war economy to the detriment of civil economy. It leads to economic destabilisation and the loss of the power of national institutions. An example – recently President Trump proposed huge budget cuts in the health and teaching sectors, and in social infrastructures, although he has asked for a massive increase in the budget of the Pentagon. At the beginning of his administration, President Trump confirmed the increase of expenditure in the military nuclear programme, launched by Obama, from 1,000 to 1,200 billions of dollars, claiming that this would serve to make the world safer. All over the European Union, the increase in military spending, coupled with austerity measures, is leading to the demise of what used to be called “the Welfare State.” Now, under US pressure, NATO is engaged in increasing military spending, and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declares that this is the correct decision to “guarantee the safety of our population.” The military interventions are coupled with concomitant acts of economic sabotage and financial manipulation. The final objective is the conquest of both human and material resources and of political institutions. The acts of war support a process of total economic conquest. The hegemonic project of the United States is to transform countries and international sovereign institutions into territories which are open for their penetration. One of their instruments is the imposition of heavy penalties on debt-ridden countries. The imposition of lethal macro-economic reforms serves to impoverish vast sectors of the world population.


Q: What is now, and what will become the role of the medias?


Michel Chossudovsky: Without the disinformation broadcast, in general, by almost all the medias, the military programme of the USA-NATO would collapse like a house of cards. The imminent dangers of a new war with the most modern weapons and the atomic peril are not the sort of news that makes the headlines. War is presented as an act of pacification. War criminals are depicted as pacifiers. War becomes peace. Reality is reversed. When lies become truth, there is no going back.


Manlio Dinucci

Source 

Il Manifesto (Italy)

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article206332.html

 

 

 

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a nato hanky-panky test...

When they clicked on a female profile in a dating app, they were probably hoping for a little romantic adventure. Instead, they turned out to be the lab rats for a NATO-led anti-disinformation test.

NATO soldiers fell into a honey trap set up by a communications team and went on Tinder dates with a non-existent woman, Der Tagesspiegel daily reports.

According to the newspaper, some NATO soldiers participating in allied drills in Latvia, near the Russian border, flirted with women on Tinder in their leisure time. At least one of them asked for a rendezvous, and two men reportedly left their post for a date one evening, in breach of rules.

The date never occurred because the woman's profile was created by the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence. The centre, based in Latvia's capital, Riga, is said to be studying weaknesses in army ranks and ways to counter them.

In another test, the communications team launched a website that soldiers advertised as a platform designed by and for soldiers. Soldiers there could chat about the army and life and could buy T-shirts there – which required them to reveal their home addresses for delivery.

The Strategic Communications Centre is headed by Janis Sarts, a former senior official within Latvia's defence ministry, who had also represented the country in NATO and the European Union.

Janis Sarts is reportedly leading a team of 50 people analysing fake news and developing strategies to win in psychological warfare.

"Deception and lies are spreading faster than ever before," he was quoted as saying. "It's about raising awareness among the population and governments."

NATO regularly holds major international exercises in the Baltic countries, including Latvia. The Saber Strike exercise mobilised around 18,000 troops from 19 allies and partners in June 2018, while the latest war games, codenamed Silver Arrow, wrapped up this week and brought together over 3,000 soldiers from 12 NATO allies.

Russia has repeatedly objected against NATO's build-up on the alliance's eastern flank, saying that it will undermine regional stability and result in further tensions.

 

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Gemeinsam trainieren sie in den Wäldern Lettlands – Tausende Soldaten aus unterschiedlichen Nato-Mitgliedsländern. Präsenz zeigen an der Ostflanke des Bündnisses, das ist die Idee dahinter. Während eines tagelangen Manövers spielen einige von ihnen auf ihren Mobiltelefonen. 

Zuvor waren die Männer auf eine gut gemachte Internetseite gestoßen, die damit warb, von und für Soldaten gestaltet worden zu sein. Die Männer chatten dort über die Armee, das Wetter, das Leben. Ein paar bestellen auf der Seite beworbene T-Shirts – für die Lieferung geben sie ihre Heimatanschrift an. Zugleich kommunizieren einige der Soldaten über die Dating-App Tinder mit einer Frau und zeigen ihr Bilder, auf denen sie selbst in Uniform zu sehen sind. Die Frau bittet um ein Treffen – und eines Abends wollen zwei Soldaten ihren Posten dafür verlassen. Ein Fehler.

Die Internetseite und das Tinder-Profil sind eine Falle, ein Test, den ein Team von Nato-Experten im Sommer 2018 im Auftrag der lettischen Armee durchgeführt hat, um Schwächen in den eigenen Reihen aufzuzeigen. Mit wenig Aufwand gelingt es also, dass Soldaten ihre Anschrift versenden, Fotos von einem Manöver verbreiten, sogar ihren Posten verlassen wollen.

 

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nato's dirty hand and the unclean other...

The Defence Ministers of the North Atlantic Council met on 24-25 October 2019 at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. The meeting gave rise to fierce clashes between Germany, the Benelux countries and France on the one hand, and the United States and Turkey on the other.


The former members of the defunct Warsaw Pact, eager to keep up their guard against Russia, smoothed the waters.


Unlike the 1966 crisis, when France had refused to place its military forces under the orders of a US General and withdrew from the NATO Integrated Command, the current conflict is not about the independence of individual members from the USA, but concerns the survival of the Alliance itself.


Germany, Benelux and France have called for a military intervention in north eastern Syria, both against the armed forces of Syria and Turkey (a NATO member), and in support of YPG Kurdish militias. For their part, the United States and Turkey argued that US forces did not have a mandate to justify their presence in Syria, and that Turkey was legally acting on the basis of its right to counter attacks from terrorists inside Syria.


This situation raises the broader question of what will become of the Alliance now that the United States has decided to step down from its imperial throne, having already taken steps in that direction.


Nature abhorring a vacuum, Germany, Benelux and France are obvious candidates, as a group, to take over the task, though they lack the necessary means. This being said, Germany prefers to remain within the framework of the Alliance, [1] while France envisions this change to take place within the structure of the European Union (that is, without both the United States and the United Kingdom).


As a historical reminder, at the time of the collapse of the USSR, the Warsaw Pact did not survive Moscow’s recognition of the independence of its member states. The "Brezhnev Doctrine" of 1968 justified a military intervention in member countries of the Pact if the socialist character of the Eastern Bloc was at stake. Consequently, Moscow was able to crush the "Prague Spring." By contrast, in 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev declared that Moscow was no longer in a position to dictate its law to its allies; a principle he facetiously called the "Sinatra Doctrine" (referring to Frank Sinatra’s song My Way). There was no repression in Hungary and, in the German Democratic Republic, the Berlin Wall came down all of a sudden.


The Atlantic Alliance also has stay-behind secret services, [2] in charge of keeping Member States in line, by resorting, if necessary, to assassination or regime-change methods. Although these services have been dissolved on several occasions, they are still active. However, it had never been anticipated that the problem would be coming from the United States.

 

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The situation in Syria is delicate and adding other NATO nations in the fray would only add to a confrontation with Russia and Syria on a massive scale. The murk is thick. The French probably under orders from the Obama administration, itself under orders from the "US deep state" made millions tons of concrete to help Daesh build its defence in its "country within countries" at the request of the Saudis. Most of the armament of Daesh came from the US and European countries, via the "moderate" rebels who only were a front to greater ISIS (Daesh).

The Russians and the Turks have made a pact to take over the border zone, which the Kurds fighters have agreed to. The Syrians are also part of the deal. "Kurdistan" won't exist in Syria, but the Kurds can still be there as long as they do no fight. This annoys the Europeans, like the French who wanted the creation of Kurdistan.

Meanwhile the Turks and the Russians "allowed" the US to take out the "head of Daesh" in a black op. This in itself may have displease the US deep state, as the boffins of the deep state wanted "regime change" in Syria — but that game got foiled by Russia. 

Trump is no dummy. He is a strategist, possibly advised by Rand Paul, working against the deep state:

 

The New York Times on Thursday published a remarkable piece that essentially acknowledged the existence of an American “deep state” and its implacable hostility to Donald Trump. The Times writers (fully five on the byline: Peter Baker, Lara Jakes, Julian E. Barnes, Sharon LaFraniere, and Edward Wong) certainly don’t decry the existence of this deep state, as so many conservatives and Trump supporters do. Nor do they refrain from the kinds of value-charged digs and asides against Trump that have illuminated the paper’s consistent bias against the president from the beginning.

But they do portray the current impeachment drama as the likely denouement of a struggle between the outsider Trump and the insider administrative forces of government. In so doing, they implicitly give support to those who have argued that American foreign policy has become the almost exclusive domain of unelected bureaucrats impervious to the views of elected officials—even presidents—who may harbor outlooks different from their own.

This is a big deal because, even in today’s highly charged political environment, with a sitting president under constant guerrilla attack, few have been willing to acknowledge any such deep state phenomenon. When in the spring of 2018, The National Interest asked 12 presumed experts—historians, writers, former government officials, and think tank mavens—to weigh in on whether there was in fact such a thing as a deep state, eight said no, two waffled with a “sort of” response, and only two said yes. Former Colorado senator Gary Hart made fun of the whole concept, warning of “sly devils meeting in the furnace room after hours, passing out assignments for subverting the current administration.”

But now the Times’ Baker et al weigh in with an analysis saying that, yes, Trump has been battling something that some see as a deep state, and the deep state is winning. The headline: “Trump’s War on the ‘Deep State’ Turns Against Him.” There’s an explanatory subhed that reads: “The impeachment inquiry is in some ways the culmination of a battle between the president and the government institutions he distrusted and disparaged.”

As the Times reporters put it in the story text, “The House impeachment inquiry into Mr.Trump’s efforts to force Ukraine to investigate Democrats is the climax of a 33-month scorched-earth struggle between a president with no record of public service and the government he inherited but never trusted.” Leaving aside the requisite rapier thrust at the president (“with no record of public service”), this is a pretty good summation of the Trump presidency—the story of entrenched government bureaucrats and a president who sought to curb their power. Or, put another way, the story of a president who sought to rein in the deep state and a deep state that sought to destroy his presidency.

Baker and his colleagues clearly think the president is on the ropes. They quote Virginia’s Democratic Representative Gerald Connolly as saying the nation is headed toward a kind of “karmic justice,” with the House impeachment inquiry now giving opportunity to once-anonymous officials to “speak out, speak up, testify about and against.”

Connolly and the Times reporters are probably right. The House seems headed inexorably toward impeachment. The president’s struggle against the deep state appears now to be a lost cause. To prevail, he needed to marshal far more public support for his agenda—including curtailment of the deep state—than he proved capable of doing. He is a beleaguered president and is likely to remain so throughout the remainder of his term.

The reporters note that Trump sought from the beginning to minimize the role of career officials. He gave more ambassadorships to political appointees—”the highest rate in history,” say the reporters (without noting that Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Ronald Reagan weren’t far behind). The result, they write, has been “an exodus from public service.” They quote a “nonpartisan organization” saying the Trump administration lost nearly 1,200 senior career service employees in its first 18 months—roughly 40 percent more than during President Barack Obama’s first year and a half in office.

The reporters reveal a letter from 36 former foreign service officers to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo complaining that he had “failed to protect civil servants from political retaliation” and citing the removal of U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Another letter signed by more than 270 former employees of the U.S. Agency for International Development expressed anger at the treatment of public servants and the president’s “cavalier (and quite possibly corrupt) approach to making foreign policy.”

The tone of the Times piece seems to suggest these expressions and actions constitute a kind of indictment of Trump. But a more objective appraisal would be that it is merely the outward manifestation of that “33-month scorched-earth struggle” the Times was talking about. Does a president have a right to fire an ambassador? How serious an offense is it when he appoints political figures to ambassadorships at a rate slightly higher than some previous presidents? If foreign policy careerists decide to leave the government because they don’t like the president’s effort to rein in foreign policy careerists, is that a black mark on the president—or merely the natural result of a fundamental intragovernmental struggle?

But the Times reporters give the game away more explicitly in cataloguing a list of instances where those careerists sought to undermine the president because they found his policy decisions contemptible. “While many career employees have left,” writes the Times, “some of those who stayed have resisted some of Mr. Trump’s initiatives.” When the president canceled large war games with South Korea, the military held them anyway—only on a smaller scale and without fanfare. Diplomats negotiated an agreement before a NATO summit to foreclose any Trump action based on a different outlook. When the White House ordered foreign aid frozen this year, agency officials quietly worked with Congress to get it restored. State Department officials enlisted congressional allies to hinder Trump’s efforts to initiate weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and other nations.

Further, as the Times writes, “When transcripts of [Trump’s] telephone calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were leaked, it convinced him that he could not trust the career staff and so records of subsequent call were stashed away in a classified database.” And that was very early in his presidency, about the time Trump also learned there was a nasty dossier out there that was designed to provide grist for anyone interested in undermining or destroying his presidency.

And of course, now governmental officials are lining up before the House impeachment panel to slam the president over his effort to get Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter, and his apparently related decision to hold up $391 million in security aid to Ukraine. As I have written in this space previously, this outlandish action by Trump constituted a profound lapse in judgment that was a kind of dare for opposition Democrats to fire off the impeachment cannon. And fire it off they have. “Now,” writes the Times, “[Trump] faces the counteroffensive.”

But that doesn’t take away from the central point of the Times story—that Trump and the deep state have been in mortal combat since the beginning of his administration. And the stakes are huge.

Trump wanted to restore at least somewhat cordial relations with Russia, whereas the deep state considered that the height of folly.

Trump wanted to get out of Afghanistan, whereas the deep state totally opposed such a move.

Trump viewed America’s role in Syria as focused on defeating ISIS, whereas the deep state wanted to continue favoring the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Trump was wary of letting events in Ukraine draw America into a direct confrontation with Russia, whereas the deep state wants to wrest Ukraine out of Russia’s sphere of influence even if it means opening tensions with the Bear.

Trump wanted to bring China to account for its widespread abuse of normal trading practices, whereas the deep state clung to “free trade’’ even in the face of such abuse.

These are big issues facing America. And the question hovering over the country as the impeachment drama proceeds is: are these matters open to debate in America? Or will the deep state suppress any such debate? And can a president—any president—pursue the Trump policy options without being subjected to the powerful yet subtle machinations of a wily bureaucracy bent on preserving its status and outlook?

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century.

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Caught between a stone and a hard place, Trump is going to wriggle like a mad man, appearing like a mad man, but it's his only way to foil the "swamp" — the deep state... The Kennedy brothers were assassinated for the same reasons, not by single loonies... 

 

Now the question is "Is Trump correct to fight the DEEP STATE?"... We shall soon know. One has to realise that there are as many Republicans and Democrats working within the DEEP STATE... all in favour of AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM which Trump has toned down with various "loony" tricky policies, but his goal is clear: remove US troops from conflicts... Meanwhile in order to "appease" the Deep State, Donald "is taking over the oil fields of Syria"... But this is transient... things will change... 

waking up in a different frame of the world...

Several times threatened, the direct Turkish intervention in the Syrian war materialized last October 9 under the misleading name of "Source of Peace", with the aim of striking Kurds who, hostile to Ankara, found refuge in the cross-border border between Syria and Turkey.

And Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Turkey has never been a stranger to the sufferings of the Syrian people, being indeed one of the main causes due to the unconditional support offered by Istanbul to the American plans to destroy the Syrian Arab Republic. It is across the Turkish-Syrian border that jihadist militiamen, weapons and logistical support poured into Syria and, from the occupied Syrian territories, in a reverse direction, Syrian oil, machine tools from occupied industrial districts, agricultural products and works of art belonging to the history of the Syrian people, have gone.

The Russian intervention put an end to this bonanza of looting but it was only after the failed American coup attempt in 2016 that relations between Moscow and Ankara underwent a first timid rapprochement, allowing people to hope for a turnaround, positive albeit far, of the Syrian tragedy.


According to Thierry Meyssan [1], the ongoing Turkish intervention was agreed with all the parties involved: Syrians, Russians and Iranians but also with the America of the Trump presidency seeking a way out of the Syrian quagmire.

After Donald Trump's election, I interviewed Matteo Carnieletto of Occhi della Guerra / InsideOver [2], an Italian journalist and geopolitical expert. I return with him now, three years later, to try once more to understand the Syrian situation.

1) Our first interview dates back to December 2016, shortly after the start of the Russian intervention in Syria. Can you remind to the readers in what condition Syria was then?

A) I was in Syria at that time, to interview Bashar al Assad. At that time, the situation was deeply different from what it is today. The regime was not yet so sure of winning, the rebels, especially the Army of Islam, still occupied the Ghouta and the ISIS was still feared. In three years, the situation has changed radically. Assad - thanks to Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah - has managed to recover most of Syria. ISIS has practically disappeared, as has the dream of autonomy for the Kurds.


2) Many hoped that Trump's arrival at the White House would accelerate the end of both the war and the US Middle East plan but the reality was different. In your opinion, for what reasons?

A) I do not agree with this reading: I believe that Trump's choice is a real turning point in American foreign policy. The American president barks, but does not bite. He promises wars, but he does not. On the contrary: if we look at what happened with North Korea or Turkey, Trump has always played the role of mediator. The USA cannot leave the Middle East: they are a power and cannot abdicate their role as a blank point. Such a action would represent a devastating change of balance.

3) What is now the situation on the field in Syria?

A) Excellent for Damascus, bad for those who, in recent years, have fomented the war. The regime has now won and the rebels are barricaded in Idlib province, which is now hammered daily by Russian and Syrian fighters.

4 The Kurdish issue dates back to the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1920, with the first solemn promises to the Kurds of an independent State. None of this has ever happened: can we think of it as a problem without a solution? 


A) An independent Kurdish state is impossible today. What the Kurds can hope for is to get more autonomy, as happened in Iraq, but in Syria, the road is almost uphill...


5) President Trump wrote to his counterpart Erdoğan shortly after the start of Turkish military operations in Syria, an official letter but far from the usual diplomatic practice. What is Erdoğan looking for in Syria?

A) Erdogan tries to get out of this conflict as a winner and I believe he will make it in the end. The Raʾīs in these years has been able to recycle itself several times, first favoring the terrorists, then approaching the Russians and, finally, again using the terrorists to do the dirty work in Syria and take shreds of this country.

6) Is Erdoğan doing part of the dirty work for Trump, to accelerate the end of the war and obtain even a minimal territorial concession?

A) I don't know if there was a real agreement between the two. What is sure is that today both Trump and Erdogan have achieved their goals: the first is bringing American soldiers home as he had promised (even though around 200 men will remain to guard the oil wells east of the Euphrates) and Erdogan has the Kurdish problem solved and, soon, it will send over 2 million refugees back to Syria. Agreement or not, the two are now gloating.


7) The French took care to bomb the large Lafarge cement plant in Jalabiyeh, under their control since the beginning of the war. Is Paris deleting the traces of its responsibilities?

A) On this, I let Monsignor Hindo speak, whom in an interview three or four years ago complained about the French Foreign Minister asking him for advice and then doing something else. France from the beginning has been on the side of the rebels and, in order to pursue its own interests, it would also have done business with the Caliphate, as shown by the case of the Lafarge cement plant.

8) What future for the thousands of jihadists who come out more and more defeated by the Syrian conflict?

A) We must first distinguish between foreign fighters and local jihadists. For the latter the future is already marked and it is quite dark. As for the foreign fighters, there are a thousand questions: will the native countries take them back or will they let the Kurds and the government do the dirty work? Should we think about rehabilitation paths for them? What to do with the "puppies of the Caliphate", or children born under the Islamic State? These questions are essential because - depending on how the terrorists are treated - tomorrow's scenarios will be shaped.

[1] https://www.voltairenet.org/article208010.html  

[2] https://www.insideover.com/  


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sold a french pup?...

yes!...

American mechanized forces have begun deploying at Syrian oil fields, ostensibly to stop the remnants of Islamic State from seizing them, and will respond with “overwhelming force” to protect them.

Following the withdrawal of US forces from northern Syria earlier this month, and the killing of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Saturday night, American forces in Syria apparently have a new mission: protect the oil.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said at a press conference on Monday that American mechanized forces have already deployed to protect oil fields in eastern Syria. The mission, on its surface, aims to keep these oil fields in the hands of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Washington’s former allies in the fight against IS.

The American troops, he said, will “respond with overwhelming military force against any group who threatens the safety of our forces there.” When asked whether the US would potentially respond with force against Russian or Syrian forces, Esper simply responded “yes.”

 

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This is stealing by the book and the gun... This will demand diplomacy of the highest calibre to make the US thieves go away...

a shop front for US weapon manufacturers...

Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron criticised the current state of the alliance, calling it "brain dead" and sparking heated discussions over his comments. Not all of France's NATO allies agreed with its president's account of the state of the military bloc.

French Minister of the Armies Florence Parly has levelled criticism at the US practice of trying to pressure its NATO allies to buy American weapons and equipment above anything else. She argued that the alliance's charter has Article 5, stipulating the collective responsibility to defend each other, rather than "Article F-35", stipulating the collective obligation to buy US military products, in an apparent reference to the fifth-generation stealth jet that Washington has been promoting among its allies.

She further stated that countries should not choose between NATO and Europe, but the two must rather complement each other. Parly also noted that NATO can't give European states their sovereignty, but that they must achieve this themselves.

 

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