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The Dangers of Free Trade Agreements: TTIP’s Threat to Europe’s Elderly


By Michael Hudson | CounterPunch | May 11, 2016

The most obvious approach to look at how European care for the elderly will evolve is to project technological trends and the costs of people living longer as diagnostic equipment, drug treatments and other medical science continues to improve. This kind of projection shows a rising cost to society of pensions and health care, because a rising proportion of the aging population is retiring. How will economies pay for it?

I want to point to some special problems that are looming on the political front. I assume that the reason you have invited me from America is that my country has been doing just about everything wrong in its health care. Its experience may provide an object lesson for what Europe should avoid (and indeed, has avoided up to this point).

For starters, privatization is much more expensive than European-style Single Payer public health care. Monopoly prices also are higher. And of course, fraud is a problem.

America’s Obamacare and health insurance laws have been written by political lobbyists for special interests. So has the TTIP: Transatlantische Handelsabwollen. Since George W. Bush, the U.S. Government has been prohibited from bargaining for low bulk prices from the pharmaceutical companies. Most Americans think that Health Management Organizations (HMOs) are rife with corruption and billing fraud. The insurance sector has made a killing by spending a great deal of money on bureaucratic techniques to reject patients who seem likely to require expensive health care. Doctors need to hire specialists working full time just to fill out the paperwork. Error is constant, and any visit to the doctor, even for a simple annual checkup, requires many hours by most patients on the phone with their insurance company to correct over-billing.

The dream of U.S. “free market” lobbyists to shift the costs of health care onto its users instead of as a public program. According to current plans backed both by the Republicans and by much of the Democratic Party leadership, these user costs ideally would be paid by pre-saving in special “health savings” accounts, to be managed by Wall Street banks as a kind of mutual fund (with all the financial risks this entails – the same kind of risks that are troubling most U.S. pension funds today).

The reason why the U.S. discussion of health care for the elderly is so relevant for Europeans is that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that President Barack Obama pushed on German Chancellor Angela Merkel two weeks ago poses a far-reaching threat to European policies.

The agreement has been drawn up in secret, and has only been available to Congressmen in a special room as a read-only copy. Not even Congressional staff have been permitted to see the details. The reason is that the terms of the TTIP are so awful that it could never be approved by voters. That is why the lobbyists for banks, insurance companies, drug companies, oil and gas companies and other special interests that wrote the law are trying to bypass democratic government and are going directly to Brussels – and in the United States to the Executive Branch of government.

The aim of the TTIP is to replace the application of national laws with special courts of referees nominated by the special interests. This includes the organization of health care. Last week Britain’s main labor union, Unite, warned that the TTIP would mean that the National Health Service would have to be wound down and privatized.[1] Although “Austria, Germany, Greece and Italy do have explicit reservations in the TTIP text to protect existing rules relating to healthcare,” the privatization lobbyist strategy is to have the treaty “provisionally applied” to force matters, by backing compliant politicians. Objections will be sidestepped as the “provisional’ law becomes a fait accompli.

I think that the best perspective that I can give you is to discuss how the various interest groups are working to shape political decisions regarding the public and private role of health care. This is an area I have been involved with for forty years. In 1976, I contributed the economic section for two reports by The Futures Group in Glastonbury, Connecticut for the National Science Foundation analyzing the economic and financial consequences of life‑extending technology: When We Live Longer: Prospects for America (with Herb Gurjuoy et al., 1977) and A Technology Assessment of Life-Extending Technologies (Vol. 5: Demography, Economics and Aging, 1977). I believe these were the first reports to pinpoint the implications for the Social Security system of an aging population and its inter-generational financial tensions.

American politicians and economic futurists were concerned with the effect on public health budgets of a rising proportion of the population able to live out the maximum present human lifespan of 125 years (called “squaring” the life expectancy curve). What is the best public response to what should be a dream being realized? More to the point, how should governments cope with special interests seeking merely to profiteer from such breakthroughs – and use their promise in an extortionate manner?

Every interest group has its own perspective. Most politicians in the United States are lawyers, and they worried that the Social Security, pension and health care contracts were a legal right that could not be broken or modified. President Eisenhower had called Social Security the “third rail” of American politics – meaning that any politician or party that sought to downgrade its promises would quickly be voted out of office.

It was obvious that a population living longer would receive more Social Security and pension payments, and that a rising proportion of national income would be spent on their health care. Some of the politicians I talked to were so pessimistic about the costs involved that one said that he was sorry that kidney dialysis procedures had been invented, because with so many people having kidney problems, it would cost a fortune to provide this service to everyone who medically needed it.

Some politicians sought ways to not to fund expensive medical technologies – on the ground that if these were developed, the government might have an obligation to supply the most expensive technologies (especially dialysis and organ transplants) to the population at large. The costs of doing this would absorb nearly all the economic growth.

One set of futures envisioned that the more costly medical treatments might become available only on islands – in the Caribbean, for instance. After all, did not Hippocrates practice on the island of Cos?

As forecast decades ago, health care is the most sharply rising cost in the United States. What none of us were cynical enough to forecast was the corrupt role played by special interests in maximizing the costs by treating each element of health care as a profit center – indeed, as an opportunity to extract monopoly rent.

Privatization of health insurance under Obamacare has been a bonanza for the financial sector and the insurance industry. Initially a Republican “free market” proposal, it required the Democratic Party in power to disable popular pressure for “Medicare for all” in the form of single payer public health care. No discussion within Congress was even permitted to favor public health care. (I was economic advisor to Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, whom the Democratic Party leadership blocked from even discussing a public option in the Congressional debate.)

The enormous power of lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry bought the loyalty of politicians who blocked anti-trust laws from being applied against the drug companies. As I noted earlier, these lobbyists even succeeded in blocking the government from negotiating directly with the drug companies over prices.

I mention these points because the U.S. solution should serve as an object lesson for what European and other countries should avoid in managing their care for the elderly. This is especially important to Europe, because its neoliberal policies favoring the financial sector imply a slow economic crash squeezing household and employer budgets. Five concerns are paramount.

Triage: restricting the most expensive health care only to the wealthy

Lower incomes lead to shorter lifespans as a result of worse health, and also suicides. Marriage and birth rates also are lower as economies polarize and growth slows. Russia, Ukraine, Latvia and other post-Soviet states show this – and it may be a forecast of European experience. This raises the ratio of elderly to working-age populations. A slowly growing labor force must support more and more retirees.

Studies in almost every country have shown that health standards and lifespans are polarizing between wealthy and poor. A recent U.S. study notes: “The life-expectancy gap between rich and poor in the United States is actually accelerating. Since 2001, American men among the nation’s most affluent 5 percent have seen their lifespans increase by more than two years. American women in that bracket have registered an almost three-year extension to their life expectancy. Meanwhile, the poorest five percent of Americans have seen essentially no gains at all.”[2]

This has important implications regarding recent proposals to raise the retirement age at which people can qualify for Social Security. Only the well to do are living longer, not blue-collar labor. Raising the retirement age would deprive the latter of the retirement years that better-paid individuals enjoy as a result of their healthier lives.

I mentioned above one scenario drawn by futurists: that the best medical care might only be available in “medical islands” or their equivalent in the United States, called “Cadillac health insurance plans.”

Blaming the victims for their unhealthy environment as the problem were their “personal responsibility.”

George W. Bush recommended that the poor simply should go to hospital emergency wards when they get sick. This obviously is the most expensive approach. Prevention is by far more economical. But public moves along this line are being fought tooth and nail by the tobacco and soft-drink industries, and other purveyors of bad health.

Better health and longer lifespans are achieved not only by advanced medical technology, but by better public health standards, and personal diets and exercise. The most serious behaviors impairing health and longevity are smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and eating junk foods to the point of obesity. In the United States, childhood diabetes is rising sharply, especially among racial and ethnic minorities, and the poor in general.

An obvious way to keep down health expenditures is to lead a more healthy life. In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg sought to ban the sale of large sugar-drink servings. Lawyers for the junk-food industry, supported by fast food restaurants and movie theaters, blocked his initiative. And an even more powerful legal tool to block public health warnings is contained in the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement and its European counterpart, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. These proposed treaties follow the earlier North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in levying enormous fines on government who warn populations of the dangers of smoking or other unhealthy behavior that is highly profitable to cigarette companies, soft drink “sugar water” makers, and fast food restaurants selling food-like substances that give little nourishment. Under the proposed neoliberal agreement being put in the hands of Brussels politicians by American lobbyists, government warnings of the health hazards of smoking will require these governments to pay the tobacco companies what they would have earned if cigarette sales had not declined as a result of these warnings! Fines already have been levied against Australia for seeking to improve public health by requiring such warnings on cigarette packages. A recent Australian report concludes:

Tobacco policies implemented in the past have been effective at decreasing overall rates of smoking, but new and innovative interventions will be needed in the future to affect change in all populations.

Six chapters were identified with potential to limit governments’ ability to implement tobacco control policies. The key chapters are: investment, particularly the ISDS mechanism; rules related to trademarks in intellectual property, regulatory coherence, cross-border services and technical barriers to trade. … Multiple chapters may also interact with the potential for amplified effects on tobacco control. Various provisions in these parts of the TPP may provide the tobacco industry with greater influence over policymaking and more avenues to contest tobacco control measures, as well as preventing governments from introducing new policies.[3]

Last week the European Court of Justice upheld the 2014 Tobacco Products Directive against challenges from British-American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris. Like similar laws in other countries, the European law called for public warnings on cigarette packs telling smokers that nicotine kills. But the tobacco companies vowed to fight back, and the TTIP is now their major hope.

Dangers of privatization of health law under the TTIP

A recent British article lays out the problem:

A salient goal of TTIP is to shadow the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system (ISDS), an instrument of public international law granting firms the right to raise an action in a tribunal on the basis that a state’s policies have harmed their commercial interests. … The economist Max Otte has called ISDS ‘a complete disempowerment of politics’. The tribunals are confidential, as is usual in arbitration. Negotiations over ISDS within TTIP are also secret, the aim being to get the ink dry on the agreement before it can provoke opposition by being made public. …

As the Economist put it, ‘if you wanted to convince the public that international trade agreements are a way to let multinational companies get rich at the expense of ordinary people, this is what you would do.’[4]

Dangers of financialization

The most efficient way to finance care for the elderly – and pensions – remains pay-as-you-go planning. This is becoming difficult in a neoliberal political environment with shrinking economic growth and consequent demographic shrinkage. The horror story today is a Ukraine-like situation where the labor force has fled, leaving the elderly to be supported without much of a social budget. That is becoming the post-Soviet model, from East Germany to the Baltics.

The American situation is worse, because Social Security, Medicare and pensions are front-loaded by being financialized – paid for in advance. For decades, savings have been set aside in the form of stock and bond purchases. The problem is that when more workers retire than are contributing to the pension plan or similar plans, their prices will decline. This will leave the retirement plan under-funded.

As interest rates have been reduced to nearly zero since 2008 by Quantitative Easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve and now European Central Bank, pension funds and insurance companies have become desperate to meet their statistically required targets. They have turned to gambling on complex financial derivatives – and have lost heavily, because their managers are no match for Wall Street sharpies.

It may be appropriate here to note the monetary madness of the eurozone not having a central bank to monetize budget deficits to spend into the economy to help it grow. That is the proper function of a real central bank, from the Bank of England to the U.S. Federal Reserve System. European voters are being frightened by junk economics claiming that only commercial banks should create money and credit, not central banks. The reality is that central banks can create the money to fund health programs without inflating the economy. What would inflate health care costs, especially proper care for the elderly, would be privatization and a relinquishing of health policy to the large corporations best in a position to profiteer.

Danger of trade agreements raising the cost of drugs and medical technology

The technological medical revolution involves high rent-extracting opportunities, especially in treating the elderly. The Australian study cited above notes the dangers posed by the TPP (and hence also by its European version) to public health expenditure, especially health costs for the elderly. Designed largely to protect “intellectual property rights,” the proposed treaty aims to increase monopolyrent extraction by the pharmaceutical sector.

Provisions proposed for the TPP that have the potential to limit implementation of new food labelling requirements in Australia include the ISDS mechanism; the regulatory coherence chapter and technical barriers to trade chapter. Provisions in these parts of the TPP have the potential to restrict policymakers to regulate using the most effective public health nutrition instruments. For example, the food industry could argue that introduction of mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labelling would be a technical barrier to trade. Without strong compensatory intervention to improve consumer awareness of the relative healthfulness of foods, it is likely that there will be no change to current high rates of obesity, metabolic syndrome and non-communicable diseases. This would have a negative impact on health, particularly for vulnerable populations.

For starters, the trade agreement limits the ability of public or community pharmacies to bargain for lower drug prices. Also, any attempt at anti-monopoly legislation would require governments to pay the foreign producers or investors as much money as they would have earned if no “interference with markets” (that is, regulation of monopoly prices) had existed. This would sharply increase the cost of healthcare, and “many TPP provisions proposed during the negotiations are likely to be harmful to health.”

There is sufficient evidence which show that increases in the cost of medicines lead to greater patient copayments through the PBS, and that increases in patient copayments lead to lower rates of prescription use. Changes to prescription costs impact particularly on vulnerable populations who have less capacity to accommodate increased out-of-pocket expenses such as women, elderly adults, cultural and linguistic minorities, and low-income populations; people with chronic disease; geographically remote communities; and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

Many provisions proposed for the TPP had the potential to increase the cost of medicines. These were identified in leaked drafts of the intellectual property chapter; the healthcare transparency annex; and the investment chapter, which includes an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. These provisions, if adopted, could be expected to lead to an increase in the costs of managing the PBS by delaying the availability of generic medicines, and constraining the ability of the PBS to contain costs. An increase in the cost of the PBS to government would be likely to lead to higher copayments for patients.


European sponsors of U.S.-style neoliberalism pose a threat of transforming European politics, and with it the structure of economies and society. Enormous sums of money are being spent on public relations, and to support politicians willing to shepherd corporate monopoly power against that of democratic government and voters. The most serious threat to European health care and care for the aging population in general is pressure from U.S. firms and diplomats to ram through the TTIP.

It is much more than a free trade agreement. Its “investor dispute” mechanism threatens to disenfranchise governments. The intent is to block them from protecting Europe’s economy, population and basic social philosophy that has developed over the past century of social democracy.

That is why so many of us in the United States also are fighting against this agreement. It has been a major issue in this year’s presidential campaign. Republican nominee Donald Trump has affirmed that the public option is by far the most economic. And Democratic contender Bernie Sanders has opposed Hillary Clinton’s support for her patrons on Wall Street and in the pharmaceutical monopolies. I hope that a similar fight will be waged in Europe.

This is the text of Michael Hudson’s speech to SANICADEMIA, May 9, 2016 in Villach, Austria for the 5th International Congress on Geriatrics and Gerontology = 59th Austrian Convention for Hospital Management, “We’re Living Longer: The healthcare challenges for today and tomorrow.”


[1] Hazel Sheffield, “TTIP could cause an NHS sell-off and UK Parliament would be powerless to stop it, says leading union,” The Independent, April 29 2016.

[2] Sam Pizzigati, “Inequality Kills: Top 1% Lives 15 Years Longer Than the Poorest,” Naked Capitalism, May 3, 2016, originally published at Other Words.

[3] Katherine Hirono, Fiona Haigh, Deborah Gleeson, Patrick Harris, Anne Marie Thow and Sharon Frie, “Is health impact assessment useful in the context of trade negotiations? A case study of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement,” April 4, 2016. The report notes: “The final agreement also included an optional tobacco carve-out from ISDS, allowing TPP countries to prevent the use of ISDS to challenge tobacco control measures. Yet even these apparent ‘wins’ have some limitations. Unlike tobacco, the health system, food and alcohol were not carved out from ISDS, leaving these policy areas vulnerable to claims by foreign investors. While various safeguards have been included to try and protect public health, experts have raised doubts about whether they will be sufficient.”

[4] Glen Newey, “Investors v. States,” London Review of Books blog, April 29, 2016.

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Pemex No Longer to Be Main Producer of Oil in Mexico

teleSUR | May 11, 2016

The country’s state oil company, Pemex, which is one of the federal government’s main sources of revenue, is since May 10 no longer be the country’s only producer of oil, reports revealed Wednesday, after the state-owned company granted the first six licenses for oil extraction since left-leaning Mexican former President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized the industry in 1938.

The country’s oil production will now include the participation of private energy companies in the extracting fossil fuels from designated oil fields across the country.

Mexico’s energy ministry awarded six foreign companies with contractual licences for oil extraction, during the first round of government led energy auction on Tuesday.

The Mexican Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said on Tuesday that the signing of contracts generated “great trust” between investors and companies seeking to put their money to work in the country.

International oil companies are keenly interested in the forthcoming bidding processes, which includes the participation of 28 companies are in in the upcoming bidding rounds.

The news takes place as Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto intends to move forward with energy-sector reforms, which will allow foreign participation and financing in the energy sector, with the assumption that these measures will result in a more efficient exploitation of the country’s untapped energy potential.


WikiLeaks: Hillary Clinton Pushed Mexico’s Oil Privatization

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , | 3 Comments

Nigerian president doesn’t want Cameron corruption apology… just all the country’s money back

RT | May 11, 2016

Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari used a keynote speech at a major anti-corruption conference in London to blast Prime Minister David Cameron for calling the African country “fantastically corrupt.”

The conference, which is currently underway, was meant to address global corruption, but a shadow was cast when Cameron was caught on camera calling Afghanistan and Nigeria “fantastically corrupt” in a conversation with the Queen and Speaker of the House John Bercow.

“What would I do with an apology? I need something tangible,” Buhari said.

“I am not going to demand any apology from anyone. What I am demanding is a return of assets.”

Buhari freely admitted before his address that his country had a graft problem and is thought to have been referring to major assets stashed in the UK by corrupt Nigerian figures.

In April 2016 a group of leading figures from Nigerian civil society raised a similar issue in an open letter, demanding Britain end its role as a “safe haven” for white-collar criminals who steal Nigeria’s wealth and resources for personal gain.

The letter’s signatories stressed the devastating effect corruption can have on ordinary citizens, stunting economic growth and exacerbating violent conflict and mass migration in its wake.

“Our Nigeria is one of those countries that has most bitterly suffered the impact. Despite the blessings of nature, which endowed us with abundant oil wealth, our infrastructure is deplorable,” the letter said.

The conference, a pet project of the PM’s, is likely to see Cameron file a motion to create a global anti-corruption body.

However, his plans have been attacked by critics on the basis the organization would have no meaningful powers of enforcement, instead relying on national and international policing agencies to intervene.

The summit comes only weeks after Cameron himself was caught up in a scandal relating to his father’s offshore company, Blairmore Holdings.

Following the Panama Papers leak that showed Cameron had profited from offshore tax schemes, the parliamentary standards committee said the PM would not be investigated. It gave no reason why.

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Sanders Supporters Can Bring Down the Democrats

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | May 11, 2016

FR_say_no_to_hillary_clinton_flip_flopsDonald Trump’s ascension to the Republican presidential nomination has created an enormous rift between the Republican elites and the rank and file. This process is a welcome development that could lead to the end of that party.

While the Republicans implode Hillary Clinton moves towards the Democratic party nomination by moving ever more towards the right. She and former president Bill Clinton have made it clear. They intend to get votes from independents and Republicans who can’t stomach the idea of a Trump presidency. That has been her modus operandi throughout her political career. She bragged about being a teenaged Goldwater girl and now brags about killing in Libya.

She ignores the Bernie Sanders phenomenon because she has no reason to do otherwise. From the moment he started his campaign he said he would endorse her if she won the nomination. Of course Sanders followers might change the trajectory of history by refusing to go along with the charade. If they stand firm they can also send their party into the historical dustbin where it belongs.

Trump’s supporters epitomize white nationalist sentiment but they are also driven by personal need. They have been left behind by the machinations of both parties. The trade deals concocted by Republicans and Democrats have taken the living wage jobs they expected to have forever. While they prosper more than any other group in the country they still feel affronted by their change in fortune. They don’t care about the imperial project and wouldn’t mind if Trump made good on his pledge to cease invasions and regime change plots.

Democrats on the other hand are less likely to send their party packing. They have been hypnotized by years of lies which have allowed wars, austerity, and mass incarceration to be considered acceptable, small prices to pay to keep the Republicans at bay. Black voters in particular are so fearful of Republican victory that any Democratic Party policy, no matter how damaging to them, gets the go ahead.

The election of 2016 should be historic not just because two people who are disliked by millions will run for president. It should be ground breaking because it will mean that Americans who love to think of themselves as independent will finally live up to that self-image.

The Sanders people in particular claimed to want a revolution. Now is their chance to make good on this assertion. Their task is a simple one. They must not support or vote for Hillary Clinton in November and they must say so loudly and clearly. They can vote for another party’s candidate or write in one of their own. They may exhort Sanders to deny her an endorsement. Any tactic will do. But if they follow tradition and vote for a conservative Democrat they will have made a mockery of their demand for change.

Liberal Democrats who like to think of themselves as leftists must put up or shut up. They should know by now that their party cannot be reformed. It must be done away with for good. The duplicity of the Democrats is fully on display for everyone who really wants to see it. On the one hand they will use the infamous Koch brothers to strike fear, raise money and keep their voters in line. Will they continue to do that now that Charles Koch has declared Hillary Clinton to be possibly more acceptable than Donald Trump?

In reality the Bernie Sanders campaign held more pretense than reality. Sanders isn’t really a socialist and neither are most of his voters. Yet they found it appealing to be connected to a candidate who gave them political cache. Neither are Sanders or his supporters revolutionary. The word revolution was more of a marketing ploy than anything else and continued the mirage of the possibility for change.

Sanders was always the sheep dog, as Black Agenda Report said in 2015. That does not mean his followers have to follow suit. The necessary rejection of Hillary Clinton will also mean a rejection of the man they admired and voted for if he does as he promised and endorses her.

Sanders voters can be the revolutionaries they aspired to be if they loudly and publicly state that they won’t vote for Hillary Clinton. They will need a great deal of determination as they will surely be scapegoated, guilt whipped and blamed for her defeat. But those attacks should be considered as a badge of honor in what may well be a revolutionary effort.

Of course if people “felt the Bern” only because they hoped for a better Democrat then this effort is for naught. By now everyone should know that the corruption in the Democrat party cannot be cut out. The party doesn’t want to change itself and makes sure that opponents end up just driving the sheep.

It is time for the Sanders supporters to make good on calls for revolution. They can do that by actively and openly denying Hillary Clinton the presidency. When they are called spoilers they must proudly own the charge and declare that they meant what they said. They are fighting for a revolution.

Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Moscow voices alarm as NATO Romanian missile defense base goes live

RT | May 11, 2016

As a new Romanian interceptor missile base prepares to go live Thursday, Moscow has slammed NATO’s expanding defense shield, calling it a threat to security, and a violation of a key international treaty.

“The creation of a European and global missile defense shield has an adverse effect on strategic stability,” Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the Russian foreign ministry’s department for proliferation and arms control issues, said on Wednesday.

NATO will formally declare its missile defense base in the remote location of Deveselu, Romania, operational on Thursday, bringing to fruition a plan to construct a shield in eastern Europe that was first announced by George W. Bush as far back as 2007.

“Our direct interests, the interests of our national security are affected by the decision,” said Ulyanov.

The Russian official said that not only was the missile defense aimed at neutralizing Russia’s offensive capability – an accusation the Pentagon has repeatedly rejected – but that Deveselu’s MK 41 launching systems it uses could be re-equipped with offensive cruise missiles.

Ulyanov said that Washington was acting in breach of the 1987 INF treaty, under which Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan signed their respective countries up to obligations “not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.”

The US embassy in Moscow produced a counter-statement, condemning Moscow’s allegations as “unacceptable and irresponsible.”

“The missile defense system is not aimed at Russia, or undermining its strategic potential. From the point of view of geography and physics, it is impossible to shoot down Russian inter-continental missiles from Romania or Poland,” said the document, penned by embassy spokesman William Stephens, and obtained by RIA news agency.

Washington says that the eastern European missile defense segment is meant to thwart a potential threat from Iran, but in a separate statement on Wednesday evening, Russia’s foreign ministry said that worries that Tehran posed a threat to NATO were “unfounded.”

The missile shield uses a network of radars that track potential threats in the atmosphere, before launching an interceptor missile from a stationary base, or a fleet.

Simultaneously with Romania coming online, construction work is beginning on a complementary base in Poland, which will complete the eastern European segment of the shield in 2018.

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel imposes “general closure” on Palestinian territory for Israeli Independence day


Ma’an – May 11, 2016

BETHLEHEM – Israeli authorities declared a “general closure” on Gaza and the occupied West Bank since midnight on Tuesday and continuing until midnight on Thursday as Israel celebrates its Memorial and Independence day.

The general closure was implemented on the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip yesterday, marking Israeli Memorial day, and will continue until the finish of Israel’s Independence day on Thursday.

Crossings into Israel from the West Bank and Gaza are only being permitted in humanitarian cases. However, a representative of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has requested approval for Palestinians in need of serious medical assistance, a spokesperson for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told Ma’an.

An Israeli army spokesperson said the closure was implemented following an army “security assessment” and added that the closure restrictions included the passage of products and the movement of people into Israel and its illegal settlements.

Debilitating poverty and lack of employment drives many workers in the occupied West Bank to enter Israel in search of work. Israel’s imposition of closures on the Palestinian territory has severely affected the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who depend on entering Israel, or its illegal settlements, for employment opportunities.

The number of Palestinians employed, both documented and undocumented, in Israel and its illegal settlements for the first quarter of 2016 was 114,000, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

The average unemployment rate for the Palestinian territory was 26.6% for this same period: 18% in the West Bank and a staggering 41.2% in Gaza. The poor state of the Palestinian territory’s economy is largely attributed to the decades-long Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and the nearly nine year Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip which severely undermines any economic developments.

Israeli authorities movement restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank as recently as a few weeks ago during the Jewish holiday of Passover, including implementing a full closure on the besieged enclave of Gaza.

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

US Military Supports Trump: New Poll


Sputnik | May 11, 2016

A new survey of US military personnel finds presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump leading his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton by over a 2-to-1 margin. […]

In polling of 951 verified active-duty troops, reservists and National Guardsmen, The Military Times found that in a match-up between Trump and Clinton, 54% of respondents said they would support the business mogul-turned-candidate, compared to 25% who chose the former secretary of state (the remaining 21% said they would not vote). At the same time, when the match-up was switched to Trump vs. Senator Bernie Sanders, Trump got 51% support, compared to 38% for the Vermont senator. […]

With Russian analysts and much of the public watching the US presidential campaign almost as closely as Americans themselves, independent online newspaper Svobodnaya Pressa attempted to explain the landslide in Trump’s favor, turning to Sergei Bespalov, a senior researcher at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, for possible answers.

The biggest reason for the military’s support for Trump, Bespalov suggested, is Trump’s rhetoric on foreign policy.

“Trump’s promises to significantly temper the military activity of the United States around the globe very likely brings forth a positive reaction from the military. They are, in general, not too thrilled about the idea of their country being dragged into new armed conflicts, since they are the ones who take most of the risks” when this happens.

“At the same time,” the analyst says, “Clinton has a reputation for being a supporter of a very aggressive foreign policy, connected to the continuation of the current policy of the forced expansion of ‘Western-style democracy’ throughout the world, and for active intervention in the internal affairs of a host of countries and regimes which Washington finds undesirable. This, of course, is fraught with the danger of the intensification of the use of the US armed forces abroad, and for new military conflicts.”

Asked by the newspaper why the Pentagon would prefer Trump and his non-interventionism, Bespalov corrected his interviewer. “It’s not the Pentagon that prefers Trump, and not the military elite, but the majority of ordinary servicemen and women. The Pentagon supports Clinton. But those soldiers who, in the case of a Clinton victory, will be drawn into new conflicts, and will have to risk their lives, clearly aren’t thrilled about this prospect. And therefore among ordinary soldiers and officers Trump has proven to be more popular.”

Mikhail Alexandrov, a senior expert at the Center for Military-Political Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, suggests that other reasons may be at play.

“Trump shows resolve in the use of force. He demands that Obama use force, including in Syria. He is prepared to aggravate relations with Iran. He says that dialogue with Russia can come only ‘from a position of strength’. And recently he said that it would be necessary to shoot down Russian planes, referring to the recent incident involving the American destroyer Donald cook and our fighters.””Trump, in his rhetoric at least, is creating an image of an aggressive macho, who is willing to use force when, in his view, American interests are threatened. This approach appeals to the military.”

In other words, Alexandrov suggests, Trump “is a supporter of a more open policy of the use of force, unlike Clinton, who prefers methods of hybrid warfare, including ‘soft power’ and special operations. Trump is ready to use [military] force directly, decisively, and on a large scale.”

Which approach is preferable for Russia, and for other countries looking to escape US hegemony and create a multipolar world, remains to be seen. Moscow has already had a taste of the approach proposed by Mrs. Clinton, which includes more color revolutions on Russia’s borders, and endless wars in the Middle East. Trump, at the very least, has talked about negotiating with Moscow, and has criticized Clinton, Obama and George W. Bush for the disastrous military interventions over the last fifteen years which cost thousands of American servicemen and women, along with hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East their lives.

Read more:

Clinton’s Neocon Ties Could Mean More Regime Change on the Menu

Clinton Receives More Wall Street Donations Than Republican Rivals

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Moscow Slams US Concerns About Russian, Chinese Military Space Activities

Sputnik — 11.05.2016

Moscow does not take seriously US concerns regarding Russia’s and China’s activities in space, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control said Wednesday.

The Washington Post reported earlier in the week that Frank Rose, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, had expressed concern over “the continued development by Russia and China of anti­-satellite weapons.”

“Indeed, such statements have been made recently by official representatives of the US administration, fairly regularly. Taking them literally and seriously is impossible. After all, any country, including the United States, has the opportunity to address real concerns, if they arise, through established political and diplomatic means,” Mikhail Ulyanov told RIA Novosti.

“Not only will Washington not use [diplomatic channels], but it actively tries to avoid them,” he added.

Ulyanov noted that the United States itself has been blocking a 2008 proposal by Russia and China on preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space, which would “effectively solve the problem of anti-satellite weapons.”

“The Russian-Chinese proposal has gained broad support on the international arena, but its practical implementation is categorically blocked by the United States,” he said.

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Western Kim-Phobia & The Danger of War

By Caleb Maupin | New Eastern Outlook | May 11, 2016

In almost every US aligned Gulf State, you can find an autocratic monarch who rules over a small, oil-rich corner of the world via an outdated, pre-democratic legal system that grants him absolute authority. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarch with dictatorial powers, was married to 30 different women, by whom he has fathered a total of 35 children. The recently deceased King Abdullah, now replaced by Salman, was a serial human rights violating autocrat who routinely beheaded people for “insulting” him, and he was certainly not alone. 

If investigative journalists in the Western press bothered to dig, they could most certainly find out the shocking details about the wealthy aristocracies of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Jordan. The US-backed oil monarchies of the Middle East are known to have rooms full of trafficked sexual slaves from around the world, and to preside over populations with no human rights or freedoms.

Due to the fact that the decadent and oppressive Gulf state monarchs are allies of the United States, sell oil to Wall Street and buy weapons from the Pentagon, Western media mostly ignores their undisputed and well documented scandals and atrocities.

However, when reporting on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Western media reports every rumor and unsubstantiated claim as undisputed truth. Everything said by defectors from the northern part of the Korean peninsula is believed and uncritically repeated. Western media has embarrassed itself more than a few times in the past years, by repeating allegations that are so obviously false and easily disproven, that they must be quietly retracted.

The claim that women in the DPRK are forbidden from riding bicycles was ripped to shreds with video from inside the countryThe Korean Workers Party actually prides itself on its advancement of women, with women winning Olympic gold medals and playing a prominent role in the military. The outrageous claim that the DPRK executes people by “feeding them to wild dogs” was traced to a satirical Chinese publication.

Unlike the US-aligned autocracies in the Middle East, the DPRK has a constitution and elections. Even though the Korean Workers Party promotes dialectical materialism and atheism, there are freely practicing Christian churches all throughout the northern half of the Korean peninsula. Even the DPRK’s harshest critics admit that the country has “universal housing” (no homelessness), and that it has completely wiped out illiteracy. These facts alone show that the DPRK, regardless of its flaws, is a much more humane and human rights-respecting society than Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and many other US aligned regimes.

The special, obsessive demonization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Western media, rightly called “Kim-Phobia” is not just an insult to journalistic integrity. Kim-phobia could have catastrophic consequences, not only for the Korean peninsula, but for the entire human race. US media has selected the “North Koreans” for demonization and isolation for special, strategic reasons.

“Human Rights” Testimony Given Under Duress

If mainstream US media were to start slandering Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping by saying they were cannibals or child molesters, it’s not guaranteed that many people would automatically believe it. The governments of both Russia and China have enough respect and credibility, as well as economic ties to the United States, that such false claims would be widely dismissed and refuted. While some rightists and non-thinking war-hawks are tempted to believe whatever slanderous allegation is made, a very large percentage of the western populace would question such claims.

Likewise, wild and extreme claims against Raul Castro and the leadership of Cuba would face similar scrutiny. While the Tea Party and many Cuban exiles in Miami may accept any anti-Cuban propaganda, with many Americans visiting Cuba and prominent celebrities praising its healthcare system, not all anti-Cuban allegations are merely accepted as fact.

However, the outrageous statements and accusations against Kim Jong-Un and the Korean Workers Party can be routinely passed on without any scrutiny or filter. Why?

With tens of thousands of US troops on its border and under an economic blockade, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is focused on military defense, not the information war. Very few Westerners visit the northern part of the Korean peninsula. The country has made a point of strategically cutting itself off from the Western press and the Internet for military purposes. Because of these unique circumstances, Wolf Blitzer and Don Lemon can pretty much say anything about Kim Jong-Un and the Korean people without anyone fact-checking them.

The bombardment of anti-DPRK propaganda has become very effective. For example, the United Nations held hearings about “Human Rights” in the DPRK in Seoul. At these hearings, person after person stood up and accused the government in the North of horrific atrocities. What the media ignored while reporting on the human rights hearings was that this testimony was given under duress.

The government in southern Korea has its infamous “National Security Laws” which have been condemned by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other bodies. Under the National Security Laws, anyone who says or writes anything that could be interpreted as supporting or speaking positively of the DPRK can be imprisoned for decades.

These laws are not symbolic, but routinely enforced against anyone who dares utter a positive word about Kim Il Sung, Communism, Socialism, or US atrocities during the Korean war. For example, Park Geun-Jung was sentenced to 10 months in prison for activity on social media. Park is not a Communist, and was obviously being sarcastic with his tweets about his northern countryfolk, but this did not prevent him from being locked up. 

The United Nations Human Rights hearings in Seoul were a violation of the UN’s own procedures. The UN received what was essentially coerced testimony from people who knew they would be imprisoned and possibly tortured if they said anything other than “North Korea is hell on earth.”

THAAD and War Danger

The United States is now installing a huge missile system in the southern part of the Korean peninsula. This is the latest measure in the “Asian Pivot” of the US military. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system’s installment has garnered objections, and not only from the DPRK. China and Russia have also raised deep concerns.

Why would China and Russia be concerned about the THAAD system? Essentially, this system gives US forces in South Korea the ability to strike both Russia and China, and to deflect any retaliatory measure.

Southern Korea can be used as a base, not just to attack the north, but also Russia and China. The THAAD system shields US missile launchers from any response, and would allow the US to continue unloading its missiles onto Russia and China.

China and Russia both now have hypersonic gliders, which could probably penetrate the THAAD system. However, it is very disturbing that the United States is looking to make south Korea, where tens of thousands of US troops are stationed, immune from Russian or Chinese retaliation. If the United States and the “Republic of Korea” are not planning an attack on Russia, China, or the DPRK, why prepare southern Korea for such a thing?

The excuse of the United States and the south Korean regime for this highly provocative move against the two largest countries in the world is “Crazy Kim made us do it.”

US audiences have been psyched up by “The Interview”, “Red Dawn”, and “Olympus Has Fallen”, along with press reports saying bizarre, unsubstantiated things like “Kim Jong Il Claims to have invented the Hamburger” into believing that the DPRK is somehow bent on world conquest. In reality, all the DPRK asks for is the peaceful democratic re-unification of the peninsula.

The anti-Kim obsession of the western press is serving to justify US preparations for war in Asia. US weapons and military personnel are pouring, not just into southern Korea, but also into the Philippines, Indonesia, and other parts of the world.

Meanwhile, US troops and military equipment are being deployed into Eastern Europe. Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania, all of which have been gutted by neoliberalism since the collapse of the USSR, are now having their homelands turned into launch pads for a third world war.

The United States is surrounding Russia and China with troops, and continuing to describe any defensive move by the two countries as “aggression.”

In such a context, hostilities on the Korean peninsula, with the USA supporting the south and Russia and China supporting the north, could easily spin way out of control. With the DPRK as such an easily demonized target, a single spark could easily light up the entire world.

The “Kim-Phobia” of the US media is very strategic. Hipster journalism about “crazy Kim” has very important public relations value for the Pentagon as it escalates its presence in Asia.

Progressive minded human beings should see how dangerous this is. “Kim-Phobia” could be setting the stage for World War Three, as more and more weapons and US military personnel pour into the region.

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Erdogan calls for greater NATO presence in Black Sea

RT | May 11, 2016

NATO is not deploying enough assets to the Black Sea and cannot counter the Russian military presence there, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has argued. He said he would ask the alliance to address the issue during an upcoming summit in Warsaw.

“I told him [NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg]: ‘You are absent from the Black Sea. The Black Sea has almost become a Russian lake,’” Erdogan said at a meeting of heads of general staff of Balkan nations in Istanbul on Wednesday. “If we don’t take action, history will not forgive us.”

He added that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia should join the alliance soon to make it stronger.

A NATO summit will be held in the Polish capital in July. The meeting is expected to strengthen the alliance’s stance on countering what its new top military commander, US General Curtis Scaparrotti, called a resurgent Russia in his inauguration ceremony last week. Moscow sees NATO’s military buildup near its border as offensive and threatening.

“We should enhance our coordination and cooperation in the Black Sea. We hope for concrete results from the NATO summit in Warsaw on July 8 and 9… The Black Sea should be turned into the sea of stability,” Erdogan said, as quoted by Sputnik.

Military access to the Black Sea is limited for nations not bordering it, as Russia does. The US regularly sends its warships into the Black Sea for rotations.

The tension between Russia and the US over the strategic body of water was highlighted last year when Russian warplanes passed by the USS Ross, an American guided-missile destroyer. The Pentagon accused the Russian military of acting aggressively, while Moscow said the warship was approaching Russian territorial waters, which prompted the response.

Turkey, previously a strong trade partner of Russia, has become a bitter foe after downing a Russian bomber near the Syrian border back in November. The Turkish president said the downing of the plane – which resulted in the death of one of its pilots, who was killed by a Turkey-supported rebel group – was a proper response to a seconds-long violation of Turkish airspace. Moscow denied that such a violation happened and accused Ankara of stabbing Russia in the back.

Turkey’s immediate move after the incident was to call an emergency NATO meeting.

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Leaked Memo: Jordan’s King Reveals UK SAS Forces On The Ground In Syria, Israel Supports Nusra

By Brandon Turbeville | Activist Post | May 10, 2016

According to a leaked memo obtained by the Guardian in late March, 2016 King Abdullah of Jordan apparently briefed US officials on the fact that Jordanian Special Forces would be deployed to Libya to work alongside the British SAS. In that same briefing, Abdullah also allegedly stated that British SAS had been active in Libya since early 2016.

As Randeep Ramesh wrote for the Guardian at the time,

According to the notes of the meeting in the week of 11 January, seen by the Guardian, King Abdullah confirmed his country’s own special forces “will be imbedded [sic] with British SAS” in Libya.

According to the memo, the monarch met with US congressional leaders – including John McCain, the chairman of the Senate armed services committee, and Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee. Also present was the House of Representatives speaker, Paul Ryan.

King Abdullah said UK special forces needed his soldiers’ assistance when operating on the ground in north Africa, explaining “Jordanian slang is similar to Libyan slang”.

Abdullah also allegedly pointed out that the British had been instrumental in setting up a “mechanized battalion” in Southern Syria made up of “local tribal fighters” (aka terrorists) and lead by a “local commander” for the purposes of fighting against the Syrian government forces.

The Jordanian king also stated that his troops were ready to fight side by side with the British and Kenyans for the purposes of invading Somalia.

According to the Guardian,

The full passage of the briefing notes says: “On Libya His Majesty said he expects a spike in a couple of weeks and Jordanians will be imbedded [sic] with British SAS, as Jordanian slang is similar to Libyan slang.”

The monarch’s apparent openness with the US lawmakers is an indication of just how important an ally Jordan is to the US in the region. Since the 1950s Washington has provided it with more than $15bn (£10.5bn) in economic and military aid.

However, the Jordanians had become frustrated over perceived US inaction over the Middle East in recent months. Five years of fighting in Syria have dramatically impacted on Jordan, which has absorbed more than 630,000 Syrian refugees, and the king has repeatedly called for decisive action to end the conflict.

Interestingly enough, the King also allegedly admitted that Turkey and specifically Recep Erdogan is hoping for the victory of “radical Islamists” in Syria and that Israel is tacitly supporting al-Qaeda/al-Nusra in Syria.

Ramesh summarizes the King’s alleged statements by writing:

  • The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, “believes in a radical Islamic solution to the problems in the region” and the “fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy, and Turkey keeps getting a slap on the hand, but they get off the hook”.
  • Intelligence agencies want to keep terrorist websites “open so they can use them to track extremists” and Google had told the Jordanian monarch “they have 500 people working on this”.
  • Israel “looks the other way” at the al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra on its border with Syria because “they regard them as an opposition to Hezbollah”.

In March, Stratfor analysts reported that UK Special Forces were already in Libya and that they were “escorting MI6 teams to meet with Libyan officials about supplying weapons and training to the Syrian army and to militias against the Islamic State. The British air force bases Sentinel aircraft in Cyprus for surveillance missions around [the Isis Libyan stronghold] Sirte as well.”

The presence of Western/NATO Special Forces in Syria is by no means a revelation at this point. These forces have been present in the embattled Middle Eastern country for some time.

In October, 2015, it was announced by the White House that 50 Special Forces troops would be sent to Syria. This announcement came days after it was reported that U.S. Special Forces commandoes were working with Kurdish forces to “free prisoners of the Islamic State” in Syria. Later, the presence of U.S. Special Forces in Syria was tacitly acknowledged in 2015 when the U.S. took credit for the killing of Abu Sayyaf.

Reports circulated in October, 2014 that U.S. soldiers and Special Forces troops were fighting alongside Kurdish battalions in Kobane. An article by Christof Lehmann published in March 20, 2015 stated,

Evidence about the presence of U.S. special forces in the Syrian town Ayn al-Arab a.k.a. Kobani emerged. Troops are guiding U.S. airstrikes as part of U.S support for the Kurdish separatist group PYD and the long-established plan to establish a Kurdish corridor.

A photo taken in Ayn al-Arab shows three U.S. soldiers. One of them “Peter” is carrying a Bushnell laser rangefinder, an instrument designed to mark targets for U.S. jets, reports Ceyhun Bozkurt for Aydinlik Daily.

The photo substantiated previous BBC interviews with U.S. soldiers who are fighting alongside the Kurdish separatist group PYD in Syria.

The photo of the three U.S. troopers also substantiates a statement by PYD spokesman Polat Can from October 14, 2014, reports Aydinlik Daily. Can admitted that a special unit in Kobani provides Kurdish fighters with the coordinates of targets which then would be relayed to “coalition forces”.

The first public U.S. Special Forces raid in Syria took place in July, 2014 when Delta Force personnel allegedly attempted to rescue several Americans being held by ISIS near Raqqa. Allegedly, the soldiers stormed the facility but the terrorists had already moved the hostages. While the raid would provide evidence that U.S. Special Forces were operating in Syria in 2014, many researchers believe the story is simply fabricated by the White House to provide legitimacy to the stories of murdered hostages and thus the subsequent pro-war propaganda that ensued as well as to promote the gradual acceptance of U.S. troops on the ground in Syria.

In 2012, an article published in the Daily Star by Deborah Sherwood revealed that SAS Special Forces and MI6 agents were operating inside Syria shortly after the destabilization campaign began in earnest. Sherwood writes,

Special Forces will help ­protect the refugees in Syria along the borders.
Last week as the president ignored an international ceasefire, plans were being finalised to ­rescue thousands of Syrians.

SAS troops and MI6 agents are in the country ready to help rebels if civil war breaks out as ­expected this weekend.

They also have ­hi-tech satellite computers and radios that can instantly send back photos and details of refugees and ­Assad’s forces as the situation develops.

Whitehall sources say it is vital they can see what is ­happening on the ground for ­themselves so Assad cannot deny atrocities or battles.

And if civil war breaks out the crack troops are on hand to help with fighting, said the ­insider.

. . . . .

“Safe havens would be an invasion of Syria but a chance to save lives,” said a senior Whitehall source.

“The SAS will throw an armed screen round these areas that can be set up within hours.

“There are guys in the communications unit who are signallers that can go right up front and get ­involved in close-quarter fighting.”

In addition, in March 2012, it was reported by Lebanon’s Daily Star that 13 French intelligence agents had been captured by the Syrian government, proving not only that Western Special Ops presence in Syria did, in fact, exist but also that it existed essentially from the start.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 andvolume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President.

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Claims Anti-Missile Site in Poland There to Prevent Middle East Threats

Sputnik — 11.05.2016

The US anti-missile base due to be built in the Polish town of Redzikowo does not threaten Russia’s security, as the base is aimed at preventing missile threats from the Middle East, US Ambassador to Poland Paul Jones said Wednesday.

The start of construction of the military base in Poland, which is part of an US-designed ballistic missile defense system in Europe, is scheduled for May 13. The construction of the base is expected to be completed by 2018.

Speaking with the Polish Radio broadcaster, Jones assured that this defensive facility was designed to prevent the threats from the Middle East and not to threaten Russia’s security and that Moscow was aware of that. However, the United States is fully ready for different scenarios, the ambassador noted.

Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the creation of the ballistic missile defense system in Europe, approved in 2010 during a NATO summit in Lisbon. A group of European countries, including Poland, Romania, Spain and Turkey, agreed to deploy elements of the system on their territories.

The United States and NATO continue to claim that the ballistic missile defense system is aimed primarily at countering threats from Iran and North Korea.

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Leave a comment