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Hollywood hoopla ignores media’s history of servility

By James Bovard – The Hill – 03/02/18

Much of the media nowadays is portraying itself as heroes of the #Resist Trump movement. To exploit that meme, Hollywood producer Steven Spielberg rushed out “The Post,” a movie depicting an epic press battle with the Nixon administration. But regardless of whether Spielberg’s latest wins the Academy Award for best picture on Sunday night, Americans should never forget the media’s long history of pandering to presidents and the Pentagon.

“The Post” is built around the Pentagon Papers, a secret study begun in 1967 analyzing where the Vietnam war had gone awry. The 7000-page tome showed that presidents and military leaders had been profoundly deceiving the American people ever since the Truman administration and that the same mistakes were endlessly repeated. Like many policy autopsies, the report was classified and completely ignored by the White House and federal agencies that most needed to heed its lessons.

Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon official, heroically risked life in prison to smuggle the report to the media after members of Congress were too cowardly to touch it. The New York Times shattered the political sound barrier when it began courageously publishing the report despite a profusion of threats from the Nixon administration Justice Department. After a federal court slapped the Times with an injunction, the Washington Post and other newspapers published additional classified excerpts from the report. Likely because the Washington Post had a female publisher, Spielberg made it, rather than the Times, the star of the show.

Spielberg’s movie portrays Post editor Ben Bradlee denouncing dishonest government officials to publisher Katharine Graham: “The way they lied — those days have to be over.” Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who deluged the media with falsehoods about battlefront progress, did more than anyone else (except perhaps President Lyndon Johnson) to vastly increase the bloodbath for Americans and Vietnamese. McNamara’s disastrous deceits did not deter the Washington Post from appointing him to its Board of Directors. As author Norman Solomon recently observed, “The Washington Post was instrumental in avidly promoting the lies that made the Vietnam War possible in the first place.”

The Pentagon Papers proved that politicians and their tools will brazenly con the American public to drag the nation into unnecessary wars. But that lesson vanished into the D.C. memory hole — conveniently for obsequious journalists like Post superstar Bob Woodward.

On March 17, 2003, President George W. Bush justified invading Iraq by invoking UN resolutions purportedly authorizing the U.S. “to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.” A year later, Bush performed a skit at the Radio and Television Correspondents annual dinner featuring slides showing him crawling around the Oval Office peeking behind curtains as he quipped to the poohbah attendees (Donald Trump among them, incidentally): “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere… Nope, no weapons over there… Maybe under here?” The crowd loved it and the Post headlined its report on the evening: “George Bush, Entertainer in Chief.” Greg Mitchell, the editor of Editor and Publisher, labeled the performance and the press’s reaction that night as “one of the most shameful episodes in the recent history of the American media, and presidency.”

Most of the media had embedded themselves for the Iraq war long before that diner. The Post buried pre-war articles questioning the Bush team’s shams on Iraq; their award-winning Pentagon correspondent Thomas Ricks complained, “There was an attitude among editors: ‘Look, we’re going to war, why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?’” Instead, before the war started, the Post ran 27 editorials in favor of invasion and 140 front-page articles supporting the Bush administration’s case for attacking Saddam.

It wasn’t just the Post. Former NBC news anchor Katie Couric revealed in 2008 that there was pressure from “the corporations who own where we work and from the government itself to really squash any kind of dissent or any kind of questioning of” the Iraq war.

Despite the Iraq fiasco, the media happily resumed cheerleading when the Obama administration launched assaults in Libya and Syria. Even in the Trump era — when the press is openly clashing with a president — bombing still provides push button presidential redemption. Trump’s finest hour, according to much of the media, occurred last April when he attacked the Assad regime with 59 cruise missiles, raising hopes that the U.S. military would topple the Syrian government.

When Trump announced he was sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, the Washington Post editorial page hailed what Trump calls his “principled realism” — regardless of the futility of perpetuating that quagmire. At a time when Trump is saber-rattling against Iran and North Korea, the media should be vigorously challenging official claims before U.S. bombs begin falling. Instead, much of the coverage of rising tensions with foreign regimes could have been written by Pentagon flacks.

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, in his 1971 opinion on the New York Times’ right to publish the Pentagon Papers, declared: “Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.” Unfortunately, the media often chooses to trumpet official lies instead of fighting them. Permitting glorious tales from eight presidencies ago to absolve subsequent media kowtowing would be as foolish as forgetting the lessons of the original Pentagon Papers. Worshipping the media is as foolish as worshiping politicians.

James Bovard is a USA Today columnist and the author of 10 books, including “Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty” (St. Martin’s Press, 1994).

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

‘Fake news’: Foreign Ministry dismisses reports of cocaine smuggler among its ranks

RT | March 2, 2018

Russia’s Federal Security Service jointly with the Argentine National Gendarmerie took measures against members of an international criminal gang implicated in organizing a channel of trafficking large batches of cocaine from Latin America to Russia

The suspected leader of a group of smugglers who were busted trying to send 400kg of cocaine to Russia from Argentina was neither a diplomat nor an employee of any embassy, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said.

“We have sifted through all archives, all of them. We talked to all HR managers, with heads of departments. We have dug out all papers. Kovalchuk has never worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or for the embassy,” Marina Zakharova said in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio.

The comments came soon after several media outlets published reports claiming that Andrey Kovalchuk, the suspected organizer of the cocaine-smuggling scheme, had allegedly worked for the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires.

On Friday, RIA Novosti quoted Andrey Kovalchuk’s wife as saying that her husband had been detained in Germany on charges of drug trafficking, and that the German authorities were deciding whether to hand the man over to Russia. “They said that they would not extradite him without solid evidence, but would consider this issue,” the woman said, adding that their family were now looking for a Russian-speaking lawyer specializing on extradition issues.

Earlier, Kovalchuk’s lawyer told RIA Novosti that his client insisted that he himself was a victim of a major provocation. He said that the suspect had left some suitcases in the Russian embassy school, but insisted that these bags contained perfectly legal goods, like coffee and cognac, for which he had receipts and purchase details. The lawyer said that he had permission to do this from an embassy staff worker, Ali Abyanov, one of the three suspects detained in Moscow in connection with the case.

In further comments, the lawyer told Ruptly his client was a technical worker for the Russian embassy in Berlin, but had never been put on the official staff list. He added that Kovalchuk’s coffee exports were a small business on the side, which is not forbidden. He also noted that the man lived in Germany under his own name and continued to use his passport, which undermined the theory that he was trying to hide from the law.

The criminal investigation is the result of a joint operation between the Russian and Argentinian special services, which was first revealed to the public in late February. According to reports, Russian embassy workers in Buenos Aires discovered 11 suitcases containing around 400kg of cocaine at a Russian school in the embassy’s complex in December 2016. The Russian ambassador to Argentina personally alerted the Argentinian security services, and a special operation was launched, targeting the suspected smugglers. The drugs in the suitcases were then covertly swapped for flour, and GPS trackers were placed inside.

Eventually, the shipment arrived in Moscow and Russian police detained three people who received it. Two more people were arrested in Argentina, but the suspected ringleader remained at large – until now.

Agents involved in the operation previously told the media that the estimated value of the confiscated drugs was over €50 million ($62 million), and that it was thought to be of Colombian origin.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | Leave a comment

The Weaponization of Social Media

corbettreport | March 1, 2018

Now openly admitted, governments and militaries around the world employ armies of keyboard warriors to spread propaganda and disrupt their online opposition. Their goal? To shape public discourse around global events in a way favourable to their standing military and geopolitical objectives. Their method? The Weaponization of Social Media. This is The Corbett Report.


March 2, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

Convention provokes rage against NDP machine

By Yves Engler · March 1, 2018

They came, mostly young people, to fight for justice. They came to support the rule of international law, to help solve a longstanding injustice through non-violent means; they came to tell an oppressed people you have not been forgotten; they came to do what is right for a left wing political party; they came to speak truth to power.

And how did the left wing party respond? By using the “machine” — orders from on high, backroom arm-twisting, opaque block voting and procedural manoeuvring — to prevent debate. Silence in class!

While NDP insiders probably feel they dodged the “Palestine Resolution” bullet at their recent convention, many party apparatchiks may come to regret their undemocratic moves. Their naked suppression of debate might stir rage against the machine they’ve proved to be. At a minimum it has provoked many to ask why.

Why, when the Palestine Resolution was endorsed unanimously by the NDP youth convention and by over 25 riding associations, did the powers that be not want it even discussed?

Given the resolution mostly restated official Canadian policy, except that it called for “banning settlement products from Canadian markets, and using other forms of diplomatic and economic pressure to end the occupation” one can only assume that the party machine either supports the indefinite Israeli occupation of Palestinian land or has some sort of problem with boycotts and economic sanctions. Clearly the NDP is not against boycotts and economic sanctions in principle since they’ve recently supported these measures against Russia, Venezuela and elsewhere.

If, after a half-century of illegal occupation, one can’t call for boycotting Israeli settlement goods, then when? After a century? Two?

Or is the problem the particular country to be boycotted? Does the NDP hierarchy believe that anti-Semitism can be the only possible motivation for putting economic pressure on Israel to accept a Palestinian state? Or perhaps it is simply a worry that the dominant media would attack the party?

Whatever the ideological reason the bottom line is the Palestine Resolution was buried to ensure it wouldn’t be discussed. When its proponents sought to push it up the priority list at an early morning session before the main plenary, the party hierarchy blocked it. In a poorly publicized side room meeting they succeeded 200 to 189. NDP House Leader Guy Caron mobilized an unprecedented number of current and former MPs, including Murray Rankin, Randall Garrison, Craig Scott, Tracey Ramsey, Alexandre Boulerice, Hélène Laverdière, Nathan Cullen and others, to vote against debating the most widely endorsed foreign policy resolution at the convention (Niki Ashton was the only MP to support re-prioritizing the Palestine Resolution.)

Apparently, the party leadership discussed how to counter the resolution at two meetings before the convention. In a comment on a Guardian story about the need for the NDP to move left, Tom Allen, a staffer for Windsor Tecumseth NDP MP Cheryl Hardcastle, describes “panicked” planning to defeat the resolution. “As for the part about the ‘party establishment (being) easily able to deflect challenges from the left.’ I would respectfully submit that this is wrong. As an NDP staffer I can tell you that it wasn’t easy at all this time and, especially with regards to the ‘Palestinian Resolution,’ which required a great deal of panicked last minute organizing to defeat (and only then by a close margin).”

Why would the party establishment risk turning off so many young activists, exactly the sort of member new leader Jagmeet Singh claims he wants to attract?

A quick look at some of the more prominent supporters of shutting down debate suggests an answer.

Victoria area MPs (defence critic) Randall Garrison and (justice critic) Murray Rankin who voted against debating the Palestine Resolution are members of the Canada Israel Inter-Parliamentary Group and took a Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs paid trip to Israel in 2016. After the IDF slaughtered 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza in the summer of 2014, Rankin offered words of encouragement to an emergency fundraiser for Israel.

Party foreign critic Hélène Laverdière, who voted to suppress the Palestine Resolution, took a paid trip to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s conference in Washington in 2016 and participated in a Jewish National Fund event in Israel.

British Columbia liaison and critic for democratic institutions, Nathan Cullen also voted against debating the Palestine Resolution. “I am strongly in support of Israel”, Cullen bellowed in a 2016 statement about how people should be allowed to criticize that country. In 2014-15 Cullen’s office took in Daniel Gans through CIJA’s Parliamentary Internship Program, which pays pro-Israel university students $10,000 to work for parliamentarians (Gans then worked as parliamentary assistant to NDP MP Finn Donnelly). In 2014 Cullen met representatives of CIJA Pacific Region to talk about Israel, Iran and other subjects. According to CIJA’s summary of the meeting, “Mr. Cullen understood the importance of a close Canada-Israel relationship.”

Maybe the loudest anti-Palestinian at the convention was former president of the Ontario NDP and federal council member Janet Solberg. Unsatisfied as a settler in Toronto, Solberg pursued a more aggressive colonial experience when she moved to historic Palestine as a young adult.

Just before the convention the President of the Windsor-Tecumseh Federal NDP, Noah Tepperman, sent out an email to all riding associations calling on them to oppose Palestine resolutions. In it he claimed, “boycotts based on religion, nationality or place of origin directly contravene the spirit of inclusiveness to which we in the NDP are committed.” He further alluded to an anti-Jewish agenda by connecting the different solidarity resolutions to “a backdrop of already-high-and-rising antisemitism here in Canada as well as abroad.” But, Tepperman sits on the board of the Windsor Jewish National Fund, which is an openly racist organization.

The truth is pro-Israel-no-matter-what-it-does NDP members in positions of power within the party won a narrow battle. How the war goes will depend on the lessons learned by those seeking a party that’s an instrument of real change, that fights against all forms of racism and oppression.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 2 Comments

In Syria, the Real Siege Is by Western Criminal Powers

Strategic Culture Foundation | 02.03.2018

In more than seven years of war in Syria, we have seen many times how Western governments and news media shamelessly invert reality.

The same was seen this week over the grim fighting around Eastern Ghouta, the suburb near the capital, Damascus, where 400,000 people are said to be trapped.

But who is trapping who?

US and European media breathlessly claim that Eastern Ghouta is under siege from Syrian “regime forces” allied with Russia. This description is posing things upside down.

The district was taken over nearly six years ago by foreign-backed extremists, like Jaysh al Islam, Ahrar al Sham, and Al Nusra Front. The latter is an internationally outlawed terror group, but they all share the same murderous ideology, as well as the same Western covert sponsors in the American CIA, British MI6, French DGSE, and lavish Gulf Arab funding. It is these illegally armed insurgents who are holding the civilian population under siege in a reign of terror.

The same situation, and Western inversion of reality, has been seen before, most notably regarding Syria’s second city of Aleppo. The Syrian and Russian forces liberated that city at the end of 2016, and since then life for the residents there has fortunately returned to the normal peaceful, pluralist coexistence which prevailed before the foreign-backed terror goons took over.

Yet, Western media and officials continually confabulate about “rebels” and civilians being besieged by Syrian state forces. This inversion of reality is of course necessary in order to push the Western false narrative that has underpinned the covert Western war for regime change in Syria, including the clandestine support for terror groups as proxies.

Further twisting the situation in Eastern Ghouta this week, the Western media blamed the Syrian “regime” and Russia for not implementing a ceasefire plan to enable evacuation of civilians.

Russia proposed a daily five-hour truce, and the Syrian government established humanitarian corridors exiting from the conflict zone. The proposal from Moscow was a reasonable counter to what the US, Britain and France had wanted, which involved a 30-day cessation of all military operations.

The Western powers had tried the same proposal during the liberation of Aleppo. Syria and its legally mandated Russian ally are within their sovereign right to take back remaining territory that has been illegally occupied by foreign-backed militants.

What the Western powers would like to impose is a No-Fly Zone over parts of Syria to enable their residual proxies time and space to regroup. Why should the Syrian government forfeit its sovereign rights by accommodating foreign enemies?

The reason why the Russian humanitarian relief plan proposed this week for Eastern Ghouta did not gain traction was simply because the militants continually shelled the designated corridors for escaping civilians. Video footage clearly showed buses and aid workers organized by the Syrian government waiting to receive the civilians. But none were permitted from the area because of sniper and mortar fire from the militants.

Evidently, the militants are holding the civilian population as hostages and human shields. The same criminal tactics were deployed in Aleppo and other towns and cities where the terrorist gangs ruled with their death-cult barbarity.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this week, rightly pointed out that the humanitarian relief plan for Eastern Ghouta can only be made to work if the militants commit to upholding a ceasefire. But these foreign-backed mercenaries have done nothing of the sort. They have not only cut off evacuation corridors under fire; they continue to launch rockets and mortars at nearby government-controlled Damascus inflicting dozens of civilian deaths in recent weeks.

Reliable figures cited by the Syrian Free Press network, indicate that some 85 per cent of the Syrian population live in areas under the control of President Bashar Assad’s state forces. Only a small minority – 15 per cent – live in areas controlled by insurgents. And many of those people are being held in these dwindling areas against their will in a state of fear imposed by the so-called jihadists.

The brazen Western media propaganda war – misnamed as “news” – reports totally from the minority areas, which are exalted as “rebel bastions”.

In all the so-called “reporting” by France 24, BBC, CNN, and others, the information is either sourced from the CIA-sponsored and terrorist-affiliated White Helmets media operation; or anonymous “residents” and “activists”; or it is sourced from “a UK-based monitor” who is an exiled Syrian furniture salesman who has not been in Syria for 15 years.

This pathetic Western mainstream media “journalism” has been going on for the past seven years in relation to Syria.

Significantly, when do you ever hear a Syrian government official or diplomat being aired directly and at length in these media? Or Russian officials? Never. It’s all a one-way street of lies and fabrication.

The preposterous inversion of reality that the Western governments and media have perpetrated over Syria can only be sustained through systematic distortion.

Russia’s humanitarian relief plan for Eastern Ghouta has so far been sabotaged by terror groups firing on civilians. But Western officials and media have the brass neck to claim that the long-suffering population is under siege from the very forces who are trying to liberate them from terror.

When Eastern Ghouta is eventually liberated one thing is sure. The Western media will never follow-up to ask residents what their lives were really like. Just as these same vile propaganda outlets did not follow-up on liberated Aleppo.

As if the distortion couldn’t get any worse, this week the New York Times and other Western media reported claims that North Korea had secretly supplied materials for chemical weapons to Syria. The reported claims seemed unconvincing, as usual, and the Syrian government denied the latest allegations.

Alongside that, the British government asserted this week that it would order air strikes on the Syrian “regime” if it found proof that chemical weapons were used.

Adding up the Western distortion it is obvious what the objective is: to find a pretext for overt military aggression on Syria. The covert proxy war using terrorist mercenaries has failed. Now the Western terror sponsors need to take the distortion to an even more demonic level.

In truth, there is indeed a siege in Syria. The entire Syrian nation is under siege – by criminal Western regimes and their equally criminal propaganda media, justifying war and aggression.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

US State Dept approves sale of $47mn worth of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine

RT | March 1, 2018

The US Department of State has signed off on the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to the government of Ukraine, the Pentagon has confirmed. The deal is valued at $47 million and needs congressional approval next.

If approved by Congress, the deal would involve the sale of 210 missiles and 37 command units, Defense News reported, citing Pentagon sources. The Pentagon claims it will not affect the military balance in the region, where the Kiev government is locked in conflict with two regions in the east of the country. Kiev has been accusing Moscow of backing the rebels, to the point of officially designating Russia an “aggressor” state.

“The Javelin system will help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity in order to meet its national defense requirements,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he was expecting the first lethal weapons deliveries from the US to take place “in a very few weeks,” without specifying what weapons Kiev is supposed to receive. The Pentagon, however, was more careful about the timeline. “On weapons delivery, it is premature to speculate on when that will happen,” US Department of Defense spokesperson Sheryll Klinkel told Sputnik.

The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) approved increased US military aid to Kiev, including lethal weapons. Until now, the US has assisted Ukraine’s military with logistics, intelligence, training and other types of support.

Washington has accused Russia of invading Ukraine since 2014, when armed activists backed by the US seized power in Kiev. Residents of several regions, including Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea, refused to accept the new government’s policies.

Crimea voted to rejoin Russia, which it was separated from in 1954 by a decree of the Soviet leadership. Donetsk and Lugansk declared independence and have since been fighting off attempts by Ukraine’s military to “reintegrate” them by force.

Moscow denies involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, of which no consistent proof has been produced to date. It has repeatedly warned Washington against allowing lethal arms exports to Ukraine, saying it will stoke the military conflict and embolden Kiev’s offensive in the east of the country, further endangering the civilians that are already suffering there.

Read more:

Jumping the gun: Poroshenko expects US arms in ‘a few weeks,’ Pentagon says ‘too early’ to set date

March 2, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Russia postpones strategic talks with US

Press TV – March 2, 2018

Moscow has postponed planned talks with Washington on strategic stability originally set for later this month, after a US delegation refused to attend a Geneva meeting on cybersecurity earlier in the week, Russian envoy to Washington has announced.

Ambassador Anatoly Antonov told Russian TASS news agency on Thursday that the last-minute pullout from talks in Geneva by the US delegation on February 27 reflected an “unfriendly step… that gave the impression of having been pre-planned and leading to the further degradation of bilateral relations.”

“We have expressed indignation to the Department of State that the American side has wrecked Russian-American expert consultations on global information security,” Antonov said, noting that Moscow and Washington had agreed to hold the talks in Geneva on February 27-28.

However, he insisted, “The Americans refused to participate in the event just on its first day under the pretext of absolutely ungrounded accusations against Russia.”

“As a result of those US actions, the Russian side has found it impossible to hold Russian-American consultations on bilateral issues and strategic stability topics planned for March 6-7 in Vienna, which is why we have postponed them,” Antonov said.

The development came after the US accused long-time rival Russia of openly breaching Cold War-era treaties by developing what President Vladimir Putin referred to on Thursday as a new generation of “invincible” hypersonic weapons and submarines.

Reacting to Putin’s speech on Thursday, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “It was certainly unfortunate to have watched the video animation that depicted a nuclear attack on the United States. We don’t regard that as the behavior of a responsible international player.”

Antonov, however, rejected the remarks by Nauert in a separate statement he posted on Facebook.

“I will underline once again that Russia has not violated a single arms control and non-proliferation agreement while developing its nuclear potential,” said the Russian envoy.

He further said, “It appears that the State Department does not know the substance of the matter very well.”

Antonov went on to also emphasized that none of the weapons mentioned in Putin’s state of the nation address were covered by the treaties signed by the US and the former Soviet Union.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

NPT Violated: Russia Raises Issue of Utmost Importance

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 02.03.2018

Speaking at the UN Geneva Disarmament Conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is threatened by American tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) stationed in Europe and the destabilizing effect of joint nuclear missions (JNM) that NATO forces are being trained for.

The statement is more than propitious. No progress on European security is conceivable without an agreement on what to do with tactical nukes. US TNW are deployed while Russian tactical nukes are all stored. Unlike the US, Russia does not keep them abroad. Its non-strategic delivery means cannot strike the continental US. It makes American TNW in Europe an addition to the strategic potential able to tilt the existing strategic balance.

US instructors train European personnel, the Belgian, German, Italian and Dutch, to use TNW. An example is the yearly exercise Steadfast Noon, a low-profile training event conducted in semi-secrecy. The exercise testifies to the fact that European non-nuclear states (NNS) are involved in nuclear planning. The US trains their military personnel to fight a nuclear war.

It all constitutes a flagrant violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). It prohibits nuclear states from transferring nukes to other recipients (Article I). It also prohibits NNS from receiving TNW (Article II). About half of US air-delivered bombs in Europe to be modernized are earmarked for delivery by aircraft of Europe’s NNS, which are parties to the NPT. In the early 2020s, modernized B61-12 guided nuclear bombs will be delivered by stealth F-35 bombers that many European NATO members are going to acquire thus achieving first strike nuclear capability.

Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey take part in the F-35 program. Belgium will probably purchase the F-35 as a replacement for its aging F-16. Poland, Finland (not a NATO member but a privileged partner) and Germany appear to be on the way to acquire the aircraft. There will probably be others – all of them becoming nations with nukes deployed on their territories and crews trained to use TNW in violation of the NPT.

The nukes are hard to get rid of. In 2010, NATO adopted the Tallinn formula, which stipulates that no member of the alliance can unilaterally withdraw American TNW.

The US 2018 Nuclear Posture Review eulogizes low-yield nuclear weapons (with strength of less than 20 kilotons). It identifies the need for nuclear sea-launched cruise missiles and lower-yield warheads for sea-launched strategic missiles.

If the idea is implemented, the RF won’t be able to distinguish an incoming low-yield munition from a full-blown weapon to trigger a nuclear exchange at strategic level. From Russia’s perspective, the concept presupposes another addition to the strategic arsenal. Very provocative, isn’t it?

NATO’s superiority in conventional weapons also should not be forgotten as well as the nuclear capability possessed by France and the United Kingdom.

Here is another aspect so rarely remembered nowadays. Sea-based TNW are excluded from the US-Russia TNW balance. The undeservedly forgotten Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNIs) signed in 1991 have so far been complied with. Unlike the INF Treaty, the compliance with the PNIs has never been doubted. Emergence of sea-based TNW means an end to the PNIs that have served both nations so effectively and for so long. The US, in effect, is adding European nuclear arsenals to the Russia-US strategic equation. Moscow will respond. It will also demand that these weapons are taken into consideration in potential arms control talks. It has every reason and right to do it. The problem of TNW will arise in negotiating the future the New START.

As one can see, the US plans undermine European security. They bring to naught the chances of reaching new strategic or non-strategic nuclear US-Russia accords. And it makes the US and European NATO members less secure upping the nuclear threshold. Moscow will not stand idle watching all these war preparations take place. It will respond. And other NPT participants will question the validity of the agreement breached in broad daylight. So may negative things with no silver lining visible. Is it worth it? Evidently not, but that’s what the US is doing. It will be responsible for the consequences. Russia has done its best to avoid the worst. On Feb.28, Sergey Lavrov said something really important. Hopefully, there are enough reasonable people not to make his stern and timely warning fall on deaf ears.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 3 Comments

New arms race started by US pulling out of missile treaty – Putin

RT | March 2, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied accusations he revived an arms race by unveiling Russia’s new nuclear deterrent. That was done by US President George W. Bush killing a 30-year-old missile treaty in 2002, he told NBC.

In an interview with NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today” on Thursday, the Russian leader brushed off claims in the Western media that by introducing new nuclear-powered missiles, including the hypersonic Sarmat, he has signaled a new arms race. The alarmist rhetoric that fills Western news outlets is just another form of propaganda, Putin said.

“My point of view is that the individuals saying that a new Cold War has started are not really analysts; they do propaganda,” he said, as translated by NBC. Putin blamed Washington’s 2002 withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) for escalating the confrontation. “If we are to speak of an arms race, then an arms race started precisely at that point”.

It was US President George W. Bush who withdrew from the ABM Treaty, which had been one of the main pillars of the détente and held for nearly 30 years. Bush argued that the treaty hindered the US’ ability to protect itself from “future terrorist or rogue state attacks.”

In the years following, the US has encircled Russia with its missile defense installations, extending its anti-missile shield to Romania and Poland, deploying for the first time a battery of Patriot long-range anti-aircraft system to Lithuania for war games.

The US nuclear build-up on Russia’s doorstep triggered a response from Moscow, which deployed its newest Iskander systems to its Kaliningrad exclave, citing the threat posed by US missile launchers deployed in Poland and Romania.

The path that led towards confrontation could have been avoided had the US agreed to cooperate on the development of anti-missile defenses with Russia – an offer repeatedly extended by Moscow. After Washington refused, Putin said he could not sit idle.

The Russian president went on that he still believes the two countries should focus on what they can do together. He mentioned the fight against common challenges to security such as terrorism.

“Instead of creating threats to one another, great powers should pool their efforts in protecting against terrorists,” he told Kelly.

Kelly raised the topic of speculation that the new weapon systems have not yet undergone any successful tests. Putin, who had used Thursday’s state of the nation address to unveil the weapons, dismissed the rumors.

“Every single weapon system that I have discussed today easily surpasses and avoids anti-missile defense systems,” Putin said, adding that while “some of them still have to be fine-tuned and worked on,” others are combat-ready. “One of them is already on combat duty. It’s available to the troops,” the Russian leader said.

Read more:

Russian lawmakers emphasize that Putin’s address was a call for peace and talks

Western media accuses Putin of ‘starting new arms race’ after ‘terrifying’ nuclear missile ‘boasts’

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Russian Embassy in US Debunks Accusations of Alleged INF Treaty Violation

Sputnik – March 2, 2018

Moscow’s Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov has refuted the US State Department’s accusations of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty by possessing the new strategic weapons announced in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address.

“Apparently, the US State Department is poorly proficient on the subject. Putin spoke about strategic armaments that are not subject to the limitations of the INF treaty…. We would like to recall that we consider the accusations against us regarding the ‘violation’ of this treaty groundless,” Antonov said in a statement.

The accusations are backed up neither by technical specifications of the launcher, which are allegedly not in accordance with the treaty, nor by flight telemetry data, Antonov noted.

“I would like to stress once again that Russia, while developing its nuclear potential, has not violated any agreement in the sphere of disarmament and arms control. Everything that is done by the Russian Defense Ministry and Russian defense industry is in strict accordance with our international obligations,” the ambassador stressed.

The diplomat recalled that Moscow has repeatedly urged Washington to discuss the issue professionally.

“We have warned more than once and warn again that the destruction of the INF treaty would be a heavy blow to the arms control and non-proliferation regime…. At the same time, we have serious concerns about the fulfillment of the treaty terms by the United States,” he stressed.

Putin’s address to the parliament on Thursday broke a record in terms of duration, having lasted for one hour and 57 minutes. It was for the first time accompanied by a multimedia presentation which showed the tests of Russia’s most modern weapons.

In his speech, Putin said that Russia had begun developing special strategic weapons invulnerable to missile defense systems, including nuclear capable cruise missiles and the new hypersonic aviation and missile system dubbed Kinzhal (“Dagger”).

Earlier, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert had claimed that Putin’s address to the parliament confirmed that Moscow had been developing weapons in violation of its treaty obligations, including under the INF treaty.

The 1987 INF Treaty envisages the destruction of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (from 311 to 3,317 miles), their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment. The United States and Russia have repeatedly accused each other of violating the treaty.

Antonov was Russia’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister in 2016-2017 and Deputy Defense Minister in 2011-2016.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment