Aletho News


European Parliament ‘Shocked’ at Amount of EU-Made Arms in Hands of Terrorists

Sputnik – 12.11.2018

This week, members of the European Parliament will gather in Strasbourg for the plenary session with a wide array of issues on the agenda, including arms exports.

A draft report on arms exports, which will be tabled at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg later this week, suggests launching an investigation into how EU-made weapons end up in the possession of terrorists in the Middle East.

One provision of the document, presented by German MEP Sabine Lösing, says that the European Parliament is “shocked at the amount of EU-made weapons and ammunition found in the hands of Daesh in Syria and Iraq.”

The same draft highlights that some EU member-states, including Bulgaria and Romania, have failed to apply the Common Position in relation to weapons’ retransfers, which contravenes end-user certificates.

The document further proposes making it obligatory for EU member-states to “deny an export licence if there is a clear risk that the military technology or equipment to be exported might be diverted.”

The European Parliament “calls on all Member States to refuse similar transfers in the future, notably to the US and Saudi Arabia,” the draft reads.

Syrian media have on multiple occasions reported that the country’s army had discovered large stocks of arms, ammunition, vehicles and other military equipment, made in the US, Europe and Israel, while conducting mop-up operations in regions liberated from terrorists.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Germany, EU funding militants in Idlib: Report

Press TV – November 12, 2018

The German government and other EU members are funding militants still present in Idlib and involved in a conflict against the Syrian army, Germany’s Tagesspiegel newspaper has revealed.

According to the report cited by British daily the Telegraph on Sunday, “no less than 37.5 million euros” has been transferred to militant groups in Idlib by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In total, Berlin has paid nearly 49 million euros to militants fighting to topple the Syrian government and facilitated the transfer of similar funds by other EU members, it added.

Those funds included “11.3 million other sources, or 17 million euros from the European Union, for which Germany would have played an intermediary role.”

According to the report, the German government does not communicate the precise list of recipients of the funds for fear of angering Russia and other sides involved in the Syria war.

The information was revealed in an answer given by German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Walter Lindner to a question asked by Member of European Parliament Evrim Sommer, to which Tagesspiegel was able to have access.

The report comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian and Turkish leaders in Istanbul late last month to discuss a solution to the Syria conflict.

Ankara has long backed militants seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, while Moscow is a close ally of the Syrian government in its relentless fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

Merkel apparently rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call to financially contribute to Syria’s reconstruction after they met outside Berlin in August.

Germany is a member of a US-led coalition which has been bombarding Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Syrian government or a UN mandate.

Just recently, Berlin said it was in talks with Washington and other allies about a possible involvement in airstrikes on Syria if it used chemical weapons.

Syria and Russia have warned of a “false flag” chemical attack by militants in order to give the US and its allies an excuse to target Syrian troops which have sought to evict terrorists from their last stronghold in Idlib.

Germany has reportedly deployed special forces to northern Syria to aid US-backed Kurdish militants. In September, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Germany would not reject a possible longer-term deployment of troops to the Middle East.

She made the remarks during a visit to the Azraq air base in Jordan where some 300 German troops are operating as part of the US-led coalition.

The US and its allies characterize their military presence in the region as part of their war on Daesh, but fiercely oppose a final push by Syrian troops against terrorists in Idlib.

Extremists from across Europe joined Daesh in droves in 2014, when the Takfiri terror group launched its campaign of bloodshed and destruction in Iraq and Syria.

Back then, many European leaders ignored repeated warnings that militants could return home one day and that they would pose a security challenge for years to come across the continent.

Last month, Germany said more than a hundred militants, who had been fighting in Iraq and Syria, had returned to the country, but among them only dozens were being investigated for possible terror links.

German Interior Ministry said in a statement that they knew of 124 people, who were part of at least 249 people who had traveled from Germany to Iraq and Syria.

Meanwhile, some 40 percent of at least 900 Britons who traveled to Syria to join Daesh had returned to the United Kingdom, but UK counter-terrorism chief Neil Basu said they were no longer considered a main threat.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

AfD MP calls for an end to sanctions against Russia

Centre for Geopolitical Studies | November 10, 2018

Interview conducted by Dragana Trifkovic, Director of the Centre for Geopolitcal Studies with the MP of the German House of Representatives (Bundestag), Mr. Petr Bystron

Dear Mr. Bystron, recently we have met at the International Conference on the Development of Parliamentarism in Moscow recently. In front of representatives of Parliaments from all around the world, international experts and journalists you held a well-received speech, calling for an end to sanctions against Russia. Why?

I demanded an end to sanctions because they have not achieved anything except harming German business. There’s no point to maintaining these useless sanctions any longer.

The Russian-German relations are very complex. On the political agenda, they are burdened with the sanctions which the EU countries imposed to Russia, but on the other hand, Germany and Russia cooperate on a strategic project such as North Stream 2. How do you see the prospect of developing further relations between your country and Russia, and also how the United States relations towards the possibility of greater convergence between Germany and Russia?

Of course German companies are still trying to do business with Russia. The sanctions mainly hurt the meat and fruit exporters, as well as the machine tool industry. Exports dropped as much as 60% in the early days of sanctions in these sectors. Naturally, German businesses want to maintain their traditionally good contacts to Russia. North Stream 2 is just one example of this. But it’s no secret there is a lot of pressure from the United States to stop this project. There was a bipartisan initiative in the U.S. Senate in March supported by 39 Senators, urging the government to do everything it can it stop the pipeline. President Trump has come out against North Stream 2 as well.

I don’t think Germany should let itself be blackmailed by anyone, and should be free to get its energy supplies from wherever is best. Even during the Cold War, Russia was a reliable supplier of energy, and there’s no reason to think that will change.

At the Moscow conference, we discussed about the perspective of Eurointegration of Balkan countries that are not yet members of the EU. You represent the view that the EU has no perspective and that EU candidate countries do not have much to hope for. What are in your opinion the biggest problems in the EU, and are they solvable? What kind of future can expect the EU, and can the EU be reformed and become a functional community?

There are two problems here: First of all, the EU is in no state to accept new members right now, with all its problems. The EU is in a deep crisis and is fighting for its survival. The main example is Brexit, of course: The first nations are leaving the sinking ship. If the EU doesn’t undergo far-reaching and fundamental reform, it is doomed to failure. The Euro currency system is not sustainable in its present form.

These problems have been exacerbated by the migration crisis, which was caused by Angela Merkel’s completely unnecessary and undemocratic opening of the borders in 2015. In a precarious situation like this, it is completely irresponsible to think about expanding the EU even further, especially with candidates who are not able to meet the most basic standards for joining the Union.

We already saw what problems it causes to accept members who don’t meet the criteria or even cheated to get in, as in the case of Greece. The EU now faces huge problems with Greece, Romania and Bulgaria for this reason. These are countries which shouldn’t have been accepted to the EU in the first place. Accepting the West Balkan countries in these circumstances would be tantamount to suicide.

If there is any country from this region which would qualify for membership, both economically and culturally, it is Serbia. Countries like Albania and Macedonia have huge problems in regard to corruption and economic development. And then there’s the problem with Kosovo, which is not recognized as a country by several European nations, Russia or China, for example. That’s a very unstable situation.

The EU wants very much to expand their influence in the Balkans. However, given the current state of the EU, it’s not even advisable for Serbia to want to join the EU, when countries like the UK, Italy and Eastern Europe are moving away from the broken monstrosity in Brussels. Serbia should be glad it is not in the EU, and stand up squarely for its own national interests.

You are particularly interested in the problem of Kosovo and Metohija. The territory of the southern Serbian province since 1999 and the end of the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia is under occupation. The Western powers want to resolve the problem of Kosovo and Metohija outside the framework of international law and UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Negotiations on resolving this issue are underway in Brussels, although Serbia is not a member of the EU and this community has no basis to deal with this problem. How and where, in your opinion, should the issue of Kosovo and Metohija be solved?

Kosovo is a powder keg with no solution in sight. It will remain a problem for many years. I’m convinced the current situation can not be maintained. This territory was part of Serbia for centuries, and I am very sure it will belong to Serbia again in the long run. The EU protectorate in Kosovo will be short-lived.

How well in the German public do you know the facts about what is happening in Kosovo and Metohija and how the so-called democracy in this territory works? Are there known facts about violence against Serbs in the presence of international forces UMNIK, KFOR and EULEX? How well do you know the results of these international missions?

The problem began with the way the EU treated the UCK. We should not be supporting a terrorist organization aiming to break up a country. A group like this would be immediately outlawed if it were trying to break up Germany, for example, and they would all be locked up. In the case of Yugoslavia, the EU and Germany for some reason supported this terrorist group, which was a tragic mistake. We are very concerned about the current situation, the human rights violations and the ethnic cleansing of Serbs in Kosovo.

An entity like Kosovo – which I refuse to call a country – based on injustice and terror, is not viable in the long term, which is evidenced by the continued need for KFOR peacekeeping forces to keep this creation alive.

Recently has been an a discussion in the German Bundestag about the continuation of the mission of German soldiers in Kosovo. At KFOR, there are currently about 400 German soldiers in Kosovo. The Bundestag supported German soldiers remain in Kosovo, thanks to the votes of the ruling CDU / CSU and SPD and the Greens and Liberals (FDP). Alternative for Germany voted against it. How do you assess the mission of the German army in Kosovo and why did you vote against continuation of mission in Kosovo?

This is one of the paradoxes of German politics: That the first German combat mission since WW II was ordered by the formerly pacifist Green Party and their Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer under the Socialist Gerhard Schröder, and they continue to support the KFOR mission. The AfD does not believe in sending German troops to the Balkans, especially not to prop up an artificial entity like Kosovo.

The US supports the formation of the Kosovo Army, although this is contrary to Resolution 1244. German instructors train Albanians to become part of the official army. How is it possible to prevent the taking of illegal actions and violations of the international law by the Western countries?

This is a difficult question and will be a difficult process. But in countries like Germany and the USA, governments and policies can change, thank God. So Serbia needs to be very patient, continue to stand up for itself over the long haul, and reach out to allies and supporters who will see it the same way.

Have you personally, or a delegation from your party Alternative for Germany, visited Kosovo and Metohija? Is there an opportunity for you to do so in the coming period and to make sure of the state of democracy on the spot as well as to evaluate the results of the work of international missions, as well as the the German Bundeswehr?

That’s a good idea. We should definitely visit Serbia and Kosovo with an AfD delegation, to find out more about the situation on the ground. We have already been to Syria, for example, where the situation is completely different from the way it is portrayed in the Western mainstream media, so I’m sure visiting Kosovo would be very interesting.

Petr Bystron is the Speaker of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD)on the Foreign Policy Committee of the German Bundestag.He came to Germany in 1988 as a political refugee and joined the Euro-critical AfD in 2013. He was chair of the AfD for the State of Bavaria 2015-2018. Under his leadership the party reached the best tally of all states in West Germany in the federal elections 2017.

In 2018, he pushed to grant imprisoned British Islam critic Tommy Robinson political asylum in Germany, and filed criminal charges against migrant NGOs engaged in people-smuggling in the Mediterranean. He is a leading political publicist who has won several prizes for his writing and edited a book for University of Geneva with Polish Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Wałęsa. He is currently one of the 10 most popular German politicians on social media.

November 11, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Normalizing External Narratives in Palestine’s Spaces for Education

Palestinian students in a school of the UNRWA. (Photo: via Facebook)
By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | November 6, 2018

In collaboration with the Palestinian Ministry of Education, the EU launched a competition across schools in Gaza and the occupied West Bank called “Know Europe”. The aim, according to EU Deputy Representative Tomas Niklasson, is “to introduce ourselves again to students of Palestine: introduce our values, culture, history, and identity” and affirm the bloc’s purported commitment to supporting Palestinians.

This educational endeavor is tantamount to forcing gratitude for symbolic recognition, decades after colonial conquest and entrenchment. Yet the reasoning behind the competition, according to the press release, is that “the European Union has a lot in common with Palestine and the region”. Palestinians know there is no comparison, yet this misconception is now being normalized through education, despite the obvious differences between a bloc of countries and Palestine’s disappearance.

Is it for educational purposes that the EU is introducing a sliver of normalized and depoliticized education for Palestinians? Or is the aim to promote the international agenda of obstructing the colonized population’s right to learn of the international community, in this case, Europe, through its own experience?

The competition is not proof of Europe’s support for Palestine – it is a publicity stunt for the benefit of the EU itself that simply requires Palestinian students as participants. To hold this competition at a time when, more than ever, Palestinians require support for their own narratives to be disseminated internationally shows that international exploitation of Palestine and Palestinians knows no bounds.

In doing so, the colonized population is coerced into a type of learning that promotes a purportedly outward-looking framework, while Palestinians are contending with two violations which the EU has actively ignored: restrictions on freedom of movement, particularly in Gaza where this right has been annihilated, and the Palestinian Right of Return.

Furthermore, why does the EU assume that its founding principles are worthy of dissemination? The competition is labeled “interactive,” yet the interaction follows the traditional formula of a colonized population participating in a decided agenda.

There is no space for Palestinian narratives, yet it is possible to find space for the EU to share its identity with a population that finds its identity bludgeoned by the international community. Will the imparted values include the EU’s insistence on the two-state framework, its support of the Palestinian Authority and Israel’s purported right to defend itself?

Surely there is enough awareness that, at an international level, the colonial depiction of Palestine doesn’t aid Palestinian rights and self-determination. Given the leverage that the EU has over Palestine in terms of politics and diplomacy, this competition will make a spectacle out of participation and Palestinians will gain nothing in terms of their rights.

For an entity that claims to be supportive of the Palestinians, the competition only shows the bloc promoting its self-interests and appeasement of Israel. The EU would have served a better purpose if it had encouraged the celebration of Palestinian history, memory, and narratives. A population that has excelled in education, despite colonial violence and appropriation, deserves more recognition than for its youth to participate in a scheme which continues to deflect focus away from the realities of Palestinian displacement and loss of territory.  The disappearance of Palestine necessitates more attention than the EU and its omniscient presence.

November 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 11 Comments

Suspect’s Iranian Origin an Excuse for New Sanctions Against Tehran – Scholars

Sputnik | November 4, 2018

Denmark and Iran are in conflict. While leading European countries are trying to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, Denmark is engaged in a strong confrontation with Iran.

Danish police have announced that they have arrested a Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin linked to an alleged attack on the head of the Danish branch of the “Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz.”

According to the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, Iranian intelligence services supported the incident. In addition, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recalled its ambassador from Tehran. The country’s foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, has announced that Copenhagen would advocate for the EU imposing sanctions on Iran.

Commenting on the situation for Sputnik, Sergei Demidenko, an associate professor at the Institute of Social Sciences of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, pointed out that the confrontation between Tehran and Copenhagen is very controversial but minor in terms of the political climate between the EU and Iran.

“There are many ways that the leaders of terrorist and separatist movements could use to get into the country. The primary one is presenting yourself as a member of some illegal political entity. In a country like Denmark, despite commonsense logic, this person will automatically receive the status of a ‘victim of political repression’,  as well as the right to political asylum and welfare for a comfortable living.Generally speaking, Denmark doesn’t have a stance on the Iranian issue, unlike the US and the UK.  That is why the Iranian case is very controversial. One may assume that these are political speculations and provocations, organized by some third party.”

The expert pointed out that Denmark’s position in the EU is not important enough to induce the union to impose new sanctions.

“Speaking about the EU, its position is not always identical with the US. The union always had an economic interest in Iran, not a political one. It’s hard to believe that the EU really needs to conduct an anti-Iranian campaign. This case is unlikely to affect the dynamics of the relationship between the EU and Iran. In some instances, the European Union may support the US against Iran, but not in all domains and not unanimously.”

Seyed Hadi Afghahi, an Iranian political scientist, leading expert on the Middle East, diplomat and a former official of the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon, shared the Russian expert’s point of view concerning the provocation against Iran possibly being organized by a third party. He added that there is an interested party to this diplomatic conflict. It is the United States.”The accusations against Iran that have been made recently as part of this conflict are not something new, especially since the new American sanctions package against Iran is to take effect soon. The US is actively preparing the ground for rationalizing new sanctions by trying to denigrate Iran in public opinion, pushing a narrative of us being sponsors of terrorism.

For this, Washington uses its allies. As you remember, there was the case of one of our diplomats being arrested in France for alleged support of terrorism against the leader of ‘Mojahedin-e Khalq’. However, the proof of these accusations hasn’t been provided. Now, let’s move on to the Danish case. The authorities of this country are accusing a citizen of Iranian origin of trying to organize a terrorist act against the leader of the local wing of the ‘Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz’.

The real question here is: why do the leaders of a separatist group that has conducted numerous terrorist attacks in Iran live in Denmark with political immunity? Don’t the Danish authorities know that just recently, during a military parade in Ahvaz, members of this group, in cooperation with Daesh, conducted a horrible terrorist attack against innocent Iranian civilians? It is a commonly known fact. In the meantime, Denmark, considering itself a civilized state, grants these terrorists political asylum and hides them on its territory, not revealing this fact to the public.

The second amazing fact about the campaign against Iran is the murder case of Jamal Khashoggi. Despite existing evidence, the authorities of Saudi Arabia are not being blamed by the US or the EU for assassinating the journalist.

The statement of the Danish authorities is a part of the anti-Iran plot prepared by the US to justify new sanctions. They found an innocent person connected to Iran, presented him as a murderer at an international level without having any evidence, and now they are threatening us with new sanctions. While the Saudi journalist case remains open, no European country has so far demonstrated a firm stance towards those responsible for his death and has not demanded to introduce sanctions against Saudi Arabia.It’s quite obvious that the Danish case is an attempt to avoid the responsibilities of the nuclear deal. In other words, the EU will justify its passivity in regards to preserving the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and not helping Iran by saying that the Islamic Republic is a sponsor of terrorism and could organize attacks in European capitals.

It could be concluded that this is all an intrigue and conspiracy against Iran. We see no practical steps by the EU to preserve the nuclear deal. It looks like Europe, influenced by the US, is trying to take the anti-Iranian position.”

Israel in the Middle of the Scandal

Denmark doesn’t provide personal information of the “Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz” separatist wing leader and doesn’t say how many of the movement’s members are on its territory. Tehran rejects the allegation of involvement of its intelligence services in the case.

When Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi commented on the accusations made by Denmark, he said: “When Iran-Europe relations are normalizing, some parties are trying to create division between them.” He considered Denmark’s sanctions decision to be “unpredictable” and pointed out: “This action was planned by counter-revolutionaries and terrorists in Europe, in the Middle East and in the US. Its purpose is psychological warfare against Iran.”It should be noted that the Israeli Public Broadcasting company Kan reported that Denmark had received information from Mossad that the Iranian intelligence services were planning to liquidate an opposition politician on its territory.

Seyed Hadi Afghahi thinks that these actions are a part of the anti-Iranian plot. Tel Aviv’s information was falsified and shouldn’t be trusted.

“Israel always gives false information to European leaders and heads of Persian Gulf countries, claiming that Iran is going to establish hegemony, conquer several Arab countries, etc. Iran is represented as a dangerous player, a conqueror and a source of all evil. Arab diplomats told me that during his visit to Oman, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said provocative information that Iran was planning to take over Oman in two years.

Israel offered Oman to reinforce cooperation, stop rapprochement with Iran and guaranteed its support in the event of an Iranian invasion; although Iran has been keeping close, friendly ties with Oman for 40 years.

Israel’s statements that Iran is building nuclear bombs were ridiculous. The IAEA didn’t trust it, saying that Israel’s evidence doesn’t have value.

It is simply beneficial for Israel to give falsified information to denigrate Iran’s image. That is why Israel is always in the middle of the US’ attempts to unravel Europe and Iran.”

November 4, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 13 Comments

Israeli company wins contract to monitor Europe’s coasts

MEMO | November 1, 2018

The Israeli defence contractor Elbit Systems Ltd has won a contract worth up to $68 million to monitor much of Europe’s coastline.

Elbit Systems, an Israeli tech firm which specialises in defence, security and commercial systems, said today that the framework contract consists of the provision of maritime unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) in order to help monitor extensive coastlines and vast areas of sea to identify any potential hazards and suspicious activities.

In cooperation with CEiiA, the Centre of Engineering and product development in Portugal, Elbit will lease and operate its unmanned long-range surveillance system, the Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol system, as well as its ground control station. The contract is for a two-year period with the option of renewal for an additional two years.

“Having been selected by the European Union authorities is yet another vote of confidence in the Hermes 900 by following additional contract awards for this UAS in Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Israel,” said Elad Aharonson, the general manager of Elbit Systems’ ISTAR Division.

In recent months, numerous Israeli companies and contractors have been winning contracts in various industries worldwide, ranging from defence to surveillance and technological advancement. In October, Israeli companies signed purchase agreements with the United Nations for the provision of water and security service to UN forces in Africa. Israel also won a $777 million contract for the supply of India’s missile defences, as well as being revealed as a lead exporter of tools for spying on civilians being used by dictatorships or authoritarian governments around the world.

Such deals and multi-million dollar contracts over a variety of regions are seen as not only a benefit to the Israeli economy but also the reliability of its services and the subsequent potential increase of its international credibility.


Israel has become a leading exporter of tools for spying on civilians


November 1, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Azov Sea Resolution Adopted: European Parliament Takes Another Swipe at Russia

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 26.10.2018

The European Parliament (EP) has adopted a resolution calling for tougher sanctions from the European Union (EU) against Russia, should the situation in the Azov Sea continue to deteriorate. The document states that the Kerch bridge was built illegally, therefore the EP welcomes the council’s decision to impose restrictive measures against the companies involved in its construction. It suggests the creation of the position of special envoy on Crimea and the Donbass region in order to monitor the development of events there. And it warns about wider security implications that directly affect the EU. It demands that Russia “immediately end the intensive and discriminatory inspections of vessels and to consider, if necessary, appropriate countermeasures.”

Previously, Adm. Igor Voronchenko, the commander of the Ukrainian navy, threatened to use force against Russia as his service brought more ships to the area. Ukraine’s government announced last month that it would build a naval base there.

The EU has condemned Russia for launching a new inspection regime for cargo vessels coming from or heading toward Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea. It is also accused of militarizing the sea by increasing the number of its ships deployed there.

On Oct. 3, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed concern over the situation in the Azov Sea at a press conference in Brussels. Last month, US State Department Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker stated that Washington is uneasy about the situation developing in the Sea of Azov, and is thus prepared to continue supplying Ukraine with weapons.

NATO and Ukraine held a major NATO operation Oct.10-19, dubbed Clear Sky, with substantial US Air Force participation. Just a few days ago, it was reported that the US government was considering the transfer of Oliver Hazard Perry-type frigates to Ukraine. This move will really boost that country’s sea power. Ukraine has only one seagoing warship — the frigate Hetman Sahaidachnyi. Since it is almost constantly out for repairs, it goes to sea rarely and only for very short deployments, such as NATO drills, never moving far from its home waters.

The delivery of relatively contemporary frigates with sophisticated weapons systems and equipment is a huge leap forward for the Ukrainian navy. The vessels are too large for the Azov Sea but they could operate around the entrance to it. Of course, the ships will be a factor to reckon with in the Black Sea. Ten ships of that class are available for export. They can be transferred under the Defense Department’s Excess Defense Articles program, which allows the release of surplus weaponry to friendly nations. In September, the US Coast Guard transferred two Island-class cutters, armed with .50-caliber machine guns and 25mm deck guns. The US is taking one step after another to push Kiev toward confrontation. Just as the election campaign in Ukraine is swinging into full gear, Kiev is being urged to challenge Russia militarily.

NATO naval operations are restricted by the 1936 Montreux Convention. Black Sea members don’t have many surface ships, and non-Black Sea allies are to rotate their ships every 21 days. This is a problem that can be solved with a little sleight of hand, such as by reflagging warships so that they fly Ukraine’s ensign. That’s how the American Oliver H. Perry frigates could be based in the Black Sea permanently. Any international agreement has a loophole. Russian military experts are old hands at this. They know perfectly well that the frigates will operate under US control.

That’s not all. Another way to skirt the provisions of the Monteux Convention is to sign a port concession agreement with a Black Sea country. This will trigger legal procedures based in the law of the sea, giving the US the opportunity to have some clauses reviewed regarding its naval operations. Ukraine comes in handy. The US military has its eye on the Ukrainian seaports of Odessa, Ilyichevsk, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny. It already uses the Ochakov facility in Ukraine. Now that the construction work is over, US ships could drop anchor there. The convention does not allow aircraft carriers to enter the Black Sea, but Ukraine could be transformed into an unsinkable flattop.

The EU resolution sounds really tough. Why such a strong reaction and why now? Because Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov frustrated NATO’s plans to hold a provocative military exercise in the Azov Sea. Because of a bilateral treaty signed by Kiev and Moscow, Ukraine won’t be able to host the planned training event in the Sea of Azov without Russia’s consent.

Ukraine’s government is whipping up tensions because President Petro Poroshenko is running for reelection in March 2019 on a national security platform. This is pushing him to take a tougher line on Azov. In late March, Ukrainian border guards stopped the Russian-flagged, Crimean-registered fishing vessel Nord and illegally detained its crew. Ukraine was violating a number of international agreements. The incident triggered a campaign of provocative actions. In August, the Russian tanker Mekhanik Pogodin was detained in the Ukrainian port of Kherson. At the time, the Russian government compared that move to the activities of the Somali pirates.

The Russian government fully complies with its international commitments. The 2003 “Agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Strait of Kerch” does not specify a precise border. It states that the parties enjoy free use of this body of water and agree that the Sea of Azov and the Strait of Kerch are the internal waters of both Ukraine and Russia. No line of demarcation has even been drawn. Kiev believes it has the right to detain any ship traveling to or from Crimea without its permission.

Whatever Russia does is done legally. If there is a problem, Russia and Ukraine can solve it through negotiations. But neither the EU nor NATO has the idea of acting as a mediator to promote that process on its agenda. They could easily press Kiev into talks with Moscow but have not. Instead the EU votes for this provocative resolution, NATO expresses its political support, and the US sends warships and weapons. They are doing everything to goad Kiev into taking a confrontational approach and turning the Azov Sea into a flashpoint with a showdown expected at any minute.

October 26, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

US wants to be world’s sole power & doesn’t need treaties like INF – Russian senator

RT | October 22, 2018

Washington is ready to drop a landmark missile treaty with Moscow because it wants to become the dominant power on the globe, and that move will put its European allies in a tough spot, a senior Russian politician told RT.

The US doesn’t want to commit itself to the restrictions imposed by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) because it is “seeking unilateral military advantage,” Konstantin Kosachev stated.

According to the politician, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Lower House of parliament, “they want to be the only power in the world. And for that they don’t need these types of agreements.”

Speaking to RT on Monday, Kosachev recalled how in 2002 the US, under then-President George W. Bush, unilaterally pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty), signed 30 years prior. President Donald Trump is now acting in a similar fashion, he argued.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was signed in 1987. It effectively banned Moscow and Washington from having and developing short and mid-range missiles and the means of their delivery. Trump has said that he will “terminate” the deal, citing Russia’s alleged violations of the agreement – something Moscow’s officials deny.

Mid-range missiles will pose a “substantial threat” to Russian security if the US deploys them in Europe, Kosachev said. The senior lawmaker warned that such a move will turn the whole of Europe into a “zone of highest possible risk” and will prompt a swift response from Moscow.

“European countries are hostages in this situation.”

The European Union, meanwhile, called on both sides to maintain “constructive dialogue” to “preserve” the existing nuclear arms deal. Brussels expects the US to consider the consequences of ditching the agreement “on its own security,” as well as “the security of its allies and of the whole world,” EU spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Maja Kocijancic, said in a statement.

“The world doesn’t need a new arms race that would benefit no one and on the contrary would bring even more instability,” the statement concluded.

October 22, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Danish Journalist Slams Bill Effectively ‘Criminalizing Attitudes Critical of NATO’

Sputnik – October 21, 2018

An influential Danish politician has proposed a bill which would allow the government to prosecute Facebook users for posting opinions suspected of being ‘hostile to NATO’ or too similar to those of Russia. Speaking to Sputnik, Lars Jorgensen, a veteran Danish sociologist, journalist and long-time NATO researcher, outlined the proposal’s perils.

Last week, Soren Pind, a Danish Left-Liberal Party politician and former minister of education and justice, pitched a bill threatening up to 12 years of prison time for Danes accused of collaborating with Russian intelligence services or making statements which conflict with the official position of authorities during election campaigns.

Silencing Critics

Speaking to Sputnik Germany about Mr. Pind’s proposal, which is now up for debate among lawmakers, Danish journalist and Homo Sociologicus contributor Lars Jorgensen said that unfortunately, the parliament probably won’t be an obstacle.

“The Danish government has the support of Western countries for [the bill’s] implementation,” Jorgensen explained. “The bill effectively allows for the criminalization of attitudes which are critical of NATO. Another important point is the one allowing the government to say that you are cooperating with foreign intelligence services. As a Danish citizen, as a critical sociologist, I must now fear being accused of collaborating with foreign intelligence services, even if this is something I do not do,” he stressed.

Jorgensen’s fears are not unsubstantiated, given the number of articles critical of the Western alliance which are available on his website and Facebook pages, which have already faced censorship. “My Facebook account was blocked for months,” the journalist complained. “Later it was deactivated. I had about 4,000 friends there, including academics from all over the world.” Facebook, Jorgensen said, never adequately responded to his concerns.”I am a researcher with a critical view of NATO,” Jorgensen said. “At present, we don’t have many critical voices regarding NATO [in Denmark]. I studied the history of the alliance in detail, and communicate with a large circle of experts and specialists.”

This research has provided him with insights “destroying” NATO’s positive image, Jorgensen said. “It shows that what we are being told about the war in Yugoslavia is an absolute lie. The same goes for Libya, and Syria. For NATO and the political and corporate forces standing behind them, it’s very important to silence critical voices like myself,” the independent journalist noted.

Unfortunately, Jorgensen complained, Pind’s controversial bill has seen little attention from the Danish press, and even less criticism. The mainstream Danish media’s attitudes are fully in line with those of NATO, the journalist said.

“All of Denmark’s newspapers are controlled by large media groups. They would never allow me to speak to them, like I am speaking to you for this interview,” Jorgenson noted. Denmark, he lamented, has a deficit of alternative media. “If you were to look at materials about Syria in the Danish mainstream media, you would find that they are even wilder and more embellished than in the US. They are complete fiction. On the other hand, if you look at the authentic reports from Syria, as I have done, and listen to ordinary people, they all ask the same question: why is the British government supporting terrorists in Syria?”

Another part of the problem lies in the weak state of left and anti-war politics in Denmark, Jorgenson said, pointing out that a tiny communist newspaper was the first to even report on Pind’s bill or the dangers it poses to free speech.

Defense Against ‘Russian Influence’?

In the bill’s official wording, it is stated that the proposal is about the criminalization of collaboration with foreign intelligence services, or providing foreign agents with an opportunity to influence public opinion. Citing Norwegian intelligence, the bill speaks of a growing likelihood of “Russian campaigns to exert influence posing a growing threat to Denmark,” with Copenhagen said to be “very likely” to become a “target of such campaigns by Russia.”

Last week, Berlingske newspaper columnist Flemming Rose attacked the bill, which targets television, radio, newspapers, and other media, as well as internet and social media-based publications, pointing to a lack of a minimum threshold on what can be legally sanctioned. Criticizing the bill’s absurdity, Rose argued that it could be stretched to the point where Danish journalists are targeted for ‘changing a burnt-out lightbulb’ if it is demonstrated that they did so following the advice of foreign intelligence.

Earlier this month, the US, the Netherlands, the UK and several other Western powers accused Russian intelligence services of carrying out cyberattacks against a host of governments and international organizations. Moscow dismissed the claims as paranoid “spy mania.” Denmark’s parliamentary committee for defense head Nasser Khader suggested that Denmark should attack organizations suspected of being affiliated to the Russian government in cyberspace.

See also:

Danish Bill Proposes 12 Years in Prison for ‘Pro-Russia’ Opinion

October 21, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | 2 Comments

US to Impose Sanctions on Russia ‘Every Month or Two’ – Volker

Sputnik – 18.10.2018

Russia has faced several rounds of sanctions from the United States and the European Union over its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections, and alleged involvement in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK city of Salisbury in early March.

US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker has stated that the Trump administration will impose sanctions on Russia “every month or two.”

“The second thing we’ve done is we’ve tried to increase the pressure we are putting on Russia in order to get them to negotiate toward a solution. That includes keeping sanctions in place in the United States and increasing those sanctions periodically over time, and that’s the track that we have been on during the course of the Trump administration, and we’ll continue to be on,” Volker said. “You’ll see additional sanctions come into play every month or two months or so as we’ve seen.”

Volker noted that the United States is “working very closely with European allies” on the issue of anti-Russian sanctions.

In August, a group of US senators introduced a bill envisaging the imposition of new sanctions against Moscow, including those targeting the country’s oil industry and transactions with Russian sovereign debt.

In recent years, Russia has repeatedly been accused of carrying out cyberattacks against other countries, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Germany, and attempting, in particular, to influence the results of elections.

Moscow has repeatedly denied all the accusations also emphasizing its desire to see convincing evidence of Russian nationals’ involvement in the incidents.

Ukraine Military Sales

US officials will meet with their Ukrainian counterparts to discuss potential foreign military sales since Washington has already approved a new package of security assistance for Ukraine, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker announced.

“We have, working through the Congress, a new package of foreign military financing, and we’ll be sitting down with Ukrainians to talk possibly about foreign military sales and what would make sense for them,” Volker said.

In September, President Donald Trump and the Congress boosted US military aid to Ukraine, allocating $250 million in security assistance to the country under the 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.

October 18, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Pro-Russia party wins Latvia elections

Press TV – October 7, 2018

Latvia’s pro-Russia Harmony Party has won the country’s general elections, and will have to negotiate with other parties to form a coalition government.

Harmony won the Saturday parliamentary elections with 19.91 percent of the votes, followed by KPV LV and New Conservative Party, with 14.06 percent with 13.6 percent, respectively.

Turnout in the elections was 54.59 percent, according to the election website.

The pro-European Union (EU), pro-NATO liberal For Development/For! Party came fourth with 12.04 percent.

The rightwing National Alliance gained 11.03 percent. The Greens and Farmers Union — which currently holds the posts of both president and prime minister — won 9.96 percent.

The New Unity took 6.67 percent as the last party crossing the five-percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

The current parliament will keep working until November while parties discuss a new coalition.

No Harmony — until now

Latvia’s political parties had until now always tried to form coalition governments without Harmony in the blend.

The party will now hold 24 seats in the 100-seat parliament. KPV LV and the New Conservatives will jointly hold 31 seats.

The top three parties can muster the 55 seats needed to form a coalition government.

“No coalition combination is possible without Harmony,” the party’s chairman Nils Ushakovs told local media.

October 7, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

US could use Navy for ‘blockade’ to hamper Russian energy exports – Interior Secretary

RT | September 30, 2018

The US could use its Navy to prevent Russia’s potential energy supplies to the Middle East, Internal Secretary Ryan Zinke said, Washington Examiner reports.

The blockade would actually mean an “act of war,” a Russian Senator fired back.

Zinke alleged that Russia’s engagement in Syria – notably, where it is operating at the invitation of the legitimate government – is a pretext to explore new energy markets.

“I believe the reason they are in the Middle East is they want to broker energy just like they do in eastern Europe, the southern belly of Europe,” he has reportedly said.

And, according to to the official, there are ways and means to tackle it. “The United States has that ability, with our Navy, to make sure the sea lanes are open, and, if necessary, to blockade … to make sure that their energy does not go to market,” he said.

Zinke was addressing the attendees of the event hosted by the Consumer Energy Alliance, a non-profit group which styles itself as the “voice of the energy consumer” in the US.

He went on to compare Washington’s approaches to dealing with Russia and Iran, noting that they are effectively the same.

“The economic option on Iran and Russia is, more or less, leveraging and replacing fuels,” he said, while referring to Russia as a “one trick pony” with an economy dependent on fossil fuels.

Zinke’s statements provoked an angry response from Moscow, which equated a potential maritime blockade to an “act of war,” while calling the interior secretary’s assumptions “nonsense.”

“A US blockade of Russia would be equal to a declaration of war under international law,” Russian Senator Aleksey Pushkov said, commenting on Zinke’s words. Russia does not currently export any energy to the Middle East, which itself is a major oil exporting region. The whole idea is an “absolute nonsense,” the Senator argued.

The comment from the US Interior Secretary come as the Trump administration has been on a mission to boost the export of its liquefied natural gas to Europe, replacing Russia, the far cheaper option for European consumers. To that effect, the Trump administration officials, including US President Donald Trump himself, try to persuade Germany to pull out of the “inappropriate” Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which according to Trump, made Berlin Moscow’s “captive.”

Moscow has repeatedly stressed that the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is set to double the existing pipeline capacity to 110 billion cubic meters, is a purely economic project. The Kremlin argues that Washington’s fervent opposition to the project is simply driven by economic reasons and is an example of unfair competition.

“I believe we share the view that energy cannot be a tool to exercise pressure and that consumers should be able to choose the suppliers,” Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said following a meeting with US Energy Secretary Rick Perry in Moscow in September.

The US stance has drawn a backlash from Germany, which has reaffirmed its commitment to the project.

Germany’s leading organization for industry, the Federation of German Industries (BDI), has called on the US to stay away from EU energy policy and the bilateral agreements between Berlin and Moscow.

“I have a big problem when a third state interferes in our energy supply,” Dieter Kempf, head of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) said following a recent meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Economics, War Crimes | , , , | 12 Comments