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Poland summons Israeli ambassador over Netanyahu’s Holocaust comments

Press TV – February 15, 2019

Poland has called in Israel’s ambassador to Warsaw, threatening to scuttle an upcoming summit in Israel, after the regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to accuse the European country of collaborating with the Nazi Germany in carrying out the Holocaust.

The Israeli premier, who had participated in a US-sponsored Middle East conference in the Polish capital on Thursday, landed back late Friday but created a short-lived spat with the Polish government when he appeared to implicate Poles in the Holocaust.

However, a correction note issued by The Jerusalem Post alleviated the concerns of Warsaw that had been infuriated by the paper’s initial report, which quoted Netanyahu as saying on Thursday that “Poles cooperated with the Germans” in the Holocaust.

Furthermore, the Israeli regime’s foreign ministry in a statement on Friday called the whole story a mere misunderstanding originated from the Israeli paper’s misquotation.

“The prime minister’s comments concerning Poland were misquoted by The Jerusalem Post, which quickly issued a correction clarifying that an error had been made in the editing of the article,” it said.

Nonetheless, Poland’s Foreign Ministry summoned Israeli Ambassador Anna Azari to Warsaw for a dressing down over the issue.

Before being summoned, Azari made clear that Netanyahu’s comments had been misquoted.

“I was present during the prime minister’s briefing and he didn’t say that the Polish nation collaborated with the Nazis, he only said that no person was sued for speaking about those Poles who did cooperate with them,” she said in a Friday statement sent to Polish authorities.

Prior to Azari’s statement, Polish President Andrzej Duda had even suggested that the Visegrad Group summit due next week in Israel between Netanyahu and four central European counterparts could be reconsidered “in spite of the previous arrangements” if the Israeli premier had said what was originally reported.

Duda further said that he was even prepared to make his own country the location of the summit as Israel was no longer a good place for the meeting.

Later on Friday, Netanyahu’s office issued a second statement saying that he “spoke of Poles and not the Polish people or the country of Poland.” In its first statement, his office had said he had been misquoted by The Jerusalem Post.

It seemed that the correction note and clarifications finally convinced the Polish government, which said late on Friday that Netanyahu’s statements had been misquoted and misunderstood by the media, thereby ending the spat.

The sensitivities are high in Poland over the issue of its actions during the Holocaust.

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Ukraine facing labor ‘catastrophe’ as millions of citizens flee country

RT | September 4, 2018

Nearly a million Ukrainians are leaving the country every year, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin, warning the country will face severe labor shortages in the years to come.

“We are really in a catastrophic situation with a million Ukrainians leaving every year,” the minister said in an interview with Ukrainian ICTV.

Klimkin said that Poland alone has received around 1.4 million Ukrainians recently, and that nearly 30 percent of the population of the western Polish city of Wroclaw now speaks Ukrainian.

According to Ukraine’s foreign ministry, about three million Ukrainian migrants currently live in Russia, and up to two million in Poland.

Kiev reportedly sees labor migration as the second biggest threat to the country’s national security. According to a poll carried out by Research & Branding Group last June, 33 percent of Ukrainians were ready to leave the country for good and move to another country for permanent residence.

Labor migration from Ukraine has been growing over the past five years. Apart from Russia and Poland, Ukrainians are moving to Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Spain.

The current situation is expected to worsen in the years to come, according to Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Social Policy Olga Krentovska. In April, she said the current labor migration would lead to labor shortages that will put Ukraine’s economic stability at risk in just a couple of decades.

Kiev has appealed to Ukrainians leaving the country, attempting to persuade them to choose European countries over migrating to Russia. Last week, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said that Kiev may sever all remaining public transport links with Russia, which includes passenger trains and buses, due to national security concerns.

Ukraine’s population has seen a dramatic decline since the country declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. From its 1993 peak of more than 52 million people, the country’s population had decreased by nearly 10 million by the end of 2016, according to official figures. That’s a net 18 percent drop.

September 4, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

‘Our build-up is defensive, Russia’s aggressive,’ says NATO after Putin’s remark – but is that fair?

RT | August 22, 2018

NATO claims its military buildup in Eastern Europe is justified as it deters Russia’s superior might. Yet, any Russian activity is overshadowed by the US-led bloc’s huge border drills, supposedly held to ‘counter’ Moscow’s moves.

“NATO’s actions are defensive, proportionate and fully in line with our international commitments,” the alliance’s spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told Reuters, commenting on NATO military activities. She further added that the troops deployed by the Alliance to Eastern Europe “cannot compare to the divisions deployed by Russia” on its western borders.

The rant was provoked by the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who rebuked NATO for building up its military infrastructure right on Russia’s doorstep. “We do not deploy our military contingents away from our borders and close to the NATO states, it is the NATO infrastructure that advances to our own borders,” Putin told journalists in Sochi.

It was the way this statement was put that apparently made NATO officials so angry that they even de facto claimed that their forces are no match to those of Russia. The comparison is not exactly true, as facts show that NATO’s buildup and military activities near Russian territory actually overshadow the Russian activity.

Less than a week ago, German media reported that Berlin sent as many as 8,000 soldiers and some 100 tanks to Norway in preparation for yet another NATO drill, this time dubbed Trident Juncture 2018 and scheduled for October-November. According to the Alliance, the exercise, which will focus on repelling an aggression of some unfriendly state as part of a collective defense scenario under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, will involve as many as 40,000 participants from more than 30 countries – more than any Russian military exercise conducted in recent years.

The “scariest” Russian war games, dubbed Zapad-2017, which even sparked media-fueled fears that it was a cover for an “invasion” of neighboring countries, involved only 12,700 troops, 70 military aircraft, 10 ships and some 680 ground vehicles. Almost immediately after those drills Poland hosted what it called “national” Dragon 17 exercises, involving contingents from the US, the UK, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Ukraine. Notably, the number of troops involved in Dragon 17 exceeded those of the Zapad-2017 contingent, with some 17,000 personnel and 3,500 hardware pieces involved.

The US-led bloc continues to intensify its military exercises in Eastern Europe. In less than three months, NATO conducted two major drills in the vicinity of Russian borders. In June, more than 18,000 soldiers from 19 countries took part in the two-week ‘Saber Strike’ exercise, held in Poland and the Baltic States. The drills were said to practice the deployment of military convoys to defend NATO’s eastern flank.

On August 20, Latvia hosted the biggest war games ever staged on its territory since the Baltic State gained independence. Some 10,000 troops from more than a dozen NATO countries are participating in the drills that will end on September 2. However, the military bloc continues to repeat its mantra that all those drills right on Russia’s doorstep are in no way aimed at “provoking” Russia.

As if that was not enough, NATO also beefed up its military contingent in Eastern Europe. In her statement to Reuters, Lungescu only mentioned “4,000 troops to the eastern part of the Alliance to deter any possible aggression” as if those troops were the only ones NATO recently sent to the region. She forgot to note that the US will soon double the number of its Marines stationed in Norway. Also left out were the missile defense installations in Poland and Romania that are equipped with Lockheed Martin Aegis Ashore systems, which are technically capable of carrying both interceptor missiles and Tomahawk missiles.

In October 2017, the US also sent a new mechanized brigade to Poland, effectively increasing the overall strength of its military group in the Eastern European state to the level of a mechanized division. The Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said at that time that the equipment of another US brigade, which had previously been stationed there “remained in place.”

He added that such a situation gives the US an opportunity to easily redeploy its trained military personnel from its German Rammstein base to Poland within just two hours. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, NATO has tripled its military presence on Russia’s western borders over the past five years, forcing Moscow to respond.

Meanwhile, Russia has not deployed any significant military forces to its western borders in recent years, except for the stationing of Iskander-M tactical missile systems in its western exclave of Kaliningrad in early 2018. However, it is Russia that NATO and the West so desperately seek to portray as a source of instability in the region. Moscow has repeatedly warned that increased NATO presence on its doorstep effectively contributes nothing to regional security and, to the contrary, undermines stability in Europe.

August 22, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Washington Freezes Open Sky Treaty With Moscow in New Defense Bill

Sputnik – 13.08.2018

US President Donald Trump signed the $716 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2019 at Fort Drum, New York on Monday.

The bill funds the Department of Defense as well as funding to accelerate US efforts to field a conventional prompt strike capability before 2022, $6.3 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), and will obligate Defense Secretary James Mattis to submit a plan to Congress that would stop Turkey from getting F-35 aircraft if it purchases the Russian S-400 air defense system.

“An assessment of the potential purchase by the Government of the Republic of Turkey of the S-400 air and missile defense system from the Russian Federation and the potential effects of such purchase on the United States-Turkey bilateral relationship, including an assessment of impacts on other United States weapon systems and platforms operated jointly with the Republic of Turkey,” the legislation said.

The measure also includes $250 million in lethal defensive items for Ukraine.

Moreover, according to the NDAA, Trump must submit a report to the US Congress by January 2019 regarding whether Russia is in breach of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

“Not later than January 15, 2019, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a determination whether — (1) the Russian federation is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty; and (2) the prohibitions set forth in Article VI of the INF Treaty remain binding on the United States as a matter of United States law,” the NDAA said.

In addition, the United States will discuss with Russia if the latter’s new strategic weapon systems are in compliance with the New Strategic Arms Reduction (START) Treaty.

“Not later than December 31, 2018, the President shall… submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report as to whether… the President has raised the issue of covered Russian systems in the appropriate fora with the Russian Federation under Article V of the New START Treaty or otherwise,” the legislation said.

The NDAA also notes that the Russian systems of concern include the heavy intercontinental missile system Sarmat, the air-launched nuclear-powered cruise missile X-101, the unmanned underwater vehicle the US government calls “Status 6,” and the long-distance guided flight hypersonic glide vehicle Avangard.

Trump must report if Russia will agree to declare the covered systems as strategic offensive arms or otherwise pursuant to the New START Treaty, the legislation said.

The White House will notify the appropriate congressional committees as to whether the position of Russia threatens the viability of the New START Treaty or requires appropriate US political, economic or military responses, the legislation also said.

Moreover, the 2019 US National Defense Authorization Act revealed that Trump must present to Congress within 90 days a report on persons involved in transactions with Russia’s intelligence or military sectors.

“Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that describes those persons that the President has determined under section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act [CAATSA]… have knowingly engaged, on or after August 2, 2017, in a significant transaction with a person that is part of, or operates for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation, the NDAA showed on Monday.

The NDAA also requires the US President to update such a report every 90 days following the first submission for the next five years.

Meanwhile, the bill also reinforces US partnership with Israel and authorizes co-production of missile defense systems as well as enhances US support for European partners against Russia by funding the European Deterrence Initiative.

Particularly, the Department of Defense must submit a report to Congress by next March on the feasibility of permanent deployment of US troops in Poland.

“Not later than March 1, 2019, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the feasibility and advisability of permanently stationing United States forces in the Republic of Poland,” the document said.

“The report required by subsection (a) shall include the following: An assessment of the types of permanently stationed United States forces in Poland required to deter aggression by the Russian Federation and execute Department of Defense contingency plans, including combat enabler units in capability areas such as (A) combat engineering; (B) logistics and sustainment; (C) warfighting headquarters elements; (D) long-range fires; (E) air and missile defense; (F) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and (G) electronic warfare,” the NDAA said.

The NDAA also explained that an assessment of the permanent deployment feasibility should include an evaluation whether a US permanent deployment would increase deterrence against Russian as well as an assessment of Russia’s possible response.

In addition, the report should consist of an “assessment of the international political considerations of permanently stationing such a brigade combat team in Poland, including within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO),” the NDAA said.

Notably, the United States will also accelerate its hypersonic missile defense program and provide a report within 90 days to congressional defense committees.

“Subject to the availability of appropriations, the Director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) shall accelerate the hypersonic missile defense program of the Missile Defense Agency,” the document said.

The NDAA requires head of the Missile Defense Agency to “deploy such program in conjunction with a persistent space-based missile defense sensor program.”

NDAA provides 90 days for Missile Defense Agency to submit a report on the hypersonic missile defense program to the US Senate and House of Representatives defense committees.

The report, which may include classified annex along with unclassified content, should provide an estimate of the cost, technical requirements and acquisition plan, the NDAA said.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Statement of Four: West Wages Multi-Front, Multi-Domain Campaign Against Russia

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 19.03.2018

Contain Russia in all spheres, squeeze it out everywhere you can, and ramp up pressure to make it kneel. It’s not a big thing to find a pretext to justify the orchestrated campaign launched by the West to put the relations with Moscow on confrontational footing. It stubbornly keeps on reviving the Cold War. This is a holistic policy with some actions hitting media headlines to focus world public attention on, while some moves are camouflaged and kept out of spotlight.

With so many doubts expressed about Moscow’s complicity in the Salisbury spy poisoning, the leaders of the UK, the US, Germany and France – the big four – made an unprecedented joint statement putting the blame on Russia. They did not find it necessary to wait for investigation results to say Moscow had violated international law and threatened their security. The statement says Russia did not cooperate with Britain. It does not mention the fact that Moscow was ready to meet London halfway but received no requests in line with the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The only thing Russia can be blamed for is its policy of refusing to communicate in the language of ultimatums.

Everything has suddenly become clear. Russia’s guilt is evident despite the fact that nothing new has been revealed since French President Macron’s spokesman warned the UK on March 14 against “fantasy politics”. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon had not investigated the case but the verdict was handed down. UK PM Theresa May was quite happy about the statement as it showed that the allies “are standing alongside us”.

On March 15, the US introduced new sanctions against Russia to punish it for alleged election meddling and cyberattacks. The announcement came together with the statement of the Big Four. As usual, the move is the result of allegations and claims not based on solid proof and established facts. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer believes it’s still “not enough”. He demands that President Trump introduce more sanctions and publicly denounce Russian President Putin. It’s just the first step, chimed in Senator Mark Warner of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He wondered why it had taken so long.

That’s what is in the spotlight. Now, about the creeping offensive kept out of spotlight to be waged almost clandestinely. Few media have reported about the decision of the Polish government just announced by Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak to move “some of the army units” stationed in the west of the country to its eastern borders. The country’s military command system would be reformed because Russia is “unpredictable.”

Meanwhile, Romania is preparing to stage a “maidan” in Moldova to gobble it up. If the plan goes through, this post-Soviet country will become part of NATO and the EU, unleashing a chain reaction in the region considered a sphere of Russia’s influence. A coup is slated for March 24. Extremist groups are expected to capture the parliament building. Moldovan President Igor Dodon had predicted that the attempts to forcibly unify Moldova and Romania would lead to a civil war. The scenario events will most certainly spur separatist sentiments in Transnistria. No doubt, Russia will be blamed for “nefarious activities”, especially if it raises its voice in support of Moldovans’ right to decide their own fate without outside interference.

On March 14, the US announced a diplomatic offensive to squeeze Russia out from the Balkans. Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, urged the nations of the region to resolve their disputes with the help of the West. He mentioned the possible expansion of the EU. Mr. Mitchell did not say so openly but there is little doubt it was an attempt to lure Belgrade away from Russia. Serbia is a country of special concern for the US military brass.

NATO has recently accused Moscow of interfering in the internal affairs of the Balkan countries, including information warfare. EU leaders wasted no time to express their concern over Russia’s policy in the region as Theresa May was ringing alarm bells over the Salisbury poisoning case. They are ready to engage Moscow in “information war”.

Making Russia responsible for the situation in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta is another direction of attack. Provocations are being planned to blame the Russia-backed Syria’s government for the use of CW.

The Salisbury poisoning, false flag chemical attacks in Ghouta, “battle for the Balkans”, provocations being prepared in Moldova, Estonia, Estonia, Latvia and Poland abruptly stepping up their fight against the Nord Stream-2 gas project in the Baltic Sea, as well as a lot of other things, are parts of a broader picture. The West is attacking Russia on all fronts and in all domains. There are no clear rules of the road. The pressure will be gradually being ratcheted up till Moscow bows and kneels.

As history teaches, this outcome is unlikely. But the policy may backfire to undermine the Western unity, which is extremely fragile. The West faces multiple threats and challenges; its very foundation is in jeopardy. These are the days when it needs partners more than artificially created enemies adding to the plethora of grave problems it is trying hard to tackle. Today it is wasting resources and effort on waging the well-orchestrated campaign against Moscow instead of coming up with constructive policy of ensuring its security and cohesion.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US Uses ‘Mythical’ Security Threats to Deploy Patriot Systems in Poland – Moscow

Sputnik – November 16, 2107

While the US had justified the Patriot missiles’ deployment by the threat allegedly posed by Tehran prior to the Iran nuclear deal was reached, Moscow has repeatedly questioned the claim and accused NATO of building up its military presence on the borders with Russia.

The plans to deploy US Patriot systems in Poland are a part of the US strategic intention to surround Russia with missile defense systems “under the pretext of mythical threats to security”, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov told Sputnik.

According to the senior diplomat, in reality the deployment of anti-missile defense network posed a threat to stability and undermined international trust “which has been lacking over the past years.”

“We have repeatedly, but, unfortunately, futilely pointed out this fact to our Western interlocutors,” Titov said.

An agreement on the deliveries of Patriot missile defense systems to Poland was signed by the Polish National Defense Ministry and the US State Department of Defense during US President Donald Trump’s visit to Warsaw in early July, with the military hardware set to be handed over to Poland by 2022.

Moscow has repeatedly said that the deployment of air defense systems near Russia’s borders undoubtedly poses a threat to the country, with Russian President Vladimir Putin reminding that the US and European officials previously linked the missile shield deployment to Iran’s nuclear program, which was no longer present due to the deal reached in 2015 with Tehran.

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

EU: Another Step Down the Slippery Slope

By Andrei AKULOV | Strategic Culture Foundation | 19.06.2017

The EU Commission has launched legal action against Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland which refused to take in refugees from Italy and Greece. The three EU states have acted «in breach of their legal obligations», the Commission said in a statement, adding that it had previously warned the countries to observe «their commitments to Greece, Italy and other member states». The three member states «have not yet relocated a single person», the statement says. The EU members under fire remain defiant.

In September 2015, the EU committed to relocating up to 160,000 refugees from the two countries within two years. However, not all EU states have found the measures acceptable, saying that the migrant crisis cannot be solved through obligatory quotas. Hungary and Slovakia are currently challenging the decision in the EU Court of Justice, and an advocate-general of the court will issue an opinion on July 26. Slovakia was able to avoid legal action against it by responding to EU warnings and opening its doors to a small group of migrants.

Only 20,869 of the 160,000 refugees have so far been relocated in the EU. More than 1.6 million asylum seekers have arrived in Europe since the start of the refugee crisis in 2014.

Now the Commission has launched infringement procedures against the three nations refusing to comply, before possibly referring them to the top European court. The legal battle could last many months or, even, years. As a result, the three states could be imposed financial penalties.

The very fact of launching legal procedures heats up tensions inside the EU at the time the bloc is going through a period of instability and uncertainty, with its unity tested by Brexit, weak economies and growing support for Eurosceptic and nationalist-minded parties.

Perhaps, it’s easier to pay fines than take in refugees and face grave security problems as a result. Going to the bottom of it – it’s not fines that really matter. All the countries opposing the EU migration policy are net beneficiaries of EU funding. A mood is developing among the older EU members to withhold cohesion funds from countries that oppose the relocation of refugees, although no legal basis for this actually exists. But if it starts, the EU will become a battlefield to make the vaunted unity a pipedream. If the events turn this way, the EU will become very much different from what it is today.

The Visegrád countries (V4) – Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary – have found common ground in recent years opposing the EU’s relocation policy and rejecting the idea of a two-speed Europe, but also in advocating the preservation of the Union’s cohesion policy. Indeed, why should East Europeans share the burden of the immigration crisis, especially in view that security policy is a national, not European, competence? These countries call for strengthening of the national states in EU decision-making process.

Poland and Hungary have joined together recently to oppose Brussels stance on human rights.

The V4 also oppose the two-speed» and «multi-speed» concepts supported by EU founders. They believe that the idea would turn them into «second class» members of the bloc.

The «East European revolt» is just part of a bigger process with deepening EU divisions and alliances being formed inside the alliance.

Prospect for the future? The situation inside the EU has bleak prospects for improvement. It calls for a closer look at the recent developments inside the EU. In February, the European Parliament backed three resolutions on strengthening centralization of the bloc. One of the resolutions proposes limiting or even totally abolishing the right of individual member states not to comply with collective decisions – just exactly what the East European members oppose so vehemently. The adoption of the resolutions may be the first step towards a fundamental change in the EU Treaty.

In February, leaders of the lower chambers of parliaments of Germany, Italy, France, and Luxembourg published a letter demanding a «Federal Union» be implemented without delay. It was published by Italian La Stampa on February 27. They call for «closer political integration — the Federal Union of States with broad powers. «Those who believe in European ideals, should be able to give them a new life instead of helplessly observing its slow sunset», the paper reads.

The idea to create a «common European defense» is a dubious endeavor; it presupposes additional financial burden at the time the US increases pressure to make Europeans raise NATO expenditure. Add to this the need to pay more for the migrants against the background of stagnating economy to see how unrealistic all these plans are. Europeans have already been made pay more for US liquefied gas for political reasons, while Russia can offer supplies at much lower prices.

Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian Prime Minister and European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, believes that the European Union must reform, or face the risk of collapse as a result of internal and external challenges. Noam Chomsky, a prominent US scholar, has predicted that the EU will disintegrate. The EU will collapse in 2017, predicts Mark Blyth, a lecturer in political economy at Brown University in the US, known for forecasts to come true.

The event marks a turning point in EU history. This is the first time EU members will face legal procedures for non-compliance with the rules established by Brussels. It shows how the migration crisis has divided the bloc. The process will not die away, migrants will continue their route north to the wealthier countries and the tensions inside the EU will grow. Rival blocs and perpetuate divisions will not disappear, turning the EU into a patchwork of blocs within blocs. The project of European integration does not look viable anymore. Legal actions cannot bridge the differences dividing its members.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Polish Tu-154 Crash: Claims Against Moscow Not Just Distasteful, but Detestable

Sputnik – April 4, 2017

Polish prosecutors say they have evidence proving that Russia “deliberately provoked” the 2010 plane crash over Smolensk which resulted in the death of President Lech Kaczynski. Commenting on the claims, journalist Andrei Veselov lamented that Polish politics seems to have degenerated into paranoia over a mysterious ‘hand of Moscow’ at every turn.

Almost seven years ago, on April 10, 2010, the Polish Presidential Tu-154M airplane carrying President Kaczynski, his wife, and a number of high-ranking Polish civilian and military officials crashed outside Smolensk, western Russia, killing all 96 passengers and crew on board. Official investigations by both the Russian and Polish sides concluded that pilot error was to blame. The pilots, according to investigators, lacked adequate training for operations in adverse weather conditions, and did not approach the landing field in a safe manner amid foggy weather in the area on the day of the crash.

In the years since, conspiracy theories have circulated in Poland, particularly among the country’s conservative anti-Russian forces, claiming that the crash was a deliberate plot by Moscow to assassinate Polish leaders. Until recently, these conspiracy theories were generally ignored by the country’s leaders, who said that there was absolutely no evidence to support this claim in the official findings.

However, following presidential and parliamentary elections in 2015, which resulted in the Law and Justice Party, led by Kaczynski’s twin brother Jaroslaw coming to power, the ‘Russian trace’ conspiracy quickly transformed into official dogma. Jaroslaw Kaczynski has long maintained that the Kremlin deliberately ‘assassinated’ his brother. Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz has gone even further, claiming that Poland and Russia have actually been ‘in a state of war’ since the 2010 catastrophe.

On Monday, Poland’s Public Prosecutor’s Office gave ammunition to the conspiracy theorists, announcing that prosecutors had amassed evidence against Russian air traffic controllers which showed that Russia had “deliberately provoked” the disaster. The Prosecutor’s Office claimed the presence of a mysterious “third person” in the air traffic control tower on the day of the crash, but did not elaborate.

Moscow responded in an extremely calm manner to the offensive claims. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova recalled that Russia had carried out its own, very detailed investigation, which concluded that the air traffic controllers had nothing to do with the crash. “Warsaw knows this very well,” she noted. Presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov added that as far as the Kremlin is concerned, the causes of the catastrophe had been determined, “and of course it is not seen as possible to agree with [the] conclusions” reached by prosecutors.

Polish authorities, Zakharova noted, were actively trying to “use the tragedy to settle political scores in their country. We consider this tactic futile [and] damaging to Russian-Polish relations, which are already not in the best condition,” she added.

What are these political scores? Well, for one thing, they include Warsaw’s longstanding conflict with European Council President Donald Tusk. Authorities have accused the politician of everything from shady contacts with Russian intelligence, to illegal dealings with Russian companies on the repair of the presidential plane shortly before it crashed, to bending to Russian interests following the disaster to prevent an objective investigation from taking place. “Prime Minister Tusk and Vladimir Putin made an illegal deal to the detriment of Poland, and he must answer for this before a court,” Defense Minister Macierewicz has said.

In reality, anyone familiar with Tusk’s record on Russia, both as prime minister and as the head of the EU, has a pretty good understanding that the politician is anything but pro-Russian. As European Council president, Tusk has been at the forefront of EU politicians accusing Russia of ‘aggression’, and has repeatedly said that sanctions must be extended. Meanwhile, during his time as prime minister, Tusk balanced a policy of ‘rapprochement’ with Moscow with an active effort by his foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, to rip Russia’s western partners out of Moscow’s orbit via the so-called ‘Eastern Partnership’ program. That effort ultimately culminated in the 2014 Maidan Coup in Kiev.

Furthermore, as RIA Novosti contributor Andrei Veselov points out, Warsaw has yet to present any hard evidence to back up its conspiratorial accusations, even against Tusk, much less about Russia’s alleged role in the Smolensk tragedy.Lawmakers from the Civic Platform Party, Poland’s main opposition group, have sent a letter to Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, demanding an explanation for why the full version of the official Polish government report on the plane crash, published in July 2011, is being taken down from public sources online. The party complained that the subcommission convened by Macierewicz is not working with the official report, and noted that its removal from official internet resources makes the Russian side’s report the only official document on the investigation that’s publically available.

However, as Veselov pointed out, Civic Platform lawmakers too are not being entirely honest: “The Russian report is not the only one. In 2011, the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) released its final report on the technical investigation into the disaster. According to its experts, the crash was caused by the crew’s decision not to go to the alternative aerodrome. Furthermore, it said, there were shortcomings in flight support and the crew’s training.”

In other words, Warsaw’s decision to dig up the investigation, and to ignore the findings of a diverse collection of aviation experts, all of whom have reached nearly identical conclusions, indicates that spokeswoman Zakharova is right: Warsaw is out to settle old political scores, not find any hidden ‘truth’. And given the stakes involved (including the alleged murder of a statesman in peacetime by another state), the campaign is not only distasteful, but simply detestable.

April 4, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment

Kremlin Disagrees With Polish Claim of Traffic Controllers Provoking 2010 Crash

Sputnik – 03.04.2017

MOSCOW – The Kremlin disagrees with Poland’s accusations toward Russian air traffic controllers of provoking the deadly 2010 plane crash that killed then-president Lech Kaczynski and other officials, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

National Public Prosecutor’s Office deputy chief Marek Pasionek said earlier in the day that Poland had amassed evidence to bring “charges of the crime of deliberately provoking the catastrophe.” Pasionek said the accusations have been leveled against Russian air traffic controllers and a “third person” in the flight control tower.

“Certainly, the circumstances of this tragedy, this catastrophe, have already been seriously investigated, examined and of course it is not seen as possible to agree with these conclusions,” Peskov told reporters.

On April 10, 2010, a Russia-made passenger plane carrying Kaczynski, his wife, and a number of high-ranking Polish officials crashed as it attempted to land at an airfield covered in heavy fog near Smolensk. All 96 people on board died in the Tu-154M crash.

The Polish Defense Ministry said last year that Warsaw would restart its investigation into the crash from scratch.

April 3, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

NATO troops head for Poland ‘to deter Russian offensive actions’

RT | March 25, 2017

At least 1,350 American, British and Romanian soldiers have been sent to Poland from a base in Germany. US commanders said that the troops were ready “to deter Russian aggressive actions.”

The US, British and Romanian soldiers left the Rose Barracks military base in Vilseck, western Germany, for Poland where they are expected take part in NATO’s mission. The troops are “fully prepared to deter Russian offensive actions,” US Colonel Patrick Ellis said at the departure ceremony on Saturday.

“As a result of Russia’s aggressive actions and in light of the changing and evolving security environment, at the Warsaw summit in July 2016 NATO members agreed to strengthen our deterrence and defensive posture,” US Major General Timothy P. McGuire said.

The NATO group is to be stationed in the town of Orzysz, 220 kilometers northeast of the capital, Warsaw, according to Reuters.

NATO troops in Estonia

Also on Saturday, NATO’s heavy armored vehicles of the French armed forces were delivered to Estonia, according to a video published by the General Staff of the Estonian Defense Forces.

France’s heavy armored vehicles include Leclerc tanks and VBCI infantry fighting vehicles, as well as dozens of VAB armored vehicles, a spokesman of the 1st Infantry Brigade said, according to the Kuulutaja newspaper.

The UK is to deliver Challenger 2, Titan and Trojan tanks to Estonia as well as self-propelled artillery mounts AS90, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles and reconnaissance drones, he added.

The battalion will be stationed in the military town of Tapa and will interact with the first infantry brigade of the Estonian Defense Forces.

The alignment of forces in Estonia is planned to finish in early April. By that time, Estonia is to host 800 soldiers from the UK and around 300 soldiers from France. The French group is to spend some eight months in the Baltic country. After that, Danish soldiers are expected to replace them.

NATO leaders agreed to deploy four multinational battalions to Poland as well as Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia on July 8 at the summit in Warsaw.

Russia has repeatedly criticized NATO’s military buildup along its borders, seen as a threat to national security.

In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed NATO for provoking a conflict with Moscow and using its “newly-declared official mission to deter Russia” as a pretext.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in February, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that “NATO’s expansion has led to an unprecedented level of tension over the last 30 years in Europe.”

Moscow has condemned the new US ground-based missile defense system in Eastern Europe and increased presence of NATO vessels in the Black Sea.

March 25, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Europe’s United Market is a ‘Project for the Business Establishment’

Sputnik – February 11, 2017

The euro currency is a major factor accelerating the process of economic and political disintegration within the European Union, according to Belgian left politician Peter Mertens.

The European Union is now “disintegrating,” Paul Magnette, Minister-President of the Belgian French-speaking region of Wallonia, said in a recent interview with L’Echo.

“We are nearing a process of political disintegration, with some countries becoming ungovernable,” the politician said.

Magnette also criticized the euro currency as poorly thought-out, which accelerated “social and financial deregulation.”

Magnette has been known as a vocal critic of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a free trade deal between the EU and Canada. In the interview, he also spoke out for withdrawal from the bloc of such countries as Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary, following the Brexit example.

Magnette’s remarks are especially surprising, taking into account the fact that such criticism came from a left-wing and pro-European politician.

Peter Mertens, the leader of the Workers’ Party of Belgium, underscored that in Belgium criticism of the current state of European integration comes from left-wing political forces, not from the right, like in France or in the Netherlands.

“From the very beginning, the euro has been a problem. The currency was designed to serve the interests of Germany, Europe’s strongest economy. It was clear that the European united market was not people’s will. It was a project for the business establishment,” Mertens said in an interview with Sputnik French.

The politician shared Magnette’s suggestion that the eastward expansion of the European Union was not conducted properly.

“In 2007-2008, several Eastern European countries joined the EU. The main reason was that German companies were looking for a cheap labor force. At the same time, it was clear that such countries as Bulgaria and Romania were not as economically developed as Central Europe. As a result, now there are two polarities in the EU, between the north and the south and between the west and the east,” Mertens pointed out.

He also agreed with Magnette that the introduction of the euro only deepened the social and economic divisions within the EU.

“In my opinion, the euro currency system was built under Germany’s surveillance. And I think that to a certain extent the current EU is autocratic and authoritarian,” he said.

Nevertheless, Mertens warned that a withdrawal of Eastern European countries from the EU would not resolve the crisis.

“We should not forget that we need to protect those countries. Now, some political forces call for cooperation only with economically developed countries. But we should continue our cooperation with Poland and other Eastern European countries,” he said.

Mertens also said that criticism of the European Union should not be monopolized by right-wing political movements.

“These concerns [about the crisis in the EU] can be expressed in many ways. For example, criticism can be expressed by the nationalists or the far-rights, like in France and the Netherlands. But it can also come from the left, like in Spain or Wallonia. The common idea is that the current political elites do not represent their people anymore,” Mertens concluded.

February 11, 2017 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 3 Comments

Brexit-Style Referendums Idea Gains Popularity in Three EU States After UK Vote

Sputnik – 01.12.2016

The idea of conducting a referendum on exiting the European Union has become more popular in EU countries, including Italy, Poland and Spain ever since the Brexit vote, while large numbers of people in other states of the bloc would support holding such a referendum, IFop pollster revealed in a survey for Sputnik.

According to the poll, the number of people who would support such a referendum has increased by 7 percent in Italy since July and now stands at 53 percent. The number of supporters of a vote on EU membership has also increased in Spain and Poland by 5 percent, to 39 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

The Brexit-style referendum is also popular in other European countries. Almost half, or 47 percent, of French nationals polled backed such an idea. The number of supporters of holding a referendum on exiting the European Union in Germany stands at 43 percent. The survey was carried out by France’s IFop pollster on October 22-26. As many as 5,019 people took part in the poll. The maximum sample error stands at 3.1 percent.

On June 23, the United Kingdom voted on referendum to leave the European Union. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the country would trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017, thus kick-starting withdrawal negotiations.

December 1, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment