Archive | May 29th, 2017

US VETERANS Gassed by US Army troops – 1932

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In 1924, a grateful Congress voted to give a bonus to World War I veterans – $1.25 for each day served overseas, $1.00 for each day served in the States. The catch was that payment would not be made until 1945. However, by 1932 the nation had slipped into the dark days of the Depression and the unemployed veterans wanted their money immediately.

In May of that year, some 15,000 veterans, many unemployed and destitute, descended on Washington, D.C. to demand immediate payment of their bonus. They proclaimed themselves the Bonus Expeditionary Force but the public dubbed them the “Bonus Army.” Raising ramshackle camps at various places around the city, they waited.

The veterans made their largest camp at Anacostia Flats across the river from the Capitol. Approximately 10,000 veterans, women and children lived in the shelters built from materials dragged out of a junk pile nearby – old lumber, packing boxes and scrap tin covered with roofs of thatched straw.

Discipline in the camp was good, despite the fears of many city residents who spread unfounded “Red Scare” rumors. Streets were laid out, latrines dug, and formations held daily. Newcomers were required to register and prove they were bonafide veterans who had been honorably discharged. Their leader, Walter Waters, stated, “We’re here for the duration and we’re not going to starve. We’re going to keep ourselves a simon-pure veteran’s organization. If the Bonus is paid it will relieve to a large extent the deplorable economic condition.”

June 17 was described by a local newspaper as “the tensest day in the capital since the war.” The Senate was voting on the bill already passed by the House to immediately give the vets their bonus money. By dusk, 10,000 marchers crowded the Capitol grounds expectantly awaiting the outcome. Walter Waters, leader of the Bonus Expeditionary Force, appeared with bad news. The Senate had defeated the bill by a vote of 62 to 18. The crowd reacted with stunned silence. “Sing America and go back to your billets” he commanded, and they did. A silent “Death March” began in front of the Capitol and lasted until July 17, when Congress adjourned.

A month later, on July 28, Attorney General Mitchell ordered the evacuation of the veterans from all government property, Entrusted with the job, the Washington police met with resistance, shots were fired and two marchers killed. Learning of the shooting at lunch, President Hoover ordered the army to clear out the veterans. Infantry and cavalry supported by six tanks were dispatched with Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur in command. Major Dwight D. Eisenhower served as his liaison with Washington police and Major George Patton led the cavalry.

By 4:45 P.M. the troops were massed on Pennsylvania Ave. below the Capitol. Thousands of Civil Service employees spilled out of work and lined the streets to watch. The veterans, assuming the military display was in their honor, cheered. Suddenly Patton’s troopers turned and charged. “Shame, Shame” the spectators cried. Soldiers with fixed bayonets followed, hurling tear gas into the crowd.

By nightfall the BEF had retreated across the Anacostia River where Hoover ordered MacArthur to stop. Ignoring the command, the general led his infantry to the main camp. By early morning the 10,000 inhabitants were routed and the camp in flames. Two babies died and nearby hospitals overwhelmed with casualties. Eisenhower later wrote, “the whole scene was pitiful. The veterans were ragged, ill-fed, and felt themselves badly abused. To suddenly see the whole encampment going up in flames just added to the pity.”

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Nazi regime move forward plan for new illegal West Bank settlement

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Nazi authorities have greenlit the construction of a new Nazi illegal settlement on occupied Palestinian lands, Nazi media reported on Sunday, advancing plans for the first settlement to officially be created by the Israeli government in decades as compensation for residents of the illegal settlement outpost of Amona.

According to news outlet Ynet, the Nazi Civil Administration approved jurisdiction for an area designated for the construction of a new Nazi settlement promised by Nazi Prime Minister Benjamin Naziyahu to Amona settlers, after their outpost was evacuated by Nazi authorities in February due to it being built illegally on private Palestinian lands.

However, the settlement, which will be located in the central occupied West Bank and has been referred to as both Amichai and Emek Shilo, still requires the approval of Nazi military central command before construction can proceed, Ynet reported, adding that the next step of would then be the establishment of a full construction plan.

There are some 196 government recognized Nazi Jewish settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory, all considered illegal under international law. While Nazi Jewish outposts are considered illegal even under Israeli domestic law, earlier this year, Nazi regime passed the outpost Regularization law, which would pave the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Nazi Jewish settler outposts.

While the Nazi government has carried out demolitions of Israeli outposts in the past, most notably the demolition of Amona earlier this year, it has at the same time fast-tracked the expansion of official Nazi Jewish settlements throughout the Palestinian territory.

“It is still too early to be happy.” Ynet quoted Amona leader Avichai Boaron as saying on Sunday. “Only a GOC Central Command injunction for the establishment of a temporary residential site can take us out of our desperation.”

Boaron added that Amona settlers had still not heard back from the army central command weeks after having requested approval for the settlement construction plan.

Boaron threatened Netanyahu if he did not uphold his promise to the settlers. “If he does not do so, we will have no choice but to unilaterally uphold the agreement and go up to the land on our own,” the Times of Israel quoted him as saying.

Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi slammed the Nazi plan for the new settlement in March, saying that it “once again proves that Israel is more committed to appeasing its illegal settler population than to abiding by the requirements for stability and a just peace.”

Peace Now meanwhile accused the Israeli government in April of attempting to “fool the international community” by developing a policy of restraint around Nazi Jewish settlement construction in name only, while actually contributing to the unfettered expansion of illegal settlements, which has been consistently condemned and deemed illegal by the international community.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Nazi  live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

Human rights group B’Tselem argued in a report in December that settlers acted as “envoys” of Nazi regime in pushing land grabs in the occupied Palestinian territory, allowing the government to officially detach themselves from the Nazi Jewish settlers’ violent and illegal actions, while avoiding or blocking any legal penalties that could be imposed on the settlers, except in the most extreme of cases.

“The state helps settlers operate as a mechanism for dispossession in Palestinian space — settlers serving as a means purportedly not under state control, and settlers also use serious violence against Palestinian residents,”  the group explained.

Many have linked the increase in Nazi Jewish settlement expansion plans in 2017 to the election of US President Donald Trump, who is widely seen as a stalwart ally of the Israeli government, despite Nazi authorities reported postponing decisions regarding settlements to after Trump’s visit to ‘Israel’ on Monday, the Times of Israel said.

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Zionist economy heading for disaster, experts warn

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A report released by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel shows the country has the highest poverty rates among OECD countries and faces “worrisome trends” that could have disastrous effects on its growing population.

According to the Picture of the Nation 2017 report, with Israel’s aging population and rising costs across the board, its “current sources of economic growth are not sustainable.”

The country ranks 22nd out of 34 of the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) regarding GDP and takes the 24th spot within the market income poverty rate. Among developed countries, Israel has the highest percentage of its population living below the poverty line.

“The past year has seen a decline in unemployment and a large rise in GDP,” but “unfortunately, it appears that this positive trend will not continue and new sources of growth must be found,” said the report.

The Taub Center also described Israel’s four percent GDP growth as an “outlier and not a trend.”

A separate report which was released earlier this month by the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research looked at economic trends over the entire 69-year history of the country. It concluded the economy shows deep-seated and long-term shortcomings that threaten to weaken the army and constitute an “existential threat” to the country’s future.

In terms of GDP, Israel has been falling further and further behind the G7 average since the mid-1970s, with a more than threefold increase having developed in the gap between them. This, according to the report, “reflects steadily widening disparity between what an employed person living in Israel can attain and what that person could attain in the countries that are pulling away from Israel.”

Professor Dan Ben-David, founder and chair of the Shoresh Institution and co-author of the report, has warned if Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “continues to ignore the future” the country could be facing a catastrophe of massive proportions.

Netanyahu has recently held some meetings with Israeli media outlets, claiming the reports do not reflect “what the public feels.”

“It is an industry of despair. Where they see unemployment, I see full employment. Where they see an economy in ruin, I see a flourishing economy. Where they see traffic jams, I see junctions, trains, and bridges. Where they see a crumbling state nearing collapse, I see Israel as a rising global power,” he was cited as saying by the Times of Israel.

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Macron accuses RT and Sputnik of ‘behaving like deceitful propaganda’

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Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron explained his team’s decision to deny RT and Sputnik, both Moscow-based news outlets, accreditation during his campaign, by labeling the media outlets as “propaganda.”

“They didn’t act like the media, like journalists. They behaved like deceitful propaganda,” Macron told RT France head Xenia Fedorova during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Versailles.

“I have always had an exemplary relationship with foreign journalists, but they have to be real journalists,” explained Macron, who defeated Marine Le Pen in the second round of the election, earlier this month. “All foreign journalists, including Russian journalists, had access to my campaign.”

Macron described RT and Sputnik as “organs of influence and propaganda,” adding that both “produced infamous counter-truths about him.”

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow “does not agree” with Macron’s statements about the two news organizations.

RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said that Macron’s attack on a news outlet he disagrees with is a threat to freedom of speech.

“Despite the numerous accusations made throughout the duration of the French presidential campaign, to this day not a single example, not a single piece of evidence, has been presented to support the claims that RT spread any slander or ‘fake news’ about Mr. Macron,” Simonyan said in a statement. “By labeling any news reporting he disagrees with ‘fake news,’ President Macron sets a dangerous precedent that threatens both freedom of speech and journalism at large.”

Last month’s accreditation delay for RT and Sputnik, which ended up becoming an outright refusal, provoked a heated reaction from Moscow.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova called it “deliberate and bare-faced discrimination against Russian media by the presidential candidate of a state that has historically been vigilant when it comes to free speech.”

Simonyan accused Macron’s team back then of “building electoral campaign on lies about RT and Sputnik.”

Macron’s campaign repeatedly accused Russia of interference in the election, claiming that Russian hackers attempted to gain access to its data, and impede the work of its website. A trove of communication purportedly from Macron’s staff was leaked on the internet a day before the run-off election. Moscow has staunchly denied any interference.

Despite an anticipated coolness in relations, the Russian president is one of the first world leaders to travel to Paris since Macron’s convincing election win.

On Monday, the pair spent three hours in what the French leader called a “frank exchange of views,” which Putin said would lead to a “qualitative” improvement in relations between the two countries.

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Suicide bomber’s father arrested as he expresses doubts over son’s involvement

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According to various outlets including an article in Reuters, Ramadan Abedi the father of Salman Abedi, expressed astonishment his son could be responsible for the alleged bomb attack in Manchester on May 21. And while he was voicing his doubts to a reporter, western-backed Libyan security forces arrived to take him away.

Many mainstream sources have claimed Ramadan Abedi was a member of an anti-Gaddafi terrorist group. Alternative analysis site Voltaire.net goes further and suggests a link between Ramadan and MI6 operations in Libya.

Given that anti-Gaddafi Libyans have long been nurtured by the UK and other western nations, even if we don’t accept direct connections with the UK security apparatus, this seems an odd background for a putative suicide bomber, as even the Guardian noted. And indeed Ramadan Abedi, currently living in Libya, but having been resident in the UK for many years, expressed considerable surprise and consternation that his son would have committed such an act. He denied the suggestion Salman was a member of ISIS, and is quoted by Reuters as saying:

Salman doesn’t belong to any organization… The family is a bit confused because Salman doesn’t have this ideology, he doesn’t hold these beliefs…. I didn’t expect that to happen, never…”

Ramamdan also allegedly added the claim that there were “hidden hands” behind the attack.

In a truly bizarre development members of the Libyan Rada arrived while this interview was being conducted and escorted Ramadan away, for reasons that were not specified.

Earlier Salman’s brother, Hashem, was also detained by Rada “on suspicion of links to Islamic State.”

The speedy arrests leave open the question – is this a legitimate round up of terror suspects, or, as some have suggested, a means of silencing those who might reveal too much about the Abedi family’s connections with western security agencies?

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Who Controls the Information Space and Why

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By Jean Perier – New Eastern Outlook 

Recently behind-the-scenes rules and restrictions being used by Facebook have fallen into the hands of Guardian reporters. According to their report, moderators employed by the tech giant are entitled to decide what exactly the 2 billion users of this social network can or cannot publish on their pages. This report has provoked a massive discussion on the absence of any ethical norms that could prevent the tech giant from exercising censorship, along with disputes about the determination of US intelligence agencies to spy on their citizens in violation of the USA Freedom Act.

The fact that the US created the Internet as a tool of exercising control over information space, as a convenient environment for espionage, collecting dirty facts and spreading lies has been established long ago. For those naive few who refuse to believe the facts, one can only be reminded of the old saying: There’s no such thing as a free lunchBut who owns the allegedly free Internet? Who created it and why?

According to Reuters, last year alone the US National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted 151 million phone calls of American citizens, in spite of the fact that Congress has allegedly limited the ability to exercise surveillance for intelligence agencies by adopting the USA Freedom Act, according to which courts must decide when to allow intelligence agencies to collect information about a person suspected of criminal activity.

However, the all-encompassing control of US intelligence services over the world’s information space has been uncovered by an unending stream of publications in American and foreign media sources, showing that the United States is grossly violating even the most basic human rights, by creating a system of electronic interception and processing of all sorts of data about users on the Internet.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to state that every aspect of our day-to-day lives is being controlled: phone conversations, short text messages, everything we write on social media networks or send via email. Thus, the British Guardian confirmed the existing exchange of information about intercepted electronic messages of both US citizens and British citizens established by US intelligence agencies and the British Government Communications Headquarters. Even British courts recognized that such cooperation that existed for at least seven years is unlawful, since they were carried out in violation of international conventions on human rights.

In addition, the Guardian has also revealed that phone tapping that Mi-5 and Mi-6 authorized in order to intercept private consultations between UK citizens and their lawyers in a bid to guarantee the authorities an upper hand during trials, constitutes a violation of both national laws and international norms.

The Intercept has also revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British partners from the Government Communications Headquarters stole the encryption keys of the world’s largest SIM card manufacturer – Gemalto, situated in the Netherlands. This allowed intelligence agencies from both nations ever since to tap all sorts of phone conversations and intercept any data sent via a mobile device carrying a SIM card produced by Gemalto.

In late 2014, the Wall Street Journal has also revealed the practices that allowed US intelligence agencies to record information stored on millions of cell phones across the US through the use of special spyware. Additionally, Wikileaks released CIA documents that show this agency is capable of intercepting messages sent via encrypted message apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal.

It should be noted that US intelligence agencies have been pretty methodical in the collection of information that in one way or another could be used not just against ordinary citizens, but even against leading political figures. When in October 2013 a scandal erupted with the National Security Agency’s wiretapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone, it turned out that the NSA had been carrying out such intrusions for more than ten years by that time. Back then, the scandal was downplayed and no actual changes in those malicious practices were pursued.

So how many more revelations about the total control that US intelligence agencies exercise over information space should be published before Washington’s open mockery of human rights and freedom of speech is finally challenged and stopped?

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A rook exits: Global chessboard

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By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline 

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who died Friday, Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright have been three foreign-born scholars who significantly influenced American policies and impacted global affairs through the past half century. For better or worse, Brzezinski and Kissinger were grand strategists too. Both left a trail of influence through their protégés.

Brzezinski was an indefatigable ‘Cold Warrior’ and was in danger of becoming an anachronism. The leitmotif of his “doctrine” was his virulent anti-Russian outlook, which could have been due to his Polish origin. (Albright, another hardliner on Russia, was Czech.) He and Albright – apart from Strobe Talbott, who served as deputy state secretary in Bill Clinton administration – were instrumental in burying whatever prospects existed for a historic rapprochement between the West and Boris Yeltsin’s Russia (which the latter was keenly seeking).

Clinton’s decision to expand NATO to the former Warsaw Pact territory was the turning point. (George Kennan, the architect of the Cold War, was prophetic in warning Clinton that such a move would be a catastrophic blunder and shut the door on any prospect of friendly ties with Russia.) Plainly put, Brzezinski and Albright ensured that Cold War flames were kept burning in the post-cold war era – although Ronald Reagan or George HW Bush were open to accommodating Russia.

Kissinger, who advocated détente, once described Brzezinski “a total whore”, someone who could be on every side of every argument. (Two years earlier, Brzezinski too gave a terse summary of Kissinger’s approach as Richard Nixon’s security advisor: “fascination with enemies and ennui with friends” – that is, supposedly Chinese and Russian enemies and Western European friends.) It has been said that for every book about international politics authored by Brzezinski, there is a corresponding book about Kissinger. Brzezinski published close to 20 books, but didn’t attempt any memoirs, and no one seems to have written his biography either. The two personalities were poles apart. Kissinger was terrific at self-promotion, while Brzezinski’s razor-sharp intellect that could be intimidating, provocative and combative (albeit unfailingly stimulating) created an aura of aloofness. As a thinker, he outstrips Kissinger.

On the other hand, his track record as a diplomatist in Jimmy Carter’s White House remains hugely controversial on two templates – during the tumultuous Soviet intervention in Afghanistan (1978-1980) and the aftermath of the historic Islamic Revolution in Iran (1979). Simply put, Brzezinski scripted the “Afghan jihad” – unabashedly deploying jihadi forces as geopolitical instrument to bleed the Red Army. (That was how the al-Qaeda – and later the ISIS – was born.) Brzezinski’s stunning memos to Carter, exulting over the tantalizing prospect of creating a “Soviet Vietnam”, are the stuff of throbbing history.

Brzezinski later admitted that the US set up a bear trap for the Russians in Afghanistan. In a frank interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, he said, “We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.” There is a riveting essay in the nature of a book review on that momentous slice of international politics written by an American historian entitled Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion in Retrospect.

Brzezinski was a cold-blooded strategist rooted in Halford Mackinder’s famous Heartland Theory regarding the Pivot Area of Central Eurasia. In his complex thought process, “The key point to bear in mind is that Russia cannot be in Europe without Ukraine also being in Europe, whereas Ukraine can be in Europe without Russia being in Europe.”

Where Brzezinski and Kissinger would agree and disagree is when it comes to China. Both advocated the need for a stable, strong, predictable Sino-American partnership as an imperative of our times and, of course, in the US’ core interests. However, whereas Kissinger envisions the desirability of a trilateral US-Russian-Chinese “balance” in the interests of global stability, Brzezinski differs. Although Brzezinski grudgingly came to accept US-Russia détente, he saw it nonetheless as a paradigm where the US must keep the upper hand. (He saw no future for Russia.) Brzezinski argued that US should focus on building up ties with China, leaving Russia out in the cold, which would inevitably pressure Moscow to compromise lest it got “isolated” in big-power politics.

The problem with Brzezinski’s logic is that it blithely assumes that China would gang up with the US to isolate Russia – or would relegate its ties with Russia to the back burner. This is delusional thinking. The Sino-Russian strategic understanding gives the partnership a raison d-etre of its own, creating more space for both to negotiate effectively with the US.

Brzezinski’s departure can be compared to the exit of a rook from the chessboard. No doubt, the rook is a “heavy piece” on a chessboard, especially in the “endgame”. Like a rook, Brzezinski also moved horizontally or vertically, but never diagonally. But then, Brzezinski’s “heaviness” can also be taken very far. Good diplomacy needs plodders.

A case in point will be Brzezinski’s disastrous advice to Carter to mount a rescue mission – code named Eagle Claw – in April 1980 to bring home the 52 American diplomats held hostage in Iran. It was a reckless move. Eagle Claw never got near the American prisoners. Helicopters that were the mainstay of the mission were disabled in an unanticipated sandstorm in the Iranian desert. Eight American servicemen died and eight aircraft were lost.

Imam Khomeini later said in a memorable message titled The mistake of Carter and its consequences that the Iranian nation got the ultimate confirmation from Carter’s “foolish mischief” that the big Satan should never be trusted. The Imam warned,

  • I admonish Carter if he repeats again such a foolish act it will be difficult for us and the government to control the Muslim fighters and youths who are guarding the (American) spies.

That tragic folly probably cost Carter his kingdom in the November 1980 election. Carter’s Secretary of State Cyrus Vance had advised against Eagle Claw. Vance was by no means a pacifist; nor had he any liking for the revolutionary government in Iran. Vance’s rival for Carter’s ear was Brzezinski who was brash, clever, ambitious and held Vance in contempt as a relic of the once-dominant WASPs. Vance was indeed a WASP, born to a prosperous family in West Virginia and expensively educated. He had a successful career as a lawyer and seemingly was without political ambition.

But Vance’s plodder’s advice was spot on: Give the revolution, like for any revolution, the time to settle down, while patiently negotiating the release of hostages. Vance eventually resigned in protest over Eagle Claw – indeed, the only American state secretary to do so over policy differences, after being outmaneuvered by Brzezinski.

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Russia Encircled by Hostile NATO States: Arms Control Expert

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By Rick Sterling | teleSUR 

On a recent two-week trip to Russia with a delegation of 30 Americans organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives, we had the opportunity to have informative meetings with numerous people, including the following military leader.

Vladimir Kozin is an arms control specialist and a member of the Russian Academy of Military Science who has worked on arms control issues since the 1970s. Kozin said that Russians see themselves being encircled by NATO. Of the 16 countries bordering Russia, eight have anti-Russia sentiments. He noted that the U.S. military budget is 12 times greater than that of Russia and increasing.

Kozin said that it is a “fairy tale” that Russia interfered in the U.S. election. What is NOT a fairy tale is that the U.S. spent a huge amount of money to influence Russian elections in the past and funded 400 Non-Governmental Organizations which were part of the destabilization campaign in Ukraine leading to the 2014 coup

Regarding key conflict points, Kozin said that Crimea was part of Russia since 1783. He noted that despite the presence of 16,000 Russian troops and 18,000 Ukrainian troops, the Crimea plebiscite to reunify with Russia was handled without violence, with a huge turnout and overwhelming vote in favor.

Regarding hostilities in eastern Ukraine, Kozin questioned why this has happened. If Scotland can consider secession from the U.K. and Catalonia from Spain, what’s wrong with Donbass (eastern Ukraine) wanting more autonomy within Ukraine? Why has Ukrainian President Poroshenko turned to military conflict instead of negotiating with the forces in eastern Ukraine? he asked.

Kozin believes it is vital to have an arms control summit meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. He thinks we should work toward the complete elimination of nuclear weapons by 2045. In the meantime, the easiest way to reduce tension and the risk of war would be an agreement on “No First Use of Nuclear Weapons,” he concluded.

 

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NATO kicks off new round of Baltic drills on Russia’s doorstep

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As the Baltic states, in concert with NATO, wraps up its previous cycle of military exercises close to Russia’s borders, the alliance has kicked off its so-called Saber Strike 17 drills in multiple locations throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Leaders of the NATO military bloc agreed to deploy four multinational battalions to Poland as well as to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia last July, with the declared goal of deterring potential “Russian aggression.”

Now, all four newly created battle groups will take part in the 4-week-long drills (May 28-June 24), to strengthen cooperation amongst the United States military and 19 other nations taking part in the exercise.

“The key exercise objective will be training and exercising the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) Battle Groups with a focus on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners and improving joint operational capability in a variety of missions,” the US army said in a statement.

The large-scale exercise will include amphibious assault drills in Latvia, live fire exercises in Poland and Lithuania, and an air assault coupled with a river crossing by the British Royal Marines at the Poland-Lithuania border.

The Saber Strike drills began the same week as some Baltic states wrapped up their previous military training with NATO allies.

In Poland on Friday, the international NATO combat group finished the ‘Puma 17’ drills near the northeastern town of Orzysz. About 2,500 troops, including a NATO battalion, took part in the military exercises which practiced engaging in a so-called “hybrid war” scenario to deter the omnipresent ‘Russian threat.’

The squads of NATO soldiers performed drills using Polish PT-91 tanks, BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, US models of the Stryker armored personnel carriers and Russian-made Mi-24 military helicopters.

This was the first joint exercise with the multinational NATO battalion which arrived at Orzysz in spring.

Meanwhile, Estonia wrapped up the Spring Storm 2017, where almost 9,000 NATO troops participated. Soldiers from 15 states, including the host country took part in the drills that ended Friday. As was the case in Poland, the recently deployed multinational NATO battalion was deployed to the fighting range.

US AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and UH-60 Black Hawk multi-role helicopters, as well as Estonian L-39 training jets and Robinson R-44 helicopters took part in the drills. Polish Soviet-era Su-22 fighters and Spanish F-18 Hornet jet fighters also had an opportunity to take to the skies.

In another development, the NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), comprising the Norwegian frigate HNoMS Roald Amundsen and the Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen, arrived in Klaipeda, Lithuania on Friday for a scheduled port visit.

“SNMG1 continues joint training with regional partners in the Baltic Sea. SNMG1 has already trained together with the Estonian, Latvian and Swedish naval ships and also plans to conduct maneuvers with Lithuania’s Navy’s ships,” said Commodore Ole Morten Sandquist, the group commander of SNMG1.

Russia has repeatedly criticized NATO’s military buildup along its borders 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.”

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Manchester Bombing: The Libyan Connection

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By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune 

Following the Manchester suicide bombing, one wonders just what is necessary before Western media commentators and journalists join the dots – to make a true picture of the terrorist monster unleashed on the world by their own governments.

It is a question many people were asking only a day earlier, as those media blandly reported the demented ravings of the US, Saudi and Israeli leaders about the global terrorist threat posed by Iran. Surely there must have been some misunderstanding! Even though some commentators noticed a few of the Emperor’s clothes were missing, or a little inappropriate (black-flag underwear?) none challenged the ludicrous ideas that Iran was a global sponsor of terrorism, and “still” sought to develop nuclear weapons.

For Iranians however, and their friends and allies, events of the last weeks have stripped bare both the “Emperor” and his terrorist partners, and revealed the depths of deceit in the West’s fight against the “Islamic State”. The Libyan link in this chain of covert war – the LIFG connections of the Manchester bomber – has finally and unexpectedly rounded out the picture.

Silence over the collapsed Libyan state is just another of the Western media’s failings, though silence might be preferable to further repetition of the old lies about a “Revolution against the dictator Qadhafi”, followed by tribal warfare, and now compounded by the supposed presence of “Islamic State”.  What has actually been happening in Libya, both since 2011 and dating back to the ‘90s has been cleverly or unwittingly concealed from Western audiences by their media and leaders in what looks like a complex game of diversions and distractions, white lies and black lies.

As revealed recently by Tony Cartalucci, and further dissected by Thierry Meyssan, the network of alliances and collaboration between Libyan Salafist groups and US and UK intelligence services has played a central role in NATO’s campaign against the “resistance” states, including Libya, Syria, Iran and Shia Lebanon. The failure of Western commentators and analysts to notice this “conspiracy” and consequently adjust their viewpoint has enabled grossly criminal behaviour to continue without public opposition. The exposing of the “Libyan connection” – by US intelligence agencies – threatens to change this, and the extreme reaction from the UK to the US leaking of the Manchester bomber’s identity – cutting communications between their intelligence services for 24 hours – indicates just who is threatened by it.

It was former MI5 agent David Shayler and his partner Annie Machon who first made public the co-operation between MI6 and anti-Qadhafi Salafists in Libya in the 1990s. MI6 helped in the formation of the “Libyan Islamic Fighting Group” from Afghanistan mujahideen/Al Qaeda veterans, with the express aim of assassinating the Libyan leader. Following the plot’s failure, and changing attitudes to Qadhafi in the UK, marked later by Tony Blair’s much publicised rapprochement with him, the tables were turned on several key leaders. Most notable, and now notorious, was Abdulhakim Belhaj, who was delivered back to Tripoli by the CIA/MI6 and imprisoned for six years.

During this period, up until the “Arab Spring”, other members of the LIFG who were resettled in the UK around 1998 – in the Manchester suburb where they were rediscovered last week – became rather persona non grata and some were placed on control orders as the LIFG was classified as a terrorist group.

However… a big however – when US, UK and French leaders decided in 2011 that they could no longer live with Moammar Qadhafi – who now supported his traditional secular Arab Nationalist allies in Syria – the UK leaders again found a use for their Libyan friends in Manchester, as leaders of the ‘Revolutionary forces’ against the Libyan government.

But of course it didn’t end there – in Libya – and hasn’t ended yet, either in Libya or in Syria, which is where many Libyan militants soon went.

The story of the ‘rat line’, from Eastern Libya to Turkey and onto Syria, was first prominently exposed by Seymour Hersh in early 2014, but observers in Turkey had noticed the presence of many Libyans in Turkey back in 2012, as they waited to join the violent insurgency against the Assad government in Syria. Amongst these fighters – or terrorists if you prefer – was Belhaj, who the CIA found was someone they could work with in their operation to “smuggle” militant jihadists and weapons from Libya to Syria. The US “consulate” in Benghazi seems to have been the centre of operations for the rat line, and disputes between different terrorist groups including the LIFG, and the CIA were likely the cause of the well-publicised attack and killing of the US ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Abdulhakim Belhaj meanwhile had returned to Libya, and somehow became the head of military forces in the Libyan transitional government. Rather contradictorily he had also launched legal action against the UK government for their years of action against him, including rendition and alleged torture by Libyan Intelligence on behalf of MI5. Compounding the picture of this terrorist-in-a-tie were claims last year that Belhaj was now the leader of Islamic State in Libya…

Before getting to the crucial questions on the identity of the Manchester bomber and his relatives, there is one other little thing to mention – Clinton’s emails. As is the habit with Western mainstream media, their focus has been almost entirely on aspects of this story which are relatively unimportant – such as Clinton’s use of a private server, and a witch-hunt over how the emails were leaked. It is of course the content of those emails that is the real story, and what they tell us about Clinton’s direct role in supporting the terrorist groups in Syria. Along with David Petraeus, who just happened to be in Tripoli when the Benghazi consulate was attacked, Clinton could hardly have been ignorant of the whole rat-line operation, even as her President Obama publicly debated whether to arm the “moderate opposition” in Syria.

But then Belhaj and his Libyan terrorist mates were not exactly moderate. Once Al Qaeda and now “Islamic State”.

It is against this background that we discover some shocking truths about the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi – this young man who “appears to have become radicalised in Syria”.

In 2011, when MI5 facilitated the passage to Libya of LIFG members from Manchester, Salman’s father Ramadan Abedi evidently took his sons back to Tripoli to join the armed insurgents and learn how to kill people. Ramadan already had experience doing this in the ‘90s alongside Belhaj, as despite failing to kill Qadhafi there were many other innocent victims of the MI6 enabled LIFG “contras”.

In the six years since, Salman Abedi evidently went to fight in Syria, with Al Qaeda or “IS”. Perhaps he even went there with the CIA’s “rats”.  So it could be said that joining the dots on the Manchester bombing gives us quite a good picture of a Western mercenary rat, whether it’s a white rat or a black rat…

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