Ex-NATO boss regrets NATO warmongering


Ukraine

The Dutch ex-NATO boss Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has been, deservedly, criticized on this blog.

Now, however, for a change, he has said something right. Reminding me a bit of ex-United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, with his lies on behalf of the George W Bush administration, promoting war in Iraq, which Powell later regretted. Unfortunately, many politicians seems to become wiser only after retirement than when they still had powerful jobs.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

‘NATO should not have proposed membership to Ukraine and Georgia’

Today, 20:25

Then, Georgia was ruled by dictator and George W Bush pal Saakashvili. In Ukraine, people demonstrated against NATO membership and against George W Bush. Even the ‘pro-Western’ ‘orange’ Ukrainian government opposed Bush’s NATO missile plans.

NATO has driven Vladimir Putin into a corner, making him more radical. These are not the words of Russia, but those of NATO’s former Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

According to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the West must respect the Russian red line. The speed of NATO enlargement has contributed to Putin’s aggressive stance in the former Soviet Union.

NATO should not have offered membership to Ukraine and Georgia in 2008, the former NATO executive said. He calls it understandable that Putin has opposed it. …

The NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008 was a breaking point in the relationship between Russia and the West. NATO opened the door for Georgia and Ukraine. Both countries were allowed to join, even though no date was mentioned. That was the wish of the American President Bush. The German Chancellor Merkel resisted. But NATO decided to leave the door ajar. That was unacceptable for Russia and Putin also said that afterwards.

The former Secretary General now says that he underestimated the response and that he should have done more to keep the parties on the same level. According to De Hoop Scheffer, the decision led to a radicalization by Putin.

He sees a direct connection with the war in Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014). Meanwhile, De Hoop Scheffer is convinced that there can no longer be a question of membership for both countries.

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NATO warmongers as pseudo-feminists


This video is called Iraqi women and rape by the forces of order in Iraq. Her name is Sabreen Al Janabi. One of the many ways in which the situation for Iraqi women deteriorated abysmally, after the United States Bush administration, and later other NATO governments, invaded Iraq.

By Julie Hyland in Britain:

Jens Stoltenberg and Angelina Jolie call for NATO intervention to promote “gender equality”

16 December 2017

NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg and actress Angelina Jolie have joined forces to project the US-led war alliance as a progressive role model for gender politics and a “leading protector” of women’s rights.

Their op-ed in the Guardian last weekend, “Why NATO must defend women’s rights”, is presented as a joint mission to secure the “fundamental promise in the UN Charter of equal rights and dignity for women.”

One rubs one’s eyes in disbelief. Written in defence of an organisation that is the primary source of warmongering, by its leader and chief propagandist and an Ayn Rand devotee and self-styled “humanitarian”, the op-ed could be mistaken for satire.

Angelina Jolie is a fan of United States far-right author Ayn Rand, preacher of the gospel of all-powerful corporate capitalism, based on the supposed ‘virtue of selfishness’. Ayn Rand, by the way, opposed women becoming president of the USA. She also condoned rape. So, hardly “gender equality”.

Claiming that NATO was founded to safeguard “the freedom of its peoples”, the authors assert that, for 70 years, the US-led bloc has stood for the “defence of democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law and the UN Charter.”

In fact, from its foundation in April 1949 until the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in July 1991, NATO’s role was dictated by confrontation with the Soviet Union. To this end, it not only fomented a nuclear arms race but was involved in numerous conflicts and interventions from the Korean War to Cuba.

With the juridical liquidation of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO’s aggressive stance became more overt as it mounted direct military operations in the Balkans, Afghanistan and, more recently, Libya and Syria aimed ultimately at encircling, and dismembering Russia and China.

Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives as a result and millions more have been injured and displaced. These wars, moreover, have been accompanied by the evisceration of all pretence at maintaining democratic norms—including extraordinary rendition and targeted assassinations by drone strikes, not to speak of the gutting of civil liberties “at home”.

This has been the case irrespective of the lofty claims of “humanitarian intervention” and the citing of a “Responsibility to Protect” that accompanied these wars. It is a matter of fact that wherever NATO goes, abject misery and horror follows.

Stoltenberg/Jolie’s article represents a desperate attempt to rebuild NATO’s threadbare credibility in the face of this record.

The essential political aim of such claims is to argue that “Ending gender-based violence is a vital issue of peace and security as well as of social justice. NATO can be a leader in this effort.”

One would not normally engage in an argument over who suffers most in war. After all, the overwhelming majority always suffer in war. That is why anyone guided by humanitarian and democratic impulses seeks to prevent it. But Stoltenberg and Jolie do not possess an ounce of such sensibilities between them.

An estimated 31,000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan alone since 2001 and upwards of 30,000 in Libya since the invasion of 2011, to take just two examples.

An exact breakdown of these figures along gender lines is difficult to obtain. The casualties will undoubtedly include many women, and an untold number of children who are especially vulnerable to IEDs and the catastrophic breakdown of health and welfare provision that invariably accompanies war.

In cases of sexual violence, moreover, reality is not nearly as one-sided as Stoltenberg/Jolie make out. An authoritative study by Lara Stemple, of the University of California’s Health and Human Rights Law Project, Male Rape and Human Rights, notes that sexual violence against men has been used as a “weapon of wartime or political aggression” in numerous countries, with up to 80 percent of male political prisoners in several conflicts surveyed reporting sexual torture and rape.

Significantly, it cites Abu Ghraib in Iraq, where US soldiers forced detainees “into acts such as nude posing in piles, group masturbation, and simulated sex, several of which were photographed. Other detainees were sodomized and some had electrical wires attached to their genitals.”

Male rape and sexual torture are reportedly rife in Libya following the NATO-backed invasion, which saw former leader Muammar Gaddafi sodomised with a bayonet and then murdered by western-allied forces.

Stoltenberg/Jolie couldn’t care less. They are not out to prevent conflict, but are seeking a pretext to create it. Thus, in a modern day-twist to the “white man’s burden”, they advocate the fight for “cultural change” and “gender equality” through the barrel of a gun.

Their appeal is a weaponisation of feminism in the service of NATO and of imperialist reaction. This is especially necessary when the imperialist alliance is preparing even greater crimes that threaten humanity with a new world war, fought with nuclear weapons.

Only last month, NATO agreed plans for a major military escalation in Europe, including two new military command centres. While Stoltenberg claimed this was necessary due to Moscow’s “aggression”, it is NATO that is provocatively building up its military forces along Russia’s borders, including the deployment of thousands of troops.

It is to conceal its predatory aims that Stoltenberg/Jolie attempt to recast NATO as a tool of female emancipation.

NATO will integrate “gender issues into its strategic thinking”, reinforce a “culture of integration of women throughout the organisation, including in leadership positions”, promote “the role of women in the military”, and deploy “gender advisers to local communities”, where “NATO’s female soldiers are able to reach and engage with local communities,” they write.

Without a trace of shame, the op-ed targets Ukraine and Syria as in particular need of NATO’s gender crusade. This on behalf of an organisation that supported fascists in the first conflict, and worked with Islamic extremists, such as the Al Nusra front in the other.

So much for women’s rights! Their white-wash of NATO, this imperialist thieves’ kitchen, should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

From NATO war to Libyan slavery


This video says about itself:

Should NATO Answer for Libya’s Slave Trade?

2 December 2017

CNN has revealed that African migrants are being sold at slave auctions in Libya for as little as $400. As the UN weighs sanctions, professor and author Horace Campbell says the NATO powers who tore Libya apart should own up to their responsibility.

As EU policies drive migrants away, Libyan authorities push them into dire detention centres. For some who reach Europe, it is worth the risk: here.

Dutch photographer arrested for photographing violent United States soldier


This 10 January 2006 Dutch TV video is about a demonstration of people from Schinveld village in Limburg province in the Netherlands. The demonstration was against cutting down the nature reserve Schinveld forest for NATO AWACS military aircraft based in Germany which make much noise.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

NRC photographer in prison cell because he refused to give up photos

Today, 09:13

A photographer from NRC Handelsblad daily was jailed on Sunday for two hours because he refused to give footage to the police. The NRC is angry about it and has referred the case to the College of Attorneys General, the daily administration of the Public Prosecution Service.

Freelancer Chris Keulen was working with a NRC reporter near Brunssum.

In Dutch Limburg province. Where there is a NATO military headquarters.

They made a story about noise pollution by NATO reconnaissance aircraft.

These are AWACS aircraft, which are illegal in the USA because of their noise problems. People in Limburg have been waging massive actions for many years against the AWACS noise.

According to NRC, a fight between an activist and a US soldier in civilian clothes occurred during the report. The activist got a swollen face, stretched knee bands and bloodshed.

Keulen made pictures of the incident. When he reported to the police station for a witness statement, he was asked to give up the photos. He refused that. He was then arrested and, according to Keulen, there was an “intimidating and unpleasant” atmosphere. Eventually his camera was seized.

No permission

The NRC says police and justice department have violated their own rules because no permission had been requested from a judge. …

What is the reason for the police action? He does not know. “Maybe because it was a US American.” He calls the actions of the soldier excessive.

‘A matter of concern’

The College of Attorneys General is now investigating the matter. Chief editor Peter Vandermeersch has already asked the public prosecution service to cancel the case against Keulen and to destroy the seized photographs. “It is a matter of concern that the police and the judiciary seem to be unfamiliar with their own rules on seizure”, he says.

UPDATE: the Public Prosecution Service has admitted they were wrong: here.

Demonstration against Trump, NATO militarism, Brussels, 24 May


Demonstration against Trump, NATO militarism, Brussels, Belgium, 24 May 2017

From the Trump not Welcome site in Belgium:

Protest March

Trump not Welcome

24 May 5 PM – Brussels North Station

At the end of May, Donald Trump, president of the United States, comes to Belgium to attend the NATO summit. These past months, Trump caused outrage all over the world: dividing and excluding people, denying climate change, intimidating the media, phasing out solidarity, …

We stand united in saying ‘No!’ to Trump, his policy and his European counterparts. Join us at the protest march Wednesday 24 May at 5 PM in Brussels:

For social rights

We stand up for the interests of the 99% and against the worldwide policies of cutbacks, the degradation of social rights and the weakening of the position of the working class.

Against sexism, racism & discrimination

Rights acquired a long time ago are threatened. We oppose any form of discrimination and stand up for a humane policy for refugees.

For peace

For peace and against all military interventions that violate international laws. Against all military investments at the expense of education, health care, climate and international solidarity.

For a liveable world

We demand an ambitious and socially just climate policy for a sustainable future.

Let your voice be heard and show them that we’re united for a democratic, peaceful, sustainable and socially just future. United we stand!

Practical

5 PM gathering at Brussels Nord & speeches with Standing Rock activists

6 PM Protest march

8 PM Concert with Jaune Toujours and Orchestre International du Vetex

Route

Meeting point Railway Station Brussels North at 5 PM

Brussels demonstration route

What to bring

Together with the Women’s March, the pink pussy hat became the symbol of resistance against Trump. We would like to see pussy hats in all shapes and colours to show our resistance against Trump. On www.pussyhatproject.com you’ll find a lot of inspiration!

Trump, NATO want more dead British soldiers in Afghanistan


This video from the USA says about itself:

13 April 2017

Vijay Prashad and Paul Jay ask if the US “mother of all bombs” dropped on Afghanistan and the missile attack on a Syrian airbase are PR events to show Trump and the US military will “fight without restraint” and “take on Russia“.

By Paul Mitchell:

NATO requests UK troops for US-led surge in Afghanistan

11 May 2017

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met UK Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street yesterday to discuss sending more British troops for a proposed surge in the 13,000-strong Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

Although the British combat mission in Afghanistan—which cost 456 lives— ceased in 2014 there are still about 500 military personnel training and advising security forces fighting the Taliban.

Stoltenberg’s visit came as US President Donald Trump approved a plan to deploy as many as 5,000 additional US troops alongside the 8,400 already in Afghanistan. Trump is demanding that America’s NATO allies contribute more than the 5,000 they have there. According to various sources, a formal request for more troops has been made to the UK without the numbers involved being made public.

NATO hopes to finalise numbers at a summit meeting of leaders in Brussels on May 25.

A NATO press release declared the Brussels meeting “comes at a time when the Alliance continues to adapt to the most serious challenges in a generation, with the biggest reinforcement of NATO’s collective defence since the Cold War and increased efforts to project stability beyond the Alliance’s borders.”

After his talks with May, Stoltenberg made a lengthy statement declaring, “When it comes to burden sharing, the UK is leading by example, investing two percent of GDP in defence, but also by providing capabilities and contributions to NATO missions and operations.

“The UK is leading our multi-national battle group in Estonia, leading our high readiness joint task force, and also providing planes to our air-policing mission in the Black Sea region.”

Stoltenberg lavished praise on Theresa May’s Conservative government for her commitment to “defence.” Speaking along Stoltenberg, May said, “I would like first of all to reaffirm the commitment the UK has to NATO… Obviously we’ve got at the moment a number of commitments—nearly 1,000 troops in Estonia and Poland, the RAF Typhoons in the Black Sea as part of that project there.”

Stoltenberg said that NATO members, after many years of decline, “are now following” the UK example.

The Stoltenberg-May talks confirm the assessment of the WSWS that behind the official reasons given for the calling of a snap general election—to strengthen May’s mandate for negotiating the terms of Britain’s leaving the European Union (EU)—is an undeclared aim of furthering the UK’s war agenda in alliance with US imperialism.

The placing of British imperialism on a war footing is also confirmed by the despatch of dozens more troops to its former colony of Sudan—boosting the 200-strong deployment already there. The aim is to increase the number of troops to around 400.

The deployment to Sudan follows the Guardian’s revelation last week from a “Whitehall source” that “The government is considering holding a vote to expand military action in Syria if the Conservatives win a big enough majority in the general election.” As in Afghanistan, such moves are primarily aimed at countering increasing Russian influence.

There has been a continuous loss of territory to insurgent forces in Afghanistan—the Taliban claims to fully control 34 of the country’s 349 districts and is fighting over another 167. Some 3,000 Islamic State (ISIS) fighters have gained a foothold in the country. Fatalities amongst Afghan troops soared by 35 percent last year to 6,700 deaths—three times that of US forces during nearly 16 years of the US occupation.

In April, Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster and US Defence Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis travelled to Afghanistan in an attempt to stem the crisis following high-profile attacks.

The prospect of a strategic defeat in Afghanistan is increasing US tensions with Russia. American officials are ramping up accusations that the government of Vladimir Putin is supporting and arming the Taliban to undermine the Kabul government and the US position in the country.

This is part of a general Russia-baiting campaign in the US, which has led to demands by the Democrats for the appointment of a special prosecutor or independent commission to investigate charges of collusion between Trump’s key personnel and the Russian government during the 2016 election campaign.

This has already succeeded in pushing the Trump administration into a more confrontational foreign policy in Syria, Central Asia, North Africa and Eastern Europe, where US imperialism regards Moscow as its principal opponent.

The head of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, has labelled Russia a “malign influence” in Afghanistan. Mattis declared, “We’re going to have to confront Russia… For example, any weapons being funnelled here [Afghanistan] from a foreign country would be a violation of international law unless they’re coming through the government of Afghanistan for the Afghan forces, and so that would have to be dealt with as a violation of international law.”

Russia has rejected the accusations, saying that following the failure of the US to establish peace talks, it is intervening to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for ISIS and preventing its expansion into neighbouring Central Asia and then Russia.

On April 14, Russia sponsored a third conference including China, Iran, India, Pakistan, Central Asian states and the Afghan government—to discuss peace negotiations with the Taliban, which Russian officials readily admit they have been in contact with. The US and its NATO allies boycotted the talks.

Russia’s courting of Pakistan, whose influence in Afghanistan the US has tried to contain, is of major concern to Washington. Last September, Russian and Pakistani special forces conducted their first-ever joint military operation in Pakistan. On April 27, Minister of Defence Khawaja Asif met with his Russian equivalent, Sergei Shoigu, in Moscow and called on Russia to lead a stabilisation process. This strategy, they agreed, had to involve all the participants in the conflict.

The dropping by the US—on the eve of the Russia-led talks—of the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, purportedly to destroy a small group of ISIS militants in eastern Afghanistan, was clearly aimed at intimidating its rivals. Washington does not intend to allow an end to the Afghanistan conflict on terms other than its own. Central to its strategy is the retention of strategic bases within close striking distance of Iran, China, South Asia and Russia itself.

In response to the May-Stoltenberg meeting, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn declared that “at the end of the day wars are not solved by the presence of foreign troops” and a political solution to the violence was needed. …

The author also recommends:

Leading ministers outline war agenda behind UK ’s snap general election

[22 April 2017]

TRUMP HAS GIVEN MATTIS AUTHORITY TO SET TROOP LEVELS IN AFGHANISTAN Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will have the authority to increase troop levels from the 8,400 currently stationed in Afghanistan. [Reuters]

Pentagon Reportedly To Send Nearly 4,000 More Troops To Afghanistan: here.

Secretary of Defence James “Mad Dog” Mattis is set to announce the deployment of up to 5,000 additional troops to wage war in Afghanistan in the coming weeks, following a decision Tuesday by President Trump granting Mattis authority to set troop levels: here.

NATO expands military spending and sends thousands of troops to Afghanistan: here.

Trump’s new UK ambassador wrongly accuses Britain of spending ‘minimum’ on its military. Billionaire Woody Johnson inflates US’ spending while suggesting UK’s status as a ‘powerful nation’ is at stake: here.

The Netflix satire War Machine is a forceful work that depicts the futility and madness of war in general and the war in Afghanistan in particular. The film revives a venerable tradition of anti-military and anti-war drama and comedy in the US, which the media and the establishment thought (or hoped) had been thoroughly suppressed and even extinguished: here.

Courage for peace, not for war, in Afghanistan: here.