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.

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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.

NATO boss praises Turkish war in Syria


Stoltenberg and Erdogan, AFP photo

Today, Dutch NOS TV reports that the boss of the NATO military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, is visiting Turkey to meet President Erdogan.

Stoltenberg praised the Turkish military invasion of Syria; which is in theory against ISIS, but in practice against the Syrian Kurds and their allies, the only effective opponents of ISIS. Stoltenberg claimed that was supposedly self-defence by the Turkish government.

Stoltenberg did not mention the Turkish regime’s killing of civilians in Turkey itself, in Iraq or in Syria. He did not mention the attacks on teachers, attacks on journalists, or other human rights violations in Turkey.

We should not be really surprised about this. When NATO was founded in 1949, one of its founder members was the fascist Salazar dictatorship in Portugal, which waged bloody colonial wars in Africa with NATO support and which taught children to do the fascist salute. In 1967 Greek colonels violently overthrew democracy in a coup according to NATO plan Prometheus. Their dictatorship banned strikes, labour unions, long hair on men, mini-skirts, the peace symbol, the Beatles, Sophocles, Tolstoy, Aeschylus, Socrates, Eugene Ionesco, Sartre, Chekhov, Mark Twain, Samuel Beckett, free press, new mathematics and the letter Z.

The colonels’ dictatorship was welcome to stay on as member of supposedly pro-democracy NATO. As welcome as Erdogan, voted as #1 in a ‘Dictator of the Year’ poll, is now.

The threat of the US military intervention in Iraq and Syria erupting into a far wider war has increased sharply in the wake of a series of Turkish air strikes against Syrian Kurdish militia forces that are aligned with Washington: here.

JEREMY CORBYN said yesterday that no more British troops should be sent to the Baltic states and urged that the Nato members’ eastern borders with Russia be demilitarised to reduce tensions: here.

Anti-Obama plot by warmongering NATO general


This video says about itself:

1 July 2016

Hacked private emails of the US general formerly in charge of NATO reveal a campaign to pressure the White House into escalating the conflict with Russia over Ukraine, involving several influential players in Washington.

The emails, posted by the site DCLeaks, show correspondence between General Philip M. Breedlove, former head of the US European Command and supreme commander of NATO forces, with several establishment insiders concerning the situation in Ukraine following the February 2014 coup that ousted the elected government in favor of a US-backed regime.

Breedlove served as the NATO Supreme Commander between May 2013 and March 2016. His personal email incorporated his Air Force call sign “Bwana” – a Swahili word for “boss.”

The hacked emails reveal his frequent and intense communications with retired General Wesley Clark, as well as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and involving a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, State Department official Victoria Nuland, and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt.

Clark, who commanded NATO during the 1999 war in Yugoslavia, reached out to Breedlove in April 2014. On April 8, he forwarded “intelligence” obtained by Anatoly Pinchuk and Dmitry Tymchuk, activists close to the new regime, claiming a Russian invasion was in the works.

By Lee Fang and Zaid Jilami of The Intercept:

Hacked Emails Reveal NATO General Plotting Against Obama on Russia Policy

July 1 2016, 4:41 p.m.

Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, until recently the supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe, plotted in private to overcome President Barack Obama’s reluctance to escalate military tensions with Russia over the war in Ukraine in 2014, according to apparently hacked emails from Breedlove’s Gmail account that were posted on a new website called DC Leaks.

Obama defied political pressure from hawks in Congress and the military to provide lethal assistance to the Ukrainian government, fearing that doing so would increase the bloodshed and provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with the justification for deeper incursions into the country.

Breedlove, during briefings to Congress, notably contradicted the Obama administration regarding the situation in Ukraine, leading to news stories about conflict between the general and Obama.

But the leaked emails provide an even more dramatic picture of the intense back-channel lobbying for the Obama administration to begin a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine.

In a series of messages in 2014, Breedlove sought meetings with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, asking for advice on how to pressure the Obama administration to take a more aggressive posture toward Russia.

“I may be wrong, … but I do not see this WH really ‘engaged’ by working with Europe/NATO. Frankly I think we are a ‘worry,’ … ie a threat to get the nation drug into a conflict,” Breedlove wrote in an email to Powell, who responded by accepting an invitation to meet and discuss the dilemma. “I seek your counsel on two fronts,” Breedlove continued, “how to frame this opportunity in a time where all eyes are on ISIL all the time, … and two, … how to work this personally with the POTUS.”

Breedlove attempted to influence the administration through several channels, emailing academics and retired military officials, including former NATO supreme commander Wesley Clark, for assistance in building his case for supplying military assistance to Ukrainian forces battling Russian-backed separatists.

“I think POTUS sees us as a threat that must be minimized, … ie do not get me into a war????” Breedlove wrote in an email to Harlan Ullman, senior adviser to the Atlantic Council, describing his ongoing attempt to get Powell to help him influence Obama.

“Given Obama’s instruction to you not to start a war, this may be a tough sell,” Ullman replied a few months later, in another string of emails about Breedlove’s effort to “leverage, cajole, convince or coerce the U.S. to react” to Russia.

Breedlove did not respond to a request for comment. He stepped down from his NATO leadership position in May and retired from service on Friday, July 1. Breedlove was a four-star Air Force general and served as the 17th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe starting on May 10, 2013.

Phillip Karber, an academic who corresponded regularly with Breedlove — providing him with advice and intelligence on the Ukrainian crisis —  verified the authenticity of several of the emails in the leaked cache. He also told The Intercept that Breedlove confirmed to him that the general’s Gmail account was hacked and that the incident had been reported to the government.

“The last conversation I had about it with General Breedlove, he said, ‘Yeah, I’ve been hacked several times,’” said Karber. He added that he noticed at least one of his personal emails appearing online from the leak before we had contacted him. “I turned this over to the U.S. government and asked them to investigate. No one has given me any answer.”

“I have no idea whose account was leaked or hacked,” said Powell, when reached for comment about the emails. Powell said he had no comment about the discussions regarding Obama’s response to the conflict in Ukraine.

In the European press, Breedlove has been portrayed as a hawkish figure known for leaning on allied nations to ditch diplomacy and to adopt a more confrontational role again Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine. Breedlove, testifying before Congress earlier in February of this year, called Russia “a long-term existential threat to the United States and to our European allies.”

Der Spiegel reported that Breedlove “stunned” German leaders with a surprise announcement in 2015 claiming that pro-Russian separatists had “upped the ante” in eastern Ukraine with “well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of the most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery” sent to Donbass, a center of the conflict.

Breedlove’s numbers were “significantly higher” than the figures known to NATO intelligence agencies and seemed exaggerated to German officials. The announcement appeared to be a provocation designed to disrupt mediation efforts led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In previous instances, German officials believed Breedlove overestimated Russian forces along the border with Ukraine by as many as 20,000 troops and found that the general had falsely claimed that several Russian military assets near the Ukrainian border were part of a special build-up in preparation for a large-scale invasion of the country. In fact, much of the Russian military equipment identified by Breedlove, the Germans said, had been stored there well before the revolution in Ukraine.

The emails, however, depict a desperate search by Breedlove to build his case for escalating the conflict, contacting colleagues and friends for intelligence to illustrate the Russian threat. Karber, who visited Ukrainian politicians and officials in Kiev on several occasions, sent frequent messages to Breedlove — “per your request,” he noted — regarding information he had received about separatist military forces and Russian troop movements. In several updates, Breedlove received military data sourced from Twitter and social media.

Karber, the president of the Potomac Foundation, became the center of a related scandal last year when it was discovered that he had facilitated a meeting during which images of purported Russian forces in Ukraine were distributed to the office of Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and were published by a neoconservative blog. The pictures turned out to be a deception; one supposed picture of Russian tanks in Ukraine was, in fact, an old photograph of Russian tanks in Ossetia during the war with Georgia.

Breedlove stayed in close contact with Karber and other officials who shared his views on the Ukrainian conflict.

“Phil, can’t we get a statement to counteract the Russians on use of force? what can I do to help? If the Ukrainians lose control of the narrative, the Russians will see it as an open door,” wrote retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who forwarded on his messages with Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. …

In other messages, Clark relayed specific requests for the types of military aid desired by Ukrainian officials. In addition to radar systems and other forms of military equipment, Clark recommended that Breedlove “encourage Ukraine to hire some first rate pr firms and crisis communications firms in U.S. and Europe.” He added, “They need the right tools to engage in information warfare.”

Ukraine did hire several D.C. lobbying and communication firms to influence policymakers. In June 2015, the government signed a deal with APCO Worldwide, an influential firm with ties to senior Democratic and Republican officials.

In an email in February 2015, Karber told Breedlove that “Pakistan has, under the table, offered Ukraine 500 TOW-II launchers (man-portable version) and 8,000 TOW-II missiles,” adding that deliveries of the anti-tank weapons could begin by the end of the month. “However,” Karber wrote, “Pakistan will not make these deliveries without U.S. approval; moreover they will not even request that approval unless they have informal assurance that it would be approved.”

Karber told The Intercept that the Pakistani arms deal never materialized.

Breedlove was most recently in the news explaining that he now thinks we need to talk to the Russian government to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. “I think we need to begin to have meaningful dialogue,” he said last week, while reiterating his views on the need for a strong NATO to militarily match Russia. “Russia does understand power, and strength, and unity,” he said.

The emails were released by D.C. Leaks, a database run by self-described “hacktivists” who are collecting the communications of elite stakeholders such as political parties, major politicians, political campaigns, and the military. The website currently has documents revealing some internal communications of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, among others.