we are the bloodthirsty warmongers

Villain or victim? Vladimir Putin in aggressive form - but we may be pushing him too far
PETER HITCHENS: Forget ‘evil’ Putin – we are the bloodthirsty warmongers 

daily mail

This is a time of year for memories, and the ones that keep bothering me are from my childhood, which seemed at the time to be wholly happy and untroubled.

Yet all the adults in my life still dwelt in the shadow of recent war. This was not the glamorous, exciting side of war, but the miserable, fearful and hungry aspect.

My mother, even in middle-class suburban prosperity, couldn’t throw away an eggshell without running her finger round it to get out the last of the white. No butcher dared twice to try to cheat her on the weights.

Haunted all her life by rationing, she would habitually break a chocolate bar into its smallest pieces. She had also been bombed from the air in Liverpool, and had developed a fatalism to cope with the nightly danger of being blown to pieces, shocking to me then and since.

I am now beset by these ingrained memories of shortage and danger because I seem surrounded by people who think that war might be fun. This seems to happen when wartime generations are pushed aside by their children, who need to learn the truth all over again.

It seemed fairly clear to me from her experiences that war had in fact been a miserable affair of fear, hunger, threadbare darned clothes, broken windows and insolent officials. And that was a victory, more or less, though my father (who fought in it) was never sure of that.

Now I seem surrounded by people who actively want a war with Russia, a war we all might lose. They seem to believe that we are living in a real life Lord Of The Rings, in which Moscow is Mordor and Vladimir Putin is Sauron. Some humorous artists in Moscow, who have noticed this, have actually tried to set up a giant Eye of Sauron on a Moscow tower.

We think we are the heroes, setting out with brave hearts to confront the Dark Lord, and free the saintly Ukrainians from his wicked grasp.

This is all the most utter garbage. Since 1989, Moscow, the supposed aggressor, has – without fighting or losing a war – peacefully ceded control over roughly 180 million people, and roughly 700,000 square miles of valuable territory.

The EU (and its military wing, Nato) have in the same period gained control over more than 120 million of those people, and almost 400,000 of those square miles.

Until a year ago, Ukraine remained non-aligned between the two great European powers. But the EU wanted its land, its 48 million people (such a reservoir of cheap labour!) its Black Sea coast, its coal and its wheat.

So first, it spent £300 million (some of it yours) on anti-Russian ‘civil society’ groups in Ukraine.

Then EU and Nato politicians broke all the rules of diplomacy and descended on Kiev to take sides with demonstrators who demanded that Ukraine align itself with the EU.

PUTIN: The crisis should be resolved at some point

Fall: There is a complacent joy about the collapse of the rouble. Above, the dollar-rouble rate on Friday

Imagine how you’d feel if Russian politicians had appeared in Edinburgh in September urging the Scots to vote for independence, or if Russian money had been used to fund pro-independence organisations.

Then a violent crowd (20 police officers died at its hands, according to the UN) drove the elected president from office, in violation of the Ukrainian constitution.

During all this process, Ukraine remained what it had been from the start – horrendously corrupt and dominated by shady oligarchs, pretty much like Russia.

If you didn’t want to take sides in this mess, I wouldn’t at all blame you. But most people seem to be doing so.

Taking sides: Britain and the US have backed the Gulf states' desire to destroy the Assad government in Syria. While Russia has been a major obstacle

There seems to be a genuine appetite for confrontation in Washington, Brussels, London… and Saudi Arabia.

There is a complacent joy abroad about the collapse of the rouble, brought about by the mysterious fall in the world’s oil price.

It’s odd to gloat about this strange development, which is also destroying jobs and business in this country. Why are the Gulf oil states not acting – as they easily could and normally would – to prop up the price of the product that makes them rich?

I do not know, but there’s no doubt that Mr Putin’s Russia has been a major obstacle to the Gulf states’ desire to destroy the Assad government in Syria, and that the USA and Britain have (for reasons I long to know) taken the Gulf’s side in this.

But do we have any idea what we are doing? Ordinary Russians are pretty stoical and have endured horrors unimaginable to most of us, including a currency collapse in 1998 that ruined millions. But until this week they had some hope.

If anyone really is trying to punish the Russian people for being patriotic, by debauching the rouble, I cannot imagine anything more irresponsible. It was the destruction of the German mark in 1922, and the wipeout of the middle class that resulted, which led directly to Hitler.

Stupid, ill-informed people nowadays like to compare Mr Putin with Hitler. I warn them and you that, if we succeed in overthrowing Mr Putin by unleashing hyper-inflation in Russia, we may find out what a Russian Hitler is really like. And that a war in Europe is anything but fun.

So, as it’s almost Christmas, let us sing with some attention that bleakest and yet loveliest of carols, It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, stressing the lines that run ‘Man at war with man hears not the love song which they bring. Oh, hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing’.

Or gloat at your peril over the scenes of panic in Moscow.

Russia Modernizing Entire Missile Force–88 Brand New, Next Gen. ICBMs by 2015

[SEE: Russian nuclear forces to get more than 50 new missiles in 2015 — Putin]

Russian military received 38 intercontinental missiles in 2014 — defense minister

itar tass

Russian Air Force has taken into service more than 140 jets and 135 helicopters this year, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said

BULUVA

Bulava missile launch
© MIT corporation

MOSCOW, December 19. /TASS/. Russia’s Strategic Nuclear Forces added 38 new intercontinental ballistic missiles to their tables of equipment this year, including 22 submarine-based missiles, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Friday at an expanded session of the Defense Ministry’s Board.

The percentage of upgraded armaments in the Armed Forces has thus reached 56%, he said. The Strategic Missile Troops now have three new regiments operating Yars missile complexes.

By the end of December, the Navy will have three strategic nuclear-powered submarines of the Borei class. The first of them, the Yuri Dolgoruky, has already come on full-scale combat duty.

Another two submarines, the Knyaz Vladimir (Duke Vladimir) and the Knyaz Oleg (Duke Oleg) have merged with the forces of permanent combat readiness.

Shoigu said in his report Russia’s strategic missile forces were at a level that enabled them to perform the tasks of nuclear containment.

Russian Air Force has taken into service more than 140 jets and 135 helicopters this year, Shoigu said.

This year, aerospace defense brigades were restructured in air defense squadrons which the Defense Ministry abandoned in 2009-2012 according to plans approved by the then-Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. The Air Force also set up a combined air division and an air defense squadron.

The report said that 142 jets the Air Force received include 53 multifunctional fighter jets Sukhoi Su-30 and Su-35. Meanwhile, 18 modernized interceptors MiG-31VM, 16 fighter-bombers Su-34 and 28 different transport and training jets were handed to the military.

As many as 135 helicopter gunships include 46 choppers and 72 assault helicopters.

Meanwhile, seven air defense missile systems S-400 Triumf were brought into service in Russian Air Force for the past day, the report said.

Aerospace Defense Forces put on combat duty Voronezh-type highly prefabricated radar stations in Russian westernmost city of Kaliningrad and Irkutsk in Russia’s Far East, the document added. Another two similar radars were put on combat trial in Barnaul and Yeniseisk in eastern Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk territory. The coverage of these radar stations reaches 6,000 kilometers, they can be deployed for 12 to 18 months against 5-7 years of Voronezh predecessors.

EVIL IS AS EVIL DOES

Who’s the evil one? Let’s not be naive

NEWS SENTINEL

We live in a country that has experienced 17 years without war since our founding. In Iraq we have gone from fighting “evildoers” (i.e., al-Qaida) to a “war on evil” (the Islamic State).

The Nov. 18 editorial in The News-Sentinel stated that ISIS members are “crossing the line” with their beheadings of Americans. The editorial ended with the thought that “people who aren’t ready for ‘boots on the ground’ had better at least get their heads out of the clouds.” The editorial made me consider who is naive.

I am amazed at the naivete of people who advance the thesis that ISIS is uniquely evil. They seem able to see evil in others, but not in the mirror. They appear to have no knowledge of our past and present actions.

Where to start? Smallpox blankets to Native Americans? Unnecessary atomic bombs? White phosphorus? Cluster bombs? Napalm? Agent Orange? Depleted uranium that Nazis wouldn’t use? Landmines? Or our singular effort to weaponize space?

Amazing that weapons are evil when others use them, but not us. We never consider violence perpetrated by Christians. It started with Emperor Constantine — continued through the Crusades, the Inquisition and two World Wars courtesy of Christian Germany.

We even call the Nazis we brought here to help our space program evil (1,500 Nazis Operation Paperclip — look it up). We considered prosecuting them only after we drained all their knowledge. We are outraged that a few get Social Security. Talk about naive; how do people think we got to the moon? Wernher Von Braun is both a Nazi and American hero.

The real irony is that the beheadings we currently condemn were considered benevolent in our English past (the alternative was death by torture). ISIS is familiar with our prisons and torture.

I graduated from high school the year Saigon became Ho Chi Minh City. I worked with recent Vietnam combat veterans. Ask them about heads on poles, heads on helicopter skids and necklaces of brown ears.

We say a caliphate has no place in the 21st century. Isn’t it ironic that Muslims wishing to return to the eighth century is ludicrous, but Jewish people returning to A.D. 70 Israel makes perfect sense?

Americans need to consider if empire has a place in the 21st century. People who burn children to death have lost the right to call others evil.

Tim Tiernon is a resident of Fort Wayne.

Egypt Looking To Suckle On the Qatari Teat, Al-Sisi Lightens-Up On the Islamissts

[SEE: Egypt drops anti-Islamist hardliner intel chief]

Al-Sisi receives Qatari envoy in a bid to restore ties

Al-Sisi receives Qatari envoy in a bid to restore tiesPresident Abdel-Fattah Al-SIsi

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi received on Saturday Qatari diplomatic envoy Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdel-Rahman, along with the president of the Saudi Royal Court Khalid Al-Tuwaijri, amid efforts to restore deteriorated diplomatic ties between Egypt with Qatar.

“Egypt is looking forward to starting a new phase beyond past conflicts, counting on the efforts of all parties to work towards positive relations with Qatar,” the Egyptian presidency said in a press statement.

The visit comes as part of an initiative announced by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz earlier in November in the “Riyadh Supplementary Agreement”.

The last Qatari diplomatic delegation, headed by Qatari Ambassador to Egypt Saif Al-Buainan, had attended Al-Sisi’s inauguration ceremony in June 2014.

A drastic change in Qatar’s foreign policy was evident at the six-leader Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting earlier this month.

Qatar joined other GCC states which voiced “full support to Egypt and the political programme of President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi”.

Egypt and Qatar have been at odds since former president Mohamed Morsi was ousted in July 2013 in a popular uprising. Qatar had denounced Morsi’s ouster, declaring that the revolution was a coup against a democratically elected leader.

Last March, Egypt’s Arab Gulf allies, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar over political disputes regarding Qatar’s policies.

Last month, however, the three countries agreed to return their diplomats to Qatar in an effort to restore relations.

One Good Reason For Moscow To Put the Screws To Georgia

Mamuka Mamulashvili“Through fighting in Ukraine Georgians are protecting their homeland from Russian aggression.”Mamuka Mamulashvili , commander “Georgian Legion” to Ukraine

The body of Georgian fighter killed in Ukraine returns to Georgia

agenda.ge

The body of Georgian Aleksandre Grigolashvili, who has been killed in Ukraine while fighting against pro-Russian rebels, is already at his home in Kutaisi.

The plane which carried Grigolashvili landed in Tbilisi International Airport at 08:30 in the morning. Georgian volunteer fighter was brought to his homeland by his two Ukrainian allies.

The arrival ceremony at the airport was attended by Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimer Gurgenidze and Council of Ukraine, as well as family members and friends of deceased Grigolashvili. After the ceremony, Grigolashvili’s body was taken to his home in Kutaisi.

“The whole Government, people are in solidarity with this family and our presence at the airport is the expression of it. We want to show support to Grigolashvili’s family,” Vladimer Gurgenidze said at the Airport.

Ukrainian Consul to Georgia also commented at the airport and thanked Georgian people for standing with Ukraine.

“I want to console the family of Aleksandre and thank Georgian society on behalf of Ukrainian people. Thank you for standing with us in the most difficult moment for our country,” he said.

The plane carrying the body of Grigolashvili should have arrived in Tbilisi yesterday by midnight, however due to heavy fog in Georgia it landed in Yerevan.

Aleksandre Grrigolashvili died on December 18. He was 32 years old. According to his family members, he went to Ukraine two months ago. In 2007-2008 years Grigolashvili served in the Georgian army and fought in Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali region and in Afghanistan.

A farewell ceremony to honor fallen Georgian fighter took place at Maidan, Kiev yesterday. Georgia’s Consul to Ukraine Konstantine Sabiashvili has stated that the ceremony was attended by Georgia’s Ambassador to Ukraine Mikheil Ukleba and Georgian Diaspora representatives.

Pakistan Thins-Out the Terrorist Backlog–Four More of the Creeps Hanged Today

pak hanging
[Pakistan hangs its first terrorists, Friday.  Aqeel Ahmed, aka, “Dr. Usman” on the right, his accomplice, Arshad Mehmood, is the broke-neck corpse on the left.]

Four convicts in Musharraf attack case executed in Faisalabad

dawn

Mateen Haider | GA Tanveer
FAISALABAD: Four death-row prisoners, who were convicted for involvement in an attack on former military ruler Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf, were executed on Sunday at a district jail in Faisalabad.

Civilians Zubair Ahmed, Rasheed Qureshi, Ghulam Sarwar Bhatti and Russian citizen Akhlaque Ahmed were shifted from Faisalabad Central jail to the death cell in a district jail late on Saturday.

The prisoners had to be shifted to a district jail under strict security measures because the lever which is used to open the trapdoor to carryout hangings was not present in the Central jail.

Family members of the death-row prisoners were allowed to meet the convicts for the last time prior to the hanging.

Securitywas tightened in the city to avoid any untoward incident. Additional contingents of security personnel were deployed while containers and barricades were placed on the routes leading to the district jail.

Read: Army chief signs death warrants of six convicts

Similarly preparations were underway in Lahore for the execution of four death row prisoners in Kot Lakhpat Central Jail. The executions are expected to be carried out within the next 24-36 hours. All routes leading to the jail were sealed with the deployment of military personnel and installation of cellphone jammers around the jail premises.

In Sukkur, authorities called in the relatives of two terrorists, belonging to the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi who had been sentenced to death 10 years ago in a sectarian killing case, to hold a final meeting on Monday.

Read: Militant siege of Peshawar school ends, 141 killed

An antiterrorism court on Friday had issued black warrants for Attaullah alias Qasim and Mohammad Azam alias Sharif who had been given death sentence by an antiterrorism court in July 2004 for killing Dr Ali Raza Peerani on sectarian grounds in June 2001 in the Soldier Bazaar area.

Both terrorists were arrested from Karachi. Tuesday has been decided the day of their execution.

Earlier on Friday, two former military men were executed in the Faisalabad district jail. Usman a former soldier of the army’s medical corps, was executed in relation to an attack on the headquarters of the Pakistan Army in 2009 in Rawalpindi. Arshad Mehmood, who was a trooper and also hanged, was among five convicts who were handed out the death sentence for their role in an Al Qaeda-inspired assassination attempt on Musharraf’s life in late 2003.

The hangings on Friday were the first death sentences carried out after the government ended a six-year moratorium on executions on Wednesday, in response to the Peshawar tragedy.

In response, Taliban groups released messages vowing revenge for the deaths of their comrades-in-arms.

Pakistani and Afghan Troops To Conduct Joint Anti-Fazlullah Operation

Pak-Afghan security forces to carry out coordinated ops: Aziz

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Saturday said that security forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to carry out coordinated operations against terrorists along the Pak-Afghan border.
Talking to journalists after a seminar, the adviser said that the Afghan leadership in Kabul has assured the Pakistan of full cooperation in countering terrorism. After the Peshawar incident, Pakistan is determined to take affective measures against terrorists and the Afghanistan government assured its full cooperation so that no one crosses the border during operation from either side, he said.
He said that Afghan President Asraf Ghani assured that his country’s soil would not be used against any country, particularly Pakistan. He also told journalists that both Pakistan and Afghanistan were going to establish SOPs (standard operating procedures) over border so that crossing of terrorists from one country to another be stopped. The SOPs for better border management between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been finalised and would be presented for approval before a joint military group meeting expected to take place soon.
Aziz said that Pakistan and Afghanistan would launch coordinated action against the terrorists, while forces of both the countries would not infiltrate each other’s borders.
He also hoped that India would show significant progress in the Samjhauta Express case. The Samjhauta Express blast that took place in the Delhi-Lahore train in 2007 had left nearly 70 people, mostly Pakistanis, dead. About the existence of RAW in Peshawar, the adviser totally rejected the perception. About plans to re-arrest Zakiur Rehman, he said the government itself was going on an appeal to detain him. He rejected the plea that Pakistan is doing so because there is India pressure over it.
Earlier, addressing a seminar, Sartaj Aziz lauded the international community for expressing solidarity with Pakistan over the Peshawar school tragedy. He said Pakistan would continue its cooperation with the international community on war against terrorism, adding that the main issue between Pakistan and India was misunderstanding.
He further said that Pakistan was worst affected by the scourge of terrorism and it condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Sartaj Aziz added serious efforts should be made to resume Pak-India talks. He termed as unfortunate the suspension of secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan.