American Resistance To Empire

When Will the World Be Free of the NATO Beast?

When Will the World Be Free of the NATO Beast? is fighting for its Paleolithic life. A dying dinosaur from a place God and time may one day forget, the military equivalent of a mafia protection racket now swishes its tail one last time in the hopes a full scale war will rescue it. With militarism as a purpose, and bending European societies in the back of its fossil mind, this listless beast of war is more dangerous than ever. Here is a look at a rusty tool of American hegemony, one the world never really needed at all.

Reading NATO’s latest misinformation bit, “NATO-Russian relations: the facts”, I recall the last half century of my own brainwashing. Like the “Captain Dan” figure, played by actor Gary Sinise in the Tom Hanks film Forest Gump, I think back on the generations of Butlers who fought in America’s wars. There is a scene in the film where Captain Dan’s forefathers bite the dust on successive historic battlefields, from Vietnam to Bunker Hill. Caaaa-plop! Each successive forefather falls backwards into the snow or mud, the look of finality on his face, as the end of war registers in the mind’s last gleaming.

Thinking about NATO, the bureaucrats and butt kissers that now play top soldiers there, I cannot help but reflect on how stupid we all were to believe. Snatching myself back to the moment, as a veteran, I feel ashamed at having backed the play of money grubbing war mongers like those that use a supposed alliance, like Al Capone used the rackets back in gangland Chicago. America, our allies, have been made repeated “offers they could not refuse”. To steal the line from another film, the Godfather with the late great Marlon Brando in the lead Mafioso role, is ideally suited to what NATO is doing today.

In the article I cite, no author is listed. Perhaps the “myths” and “facts” the military organization wishes to present are too ridiculous for anybody to attach a name, rank, and serial number to. Meant to satisfy the clinically stupid, or absurdity brainwashed killer among us, the piece makes a travesty of the truth. I speak in such a bombastic voice, because my colleagues and friends in the ranks are sick unto death of this utter bullshit. If you will allow me to deconstruct NATO’s truth, perhaps someone at the top will just order the nincompoops to stop.

NATO Fact One: On the Russia claim that NATO is trying to encircle Russia, the liars in the NATO ranks try and pull the wool over geographically challenged onlookers. NATO is trying to isolate and encircle Russa, but here is how to “rocket scientists” who work at NATO headquarters make their counterclaim:

“This claim ignores the facts of geography. Russia’s land border is just over 20,000 kilometres long. Of that, 1,215 kilometres, or less than one-sixteenth, face current NATO members.”

For those of you who loved geography as a kid, or for those among you who study history, you realize the leadership of NATO takes you for utter fools. In order to expose a ridiculousness in any such dialogue, all one need do it expose the chief lie amidst the propaganda. NATO’s content specialist who helped construct this nonsense goes on to remind us how Russia shares land borders with only 14 countries, only 5 of which are NATO members. But while Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, North Korea, are not all NATO cohorts yet, the strategy to include more is unarguable. Only those people trapped inside mine shafts, or lost in the wilderness can even consider what NATO is asserting as cognizant.

Using the interactive map NATO provides here, readers can easily construct a real truth, however.

NATO map
Clicking on the map to include; troop contributing countries, Mediterranean dialog partners, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative partners, NATO Command & Control, NATO missions, and partners around the globe, and the picture of a surrounded Russia becomes clearer. And if there is a real geographer out there among you, the situation from satellite, looking at this encirclement from the global perspective looks even worse. The United States and Canada, almost all of Europe and most of the Middle East represent the NATO team. China and some of Southeast Asia, Iran and India are pretty much outside NATO’s clutches. Yes, I said clutches. Russia, for all Washington’s and London’s bellyaching, only extends past its home ground where conflict threatens her borders. Russia has attacked no one. Russia is on the defensive like always. NATO is in the business of war, not defense. Let me show you.

On the NATO history pages you will find the not-so subtle bragging the military organization unashamedly spits at the civilian world. Since its birth in 1949, NATO’s Article 5 has been the spear to the heart of European peace. While the site reflects on the Marshall Plan from whence NATO arose as a sort of stabilizing commandments, the economic and military goals set forth were only biblical for the trouble festering beneath. What we see now in chaos across Europe and the Middle East, is the fruits of a catastrophic strategy. NATO’s plans, and those of leading members, are nothing short of perpetual war. NATO fights to remain relevant, and the only way to accomplish this is through fear. The Korean War should have shown us, the common enemy would always be the “great motivator”. That war also should have shown us, NATO would never really allow for winning any war totally.

Also, a strategy known as the “Massive Retaliation” doctrine sucked European nations into the NATO web via the charade of diverting military spending to economic growth. Ostensibly, the US and other big NATO partners would “nuke” Russia is she attacked NATO nations. So, the United States became the world’s police force, and smaller nations got to save trillions on military spending. In something akin to a “big fix”, those that lead NATO would soon blackmail lesser members with the “great boogey man”, the Soviet Union. I needn’t go further here than to point out the language these NATO psychopaths use. In depicting France’s kicking NATO out of their country in 1967, the NATO narrative shows the underlying reality of militaristic organizations. France told NATO to get out, and here is how NATO describes its partners today:

“Flexibility was always key to NATO’s success, and the French withdrawal from NATO’s integrated military command structure demonstrated that NATO, unlike the Warsaw Pact, could tolerate differing viewpoints between its members.”

The underlying attitude is not really subtle, but the use of the word “tolerate” is significant. How magnanimous NATO leadership was, to not launch an immediate attack on Paris once the French told the alliance to bug off. The insanity stretches even further. NATO writers go on to describe how “Europe”, by its definition, was only even viable before NATO once again started to expand Eastward. Bear with me here, for the dogma is critical. NATO “endured” after the fall of the Soviet Union, in order to help “democratize” Eastern Europe. Yes, you read that correctly, NATO was used as a force of democracy to spread Europe eastward. NATO was being used as an occupying force, to “deter the rise of militant nationalism and to provide the foundation of collective security that would encourage democratization and political integration in Europe.” Those are not my words; NATO crafted its own history pages using its own “definitions” for expansion.

“The definition of “Europe” had merely expanded eastward. Before the consolidation of peace and security could begin, however, one spectre haunting European politics remained to be exorcised. Since the Franco-Prussian War, Europe had struggled to come to terms with a united

Germany at its heart. The incorporation of a re-unified Germany into the Alliance put this most ancient and destructive of dilemmas to rest.”

So the people and their politics had less to do with the formation of NATO or even the EU, and a whole lot more to do with iron militarism and the threats dictated by NATO’s elite, the men and women behind the alliance. Russia, and China, anyone outside the “club”, they are the threats dangled in front of Europe’s people. Yugoslavia, Georgia and the Caucasus, all the NATO interventions are used for drumming up the idea the treaty organization is about peacekeeping. When my team and I discovered NATO was behind the Ukraine “Peacemaker” kill lists targeting Russian sympathizers in the East of Urkaine, it was at that moment I began to understand who the real good guys were. Listing private information on people who support separatists in the Donbass, Peacemaker was not only tied to NATO via its servers, but to the British Embassy and various NGOs. NATO backs Nazis. NATO is about making war, not preventing it. And NATO does in fact have one primary enemy, Russia. Here are the irrefutable facts about NATO’s part in world chaos.

The 1950s and 60s: Diabolical Fanaticisms

NATO was always about militarism. Even before the Cold War got started in earnest, the Pentagon and its allied think tanks abroad were at play fighting the “Reds” to the death. Then a top secret initiative was set in motion. The National Security Council Paper NSC-68 (entitled “United States Objectives and Programs for National Security” and frequently referred to as NSC-68) helped launch an arms race that dwarfed any other human endeavor in history. That arms race continues, but the sewn seeds were planted just before 1950, and NATO was a major part of this plan. Citing the “hostile design” of the Soviet Union, the framers of this strategy were akin to paranoid schizophrenics, men who believed the Soviet doctrine was some kind of “fanatical faith”. Reading the declassified documents now, I wonder how in hell we ever avoid mutually assured destruction (MAD), these people were crazy and diabolical.

It was America’s and NATO’s own fanaticism that carried us through the Korean War. Besides being one of the most bitter and useless conflicts in history, the Korean War were a turning point for the construct of NATO. Because the Soviets had armed the North Koreans, American President Truman and the western Cold War strategists misread Korea as an indicator of wider Soviet intentions to invade Western Europe. NATO was sent into overdrive, and Truman’s term “police force” set the tone for continual chaos we’ve seen these last decades. NATO claims Russia is not being encircled, but encirclement was always the goal. In 1950s, the outbreak of the Korean War led Australia and New Zealand to commit troops through the United Nations and alongside the NATO allies, demonstrating both their concern over the threat of communism and their commitment to doing their part to help contain it in the region. The “Truman Doctrine” that gesticulated future militarism, metastasized into and even larger military alliance via the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Central Treaty Organization (Cento), and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). So NATO stood cheering on the sidelines, as Vietnam further indemnified its existence.

The 70s & 80s & Indentured Servitude

Throughout the 1970s, NATO’s dogma remained constant, “defending Europe”, but of course that only meant “Europe” by western definitions. Or was it “free Europe”, as in Radio Free Europe, the propaganda channel we know now as Radio Liberty. Ronald Reagan and the 80s echo the assimilation of all those Europe nations; this Foreign Policy piece reminds us how Europe owes America its NATO debt. Servitude, this is the end result of all protection rackets, and the deployment of long range nuclear missiles in Europe, against the will of Europe’s people, cemented NATO’s occupation of the continent. Yes, you read me correctly; NATO has been an occupational force, more so than a defender. Reagan, like Truman decades before, elevated the arms race to unheard of heights. The “Evil Empire” was used, to pour trillions upon trillions of dollars into further hopelessness. Insanity, on a runaway train, threatened to take us to the brink of an Apocolypse, as the Soviets were pushed to the brink. They collapsed, rather than launching a preemptive strike on their attackers. And this tells us much.

Bosnia: And the Rest is History

I have lamented Yugoslavia before. Sputnik International picked up my commentary, the depth of the lost potential being so deep. NATO emerged from its role as faithful defenders of democracy, and became a hegemonic tool for sure in 1992. The Yugoslav wars were the moment Western warmongers were waiting for, so that Hollywood operational names could be created for regime changes. Inherent Resolve and other corny movie-like military actions more recently were born of Operation Sharp Vigilance, the UN/NATO embargo of the Adriatic Sea and Yugoslavia. The Bush, and later Clinton White Houses oversaw the utter destruction of a mediating state, in between the West, and the Soviets. This was NATO’s first “assignment” in an expansive war on Russia. Though some will argue, subsequent NATO and EU expansionist efforts betray any argument NATO enthusiasts can bring. Yugoslavia’s demise was the signal for all subsequent political wars and regime changes. NATO airstrikes sealed the fate of Yugoslavia.

Moving along, NATO being asked to help in Afghanistan before US and coalition around the time of 9/11, and before the invasion, is suspicious at the least. 2001 seemed a bit early for the Afghans to be requesting a NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Then on another request of the United States, the Alliance launched its first-ever counter-terrorism operation – Operation Eagle Assist – from mid-October 2001 to mid-May 2002. Then NATO took up policing the Athens Olympics in 2004, the Riga Summit in 2006, and training Iraqi security forces from 2004 until 2011. Operation Allied Provider in 2008 saw NATO extend into fighting Somalia pirates, and in 2011 NATO essentially overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, at the onset of Arab Spring. NATO continues to expand is sphere of operations today. With operations still ongoing in Afghanistan, still fighting piracy around Cape Horn, and flying what it terms “air policing missions”, NATO forces today are even more menacing than they were during the first Cold War.

Most of what I have presented here comes from the official pages of NATO’s own “fact” files, its history, and the professions of the organization’s stalwartness. If the reader will investigate, the reality of NATO as an archaic institution of war becomes so transparent. It was so from the beginning. With the Allies versus the Axis over with, an industry bent on creating ongoing strife, and disguised as the hero of the free world, assimilated many nations into the lie. Russia and the Soviet Union before certainly had similar strategies afoot. But compared to the devastation Western nations have wrought on emerging countries for decades, Moscow is Mt. Zion. US and NATO bases worldwide approach 1,000 in number, and stretch across 156 countries. Meanwhile, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported this month that NATO is concerned about a Russian base near neighboring Ukraine. Ukraine is on the border of Russia, but the United States is thousands of miles distant. There is a lack of logic and truth in this, that no one can escape. At the other end of the spectrum, RT reports the US will spend tens of millions on Estonian bases bordering Russia. And to cap off my report, it is only too appropriate to tell of the latest Hollywood naming convention, something called the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI), through NATO’s support program of eastern countries. I leave you with the expanded role of NATO today, a cognizant remedy against the organization’s idiotic propaganda. The essence of this will galvanize for you, how the leadership in the West’s leaders view NATO’s role.

“The definition of “security” has radically expanded to include the individual’s freedom from the violent extremism bred by instability and nation-state failure. For instance, much of the world’s attention in 2011 was focused on the crisis in Libya where NATO played a crucial role in helping to protect civilians under attack from their own government.”

Radically expanded, from a police force, established as a defense alliance, and proud to have thrust Libya into turmoil and chaos? I think we can with righteous indignation, call NATO and its leadership, liars of the first magnitude.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


The Pakistan-US Two-Way Double Game

Pakistan-US relationship: A double game?


Asad Durrani, former head of Pakistan’s ISI, debates Michael Flynn, former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency.

Earlier this month it was revealed that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) suspected its Islamabad station chief may have been poisoned by Pakistan’s military intelligence service, the ISI, following the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

While the reports have not been confirmed, some say such level of suspicion points to growing distrust between the two countries.

Those within US intelligence argue Pakistan is playing a “double game” by saying it supports the US’ role in the region, while also supporting the Taliban.

Pakistani officials have denied these long-standing allegations, while others believe double games are essential because their interests do not always align with those of the US. Such distrust, however, has left many to wonder about the future of relations between the two countries.

In this week’s Arena, we bring together former heads of the two countries’ intelligence agencies to debate their sensitive relationship.

Michael Flynn, former director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama and author of, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, is in debate with Asad Durrani, the former head of the ISI, and one of the main architects of Pakistan’s Mujahideen policy in Afghanistan.

Editor’s note: The Arena was recorded prior to the US drone strike in Pakistan that killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour.

Follow UpFront on Twitter @AJUpFront and Facebook.


Source: Al Jazeera


Silencing Americans As We Are Being Prepared For The Real War

Silencing America as it prepares war

Trump ClintonJohn Pilger Correspondent
RETURNING to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him.

It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention.

The great counter revolution had begun.

The first to be assassinated that year, Martin Luther King, had dared link the suffering of African-Americans and the people of Vietnam. When Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, she spoke perhaps unconsciously for millions of America’s victims in faraway places.

“We lost 58 000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom. Now don’t you forget it.” So said a National Parks Service guide as I filmed last week at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

He was addressing a school party of young teenagers in bright orange T-shirts. As if by rote, he inverted the truth about Vietnam into an unchallenged lie.

The millions of Vietnamese who died and were maimed and poisoned and dispossessed by the American invasion have no historical place in young minds, not to mention the estimated 60 000 veterans who took their own lives.

A friend of mine, a marine who became a paraplegic in Vietnam, was often asked, “Which side did you fight on?”

A few years ago, I attended a popular exhibition called “The Price of Freedom” at the venerable Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

The lines of ordinary people, mostly children shuffling through a Santa’s grotto of revisionism, were dispensed a variety of lies: the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved “a million lives”; Iraq was “liberated [by] air strikes of unprecedented precision”.

The theme was unerringly heroic: only Americans pay the price of freedom.

The 2016 election campaign is remarkable not only for the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders but also for the resilience of an enduring silence about a murderous self-bestowed divinity.

A third of the members of the United Nations have felt Washington’s boot, overturning governments, subverting democracy, imposing blockades and boycotts. Most of the presidents responsible have been liberal — Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.

The breathtaking record of perfidy is so mutated in the public mind, wrote the late Harold Pinter, that it “never happened . . . Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. It didn’t matter . . . . “.

Pinter expressed a mock admiration for what he called “a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

Take Obama. As he prepares to leave office, the fawning has begun all over again.

He is “cool”. One of the more violent presidents, Obama gave full reign to the Pentagon war-making apparatus of his discredited predecessor.

He prosecuted more whistleblowers — truth-tellers — than any president. He pronounced Chelsea Manning guilty before she was tried. Today, Obama runs an unprecedented worldwide campaign of terrorism and murder by drone.

In 2009, Obama promised to help “rid the world of nuclear weapons” and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. No American president has built more nuclear warheads than Obama. He is “modernising” America’s doomsday arsenal, including a new “mini” nuclear weapon, whose size and “smart” technology, says a leading general, ensure its use is “no longer unthinkable”.

James Bradley, the best-selling author of Flags of Our Fathers and son of one of the US marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, said, “[One] great myth we’re seeing play out is that of Obama as some kind of peaceful guy who’s trying to get rid of nuclear weapons. He’s the biggest nuclear warrior there is. He’s committed us to a ruinous course of spending a trillion dollars on more nuclear weapons. Somehow, people live in this fantasy that because he gives vague news conferences and speeches and feel-good photo-ops that somehow that’s attached to actual policy. It isn’t.”

On Obama’s watch, a second cold war is under way. The Russian president is a pantomime villain; the Chinese are not yet back to their sinister pig-tailed caricature — when all Chinese were banned from the United States — but the media warriors are working on it.

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders has mentioned any of this. There is no risk and no danger for the United States and all of us. For them, the greatest military build-up on the borders of Russia since World War Two has not happened. On May 11, Romania went “live” with a Nato “missile defence” base that aims its first-strike American missiles at the heart of Russia, the world’s second nuclear power.

In Asia, the Pentagon is sending ships, planes and special forces to the Philippines to threaten China. The US already encircles China with hundreds of military bases that curve in an arc up from Australia, to Asia and across to Afghanistan. Obama calls this a “pivot”.

As a direct consequence, China reportedly has changed its nuclear weapons policy from no-first-use to high alert and put to sea submarines with nuclear weapons. The escalator is quickening.

It was Hillary Clinton who, as Secretary of State in 2010, elevated the competing territorial claims for rocks and reef in the South China Sea to an international issue; CNN and BBC hysteria followed; China was building airstrips on the disputed islands. In its mammoth war game in 2015, Operation Talisman Sabre, the US practiced “choking” the Straits of Malacca through which pass most of China’s oil and trade. This was not news.

Clinton declared that America had a “national interest” in these Asian waters. The Philippines and Vietnam were encouraged and bribed to pursue their claims and old enmities against China. In America, people are being primed to see any Chinese defensive position as offensive, and so the ground is laid for rapid escalation. A similar strategy of provocation and propaganda is applied to Russia.

Clinton, the “women’s candidate”, leaves a trail of bloody coups: in Honduras, in Libya (plus the murder of the Libyan president) and Ukraine. The latter is now a CIA theme park swarming with Nazis and the frontline of a beckoning war with Russia.

It was through Ukraine – literally, borderland — that Hitler’s Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, which lost 27 million people. This epic catastrophe remains a presence in Russia. Clinton’s presidential campaign has received money from all but one of the world’s ten biggest arms companies. No other candidate comes close.

Sanders, the hope of many young Americans, is not very different from Clinton in his proprietorial view of the world beyond the United States. He backed Bill Clinton’s illegal bombing of Serbia. He supports Obama’s terrorism by drone, the provocation of Russia and the return of special forces (death squads) to Iraq. He has nothing to say on the drumbeat of threats to China and the accelerating risk of nuclear war. He agrees that Edward Snowden should stand trial and he calls Hugo Chavez – like him, a social democrat – “a dead communist dictator”. He promises to support Clinton if she is nominated.

The election of Trump or Clinton is the old illusion of choice that is no choice: two sides of the same coin. In scapegoating minorities and promising to “make America great again”, Trump is a far right-wing domestic populist; yet the danger of Clinton may be more lethal for the world.

“Only Donald Trump has said anything meaningful and critical of US foreign policy,” wrote Stephen Cohen, emeritus professor of Russian History at Princeton and NYU, one of the few Russia experts in the United States to speak out about the risk of war.

In a radio broadcast, Cohen referred to critical questions Trump alone had raised. Among them: why is the United States “everywhere on the globe”? What is NATO’s true mission? Why does the US always pursue regime change in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine? Why does Washington treat Russia and Vladimir Putin as an enemy?

The hysteria in the liberal media over Trump serves an illusion of “free and open debate” and “democracy at work”. His views on immigrants and Muslims are grotesque, yet the deporter-in-chief of vulnerable people from America is not Trump but Obama, whose betrayal of people of colour is his legacy: such as the warehousing of a mostly black prison population, now more numerous than Stalin’s gulag.

This presidential campaign may not be about populism but American liberalism, an ideology that sees itself as modern and therefore superior and the one true way. Those on its right wing bear a likeness to 19th century Christian imperialists, with a God-given duty to convert or co-opt or conquer.

In Britain, this is Blairism. The Christian war criminal Tony Blair got away with his secret preparation for the invasion of Iraq largely because the liberal political class and media fell for his “cool Britannia”. In the Guardian, the applause was deafening; he was called “mystical”. A distraction known as identity politics, imported from the United States, rested easily in his care.

History was declared over, class was abolished and gender promoted as feminism; lots of women became New Labour MPs. They voted on the first day of Parliament to cut the benefits of single parents, mostly women, as instructed. A majority voted for an invasion that produced 700,000 Iraqi widows.

The equivalent in the US are the politically correct warmongers on theNew York Times, the Washington Post and network TV who dominate political debate. I watched a furious debate on CNN about Trump’s infidelities. It was clear, they said, a man like that could not be trusted in the White House. No issues were raised. Nothing on the 80 per cent of Americans whose income has collapsed to 1970s levels. Nothing on the drift to war. The received wisdom seems to be “hold your nose” and vote for Clinton: anyone but Trump. That way, you stop the monster and preserve a system gagging for another war.

Romania ‘in crosshairs’ after opening NATO missile defense base–Putin

Putin: Romania ‘in crosshairs’ after opening NATO missile defense base


Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) attend a news conference, after their meeting at the Maximos Mansion in Athens on 27 May 2016. © Orestis Panagiotou / Reuters
During a visit to Greece intended to repair ties with the EU, Vladimir Putin said that Russia has “no choice” but to target Romania, which has recently opened a NATO missile defense base, and Poland, which plans to do so within two years.

“If yesterday people simply did not know what it means to be in the crosshairs in those areas of Romania, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security. And it will be the same with Poland,” Putin said during a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens on Friday.

The Russian President was referring to the Deveselu facility that officially became operational in May after nearly a decade and $800 million of planning and construction.

At the moment the interceptor missiles installed have a range of 500 kilometers, soon this will go up to 1000 kilometers, and worse than that, they can be rearmed with 2400km-range offensive missiles even today, and it can be done by simply switching the software, so that even the Romanians themselves won’t know,” said Putin, who is in Greece for a two-day tour.

We have the capability to respond. The whole world saw what our medium-range sea-based missiles are capable of [in Syria]. But we violate no agreements. And our ground-based Iskander missiles have also proven themselves as superb,” continued Putin.

Russia’s political and military leadership has repeatedly spoken out against the missile defense shield since it was proposed during the George W. Bush administration, and Putin reiterated that Moscow does not believe the European part of it is targeted against a potential threat from Iran.

NATO fend us off with vague statements that this is no threat to Russia… That the whole project began as a preventive measure against Iran’s nuclear program. Where is that program now? It doesn’t exist,” said Putin, referring to the nuclear treaty that was concluded between the world’s major powers and Tehran last year. “We have been saying since the early 2000s that we will have to react somehow to your moves to undermine international security. No one is listening to us.”

Obama Caves-In To Erdogan’s Whining—SOF In Syria To Remove Kurdish Patches

US troops fighting ISIS to remove ‘inappropriate’ Kurdish patches after Turkish complaint



Photos of US special forces wearing the insignia of the Kurdish YPG militia while fighting ISIS in northern Syria have put the US in hot water with Turkey. The Pentagon denies American troops are engaged in combat, and has told them to lose the patches.

“Wearing those YPG patches was unauthorized and inappropriate, and corrective action has been taken,” spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve in Baghdad, Colonel Steve Warren, told the Pentagon press corps on Friday. “We have communicated as much to our military partners and military allies in the region.”

Photos of US soldiers wearing Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) insignia were taken on Wednesday by AFP journalist Delil Souleiman in the northern Syrian village of Fatisah. The area is roughly 30 miles (48 km) north of Raqqa, the “capital” of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).635998801306185650-ypg-patch

“It is not acceptable for US soldiers to wear YPG terrorist arm badges. This is double standards, two-faced,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday, in response to the photographs.

US Special Forces have a “long and proud history” of wearing such patches of their allies around the world, from Afghanistan to Latin America, in order to “connect with those they are training,” Warren explained, echoing Thursday’s comments by Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.  However, he explained that the practice has not been formally authorized by the military.

“There’s political sensitivities around the organization that patch represents,” Warren explained, adding that Turkey is an important NATO ally and that the Special Forces operatives needed to “understand the larger strategic context.”

“The patches were in fact not authorized. We’ve made the correction. Everybody’s moving on,” Warren said. He did not specify what manner of “corrective action” was involved.

There are about 300 US special operatives in Syria, according to the Pentagon. Most of them are embedded with the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) in the north, a group encompassing the YPG and a coalition of Arab tribal militias. Warren had previously stated that the US operatives were focused on providing advice and assistance “particularly to the Syrian Arab component of the forces.”

“We understand Turkey’s concerns, and we continue to discuss this and other concerns Turkey has regarding Daesh and issues in northern Syria,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Friday, using another name for IS.

While there may be disagreements among the US-led coalition as to how to proceed and who to cooperate with on the ground, the goal is “destroy and degrade Daesh and remove them from the battlefield,” Toner added.

“We’re working with Syrian Arabs, Syrian Turkmen, and other groups that are fighting Daesh,” Toner said, adding the US regards the YPG “as an effective partner” and will continue to work with them as part of the SDF.

When reporters asked why none of the US soldiers was photographed wearing an Arab patch, Warren tried to dodge the question.

“The internet is full of pictures, the majority of them either fake or wrong,” he said. “There’s been one situation where we have confirmed they were legitimate pictures of American service members in Syria. Only one. And that was yesterday. It was difficult to tell who they were with, exactly.”

To his knowledge, US special operatives were not in combat anywhere in Syria. He rejected as “completely inaccurate” the reports of operatives in Fatisah firing TOW missiles at IS positions, based on claims of Kurdish fighters.

“They’re deep behind enemy lines, aren’t they?” he added as a caveat. “We may not have perfect fidelity what happens every hour of every day out there, in the wilds of Syria.”

While the US Special Forces are required to stay in areas “where enemy contact is unlikely,” Warren pointed out that CPO Charles Keating IV, the Navy SEAL killed in northern Iraq in early May, was three miles behind the lines when his convoy was attacked by IS.