General Philip “Strangelove” Blasts EU Peace Overtures As “completely unacceptable”

NATO top commander in Europe says ‘military option’ possible in Ukraine

U.S. General Philip Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)
U.S. General Philip Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)

NATO’s commander in chief says the West should not rule out arming Ukraine. General Philip Breedlove said no troops would be sent to the region, but providing Kiev with weapons and equipment was on the cards.

Speaking to reporters at a security conference in Munich on Saturday, Breedlove said: “I don’t think we should preclude out of hand the possibility of the military option.”

His strong comments come as the US is considering sending weapons to help Kiev in its fight against anti-government militias.

The chief commander of NATO said the proposal made by Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine was “completely unacceptable,” and added “there is no conversation about putting boots on the ground.”

The head of the Russian Duma committee on CIS affairs and Eurasian integration, Leonid Slutsky, slammed Breedlove’s comments as“absolutely cynical.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry in Munich and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, while US Vice-President Joe Biden is also due to give a speech.READ MORE: 30,000 troops, 6 rapid units: NATO increases military power in Eastern Europe

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has already said the organization’s Response Force in Europe may increase to 30,000 troops – more than double the current 13,000 – with the majority to be posted near Russia’s borders.

However, there are reports that NATO and the US have been arming the Kiev forces. Russia’s ambassador to the organization, Aleksandr Grushko, says “there is a bulk of evidence that Western-made arms are being used in Ukraine,” mentioning lethal munitions such as NATO standard artillery shells. He has asked the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to investigate the claims.

READ MORE: US mulls providing Kiev forces with ‘defensive’ weapons – report

Moscow has urged Washington not to send weapons to Ukraine, which could include military hardware currently being pulled out of Afghanistan. The White House admitted on February 5 that arming Kiev could increase bloodshed in the region.

“They are telling us in NATO they aren’t supplying anything, that lethal weapons are not supplied [to Ukraine] … that NATO has no [standard] arms and all weapons are national and there are no NATO systems as such. In reality, this is not true,” Grushko said.

READ MORE: Kerry in Kiev: Shifting blame from Poroshenko govt as US mulls arms for Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has asked the West to provide his country with weapons on numerous occasions. US President Barack Obama is expected to make his decision on the possibility of sending lethal aid to Ukraine next week, Secretary of State John Kerry announced during a visit to Kiev.

The secretary of state says Obama’s choice will be based on his [Kerry’s] comments and recommendations following his visit to the country, and will also take into account Angela Merkel’s visit to Ukraine.

The question of supplying Kiev with weapons seems to have split the EU-US alliance. France, Germany and Britain amongst others have already ruled out sending lethal aid to Ukraine, but the Baltic States and Poland are keen on the idea.

“More weapons in this area will not bring us closer to a solution, and will not end the suffering of the population,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels.

READ MORE: Putin meets Merkel, Hollande behind closed doors in Moscow

“ISIS” Fighters In Standard Issue “Desert Storm” Boots and Fatigues


EU Follows Obama’s Lead Voting To Open the Armories of Europe for Ukraine

[SEE:  Obama’s Russian War Resolution Passes By 411 to 23]

Russia accuses European parliament of gunning for war

kyiv post

President Petro Poroshenko gives a speech as he hands over new military equipment to the Ukrainian forces near the city of Zhytomyr, some 140 km from Kiev, on January 5, 2015.

Russian officials have accused the European Union of “militancy” in a bitter response to the Jan. 15 European parliament resolution giving member states carte blanche to supply arms to Ukraine.

The head of the Russian Federation Council committee on international affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, denounced the resolution as “especially militant.”

“The European parliamentarians discourage those who are trying to look for dialogue with Russia, not confrontation,” he said.

The European parliament condemned Russia’s “aggressive and expansionist policy, which constitutes a threat to the unity and independence of Ukraine and poses a potential threat to the EU itself.”

In its resolution, parliament urged the European Council to keep in place tough sanctions against Russia and even proposed broadening them into the nuclear and international financial sectors if Putin’s government continues to destabilize Ukraine.

The resolution went on to state that “there are now no objections or legal restrictions to prevent Member States from providing defensive arms to Ukraine” and that “the EU should explore ways to support the Ukrainian government in enhancing its defence capabilities and the protection of Ukraine’s external borders.”

Aleksey Pushkov, the head of the foreign affairs Committee of the Russian Duma, called the resolution “banal and dangerous.”

“By calling to maintain and even enhance sanctions against Russia the European Parliament is supporting tension in Europe,” Pushkov added.

The European Parliament resolved to support the EU’s existing policy of refusing to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and welcomed recently adopted additional sanctions on investment, services and trade relating to Crimea and Sevastopol.

It also highlighted Russia’s “information war” in Europe and called on the EU officials to develop a plan to counter Russian propaganda with their own Russian language programming.

Yet Ukraine was also disappointed with the resolution, which fell short of describing the Russian-backed separatists as terrorists.

President Petro Poroshenko had claimed on Jan. 13 that the European Parliament was preparing to call on the leaders of European Union to place the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic on their list of terrorist organizations.

But European MPs instead condemned “acts of terrorism and criminal behavior of the separatists and other irregular forces in eastern Ukraine,” adding that “according to credible sources, Russia continues to support the separatist militias through a steady flow of military equipment, mercenaries and regular Russian units, including main battle tanks, sophisticated anti-aircraft systems and artillery.”

The Russian war — using proxies and, when needed, Russian regular army troops — in eastern Ukraine has already taken more than 4,700 lives, according to United Nations estimates. On Dec. 18, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law allowing for economic and military support to Ukraine, but the current American policy remains not to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons.

Kyiv Post staff writer Oksana Grytsenko can be reached at

The Brilliant Pentagon Plan To Ignite Holy War In the Middle East and the Unacceptable Price That Civilians Must Pay

[SEE:  America’s “Islamists” Go Where Oilmen Fear to Tread ;  f the Script Calls for Credible “Bad Guys,” Then Invent Some! ]

New Excuse for Greater CIA Involvement in Iraq

Lobe Log


by Wayne White

With a long history of misguided, damaging American intervention and meddling in the Middle East, the reported CIA effort to target the al-Nusra Front in Syria by helping Iraqi anti-terrorism units to attack its roots in Iraq seems to be the former and possibly destined to be the latter.

The Sunni Arab politics of Iraq, already complicated by the 2003 American invasion, have been further harmed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s unremitting hostility toward Iraq’s Sunni Arab community. He and his Shi’a cronies bitterly opposed the American deal with Sunni Arab insurgents back in late 2006 through 2008, and attempted to undermine the arrangement while US-Sunni Arab Awakening efforts to take down much of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) were in progress.

In the years since, Maliki has been rather consistent in his exclusion of the bulk of Iraq’s Sunni Arabs from the Baghdad political mainstream. He has driven away many of those who have sought or secured office using the machinery of so-called “de-Ba’thification” and has even purged, assassinated or arrested large numbers of former Awakening cadres as well as various other key Sunni Arabs, often on trumped up charges of terrorism (or no formal charges at all — frequently employing his own extrajudicial security forces or Iraq’s mainly Shi’a Anti-Terrorism Service, which answers directly to him).

In this context, it is hardly surprising that a robust measure of Sunni Arab extremism flourishes in Iraq (apparently more now than back in 2008 when most Sunni Arabs were, by contrast, relatively more war-weary and eager for some sort of enduring engagement with the government in Baghdad). Resentment over Maliki’s disinterest in anything that would re-integrate Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority into much of the country’s core activities has done a lot to sustain a drumfire of AQI bombings inside Iraq and, since late 2011, sent gaggles of Islamic fighters from Iraq’s Sunni Arab northwest into the raging battle for Syria.

Al-Nusra probably is to a large extent an arm of AQI, as the US alleges, but also could be the recipient of many Iraqi fighters simply enraged over the plight of Sunni Arabs in their own country more generally. Additionally, there are quite a few historic tribal and family connections that extend far beyond the Syrian-Iraqi border, making events in Syria that much more palpably personal for quite a few Sunni Arabs inside Iraq.

So al-Nusra most likely is more than an organization; a phenomenon welling up from the profound resentment among many Sunni Arabs toward hostile political orders in both countries. If so, that’s not something that can be surgically extracted. Unfortunately, there always is the possibility that somewhere down the road a frustrated Washington (after Baghdad inevitably fails to address al-Nusra, just as it has been unable to deal a crippling blow to AQI) might think drones offer such a capability. If, however, they ever were employed over Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, the anger currently aimed primarily at the Maliki government and the Assad regime would become far more focused on the US.

Al-Nusra clearly is an unwelcome and dangerous player on the opposition side amidst the fighting in Syria. Yet, the sheer length, brutality, mass destruction, horrific casualties and more than a million refugees generated by the violence so far, predictably have rendered more extreme certain elements of the opposition. The seeming rise in regime-like rebel atrocities most likely is linked to some extent to the duration of the carnage.

The US already has become unpopular in broad Syrian opposition and popular circles for not providing desperately needed military assistance. At first, this frustration centered upon frantic requests for a US/NATO no fly zone over Syria. Since hope for that evaporated, attention shifted to arms and ammunition needed by rebels to take on regime-armored vehicles and air power. Some oppositionists in Syria may understand why the US remains wary of providing surface to air missiles that could very well fall into the hands of international terrorist groups, but anti-tank rockets are less of a concern in that respect. Yet, Washington decided not to send any arms whatsoever to opposition fighters — even vetted ones — late last summer and once again recently.

The US designation of al-Nusra as a terrorist group does not appear to have reduced that group’s high military profile as the tip of the opposition’s combat spear against the forces of the Assad regime. And involving the US in a campaign against al-Nusra’s support base in Iraq now could easily be perceived more broadly as being anti-Sunni Arab. After all, many of Iraq’s Sunni Arabs might ask pointedly why the US has chosen not to take a stronger stand against Maliki’s ongoing persecution of and human rights violations against Iraq’s Sunni Arab community — concerns that extend far beyond AQI and its supporters.

Iraq essentially remains in a state of sectarian conflict with Maliki playing the leading role as provocateur. The opposition effort to take down the Assad regime in Syria also has become, in large measure, a sectarian conflict.

By doing little to cross Maliki about his mistreatment of Sunni Arabs, going after al-Nusra in Iraq and providing meager support to the Syrian opposition, Washington potentially is setting itself up to be viewed — at least by Sunni Arab participants in these struggles — as anti-Sunni Arab across much of the greater Arab al-Jazira region as well as the northern Levant. The US faces enough grievances in the region as it is. Why add more to the list?

Japan probes alleged cover-up at nuclear plant

Japan probes alleged cover-up at nuclear plant

By David Guttenfelder, AP

Workers in protective suits wait to enter the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Okuma, Japan, on Nov. 12.


TOKYO (AP) – Japanese authorities are investigating subcontractors on suspicion that they forced workers at the tsunami-hit nuclear plant to underreport the amount of radiation they were exposed to so they could stay on the job longer.

Labor officials said Sunday that an investigation had begun over the weekend following media reports of a cover-up at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters.

A subcontractor of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, acknowledged having nine workers cover their dosimeters with lead plates late last year so the instrument would indicate a lower level of radiation exposure.

The investigation marks the first time the government has looked into the case, believed to be part of a widespread practice at the plant since it was hit by the worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl.

The government more than doubled the emergency radiation exposure limit soon after the accident, but lowered it back to the previous level in December. The law now sets the exposure limit at 50 millisieverts per year, or a five-year total of 100 millisieverts.

Dosimeter readings are crucial personal records that determine how much longer a worker can stay on a plant job. Work at highly contaminated areas could quickly eat up a worker’s quota.

The issue reflects a growing concern among the government and TEPCO about how to secure a continuous flow of workers to finish cleaning up the plant. Officials say it will take about 40 years to decommission the plant’s four wrecked reactors — three with melted cores and another with a spent fuel pool in a shattered building.

Labor officials made onsite inspections at the Fukushima plant to examine dosimeter readings of the workers and other records, said Yasuhiro Kishi, an official at the Fukushima Labor Bureau.

Health and Labor Ministry officials repeatedly issued warnings to TEPCO during the first few months of the crisis about the company’s lax oversight of workers’ exposures. Officials have also said TEPCO had several workers share a dosimeter not just early in the crisis when the equipment was in short supply due to tsunami damage, but even after a full stock had been regained.

Takashi Wada, president of Fukushima-based subcontractor Build-Up, acknowledged this weekend that the dosimeter falsification had taken place. He said a supervisor of the group of nine workers came up with the idea when his dosimeter alarm went off during his short preview visit to the area where the workers were assigned.

“We should have never done that,” Wada told an interview with TBS network broadcast Saturday.

Fukushima Radioactive Seawater Passes Halfway Point To US West Coast (update: March 2012)

Radioactive Seawater Impact Map (update: March 2012)

ASR, a global coastal and marine consulting firm, is changing the way the world’s coasts and oceans are managed.


 ASR’s team includes experienced Ph.D. scientists, accomplished environmental business leaders, engineers, and dedicated research and programming staff. Our combination of scientific expertise, environmental stewardship, practical business experience, and technological knowledge allows us to provide proven and effective solutions for our clients’ complex challenges.

We use a Lagrangian particles dispersal method to track where free floating material (fish larvae, algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton…) present in the sea water near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station plant could have gone since the earthquake on March 11th. THIS IS NOT A REPRESENTATION OF THE RADIOACTIVE PLUME CONCENTRATION. Since we do not know exactly how much contaminated water and at what concentration was released into the ocean, it is impossible to estimate the extent and dilution of the plume. However, field monitoring by TEPCOshowed concentration of radioactive Iodine and Cesium higher than the legal limit during the next two months following the event (with a peak at more than 100 Bq/cm3 early April 2011 for I-131 as shown by the following picture).Source: TEPCO

Assuming that a part of the passive biomass could have been contaminated in the area, we are trying to track where the radionuclides are spreading as it will eventually climb up the food chain. The computer simulation presented here is obtained by continuously releasing particles at the site during the 2 months folllowing the earthquake and then by tracing the path of these particles. The dispersal model is ASR’s Pol3DD. The model is forced by hydrodynamic data from theHYCOM/NCODA system which provides on a weekly basis, daily oceanic current in the world ocean. The resolution in this part of the Pacific Ocean is around 8km x 8km cells. We are treating only the sea surface currents. The dispersal model keeps a trace of their visits in the model cells. The results here are expressed in number of visit per surface area of material which has been in contact at least once with the highly concentrated radioactive water.

Court rejects plea to make public SIT report on Gujarat riots

[SEE:  31 Convicted In Gujarat Riots Case for Burning 33 Muslims Alive ; Gujarat riots: Indian SC orders inquiry against Modi]

Court rejects plea to make public SIT report on Gujarat riots


Zakia Jafri, wife of 2002 post-Godhra riots victim Ehsaan Jafri during her visit to her old house at Gulbarg Society, on the tenth anniversary of the carnage in Ahmedabad.

PTIZakia Jafri, wife of 2002 post-Godhra riots victim Ehsaan Jafri during her visit to her old house at Gulbarg Society, on the tenth anniversary of the carnage in Ahmedabad.

A local court on Saturday rejected a plea by the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, killed in the 2002 Gujarat riots, for making public the SIT report on the riots.

Metropolitan magistrate M.M. Bhatt, while rejecting the plea, said the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is yet to submit material related to the report.

As per the Supreme Court order after SIT submits its full report on the complaint of Zakia Jafri, conclusion was to be drawn by the metropolitan court.

Now that the investigation team has not yet submitted the full report, no conclusion can be drawn at this stage. Hence no action is required on the report now, the court said.

The court had earlier directed the SIT to submit its full report by March 15.

The court, in a September 2011 order, had directed the SIT to file its final report before the magistrate court and had said that if the magistrate decides to close the case he has to provide the full SIT report to the complainant and hear her, before closing it.

Last month, the SIT had submitted its final report in a sealed cover on a complaint by Ms. Jafri demanding that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other top politicians, police officers and bureaucrats should be made accused for the 2002 riots cases.

Earlier, SIT consul R.S. Jamaur had opposed Ms. Jafri’s plea saying that they have not submitted a complete report in the court yet.

He had argued that the court would first go through the report and decide as to what to do with it.

However, during arguments in previous hearing of the case on February 29, Ms. JAfri’s lawyers had argued that the SIT has no locus standi to oppose the opening of the report in the court.

They had contended that the report once submitted in the court becomes a public document and anybody can access it.

Hence, they being a complainant cannot be denied access to it.

Her lawyers had also stated in the last hearing that since this is a final report submitted by the SIT after completing the investigations, it is only the court which can decide on the issues related to the report.