The Russian Northern Fleet’s Project 955 underwater missile cruiser, aka submarine, Yuri Dolgoruky has successfully test-fired a Bulava missile from the Barents Sea and hit all the designated targets at the Kura practice range in Kamchatka, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Monday according to Russia’s TASS news agency. “The Project 955 Borey-class underwater missile cruiser Yuri Dolgoruky has made a successful launch of a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile from the designated area of the Barents Sea towards the Kura practice range in Kamchatka. The launch was made from the submerged position in compliance with a combat training plan,” the Defense Ministry said. It is unclear if the Russian launch was in response to any recent US or NATO drills: at the end of May, the Pentagon conducted its first successful test interception of a simulated ICBM attack, modeling a possible escalation in hostilities with North Korea.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… ‘There is one curious thing…the Presidents of your country [US] change…but the policy…doesnt change, on matters of principle.’ ~ President Putin NATO’s justification lies in its ability to find or create an enemy, Putin told legendary film maker, Oliver Stone. No other ‘enemy’ has served NATO and the military industrial complex as well as Russia and the ‘Cold War’. The re-emergence of the cold war construct has reached almost unprecedented levels with western media & governments bearing down on historic prejudices with renewed vigour. The new ‘cold war’ is a chilling prospect for the world if it is allowed to mushroom into something more deadly.
Batchelor and Cohen take a reprieve (perhaps welcomed) from the Washington/Trump civil war and shift their attention to troop movements in the Baltic States (NATO) as Canada sends in a rotation contingent, a Ukraine that continues to fester quietly with Poroshenko’s visit to Washington, and more serious, the U.S. shooting down of the Su 22 Syrian jet and an Iranian drone in Syria. The overview is that under Trump, there is no change in the NATO stance in Europe, but vastly deteriorating conditions in Syria even as ISIS is clearly defeated there. The new problems evolving in Syria are about potential problems between the numerous allies on opposite sides that represent a poisonous mix of conflicting agendas over and above what is represented by ISIS. Both pundits are in agreement over this assessment. Cohen begins with his interpretation of the American shoot down of the Syrian jet and quite simply labels it as illegal and an act of war against a sovereign state. But he also notes that the Russians did something interesting. They did not react for two days and then on Monday came out with a statement that Russia would target (radar paint) any non-legitimate aircraft in the region, and should it prove hostile or in non-compliance to orders to leave it would be shot down. The ‘deconfliction’ agreement has therefore died. For Cohen this is yet another incidence of sabotage by the Pentagon/CIA to prevent Trump and Putin negotiating. Cohen assumes this is correct by ‘the pattern of events’ shown for decades between Russia and the USA during cold war events . For this writer we are very close to Russia declaring a ‘no fly zone’ in Syria, and it is very clear that some Americans were caught with surprise and fear at this reaction. The other pattern is that the Russian reaction to these transgressions has always been a degradation of cooperation in Syria. Whether Trump can function with this kind of interference by his opposition without that opposition starting a shooting war is a very real worry. More about this later. The discussion then shifts to Europe and the Ukrainian Crisis. Batchelor maintains that European leadership, the new leaders in the U.K. France, and Germany’s Merkel are two weak to carry on effectively with the Minsk2 Agreement. Enter US Sec. State Tillerson, who advocates dissolving the agreement and having the combatants negotiate a solution for themselves. Cohen then brings up the new American sanctions and discusses how destructively stupid they are. Three European foreign ministers have now threatened to put sanctions on the U.S. if these new U.S. sanctions were passed into law. This is an amazing development and shows the real direction of Europe and Russia – and Washington. Cohen elaborately details these political changes with European leaders.
Less than a month after German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that ‘Europe must take its fate into its own hands,’ Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble implored US President Donald Trump to reconsider his ‘America First’ policy, claiming that a pullback by the US would risk the destruction of ‘our liberal world order’ by ceding influence to the Chinese and the Russians. Trump’s hostility toward his European partners has strained relations between the US and its Continental allies. Since taking office, Trump has insulted fellow G-7 and NATO leaders, pulled out of the Paris Accord and attempted to ban travelers and refugees from six Muslim majority countries. Though Trump has treated at least one NATO leader with respect: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, whom he honored with a Rose Garden press conference.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 22, 2017.
Before the Grenfell Tower blaze had died down to a smouldering monument to the tragic death of possibly hundreds of, so far, unidentified victims, trapped in the molten edifice, Channel 4 produced a programme showcasing the Al Qaeda affiliated White Helmets, holding up banners in ‘solidarity’ with the London firefighters tackling the inferno of Grenfell Tower. With no regard for the ever-mounting evidence, exposing the White Helmets as Al Qaeda co-workers and enablers in Syria, Channel 4 once again promoted this group of NATO and Gulf state funded criminals, as heroes. The genuine firefighters in London should be insulted that their own valiant efforts are compared or conflated with a fraudulent group of terrorists and petty criminals who campaign for war to ensure further bloodshed in Syria. The White Helmet ‘team in Daraa’, being universally marketed by corporate media was filmed cheering and mopping up after an Islamic extremist execution in Daraa, on the 16th May 2017, so almost one month before the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
A day after a Russian fighter allegedly flew within 5 feet of a US reconnaissance plane traveling over the Baltic Sea, Reuters reports that a NATO F-16 fighter jet returned the favor when it tried to improperly approach a plane carrying the Russian defense minister. The plane was traveling to the city of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave along the Baltic coast, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday. The NATO aircraft was warded off by a Russian Su-27 jet, according to RT. In an accounting of the incident, Reuters notes that one of the Russian fighter jets escorting Shoigu’s plane had inserted itself between the defense minister’s plane and the NATO fighter and “tilted its wings from side to side to show the weapons it was carrying, Russian agencies said.” After that the F-16 promptly left the area.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 2017.
NATO officials are growing increasingly nervous about the possibility of an invasion of the Baltic states ahead of Russian wargames planned this fall on the border of Belarus and Poland that could involve as many as 100,000 troops. That “anxiety” was on display this week, when US and British troops carried out the first NATO military exercise that involved a simulated defense of the Suwalki Gap, an area in northern Poland on the border with Lithuania that serves as the gateway to the Baltic region. In other words, a drill against a Russian invasion of the Baltics states, and by extension, Europe. *** NATO officials described the area as a ‘choke point’ that, if it were taken by an invading force, could potentially isolate the Baltic states from their NATO allies, according to Reuters. “The gap is vulnerable because of the geography. It’s not inevitable that there’s going to be an attack, of course, but … if that was closed, then you have three allies that are north that are potentially isolated from the rest of the alliance”, said U. S. Lieutenant General Ben Hodges. “We have to practice, we have to demonstrate that we can support allies in keeping (the Gap) open, in maintaining that connection,” he said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 18, 2017.
Oliver Stone’s 4-hour ShowTime documentary interview with Vladimir Putin is probably the most important interview with Putin for Russian/American relations ever filmed. Both Batchelor and Cohen introduce this broadcast interview with Oliver Stone with a variation of this statement. Cohen adds that for the first time Americans can see Putin, the man, and judge for themselves whether he is the great danger described by the Washington establishment. We are also rewarded because the emphasis here is not about ‘what it felt like for Oliver to interview Putin’; we are treated instead to Mr. Stone’s analysis of character and how the interview revealed this Russian leader’s views about the world. The topics of the whole documentary cover two years of various crises and Russian responses to NATO expansion, the Ukrainian Coup repercussions and civil war, the Donald Cook event (when Stone watched Putin react in the War Room), the Syrian Civil War, the vilification of Putin process, and the growing belief in existence of the U.S. Deep State. Mr. Stone goes on to describe how American perceptions of their politics differ from those of the Russian public and why. Inevitably Russia Gate is also covered including the cyber warfare component. Mr. Stone is as mystified by the hysteria surrounding this so-called cyber warfare claim as Putin is. And Mr. Stone raises some serious questions about the Clinton accusations about being ‘hacked’ and all the intelligence agencies using this nonsense to attack Trump. He even uses the term ‘Manchurian Candidate’ in his discussion. It is very clear that everyone at the table has a firm grasp of these events and appreciate how unprecedented and damaging to America they are. Stephen Cohen also speculates about how well Trump can keep the U.S. out of crisis with Russia with the present impediments he is suffering under. And finally Mr. Stone brings up the cyber war aspect using the U.S. cyber attack on Iran in 2007, ’08 and ’09. He goes on to explain that there is a treaty/agreement pending between Russia and the US regarding cyber warfare, but it is presently held in limbo. Continuing on there is mention of the movie ‘Snowden’, directed by Mr. Stone – one of a long line of political docudramas that are important efforts to focus the American public on the rocky road of American politics. In the final segment Cohen wades in on some of the statements Putin made that he found interesting, and also commented about Putin’s demeanour in the documentary. Did, for example, Putin offer Russia up to join NATO? And Stephen also found it remarkable that Putin, except for one exceptional event, never showed resentment over the treatment of Washington and its MSM. The exceptional event, the Chechnya War, Batchelor made the point that this discussion resulted in a very important response from Putin. Even then, Mr. Stone commented, that it was unclear who was in charge, the CIA or president Bush. For Cohen the whole problem between Washington and Russia is summed up in that Washington ‘does not consider that Russia has a national interest’.
In an attempt to turn around the war the Secretary of Defense says America is losing, the Pentagon will deploy 4,000 soldiers to Afghanistan, a Trump administration official said Thursday. While the deployment isn’t yet official, Secretary of Defense James Mattis – who received new, unilateral authorities over troop deployments to the war-torn country on Tuesday – is expected to make an official announcement as early as next week. A spokesman for the Afghan defense ministry, Daulat Waziri, was hesitant to comment on any specifics of the deployment, but said the Afghan government supports the decision. ‘The United States knows we are in the fight against terrorism,’ Waziri said. ‘We want to finish this war in Afghanistan with the help of the NATO alliance.’
Abandoning statements made during his presidential campaign that NATO was ‘obsolete,’ President Trump on Friday came out in support of the NATO charter’s requirement that all members be prepared to defend each other. Trump said he supports Article 5 of the NATO charter at a joint news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. Article 5 is the section of the charter which obligates all NATO members to mutually defend any member that comes under attack. ‘As you know, I have been an advocate for strengthening our NATO alliance through greater responsibility and burden-sharing among member nations – and that is what is happening,’ Trump said at the press conference.
As “infrastructure week” draws to a close, President Donald Trump is preparing to meet with his Romanian counterpart, President Klaus Iohannis, in the Oval Office on Friday before the two hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden to talk security, defense spending and other economic concerns. The press conference is set to begin at 2:45 ET. Romania, which joined NATO in 2004, increased its defense budget to equal 2% of its GDP this year – one of only 5 NATO members to hit that target. Trump, who has waffled back and forth on whether he considers the alliance ‘obsolete,’ said last month during a meeting of NATO leaders at the defense alliance’s new headquarters in Brussels that its members owe the US a lot of money for paying for their defense. The visit by Iohannis is meant to underscore the defense and military ties between the two countries. Romania is host to an $800 million ballistic missile shield built by the US that was ‘switched on’ last month. US officials say the shield is meant to counter the threat from Iran.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 9, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump could not possibly have predicted the game-changing after-effects of his triumphal sword dance in Riyadh. Or could he? The fact is the House of Saud went amok, in a flash, going after Qatar and bombing from the inside that glorious Arab NATO project – call it NATO/GCC – sworn with pomp over a glowing orb. An excited Trump tweeted three times his approval for Riyadh going after Doha. Trump and NATO/GCC had equaled Daesh and Iran as ‘terrorists’. The House of Saud went one up – and denounced Qatar for top terror financing, which equals Don Corleone hurling Mafioso accusations against Tony Soprano. But then, in an unexpected plot twist, Daesh, handily, graphically, underlined the cosmic stupidity of the whole charade – staging, or at least claiming to stage a terror attack against the Parliament and the Imam Khomeini shrine in Tehran.
As noted in the previous post, covering the topic of continued mis-pricing by equity markets of policy uncertainties, much of the decline in the Global Economic Policy Uncertainty Index has been accounted for by a drop in European countries’ EPUIs. Here are some details: In May 2017, EPU indices for France, Germany, Spain and the UK have dropped significantly, primarily on the news relating to French elections and the moderation in Brexit discussions (displaced, temporarily, by the domestic election). Further moderation was probably due to elevated level of news traffic relating to President Trump’s NATO visit. Italy’s index rose marginally. Overall, European Index was down at 161.6 at the end of May, showing a significant drop from April 252.9 reading and down on cycle high of 393.0 recorded in November 2016. The index is now well below longer-term cycle trend line (chart below).
Two days after Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel – standing next to his Turkish colleague Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara – said his “country has no choice but to begin the process of pulling its forces out of Turkey’s Incirlik air force base” as the Turkish government will not allow all German lawmakers to visit troops there, Germany followed through on its threat and on Wednesday, the German Cabinet backed the withdrawal of the country’s troops from Incirlik air base in Southern Turkey. *** The decision was announced on Wednesday by Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen after a lengthy and often bitter diplomatic impasse over the visits, raising friction between the NATO allies and according to some, putting the fate of the alliance in jeopardy. Germany now plans to redeploy the 280 military personnel stationed at Incirlik, along with surveillance planes and refueling jets to an air base in Jordan. However, it stressed it wants to minimize any disruption to the US-led coalition operation against ISIS. In light of the complete failure in diplomatic relations between the two member nations, that may be problematic.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 7, 2017.
Update: the bill has passed, Bloomberg reports: TURKEY APPROVES BILL ALLOWING TRAINING TO QATAR SECURITY FORCES * * * In the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Gulf/Arab peers, which is either the result of Saudi nat gas envy or – for those who watch CNN – Russian hacking, Turkey has emerged as a vocal supporter of the small but wealthy state. On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Erdogan defended Qatar, saying he personally would have intervened if accusations that the tiny Gulf emirate supports “terrorism” were true and said he intends to “develop” ties with the embattled Gulf state hit by sanctions from Saudi Arabia and its allies. “Let me say at the outset that we do not think the sanctions against Qatar are good,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.”Turkey will continue and will develop our ties with Qatar, as with all our friends who have supported us in the most difficult moments,” he added in reference to last year’s failed coup. The support puts Turkey in a complicated position because while the NATO member has close ties with Qatar it also has good relations with the other Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia. Turkey’s support for Qatar also has ideological reasons as in the past both both have provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and backed rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 7, 2017.
In the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Gulf/Arab peers, which is either the result of Saudi nat gas envy or – for those who watch CNN – Russian hacking, Turkey has emerged as a vocal supporter of the small but wealthy state. On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Erdogan defended Qatar, saying he personally would have intervened if accusations that the tiny Gulf emirate supports “terrorism” were true and said he intends to “develop” ties with the embattled Gulf state hit by sanctions from Saudi Arabia and its allies. “Let me say at the outset that we do not think the sanctions against Qatar are good,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.”Turkey will continue and will develop our ties with Qatar, as with all our friends who have supported us in the most difficult moments,” he added in reference to last year’s failed coup. The support puts Turkey in a complicated position because while the NATO member has close ties with Qatar it also has good relations with the other Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia. Turkey’s support for Qatar also has ideological reasons as in the past both both have provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and backed rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Erdogan was careful not to criticise Riyadh, calling on the member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council to “resolve their differences through dialogue”. “Efforts to isolate Qatar … will not solve any problem,” said Erdogan, praising Doha’s “cool-headedness” and “constructive approach”.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 7, 2017.
The following video was published by X22Report on Jun 5, 2017 Pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord was the right thing to do when you look at the actual data. CNN got caught filming fake protests, the staged the entire thing. Theresa May goes after the internet and want internet censorship after the London Bridge Attack. The war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with terrorists. NATO is splintering as countries battle with each other. After Trumps meeting in the middle east it looks like he pushed the deep state to the edge. They are now covering their tracks by using Qatar as a scapegoat. All other countries are pulling away and when it all comes down around them all Gulf states will point the finger at Qatar. The deep state is trying to guard what little they have in Syria. ISIS claims responsibility for the event in London.
Diplomatic relations between NATO members Germany and Turkey hit rock bottom on Monday when Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said his country has no choice but to begin the process of pulling its forces out of Turkey’s Incirlik air force base as the Turkish government will not allow all German lawmakers to visit troops there. “Turkey has made clear that, for domestic political reasons, it cannot approve visits of all lawmakers,” Gabriel told a news conference after meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara. The scandal erupted last Thursday, when Turkey’s foreign minister said it is not possible to allow German lawmakers to visit troops stationed at Turkey’s Incirlik air base now, although he said Ankara may reconsider if it sees “positive steps” from Berlin. It was not immediately clear just what Turkey’s “demands” or expectations, monetary or otherwise, were from Merkel for it to change its view. Ties between the NATO allies deteriorated sharply in the run-up to Turkey’s April 16 referendum that handed President Tayyip Erdogan stronger presidential powers. “We see that Germany supports everything that is against Turkey,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara last week. “Under these circumstances it is not possible for us to open Incirlik to German lawmakers right now … If they take positive steps in the future we can reconsider.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 5, 2017.
The military/security complex spent seven decades building its empire. The complex assassinated one American president (JFK) who threatened the empire and drove another (Richard Nixon) out of office. The complex does not tolerate the election of politicians in Europe who might not follow Washington’s line on foreign and economic policy. Suddenly, according to the Western and even Russian media, the complex is going to let one man, Trump, who does not rule America, and one woman, Merkel, who does not rule Germany, destroy its empire. According to the presstitutes, by pulling out of the Paris Accord (the global climate pact) and stating that NATO members should contribute more to the alliance’s budget for which the US taxpayer has an overweighted share, Trump has caused Merkel to conclude that Europe can no longer rely on Washington. The discord between Trump and Merkel and Washington’s resignation of its leadership position has destroyed the Western alliance and left the EU itself on the verge of being torn apart.
Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation, The recent NATO summit took a decision to formally become a member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS), in addition to its training mission in Iraq. Last year, NATO started a training and capacity-building mission for Iraqi armed forces. In January, it opened a regional center in Kuwait. NATO AWACS aircraft operate in Syria. But the participation in combat actions against the IS has so far been limited to a few aircraft taking part in the operations of the US-led coalition of the willing. Formally, each alliance member contributes to the coalition, but NATO as its own entity does not. Despite the coalition’s efforts, the IS had grown and expanded in Syria till Russia launched its military operation there in 2015. France and Germany have always had reservations about the prospect of joining the anti-IS coalition as an alliance, concerned that it would lead to NATO taking over the fight or overshadowing regional partners, such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Italy has been skeptical of the plan.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 2, 2017.