Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation, Norway is executing a drastic change in its military policy, towards a far more aggressive posture. A total of 330 US Marines have been stationed for a trial period from January at the Vaernes military base east of Trondheim. The deployment marks the first time since World War II that foreign troops have been allowed to station in Norway. Last year, the Norwegian Parliament approved a one-year trial period for the US military presence, including two six-month rotations. Now it is planned to double the Marines presence in the country from 330 to 650 soldiers. Norway and the United States are now discussing the usefulness of continuing this agreement beyond 2017. The airport in Nord-Trndelag can become a major military air base. The US Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway, already stores large amounts of military equipment in caves. The caves currently hold enough to equip a fighting force of 4,600 Marines. The US military plans to enlarge the stockpile allowing it to store enough weapons and equipment for a Marine Expeditionary Brigade (up to 16, 000 servicemen). Planners are completing an analysis of the current gear cache that should wrap up in the next 12 months. There are other plans to increase US military presence in the country. Last summer, a study group from the US Navy visited both Andya and Evenes airports in northern Norway to see if they could host American P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 19, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… In southeastern Syria, the region around al-Tanf has quickly become a focal point for the ongoing conflict in the region. Near to both the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, al-Tanf is currently the location of a contingent of US-led coalition forces, supposedly there for the purpose of providing training to ‘anti-ISIS’ militias, but also anti-Assad militias too – the fabled ‘moderate rebels’. Not surprisingly, the US-led coalition has unilaterally imposed a self-styled ‘deconfliction zone’ around their camp in al-Tanf and claim to be defending their position from ‘pro-Syrian forces’, otherwise known as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and allied militias. It has been reported by mainstream media outlets that coalition members represented at al-Tanf include not only the United States but also the British SAS, and also possibly Norway too. Although coalition forces are also present in other parts of Syria, including the area around Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold, the last few weeks have seen coalition forces striking Syrian military targets on at least three occasions near the coalition training camp close to al-Tanf – including incidents on May 18th, June 6th and June 8th. It is now being reported that the US is supplying ‘truck-mounted long range missiles’ to its forces near al-Tanf, in a move that risks immediate escalation in the already-tense situation, and despite diplomatic efforts by Russia to calm the situation. All this comes as the US and its Kurdish proxy militia, the SDF, mount there attack on the ISIS stronghold Raqqa in Northeast Syria. The US have also seized the opportunity to invade more Syrian territory after an alleged sarin gas attack on April 4th that prompted President Trump to launch a missile strike on a Syrian airbase in retaliation. In the following segment film two weeks ago, 21WIRE editor Patrick Henningsen speaks to RT International about the recent US strike on Syrian forces near Al Tanf. Henningsen explains how the US are taking advantage of the tension to secure its own territory inside of Syria:
Kripos, Norway’s National Criminal Investigation Service, is reportedly examining the legal aspects of how police accounts could be given access to areas of Facebook that are not open to the public. It would mean police gaining access to closed groups and interacting with members as they search for evidence of criminal activity, the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv reported. ‘We have looked into the possibility of creating ‘uniformed accounts’. But we have not decided whether it is something we should do,’ communications officer Axel Wilhelm Due told Dagens Nringsliv, via the Local. As The Telegraph reports, police in Norway and elsewhere have previously used fake Facebook profiles to investigate crimes including smuggling alcohol and tobacco. Facebook has not given police profiles with enhanced access to private groups but they can apply for access to them in connection with criminal cases, Dagens Nringsliv reported.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 30, 2017.
On the eve of a summit in Beijing, and just hours after Pyongyang’s chief nuclear negotiator said North Korea is ready to hold talks with the United States “if the conditions are mature”, South Korea’s Yonhap reports that North Korea has fired a projectile believed to be a ballistic missile, from a region named Kusong located northwest of Pyongyang, where the North previously test-launched its intermediate-range missile. The nature of the projectile was not immediately clear, a South Korean military official told Reuters. The ballistic missile firing is North Korea’s seventh this year. The launch comes just hours after The South China Morning Post reports Choe Son-hui, head of the North Korea’s Foreign Ministry’s North America bureau, offered the assurance in the Chinese capital after an informal meeting in Norway with Thomas Pickering, a former US ambassador to the United Nations. “If conditions are mature, we will hold dialogue with the Donald Trump administration,” she said. Choe made the remarks just days after Trump said he would be willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “under the right circumstances”. But the comments also came as the US embassy in Beijing told China’s foreign ministry that North Korea’s attendance at the top-level gathering for the “Belt and Road Initiative” could send the wrong message as the world was trying to pressure Pyongyang over its repeated missile and nuclear tests. The foreign ministry said Beijing welcomed the participation of all countries in the summit.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 13, 2017.
The US House of Representatives voted to day to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. Unfortunately, those who use the phrase “repeal and replace” are greatly exaggerating the extent to which the Affordable Care Act is actually repealed. While perhaps a tiny step in the right direction, the new legislation signals no departure whatsoever from the long-established trend of expanding the role of government programs in subsidizing the regulating the health care industry. Perhaps worst of all, since this is being called a “repeal,” many may be prompted to think that the US health care system is a “free market” system, or that government spending has only a very small role in the industry. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the US is fourth in the world in terms of per capita government spending on health care, behind only Norway, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. That’s government spending, not overall spending: In fact, those numbers from the World Health Organization (WHO) are from 2014, and with the expansion in Medicaid spending under Obamacare, it’s entirely plausible that the US has moved into third place in the past two years.
Norway seems to be making the same poorly thought-out choices as Britain. It has apparently not occurred to these authorities that encouraging Muslims in prison to study the Quran and hadiths, with their exhortations to jihad against the “infidels”, may in itself serve to radicalize the inmates. The Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) just published in February its yearly threat assessment. It concluded — as did its threat assessment for 2016 — that Norway might experience an Islamic terrorist attack from Islamic State (ISIS) sympathizers acting upon ISIS’s call to carry out independent attacks. The PST explains: “These calls to action are one reason why we have seen an increase over the last few years in the number of lone terrorist attacks in the West. The likeliest scenario for a terrorist attack in a Western country is an ISIL-/AQ-inspired attack carried out with a simple weapon against a target with little or no protection”. “Lone wolf” attacks are rightly described as an actual terrorist strategy, rather than what the media likes to describe as random “mental illness”. In addition, this threat assessment now fits all of Europe. The PST goes on to warn:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 16, 2017.
Russia has warned Norway over consequences of joining NATO ballistic missile defense (BMD) plans. According to Russian ambassador to Oslo, Moscow will retaliate. Norway’s possible accession to NATO’s missile shield will be a new factor that will be considered in our strategic planning as the emergence of an additional problem in the Arctic region, Teimuraz Ramishvili told the Norwegian state media network NRK. In 2017, Norway may become a part of BMD. The Norwegian government has appointed an expert group to consider a possible Norwegian contribution to the missile shield. A detailed report on the issue is currently being prepared by experts from the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment and the US Missile Defense Agency to be submitted the year. Norway has no interceptors on its soil but there are other ways to contribute into the anti-missile plans. Denmark does not host missiles but it committed itself to the bloc’s BMD in 2014, working to equip its frigates with advanced radar systems capable of detecting and tracking ballistic missiles. The missile defense program continues to be implemented despite the fact that after the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015, there is no rationale for it.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 24, 2017.
Record-priced salmon has helped Norway counter plummeting incomes from oil. During 2016, the average price of wild salmon jumped 40 percent compared to the year before, writes Dagens Industri. The price of a 4,5 kilo salmon has now surpassed the price of a barrel of Brent crude. Norway is by far the world’s largest producer of salmon, with some 50 percent of the market. Last year, it exported almost a million tons of the fish that makes up sushi dinners all over the world, which amounted to a value of 61,4 billion NOK (US$7,5 billion). In spite of fantastic demand, Norway’s fish producers may have a tough time to increase their supply, which may cause further price increases. ‘The thing with salmon is that it takes about three years from when you decide to increase production until the fish reaches the market. So there are relatively long lead times,’ Kolbjrn Giskedegaard, fish analyst at p Nordea, told Dagens Industri
Quebec, like the entire West, is facing an existential demographic and religious crisis. Quebec’s death spiral is explicitly linked with the calls for increased immigration. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who put an end to the military campaign against the Islamic State, just called on Muslim migrants to come to his country. Resistance to Quebec’s dramatic collapse of Christianity does not necessarily require a new embrace of an old Catholicism, but it certainly does need a sane rediscovery of what a Western democracy should be. That includes an appreciation of Western identity and Judeo-Christian values — everything Trudeau’s government and much of Europe apparently refuse to accept. Welcome to Quebec, with its flavor of an old French province, with its beautiful landscapes, where streets are named after Catholic saints, and where a gunman just murdered six people in a local mosque. Violence can be the consequence of societal convulsions, as in the 2011 massacre on Norway’s island of Utoya, in a country that prided itself of being ultra-secularized, and part of the global “good society”. Quebec, also, like the entire West, is facing an existential demographic and religious crisis. George Weigel, writing in the American publication, First Things recently called Quebec “Catholicism’s Empty Quarter”. “There is no more religiously arid place,” he wrote, “between the North Pole and Tierra del Fuego; there may be no more religiously arid place on the planet”. Sandro Magister, one of Italy’s most prominent journalists on Catholic affairs, wrote, “while Rome talks, Quebec has already been lost”. Quebec’s Catholic buildings are empty; the clergy is aging. Today, inside the Church of Saint-Jude in Montreal, personal fitness trainers take the place of Catholic priests. The Thatre Paradoxe in Montreal now sits where the church of Notre-Dame-du-Perptuel-Secours was before it shut. The former Christian nave is now used for concerts and conferences, while Christian hymns on Sundays are replaced by disco shows.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 6, 2017.
In what will likely be interpreted as the latest “test” by the Kremlin to gauge western military preparedness, Reuters reports that Russia has quietly unleashed the biggest military build up targeting the Arctic since the fall of the Soviet Union. “It is part of a push to firm Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States, and Norway as well as newcomer China.” It is also part of the ongoing scramble for resources above the commodity rich arctic circle. As Reuters notes, under Putin, Moscow is scrambling to re-open abandoned Soviet military, air and radar bases on remote Arctic islands and to build new ones, as it pushes ahead with a claim to almost half a million square miles of the Arctic. It regularly releases pictures of its troops training in white fatigues, wielding assault rifles as they zip along on sleighs pulled by reindeer. “History is repeating itself,” Vladimir Blinov, a guide on board the icebreaker Lenin, which is named after communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, told a recent tour group. “Back then (in the 1950s) it was the height of the Cold War and the United States was leading in some areas. But we beat the Americans and built the world’s first nuclear ship (the Lenin). The situation today is similar.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 30, 2017.
Just one week after thousands of US troops arrived in Poland to “support NATO’s Anti-Russian buildup” across Eastern Europe, 300 U. S. Marines from Camp Lejeune landed in Norway on Monday for a six-month deployment, marking the first time since World War II that foreign troops have been allowed to be stationed there, in a deployment breaking with decades of tradition by Norway not to host foreign forces, and angering Norway’s Arctic neighbor Russia, according to Reuters. After leaving North Carolina aboard a chartered 747 on Sunday evening, the troops landed at 10am CET on Monday with their luggage and weapons at the Vaernes airport near Trondheim, Norway’s third-largest city, television footage showed. The Marines will be hosted at the Vaernes base of the Norwegian Home Guards near Trondheim, Norway’s third-largest city. The US soldiers, which will stay in Norway for a year with the current batch of Marines being replaced after their six-month tour is complete. Until now, the US has had large quantities of military materiel pre-positioned in tunnels dug into Norway’s mountains, but no troops.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 16, 2017.
For months we’ve been told that the Clinton Foundation, and it’s various subsidiaries, were simple, innocent “charitable” organizations, despite the mountain of WikiLeaks evidence suggesting rampant pay-to-play scandals surrounding a uraniumdeal with Russia and earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti, among others. Well, if that is, in fact, true perhaps the Clintons could explain why wealthy foreign governments, like Australia and Norway, are suddenly slashing their contributions just as Hillary’s schedule has been freed up to focus exclusively on her charity work. Surely, these foreign governments weren’t just contributing to the Clinton Foundation in hopes of currying favor with the future President of the United States, were they? Can’t be, only an useless, “alt-right,” Putin-progranda-pushing, fake news source could possibly draw such a conclusion. Alas, no matter the cause, according to news.com.au, the fact is that after contributing $88mm to the Clinton Foundation, and its various affiliates, over the past 10 years the country of Australia has decided to cease future donations to the foundation just weeks after Hillary’s stunning loss on November 4th. And just like that, 2 out of the 3 largest foreign contributors to the Clinton Foundation are gone with Saudia Arabia being the last remaining $10-$25mm donor that hasn’t explicitly cut ties or massively scaled by contributions.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 25, 2016.
For months we’ve been told that the Clinton Foundation, and it’s various subsidiaries, were simple, innocent “charitable” organizations, despite the mountain of WikiLeaks evidence to the contrary. Well, if that is, in fact, true perhaps the Clintons could explain why wealthy foreign governments, like Norway, are suddenly slashing their contributions now that Hillary’s political clout has been erased? As the Norwegian newspaper Hegnar points out, Norway is expected to slash their contributions to the Clinton Foundation by 87% now that Hillary has lost the presidency. After contributing roughly $5mm per year to the Clinton Foundation between 2007 – 2013, the Norwegian government decided to boost their donations to ~$15mm and ~$21mm in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Ironically, that boost in contributions corresponded with Hillary’s decision to run for President in 2016…but we’re sure it’s just a coincidence. That said, it is fairly interesting that, since Hillary’s loss, Norway has decided to scale back their contributions by 87% in 2017…hmmm. After a record contribution from Norway to the disputed Clinton Foundation before the election year, is the contribution now in freefall. Financial newspaper can tell that next year’s contribution is down 83 percent from the peak year of 2015.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 20, 2016.
As of this writing, the increased U. S. troop presence in Eastern Europe includes a battalion-sized element of American troops being emplaced in the Suwalki Gap, Polish territory that borders Lithuania in a 60-mile stretch of corridor. The Russian Defense Ministry announced that 600 Russian and Belarussian airborne troops conducted training exercises in Brest, on the Belorussian-Polish border only a few miles from where the U. S. forces are deploying in Poland. This on the heels of Britain deploying 800 men, tanks, and jets to Estonia, along with pledges of Challenger 2 tanks, APC’s (Armored Personnel Carriers), and drones. Two companies of French and Danish Soldiers will join the British in the deployment to Estonia. For the first time since 1945, Norway has violated its treaty with Russia (then the Soviet Union) not to station foreign troops on its soil. A company of U. S. Marines will soon be stationed for a 6-month deployment in Norway. The situation is heating up in Ukraine, according to a report on fort-russ.com entitled Ukraine Moves Massive Force up to Lugansk Frontline, published October 28, 2016. The report reveals the Ukrainian Army is deploying 3,500 soldiers and 200 armored vehicles of the 15th Motorized Infantry Brigade to Krasny Oktyabr in the district of Lugansk in Eastern Ukraine. For the first time in history, Romanian airspace is being patrolled by the RAF (Royal Air Force) of Britain. In addition, the Ukrainian National Guard is deploying a tactical company equipped with 82 mm mortars and AGS-17 auto grenade launchers, along with APC’s and missile launchers. A separate reconnaissance battalion named the ‘Night Shades,’ a nationalist volunteer battalion will be deploying to Lugansk as well. No doubt they will receive a ‘warm’ reception, as the fighting has been ongoing in the region for more than two years. The area is a severe flashpoint, as the separatists are ethnic Russians of Ukrainian nationality who wish to secede in the manner that Crimea did… Russia annexed them after the popular vote to leave Ukraine. Now (since December 2015) the Congress gave the green light to send weapons and munitions to Ukraine; the ‘holdup’ is due to Obama not wanting to jeopardize the election of Hillary Clinton, as the Russians have stated weapons to Ukraine means war with the U. S. and NATO.
This post was published at shtfplan on November 2nd, 2016.
October 2016 – NORWAY – Russia expressed surprise Friday about the mooted deployment of U. S. troops in neighboring Norway. ‘Taking into account multiple statements made by Norwegian officials about the absence of threat from Russia to Norway, we would like to understand why Norway is so much willing to increase its military potential, in particular through the stationing of American forces in Vaernes,’ Maxime Gourov, the spokesman at the Russian embassy in Oslo said in an email sent to AFP. Vaernes lies about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from the Russian-Norwegian frontier. On October 10, the Norwegian defense ministry said its military and that of the United States were holding preliminary discussions about the possibility of such a deployment and about ‘additional training and storage. It may be something that is carried out on a rotational basis… (but) there is no question of permanent deployment,’ a ministry spokesman, Ann Kristin Salbuvik, told AFP. The tentative discussions take place against a backdrop of increasing tensions between Russia and the West, notably over Ukraine and the conflict in Syria.
Just moments ago we reported that in the latest escalation involving Syria, the Russian aircraft carrier Kuznetsov was now sailing past Norway on its way to Syria, where it is expected to arrive in just under 2 weeks. As part of the carrier naval group, Russia also deployed an escort of seven other Russian ships, which we dubbed the “most powerful Russian naval task force to sail in northern Europe since 2014” according to Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reports. It turns out it was more than this and as Reuters reported second ago, citing a NATO diplomat, Russia is in fact deploying the largest naval force since end of Cold War to reinforce its Syria campaign.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2016.
Just as the Obama administration announced plans to provoke a cyber war with Russia over their alleged ties to the hack of Hillary’s emails, Europe is launching the biggest “cyber wargame” in history to prepare for emergency responses to power cuts, banking outages etc. According to a press release posted by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), the war games will include various scenarios including power outages and attacks on various national and governmental agencies. Today marks the climax of this realistic scenario which thousands of experts from all 28 EU Member States, Switzerland and Norway are facing in Cyber Europe 2016 – a flagship activity organised every two years by ENISA, the EU Agency for Network and Information Security. Cyber Europe 2016 (CE2016) is the largest and most comprehensive EU cyber-security exercise to date. This large-scale distributed technical and operational exercise started in April 2016, offering the opportunity for cybersecurity professionals across Europe to analyse complex, innovative and realistic cybersecurity incidents. On 13th and 14th of October ICT and IT security industry experts from more than 300 organisations, including but not limited to: national and governmental cybersecurity agencies, ministries, EU institutions as well as internet and cloud service providers and cybersecurity software and service providers will be called upon to mitigate the apex of this six-month long cyber crisis, to ensure business continuity and, ultimately, to safeguard the European Digital Single Market.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2016.
In accordance with previous expressions of intent, the Swedish and Norwegian governments have sold a total of 23 million of their shares in SAS. Following the news, the stock has fallen almost 7% on Thursday. They originally planned to sell only 19 million, but increased the amount in response to investor interest, The Wall Street Journal reports. The shares correspond to a 6.9% stake in the company. After the sale the Swedish and Norwegian governments still own 17.1% and 11.5% of SAS respectively. With the Danish government’s stake of 14.2% that means SAS is now only 42.8% state-owned. ‘There are no good reasons why the state should own an airline,’ Monica Maeland, Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry, explained, WSJ reports. According to Maeland, SAS will benefit from increased private ownership, and Mikael Damberg, the Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Innovation, agrees. Mikael Damberg also expressed that both the Swedish and Norwegian governments can be expected to further reduce their stakes in the future.