4 August 2011 — Stop NATO
- Bankrupt U.S. Buys $23 Billion Worth Of Global Hawk Drones
- KLA’s Thaci Inciting Warfare In Kosovo: Serbian Minister
- U.S./NATO-Backed Kosovo Speaks Of War With Serbia
- NATO Troops Torture, Kill Afghan Clergyman
- Three NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan
- U.S. Domestic Politicking Affects Afghan War, World Security
- NATO Fuel Trucks Destroyed In Balochistan
- Romania: Over 1,000 Troops In U.S. Marine-Led Amphibious Assault Exercise
- U.S. Army Secretary Inspects NATO Partnership Exercises In Ukraine
- Africa’s Stolen Land Lies In Western Hands
- U.S. Marines Build Asian NATO Interoperabiliy In Mongolian Military Drills
- Ex-Australian Military Commander Fears U.S. Cluster Bomb Stockpile
Bankrupt U.S. Buys $23 Billion Worth Of Global Hawk Drones
August 3, 2011
US buys most expensive drones ever
With $14 trillion in the hole and a slew of wars seemingly no one wants America to be in, what better way for the United States to spend their money by putting $23 billion into spy planes?
The US will drop billions on defense spending with the purchasing of 55 Global Hawk drone planes over the next few years. Each of the four dozen-plus spy crafts comes at a price tag of $218 million apiece — ten times the price of the largest armed attack drone.
Global Hawk drones are capable of flying twice as high as commercial aircraft and can spot insurgents up to 100 miles away. Once identified, the robotic crafts that are controlled from 24-hour command stations can then send images to intelligence centers or directly to troops.
The Global Hawk drones will replace the U-2 spy planes that the States currently deploys, which the US has relied on since the dawn of the Cold War. Sending unmanned aircrafts into warzones, while grossly expensive, comes as an attempt to limit fatalities by avoiding putting extra troops into danger. Though relying on on-board navigation, those U-2 flyers have proved effective over the last half-century, recently assisting in operations in Afghanistan
A team of 50 engineers will slave over the construction of the Global Hawk drones in a Palmdale, California warehouse.
The US Air Force will invest $12 billion towards the initiative, with the Navy offering almost as much to have their own versions of the Global Hawks.
And, in case you didn’t hear, lawmakers just spent months trying to figure out how to keep the country from defaulting. The town of Central Falls, Rhode Island (the entire town) is currently in bankruptcy court, and the most populous county in Alabama is expected to join them in the coming weeks.
KLA’s Thaci Inciting Warfare In Kosovo: Serbian Minister
Tanjug News Agency
August 3, 2011
Hashim Thaci incites to war, minister says
BELGRADE: Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanovi? accused Kosovo Albanian PM Hashim Thaci of inciting to war in Serbia’s southern province.
Bogdanovi? stressed that Serbia will not respond to provocations and that it will do everything in its might to resolve the situation in northern Kosovo and Metohija in a peaceful and diplomatic manner.
‘Thaci is sending warmongering messages, raising tension and inciting conflicts. His statement that he will not give up on north Kosovo and that no one will prevent him from doing so cannot be interpreted in any other manner but as warmongering,’ Bogdanovi? said in an interview for the Belgrade-based tabloid Press.
He underlined that Serbia will not go to war, and recalled that he and Head of Belgrade’s team in the talks with Priština Borko Stefanovi? told EU mediator Robert Cooper that ‘Serbia calls on the EU to help resolve the situation in north Kosovo in a peaceful manner’.
‘We asked from Cooper to talk Pristina into returning the situation at the administrative crossings the way it was prior to July 25, and we underlined that there will be no continuation of the dialogue under Thaci’s blackmail,’ Bogdanovi? said.
‘Cooper wanted us to resume negotiations with Priština on customs seals and trade. We told him that we cannot talk about this while tension is being raised in northern Kosovo, while threats were made, and the Serb people were at the barricades defending themselves. Cooper understood the gravity of the situation and gave up on the suggestion to negotiate about customs seals,’ said the minister.
Serbs will stay at the barricades until their requests are met, Bogdanovi? said.
When asked whether he is afraid of new violence, such as those at the Jarinje checkpoint, or conflicts of larger scale, Bogdanovi? said that such scenarios are not excluded in case of great tension like this.
However, he underlined that Serbs have to remain dignified, peaceful and united since this just might be the last moment to defend Kosovo.
A resolution of the north Kosovo crisis depends on Thaci, the EU, NATO and the U.S., Bogdanovi? concluded, adding that ‘we will not make a single wrong or unilateral step, but that we will not give up on our goals’.
U.S./NATO-Backed Kosovo Speaks Of War With Serbia
Sofia News Agency
August 3, 2011
Kosovo Govt Adviser: Tension with Serbia Could Lead to War
If Serbia intends to break away a part of Kosovo, that could lead to a military conflict, stated Kosovo government adviser for foreign policy Azem Vlasi Wednesday.
Tensions in Northern Kosovo have been flaring for two weeks after the Serbian breakaway province and Serbia entered into a trade conflict, embargoing each other, while the ethnic Serbian population in the north of Kosovo wreaked havoc on border checkpoints, mandating the introduction of Kosovar special police units.
‘If Serbia intends to break away by force a part of Kosovo, it will meet the legitimate resistence that each country has the right to exercise, under international and domestic law, in order to defend its territory,’ said Vlasi, as quoted by the Serbian agency Beta.
Since the start of the tensions, Kosovo authorities have consistently laid the responsibility of the unrest on the Serbian government.
On Wednesday Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci again put the blame on Serbian authorities for allegedly instigating violence, and stated that Kosovo will not give in, much less accept a partition of its territory.
On his part, Serbian PM Mirko Cvetkovic in return put the blame on Kosovo authorities and international forces in Kosovo for allowing the unrest, and expressed Serbia’s desire for the frozen bilateral talks with Kosovo to continue in a healthy climate.
NATO has already decided on a boost of its KFOR military presence in Kosovo, particularly the north, and fresh forces are expected on the ground Thursday.
NATO Troops Torture, Kill Afghan Clergyman
Pajhwok Afghan News
August 3, 2011
Foreign soldiers kill Hesarak imam
by Abdul Mueed Hashimi
JALALABAD: A prayer leader was killed by foreign troops during an overnight operation in the Hesarak district of eastern Nangarhar province, residents and officials said on Wednesday.
Identified as Qari Younus, the victim was taken away by the troops during the operation in the Garo area, the district development council chief, Dr. Naeem Walar, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
With tell-tale signs of torture on it, the body of Younus was found in the Laji Gad Kandaw area on Wednesday morning, he said.
Another resident, Dilawar Maroofkhel, said the foreign troops had killed the imam after capturing him. ‘I saw injuries on his body,’ he said, suggesting the victim had been tortured.
District chief, Abdul Khaliq Maroof, said he came to know about the operation last night. He was told by the governor’s house not go out of the district centre during the offensive. He condemned the death of Qari Younus at the hands of foreign troops.
Three NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan
August 3, 2011
3 NATO service members killed in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan: Three members of the U.S.-led military coalition were killed Wednesday in Afghanistan, NATO said.
The coalition said two died in a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan…
Another died in a noncombat-related incident in eastern Afghanistan…
U.S. Domestic Politicking Affects Afghan War, World Security
Russian Information Agency Novosti
August 3, 2011
Afghan factor in U.S. domestic policy
Alexei Pilko, assistant professor at Moscow State University’s Faculty of World Politics
-[I]f the current political trends persist (harsh political campaigning that ignores international realities), they could lead to unfavorable consequences not just in the United States, but worldwide.
The U.S. political system based on checks and balances forced President Barack Obama to discuss the Afghan issue with Republicans in order to make a deal over the state debt. This is one more piece of evidence how interdependent the domestic and foreign policies in the United States are. And that the officially claimed goals of Operation Enduring Freedom are inconsistent with the reality.
It is no exaggeration to say that the international community’s attention was riveted on the protracted negotiations between Obama and his Republican opponents on the new federal debt ceiling.
According to a U.S. political analyst who is working under contract with the White House, if it was about raising the debt ceiling alone, the issue could have been resolved within a few hours. He said Washington was locked in a heated bargaining process behind closed doors, in which the Republicans were trying to win control over Obama’s domestic and foreign policies, cutting his opportunities for scoring points with his voters.
The cornerstone of this bargaining is cutting military spending and reducing U.S. military presence abroad (as a way to cut federal spending that the president’s representatives proposed to their opponents behind the scenes). According to the source, the real stumbling block was the planned drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Last week, experts gathered in Moscow to discuss the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan. The conference was organized by the Center for Support and Development of Public Initiative ‘Creative Diplomacy,’ an independent public organization, and the Foundation of Historical Outlook, the Russian conservative think tank focused on the studies of international relations. Some speakers noted a few specific features of the current stage of the conflict. First, NATO’s mission can be described as a complete failure now. Second, a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces could precipitate an international catastrophe. And third, Pakistan is now the key factor in resolving the Afghan problem. Prominent Russian Oriental expert Georgy Mirsky said the war in Afghanistan would not be successful unless there was a victory in Pakistan.
The U.S. political analyst I mentioned earlier said Obama’s entourage shares this view. His representatives have tried to convince their Republican opponents at a private meeting (officially devoted to raising the federal debt ceiling but in fact focusing on other issues, including Afghanistan) that they should concentrate on Pakistan and that the solution does not depend on U.S. military presence (full-scale or otherwise) in Afghanistan.
On the other hand, the analyst indicated that the Republican opposition is not that worried about Afghanistan. They are mainly interested in Obama’s failure to make good on his pre-election vows such as the pullout from Afghanistan losing him votes. Therefore, they would prefer to leave things as they are in Afghanistan for at least the next 18 months, or better yet, to add some fuel to the conflict. This kind of approach has generated some truly incredible projects, such as the Blackwill plan that could be characterized as a sort of political grave for Obama.
Unfortunately, an analysis of the domestic situation in the United States shows that in confronting Obama, the Republicans have relied on a strategy that maximizes their potential political gain, aiming to squeeze as much as they can from the president in exchange for agreeing to increase the federal debt ceiling. It is hard to predict what deal the sides have actually made at this stage. It is clear that it is temporary and more fighting is still ahead. However, if the current political trends persist (harsh political campaigning that ignores international realities), they could lead to unfavorable consequences not just in the United States, but worldwide.
NATO Fuel Trucks Destroyed In Balochistan
August 3, 2011
Gunmen torch three Nato trucks in Balochistan
QUETTA: Six gunmen riding on motorbikes opened fire on three trucks carrying fuel for Nato forces in Afghanistan near the Pakistan town of Dasht in the southwest, police said.
Fire brigades rushed to the scene to control the fire from spreading. One of the trucks and a nearby filling station caught fire.
No group has claimed responsibility of the attack, said police officials.
There were no reports of casualties.
Romania: Over 1,000 Troops In U.S. Marine-Led Amphibious Assault Exercise
Nine O’Clock News
August 3, 2011
350 US Marines, 200 Romanian troops in joint drill
About 350 US Marines and 200 Romanian troops yesterday took part in a joint sea assault drill at the Capu Media shooting range, according to Mediafax.
The Navy Forces General Staff said the drill was part of the Summer Storm Romanian-American exercise held between July 30 and August 30.
Organizers say the drill was held for the first time in Romania, as part of the US military’s efforts to strengthen the partnership with the Romanian Navy Forces and increase inter-operability in the Black Sea.
Xinhua News Agency
August 4, 2011
Romanian, U.S. troops end joint military exercise
BUCHAREST: Approximately 350 U.S. marines and 200 Romanian navy troops participated Wednesday in a sea landing exercise in Cape Midia, south-eastern Romania.
The exercise is the first of its kind carried out in Romania and part of the Romanian-American Summer Storm exercise, which took place from July 30 to August 3. More than 1,000 troops took part in the five-day military actions.
Wednesday’s exercise included a sea landing, incursion on the beach and attacking a facility occupied by ‘rebels.’
The Romanian-U.S. expeditionary corps landed from the USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41) dock landing ship, using 11 armored amphibian carriers after a Romanian minesweeper opened the way through a barrage of marine mines. The joint corps stormed the rebel-held building, after advancing on the ground backed up by helicopters.
The substantial progress of bilateral military cooperation between Romania and the U.S. began in 2005, when the two countries signed a base use and access agreement that allowed the use of Romanian military facilities by U.S. troops.
On Feb. 4, 2010, Romania accepted U.S. President Barack Obama’s invitation to participate in the adaptive development of the European anti-missile defense system.
U.S. Army Secretary Inspects NATO Partnership Exercises In Ukraine
U.S. Army Europe
August 3, 2011
Secretary of the Army witnesses Rapid Trident 2011
YAVORIK, Ukraine: Secretary of the Army John McHugh visited the International Peacekeeping and Security Center here, Aug. 3, to witness the multinational training going on during Rapid Trident 2011.
‘This exercise has been ongoing for a good number of years,’ McHugh said. ‘It’s obviously grown, it’s evolved and I think personally it’s more relevant than it ever has been in the past.’
Rapid Trident 2011 is a U.S. Army Europe-led exercise designed to…strengthen international military partnering…while improving interoperability between participating nations and supports interoperability among Ukraine, the United States, NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations.
‘Each year I think, as the military leaders of all the nations would agree, it’s gotten better and better and the cooperation has been more and more successful,’ he said.
During his visit McHugh observed a multinational airborne operation, medical evacuation training and several situational training lanes…
The exercise also demonstrated to McHugh the benefits of the U.S. Army’s continued presence in Europe.
‘I think there’s great value to having our forces here for providing these kinds of opportunities that geographically would be so much more difficult, if even possible, in other environments,’ he said…
Africa’s Stolen Land Lies In Western Hands
August 3, 2011
Africa’s stolen land lies in Western hands
By Pang Qing
Genter Nooke, the German African commissioner, has become the latest Western political figure, following US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and British Prime Minister David Cameron, to bad-mouth China’s role in Africa.
Nooke said in an interview with a German newspaper that China had an unshakable responsibility for the recent famine in Africa.
He claimed that China purchased a great deal of land in Africa to grow crops for export and ruined farmers’ lands there. Nooke asserts that ‘human interference’ caused by China has been one of the triggering factors in African famine.
But the West hardly has clean hands on this issue.
Recently, a report by a Western institute showed that 15 percent of African arable land has been bought by the Western nations, reaching more than 30 million hectares, an area half the size of France. The British Biofuels Corporation alone purchased more than 1.6 million hectares of African land.
What did Western states do with African land? The aforementioned report said that the purchased lands were mostly located in East and South Africa, where the cost of agricultural resources is low, the natural conditions are good and the fundamental facilities are relatively sound.
Kenya and Ethiopia were two good examples, and were also hit by recent famines. Most of the plants grown there were jatropha and castor oil plants, among other cash crops.
The agricultural produce, after simple processing, was all transported to Europe and the US for making biofuels.
Western nations have made huge profits from this industry, while all Africa has received in return are limited rents and low salaries. Africa has been left to cope with the agricultural risks and potential environmental deterioration.
Jatropha plants can greatly poison the lands on which they are planted. Taking the environmental cost into account, the actual volume of carbon dioxide emissions released by the biofuels made from jatropha plants could be 2.5 to 6 times over that of the fossil fuels.
The West knew that they were benefiting at the expense of others. Looking for a scapegoat, they pointed the finger at China.
Nooke is not the first to claim that ‘China is enclosing African lands.’
Lately, we have heard similar unfriendly voices from the West time and again.
The fact is China has never occupied forcefully a single inch of African land nor transported a single grain of rice back from Africa.
China is sticking to its self-sufficient grain policy and does not have the intention of accumulating lands overseas.
It is not true that we have ‘purchased an immense amount of lands’ in Africa. On the contrary, we donated grain, helped African nations improve their agricultural technologies and ensure grain safety.
An array of agricultural modeling centers were established there. A number of Chinese agricultural experts are busy working in the fields and instructing African farmers in planting and nurturing technologies.
Some Chinese enterprises established farmland jointly with African companies to meet local needs.
Nooke himself also admitted that China has delivered indispensable fundamental technologies in African agriculture.
‘Human factors’ do play a role in African famine. But the responsibility lies with the West, not with China.
Africa is not innately a continent of famine. Western land seizures left Africans with few recourse for themselves.
When the major Western nations announce help to relieve hunger in Africa, Africans should call upon them to stop their hypocritical aid and return the stolen lands.
The author is an expert on African issues.
U.S. Marines Build Asian NATO Interoperabiliy In Mongolian Military Drills
U.S. Marine Corps
August 2, 2011
Exercise Khaan Quest 2011 kicks off with multinational opening ceremony
By Cpl. Tyler Main, Marine Forces Pacific
FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia: Exercise Khaan Quest 2011 kicked off with the opening ceremony at Five Hills Training Area near Ulaanbatar, Mongolia, Sunday. Service members and delegates of more than 10 participating nations were addressed by Mongolian President Ts. Elbegdorj, Lt. Gen. Ts. Byambajav, chief of general staff, Mongolian Armed Forces, and Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck Jr., commanding general, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
Khaan Quest is a combined joint exercise hosted by the Mongolian Armed Forces in partnership with U.S. Pacific Command forces, and has been conducted annually since 2003 at the Five Hills Training Area in Mongolia…
‘Khaan Quest has become the world’s preeminent peacekeeping exercise,’ Glueck said. ‘We have learned that we can maintain security more effectively when we pursue it as partners working in conjunction with like-minded countries with mutual interests.’
The command post exercise supports the Mongolian Defense Reform Program’s goal to establish and globally deploy battalion-sized units as part of a coalition force.
The goal of the field training exercise is to improve multinational speed of response, mission effectiveness, interoperability, unity of effort and individual skill. During the field training exercise, the multinational forces will complete various training scenarios and weapons familiarization and share military tactics, techniques and procedures. Marines from 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, will be participating in the field training exercise and serving as live-fire range instructors and Marine Corps martial arts instructors.
Khaan Quest also serves as an opportunity to strengthen multinational relationships in the Pacific region and is a premier combined joint-training exercise designed to strengthen the capabilities of U.S., Mongolian and partner forces in individual and small-unit tactics.
Additional goals of the exercise include working with the Mongolian Armed Forces in further developing the Five Hills Training Area, enhancing peace-support capabilities, and increasing interoperability and planning proficiency among all participant forces.
U.S. Marine Corps
August 3, 2011
Warfighters shoot for peace during Exercise Khaan Quest 2011
By Cpl. Tyler Main, Marine Forces Pacific
FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia: Pounding boots on dusty gravel roads conjured up dust devils as platoons from six nations marched toward the proving grounds of Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, Aug. 1 to begin the first day of the Field Training Exercise portion of Exercise Khaan Quest 2011.
U.S. Marines, alongside soldiers from Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Korea, and Mongolia took part in the training which included the Mongolian Armed Forces obstacle course, a martial arts exchange and a live fire range featuring various weapons used by the participating nations.
Arsenals of weapons were available for firing during the exercise to include the Mongolian AK-47 automatic rifle, the RPK light machine gun and the MPK heavy machine gun. The Marines supplied M-4 service rifles, M249 squad automatic weapons and M203 grenade launchers. The Mongolian Armed Forces also granted four Marines the chance to shoot rocket propelled grenades.
One of the most impressive performances of the day came from the soldiers of 2nd Battalion, Sikh Regiment, Indian Army. The AK-47 is their primary battle weapon and their proficiency with the rifle was obvious.
The next part of the field training exercise is a week-long lane training event. The participating countries will complete seven lanes of training, one per day, which will provide instruction and practical application on how to counter improvised explosive devices, execute convoy operations, perform combat medical treatment and other valuable skills.
Ex-Australian Military Commander Fears U.S. Cluster Bomb Stockpile
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
July 29, 2011
Former defence chief fears cluster bomb stockpile
ASHLEY HALL: A former commander of the Australian Defence Force says the US military will still be able to stockpile cluster bombs in Australia, even after the Federal Parliament bans the weapons.
Cluster munitions scatter hundreds of small bombs over a wide area and can have a devastating impact on civilian populations.
Many of the deadly bomblets fail to explode and pose a danger for decades.
Australia has signed an international convention banning cluster bombs and a bill before Parliament will entrench that treaty in domestic law.
But the retired general Peter Gration told Peter Mares that the bill has serious flaws.
PETER GRATION: The way it’s written it very clearly would enable the United States to stockpile cluster bombs in Australia and it would enable them to transit cluster bombs through Australia either by ship or by plane. And both of those things are contradictory to the spirit of the convention and we think they are unnecessary and shouldn’t be in there.
I think I heard one of my successors CDF Air Chief Marshall Houston a week or so ago said that oh yes but they’re very unlikely that they would ever want to do that. Well I would hope it is very unlikely. But if it is unlikely and we don’t want them to do it then the provision shouldn’t be in our legislation.
PETER MARES: What are the attitudes of serving military officers to this bill? I mean is the Government acting on the advice of the armed forces in going down this route do you think?
PETER GRATION: Opinions are mixed. On one side there are those who see the tactical advantage of using these weapons who are very concerned where they are continuing to be interoperable with the Americans. And that tends to make them want the legislation to be loose.
But there are others who are concerned with the thrust of what we Australia, the course we started off in 2008, which is to get rid of these weapons for all time and concerned that the way we are drafting the legislation now sends a couple of messages.
One that we weren’t all that serious initially and we are more concerned with our relations with the United States and secondly the example it may set to other countries around the world watching what we do.
PETER MARES: And are these weapons, I mean is this a hypothetical issue or is Australia currently involved in military operations with the United States where cluster bombs are used for example in Afghanistan?
PETER GRATION: Yeah the answer is yes.