Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: August 5, 2011

5 August 2011 — Stop NATO

  • NATO Plans Campaign In Syria, Tightens Noose Around Iran: Rogozin
  • NATO Bombardment Of Libyan Capital Causes Ten Powerful Explosions
  • Libya: NATO Conducts Deadly Bombing In Zlitan
  • Libyan Mother, Children Buried After NATO Raids
  • Washington: U.S. To Hand Libyan Embassy Over To Rebels
  • Kosovo: Crisis Spot Again
  • Russian Ambassador: NATO Assists Warmongering Kosovo Separatists
  • Kosovo: NATO Blockade Of Medicines Threatens Lives Of Roma, Serbs
  • Russian Church Condemns Attacks On Orthodox Churches, Monasteries In Kosovo
  • Ukraine: U.S. Furthers NATO Integration Of Former Soviet, Yugoslav Republics
  • U.S. Air Force Completes Joint Aerial Combat Training In Romania
  • U.S. Son Of Star Wars Costs As Much As Apollo Program
  • Precedent-Setting: Canada Deploys First Arctic Drones For Military Exercise
  • U.S., Danish Military Vessels Join Canadian Arctic Exercise

NATO Plans Campaign In Syria, Tightens Noose Around Iran: Rogozin


Russian Information Agency Novosti
August 5, 2011

NATO plans campaign in Syria, tightens noose around Iran – Rogozin

MOSCOW: NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran, Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said.

The UN Security Council condemned on Wednesday ongoing violence in Syria and urged the country’s authorities to stop using force against peaceful protesters, while saying the current situation in the country has not yet called for NATO interference.

‘[This statement] means that the planning [of the military campaign] is well underway. It could be a logical conclusion of those military and propaganda operations, which have been carried out by certain Western countries against North Africa,’ Rogozin said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published on Friday.

The Russian diplomat pointed out at the fact that the alliance is aiming to interfere only with the regimes ‘whose views do not coincide with those of the West.’

Rogozin agreed with the opinion expressed by some experts that Syria and later Yemen could be NATO’s last steps on the way to launch an attack on Iran.

‘The noose around Iran is tightening. Military planning against Iran is underway. And we are certainly concerned about an escalation of a large-scale war in this huge region,’ Rogozin said.

Having learned the Libyan lesson, Russia ‘will continue to oppose a forcible resolution of the situation in Syria,’ he said, adding that the consequences of a large-scale conflict in North Africa would be devastating for the whole world.


NATO Bombardment Of Libyan Capital Causes Ten Powerful Explosions


Voice of Russia
August 5, 2011

Tripoli rocked by blasts

10 powerful explosions rocked the Libyan capital Tripoli overnight in a new wave of airstrikes by NATO warplanes.

According to state television reports the airstrikes targeted ‘civilian and military’ facilities in the city’s Hellat as-Ferjaneh suburb.

Many analysts say that, despite strong NATO support, the anti-Gaddafi opposition has so far been unable to achieve major victories against the government forces.


Libya: NATO Conducts Deadly Bombing In Zlitan


Voice of America News
August 4, 2011

Libyan Government Accuses NATO Of Destruction in Zlitan

The Libyan government has accused NATO of bombing civilian targets in Zlitan, a western town that has been the scene of recent clashes between pro-government and rebel forces.

The government made the accusations through its state-controlled television station on Thursday, a day after officials denied rebel claims that opposition fighters had gained control of the town.

The French News Agency reports that Libyan officials led journalists on a tour of Zlitan Thursday, showing them a home where they said three family members were killed by a NATO airstrike.

In a separate development, a Libyan tanker arrived in Benghazi after rebels claimed they had seized the vessel from government forces.

NATO officials say they cleared the ship on Wednesday and allowed it to proceed to the rebel-held port.


Libyan Mother, Children Buried After NATO Raids


News International
August 5, 2011

Libyan mother, children buried after Nato raids

ZLITEN, Libya: A Libyan official on Thursday blamed Nato raids for the deaths of a mother and two children in the coastal town of Zliten, where journalists witnessed their burials.

Foreign reporters were led to the home in a neighbourhood of Zliten, 150-km east of Tripoli, and to a nearby mosque where journalists were shown three coffins. ‘Is this what you call protecting civilians?’ a local official asked journalists. ‘This what Nato is there for — to kill our children,’ he said.

A closed coffin contained the body of the mother, officials said, and two open coffins bore the bodies of a four-year-old and five-year-old child with blood on their faces.

The three victims were then buried to shouts of ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is greatest) and ‘We are ready to die as martyrs for Libya.’


Washington: U.S. To Hand Libyan Embassy Over To Rebels


Deutsche Presse-Agentur
August 5, 2011

Libyan rebels cleared to reopen Washington embassy

Libya’s rebel Transitional National Council has been approved to reopen the country’s embassy in Washington, the US State Department said Thursday.

The council, which has been recognized by the United States and other governments as the North African nation’s governing body, had sought permission to reopen the embassy, DPA reported.

A few details still needed to be worked out, but ‘we’ve given the go-ahead for them – the green light for them to reopen,’ State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

Former ambassador to the United States Ali Aujali had given up his post in protest of Moamer Gaddafi’s regime, but could be reappointed to the position by the council.


Kosovo: Crisis Spot Again


Voice of Russia
August 4, 2011

Kosovo: hot spot again
Maria Chupina 

[Edited by RR]

NATO has sent 700 troops to Kosovo…near the Serbian border as Erhard Bühler, Commander of KFOR, fears that a recent outbreak of border violence can breach bilateral [Serbia-Kosovo] dialogue and hamper Serbia’s integration into the EU.

In late July, Albanian special police forces seized the border posts at Brnjak and Yarin. Armed Serbs pushed them out and burnt the posts, killing one Albanian and several Serbs were injured. Later they built barricades to prevent transport and people getting in.

These local clashes triggered Kosovo’s refusal to stick to an agreement on normalizing border relations signed with KFOR. The latter envisages international control over troubled posts for six weeks until local Serbs dismantle the barriers.

Expert on the Balkans crisis Elena Guskova believes that the return of NATO military presence to the region is a warning sign:

‘The global community breached all the rules a long time ago when the Yugoslavia crisis began in 1990. The independence of Kosovo is another violation and Russia sticks to this position together with China their non-recognition of the Republic of Kosovo in the UN. Russia can vote for independence only if Belgrade acknowledges it, but Serbia doesn’t give up whcih is why the Kosovars are resorting to violence. This will negatively affect all international relations and hurt international law and stability in Europe. However this doesn’t stop the US, the Albanians and NATO.’

Kosovo is the most painful issue for Serbia, which craves EU membership. The country has already extradited ethnic Serbs accused of war crimes during the 1990s Yugoslav war to the Hague Tribunal for Yugoslavia but refuses to recognize Kosovo’s independence, which is one of the entry conditions. The breakaway region has [only] been recognized by 70 countries, but Serbia can’t relinquish its territory owned in line with the Constitution, and where Serbs are bullied by Albanians.

Serbia’s FM Vuk Jeremic states that Serbia’s position is firm and is based on international law, but the country is ready for talks on Kosovo’s status within the Constitution. The current dialogue was to better the life of ordinary people in Kosovo but now it may be breached. The West is also being troubled by Kosovo which is now the main route for drug traffickers and criminal business and is becoming a bigger pain in the neck.


Russian Ambassador: NATO Assists Warmongering Kosovo Separatists


Tanjug News Agency?Ve?ernje Novosti 
August 4, 2011

Russian ambassador in strong criticism of intl. missions

BELGRADE: Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Konuzin on Thursday once again addressed the issue of the current crisis unfolding in Kosovo.

He qualified NATO’s decision to deploy more soldiers in Kosovo as ‘yet another proof that the whole Kosovo issue is an anti-Serb campaign’.

‘It is difficult to understand the logic of NATO partners. Over a number of months KFOR has been systematically reducing its contingent saying that the situation in the province is stabilizing. The mission ignored the warnings that the situation is not like that,’ Konuzin said for the Thursday edition of the Belgrade-based daily Ve?ernje Novosti.

‘When Priština took the unilateral military action to isolate Kosovo from central Serbia, using the special police units ROSU, KFOR aided them by moving the members of the units to the north of the province by helicopters,’ the Russian ambassador said.

‘The war-mongering statements by Hashim Thaci about his intent to proceed with attempts to violently regain control over the territory north of the Ibar River have caused no concern among the international security presence. An identical inert reaction ensued even when the security forces in Priština have raised the combat readiness to the highest level,’ he said.

‘They got alarmed only when the unarmed Serbian civilians, who reacted to the illegal and dangerous operations by Priština, took to the roads in order to protect their families, and also their houses from theft and robbery,’ said Konuzin.

‘The Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), which is active in the province, seeing that lawlessness was growing, at first distanced itself from any action and then took the side of Priština. Furthermore, EULEX has the authority to annul decisions that threaten security and public order. In other words, another huge anti-Serb campaign is underway,’ concluded Konuzin.


Kosovo: NATO Blockade Of Medicines Threatens Lives Of Roma, Serbs


Tanjug News Agency
August 4, 2011

Serb enclave left without medical supplies

GRA?ANICA: A teenager barely escaped death due to lack of oxygen at the Gra?anica Health Center.

Doctors have called on authorities to bring medical supplies as soon as possible.

Gra?anica Health Center doctors have managed to save a 13-year-old Roma boy’s life who suffers from bronchial asthma and had an attack.

Immediately after he was admitted this morning at 7:15, the boy, who had not been taking his medicines for days, was examined and doctors established that he had a severe asthma attack. He was prescribed oxygen therapy, inhalation and IV fluids.

‘The problem occurred because we did not have any oxygen in the big tank and inhalation medicine dosage was at a minimum, only one milliliter was left. We solved the situation by using an auxiliary oxygen tank, while the remaining inhalation medicine dosage was enough for the child,’ the doctors have said.

The boy was receiving oxygen in the next 15-20 minutes while he was being transported by ambulance to St. King Milutin Pediatric Clinic in Laplje Selo where he was hospitalized.

‘Our staff once again appeals to let all convoys with medicines and oxygen through, because patients’ lives are at risk and consequences of the lack of medicines could soon have a tragic outcome,’ the Gra?anica Health Center said.

According to Serbia’s Health Minister Zoran Stankovi?, a large amount of medical supplies should have been delivered to health institutions in Kosovo on Wednesday.

Serbs south of the Ibar River live in isolated enclaves, while in the north they form a majority.


Russian Church Condemns Attacks On Orthodox Churches, Monasteries In Kosovo


Voice of Russia
August 4, 2011

Russian Church condemns attacks on Serbian churches in Kosovo

The Russian Orthodox Church’s leaders are deeply concerned about attacks of extremist-minded Albanians on Orthodox churches and monasteries in Kosovo, tough Kosovo is controlled by international peacekeepers.

Recently, some people broke the door of the Church of John The Baptist in the Kosovan village of Samoderza. Earlier, the church had been attacked several times.

In the city of Prizren, somebody has stolen the roof of the ancient Church of the Mother of God.

The Russian Church also qualifies the construction of a highway near the Kosovan monastery of Zo?ište as illegal.

‘These and other similar cases produce an impression that the Kosovan police are incapable of protecting Serbian historic monuments in the country,’ a statement released by the Russian Church says.


Ukraine: U.S. Furthers NATO Integration Of Former Soviet, Yugoslav Republics


Rustavi 2
August 4, 2011

Georgia participates in joint Ukraine-NATO military drill

Rapid Trident 2011 is an exercise held from July 25 to August 5, 2011 that involves approximately 1,600 personnel from 13 NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations: Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, the UK, USA and Canada. This year it includes a multi-national airborne operation and field training exercise that are hosted by Ukraine in support of Ukraine`s Annual National Program to achieve interoperability with NATO.

The goal of the exercise is to train military personnel to operate successfully in joint multinational, integrated operations and environment.

At present Ukraine participate in a number of NATO missions, including those in the Balkans and Afghanistan.


U.S. Air Force Completes Joint Aerial Combat Training In Romania


U.S. Air Forces in Europe
August 4, 2011

Joint training builds NATO partnership
by 2nd Lt. Stephani Hunter
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany: About 230 Sabers recently returned from Campia Turzii, Romania, where Romanian and U.S. Air Force Airmen conducted combined training and strengthened the partnership between the NATO countries.

Spangdahlem sent operations, mission support, maintenance and logistics readiness Airmen, as well as 10, 81st Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft to the exercise.

‘Dacian Thunder is a building partnership event that we have established with the Romanians,’ said Lt. Col. John Briner, 81st Fighter Squadron commander. ‘The three-week exercise involved close air support, combat search and rescue, and air-to-air training.’

While there, Spangdahlem pilots trained with Romanian MiG-21s and IAR 330 helicopters and learned from the Romanian pilots and air crew. Pilots were able to explore the capabilities of the A-10C model beyond what is authorized in Germany, said Capt. James Schmidt, 81st FS chief of training.

Training also included practice with the A-10C’s situational awareness data link, which connects pilots to a network to help them decide whether to engage a target.

‘We need to be proficient when we go downrange, and being able to actually use SADL during this exercise only makes us better warfighters,’ Schmidt said.

U.S. and Romanian Airmen worked daily to ensure mission success during the three-week exercise.

‘We flew 210 sorties in the three weeks we were [in Romania], which was only possible because of the maintainers, logisticians and mission support Airmen who came with us,’ said Capt. James Fuhrer, 81st FS chief of standardization and evaluation.


U.S. Son Of Star Wars Costs As Much As Apollo Program


August 4, 2011

Shoot the Moon: Missile Defense Costs as Much as Apollo Program
By Adam Rawnsley 

America’s budget woes may have the Obama administration eyeing $400 billion in cuts to the defense budget. But, for now at least, there’s one program that appears relatively safe: the star-crossed missile defense effort.

Congress plans on increasing missile defense spending 1.2 per cent to $8.6 billion for fiscal year 2012. Bloomberg Government tallied the increase up along with 27 years worth of missile defense spending and found the price tag to be roughly $150 billion. That’s roughly the same amount spent on the Apollo space program. The man-on-the-moon level spending comes despite technical challenges and other setbacks faced by missile defense programs over the years.

Smith and Ratnam point to an additional $1.16 billion needed for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program at Fort Greely, Alaksa as an example of such problems. The idea behind GMD is to knock out a ballistic missile headed to the U.S. using interceptor missiles. As Bloomberg notes, it has failed 7 out of 15 tests.

Leaky pipes, toxic mold and ‘significant infrastructure reliability issues’ now plague one of Greely’s missile fields, according to the most recent defense budget bill passed by Congress. The mold has forced some workers to don hazardous materials suits. As a result, the Missile Defense Agency needs the $1.16 billion in part to build a new missile field.

Ft. Greely has had moisture-related troubles before. In 2006, a quarter of its ballistic missile interceptor silos were flooded by torrential rains, according to documents obtained by the Project on Government Oversight. Interceptors, fortunately, weren’t in the silos at the time.

Nor is it the only controversial missile defense program. There’s also the flying lightsaber (née, Airborne Laser), which former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates tried to nix. Airborne Laser consists of a Boeing 747 with a giant laser strapped to it. It started in the 1960s as a dream of being able to zap incoming missiles out of the air with a laser beam. Making an effective missile-blasting laser jet, however, is even harder than it may sound. Over the years, the program has overspent in the billions and suffered delays. $4 billion and years later, it’s having trouble working quite right…

The continued funding for troubled programs, however, shows not everyone in Congress shares those sentiments.


Precedent-Setting: Canada Deploys First Arctic Drones For Military Exercise


Ottawa Citizen/Postmedia News
August 4, 2011

Canada deploys unmanned drones in Arctic military exercise
By Matthew Fisher

-’It’s precedent setting. There will be small UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) in the High Arctic,’ Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in an interview. ‘They are a harbinger of things to come.

Canada is deploying unmanned surveillance aircraft to the High Arctic for the first time, as part of the largest military exercise ever in the Far North.

Catapult-launched Boeing ScanEagle unarmed drones similar to those used by the Canadian army for surveillance in Afghanistan are to assist in a major air disaster scenario in an extremely remote area near Resolute, which is about 3,000 kilometres north of Ottawa. They will also assist in a major maritime disaster exercise being overseen by the Canadian Coast Guard in waters between Canada and Greenland.

‘It’s precedent setting. There will be small UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) in the High Arctic,’ Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in an interview. ‘They are a harbinger of things to come.

‘This will be eyes-on. We can link satellite capability to UAVs to help find people and crash sites. UAVs proved invaluable in Afghanistan and have a great value in applications in the North.’

Operation Nanook, which is to last more than three weeks, begins Friday when three Canadian naval vessels led by the frigate, HMCS St. John’s, set out from Newfoundland for Baffin Bay where they will rendezvous with a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker.

About 1,100 sailors, soldiers and air personnel, including Special Forces and aboriginal forces known as Canadian Rangers, will join about 200 sailors from the coast guard — who have long experience in Arctic waters — for the exercise. The drones will provide data to two companies of infantry from Alberta and Quebec who will be assisting with the air and maritime search-and-rescue operations. Other Canadian military participants include CF-18 Hornet fighter jets and manned surveillance and transport aircraft and helicopters.

Also participating across Canada’s vast northern archipelago in what the government calls the ‘whole of government approach’ will be Mounties and officials from Transport Canada, Public Safety Canada, Environment Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs.

‘To be robust and ready. That is what the Arctic experience is all about,’ MacKay said. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is ‘very engaged on this file’ and as ‘part of his strong commitment to the Arctic’ will visit the North during Op Nanook, the defence minister said.

Three Danish navy ships and an icebreaker from the U.S. Coast Guard have accepted invitations from Canada to take part in the exercise.

While there might be outstanding territorial disputes between Canada and its Arctic neighbours, MacKay and Lt.-Gen. Walter Semianiw, who runs Canada Command, which has military responsibility for all land and waters claimed by Ottawa, said it was in every polar country’s interest to co-operate and collaborate on issues such as search and rescue and the environment.

The ScanEagle drones that will be assisting the military and the coast guard…can be equipped with various cameras including infra-red lenses. They have a wing span of three metres, weigh only 20 kilograms, but can stay aloft for 20 hours or more, flying at a cruising speed of about 170 kilometres per hour.

‘We’d like to see how we can begin to use UAVs in the North and as part of the domestic scenario,’ Semianiw said. ‘UAVs over urban areas have a number of limitations, in the North perhaps less. We want to see whether or not we can use them up there and how they are going to work.’

If the drones operate well in the cold, windy conditions that are common in the North, it was possible that they might one day be positioned there, so that they ‘could go out before even people arrive to give us eyes and ears about what is going on on the ground,’ Semianiw said.


U.S., Danish Military Vessels Join Canadian Arctic Exercise


Canadian Press
August 4, 2011

Canadian navy ships join U.S. Coast Guard in Arctic mission

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Three Canadian navy ships and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter are being outfitted in St. John’s for an extended mission to the Arctic.

The Canadian Forces says the frigate HMCS St. John’s will be joined by the coastal defence vessels HMCS Moncton and HMCS Summerside, as well as the American coast guard cutter USCGC Willow.

The ships are expected to leave St. John’s on Friday at 8 a.m.

Their task, code-named Operation Nanook, marks the largest of three annual missions in the Arctic.

The goals of the mission are to reinforce Canada’s presence in the Arctic and enable the Canadian military to practise emergency response skills.

The Royal Danish navy will also participate in the mission by conducting its own patrols and surveillance operations.

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