Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: October 29, 2011

29 October 2011 — Stop NATO

  • As Many As 60,000 Libyan Civilians Killed In ‘Most Successful’ War In NATO’s History
  • NATO Gives Libyans Choices: Tyranny Or Theocracy – Russian Envoy
  • Libya: NATO To Stop Bombing But Not War
  • Portugal: NATO Military Committee Builds On Past Wars For New Ones
  • NATO’s 2011 Afghan War Death Toll At 497
  • Pakistan: Huge Rally Condemns U.S. Drone Massacres
  • Pakistan: NATO’s Unbearable Provocative Acts
  • U.S. And Iran: Might Is Right
  • Denmark Contributes To NATO Military Build-Up Off Somalia
  • AFRICOM/Africa Partnership Station: U.S.-Led Eight-Nation Naval Exercise In Somali Basin
  • Ambassador: U.S. Supports Kenyan Attacks Inside Somalia
  • U.S. Plans To Shut Down ‘Rogue Websites’
  • Greeks Fear Second German Takeover

As Many As 60,000 Libyan Civilians Killed In ‘Most Successful’ War In NATO’s History


October 28, 2011

Biggest success? NATO proud of Libya op which killed thousands

With Gaddafi dead and its ‘military job now done,’ NATO has declared its campaign in Libya one of the ‘most successful in NATO history.’ However, untold casualties and a country devastated by war call into question the alliance’s notion of success.

Coming through on last week’s promise to end military operations in Libya, on Friday NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen declared the military operation in Libya would be wrapped up on October 31, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

His announcement came a day after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to lift the no-fly zone over Libya.

Speaking from Brussels, Rasmussen said that following the death of Gaddafi, military operations were able to wind down quickly, noting triumphantly that ‘Operation Unified Protector is one of the most successful in NATO history,’ as cited by AP.

US President Barack Obama was equally full of praise for the operation. Speaking on the popular late night talk show The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Obama told the host operations in Libya ‘only cost us a billion dollars’ and no US troops were killed or injured.

The price of success

Speaking on March 31, Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, reported that ‘the so-called humanitarian air raids have taken the lives of dozens of civilians in various areas of Tripoli.’

The senior cleric went on to say ‘in the district of Buslim, a building collapsed because of the bombing, killing 40 people,’ as cited by Agenzia Fedes, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

However, despite the decision to turn a blind eye to the casualty figures, one of the few instances the alliance could not deny culpability in was a June 19 NATO missile strike that resulted in the deaths of nine civilians.

Attacks of this nature were happening on a daily basis throughout the intense bombing campaign.

Speaking in September, the health minister in the new Libyan government estimated that at least 30,000 people had been killed and 50,000 wounded during the first six months of the war. Some, however, have estimated that the real figure could be much higher.

Writing back in September, Thomas C. Mountain, an independent journalist currently living in Africa who was a member of the 1st US Peace Delegation to Libya in 1987, estimated that NATO had dropped over 30,000 bombs on Libya, with an average of ‘two civilians killed in each attack.’ Thus, Mountain has estimated that some 60,000 Libyan civilians had been killed by NATO air strikes alone by the end of August.

Shortly thereafter, when rebel forces began the siege of Sirte, Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the now-deceased Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, told Reuters via telephone on September 19 that ‘in the last 17 days, more than 2,000 residents of the city of Sirte were killed in NATO air strikes.’

As of today, some 26,000 NATO sorties and 9,600 strike missions have been conducted by NATO, with an average of four bombs used per attack.

A country in ruins

Though it may never be known just how many died in ‘the most successful operation in NATO history,’ the alliance has shown little interest in rebuilding a nation that has in many ways been wrecked by its seven-month military campaign.

According to Palestinian human rights activist Shawan Jabarin, ‘The military operation damaged everything in Libya, not just Gaddafi and his regime, but the society [as well].’

Former MI5 agent Annie Machon went further, telling RT that NATO’s intervention had plunged Libya back into the Stone Age.

‘They’ve had free education, free health, they could study abroad. When they got married they got a certain amount of money. So they were rather the envy of many other citizens of African countries. Now, of course, since NATO’s humanitarian intervention, the infrastructure of their country has been bombed back to the Stone Age,’ Machon asserted.

‘They will not have the same quality of life. Women probably will not have the same degree of emancipation under any new transitional government. The national wealth is probably going to be siphoned off by Western corporations. Perhaps the standard of living in Libya might have been slightly higher than it is now in America and the UK with the recession,’ she concluded.

Outside of the damage done to Libya’s infrastructure and economy, Thursday’s UN resolution also expressed ‘concern at the proliferation of arms in Libya and its potential impact on regional peace and security,’ as cited by Reuters.

As the circumstances surrounding Muammar Gaddafi’s death remain a mystery following his capture by a mob on the streets of Sirte, analysts fear that armed groups answering to no central authority could prove to be the new ruling model for some time to come in NATO’s newly-liberated Libya.


NATO Gives Libyans Choices: Tyranny Or Theocracy – Russian Envoy


October 28, 2011

NATO force-fed Libya tyranny or Islamism- Envoy

NATO has practically privatized the right to choose Libya’s future, which comes down to choice between tyranny and Islamism, said Russia’s ambassador to the military bloc, Dmitry Rogozin.

Rogozin said he disagreed with NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen who claims that NATO stuck to the letter of the UN mandate on establishing a no-fly zone over Libya, protecting its civilian population and enforcing the arms trade embargo.

‘We will not evade the analysis of the consequences of NATO’s actions in Libya where the alliance used the most liberal interpretation of the UN resolutions to actually take the right to decide about the country’s future, depriving the Libyans of such right,’ Russian news agencies quoted Rogozin as saying on Friday.

The people of Libya are now forced to choose between tyranny and Islamism, Rogozin said.

The NATO Council on Friday agreed to end the operation in Libya on October 31. This came after a UN Security Council vote on Thursday to end the international military operation on October 31 at 23:59.

The military operation, which began on March 17, resulted in the death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and a victory for the National Transitional Council.



October 28, 2011

NATO assumes right to choose Libyan future – Rogozin

BRUSSELS: NATO has assumed the right to choose the Libyan future, and this choice is between a tyrant and Islamism, Russian Permanent Representative to NATO Dmitry Rogozin told Itar-Tass on Friday.

He did not quite agree with the statement by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who said that the alliance had fully complied with the UN Security Council mandate in the protection of civilian population, the provision of the no-fly zone and the arms embargo.

The ministerial conference of the Russia-NATO Council due on December 8 ‘will have a rather hard time analyzing the lessons of Libya,’ he said.

‘We cannot avoid an analysis of the aftereffects of the NATO campaign in Libya, where the alliance freely interpreted the UN resolution and actually assumed the right to choose the future for Libya,’ Rogozin said.


Libya: NATO To Stop Bombing But Not War


Russian Information Agency Novosti
October 28, 2011

NATO will stop bombing Libya but won’t leave
Yelena Suponina

-It was only after the victors tied up the loose ends that the issue was submitted for a vote at the Security Council. Important political decisions are no longer made in the UN, no matter how much China and Russia are trying to resist this or present it in a different light.
-NATO forces will remain in Libya at least to the end of this year and maybe even longer, even after adopting to the resolution. They will simply change the name of the operation and slightly alter the staff.
-[M]military officials that attended the meeting suggested to me that the aircraft of the partner countries may continue patrolling Libya’s air space. Libyans will be steadily adopting NATO standards in military training.

NATO’s war in Libya will come to an end on October 31, 2011. Preparations are currently underway. On Thursday, the UN Security Council passed a resolution announcing that Libya’s air space will be open to both NATO aircraft and local airliners starting next Monday. This resolution ends the no-fly zone introduced by the Security Council in mid March, just two days before the war. The draft resolution, proposed jointly by Russia and Britain, was unanimously approved.

The Security Council did not end the war

Does this mean that the war in Libya is over? Will NATO forces really leave? How can the Security Council make the decision to end a war it did not start?

Let’s recall that Resolution 1973 of March authorized force against the Gaddafi regime but did not mention war as such.

Russia still maintains that this document did not sanction combat operations and that the Western countries that started the war with the support of several Arab monarchies, particularly Qatar, violated the resolution. Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said yesterday that the lessons of the events in Libya must be learned. Western politicians, for their part, tell Moscow not to play dumb – it allowed the resolution to pass with its abstention. Experts had no doubt that this would automatically lead to war.

Today I have seen for myself that it was not the Security Council and not Russia that made the decision to end NATO’s military actions in Libya. I saw firsthand in Doha (the capital of the small but significant Qatar) how such strategic plans are adopted.

Friends of Libya set Oct. 31 deadline

As a political scientist, I was allowed to attend the Doha meeting of the Libya Contact Group (also called the Friends of Libya), which is now winding down. Established in London on March 29, ten days after the start of the war, it was initially involved in overthrowing the Gaddafi regime. Now it has embarked on building a new Libya.

The new Libyan leaders have been meeting with high-ranking diplomats and military officials from allied countries in different cities of the world. Russia’s official representatives have not yet attended these meetings. On this occasion, the Friends of Libya gathered in one of the Doha’s finest hotels.

Libya was represented by National Transitional Council (NTC) Chairman Mustafa Abdul-Jalil and some of his deputies and associates, including Defense Minister Jalal al-Digheili. The Islamist Abdul Hakim Belhadj is also considered to be a leader of the rebel military forces. A fierce struggle for the top spots in the new government is underway.

Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Crown Prince of Qatar, attended the opening of the meeting. On October 26, one day before the Security Council passed its resolution, they finalized their earlier agreement that NATO should officially announce the end of combat operations in Libya. The meeting was lead by Gen. Hamad bin Ali al-Attiya, Qatari chief of staff and a relative of the emir. He told me that they had also suggested the date – October 31.

A new military coalition to help Libya

It was only after the victors tied up the loose ends that the issue was submitted for a vote at the Security Council. Important political decisions are no longer made in the UN, no matter how much China and Russia are trying to resist this or present it in a different light.

Some meticulous analysts have noted that at the very same meeting in Doha Libyan leader Abdul-Jalil declared for some reason that he would like NATO to continue its activities in Libya ‘at least up to the end of this year.’ Some commentators see this as a contradiction: the agreement was to wind down NATO involvement by the end of this month, and yet there is this suggestion that it could be extended.

This is not a contradiction. Abdul-Jalil (a former justice minister in the Gaddafi government) is not well versed in big time politics. He said what was on his mind and what is actually happening on the ground. NATO forces will remain in Libya at least to the end of this year and maybe even longer, even after adopting to the resolution. They will simply change the name of the operation and slightly alter the staff.

This would no longer be a NATO operation but a mission of the Friends of Libya coalition. Gen. Hamad bin Ali al-Attiya told me that it ‘will consist of 13 or more countries,’ led by Qatar. The United Arab Emirates will likely join. France, Britain, the United States and some other NATO members have already agreed to participate. So in reality NATO forces will continue to be geared towards Libya, although this won’t be so obvious to the public eye.

Moreover, the military officials that attended the meeting suggested to me that the aircraft of the partner countries may continue patrolling Libya’s air space. Libyans will be steadily adopting NATO standards in military training.

The allies are refining their mission as events develop. However, all participants in the meeting agreed that the war in Libya was not yet over. The Libyans talked at length about Gaddafi supporters that were still fighting, and the inability of the new leaders to protect the country’s land and maritime borders or put an end to arms trafficking.

To sum up, the war will continue for some time, and NATO will remain in Libya for a long time to come, even though it has achieved its main goal – the Libyan opposition and its friends from several dozen Western and Arab countries have ousted Gaddafi.

Yelena Suponina is a Middle East scholar and a commentator for The Moscow News. She filed this report for RIA Novosti from Doha, the capital of Qatar.


Portugal: NATO Military Committee Builds On Past Wars For New Ones


North Atlantic Treaty Organization
October 27, 2011

Military Committee visits Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Lisbon

Lisbon: The NATO Military Committee (MC), led by its Chairman Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, conducted their annual meeting with the Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Lisbon.

Discussions focused on ‘Lessons Learned of Yesterday to the Solutions of Tomorrow’.

Welcomed by General Stephane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), the ACT staff discussed with the MC lessons learned from current operations and the implications for training, exercises, capability development, and the NATO Command Structure, in order to draw a comprehensive vision of future requirements.

The Commanders of the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) and Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) contributed to the meeting by illustrating the ongoing work to make training more integrated and sychronized.

Following the discussions, the NATO delegation proceeded to Monsanto where they visited the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre (JALLC), NATO’s lead Agency for Joint Analysis, where the Commander, Brigadier General Peter Sonneby, briefed the Military Committee on the most important current projects.


NATO’s 2011 Afghan War Death Toll At 497


Pajhwok Afghan News
October 28, 2011

Foreign soldier killed in roadside bombing
By Mir Agha Samimi

KABUL: An International Security and Assistance Forces (ISAF) soldier was killed in southern Afghanistan on Friday, the alliance said.

The soldier was killed in a roadside bomb attack, an ISAF statement said, without revealing the servicemember’s nationality or the exact location.

Mostly, US, British and Canadian soldiers are deployed to the volatile south – the heartland of the Taliban insurgency.

A day earlier, coalition troops and Afghan police beat back an insurgent assault on a US-run base in Kandahar province. One Afghan interpreter was killed in the group attack.

Since the beginning of the current year, 497 foreign soldiers, including 396 US troops, have been killed in the country, where the NATO-led force lost 711 soldiers in 2010.


Pakistan: Huge Rally Condemns U.S. Drone Massacres


Xinhua News Agency
October 28, 2011

Huge Pakistan rally demands halt to U.S. drone strikes
By Muhammad Tahir

ISLAMABAD: A large number of tribesmen rallied here Friday to demand an immediate halt to the U.S. drone strikes in tribal regions.

Tribesmen from the North Waziristan tribal region marched on Islamabad’s main road leading to the house of parliament and chanted slogans against the United States.

They were holding banners and placards against the strikes by American spy aircraft in the tribal areas and described the CIA operation as a violation of international law.

The U.S. routinely fires missiles into Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal region…

The anti-U.S. rally was organized a day after two drone strikes in North and South Waziristan on Thursday killed at least 10 people…

Earlier, tribesmen from North Waziristan held a traditional Jirga, or council of elders, in Islamabad and they said in a resolution that the drone strikes were ‘killing innocent civilians.’

‘The Jirga takes note of the fact that the CIA, the secret service of the United States, is carrying out these drone attacks and that these attacks are coordinated through CIA officials operating from within and outside Pakistan, thus violating Pakistani and international law by intentionally killing Pakistani citizens,’ the resolution said.

Several tribesmen who lost family members also took part in the Jirga and the rally who recalled the miseries they are undergoing due to drone strikes.

17-year Saadullah, who lost his two legs in a drone strike, also attended the rally. He said three relatives were killed when a U.S. unmanned aircraft struck his house last year.

Karim Khan, who lost his son in a U.S. drone attack in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, now runs the campaign against the drone strikes and has also filed a case against the former CIA station chief in Islamabad for running the secret drone strikes operation.

Khan said that the majority of tribesmen are opposed to the drone strikes on their soil and said he will pursue the legal case against the United States.

A tribal elder from North Waziristan, Malik Khan Mirjan, told the Jirga that the infamous American Blackwater is using some Western-funded NGOs to disrupt peace in their areas. He said tribesmen would fight a holy war against the United States in Afghanistan if the drone strikes were not stopped.

President of the Tribal Union of Journalists, Safdar Hayat Khan, said that 70 percent of the people in the area, particularly women and children, have become psychologically sick due to drone strikes fear. He said the drone strikes have also caused the spread of different diseases.

A former Pakistani ambassador, Ayaz Wazir, told the Jirga that drone aircraft fly almost daily over the Waziristan region, creating panic among the people, especially women and children.

After the Jirga, the tribesmen started a procession and marched on the main road leading to the parliament house.

Chief of Tehrik-e-Insaf (Justice Party), Imran Khan, told the huge rally that U.S. drone strikes and military operations are actually creating and strengthening militants in the tribal regions.

He said Pakistan should quit the U.S.-led international coalition, stop military operations and take into confidence the tribal elders who are able to contain the militants’ activities.


Pakistan: NATO’s Unbearable Provocative Acts


Pakistan Observer
October 28, 2011

NATO’s unbearable provocative acts

After Admiral Mike Mullen’s tirade last month against the ISI created a diplomatic row, followed by a series of retractions, twists and clarifications often loaded with paradoxes, it appears that the United States is bent upon taking some sort of action inside Pakistani territory under the pretext of hot pursuit.

First US troops allowed militant attacks from the Afghan side of the border on our security check posts and on Wednesday NATO helicopters violated our airspace over North Wazirtistan

The intrusion of two helicopters several kilometres inside Pakistani territory coupled with other similar acts ring alarm bells and Pakistani authorities will have to understand these red signals.

American covert raids into Pakistan in the past, about a dozen since its invasion of Afghanistan, were kept secret by the Pakistani authorities to avoid strong public reaction.

In our view the statement of Admiral Mullen was a clear indication that the US was creating a justification to launch attacks in North Waziristan against alleged Haqqani network [personnel] and reports in the American media also quoted American intelligence officials arguing that more aggressive ground raids in Pakistan were necessary.

If that happens, it would be an unbearable provocative act and the Pakistani armed forces and the people would not tolerate it. No sovereign country would allow the boots of American troops on its soil, and a proof of that was the refusal of the Iraqi government to allow even limited US presence there.

A vast majority of Afghans are opposed to the presence of foreign forces in their country and the swelling ranks of Taliban are a proof of that.

The US had better see the writing on the wall and avoid indulging in provocative acts against Pakistan. Perhaps they are not aware that any breach of Pakistan sovereignty will further unleash extremist forces not only on this side of the border but in Afghanistan as well. Already Al-Qaeda and Taliban on this and that side of the Durand Line and other militant outfits have started joining hands to give a crushing blow to the Americans before they leave Afghanistan. Therefore we would suggest that Washington should avoid provocative acts against Pakistan, find a negotiated solution of Afghanistan for an honourable exit so that it could pay more attention to overcome its financial crisis.


U.S. And Iran: Might Is Right


Voice of Russia
October 28, 2011

‘Might is Right’
Boris Volkhonsky

-[N]ow that the Internet has proved to be a weapon no less powerful than air-strikes, and has been very fast and productive in overthrowing governments, it is hardly surprising that the administration is going to resort to virtual means in trying to deal with a regime they do not like.
-[As] the U.S. no longer has a deciding voice in the Security Council, the administration is ready to use alternative ways to achieve its goals – the main one being the change of regime in Iran, whether by means of a covert war or by a ‘virtual embassy’, the two being not much different from one another.

‘La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure,’ (‘The reason of the strongest one is always the best’) wrote Jean de La Fontaine in his ‘Le Loup et L’Agneau’ (The Wolf and the Lamb) fable. Or to put it into English, ‘Might is Right’. Something of the kind comes to mind when you try to look at the recent developments in U.S.–Iranian relations.

Two recent events require close attention. One is the hearing at the House of Representatives where some conservatives demanded that the Obama administration should take retaliation measures against Iran. The other one (or, rather, two) is the two interviews given by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Persian language services of the BBC and Voice of America.

The rhetoric used by this high-ranking member of president Barack Obama’s team and his critics may differ in wording, but is similar in its essence.

‘Why are we permitting Quds Force leaders who have been organizing this killing of us for 30 years to go around still walking around?’ The Los Angeles Times cited retired General Jack Keane speaking at a House subcommittee hearing. ‘Why don’t we kill them? We kill other people who are running terrorist organizations against the United States.’

He and his conservative fellows also urged Obama’s administration to wage a covert war against Iran and criticized the administration’s approach to Iran as not aggressive enough. Their suggestions ranged from limited cyber attacks to covert CIA action and unilateral U.S. raids.

‘The only way that I would argue that you are going to stop that type of mentality is that you have to convince them that you will escalate,’ said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer now at the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank. ‘You don’t want to run away from that war, you want to run towards it.’

Ms. Clinton in her interviews was overtly much less aggressive, but, to think of it, her proposals concerning U.S. policy towards Iran may be even much more far-reaching than a ‘covert war’ proposed by the administration’s conservative critics.

The core of her proposal was the establishment of a ‘virtual U.S. embassy’ in the Internet that would allow the U.S. to make contact directly with the Iranian people circumventing the Iranian government. Overtly, the proposal aims at giving more information to ordinary Iranians on U.S. visas and education and other programs. But isn’t it an open secret that any U.S. embassy is a hub of activities that cannot always can be called purely diplomatic? And now that the Internet has proved to be a weapon no less powerful than air-strikes, and has been very fast and productive in overthrowing governments, it is hardly surprising that the administration is going to resort to virtual means in trying to deal with a regime they do not like.

In this context only a few people in the U.S. really question whether there has been substantial evidence that Iranian authorities are in any way involved in the plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington. Most take the official reasoning for granted – and Ms. Hillary reiterated it in her interviews, saying, ‘I taught criminal law some years ago. It’s a very strong case. It certainly raises the right questions and I think it will be a successful case.’

So, before the suspects are convicted, and even before any evidence has been presented, the fate of the Iranians seems to be decided. And not only of the two alleged assassins, but of the ruling authorities as well. In clear violation of the presumption of innocence, the U.S. is only eager to bring the case to the U.N. Security Council, thus turning it into a courtroom with a pre-designed verdict and sentence.

While this is unlikely to succeed, since the U.S. no longer has a deciding voice in the Security Council, the administration is ready to use alternative ways to achieve its goals – the main one being the change of regime in Iran, whether by means of a covert war or by a ‘virtual embassy’, the two being not much different from one another.

The fact that the administration and its conservative critics, albeit in different voices, are basically demanding the same thing is also easily explainable. While the power struggle for both the Capitol Hill and White House is intensifying, he (or, she) who exposes more ‘bad guys’ and proposes the strictest measures, will have the better chances to win in 2012.


Denmark Contributes To NATO Military Build-Up Off Somalia


Xinhua News Agency
October 28, 2011

Denmark to deploy surveillance aircraft against Somali pirates

-Meanwhile, the Danish frigate Absalon is sailing again to the waters off the Horn of Africa with a crew of 150 to strengthen the NATO mission known as Operation Ocean Shield…

COPENHAGEN: Denmark will deploy one surveillance aircraft off Somalia’s coast in a bid to tackle piracy in the region, the Danish government said Friday.

From January 2012, the Challenger surveillance aircraft will assist in aerial patrols for an initial two-month period as part of a NATO coalition force operating…in the Gulf of Aden.

‘Other countries have aircraft there, but it is a gigantic nautical area,’ said Defence Minister Nick Haekkerup.

‘Therefore it is important to know where to place the (coalition’s) ships,’ he added, explaining the need for deploying surveillance aircraft.

The decision to deploy the aircraft was confirmed at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Danish Parliament on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Danish frigate Absalon is sailing again to the waters off the Horn of Africa with a crew of 150 to strengthen the NATO mission known as Operation Ocean Shield, said Danish news agency Ritzau.

The Absalon has already seen action in the region and its tour of duty is now extended by six months. Its arrival means there will be four international ships operating under Ocean Shield as of Nov. 1.

With the latest developments, the total number of Danish military personnel deployed in the Gulf of Aden operations rises to 190 persons, Ritzau said, marking a sharp increase in Danish counter-piracy initiatives.

Ocean Shield has operated since 2008, and been involved in several actions against pirates…


AFRICOM/Africa Partnership Station: U.S.-Led Eight-Nation Naval Exercise In Somali Basin


U.S. Navy
U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet
October 28, 2011

Exercise Cutlass Express
By Lt. Cmdr. Suzanna Brugler, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS, At Sea: USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) completed the inaugural at-sea portion of exercise Cutlass Express, in the Somali Basin region, Oct. 25-28.

Cutlass Express is an exercise sponsored by U.S. Africa Command, and focuses on addressing piracy through information sharing and coordinated operations among international navies.

The at-sea portion of Cutlass Express was a multinational communications exercise designed to improve cooperation among participating nations to increase counter-piracy capabilities in the waters off the Horn of Africa. In addition, this exercise is a branch of Africa Partnership Station (APS), during which Samuel B. Roberts was the training platform in the most recent edition of APS East that took place July through September of this year.

‘Exercise Cutlass Express was the culmination of all the relationship-building Samuel B. Roberts has facilitated in the East African region over the past four months while executing the APS mission,’ said Cmdr. Angel Cruz, commanding officer of Samuel B. Roberts.

Samuel B. Roberts’ role in Cutlass Express was primarily geared towards providing ship-boarding operation training to the eight marines of the Uganda People’s Defense Force who were embarked aboard the ship. The ship also had two ship riders from the South African navy who observed Cutlass Express and the day-to-day underway operations aboard Samuel B. Roberts…

The ashore portion of the exercise featured simulated civilian and military operations centers that seek to enhance both cooperation and capacity on the East African coast, which took place July 18-22. The weeklong table-top planning exercise paved the way for all that would happen during the recent at-sea portion of Cutlass Express.

Exercise Cutlass Express is yet another pillar that demonstrates U.S. and participant-nation commitment to regional stability and maritime security, with participating nations including Djibouti, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania, The Seychelles, Uganda and the United States…

Exercise Cutlass Express took place at sea in the vicinity of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Mombasa, Kenya, and The Seychelles with coordination among regional maritime operations centers. Samuel B. Roberts provided at-sea U.S. warship platform participation while several Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet staff personnel also participated as exercise planners and trainers.

Samuel B. Roberts is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate that is homeported in Naval Station Mayport, Fla., and is currently on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. Naval Forces Africa area of responsibility.

APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships…


Ambassador: U.S. Supports Kenyan Attacks Inside Somalia


Xinhua News Agency
October 28, 2011

U. S. says backing Kenya’s military operation in Somalia

NAIROBI: The United States said on Friday it has sold military equipment and offered logistical support and military training to Kenyan troops on a mission to flush out the Al Qaeda-linked militia group in Somalia, Al Shabaab.

‘We have been providing our assistance in an overt way through the Kenya Navy, Army and Air Force for long time and we will continue…, ’ U.S Ambassador in Kenya Scott Gration said during a courtesy call on Kenyan Defense Minister Yusuf Haji.

Gration, a retired major general of the U.S. Air Force, said in the Kenyan capital Nairobi that his government will continue supporting Kenya…

Earlier reports indicated that Washington shipped military equipment worth 45 million U.S dollars to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in June. The equipment included four drones, body armor and night vision communication equipment…

The remarks came amid reports last Friday of a U.S. drone attack which killed 44 Al Shabaab militia in the town of Ras Kiamboni, fueling speculation of the Washington’s involvement.


U.S. Plans To Shut Down ‘Rogue Websites’


October 28, 2011

US eyes blackout of ‘rogue websites’

New anti-piracy legislation placed before the US House of Representatives would allow copyright law to be used to close down websites. Sites such as Wikileaks would be vulnerable, sparking fears that the bill could be used to stifle free speech.

The bill, submitted on Wednesday, is called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and will be reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee on November 16.

If approved, SOPA will enable individuals or organizations claiming copyright to effectively block any website they suspect of infringing their rights. They would simply send complaints to advertisers, payment services, search engines and even internet service providers operating in the US, who would stop doing business with the site in question.

No court decision would be necessary, and third parties would be granted immunity from any reprisals resulting from their voluntary action against the alleged offenders. Not-for-profit websites would not be spared.

The lawmakers behind the ‘rogue websites’ bill say it would deal a blow to online pirates and producers of counterfeit brand products like designer fashion items or medicines, reports AFP.

‘The bill prevents online thieves from selling counterfeit goods in the US, expands international protection for intellectual property, and protects American consumers from dangerous counterfeit products,’ House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, said in a statement.

Howard Berman, a Democrat from California who co-sponsored the legislation, said it is ‘an important next step in the fight against digital theft and sends a strong message that the United States will not waiver in our battle to protect America’s creators and innovators.’

This stance is not shared by some human rights groups, however. The Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) says the House bill ‘raises serious red flags.

‘It includes the most controversial parts of the Senate’s Protect IP Act, but radically expands its scope,’ the CDT said in a statement. ‘Any website that features user-generated content or that enables cloud-based data storage could end up in its crosshairs.’

There are fears that the legislation could be exploited to gag political rivals. Recently, the controversial whistleblower website WikiLeaks had to stop publishing new leaks due to what they called an unlawful financial blockade by payment services and banks. The move leaves open the possibility of the US State Department copyrighting cables to give them protection under SOPA.


Greeks Fear Second German Takeover


October 28, 2011

Greeks wary of Germans bearing bailout gifts

Harsh austerity measures imposed on the Greek people are making them look to the past for unfavorable comparisons. Overnight, posters featuring Chancellor Angela Merkel dressed as a Nazi officer have appeared all over the capital, Athens.

Berlin’s interference in the Greek economy has caused people to make comparisons with Hitler’s occupation and destruction of the country 65 years ago. For many, Germany’s involvement in their affairs is pure meddling, while some have actually called on Germany to bail out Greece ‘on the grounds it owes Athens money for war atrocities in the past.’

And it’s not just the ordinary citizens who feel this way. Even the Greek Prime Minister, while claiming that the move has helped his country avoid ‘a national mortal danger,’ mentioned the national gold ‘taken’ by Nazi Germany during the occupation and never ‘returned.’

The deal, which will see half of Greece’s national debt written off, has infuriated the country’s people. That’s despite many economists calling it a last-ditch effort to stave off a Greek default on its sovereign debt – which is tantamount to bankruptcy. But opposition parties claim the $130 billion deal will put the country through ‘nine more years of collapse and poverty’.

Greek government officials who agreed to the belt-tightening moves have been portrayed in cartoons giving the Nazi ‘Sieg Heil’ salute. And Reuters news agency reports that German tourists flocking to ancient heritage sites are not receiving a warm welcome either. And despite the fact that protests in the country have cooled down, for many this is just the calm before the storm.

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