16 March 2012 — Stop NATO
- NATO Arctic War Games: Norwegian Military Aircraft Goes Missing
- NATO Attack Kills Pakistani Civilian; Four Others Arrested
- NATO Enhances Interceptor Missile System From One End Of Europe To The Other
- Georgia: U.S. Marines Lead Two-Week War Games
- Afghanistan: Pentagon Chief Inspects Georgian Cohorts
- Georgian Fatalities In Afghan War: NATO Cannon Fodder
- German Foreign Minister In Tbilisi: Georgia To Join NATO
- Gulf Cooperation Council Monarchies Close Embassies In Syria
- Argentina To Sue Over British Oil Exploration Near Falklands
- U.S., Azerbaijan, Kuwait Discuss “Global Energy Security”
- Eastern Mediterranean: NATO Naval Group Practices Low And High Intensity Warfare
- After Libyan War: Canadian Warship Charlottetown In NATO Mediterranean Maneuvers
- NATO Maritime Group Conducts Joint Operation In Morocco
- NATO Member Latvia’s Capital Hosts Waffen SS March
NATO Arctic War Games: Norwegian Military Aircraft Goes Missing
Xinhua News Agency March 16, 2012
Norwegian military aircraft missing, five on board
OSLO: A Norwegian military transport plane with five people on board was reportedly missing on Thursday en route from an airport in northern Norway to Sweden.
The Hercules aircraft, which was participating in the annual exercise coded Cold Response, did not land at Kiruna airport in Swden, as expected, the Rescue Coordination Center of North Norway was quoted as saying.
The rescue center got the message from Swedish air traffic service at 15:50 local time (1450 GMT) that the Hercules C130-J aircraft had not arrived as scheduled.
Contact with the transport plane was lost eight miles (12.8 kilometers) west of Kiruna, said John Espen Lien, a Norwegian military spokesman.
The aircraft took off from Evenes airport in northern Norway at 13:41 local time (1241 GMT).
Two aircraft and four helicopters have been sent to search for the missing Hercules plane. But a Sea King helicopter had to return due to the bad weather condition.
The Swedish Rescue Services was also engaged in the search and rescue operation.
Distress signal had been detected from the Kebnekaise mountain, said the Swedish news agency TT.
NATO Attack Kills Pakistani Civilian; Four Others Arrested
Dawn News March 15, 2012
Pakistani dies in firing by Nato forces Saleem Shahid
Sources said that five Pakistanis were on their way home from Helmand province of Afghanistan in two vehicles when Nato forces opened fire on them near the border village of Bibi Jan
QUETTA: A Pakistani man was killed in firing by Nato forces at a village on the Pak-Afghan border in the Chagai district on Wednesday. They also arrested four others and took them across the border.
Sources said that five Pakistanis belonging to the Chagai district were on their way home from Helmand province in Afghanistan in two vehicles early in the morning when Nato forces opened fire on them near the border village of Bibi Jan.
The firing left Saleh Mohammad dead. Nato forces arrested four Pakistanis who were travelling in the vehicles.
“They took four Pakistanis across the border,” sources said, adding that both vehicles were damaged in the attack.
The Pakistanis taken into custody were identified as Mohammad Raza, Syed Khalid Dad, Syed Rahim Noor and Mohammad Azam.
All of them belonged to the Bibi Jan village.
The sources said it was the forth incident of firing on Pakistanis in the border area of the Chagai district by Nato forces over the past one week.
NATO Enhances Interceptor Missile System From One End Of Europe To The Other
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Allied Command Operations March 14, 2012
ENHANCING NATO’S MISSILE DEFENCE
[T]he Netherlands decided to contribute to NATO’s Missile Defence system.
“From intelligence we know that now more than 30 countries have or are acquiring ballistic missiles. They do not pose an immediate threat, but in the long run it could become a threat and in order to be prepared for that, we think it is important that NATO develops ballistic missile defence capability and that the Netherlands participates in contributing to that capability,” says Pieter-Henk Schroor from the Dutch Ministry of Defence.
Contributing to collective defence
At the moment, NATO is developing the command and control arrangements for the Missile Defence System. Sensors and interceptors will be provided by nations or groups of nations through voluntary contributions. The national contribution of the Netherlands will be to upgrade four air-defence frigates with extended long-range “Smart-L” radar systems.
The new radar will form a part of the NATO missile defence architecture.
After modernisation it will be able to detect and track incoming missile threats at a distance of more than 1000 kilometres and pass that information to NATO’s air defence system, which can then conduct an intercept.
“All systems that are part of the ballistic missile shield are interconnected through networks. So they will be able to pass information and track data. Once the ship with the modernised Smart-L radar detects this ballistic missile, all the other systems and participants would be aware of that missile,” explains Dutch Navy commander Onno Boshouwers.
The cost to the Dutch government of modernising the Smart-L radar systems is between €100 million and €250 million: a significant amount in times of economic austerity. But according to Pieter-Henk Schroor it is considered as a smart investment for the Netherlands in the long term.
“We already have a long tradition in the Netherlands in working very closely together with the radar industry. This upgrade is also developed by a Dutch company and we hope that since we are the launching customer, maybe other countries will also decide to buy this system and then of course this will lower the cost.”
Although defence budgets are under pressure, the Netherlands still considers it important to invest in new technologies. This investment defends Dutch security and the security of its fellow NATO members.
Georgia: U.S. Marines Lead Two-Week War Games
Ministry of Defence of Georgia March 15, 2012
“Agile Spirit” 2012
-Black Sea Rotational Force 12 which is based in Rumanian city Constanta, is a rotational deployment of Marines to the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions, works with partner and allied nations and helps them build their military capacities.
The United States-Georgia combined military exercise “Agile Spirit” is underway at the Vaziani military base. Along with the military service members of Georgia’s 4th Infantry Brigade, more than 300 Marines from the Marine Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force 12 are participating in the drills.
“Agile Spirit” launched on March 20 and lasts for two weeks.
The focus of the exercise is to increase interoperability between the forces and exchange and enhance each other’s capacity in counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations, including small unit tactics, convoy operations, and counter-Improvised Explosive Device training.
“Agile Spirit” has become an annual exercise and supplements other elements of military partnership with Georgia, such as the Georgia Deployment Program, which is a U.S. Marine Corps program that prepares Georgian Armed Forces to deploy to Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force.
Black Sea Rotational Force 12 which is based in Rumanian city Constanta, is a rotational deployment of Marines to the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions, works with partner and allied nations and helps them build their military capacities.
Afghanistan: Pentagon Chief Inspects Georgian Cohorts
Ministry of Defence of Georgia March 15, 2012
Leon Panetta Visited Base “Shukvani”
-LTC Alexander Tughushi is undergoing a rehabilitation course in the United States, in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda…The Georgian military servicemen are participating in the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) mission under the US contingent in Helmand province.
Defense Secretary of the United States of America Leon Panetta visited Georgian troops serving in Afghanistan. The Pentagon Chief met with the Georgian servicemen of the 31st light infantry battalion at the combat outpost “Shukvani” in Helmand Province.
Leon Panetta expressed appreciation for the service of the Georgian troops in Afghanistan and read a letter from LTC Alexander Tugushi who commanded this battalion and was wounded in Afghanistan. “It has been an honor to serve with you. You are Georgian heroes…The Armed Forces of Georgia, serving together with international forces in Afghanistan, are making a large contribution.
“It is a great honor to serve shoulder to shoulder with the United States in one of the most troubled regions of Afghanistan,” the letter continued.
“Unfortunately, I could not complete my service with you. But I am proud of all of you – those who have fallen and those who continue to serve. You are all heroes who will go down in Georgian history.”
LTC Alexander Tughushi is undergoing a rehabilitation course in the United States, in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. The 31st Battalion has been serving in Afghanistan since November 2011. The Georgian military servicemen are participating in the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) mission under the US contingent in Helmand province.
Georgian Fatalities In Afghan War: NATO Cannon Fodder
The Messenger March 15, 2012
Little known about Georgian casualties in Afghanistan
High-ranking military officials regularly boast of Georgia’s participation in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. They emphasize that Georgia has the highest number of soldiers per capita among non-NATO member countries. But information about the cost of Georgia’s contribution – in human life – has been little discussed.
Since 2009, 15 Georgian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, with an unknown number wounded. Ruslan Meladze, Paata Kacharava, and Valiko Beraia were the most recent casualties, killed mere days after President Mikheil Saakashvili visited their base in Helmand province.
No additional information about how, when, or under what circumstances they were killed is available. Officials call these men heroes who sacrificed their lives for their country, but have not made clear what form of compensation their families will receive. We known that soldiers are paid fairly well for their service – a corporal receives 600-700 GEL per month in Georgia and 700 USD or more in Afghanistan – but we do not know what becomes of their families, financially, when a potential breadwinner is lost.
There is also a lack of information concerning the wounded. Details only appear when a high-ranking Georgian or NATO official visits an injured soldier in hospital. There are rumors that several Georgian soldiers wounded in Afghanistan are being treated at the Gori military hospital, but little is known about their identities or what happened to them.
…How can the current situation be explained when we supposedly have such transparency in Georgia? Some analysts suggest that such an approach shows that defense ministry officials do not analyze each and every case of wounded soldiers so as to prevent further casualties.
Today, there are 935 Georgian soldiers serving in Afghanistan. The Saakashvili administration plans to increase that number up to 2,000. Until recently, being deployed to Afghanistan was a voluntary decision made by each soldier; however, it has now become compulsory. As reports in the media suggest, soldiers who refuse to go to Afghanistan are fined and risk damaging their careers.
If Georgia is to continue volunteering its sons for war, the public must know exactly the consequences of that decision.
German Foreign Minister In Tbilisi: Georgia To Join NATO
Civil Georgia March 16, 2012
German FM Speaks of Ties with Georgia
Tbilisi: Germany supports Georgia’s “ambitious” European choice and will “actively advocate” for bringing Georgia closer to Euro-Atlantic structures…German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said during his visit to Tbilisi on March 15.
Westerwelle was in Tbilisi as part of his trip to three South Caucasus states during which he met with President Saakashvili, his Georgian counterpart Grigol Vashadze, representatives of civil society organizations and opposition parties, as well as Georgia’s ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze.
On Georgia’s NATO integration, the German Foreign Minister said that the 2008 NATO Bucharest summit decision that Georgia would become a member of the Alliance “continues to be our goal.”
“Democratic and institutional reforms are required in order to bring Georgia closer to NATO,” Westerwelle said. “We are now working on a new plan for Georgia’s Enhanced Connectivity with NATO. This will create new opportunities for promoting reforms.”
In this context he also mentioned Georgia’s participation in NATO-led operations in Afghanistan to which Georgia will become the largest non-NATO contributor of troops after bringing number of its soldiers there to over 1,600 this year.
“At the NATO summit in Chicago this May, we will pay tribute to this truly remarkable engagement,” said the German Foreign Minister, whose country contributes 4,800 troops to ISAF.
He said that Germany had good relations with Russia, “but that was never a reason” for Berlin “not to express clearly” support towards Georgia’s territorial integrity.
“There should be no doubt about territorial integrity of Georgia,” he said.
Gulf Cooperation Council Monarchies Close Embassies In Syria
Trend News Agency March 16, 2012
All six Arab Gulf states to close embassies in Syria
All six Arab Gulf states will close their embassies in Syria in protest at the year-long crackdown in the country, said Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) head Abdullatif al-Zayani early Friday, AFP reported.
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait took the step, he said, citing the regime’s “massacring its people, choosing the military option and rejecting all initiatives aimed at finding a solution to the crisis.”
Before this collective decision, two GCC countries – Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – had announced the closure of their missions in Damascus.
Saudi Arabia took the step Wednesday and announced the return of its diplomats from Syria, followed the next day by Bahrain.
Saudi Arabia, the Arab world heavyweight, has been highly critical of the Syrian regime. Last August, it withdrew its ambassador from Damascus and expelled the Syrian ambassador.
Its five partners in the council have done the same to denounce the “mass slaughter” committed by the regime.
Argentina To Sue Over British Oil Exploration Near Falklands
BBC News March 15, 2012
Argentina to sue over Falklands oil exploration
Argentina said on Thursday it intends to take legal action against British companies involved in oil exploration in the Falkland Islands. Their activity in the waters near the archipelago is illegal, said Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman.
In response, London said it supported the right of the Falklands to develop its oil resources.
The Falkland Islands are located in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean, in an area controlled by Britain, but contested by Buenos Aires.
U.S., Azerbaijan, Kuwait Discuss “Global Energy Security”
Trend News Agency March 15, 2012
U.S. satisfied with relations with Azerbaijan E. Ismayilov
Baku: Azerbaijani Industry and Energy Minister Natig Aliyev and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman have discussed global energy security and oil and gas projects in Kuwait, the Azerbaijani Embassy in Kuwait said on Thursday.
The meeting was held within the Third International Energy Forum and Fifth International Energy and Business Forum in Kuwait City.
According to the report, during the meeting held on the eve the parties highly appreciated the cooperation in oil and gas sphere.
Poneman has expressed satisfaction with the development of both political and economic relations between Azerbaijan and the United States.
Aliyev met with Kuwait’s Oil Minister Hani Hussein. During the meeting the sides discussed the potential between Azerbaijan and Kuwait in oil and gas sector.
Aliyev also invited Hussein to visit Azerbaijan.
Eastern Mediterranean: NATO Naval Group Practices Low And High Intensity Warfare
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Allied Command Operations March 14, 2012
NATO’S SNMG1 SUCCESSFULLY SIMULATES RESPONSE TO A MULTI-THREAT SCENARIO
-Before long, an incoming fighter aircraft is detected on the radar. The fighter fires a missile on the NATO warship which responds by launching a medium range surface-to-air missile. The hostile’s incoming missile is dealt with by the ship’s decoy launching system.
HNLMS De Ruyter, one of the ships currently sailing with SNMG1, tested her capabilities in an exercise scenario near Greece. The scenario mirrors the threats warships have to deal with in real life and is a mix of low and high intensity warfare.
March 7th, early in the morning, HNLMS de Ruyter arrives in a patrol area in the north of Crete, Greece. Intelligence reports indicate that the criminal cartel Kallista Inc. intends to organise an illegal shipment of weapons.
Kallista has two fighter aircraft at its disposal, both fitted with air-to-surface missiles. The cartel is willing to proceed with this shipment at any cost.
Commodore Ben Bekkering, the Commander of the NATO Response Force ‘Standing NATO Maritime Group 1? explains: “This multi threat scenario is an excellent training opportunity to maintain our readiness. All conditions are set to test and verify new tactics, procedures and techniques.” Cdre Bekkering is embarked on HNLMS de Ruyter and is supported by an international staff whose mission is to ensure the group’s coordination.
All of a sudden, a small smuggling boat is spotted by the radar operator and identified as hostile. The alarm goes off and within seconds, all battle stations are manned and ready. Almost immediately, grenades are launched followed by rounds of small-calibre artillery. The smuggling boat is neutralised but Kallista is expected to strike back anytime. Before long, an incoming fighter aircraft is detected on the radar. The fighter fires a missile on the NATO warship which responds by launching a medium range surface-to-air missile. The hostile’s incoming missile is dealt with by the ship’s decoy launching system. All threats have been neutralised. Kallista makes a final attempt with a low slow flyer but the Goalkeepers’ weapon system takes him out.
All threats were successfully treated. HNLMS de Ruyter’s commanding officer, Commander Sebo Hofkamp, concludes: “Today we have proven our capability and strengthened our confidence in procedures, equipment and each other.”
After Libyan War: Canadian Warship Charlottetown In NATO Mediterranean Maneuvers
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Allied Command Operations March 15, 2012
CHARLOTTETOWN PARTICIPATES IN NATO SURFACE EXERCISE
-HMCS Charlottetown embarked a ScanEagle UAV detachment for trials to assess its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities at sea, and to explore the feasibility of equipping Canadian warships with UAVs.
Nisida, Naples: Success in operations comes from skilful control of many moving pieces, and it takes time and training to master the skills of understanding, visualizing, describing and processing complex situations.
These skills were recently applied in the Mediterranean Sea as HMCS Charlottetown conducted a surface exercise (SURFEX) with the ships of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) during Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR.
With four ships from three different countries, one helicopter and one ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle, the SURFEX required synergy and cohesion to pull things together.
Another key element of the exercise was the ScanEagle UAV. “Once launched, the UAV acts as the long-range eyes of the ship,” said Lt(N) Ian Bilodeau, another of Charlottetown’s Above-Water Warfare Officers. “Although we are still conducting test flights, the UAV has the potential to open up the battle-space. My sensors in the Ops Room are limited by the line of sight, but with the UAV our range is greatly increased and we get a true bird’s-eye view of the situation.”
HMCS Charlottetown embarked a ScanEagle UAV detachment for trials to assess its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities at sea, and to explore the feasibility of equipping Canadian warships with UAVs.
Throughout the SURFEX, Charlottetown acted as the Surface Warfare Commander, carrying Commodore Ben Bekkering, commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1. “Charlottetown did an excellent job to bring together all the moving pieces throughout the scenario.”
HMCS Charlottetown is currently deployed on Operation METRIC, Canada’s participation in international efforts to enhance security in and around the Mediterranean Sea. Since mid-January, the Halifax-based frigate has been integrated into Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 and assigned to Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR.
story by Lieutenant (Navy) Jessica MacDonald PAO Charlottetown
NATO Maritime Group Conducts Joint Operation In Morocco
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Allied Command Operations March 14, 2012
NATO MARITIME GROUP COMPLETES PORT VISIT TO CASABLANCA
-On 22 October 2009, NATO and Morocco signed an agreement on Operation Active Endeavour.
Nisida, Naples: Standing NATO Mine Counter Measure Group 2 (SNMCMG2) recently completed a four-day visit to the Moroccan capital Casablanca as part of the 2012 Mediterranean Dialogue Programme of Port Visits.
From 8 to 12 March, the Group carried out courtesy calls, receptions, and also visited the Moroccan Navy training centre where Lt. Elias Togas from the SNMCMG2 Staff gave a presentation about the MCM Group, the Mediterranean Dialogue Programme and Operation Active Endeavour.
As the ships left port on 12 March Moroccan Fast Patrol Boat MMR AZOUGAGH joined the Group in a Passage Exercise (PASSEX): NATO and Moroccan ships successfully carrying out a leadthrough operation, maneouvering exercise, MCM operations and handline transfer marked a fitting end to the visit.
The Commander of Maritime Command Naples, Vice Admiral Rinaldo VERI carried out a visit to Casablanca in the same timeframe which gave him the opportunity to participate in the Force Reception as well as carry out an official visit aboard the SNMCMG2 Flag Ship. He met with the senior leadership of the Moroccan Navy.
On 22 October 2009, NATO and Morocco signed an agreement on Operation Active Endeavour.
NATO Member Latvia’s Capital Hosts Waffen SS March
Russian Information Agency Novosti March 16, 2012
Latvia’s Capital Riga Prepares for Waffen-SS March
RIGA: The Latvian capital of Riga prepares for a march on Friday to commemorate Latvian troops who fought on the German side in World War II.
The controversial march was earlier banned by the municipal authorities, but on Thursday a court in Riga ruled to overturn the ban and gave the green light for Waffen-SS veterans and their supporters to take part in the demonstration.
March 16 is Legionnaires’ Day in Latvia. Though not an official public holiday, parades in honor of the 140,000 men who fought in the Latvian Legion, combat units of the Waffen-SS, are held annually in Latvia’s capital.
Latvian President Andris Berzins said earlier that it was ‘thoughtless’ to consider former SS legionaries as criminals and instead called to pay respect to them.
Besides the veterans and their supporters, the march will also be attended by members of the parliament from the Visu Latvijai (All for Latvia) political party.
Last year, about 1,000 people, veterans from the Latvian Legion and their supporters, paraded a short distance through Riga.
Traditionally, the parade triggers an outcry from anti-Fascist activists and organizations.