Tag Archives: NATO

Stop Being A Milk Cow

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Santiago, Chile

Just about every day now, a ‘crisis’ unfolds somewhere in the world as if carefully adapted from the pages of Atlas Shrugged.

It’s such a massive aberration and departure from the free market… yet amazingly enough, this elitist system of sociopathic narcissism passes as democracy– “rule of the people.”

The real irony is that the west, which fancies itself the paragon of modern, civilized society, has it the worst. Day in, day out, the developed world gets plundered and violated more by its kleptocratic leaders than any tinpot dictatorship. The stroke of genius is how well they masquerade their thievery.

milking 300x233 Heres a radical idea: stop being a milk cow

The US Senate, for instance, introduced a bill late last week to limit the amount that the Defense Department spends… on printing.  Never mind multiple front wars, unlawful invasions, and million dollar Tomahawk missiles… they’re focusing on the big picture: print costs.

Meanwhile, NATO forces continue waging war in Libya, now escalating the air campaign with supplemental rotary wing squadrons. When they introduce attack helicopters to the battle space, you can be sure that ground forces are not too far behind.

Needless to say, this all carries tremendous cost to taxpayers. To a normal person, the math is simple… each of us is forced to live within our means, and any deviation outside of that is quickly squashed by the credit market.

In the consequence-free environment of politics, however, costs are magically pushed forward to the distant future, while benefits and goals are muddled amid grandiose, unquantifiable platitudes like “freedom,” “security,” and “prosperity.”

It’s amazing that people demand more accountability from their favorite sports team. Any head coach who notoriously overspends a team’s budget and has no strategy for success other than eloquent speeches about “victory” and “sportsmanship” would quickly be shown the door…

… and yet, a political system in which malignant forces steal resources from the productive, waste the vast majority on folly, and redistribute the breadcrumbs in order to buy votes and maintain the status quo, is hailed as ‘rule of the people.’

Around the world, people are voicing their utter disgust with this system… in some places violently (Egypt, Syria), and in others at the polls (Spain, Finland). In either case, governments are reaching deep into their playbooks to maintain the status quo of kleptocratic elitism, including:

- sending government forces to open fire on their own people
- confiscating public and private pension funds
- banning protests and public demonstrations
- lying about secret bailout meetings
- conjuring villains to justify huge spending programs (like $150,000 body scanners)
- printing trillions of dollars and denying price increases
- fraudulently misstating macroeconomic indicators and sovereign balance sheets
- engaging in military conflict to distract the population at home
- eliminating financial privacy
- allowing police agencies to spy on their own citizens without a warrant
- imposing exchange controls and restricting the free flow of capital
- raising taxes, without warning, overnight

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Afgan People Protest NATO’s Killing Of 4 People Under Banner Of ‘War On Terror’

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by Jacob G. Hornberger

The angry protests currently taking place in Afghanistan provide a microcosm of the U.S. government’s entire foreign policy and so-called war on terrorism. Afghan citizens are protesting NATO’s recent killing of four people, including two women. NATO officials are saying that the four were terrorists. The Afghan people aren’t buying it. They are angrily contending that the four people killed were innocent.

An angry crowd of some 2,000 Afghans protested the killings. Afghan forces then proceeded to kill 14 protestors. That protest was followed up with another one yesterday in which four people were injured.

What better example of how the U.S. government has instigated and perpetuated the war on terrorism with its very own foreign policy of empire and interventionism?

Here1:16 PM 5/20/2011s how the game is played. The U.S. Empire kills someone in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere in the Middle East. The Empire exclaims, “We’ve killed a terrorist! We’ve killed a terrorist!”

But one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. The U.S. Empire is a military invader and occupier in that part of the world. Therefore, there are countless people who are trying to oust the occupier from that part of the world. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Few people like an occupier.

So, while the Empire looks upon people they’re killing as “bad people,” the locals oftentimes don’t see it that way. In fact, given the large number of people that the Empire has killed in Iraq and Afghanistan who had nothing to do with any insurgency, it is entirely possible that the four people they just killed weren’t doing anything to resist the occupation.

Regardless, the fact is that those 4 deaths have caused a lot of anger and rage, which produced the protests, which resulted in even more killing. That additional killing is certain to raise the anger and rage even more.

So, even if we assume that those 4 dead people were insurgents, the Empire is now faced with thousands of angry people, some of whom are likely to become insurgents or terrorists themselves.

Do you see why their war on terrorism is endless? They kill 4 people they say are terrorists and end up with 100 or so more terrorists to kill down the line. And when they kill those 100 terrorists, they’re faced with 1000 more from the people who become angry over those killings.

Do you see why they’ve been over there occupying those countries for more than 10 years?

Why, just last week NATO officials were apologizing for accidentally killing two children — a 14-year old boy and a 12-year-old girl — in separate incidents. They apologized because they said that they had no intention of killing the kids. They were accidentally killed as part of the Empire’s nighttime raids against terrorists.

Regardless of the reason for the deaths of those two kids, it is a virtual certainty that there are going to be people who are angry over their killing. Who wouldn’t be angry over the killing of two innocent children?

After all, consider all the anger and rage that boiled over when the U.S. Empire killed hundreds of thousands of children with its 11 years of brutal sanctions against Iraq. Consider the anger and rage that erupted when U.S. spokesman said that the deaths of those children were “worth it.”

That rage ultimately manifested itself in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993, the USS Cole, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and on the WTC on 9/11.

Thus, in the attempt to kill terrorists, the Empire kills two innocent children, which then produces more terrorists from the people who are angry over the killing of those kids.

It’s a never-ending process. Let’s face it: The U.S. Empire has become the greatest terrorist-producing machine in history. For every terrorist they kill over there, they produce 100 more to kill down the line. What better formula for ever-increasing military budgets than that?

I’ve got an idea: Let’s bring all the troops home and see what happens. If terrorists attack the United States, then we deal with them here, not in someone else’s country where children, wedding parties, and others are killed in the process of killing terrorists. At least then, the Empire’s perpetual terrorist-producing machine will have been dismantled.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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Qaddafi’s Son Killed In NATO Air Campaign

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised a plan to end the conflict in Libya, after leader Muammar Qaddafi attended a funeral service for his son, who was killed during NATO’s intensifying air campaign.

“What needs to happen now is for Qaddafi to immediately withdraw from power and to bring to pass his historical, human and moral responsibility,” Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul today, adding that he will propose the plan during talks inRome this week, without giving details. Past attempts to mediate a settlement have failed to make headway as Libyan rebels rejected proposals that didn’t involve Qaddafi’s immediate departure.

Several thousand people attended the funeral in Tripoli today of Qaddafi’s son, Saif al-Arab, 29, and three of his grandchildren killed in an April 30 NATO airstrike on the leader’s Bab al-Aziziya compound, the Associated Press reported. Anti-aircraft fire thundered in the background while mourners flashed victory signs and chanted for revenge, the AP said.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is enforcing a United Nations-mandated no-fly zone, has rejected a cease-fire offer from Qaddafi, saying his forces must stop attacks on civilians before it considers any truce. The insurgency since mid-February in Libya, which has Africa’s biggest proven crude reserves, has helped push oil prices up about 30 percent.

South Africa, which has attempted to broker a settlement to the conflict, said yesterday that attacks on leaders and officials would escalate tensions. Russia on May 1 accused NATO of a “disproportionate use of force” and called for an immediate cease-fire.

Rome Talks

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani will co-chair talks on Libya’s future in Rome on May 5. Representatives of Libya’s Transitional National Council, the interim authority set up by the rebels, will also attend.

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WikiLeaks: NATO Baltic Plan

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The latest US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks have shown NATO drew up plans to defend the Baltic states against the Russians.

According to the cables, the existing defence plan, which supposedly only covered Poland, was extended to include Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The leak shows the small countries lobbied for protection but were urged by the US to keep quiet for fear of upsetting Russia.

The move to defend the former Soviet republics came after relations had improved between the US and Russia.

The sensitive matter was hurried through after the Russia-Georgia war of 2008, when emotions and fears over Russian aggression were stirred up in the Baltic area.

According to one of the dispatches from the American embassy in Riga, Latvia, ethnic Latvians had become scared after the Georgia incident, thinking “this could easily be them.”

NATO’s top commander in Europe was purportedly responsible for drawing up the defence plans for Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, according to the leaked correspondence.

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Europeans Oppose NATO & U.S. Policies

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As leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization met in Lisbon, thousands met in the streets to protest their policies and very existence. At the root of many activists complaints – US policies.

While NATO leaders attempted to answer the question of why the Cold War alliance needs to exist in the 21st century, thousands of protesters took to the streets to make their response clear.

I think there is no place for NATO,” said Reiner Braun, a German organizer of the anti-NATO protest organizer. “I think there is no place for military alliances any longer in the world because you can’t solve any of the global problems with military, none.”

NATO members still trying to show they believe they can, introduced a “new” strategic concept for the first time this century, and rolled out a carpet for its one-time foe, Russia, in order to seek its help and try to put a new foot forward.

Together we’ve worked hard to reset the relationship between the US and Russia, which has led to concrete benefits,” said US President Barack Obama. “Now we are also resetting the NATO -Russia relationship. We see Russia as a partner not an adversary.”

Yet all of this talk does little to change the criticism of a military bloc, whose effectiveness and power has been challenged by a near decade long war in Afghanistan, that seems to only be getting worse.

Now in Afghanistan and other places in the world we are seeing the consequences of the lack of NATO’s ability to transform and adapt,” argued Dmitry Suslov, a political analyst with the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy.

Perhaps there is no better example of the international discontent over NATO and its policies than seen on the streets of Lisbon, where citizens came from all over Europe to protest the alliance and the goals being set at its summit.

We don’t want it, we don’t think it’s necessary,” said a protester of NATO. “[Portugal] is a country in crisis spending so much money, and it’s for war. It’s supporting war.”

What we’re calling for is withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and end to nuclear rearmament of Europe, and getting involved in a process of nuclear disarmament to bring about a more peaceful world,” said protester Jeremy Corbyn, also a member of the British Parliament.

When protesters talk about those tactical Cold War nukes in Europe, those belong to the US. When they talk about that mission in Afghanistan, that’s led by the US. And when they protest NATO, they’re protesting an organization led by the heavy hand of one member.

The US is trying to use NATO directly and indirectly,” said Suslov. “Directly in Afghanistan to fulfill American missions.”

It enables the us to do two things,” said Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington DC. “One to assure American people that threats they’re dealing with for example in Afghanistan are not just against the us, and that the US, while it’s still world’s greatest power is no longer a power that can do everything by itself.”

And while the US uses NATO for its purposes, so too do activists for their complaints.

I don’t want see a military alliance that will kill more soldiers, civilians and lead to a divided world,” said Corbyn.

But behind their protests are US policies. US policies brought to light in Portugal as much through am American President’s attendance, as through protest.

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Pakistan Supply Blockade Enters 10th Day — NATO Looses 150 Tankers

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by Syed Moazzam Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) — Almost 150 NATO oil tankers and supply trucks turned to ashes and at least 20 people were killed in Pakistan with 29 more containers burnt in a sixth terrorist attack on Saturday morning since the beginning of October.

Pakistan imposed a blockade on supply to the NATO trucks on Oct. 1, following an incursion by U.S.-led NATO gunship helicopters on Sept. 30 that killed three paramilitary troops at a checkpoint on Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the troubled Kurram tribal area in northwest Pakistan.

The Pentagon, NATO and the U.S. envoy in Islamabad have apologized on the incursion after an investigation this week that found NATO forces guilty. However, Pakistani foreign office stated that no decision on reopening the Torkham border in the northwest has yet been taken.

Earlier this week, Pakistani foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit told Xinhua in an interview that NATO supply blockade is put due to security concern and the borders will be reopened as soon as the situation is improved.

The fire that destroyed 29 NATO supply oil tankers at 1:30 a.m. local time Saturday morning at Mithri, in district Bolan of southwest Balochistan province of Pakistan, was still burning after nine hours, as only one fire tender was available in the remote area to fight the blaze, local sources told Xinhua.

A dozen of unidentified armed men riding four motorcycles fired a rocket and shot volley of fires at the NATO tankers, eyewitnesses and police said. No group has so far accepted the responsibility for the inferno, which also gutted four nearby shops as well, eyewitnesses said.

The convoy was on way to Afghanistan through Chaman at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, which is now partially open to NATO supply. The gates of the other entry point into Afghanistan, Torkham in the northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, remained shut on the tenth day.

In the first incident in October over 35 NATO tankers were burnt in Shikarpur in the southern Sindh province while two more were destroyed in southwest Balochistan province the same day. Two days later, 20 tankers were set ablaze in the garrison city of Rawalpindi near capital Islamabad.

In the third incident some two dozens were destroyed near Quetta, Balochistan shortly before over 50 tankers were torched to ashes in Nowshehra in the northwest on Wednesday. In June, one major attack on NATO supplies set fire on 60 trucks near Islamabad.

Disbanded Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had accepted the responsibility of all the incidents as Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq vowed to continue attacks on NATO supplies.

However, some local analysts rule out Taliban’s involvement in attacks on NATO convoys in Balochistan, as they believe TTP is not that influential in Balochistan as in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. However, analysts believe that different criminal groups including some Baloch insurgents might be involved in these attacks.

Although NATO claims that current block to its supply in Pakistan has not affected its over 140,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan fighting insurgency since ouster of Taliban government in 2001, its desperation exhibits that NATO has started feeling the heat of the blockade, local watchers believe.

Both NATO and Pakistan inked a controversial transit agreement in 2001 that allows “all kinds” of “customs inspection and tax free” supplies into Afghanistan. Local media reports suggest that the compromised agreement earns Islamabad some 1.5 billion dollars annually.

Over 70 percent of supplies and 40 percent of NATO’s oil needs in Afghanistan are being supplied through Pakistan. Some 7,000 contracted truckers with NATO-paid private security responsible for convoys safety are involved in the project.

Taliban started attacking NATO supply convoys in 2008. They turned the heat on the next year with the intensified operation by Pakistani troops to wipe out a seven-year-old insurgency in the rugged northwest tribal areas. However, with recent violation of Pakistani airspace, Taliban have unleashed a fury on NATO interests which still seems to be galloping unbridled, as local analysts speculate more fireworks in the coming days.
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NATO contractors attacking own trucks in Pakistan?

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tanker truck bombing

Nato supply convoys travelling through Pakistan to Afghanistan have regularly come under attack in the past, but following Pakistan's decision to block their route through the Khyber Pass, they now face an even bigger security threat.

Hundreds of tankers and trucks have been left stranded on highways and depots across Pakistan, with little or no security.

Taliban militants have regularly been targeting the convoys, even when they are heavily protected.

But many believe it is not just the militants who pose a security threat to the convoys.

The owners of oil tankers being used to supply fuel to Nato in Afghanistan say some of the attacks on their convoys are suspicious.

They say there is evidence to suggest that bombs have been planted in many of vehicles by the “Nato contractors” – individuals or companies who have been contracted by Nato to supply fuel and goods to forces in Afghanistan.

The contractors subsequently hire the transporters who then carry the goods.

Selling fuel

tankers sitting on roadside

Contractors say there is little of no security for the supply convoys

Dost Mohammad, an oil tanker owner from Nowshera district, said a Nato contractor had recently been caught trying to plant a bomb in an oil tanker.

Contractors say there is little of no security for the supply convoys
“This happened in the area of Paiyee, when he was putting the bomb under the vehicle.”

“At that time, a few men also opened fire on the tankers. The deputy later told the police that he had been told to plant the bomb by the contractor.”

Dost Mohammad said the contractor had apparently sold off the fuel first.

“Only 2,000 litres from the original 50,000 litres had been left in the tanker to cover up the crime,” he said.

Dost Mohammad said it is a win-win situation for the contractors.

“If an old vehicle is burnt, Nato gives them money for a new vehicle. In addition, they receive compensation for all the fuel lost as well.”

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We are very scared at the moment – we are an open target for the militants”

Israrullah Shinwari
All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association
But the Deputy Minister for Interior, Tasneem Ahmed, dismissed the transporters’ claims.

“We have no such information that the Nato contractors are themselves setting the tankers on fire,” he told the BBC.

“No such complaints have been lodged, to my knowledge.”

The BBC also spoke to a Nato contractor, who was similarly dismissive of the allegations.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said Nato insured all the goods being transported and the vehicles carrying them.

“Nato pays the premium and bears the relevant charges with the local companies who provide the schemes. The transporters are then reimbursed on the basis of their actual losses,” he said.

But he said the policies were only valid within Pakistan.

Driver arrests
But Nowshera’s police chief, Nisar Tanoli, had a different account of events.

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Khyber Pass

• Up to 80% of Nato supplies for Afghanistan pass through Pakistan

• Majority are driven 1,200 miles (1,931km) from port of Karachi to Kabul via Khyber Pass

• 1,000 container lorries and tankers travel daily through the pass to Kabul

• Khyber Pass is 53km long (33 miles) and up to a height of 1,070m (3,444ft)

• About 150 lorries go via the southern supply route through Chaman to Kandahar.

Talking to the BBC, he confirmed that at least two attempts to blow up oil tankers had taken place in the district.

“One took place in Paiyee, and the other in the area of Watak near Akora Khattak,” he said.

“In both incidents the tankers were parked in the area for a couple of days. During this time, bombs were made in nearby houses and then used on the tankers.”

He said the contractors were “in a hurry” to get a copy of the initial police reports into the incident and were “not interest in prolonging the investigations”.

“The insurance agents also showed up a few days later,” he said.

Mr Tanoli says the police carried on their investigations and the facts eventually came to light.

“We have now arrested some drivers and their helpers,” he said.

“The people behind them are not residents in the district, but we have issued warrants for their arrest.”

He added that there have been incidents in which fuel for aircraft has been sold off.

“The contractors later said it had leaked, or the tanker caught fire.”

‘Open target’
All, then, is not as straight forward as it seems, as far as the threat to the Nato supply route is concerned.

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Pakistan’s intelligence and security apparatus may be encouraging the attacks by looking the other way”

Security analyst
But despite these additional concerns, the main danger continues to come from the Taliban.

“We are very scared at the moment – we are an open target for the militants,” said Israrullah Shinwari, a spokesman for the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association.

“Since the blockade was enforced, we have 3,000 tankers stranded across Pakistan.”

“The blockade itself has cost us tens of millions of rupees in losses. This does not include the damages suffered in the attacks.

“The Taliban have openly declared they will target the tankers, but we have been provided with no security.”

Since 2007, the militants have destroyed or captured dozens of Nato transport vehicles, especially in the Khyber tribal region.

But a security analyst said the latest move was “tantamount to encouraging the militants to have a real go at the convoys”.

“The fact that government ministers are calling the attack an expression of public anger shows that some may just be payback,” he said.

“Pakistan’s intelligence and security apparatus may be encouraging the attacks by looking the other way. In fact, there are suggestions that agencies may themselves be behind some themselves.”

Additional reporting by Riffatullah Orakzai, BBC News, Peshawar

map showing supply routes and points of attacks

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