Archive for April, 2015

MORE PROOF OF RUSSIAN WEAPONS USED IN UKRAINE

April 27, 2015

Toinformistoinfluence website on April 26, 2015, reported that Russia continues to deny supplying weapons to the “separatists”. Ukraine authorities, however, presented proof that Russia is supplying weapons. Excerpts below:

Representatives of the Military Cooperation and Peacekeeping Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine presented another proof of the use of Russian weapons in the territory of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts to Kyiv Association of Military Attaches.

Several days ago, a Ukrainian platoon defensive post near Zholobok village (located in Luhansk Oblast) was shelled by Russian aggressors, who used a 9M133 Kornet anti-tank guided missile system (NATO designation AT-14 Spriggan), specifically, the 9M133F-1 variant, armed with a thermobaric warhead.

According to the markings, the missile was manufactured in 2012 in Russia. These systems are used by the Russian Army. The Ukrainian Army does not possess them.

This report was published by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine at mil.gov.ua. The original photos of ATGM 9M133F-1 Kornet were posted on April 21 by Igor Gurchik on his Facebook page .

Ukrainian checkpoint #29, located near Zholobok village, which is controlled by the Russian forces, was attacked on April 18, 2015. Ten photos that are of a much better quality than the photos posted by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine can be found on the website that provided the information. The photos were taken by a Ukrainian soldier immediately after the attack, when the missile warhead was found.

U.S. TRAINS UKRAINIAN NATIONAL GUARD TO FIGHT RUSSIA

April 22, 2015

Washington Times on April 20, 2015, reported that about 300 U.S. service members began training soldiers in the Ukraine national guard…Excerpts below:

Members of the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade are beginning a six-month training rotation, called Operation Fearless Guardian, to provide training to 900 Ukraine national guardsmen on medical help and casualty evacuations, counter unmanned aerial vehicle tactics, counter insurgency and counter improvised explosive device skills, said Col. Steve Warren, Pentagon spokesman.

“As we’ve said for months, this latest training, which is as valuable in peacetime as it is in times of conflict, is to establish a professional force that protects and defends Ukraine’s people as well as the country’s sovereignty,” he said.

“It’s Russia that’s destabilizing Ukraine. They are the ones who are continuing to supply lethal weapons, they are continuing to send Russian combat forces into Ukraine, so I think really it’s the Russians who are destabilizing the situation in Ukraine,” he said. “This is training national guardsmen in national guard tasks.”

The training will occur in a Yavoriv training complex in western Ukraine, near the border of Poland. Since hostilities with Russian backed separatists are in the eastern part of the country, Col. Warren said participating in the training poses no danger to American troops.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO RAMPS UP IRAN RHETORIC

April 20, 2015

Washington Times on April 19, 2015, reported on Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, suggesting that as an oil-rich country, Iran does not seek uranium enrichment capability for energy, but rather for military might. (Associated Press). Excerpts below:

Sen. Marco Rubio polished off his first week as a 2016 candidate on April 19 by saying Iran could face war unless it abandons all hope of developing a nuclear bomb, offering a dose of tough talk days after congressional Democrats struck a deal with Republicans to give Congress a say over an emerging deal between the Islamic Republic and the White House.

The Florida Republican said the best way to thwart Iran is to leave unilateral and international sanctions in place.

“You combine that with a very clear demarcation to the Iranian regime. And that is this. If you cross this threshold, you will face military action on the part of the United States,” he told CBS’s “Face the Nation” program. “We don’t want that to happen. But the risk of a nuclear Iran is so great that that option must be on the table.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee cleared a calibrated approach to the ongoing negotiations last week, with Republicans and Democrats unanimously approving a bill that would force any Iran nuclear deal to be submitted to Congress.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, was more direct, saying the president is heading down a dead-end road with Iran, as Capitol Hill moves to have a say in the pact.

“I think Barack Obama’s deal is deteriorating before our eyes,” he told “Fox News Sunday,” adding there’s not a “snowball’s chance” the current deal would earn Congress‘ blessing.

Rubio, meanwhile, suggested Iran is an oil-rich country that does not seek uranium enrichment capability for energy, but rather military might.

“If we don’t do it, someone else will,” he said. “The Saudis are not going to sit there and watch Iran build a Shia bomb without a Sunni bomb.”

PUTIN’S END GAME

April 18, 2015

Washington Times on April 17, 2015, published a commentary by L. Todd Wood on Putin’s end game. Excerpts below:

From the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s reign, the West has been slow to recognize or admit the Russian president’s long-term intentions. Western leaders have underestimated him willingly at every turn.

Russia does not use force to remove a corrupt government, or an evil dictator, or to stop genocide; it uses force to take territory and expand Russian influence. Ukraine is a war to show other former Soviet republics that you do not ignore Moscow’s wishes.

The West should have seen this coming. If you read Mr. Putin’s words, his intentions have been clear, despite the false denials of Russian involvement in Ukraine. His statements about the tragedy of the fall of the Soviet Union or the use of the term Novorossiya are clear declarations of an agenda. Ukraine is not the end game; the agenda is much bigger. The goal is not to restore the Soviet Union, but to install a replacement entity. It is not communism, but an economic totalitarianism, an economic union that fosters Russia’s interests, or else. We are literally witnessing the creation of a new empire that wants to control all of former Soviet territory. This goal includes all of Eastern Europe, even countries which are part of NATO. President Putin simply does not believe that the West will stand up to his little green men, supported by Russian armor, in the Baltics, Poland or elsewhere.

To a Russian, military force is a natural, even inevitable tool for the state to use. It is something that has occurred repeatedly in their history. A leader deceiving the Russian people is also a natural thing.

Mr. Putin has been very patient in exploiting opportunities as they arise in Georgia, Crimea, East Ukraine, and elsewhere. However, with his military improved and his economy weakening, he has nothing to lose. He is emboldened by the West’s weak response. He will employ the same tactics, picking off weak targets, one by one. NATO members will not be immune. Estonia has a 40 percent Russian-speaking population. Perhaps they will need protecting at some point in the future. Poland has been an arch enemy of Russia for centuries. Perhaps somewhere down the road, as the Kremlin grows stronger, they will need to be shown the error of their ways as well.

And then there is Germany. Russia would like nothing less than to pull the German leadership toward the Russian economic vision. Mr. Putin completely understands how to pressure the German corporate and political structure with the threat of loss of economic growth and a cut-off in natural gas deliveries.

The point is, this conflict is not only about East Ukraine. Novorossiya is a stepping stone, one of the initial conflicts in a drive to rebuild a Russian empire. A drive to incorporate all of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics into a new commodity-driven, market-oriented, Eurasian economic and military powerhouse that could threaten the world as we know it. NATO be damned. The disintegration of the alliance will just be icing on the cake.

The sooner the West realizes Mr. Putin’s true agenda and takes the appropriate actions, the better off they will be.

RUBIO ANNOUNCES 2016 GOP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, VOWS TO RESTORE AND INVENT AMERICAN DREAM

April 14, 2015

Fox News on April 13, 2016, reported that Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio announced his 2016 presidential candidacy, asking for the chance to create a new American Dream and to be part of a new generation of leaders. Excerpts below:

“My parents achieved what came to be known as the American Dream,” said Rubio, a first-generation Cuban-American, at his official announcement. “But now, too many Americans are starting to doubt whether achieving that dream is still possible. … Yesterday is over, and we are never going back.”

Rubio becomes the third Republican senator to officially launch a 2016 White House bid.

“I announce my candidacy for president of the United States,” Rubio said in his announcement in Miami, one day after Hillary Clinton made public her campaign, officially establishing herself as the Democratic front runner for the White House next year.

The 43-year-old senator chose to make his candidacy speech at the Freedom Tower — the Miami landmark that was the first stop for tens of thousands of fleeing Cuban exiles during the 1960s and 1970s, for his announcement speech.

“It is truly a symbol of our nation’s identity,” said Rubio, who gained speaking momentum throughout his roughly 15-minute speech.

“In many countries, the highest office in the land is reserved for the rich and powerful,” he told hundreds packed inside the venue as the temperature outside climbed to 87 degrees. “But I live in an exceptional country where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege.”

Rubio is hoping to make inroads with groups that have long eluded Republicans — including young people, minorities and the less affluent.

He spoke briefly in Spanish during his speech, honoring his late father.

He appeared to see an opportunity to cast the presidential contest as one between a fresh face representing a new generation of leadership and familiar faces harking back decades — namely, the 62-year-old Bush and the 67-year-old Clinton.

“Too many of our leaders and their ideas are stuck in the 20th century,” he said. “The time has come for our generation to lead the way toward a new American century.”

The first-term senator has in recent months outlined specific policy proposals on foreign and domestic issues.

…he repeated the call to repeal ObamaCare, backed school choice, vowed to protect the lives of the unborn, re-establish America’s support for Israel and called out Cuba and Venezuela for human rights violations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ESTONIA’S PRESIDENT URGES NATO TO SEND TROOPS TO DEFEND HIS COUNTRY

April 12, 2015

The Telegraph, London, on April 11, 2015, published an interview with Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves telling the newspaper that the time has come for Nato to deter Russia by permanently stationing combat units in the Baltic states. The interview has also been published by toinformistoinfluence.com. Excerpts below:

The most sensitive border in Europe lies 130 miles east of Estonia’s elegant presidential palace. Elsewhere, the threat posed by Russia might seem academic or even alarmist, but for President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the possibility of Estonia becoming the epicentre of the world’s next crisis is very real.

As the smallest Baltic state – and the one possessing the longest frontier with Russia – Estonia is arguably the most exposed country in Europe.

But if the Kremlin were to invade this nation of 1.3 million people in the way it has dismembered Ukraine, the consequences would be infinitely more perilous. Estonia joined Nato 11 years ago – as such, every country in the Atlantic Alliance, including America and Britain, would be obliged to go to war in its defence.

The frontier with Russia…also amounts to a nuclear tripwire. And yet not a single American or Nato soldier is currently defending that border.

“We have observed a dramatic increase in military flights,” he says. “We have seen massive snap exercises at our borders. We have seen a heightened level of antagonistic rhetoric and threatening rhetoric where Estonia is not singled out, but we are part of a group of countries who are mentioned in a threatening way.”

…Nato in 1997 signed a “founding act” with Russia stating that no combat troops would be permanently stationed east of Germany “in the current and foreseeable security environment”. In the face of every Russian provocation and threat, Nato is still observing that self-denying ordinance. One company of US infantry, consisting of 150 soldiers, is the sole contingent of Nato troops currently in Estonia – and they are only here temporarily.

Mr Ilves believes the time has come for Nato to point out that the “security environment” has indeed changed since 1997 and permanently deploy at least a brigade in the Baltic states.

“We get exercises that take place behind our borders that have 40,000 to 80,000 soldiers. Yet we are accused of escalating the situation – or the United States is accused because they are the only ones with boots on the ground here – and Russia says that it will have to take counter-measures.”

Despite conscription and a defence budget exceeding Nato’s target of two per cent of national income, Estonia’s army has only 5,300 soldiers. Like the other Baltic states, Estonia does not possess any jet fighters, so it relies entirely on Nato to guard its airspace. Last year, the alliance quadrupled the strength of its Baltic Air Policing Mission – but only from four to 16 warplanes. Russia, meanwhile, possesses 230,000 troops and 1,200 combat aircraft.

In the event of an invasion, Mr Ilves believes that Russia would try to seal off the Baltic states before Nato’s “very high readiness” force had a chance to arrive.

Hence the importance of Nato stationing at least a brigade now, as well as pre-positioning equipment and headquarters staff. Estonia is spending £30 million on barracks for allied troops, but without knowing whether they will actually show up on a permanent basis.

Mr Ilves, 61, has been Estonia’s president for almost a decade. During the Cold War, he lived in exile in America and worked for Radio Free Europe.

Does the West have the same resolve that it showed during the Cold War? “I’m not convinced,” he replies. “There was a certain moral clarity before that is now, I would say, falling apart.”

Last year, the National Front in France accepted a loan from a Russian bank, apparently in exchange for supporting the Kremlin’s seizure of Crimea. “We have the rise of extreme Right-wing parties that are either funded directly by Russia, or are highly pro-Russia,” adds Mr Ilves. “There is a difference between the moral fibre, backbone, conscience of countries regarding Soviet behaviour in the 1980s that today is missing when it comes to Russian behaviour.”

Mr Ilves believes Europe and USA should go further by supplying Ukraine with “defensive” weapons, such as Javelin anti-tank missiles.

“Diplomacy between a powerful, victorious army and a side that’s losing doesn’t really work well,” he says. “You’re being attacked with modern weaponry, you need modern weaponry to defend yourself, otherwise you’re going to be overrun.”

Mr Ilves is equally adamant Britain must keep its nuclear deterrent. “Don’t get rid of it,” he says, adding that Britain should “maintain its nuclear capability in whatever form it wishes to”.

Abandoning Estonia to Russia would mean the death of Nato, so Mr Ilves feels sure it will not be allowed to happen. “As soon as one country is left on its own, no country will feel secure after that,” he says. “This is why I’m confident – because it’s all self-interest.”

SENATOR RUBIO: OBAMA HAS BEEN A ‘WEAK PRESIDENT’

April 11, 2015

Washington Times on April 10, 2015, reported that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said that President Obama does not grasp that a strong defense — on both the national and individual level — is a mean of protecting from violence, not promoting it. Excerpts below:

“Weakness, on the other hand is the friend of danger and enemy of peace,” Mr. Rubio said during his speech at the annual National Rifle Associated meeting. “President Obama has been a weak president.”

Mr. Rubio is expected to announce on April 13 at the Freedom Tower in Miami that he is running for the GOP nomination for president.

“The hard truth is that when America steps back there is simply not a nation willing or able to fill the void of global leadership and the result is chaos — chaos that manifests itself in regional turmoil, violent extremism, dangers to our people and our global economy,” Mr. Rubio said. “Anybody who sees the presidency must recognize that in this century there is no such thing as a remote problem.”

SOUTH KOREAN ACTIVIST LAUNCHES BALLOONS WITH THE MOVIE ‘THE INTERVIEW’ TO NORTH KOREA

April 8, 2015

Fox News on April 8, 2015, published an AP report on a South Korean activist saying that he launched balloons carrying thousands of DVDs of a movie depicting a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un across the border into North Korea. Excerpts below:

Lee Min-bok said he had launched balloons carrying “The Interview” four times from South Korean border towns, most recently on April 4. Lee says his balloons also contained bundles of dollar bills and political leaflets criticizing Kim’s government and highlighting South Korea’s economic prosperity in hopes of inspiring North Korean people to resist the leadership in Pyongyang.

North Korea considers leaflets an attack on its government and has long demanded that South Korea ban activists from sending them.

Lee said he will continue to try to send the balloons into North Korea, saying the leaflets are an important source of outside information for North Koreans that could increase any demands for change.

WHO KILLED PATRICE LUMUMBA?

April 7, 2015

Wall Street Journal on April 3, 2015, published a review of Emmanuel Gerad’s and Bruce Kuklick’s book Death in the Congo, Harvard, 276 pages. Africa’s post-independence landscape is littered with thwarted hopes.

On the shoulders of an emergent generation of African leaders countless aspirations rested, only to be denied in the months and years following European colonial retreat. Nowhere in Africa did the forces of neocolonialism, the Cold War, local politics and the United Nations coalesce to shatter independence reveries so brutally as in the former Belgian Congo. Excerpts below:

At the center of this drama stood, for a brief time, Patrice Lumumba. Taking office in June 1960, he lasted but 12 weeks as his new nation’s first democratically elected prime minister before being deposed in a coup, then killed four months later.

Only a few facts about his end are known for certain. On Jan. 17, 1961, Lumumba and his political allies, Maurice Mpolo and Joseph Okito, were driven in darkness to a remote village in Katanga, a mineral-rich province that had seceded only weeks after Lumumba’s inauguration, prompting a panicked Belgium to send peacekeeping troops to protect its interests. In the village an African firing squad awaited the men. Two Belgian police officials gave the orders to shoot. Gunned down, the bodies of Lumumba, Mpolo and Okito were rolled into a shallow ditch thick with the rainy season’s red earth.

But the specter of discovery haunted those with blood on their hands. The bodies…were soon disinterred and buried again near the border of Rhodesia. Eventually the rotting corpses were again unearthed, this time to be hacked to pieces and dissolved in sulfuric acid. The bits that remained were put to flame.

Sorting through Lumumba’s ashes and those of the postcolonial Congo has been the subjects of intense and fraught debate. Over a decade ago, the Belgian writer Ludo De Witte dropped a bombshell with his book, The Assassination of Lumumba. Indicting towering figures in the international community, he left few unscathed—including the former secretary-general of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld, whom he accused of supporting Belgium’s neocolonial interests and playing a decisive role in the overthrow of Lumumba. Mr. De Witte’s demonstration of Belgium’s complicity in Lumumba’s fate prompted a parliamentary inquiry in Brussels, with a subsequent official apology.

In Death in the Congo: Murdering Patrice Lumumba, Emmanuel Gerard and Bruce Kuklick open a wide aperture onto one of the most charged historical whodunits of the 20th century…it lays bare the entangled international actors that conspired to seal Lumumba’s fate and that of the independent Congolese nation: Belgium and its King Baudouin, whose predecessor Leopold II had established one of the most violent and exploitative colonial regimes in the Congo in the late 1800s; the Eisenhower administration, which was worried about Lumumba’s communist leanings; Hammarskjöld and the U.N.; and an array of anti-Lumumba Congolese politicians.

Drawing on an array of archival sources, Messrs. Gerard and Kuklick examine Lumumba’s assassination as a process—often disorganized and duplicative—rather than an event.

Messrs. Gerard and Kuklick are at their historical best when assessing the international interests that attempted to emasculate the Congo’s prime minister and weaken him into compliance with the West. When such tactics failed, whispers of elimination in the corridors of Brussels and Washington morphed into direct orders.

At issue was Belgian pride, Cold War politics and the hubris of the United Nations. The mandarins in Brussels, outraged at the affront to their nation’s king, scarcely imagined letting go of the Congo and its mineral wealth.

Lumumba had to go. In a decisive National Security Council meeting, according to one source, Eisenhower gave “an order for the assassination of Lumumba. There was no discussion; the meeting simply moved on.

Messrs. Gerard and Kuklick’s “joint accountability” assessment extends to the U.N. The much-beloved Hammarskjöld is taken to task equally for his duplicity and ambiguous Congolese policies. The authors ably demonstrate how, when push came to shove, the secretary-general backed Lumumba’s Congolese usurper and was as complicit in the prime minister’s assassination as were his American and Belgian counterparts.

Death in the Congo is a riveting account, though at times its worm’s-eye perspective undermines the analytic drama. Written in an old-school style of diplomatic history, the book largely overlooks the larger, l ongue durée issues that plagued Congo both before and after independence. Death in the Congo [also] fails to situate fully the events leading up to the assassination in historical perspective. Moreover, the authors’ understandings of race and colonial and postcolonial violence oscillate between naïve and offensive.

Ultimately, Lumumba’s torturous fate was not unlike tens of thousands of others in Belgium’s one-time colony. The Congo was a nation birthed from a cauldron of neglect, violence and exploitation of the highest order.

US WEATHER UNDERGROUND BOMBER UNMASKED – AS CITY SCHOOLTEACHER

April 1, 2015

Fox News on March 29, 2015, published a New York Post article on a leftwing American 1960s and 1970s terrorist. The “bomb guru” for the terrorist group the Weather Underground never served a day in jail — but he did spend decades teaching in New York City classrooms, a new book reveals. Excerpts below:

Ronald Fliegelman built explosives for the Weather Underground, a far-left group that launched a domestic bombing campaign in the 1960s and ’70s, including one explosion inside NYPD headquarters.

But when the group dissolved, Fliegelman managed to safely fade away into the square life. For 25 years, he worked as a public special-education teacher, retiring to a quiet life in Park Slope, Brooklyn, according to “Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence” (Penguin Press).

“Ron is proud of what he did,” the author Bryan Burrough told The Post.

The Weather Underground first organized in 1969 as a splinter of the Revolutionary Youth Movement within the ’60s protest group Students for a Democratic Society.

Under the leadership of co-founder Bill Ayers — who went on to become a University of Illinois professor whose political relationship with then-candidate Barack Obama was scrutinized during the 2008 presidential campaign — the group also pushed for a sexual revolution.

Their slogan? “Smash monogamy.”