Germany’s BND foreign intelligence service spied on the FBI and U.S. arms companies, a public radio station in the country disclosed Wednesday. Continue reading
- Hamburg city officials say that owners of vacant real estate have refused to make their property available to the city on a voluntary basis, and thus the city should be given the right to take it by force.
- “The proposed confiscation of private land and buildings is a massive attack on the property rights of the citizens of Hamburg. It amounts to an expropriation by the state [and a] “law of intimidation.” — André Trepoll, Christian Democratic Union.
- “If a property is confiscated… a lawsuit to determine the legality of the confiscation can only be resolved after the fact. But the accommodation would succeed in any event.” — Tübingen Mayor Boris Palmer.
- Officials in North Rhine-Westphalia seized a private resort in the town of Olpe to provide housing for up to 400 migrants
- “I find it impossible to understand how the city can treat me like this. I have struggled through life with grief and sorrow and now I get an eviction notice. It is a like a kick in the stomach.” — Bettina Halbey, 51-year-old nurse, after being notified that she must vacate her apartment so that migrants can move in. Continue reading
Uncertainty surrounded a 262-truck “aid convoy” on Wednesday that appeared to grind to a halt before reaching the border
The convoy, which departed from an army base near Moscow on Tuesday, appeared to vanish on Wednesday, adding to confusion surrounding the route and purpose of the cargo.
Last seen in the city of Voronezh, 300 miles south of Moscow, on Tuesday, the convoy never reached the border near the Russian city of Belgorod that the Russian foreign ministry said it would use.
Rumours that the convoy had headed south from Voronezh to cross the border directly into rebel-held territory – a move that would be viewed by Kiev as tantamount to a declaration of war – could not be substantiated.
Russian state television initially reported the convoy to be en route to Belgorod. But journalists waiting at the Pletenivka checkpoint, on the Ukrainian side of the border where Russia had said the convoy would cross, saw no sign of the vehicles. Continue reading
Moscow: An enormous Russian convoy of about 280 trucks carrying humanitarian aid has left Moscow for south-eastern Ukraine, Russian television and news agencies reported on Tuesday.
Television reports showed a long line of tractor-trailers stretched along a road. A Russian Orthodox priest was shown sprinkling the trucks with holy water before their departure. Many of the vehicles were draped in huge banners reading “humanitarian aid” in Russian, along with the double-headed eagle of Russia and its white, blue and red flag.
NTV, a Russian state channel, quoted drivers as saying that it would take a few days for the entire column to reach the intended crossing point on the Russian-Ukrainian border, which is roughly 965 kilometres south of Moscow. Continue reading
As previously discussed here.
President Vladimir Putin said on Monday Russia is sending an aid convoy to eastern Ukraine despite urgent Western warnings against using humanitarian help as a pretext for an invasion.
With Ukraine reporting Russia has massed 45,000 troops on its border, NATO said there was a “high probability” that Moscow could intervene militarily in the country’s east, where Kyiv’s forces are closing in on pro-Russian separatists.
Western countries believe that Putin – who has whipped up the passions of Russians with a nationalist campaign in state-controlled media since annexing Crimea from Ukraine in March – could now send his forces into the east to head off a humiliating rebel defeat. Continue reading
While the Swiss call to take up arms, the Red Cross independently through its own observations, now echos the sentiment and prospect of violent riots taking place throughout Europe, sparked by economic fallout.
Millions of Europeans who were relatively prosperous, now so difficult to get food on the table, that Europe must be prepared for popular uprisings similar to those in North Africa.
The conclusion one is reached the International Red Cross because of the economic crisis in the EU.
The world’s largest humanitarian organization is therefore to establish a strategy for the first time in recent history to equip especially the Red Cross in southern Europe to to handle deep distress and conflict on an unprecedented level. Continue reading
One one occasion following my flight to the West I was present at some large-scale military manoeuvres in which the armies of many Western countries took part. The standard of battle training made a very favourable impression on me. I was particularly impressed by the skilful, I would even say masterly, way the units camouflaged themselves. The battle equipment, the tanks and other vehicles, and the armoured personnel carriers are painted with something that does not reflect the sunlight; the colour is very cleverly chosen; and the camouflaging is painted in such a way that it is difficult to make out the vehicle even at a short distance and its outline mixes in with the background. But every army made one enormous mistake with the camouflaging of some of the vehicles, which had huge white circles and red crosses painted on their sides. I explained to the Western officers that the red and white colours were very easily seen at a distance, ,and that it would be better to use green paint. I was told that the vehicles with the red cross were intended for transporting the wounded, which I knew perfectly well. That was a good reason, I said, why the crosses should be painted out or made very much smaller. Please be human, I said. You are transporting a wounded man and you must protect him by every means. Then protect him. Hide him. Make sure the Communists can’t see him.
In the last war the Communists did not respect international conventions and treaties, but some of their enemies, with many centuries of culture and excellent traditions, failed equally to respect international laws. Since then the Red Army has used the red cross symbol, painted very small, as a sign to tell its own soldiers where the hospital is. The red cross needs only to be visible to their own men. The Red Army has no faith in the goodwill of the enemy.
International treaties and conventions have never saved anybody from being attacked. The Ribbentrop-Molotov pact is a striking example. It did not protect the Soviet Union. But if Hitler had managed to invade the British Isles the pact would not have protected Germany either. Stalin said quite openly on this point: ‘War can turn all agreements of any kind upside down.’ (Pravda, 15 September 1927.)
The Soviet leadership and the Soviet diplomatic service adopt a philosophical attitude to all agreements. If one trusts a friend there is no need for a treaty; friends do not need to rely on treaties to call for assistance. If one is weaker than one’s enemy a treaty will not be any use anyway. And if one is stronger than one’s enemy, what is the point of observing a treaty? International treaties are just an instrument of politics and propaganda. The Soviet leadership and the Soviet Army put no trust in any treaties, believing only in the force that is behind the treaties.
Thus the enormous red cross on the side of a military vehicle is just a symbol of Western naivete and faith in the force of protocols, paragraphs, signatures and seals. Since Western diplomats have signed these treaties they ought to insist that the Soviet Union, having also signed them, should explain to its soldiers, officers and generals what they contain, and should include in its official regulations special paragraphs forbidding certain acts in war. Only then would there be any sense in painting on the huge red crosses.
The red cross is only one example. One needs constantly to keep in mind what Lenin always emphasised: that a dictatorship relies on force and not on the law. ‘The scientific concept of dictatorship means power, limited in no way, by no laws and restrained by absolutely no rules, and relying directly on force.’ (Lenin, Vol. 25, p. 441.)
Why put up the red cross or sign treaties when history has shown us that the Soviet Union has never cared about either? The last world war was not the first time that they have disregarded these.
Adding a signature to a treaty means nothing to them but a means to an end. They know America will always (and also foolishly as a demonstration of moral strength) take the “high road” in painting a red cross and abide by it.
In their eyes, it’s a sign of weakness and we’re outright extending our Achilles Heel to them. This is nothing short of rolling out the red carpet and an invitation for the Soviets.
We are literally handing them a weakness to exploit.
New State Dept. report suggests working toward elimination of nuclear weapons
A State Department advisory board report made public Tuesday shows that the Obama administration is studying cuts in U.S. strategic arsenals to “very low” levels and ultimately eliminating nuclear arms.
The advisory board, headed by former Defense Secretary William Perry, reflects themes promoted by liberal arms control and disarmament officials in the administration and calls for a new U.S. nuclear doctrine dubbed “mutual assured stability” based on better relations with Russia.
The current nuclear doctrine is “mutual assured destruction,” in which both the United States and Russia maintain balanced nuclear forces that threaten the destruction of cities and nuclear forces to deter a nuclear war.
Another concept examined by the board was working to create a future that is “a cooperative world of ‘increased transparency and trust’ without ‘adversarial challenges’ in which [nuclear deterrence] is no longer necessary.”
The report said that the cooperative world scenario “may be unrealistic to achieve in an acceptable timeframe” and focused instead on how to cut nuclear arsenals.
The report calls for conciliatory policies toward Russia and dialogue involving “cooperative security” efforts designed to reduce the risk of a nuclear conflict.
The report also mentions one potentially destabilizing result of deploying a very small nuclear force as “nuclear forces, albeit progressively smaller in size, but not adequately sized and maintained, and with a force structure and posture not appropriately tailored for circumstances and uncertainty.” It also warns that there are risks that reducing nuclear arms will undermine U.S. nuclear deterrence provided to allies in Asia and Europe.
Russia’s government in recent months has issued threats to conduct preemptive attacks on U.S. missile defenses in Europe as a result of plans for building European defenses.
Moscow for several years has demanded legally binding restrictions on U.S. missile defenses, a position rejected so far by the Obama administration.
The president’s open-microphone promise to Russia’s leader of “more flexibility” after his presumed reelection has raised concerns among national security Republicans about future talks with Russia.
Russian strategic nuclear bombers also recently conducted air defense identification zone incursions near Alaska and California and a Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine was said by U.S. officials to have sailed undetected in the Gulf of Mexico.
The State Department report joins a separate Pentagon study called the Nuclear Posture Review implementation that is also examining deep cuts in nuclear warhead levels. Officials familiar with the study say it is looking at cutting U.S. deployed warheads to as few as 300 warheads—smaller than China’s current arsenal. Other levels in that study include a force of some 800 warheads or around 1,000 warheads.
Under the 2010 U.S.-Russia New START treaty, deployed warhead levels will be cut to 1,550, a level U.S. Strategic Command officials have said is what is needed to maintain nuclear deterrence against Russia and other nuclear states.
The board report also recommended downgrading the nuclear threat from Russia by changing doctrine and posture “away from defining our nuclear posture based on perception of Russia as the primary threat, toward a doctrine of general deterrence, a posture in which attacks from any direction are discouraged, without singling out a particular adversary or enemy.”
The report also called for greater “clarity and assurance” with Russia to build trust through sharing launch data, providing advance notice of new weapons, declaring fissile material stocks, and working to develop a response to the use of a nuclear weapons some place in the world.
Full article: State Dept. Advisers: Let’s Cut Nukes Some More (Washington Free Beacon)