Thursday, March 12, 2015

'Is It Time To Prepare For War'?, Franklin Graham: 'An Anti-Christ Movement' Has Begun, Germany-NATO in First Open Conflict

Another timely article from Zero Hedge:

[The entire article is worth reading (obviously long as the quotes below represent just part of the article]

Despite Western claims, it is highly unlikely Russia has yet moved heavy equipment and troop concentrations across the Ukraine border  -- because if they had, you’d for sure  have seen pictures.  Endless pictures of those troops and equipment on TV, morning, noon and night.  You haven’t seen any pictures, so none likely exist, which means no Russian army troops or military armaments are yet in Ukraine.

But that has not stopped the US and NATO from accusing Russia of exactly those transgressions in nearly every single announcement and press release.

The latest hawkish salvo by General Breedlove was so over-the-top that Germany expressed public alarm:

Breedlove's Bellicosity: Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine
Mar 6, 2015

It was quiet in eastern Ukraine last Wednesday. Indeed, it was another quiet day in an extended stretch of relative calm. The battles between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian separatists had largely stopped and heavy weaponry was being withdrawn. The Minsk cease-fire wasn't holding perfectly, but it was holding.

On that same day, General Philip Breedlove, the top NATO commander in Europe, stepped before the press in Washington. Putin, the 59-year-old said, had once again "upped the ante" in eastern Ukraine -- with "well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery" having been sent to the Donbass. 

"What is clear," Breedlove said, "is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day."

German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn't understand what Breedlove was talking about. And it wasn't the first time. Once again, the German government, supported by intelligence gathered by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency, did not share the view of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

The pattern has become a familiar one. For months, Breedlove has been commenting on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine, speaking of troop advances on the border, the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks. Over and over again, Breedlove's numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America's NATO allies in Europe. As such, he is playing directly into the hands of the hardliners in the US Congress and in NATO.

Think about how truly and utterly bizarre this all is.  It is literally not possible to hide “well over a thousand” combat vehicles from air and satellite surveillance, and everybody who knows anything at all knows this.  How can Breedlove make such outlandish claims and expect anybody to think he’s anything other than daft?

What are reasonable intelligence analysts and diplomats in Germany, or anywhere for that matter, to make of any of this? 

To my mind, there’s no other way to interpret Breedlove’s comments; they are just too far outside of the bounds of what is a possible misinterpretation of data.  Again, ‘more than a thousand’ pieces of heavy armor cannot be hidden from satellites, especially not in the open, flat country that is eastern Ukraine. 

The experts contradicted Breedlove's view in almost every respect. There weren't 40,000 soldiers on the border, they believed, rather there were much less than 30,000 and perhaps even fewer than 20,000. Furthermore, most of the military equipment had not been brought to the border for a possible invasion, but had already been there prior to the beginning of the conflict. Furthermore, there was no evidence of logistical preparation for an invasion, such as a field headquarters.

Breedlove, though, repeatedly made inexact, contradictory or even flat-out inaccurate statements. On Nov. 18, 2014, he told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that there were "regular Russian army units in eastern Ukraine." One day later, he told the website of the German newsmagazine Stern that they weren't fighting units, but "mostly trainers and advisors."

One uncomfortable pattern that fits is that the US has gotten used to lying overtly to get its way.  All reasonable analysts who read the UNSCOM report on Iraq’s defunct WMD program back in 2002 (as I did) knew that Iraq did not have any such program as claimed by Colin Powell, Rumsfeld, Perle, Feith and the rest of the unbalanced individuals who rushed the world to a war of choice.  The spin doctors of today will say that “bad intelligence” was to blame, but that too is a lie.
There was no bad intelligence, only bad people who made up false ‘intelligence’ and then foisted it upon the world. And it’s happening again.
The question is, will this spill over into a wider conflict that involves Europe and the US against Russia and whoever sides with Russia (*cough*cough* I’m looking at you, China).
As I predicted in the fall of 2014, things would continue to escalate before they deescalate.  The moves are coming fast and furious now.  The US has moved heavy armor into the region, right on Russia’s border:

US sends heavy armour to Baltic states to 'deter' Russia
Mar 9, 2015

Riga (AFP) - The United States on Monday delivered more than 100 pieces of military equipment to vulnerable NATO-allied Baltic states in a move designed to provide them with the ability to deter potential Russian threats.

The deliveries are intended to "demonstrate resolve to President (Vladimir) Putin and Russia that collectively we can come together," US Major General John R. O'Connor told AFP as he oversaw the delivery of the equipment in the port of Riga.

The delivery included Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, Scout Humvees as well as support equipment and O'Connor said the armour would stay "for as long as required to deter Russian aggression".

It's obvious that there are factions within the US military establishment that are not just preparing for war with Russia, but actively provoking tensions. 
Which makes today’s news out of the EU all the more concerning because it shows a degree of coordination that now spans the Atlantic, and has jumped outside of the usual NATO military alliance and into the civilian bureaucracy of the EU:

Juncker calls for EU army, says would deter Russia
Mar 9, 2015

(Reuters) - The European Union needs its own army to face up to Russia and other threats as well as restore the bloc's foreign policy standing around the world, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a German newspaper on Sunday.

It's telling that Juncker trotted out his proposal and immediately a German defense minister was at the ready to lend support.  This means it's a serious proposal, and has already been circulated and vetted.

And how has Russia reacted to all this?  In an escalate-y, predicable sort of way:

Russian legislator: EU’s common army, if created, to play provocative role

MOSCOW, 9 March. /TASS/. The European Union’s common armed forces, if they are ever created, may play a provocative role, first deputy chairman of the United Russia faction in the State Duma, Frants Klintsevich, told the media on Sunday.

"In the nuclear age extra armies do not provide any additional security. But they surely can play a provocative role," Klintsevich said, adding it was regrettable that such ideas had already met with some support.

"One should presume that a European army is seen as an addendum to NATO. And in this kind of situation Western politicians are not shy to accuse Russia of some aggressiveness," Klintsevich said.

Russia went right for the nuclear trump card, noting that conventional forces do not really have a clearly defined role when nukes are on the table.  That is, Russia has said (again!) very clearly that they have nukes, might use them, and do not appreciate being constantly threatened.  And yet here we are. 
I mean, it was barely a week ago that a Russian military chief said this:

Russia says ready to reciprocate nuclear strike
Mar 1, 2015

A Russian military chief says the country's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) are ready to defend the country against any possible “lightning-speed” nuclear strike.

If we have to accomplish a task of repelling a ‘lightning-speed’ nuclear strike, this objective will be attained within a prescribed period,” Andrei Burbin, the SMF Central Command’s chief, was quoted by Russian media as saying on Saturday.

He voiced the SMF preparedness to deliver a retaliatory nuclear strike “unhesitatingly” if Russia comes under any assault.

The US has never faced an adversary with such technology in open warfare. But Russia and China (and even Iran) are stocked to the gills with such weapons.
By provoking Russia, the US risks exposing the fact that it cannot really project power all across the globe anymore because it cannot possibly ship things to and fro with impunity.  Once that calculus changes, everything changes -- with King Dollar right at the top of the list.
Whether that comes to pass, I am finding the risk of a major conflict between NATO/EU and Russia to be high and seemingly growing higher with every passing week.  Such are the times in which we live.
It leaves me asking if it’s time to begin preparing for war, which means being ready for the worst.
I truly wish that this were not how things were unfolding, but seeing General Breedlove and Victoria Nuland get away unchallenged with their blatant falsehoods is giving me a serious case of déjà vu.
We’ve been here before. And we know that the war hawks seem to get their way, for reasons that remain murky at best. Only this time they have a real, legitimate and dangerous foe in their sights.

President Barack Obama and his outgoing attorney general, Eric Holder, are, along with "progressives" in government, forcing "a new morality" on the American people, a "morality that does not include God" and which is "an Anti-Christ movement," said Reverend Franklin Graham.

"There is an anti-Christian bias that is now in our government, has permeated our government, that’s also permeated Washington but [also] at the state and local level," said Rev. Graham during a Mar. 11 interview on Washington Watch With Tony Perkins.

"It’s the progressives, whatever you want to call them, that are trying -- and the president is into this and the attorney general is into this 100% -- and that is, forcing on the American people a new morality," said Rev. Graham.  "And it’s a morality that does not include God or His standards. That’s what we’re facing today."

"It is an Anti-Christ movement that we’re seeing taking place," he said. 
However, the reverend, who runs the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international relief group Samaritan's Purse, said Americans still "have a voice" and "can speak up, like we're doing right now."
"They cannot silence our voice yet," he said. "I think as long as we speak we've got an opportunity to turn the tide."

Leading into the program, host Tony Perkins asked Rev. Graham about religious persecution in the Middle East by the Islamic State and whether the United States was doing enough to help the people fleeing the persecution.
Rev. Graham said that what was happening constituted, in his view, genocide. "I'm just frightened that the Christian community in Iraq is going to be completely wiped out," he said.
As for the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Shia Muslim government there has placed tough restrictions on the Farsi-speaking Christian churches to the point, said Rev. Graham, where they "will soon be gone" and just "die off."
The Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Syria, in contrast, are just "killing the Christians, beheading them, cutting their throats, telling them to convert to Islam or we're going to shoot you," he said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has told his US counterpart John Kerry that it is too early to take any pride in the western strategy towards the Ukraine crisis, just days after accusing the US of "dangerous propaganda" over Ukraine.

Steinmeier, speaking on a visit to the US, said to Kerry at a joint press conference in Washington: "It is far too early to pat our shoulders and take pride in what we've achieved." 

His comments come days after an official in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's offices had complained of US Air Force General Philip Breedlove's "dangerous propaganda" over Ukraine, and that Steinmeier had talked to the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about him.

"It's true that I asked in two instances, in which the information we had from our sources was not entirely consistent with the information that came from the United States or NATO," Steinmeier told a European Union foreign ministers meeting in Riga, earlier this week.

Steinmeier hinted that "false information" had been used by the US to hype up the situation in Ukraine and that some people within the European Union believed the crisis is being promoted by the US, according to an article in the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Der Spiegel reported that German government officials had been taken by surprise when Breedlove said on February 25 that Russian President Vladimir Putin had "upped the ante" in eastern Ukraine. "What is clear is that right now it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day," Breedlove said in Washington.
German officials said information from their intelligence agency and other sources had stated that a ceasefire agreed in Minsk was shaky but holding.
Steinmeier's comments come in the week that a former NATO intelligence analyst admitted that the crisis in Ukraine stems from as far back as 30 years, when the United States "deliberately sabotaged" relations between Europe and Russia.
Lieutenant Commander Martin Packard said: "The current crisis in Ukraine stems from as far back as 1986, when the United States saw an opportunity to model itself as the new single world superpower at the close of the Cold War and saw friendly Russian overtures to Western Europe as a threat."

Major world powers are considering a UN Security Council resolution to lift UN sanctions against Iran if a nuclear agreement is struck this month, Western officials told Reuters Thursday.

Though officials in Tehran and Washington have warned that work remains before an agreement is reached, the Security Council is seeking to law the groundwork to lift restrictions quickly should the sides come together.

“If there’s a nuclear deal, and that’s still a big ‘if’, we’ll want to move quickly on the UN sanctions issue,” an official who declined to be named told the news agency

Talks thus far have dealt primarily with easing the US and EU sanctions against Iran in exchange for the Islamic Republic curbing its nuclear enrichment program for at least 10 years.
But in this latest development, non-Iranian officials involved in the negotiations now claim to be discussing a resolution for the 15-nation Security Council that would ease the UN sanctions that have been in place against Iran since December 2006, according to Reuters.
On Wednesday, US Secretray of State John Kerry told US senators that a deal being worked out with Iran and Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, Germany and Iran would not be legally binding, and thus not come under congressional oversight.

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