Windsock

NATO: Atlantic bridge is falling down... we can only hope

Washington created something called NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949 to weld Western Europe firmly to the future foreign policies of Washington, however destructive that might prove to the genuine interests of Germany, France, Italy and the other nations of Europe. In 1986 the twelve nations of the then-European Economic Community modified the 1957 Treaty of Rome and signed the Single European Act. That mandated the creation of a single EEC market by end of 1992, and set forth rules for European Political Cooperation, the forerunner of the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Then on November 9, 1989, an event of historic dimension intervened to disrupt the EEC strategy for a single market. Gorbachev's USSR surrendered the German Democratic Republic to the West. The Cold War was de facto over. Germany would be reunited. The West had apparently won. Most Europeans were jubilant. Many believed the decades of living on the brink of possible nuclear war were over. The emerging Europe seemed proud, confident of the future. NATO was an entity created by Washington, in the words of its first General Secretary, Lord Ismay, to "keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down."

European Defense Pillar or US NATO?

The Maastricht Treaty, a document with fatal flaws, was introduced at a meeting of the EEC in December 1991. A shocked Helmut Kohl was told by France's Mitterrand and Britain's Margaret Thatcher that Germany must agree to creation of a single currency to control the Bundesbank. That became today's Euro and an independent supranational European Central Bank. It was blackmail as precondition for their accepting German unification. The Germans swallowed hard and signed.

What was little discussed at the time was that the Maastricht Treaty also included a section mandating establishment for the first time of a Common Foreign and Security Policy. The twelve nations signed the treaty and intense discussions were underway of establishing a European defense pillar independent of NATO. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the raison d'être for NATO was gone. The Warsaw Pact had dissolved. Washington had assured Gorbachev that NATO would never extend to the east.

Comment: It took a little time, but now that the leaders of Germany and France have finally realized that many more lives hang in the balance than just those of the Eastern Ukrainians, they have set a new dynamic in motion. Will there be more blackmail, false flags and wholesale carnage inflicted as punishment and pretext for further lies and countermoves? We'll likely see very soon. But the answer is, very probably, yes. NATO has, under the cover of formerly being a counter force to the former U.S.S.R. - morphed into something else entirely, and has wreaked catastrophic damage on the peoples of Europe and Asia. But barring some cosmic intervention likened to putting a mad dog down, NATO, and the forces behind it, will persist. The only question that now remains is, what is the rest of the world willing to do about it?

See also: NATO and Nazism: Global hegemony in the guise of "collective defense"

Roses

Chapel Hill: We can't stop speaking out, even if our voices shake

chapel hill
© The Herald-Sun | Bernard Thomas Suzanne
Barakat (left) is pictured at Wednesday's UNC vigil honoring the death of her brother Deah Shaddy Barakat. She is pictured with her parents Namee Barakat (center) and his wife Layla Barakat (right).
Dear Fellow Muslim-Americans,

I know many of you are afraid.

I am, too. It's hard not to be, when it could've been us.

This letter is a token of faith to all of you - if you have been discriminated against for your beliefs before or after Feb. 10, and if you have been, or are, scared to leave your home today.

This is for anyone who feels like they've been bullied into silence.

I'm sure you're probably asking yourselves: do your lives hold any value? Are we worth any headlines?

They do, and we are.

Comment: Suzanne Barakat talks about the death of her brother.



See also: Now is the time for everyone to stand up and speak out.

Nuke

Ten reasons why we should celebrate the inevitable nuclear holocaust

H-Bomb

So beautiful.
Our leaders are eager to escalate a conflict that could very easily spiral out of control. So why not embrace the inevitable?

A hundred years ago, the world "sleepwalked" into the First World War, the war that wiped out an entire generation of Europeans. Aren't we repeating the same sleepwalking march again, this time with even deadlier consequences? The recent baiting and bullying of Russia and the Russian-speaking population of Eastern Ukraine; the proposals in Congress to supply lethal military aid to Ukraine coupled with the Defense Secretary nominee's enthusiasm for such help, all indicate a major dysfunction of rationality.

Russia has been sending signals that it is not backing off from this conflict, that the situation in Ukraine is too important to its national security. Recent signals of Russia's resolve include its reformulation of its military doctrine that views NATO expansion into Russia's neighborhood as the major threat; and the view of US policy in Ukraine as a proxy war against Russia.

While some scholars and journalists point to the possibility, if not inevitability, of the all out war, major news outlets prefer to underreport the depth of the conflict, treating it as something farcical rather than tragic. Maybe the press and politicians have the point? After all, how can a possible war with a nuclear-armed rival be serious? So let's learn from our political leaders and stop worrying. We might as well die laughing:

10. In regular wars, common people die in the trenches while those who send them there spend their time giving speeches at luncheons and making TV appearances. By contrast, a nuclear war will put everyone in the same boat. We, the people, should all rejoice in the fact that we'll finally witness the examples of personal courage and leadership provided by our brave politicians. To see a politician putting his money where his mouth is, is one of the greatest joys of citizenry. For many true patriots, it is a joy worth dying for.

9. A nuclear war will provide great satisfaction for messianic nations that take offense at America's self-proclaimed status of "exceptional" and "indispensable." The US's status as the only nation that had used nuclear bombs against civilians will no longer be exceptional.
Life Preserver

Minsk ceasefire deal: Ukraine ceasefire agreement, point by point

© AFP Photo / Andrey Stasevich
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (R) during a meeting on February 11, 2015 in Minsk.
A glimpse of hope has appeared for peace in Ukraine after a 13-point memorandum was signed Thursday in Minsk.

The deal was brokered by the leaders of France, Germany and Russia, who joined their Ukrainian counterpart on Wednesday for marathon overnight negotiations.

The deal was signed by the so-called "contact group," which includes the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, a representative of the OSCE, Ukraine's former President Viktor Kuchma and the Russian ambassador to Ukraine.

Here is a breakdown of the deal:

1. A comprehensive ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. Comes into force at 00.00 (Kiev time) on February 15.
war ukraine
© Reuters / Maxim Shemetov
2. A pullout of heavy weapons. The parties agreed to a compromise disengagement line. Kiev is to pull artillery and other hardware from the current frontline while the rebels would do it from the frontline as it was in September, before they gained ground in a January counter-offensive. The OSCE-monitored safety zone would be 50 km to 150 km wide for weapons, depending on their range. The pullout is to be completed by March 1.

Comment: After a marathon 17-hour series of meetings, a framework is - theoretically - in place to bring peace to eastern Ukraine.

Will it work?

It depends on the goodwill of all parties concerned.

Far from becoming breakaway republics, Donetsk and Lugansk would remain in Ukraine.

More importantly, however, the Kiev regime would no longer be on a war footing. This will present the regime with big problems. The glue that has held this collapsing country together since the coup last February is war. Without war, and faced with having to actually fix ALL of Ukraine, how long will a rabidly anti-Russian, ultra-capitalist regime last?

And then there's the 'silent party' behind these talks. Without a war on Russia's and the EU's doorstep, how can the US keep Europe on a war footing with Russia? If EU-Russian relations normalize, and strengthen via mutual cooperation in terms of both increased trade and security, America loses.

The question is, will the 'Greatest Nation on Earth' go quietly?

Vader

"America hell-bent on war": 80-year-old analyst Stephen Lendman has never been more afraid

obama ukraine
© Sputnik/ Aleksey Nikolskyi
I'm 80 years old. I was never scared throughout the Cold War years. I'm very scared now." That is what Stephen Lendman, a Research Associate for the Centre for Research on Globalization told Sputnik in an exclusive interview regarding recent developments related to the military conflict in Ukraine.

As the Normandy Four are set to meet in Minsk on Wednesday to discuss possible ways out of the deteriorating military conflict in eastern Ukraine, Stephen Lendman forecasts that the US won't drop its idea of waging a full-size war in the region.

Washington under the Democrats or Republicans wants war, not peace, he said. "In the post-9/11 era alone, not a single day of peace has followed. Multiple US direct and proxy wars rage. US Special Forces (trained killers) operate covertly and overtly in over 130 countries disruptively."

'Ignore What Germany and France Say Publicly; Follow What They Do'

He says that "Merkel and Hollande (Germany and France) are bedrock US-dominated NATO members." "Ignore what they say publicly; follow what they do," he advised. "Throughout the Ukrainian crisis, they haven't gone their own way against Washington...nor has Britain's David Cameron."
"I'm sure Merkel and Hollande tried to get Putin to largely bend to Washington's will; in other words, [they] do nothing to stop its chokehold on Ukraine, including NATO forces encroaching on Russia's borders."
America maintains an empire of bases in over 150 countries, he added, noting that Russia and China are increasingly surrounded by US bases, which he called "so-called defensive missiles for an offense target: their heartlands."

Washington wants all sovereign independent governments eliminated, Lendman stated. "Replaced by pro-Western stooge ones. America's ultimate aim is unchallenged global dominance; it's willing to wage wars to achieve its objectives."

Comment: Mr. Lendman's words are starkly accurate. Whether or not Washington will be able to implement its plan for world-domination is still to be seen. More and more countries are finally waking up to the US' psychopathic goal. If they can band together as has begun with the BRICS there may be some hope for a different outcome.

Dollars

When "conspiracy theories" become reality: HSBC documents reveal criminal conspiracy of banks and governments

© Unknown
On Sunday, international news outlets the Guardian and Le Monde, working with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), published articles based on their analysis of leaked files showing that the Swiss private banking arm of HSBC, Europe's largest bank, functioned for years as a tax evasion and money laundering firm.

The company ran a branch that gave out "bricks" of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in foreign denominations and provided its wealthy clientele with advice on how to commit tax fraud, according to the reports.

These facts have for years been been in the possession of international financial regulators and governments throughout the world—including those of Britain, France and the United States—which systematically covered them up. Neither the bank, nor its executives, nor any of the clients that utilized its tax dodging services have been criminally prosecuted.

Comment: Given HSBC's track record so far, this really comes as no surprise:

Drug money banking, terror dealings exposed at HSBC

The Argentina headquarters of HSBC raided by tax officers

HSBC targets account of Syrian refugees in the UK

HSBC to pay $249 million fine for U.S. mortgage abuse

USA

Obama: 'We have to twist arms when countries don't do what we need them to'

President Barack Obama has said the reality of "American leadership" at times entails "twisting the arms" of states which "don't do what we need them to do," and that the US relied on its military strength and other leverage to achieve its goals.

In a broad-ranging interview with Vox, which Obama himself described as a venue "for the brainiac-nerd types," the US president both denied the efficacy of a purely "realist" foreign policy but also arguing that at times the US, which has a defense budget that exceeds the next 10 countries combined, needed to rely on its military muscle and other levers of power.

Lauding the rule-based system to emerge in the post-World War II era, Obama admitted it wasn't perfect, but argued "the UN, the IMF, and a whole host of treaties and rules and norms that were established really helped to stabilize the world in ways that it wouldn't otherwise be."

Comment: And so the mask is finally removed and the US government is revealed as the elitist, arrogant, aggressor nation that it has always been. Note at minute 9.20 that Obama claims that "we're the largest most powerful country on earth". "Largest"? Really? Is Obama so deluded that he now thinks that the USA is bigger than Russia, a country that has almost twice the landmass of the USA?

Alarm Clock

Paramoralism: Is tolerance of dishonesty our culture's fundamental problem?

Brian Williams

Brian Williams: liar, plain and simple.
NBC-TV's star news-anchor Brian Williams got caught repeatedly lying and fabricating his fake-'courageous' personal involvement in news stories that he had 'reported.' At LinkedIn, Rob Wyse headlined recently, "Brian Williams Essentially Lied on His Resume, Or Exaggerated The Truth," and he noted there:
Whether you call it a lie, or an exaggeration - it is a breach of trust. And that is what is looming over Brian Williams. A breach of his public trust. He is a trusted figure in our society. Perhaps the position of news anchor does not hold the same vaulted [he meant vaunted] esteem and prestige as in the days of Edward R. Murrow, or Walter Cronkite - but nonetheless, Williams is in a position of responsibility and trust. And when trust is broken, you almost never gain it back.
Most of the (thus far) 507 reader comments to that post are negative toward the post. A typical one was: "Rather silly article...he has a resume that needs no padding. So therefore this posting shows very clearly the completely misguiding value system the 'press' and the writer of this post has. Don't be the problem."

Another: "To paraphrase Tom Brady, nobody had died over this."

Another: "Big Deal, everyone pads their Resume."

Comment: Truth is the highest value. All others follow from it. That American culture has lost this is not a good sign.

Pharoah

Houston anthropologist reveals irrefutable proof that recorded history is wrong


Bosnian Pyramid
Evidence Found Across the Globe of Highly Evolved Human Species from before the Ice Age, Demand Scientific Recognition of our Past that Depicts Societies of Advanced Technology and Culture

Houston anthropologist, Dr. Semir Osmanagich, founder of the Bosnian Archaeology Park, the most active archaeology site in the world, declares that irrefutable scientific evidence exists of ancient civilizations with advanced technology that leaves us no choice but to change our recorded history. An examination of the age of structures across the earth reveals conclusively that they were built by advanced civilizations from over 29,000 years ago.

Comment: It seems that our ancestors were tapped into some type of advanced technology and understanding of the universe that we know little about.

Pyramid

Egyptian daily Al-Ahram interviews Vladimir Putin

Putin el-Sisi
© RIA Novosti / Mihail Metzel
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
In the run-up to his visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt, Vladimir Putin gave an interview to the Al-Ahram daily newspaper.

QUESTION: How do you assess the current state of bilateral relations between Russia and Egypt following the revolutionary events in Egypt in 2011-2013? What is your vision of their prospects, particularly in light of the outcomes of the visit of Abdel el-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, to Russia in August 2014?

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Egypt is a long-time and trusted partner of Russia. The history of modern diplomatic relations between the two countries that dates back to the year of 1943 has been eventful and colorful. For more than seven decades, both our countries and the international arena have seen numerous transformations. And yet, our desire to work together towards the development of Russia and Egypt as well as ensuring international and regional security has remained unchanged.
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