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The US & NATO vs Russia

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Britain, Holland and US spearhead fightback against Putin's cyber war as they reveal how Moscow's web of hackers hit high-profile targets across the globe - including chemical weapons watchdog probing Salisbury attack

  • US charges 7 Russian spies with crimes including hacking, identity theft and fraud using crypto-currencies
  • British cyber security group accuses Russia's GRU of at least four hacking attacks around the world
  • Dutch authorities lift lid on operation to hack chemical weapons HQ in Netherlands in April
  • Men were picked up with a cache of computer equipment, linking them to other incidents, and sent home
  • US has released wanted poster featuring four Hague hackers and three others linked to anti-doping hacks
  • Russia faces storm of hacking allegations, but denies claims, calling latest evidence 'big fantasies'
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...-attack-global-chemical-weapons-watchdog.html
 

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Trident Juncture Exercise Will Test NATO’s Ability to Repel Invasion of an Ally

By: Megan Eckstein
October 5, 2018 5:47 PM


Marines with Marine Rotational Force-Europe 18.1 prepare to bound across a road during a live-fire range at Giskas, Norway, Aug. 21, 2018. US Marine Corps Photo


THE PENTAGON – The upcoming Trident Juncture 2018 exercise will be the first opportunity to test out the premise of NATO’s new “Four Thirties” initiative – the idea that NATO may need to move a lot of people and platforms quickly to defend an ally whose sovereignty has been violated – the head of naval forces in Europe said today.

Adm. James Foggo, who heads all U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa and commands the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, said today that there are still details to work out surrounding Four Thirties, but that “we’re exercising it in spirit in Trident Juncture.”

Four Thirties is the idea that NATO should have 30 ships, 30 squadrons of aircraft and 30 combat battalions that could be ready to fight within 30 days, an initiative that Defense Secretary James Mattis pushed at the July NATO Summit.

Trident Juncture, which starts later this month, will seek to move and support 45,000 personnel, 60 ships, 120 aircraft and 10,000 ground vehicles in a simulated defense of Norway against an invading adversary.

“We’re really testing our response to an Article 5 (defense of an ally under the NATO treaty), our ability to move rapidly – the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force will move into Norway to provide Article 5 defense. And, even more importantly, we’re testing our ability to conduct operations in the 6th domain of warfare, and that is logistics, which is so important – when you have 45,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and all their kit, you’ve got to get there. So that’s several lifts of aircraft, several [roll-on/roll-off ships] or sealift ships that are coming in,” he said while speaking at an Atlantic Council event in the morning.

Without mentioning Russia by name, Foggo said, “we’re going to move all this kit quickly up into Norway, and I think that has a sobering deterrent effect on any adversary that might choose to cross a line and try to take a territory.”

Later in the day, speaking to reporters in the Pentagon, Foggo again reiterated the importance of demonstrating the ability to move and support such a large force.

“We’re going to test several different things, but probably most importantly is – as much fun as we’re going to have on the ground doing the training that Marines and soldiers and sailors and airmen like to do to get their kit out, to operate their equipment, to work with their allies and partners – this is a logistics exercise. I call it the sixth domain of warfare. Moving 45,000 people and 10,000 vehicles and 60-some-odd ships and 120 aircraft around the theater is not easy, so this is a test of our ability to do that rapidly,” he said.

“We do this well in the United States joint force, we have something called a … Time Phased Force [Deployment]. NATO is developing this same capability to move quickly, and that is a good thing because it’s recognized as something we’re going to have to do. In order to deter, you have to be present. In order to be present, you’ve got to be there – you’ve got to be there, and you’ve got to be there quickly.”

Foggo said the Marines currently have about 700 Marines operating out of Norway, an increase from the 300 Marines that were originally sent to conduct cold-weather training there. The admiral recalled a press event with Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green, when the 300 Marines first showed up in Norway. Someone asked what good such a small force could do, and Green replied, “that’s 300 Marines today.
3,000 Marines tomorrow,” according to Foggo. Foggo added that the U.S. joint force is good at quickly surging troops and gear to a fight, and NATO is trying to emulate that capability through exercises like Trident Juncture and through its embrace of the Four Thirties idea.

Foggo said at the Atlantic Council that many details still had to be worked out – including basics such as, what kinds of ships should make up the 30 that are ready to fight? He noted the importance of variety: the ships should include combatants but also specialty ships, such as mine countermeasures ships, that have niche capabilities a larger response force may rely on. He also highlighted the need for sufficient intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to enable the movement of ships and planes into battle.

https://news.usni.org/2018/10/05/tr...e-will-test-natos-ability-repel-invasion-ally
 

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Report to Congress on Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

October 9, 2018 11:23 AM

The following is the Oct. 5, 2018, Congressional Research Service report, Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report
The United States and Soviet Union signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in December 1987. Negotiations on this treaty were the result of a “dual-track” decision taken by NATO in 1979. At that time, in response to concerns about the Soviet Union’s deployment of new intermediate-range nuclear missiles, NATO agreed both to accept deployment of new U.S. intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles and to support U.S. efforts to negotiate with the Soviet Union to limit these missiles. In the INF Treaty, the United States and Soviet Union agreed that they would ban all land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The ban would apply to missiles with nuclear or conventional warheads, but would not apply to sea-based or air-delivered missiles.

The U.S. State Department, in the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 editions of its report Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments, stated that the United States has determined that “the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the [1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces] INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.” In the 2016 report, it noted that “the cruise missile developed by Russia meets the INF Treaty definition of a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, and as such, all missiles of that type, and all launchers of the type used or tested to launch such a missile, are prohibited under the provisions of the INF Treaty.” The 2017 and 2018 compliance reports describe the types of information the United States has provided to Russia in pressing its claim of noncompliance, including, in 2018, the Russian designator for the missile—9M729. Press reports also indicate that Russia has now begun to deploy the new cruise missile.

The Obama Administration raised its concerns about Russian compliance with the INF Treaty in a number of meetings since 2013. These meetings made little progress because Russia continued to deny that it had violated the treaty. In October 2016, the United States called a meeting of the Special Verification Commission, which was established by the INF Treaty to address compliance concerns. During this meeting, in mid-November, both sides raised their concerns, but they failed to make any progress in resolving them. A second SVC meeting was held in December 2017. The United States has also begun to consider a number of military responses, which might include new land-based INF-range systems or new sea-launched cruise missiles, both to provide Russia with an incentive to reach a resolution and to provide the United States with options for future programs if Russia eventually deploys new missiles and the treaty regime collapses. It might also suspend or withdraw from arms control agreements, although several analysts have noted that this might harm U.S. security interests, as it would remove all constraints on Russia’s nuclear forces.

The Trump Administration conducted an extensive review of the INF Treaty during 2017 to assess the potential security implications of Russia’s violation and to determine how the United States would respond going forward. On December 8, 2017—the 30th anniversary of the date when the treaty was signed—the Administration announced that the United States would implement an integrated response that included diplomatic, military, and economic measures. Congress is likely to continue to conduct oversight hearings on this issue, and to receive briefings on the status of Russia’s cruise missile program. It may also consider legislation authorizing U.S. military responses and supporting alternative diplomatic approaches.

Read the report at the link: https://news.usni.org/2018/10/09/re...ntermediate-range-nuclear-forces-inf-treaty-2
 

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Ukraine Begins Large Air Force Exercises With NATO To "Protect The Airspace" From Russia


by Tyler Durden
Wed, 10/10/2018 - 04:15


Just days ago we noted that the the United States is now treating Ukraine as if it were a NATO member as on September 27th Washington donated to Ukraine two warships for use against Russia. And now in a move that's sure to be seen by Russia as a major and intolerable provocation Ukraine has announced the start of joint military exercises involving NATO countries.

What's been dubbed the Clear Sky 2018 operation in the west of Ukraine kicked off on Monday and will center on air defense operations in order to "protect the airspace" from Russia. The war games will include the participation of the US military and several other NATO nations, including bordering nations Poland and Romania, as well as Britain and the Netherlands.

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine described the event as a "multinational military exercise focusing on promoting peace and security"

however, we highly doubt that it's peace that will be the lasting result of this.


"Clear Sky 2018" began Monday. Official image via UNIAN

Some 700 troops are expected to take part, with at least half of them composed of non-Ukrainian NATO member forces, in the operation set to last until October 19.

The US Air Force will have a heavy advisory role with F-15C Eagle fighter planes and C-130J Super Hercules military transport planes and drones involved in guided training exercises leading about 30 Ukrainian aircraft, according to an official government ministry statement.



And further according to a Ukrainian air force official Polish and Romanian aircraft will participate for "the first time" in a joint show "to protect the airspace," according to military spokesman Yuriy Ignat said.

Meanwhile a US Air Force statement said the aim of the exercise is "to enhance regional capabilities to secure air sovereignty and promote peace and security through cooperation."


"Clear Sky 2018" photo via UNIAN

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry was further keen on signalling Russia that Kiev is feeling emboldened to have American military hardware patrolling the skies: "The personnel and the aircrafts of the Ukrainian Air Force were redeployed to the Starokonstantinov airfield. A significant event was the arrival of the F-15 aircrafts of the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard," a statement said.

Since fighting between pro-Russian and pro-Western forces erupted in 2014, over 10,000 Ukrainians have been killed. Kiev officials have since the Russian annexation of Crimea constantly hyped the treat of an imminent Russian military invasion and even suggested the possibility of a World War 3 scenario between the West and Russia centered over Ukrainian territory.

Though a series of both Russian and NATO exercises have occurred without a serious incident between the rival powers of late, aerial exercises involving NATO planes above Ukraine will be the most contentious show of force yet.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018...-force-exercises-nato-protect-airspace-russia
 

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Poland Buys Nigerian Oil In Latest Attempt To Cut Russia Oil Dependence


by Tyler Durden
Wed, 10/10/2018 - 03:30


Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via Oilprice.com,

Poland’s largest oil refiner, state-run PKN Orlen, has bought its first ever Nigerian crude oil cargo expected to arrive in mid-October, the Polish company’s chief executive told Reutersamid Poland’s ongoing efforts to cut its reliance on Russian oil.



PKN Orlen is exploring Nigerian oil as its new source of supply, the company’s CEO, Daniel Obajtek, told Reuters in an interview published on Monday. A 130,000-ton cargo of Nigerian oil is currently traveling to Poland and is expected to arrive in the middle of this month, Obajtek said.

“If tests confirm the assumed yields structure and margins, further oil supplies from Nigeria will be a viable option,” the chief executive told Reuters.​
In recent years, Poland has been trying to diversify its oil supplies to reduce its reliance on Russian oil imports. Last year, Poland reduced the share of its imports of Russian oil to the lowest level since 2005, but the diversification of oil supplies came at a higher cost for imports from other countries, according to a report by Poland’s central bank from May 2018.

In 2017, the share of Russian oil in Polish imports dropped to 76 percent, compared to 96 percent back in 2012.

PKN Orlen signed in 2016 a long-term supply contract with Saudi Aramco with provisions for automatic annual renewal, with which the Saudi oil giant entered the Baltic oil supply market.

Another Polish refiner, Lotos, signed in December 2017 a forward contract for the supply of U.S. oil to its refinery in Gdansk. Under the contract, at least five U.S. oil cargoes will be delivered by sea this year.

PKN Orlen plans to take over Lotos, and the larger refiner hopes to get clearance for the deal from the European Commission by the middle of 2019, Obajtek told Reuters.

PKN Orlen expects cargoes from other new destinations, and it is negotiating medium- and long-term supply deals with many parties, including from the United States, the manager said.

The deteriorating quality of Russia’s Urals also played a part in PKN seeking new suppliers, Obajtek told Reuters.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018...-oil-latest-attempt-cut-russia-oil-dependence
 

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The Long Peace in Europe
CaspianReport


Published on Oct 10, 2018
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BAKU - History is full of recordings of conflicts, while peace is considered poor reading. The European Union, since its inception, has contributed to a stalemate in Europe, which has largely kept the peace in the continent. In fact, the bloc was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 for contributing to the “advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” But how did a continent that fought two world wars come to a truce known as the Long Peace?

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Fort Trump & The Polarization Of Interests In Europe


by Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/12/2018 - 03:30


Via GEFIRA,

Donald Trump’s administration regularly increases military presence in Central Europe. The currently discussed idea is to create an American permanent military base in Poland, that is to say, a further shift of the US military presence towards the Russian border. The question arises whether, through the constant presence of the US Army in Poland, Donald Trump wants to improve the defense of the Old Continent or strives to play against each other the interests of individual members of the European Union. The weaker Europe is, the stronger is the United States.



Although the idea of American permanent military presence in Central Europe is not new, it gained much publicity after the September meeting at the White House between Polish President Andrzej Duda and Donald Trump. Warsaw suggested not only building a base but also a name for it: Fort Trump. After initial doubts, Washington, noting the benefits which it might derive, accepted this proposal. That’s why a few days later, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reported that certain areas are already being evaluated whether they are suitable for this purpose. Leaving aside the issue of allegedly improving the security of NATO’s eastern flank, there is more to see than meets the eye in the permanent presence of Americans in Poland. Warsaw perceives the United States as an ally in an ongoing dispute with the EU. Relations between Brussels and Washington have also deteriorated. Therefore, by relocating its troops to the east, the United States would be putting pressure on Germany to increase defense spending, import US LNG or veto Nord Stream II.

Equipment, not a base
The mere construction of an American fort means not only the creation of military facilities, but also founding a small town in which there would be kindergartens, schools, clinics, hospitals, cinemas and shops. President Duda said that the cost of launching Fort Trump, which is estimated at USD 2 billion, would be covered by Poland. By way of comparison: the stay of American soldiers in Europe is a burden of 2.5 billion dollars annually. That’s a lot. From Poland’s point of view, it would be more reasonable to put this money in military equipment and training. Or one could buy 230 tanks M1A2 or 20 aircraft F-35 or 33 F-16, or build 3 submarines.

American interest, not Polish
Throughout the Cold War until 1993, Soviet (towards the end of the period: Russian) troops were stationed in Poland, and their task was to counterbalance the American presence in Germany as well as secure Moscow’s interests. The burden of building military facilities and their partial maintenance was borne by Poland. Although membership in the Warsaw Pact was to be eternal, as a result of political changes on the international arena within a few years Poland joined NATO.

Relocating American units permanently to Poland does not increase the latter’s security, which can be provided by the already existing rotational presence of US Army soldiers. The idea of establishing Fort Trump picked up by Washington is much more beneficial to the United States than to Warsaw because the military outpost extended even further to the east gives Washington a greater opportunity of influencing the countries that are located close to it.

Moreover, since Washington is considering such an investment in Poland, the significance of German bases is decreasing (see below). Following the same line of thought, in a few years’ time a proposal may be put forward to establish a base in one of the Baltic States, which will then cause Fort Trump to lose its present strategic character. It also shows that investing in building a base for the United States is associated with advancing American interests alone.

Fort Trump and Russia and Germany: polarization of interests in Europe
The United States has almost 35 thousand soldiers in Germany, which is about half of all American forces on the Old Continent. The US Army was stationed in West Germany in the advent of the Cold War and was part of the strategy of deterring the Soviet Union. Until the early 1990s, there were around 200,000 American soldiers. In 2014, the number was down to 42 thousand stationed in 38 localities. Stuttgart is host to the European command of the US armed forces, while the Rhineland accommodates the largest air base on the continent. The Germans have become accustomed to the US military presence. As a result they do not attach much importance to military investment or take the trouble to increase the defense sector in the budget to 2% of GDP, as prescribed by NATO. This is not to Washington’s liking. Trump has repeatedly stated that the United States provides Germany with protection, and Berlin does not bear the necessary expenses for this objective,5)which also sparked a dispute over financial support for American infrastructure in Germany. The American administration tried to influence Berlin, threatening to withdraw a large part of its soldiers. The creation of Fort Trump would cause the transfer of part of the US Army to Poland. This would mean a decline in Germany’s significance, which will cease to be the easternmost outpost of the US Army to be deployed in Europe.

This will force German decision-makers to make more intensified military investments than those which Trump demands in order to fill the ‘military void’ after the US troops. It can be expected that Berlin will try to block the idea of creating military facilities in Poland, wanting to keep the US troops at home. Donald Trump’s administration considering the idea of building a base in Poland has also another purpose. Washington wants to influence Berlin to give up on the Nord Stream II project and at the same time increase LNG imports from the United States.

Given the geopolitical issues, the line separating the interests of the West and Russia no longer runs along the German western border, but has shifted to the east. The importance of American bases in this country is not as big as before 1999, when Germany was a NATO borderland. Therefore, the Americans will not decide to increase expenses in order to keep the army in a new European facility, and they will move some of their equipment and army to new locations eastwards across the Oder.

The shift of the permanent American presence to the east, closer to the Russian border, certainly will not meet with Moscow’s approval. We expect the Kremlin to respond by increasing its military presence in the Kaliningrad region and also in Belarus, which will make the Central and Eastern European countries demand even greater strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank. This will trigger the spiral of arms race and arouse mutual suspicions.

The goal of the United States is for the EU to recognize Russia as an enemy. The acceptance of American rhetoric by Paris, Berlin, Warsaw and other capitals deteriorates the relations between the Kremlin and the West. This in turn will facilitate an increase in American exports of energy, military technology and other goods to the Old Continent. The result is that Brussels focuses on imaginary problems, while it should focus on the clashes in mass immigration and demographic questions.

The United States is trying to build a partnership against Russia’s “aggressive behavior”, in order to really increase its presence in Central Europe. Countries like Poland are Trump’s bargaining chip in negotiations with Germany and Russia. Washington is driving a wedge between the countries concerned. This, on the other hand, helps realize American goals at the expense of the Old Continent. Omnipresent bidding for sanctions and further shifting of the Americans to the east deepens the economic-political contrast between the mentioned countries, which may lead to a new cold war.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-11/fort-trump-polarization-interests-europe
 

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'Trident Juncture 2018' About To Kick Off: NATO's Big War Games Near Russia's Borders Never End


by Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/12/2018 - 02:00

Authored by Alex Gorka via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The NATO-led Trident Juncture 2018 (TRJE18) exercise that is to be held in October and November is the largest coordinated show of force since the Cold War. It will primarily be hosted by Norway. The training event will largely take place in the central and eastern parts of this Nordic country that neighbors Russia, as well as over the skies and in the seas of Sweden and Finland. The maritime component will be conducted in the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and in the Baltic Sea. TRJE18-related activities will take place as far away as Iceland. Russia has been invited to send observers to watch the exercise.



Actually, TRJE18 consists of three parts. The deployment phase has been underway since August. A live field exercise will be held from October 25 to November 7 with six brigades fighting each other right in the heart of Norway. A command post training event will be conducted from November 13 to November 24.

The drill will involve 45,000 participants from over 30 nations, including 10,000 rolling or tracked vehicles, 150 aircraft, and 60 ships. The main goal is to test the ability of NATO’s new Response Force to rapidly deploy. Norway will evaluate its ability to receive and handle reinforcements sent by its allies.

There are 700 US Marines stationed in Norway. That’s not a huge force, but as Adm. James Foggo, who heads all US naval forces in Europe and Africa and commands the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples put it, “that’s 300 Marines today. 3,000 Marines tomorrow.” The American pre-positioned forward storage sites in Norway, a complex of caves, have been upgraded to store weapons and equipment for roughly 15,000 Marines. That Scandinavian country has become the source of a threat to Russia’s national security.

The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is also taking part. The aircraft carrier returned to its home base in Norfolk in July following a three-month deployment. It was back in Europe in mid-September. Normally, US carrier groups operate according to a standard seven-month cycle. Now they are being shifted to “dynamic force employment” in order to improve flexibility.

Finland will contribute significantly to this exercise that is based on a simulated Article 5 scenario, with its troops operating in their home region, in Sweden and Norway. It will also lead and host the naval exercise Northern Coasts 18 (NOCO18) in the Baltic Sea, which is linked to Trident Juncture. Finland is sending about 2,000 troops to TRJE18. The size of that force is comparable to the contributions made by leading NATO members. For example, Germany is sending 4,000 troops, the UK — 3,500 troops, France – 3,000, Canada — 2,000, Denmark — 1,000, Italy — 1,500, Spain — 1,000, and the Netherlands — 1,500. The US contribution will be 12,000 soldiers, and the primary host is sending 6,500 servicemen. There were only about 160 Finnish troops participating in the last Trident Juncture held in 2015. Three years ago, the drill was held in southern, not northern Europe.

Sweden, another non-NATO active participant, is sending about 2,200 troops, along with four Gripen fighters that will be based in Norway. Before the TRJE kicks off, US, Swedish, and Finnish forces will conduct their own exercises in Sweden. Both Finland and Sweden participate in NATO’s Response Force.

Until now, both Scandinavian nations have shied away from holding Article 5 exercises. The Trident Juncture 2018 is a drastic shift in that policy, which is being carefully evaluated by Russia.

At an unofficial level, Sweden and Finland have already joined NATO through other groups and agreements, such as their trilateral cooperation with the US. The militarization of Norway, as well as all of the Scandinavian Peninsula and the Baltic states is being perceived by Russia as a provocation and a threat that demands a response. The Baltic states continue to request an increased military presence on their soil. NATO is stockpiling weapons, military equipment, and ammunition in the Baltic region and Poland.

There is a backstory to the Trident Juncture 2018 exercise. In early October, US Envoy to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson said Russia had been put on “short notice,” due to its alleged violations of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. She warned that the US might "take out the missiles" before they could be deployed if Russia did not back down.

This year, NATO has already coordinated approximately 100 exercises, 20% more than during the same period in 2017. Poland will invite NATO members and partners for another large-scale, officially “national” exercise, Anaconda 2018, which will be held at roughly the same time as some smaller NATO drills, such as Citadel Bonus-18, Iron Wolf-18, and Baltic Host-18. The hidden aim of the exercises is to keep those forces ready to close in on Russia’s borders. That’s why the alliance is creating this “military Schengen zone,” in an effort to minimize the time needed for troop deployment. Anaconda 18 will be a cover for the deployment of a US Army brigade in Europe, in addition to the deployment of the US 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team. Next month, we’ll see an entire US mechanized division in operation in the Old World. Four NATO multinational battalion-size groups are already stationed in the Baltic states and Poland.

These never-ending exercises adjacent to Russia’s borders show that the terrorist threat has been forgotten. The North Atlantic alliance is too busy preparing for a large-scale invasion by Russia to even think about it. American strategists appear to have a short memory. It was not Russia who attacked the United States on 9/11. A different type of exercise would be needed to fend off a terrorist threat, but time, money, and efforts are being spent on war preparations against Moscow, which is fighting against the very same Islamic fundamentalists who threaten the West. Last month, Russia held a very large-scale training event dubbed Vostok 2018, but it was held in Russia’s Far East region so as not to provoke NATO, although that alliance did not seem to appreciate this thoughtful gesture.

It is true that the terrorist threat is no big prize for the defense industry. Opposing such big potential foes as Russia or China promises huge financial benefits for companies involved in military production. These never-ending and provocative exercises are needed to keep tensions high and justify the allocations of funds. This state of constant confrontation with Russia and China rakes in profits. The ends justify the means.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018...-big-war-games-near-russias-borders-never-end
 

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Hunt for Russian sleeper agents 'planning a series of attacks to bring down Britain's internet' after GRU whistleblower, 53, exposes plot

  • A security source told Sunday Express Russian agents are planning attacks
  • It's feared disguised agents work for an Internet Service Provider or a university
  • They have reportedly been tasked with disrupting British trade after Brexit
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...n-sleeper-agents-planning-series-attacks.html
 

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It’s a good thing Britian and U.S. governments are protecting us from Russia or we would be all dead, or worse.
 

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NATO Coordinates Information War On Russia


by Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/15/2018 - 02:00


Via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The US, Britain and other NATO allies upped the ante this week with a coordinated campaign of information war to criminalize Russia. Moscow dismissed the wide-ranging claims as “spy mania”. But the implications amount to a grave assault recklessly escalating international tensions with Russia.



The accusations that the Kremlin is running a global cyberattack operation are tantamount to accusing Russia of “acts of war”. That, in turn, is creating a pretext for NATO powers to carry out “defensive” actions on Moscow, including increased economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia, as well as “counter” cyberattacks on Russian territory.

This is a highly dangerous dynamic that could ultimately lead to military confrontation between nuclear-armed states.

There are notably suspicious signs that the latest accusations against Russia are a coordinated effort to contrive false charges.

First, there is the concerted nature of the claims. British state intelligence initiated the latest phase of information war by claiming that Russian military intelligence, GRU, was conducting cyberattacks on infrastructure and industries in various countries, costing national economies “millions of pounds” in damages.

Then, within hours of the British claims, the United States and Canada, as well as NATO partners Australia and New Zealand followed up with similar highly publicized accusations against Russia. It is significant that those Anglophone countries, known as the “Five Eyes”, have a long history of intelligence collaboration going back to the Cold War years against the Soviet Union.

The Netherlands, another NATO member, added to the “spy mania” by claiming it had expelled four members of Russian state intelligence earlier this year for allegedly trying to hack into the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based in The Hague.

There then followed predictable condemnations of Russia from the NATO leadership and the European Union. NATO was holding a summit in Brussels this week. It is therefore plausible that the timing of the latest claims of Russian “malign activity” was meant to coordinate with the NATO summit.

More sanctions against Moscow are expected – further intensifying tensions from already existing sanctions. More sinister were NATO warnings that the military alliance would take collective action over what it asserts are Russian cyberattacks.

This is creating a “casus belli” situation whereby the 29 NATO members can invoke a common defense clause for punitive actions against Russia. Given the rampant nature of the claims of “Russian interference” and that certain NATO members are rabidly Russophobic, it is all too easily dangerous for cyber “false flags” to be mounted in order to criminalize Moscow.

Another telltale factor is that the claims made this week by Britain and the other NATO partners are an attempt to integrate all previous claims of Russian “malign activity”.

The alleged cyber hacking by Russia, it is claimed, was intended to disrupt OPCW investigations into the purported poison-assassination plot against Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy living in Britain; the alleged hacking was also claimed to be aimed at disrupting investigations into alleged chemical weapons atrocities committed by the Syrian government and by extension Syria’s ally Russia; the alleged Russian hacking claims were also linked to charges of Olympic athletes doping, as well as “interference in US elections”; and even, it was asserted, Russia trying to sabotage investigations into the downing of the Malaysian civilian airliner over Ukraine in 2014.

Up to now, it seems, all such wildly speculative anti-Russia narratives have failed to gain traction among world public opinion. Simply due to the lack of evidence to support these Western accusations. The Skripal affair has perhaps turned into the biggest farce. British government claims that the Kremlin ordered an assassination have floundered to the point of ridicule.

It is hardly coincidence that Britain and its NATO allies are compelled to shore up the Skripal narrative and other anti-Russian narratives with the ramped up “global cyberattack” claims made this week.

Photographs of alleged Russian intelligence operatives have been published. Potboiler indictments have been filed – again – by US law enforcement agencies. Verdicts have been cast by NATO governments and compliant news media of Russian state culpability, without Moscow being given a fair chance to respond to the “highly likely” claims. Claims and narratives are being accelerated, integrated and railroaded.

It is well-established from the explosive disclosures by Edward Snowden, among other whistleblowers, that the American CIA and its partners have the cyber tools to create false “digital fingerprints” for the purpose of framing up enemies. Moreover, the vast cyber surveillance operations carried out by the US and its “Five Eyes” partners – much of which is illegal – is an ironic counterpoint to accusations being made against Russia.

It is also possible in the murky world of all foreign states conducting espionage and information-gathering that attribution of wrongdoing by Russia can be easily exaggerated and made to look like a campaign of cyberattacks.

There is a lawless climate today in the US and other Western states where mere allegations are cited as “proof”. The legal principle of being innocent until proven guilty has been jettisoned. The debacle in the US over a Supreme Court judge nominee is testament to the erosion of due process and legal standards.

But what is all the more reprehensible and reckless is the intensification of criminalization of Russia – based on flimsy “evidence” or none at all. When such criminalization is then used to “justify” calls for a US-led naval blockade of Russian commercial oil trade the conditions are moving inevitably towards military confrontation. The blame for belligerence lies squarely with the NATO powers.

A further irony is that the “spy mania” demonizing Russia is being made necessary because of the wholly unsubstantiated previous claims of Moscow’s malfeasance and “aggression”. Illusions and lies are being compounded with yet more bombastic, illusory claims.

NATO’s information war against Russia is becoming a self-fulfilling “psy-op”. In the deplorable absence of normal diplomatic conduct and respect for international law, NATO’s information war is out of control. It is pushing relations with Russia to the abyss.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-14/nato-coordinates-information-war-russia
 

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Go Russia!
 

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Truman Carrier Strike Group Operating North of Arctic Circle; First Time for US Navy Since 1991


By: Megan Eckstein
October 19, 2018 2:25 PM


An F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to the Sunliners of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81, launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). For the first time in nearly 30 years, a U.S. aircraft carrier has entered the Arctic Circle. Accompanied by select ships from Carrier Strike Group Eight (CSG- 8), Harry S. Truman traveled north to demonstrate the flexibility and toughness of U.S. naval forces through high-end warfare training with regional allies and partners. US Navy photo.


A U.S. aircraft carrier is operating in the Arctic Circle for the first time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and escorts entered the Norwegian Sea today.

The Truman Carrier Strike Group has been operating in the Northern Atlantic Ocean for the last month, working with the Royal Canadian Navy and then stopping in Iceland and the United Kingdom recently ahead of its upcoming participation in the NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2018.

Truman’s excursion north of the Arctic Circle is the first since USS America (CV-66) operated there in September 1991 during NATO exercise North Star, according to a Navy news release.

“We are unbelievably excited to be operating in the Norwegian Sea,” Truman Commanding Officer Capt. Nick Dienna said in the news release.
“It has been over three decades since carrier aviation has been tested by this environment, and, despite the arduous weather and sea conditions, these men and women are demonstrating this ship can bring a full-spectrum of capabilities to bear anywhere in the world.”


The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) conducts flight operations in the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 18, 2018. US Navy photo.

As part of Trident Juncture, which takes place in and around Norway, the Truman Strike Group will “expand its compliment of capabilities off the coast of Norway, performing air, surface and subsurface operations while being confronted by the trio of freezing temperatures, fierce winds, and unpredictable seas.” The strike group will practice these skills on its own ahead of the formal NATO exercise, according to the news release.

The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready is also in the area – though not quite to the Arctic Circle – for a Trident Juncture kickoff event in Iceland. The ships and Marines from 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit were supposed to conduct a cold-weather amphibious landing in Iceland as a practice ahead of the main event in Norway, but rough seas slowed the sail to Iceland and dangerous surf conditions canceled the planned landing. The ARG/MEU instead conducted an air raid near the Keflavik International Airport in southwestern Iceland and will depart for Norway in the coming days.

Trident Juncture 2018 continues to grow in size, with now more than 50,000 personnel involved in what has become the largest NATO exercise in decades.

“Trident Juncture represents the best of NATO – a coalition of allies and partners working toward the shared interests of lasting peace and economic prosperity in the European region,” Carrier Strike Group Eight Commander Rear Adm. Gene Black said in the Navy news release.

“This exercise is also a fantastic opportunity to learn from our Allies on their home turf.”

“The combined and bilateral operations we have conducted in the region over the last several months embody the U.S.’s commitment to our NATO allies and partners,” Black continued. “Together, our maritime partnership creates a global network of navies capable of uniting against any potential threat.”

https://news.usni.org/2018/10/19/tr...h-arctic-circle-first-time-us-navy-since-1991
 

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'Save life on Earth'! Ex Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev who helped end the Cold War slams Trump's decision to quit arms pact over claim that Putin has built new nuclear weapons that could reach Britain

  • The former Soviet leader said Mr Trump was showing a ‘lack of wisdom’
  • The US President wants to quit the pact which bans medium-range nuclear missiles
  • Gorbachev said: ‘Do they really not understand in Washington what this could lead to?

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...hev-slams-Trumps-decision-quit-arms-pact.html
 

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US tries to become judge & punisher - Chair of Russian Foreign Committee on US pulling out of INF
RT


Published on Oct 22, 2018
If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.
 

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We’ll build up nuclear arsenal until Russia & China come to their senses – Trump
RT


Published on Oct 22, 2018
#INF #Trump

Donald Trump has threatened to build up the United State's nuclear arsenal, until 'people come to their senses'...

He earlier vowed to scrap a nuclear treaty with Russia, that's been in force for almost 3 decades.

DETAILS: https://on.rt.com/9h0u
 

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Pre-War Hysteria: Trump Vows To Boost Nuclear Forces, Withdraw From INF Treaty
South Front


Published on Oct 23, 2018
 

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Pro-War Lawmakers Use Russia-Scare to Bloat Military Budget
RT America


Published on Oct 23, 2018
On Capitol Hill republicans have been pushing for an increase in the military budget, but it looks like Russia-gate might be the much needed ingredient for the Democratic Party to help make that happen. RT America’s Sara Montes de Oca reports. For analysis RT America’s Scottie Nell Hughes is joined by former US Senator Lincoln Chafee.
 

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'Has your eagle picked all the olives and only has arrows left?': Putin cracks joke about US seal while hosting Trump's national security advisor John Bolton amid arms pact dispute

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin poked fun at the official seal of the United States
  • Putin joked as he hosted U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton Tuesday
  • He said: 'I have a question: Has your eagle picked all the olives and only has arrows left?'
  • Putin and Bolton laughed as they exchanged the quips at the start of the meeting
  • Putin mentioned Trump's stated intent to pull the U.S. out of a pivotal arms control treaty
  • Bolton's Kremlin meeting with Putin followed two days of talks with top Russian foreign policy and security officials
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...er-meets-Russian-defense-minister-Moscow.html
 

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Putin should kashoggi the shit out of bolton.JMHO
 

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NATO Begins Largest Exercise Since Cold War
VOA News


Published on Oct 25, 2018
Tens of thousands of NATO alliance troops are springing to action Thursday at the start of the alliance's Trident Juncture exercise, its largest exercise since the end of the Cold War. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb brings us the latest on this massive event in and around Norway, and why Russia is watching.
Originally published at - https://www.voanews.com/a/nato-begins...
 

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White House reveals it has invited Vladimir Putin to Washington after Bolton warned Russia's interference in the elections created 'distrust and animosity'

  • National Security Advisor John Bolton said Friday the Russian president has been invited to visit
  • President Trump invited Putin to visit following their summit in Helsinki, where Trump accepted Putin's denial of election meddling
  • Trump then faced blowback at home and the summit was put on hold
  • Bolton visited Moscow this week and said the effort to interfere was 'objectionable'
  • He said the outcome 'would have been the same' but it still created animosity
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...Bolton-says-U-S-invited-Putin-Washington.html
 

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Escobar: Who Profits From The End Of The Mid-Range Nuclear Treaty?


by Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/26/2018 - 23:45


Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

The US move to shelve the Intermediate-range Nuclear-Forces treaty could accelerate the demise of the whole post-WWII Western alliance, and herald a bad remix of the 1930s...



The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved its Doomsday Clock to only 2 minutes to midnight. It might be tempting to turn this into a mere squabble about arrows and olives if this wasn’t such a terrifying scenario.

US president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, secretary-general of the USSR, signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 1987.

The Arms Control Association was extremely pleased.

“The treaty marked the first time the superpowers had agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals, eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons, and utilize extensive on-site inspections for verification.”
Three decades later, the Trump administration wants to unilaterally pull out of the INF Treaty.

Earlier this week President Trump sent his national security adviser John Bolton to officially break the news to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

As they were discussing extremely serious issues such as implications of a dissolving INF Treaty, the perpetuation of anti-Russia sanctions, the risk of not extending a new START Treaty and the deployment, in Putin’s words, of “some elements of the missile shield in outer space”, the Russian President got into, well, arrows and olives:

“As I recall, there is a bald eagle pictured on the US coat of arms: it holds 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other as a symbol of peaceful policy: a branch with 13 olives. My question: has your eagle already eaten all the olives leaving only the arrows?”

Bolton’s response: “I didn’t bring any olives.”

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with US National Security Adviser John Bolton before their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on 23 Oct 2018. Photo: Russian Foreign Press Office / Anadolu Agency / AFP

A ‘new strategic reality’?
By now it’s clear the Trump administration’s rationale for pulling out of the INF Treaty is due, in Bolton’s words, to “a new strategic reality”. The INF is being dismissed as a “bilateral treaty in a multipolar ballistic missile world”, which does not take into consideration the missile capabilities of China, Iran and North Korea.

But there is a slight problem. The INF Treaty limits missiles with a range from 500 km to 5,000 km. China, Iran and North Korea simply cannot pose a “threat” to the United States by deploying such missiles. The INF is all about the European theater of war.

So, it’s no wonder the reaction in Brussels and major European capitals has been of barely disguised horror.

EU diplomats have told Asia Times the US decision was a “shock”, and “the last straw for the EU as it jeopardizes our very existence, subjecting us to nuclear destruction by short-range missiles”, which would never be able to reach the US heartland.

The “China” reason – that Russia is selling Beijing advanced missile technology – simply does not cut it in Europe, as the absolute priority is European security. EU diplomats are establishing a parallel to the possibility – which was more than real last year – that Washington could nuclear-bomb North Korea unilaterally. South Korea and Japan, in that case, would be nuclear “collateral damage”. The same might happen to Europe in the event of a US-Russia nuclear shoot-out.

It goes without saying that shelving the INF could even accelerate the demise of the whole post-WWII Western alliance, heralding a remix of the 1930s with a vengeance.

And the clock keeps ticking
Reports that should be critically examined in detail assert that US superiority over China’s military power is rapidly shrinking. Yet China is not much of a military technology powerhouse compared to Russia and its state of the art hypersonic missiles.

NATO may be relatively strong on the missile front – but it still wouldn’t be able to compete with Russia in a potential battle in Europe.

The supreme danger, in Doomsday Clock terms, is the obsession by certain US neocon factions that Washington could prevail in a “limited”, localized, tactical nuclear war against Russia.

That’s the whole rationale behind extending US first-strike capability as close as possible to the Russian western borderlands.

Russian analysts stress that Moscow is already – “unofficially” – perfecting what would be their own first-strike capability in these borderlands.

The mere hint of NATO attempting to start a countdown in Poland, the Baltics or the Black Sea may be enough to encourage Russia to strike.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov starkly refuted Trump and Bolton’s claims that Russia was violating the INF Treaty: “As far as we understood, the US side has made a decision, and it will launch formal procedures for withdrawing from this treaty in the near future.”

As for Russia’s resolve, everything one needs to know is part of Putin’s detailed intervention at the Valdai Economic Forum. Essentially, Putin did not offer any breaking news – but a stark reminder that Moscow will strike back at any provocation configured as a threat to the future of Russia.

Russians, in this case, would “die like martyrs” and the response to an attack would be so swift and brutal that the attackers would “die like dogs”.

The harsh language may not be exactly diplomatic. What it does is reflect plenty of exasperation towards the US conservatives who peddle the absurd notion of a “limited” nuclear war.

The harsh language also reflects a certainty that whatever the degree of escalation envisaged by the Trump administration and the Pentagon, that won’t be enough to neutralize Russian hypersonic missiles.

So, it’s no wonder that EU diplomats, trying to ease their discomfort, recognize that this, in the end, is all about the Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine and the necessity of keeping the massive US military-industrial-surveillance complex running.

Even as the clock keeps ticking closer to midnight.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-26/escobar-who-profits-end-mid-range-nuclear-treaty
 

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Aegis Ashore Could Have New Role Post INF Treaty Says Former Pentagon Official
By: John Grady
October 31, 2018 7:08 PM


Romanian Aegis Ashore site. U.S. Missile Defense Agency Photo

Converting Aegis Ashore facilities in Poland and Romania into land stations for cruise missile coupled with already available sea-based and air-launched missiles would complicate Kremlin planning on how to defend itself from attack or strike targets in Europe, a former U.S. defense official on Wednesday.

In a telephone conference call with reporters, Abraham Denmark, director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center and a former Pentagon official, said the two facilities “could fairly readily be turned” from defensive posture against Iranian ballistic missiles threatening Europe to an offensive capability targeting Russia. This would be a “direct threat” contention the Kremlin has said violated the existing treaty and was the American goal from that start in deploying the missiles, radars and fire control systems so close to its borders.

With the United States’ announced plans to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty between Washington and Moscow and not having such a land-based missile in its inventory, conversion indeed might be an option in American military planning.

In setting the stage for the discussion and question-and-answer session, Robert Litwak, senior vice president at the Wilson Center, said American administrations since 2014 have publicly called out Russia for its development and deployment of a new set of mobile intermediate range cruise missiles as violating the treaty.

Russia, in response, kept pointing to Aegis Ashore, American and NATO armed drones and the dummy missiles used in targeting exercises as INF treaty violations.

The treaty, one part of a series of arms control agreements, reached during the Cold War did not cover all kinds of intermediate-range missiles.
“INF meant nothing for ships at sea” or missiles launched from aircraft, Matthew Rojansky, director of the center’s Kennan Institute, said. These were among the United States’ strongest military capabilities in deterring Soviet aggression in Europe.

Looking at the strategic situation in Europe now, the Aegis Ashore site in Romania was declared fully operational in 2016. Construction problems, however, have slowed the work in Poland and it will not be operational until 2020, a Senate Armed Services subcommittee was told earlier this year.

In the Pacific, Japan has announced the awarding of contracts for its first Aegis Ashore systems that are expected to become operational in 2023.

“The U.S. does not have capabilities [for a mobile land-based intermediate range missile] on hand” now or in the immediate future to counter Russia, China or any other power, Litwak said.

NATO allies, as well as Japan, have expressed concerns about the United States’ walking away from the treaty and likely would not be receptive to stationing new American intermediate-range missiles on their soil. This runs counter to the Cold War experience.

American plans to deploy Pershing II missiles with atomic warheads along the Iron Curtain to meet growing Soviet missile threats in Europe were marked by large protests, but the governments in the NATO countries stayed firm. Ultimately, the missiles were deployed.

Litwak said Europeans see the treaty today “as a pillar of European security architecture.” The treaty only involves the United States and Russia. Other nuclear powers, such as China, France, the United Kingdom, India and Pakistan, are not involved; and neither are Iran, North Korea and Israel.


The Trump administration, on the other hand, weighs the treaty “as a constraint on our sovereignty” rather than serving the national interest, he said. Rojansky added some in the administration could also see the move “as a way of exhausting the Russians through another arms race,” in effect “doubling down” on the Kremlin’s opening gambit of deploying its missiles and forcing it to up its defense spending in a time of negative or flat gross domestic product.

Looking to the Pacific, where China has an operational nuclear triad coupled with an intermediate range missile inventory, Denmark said Japan is very concerned about the American willingness to defend Tokyo in any showdown over its territorial disputes with Beijing and possibly from North Korea.

Noting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s most recent visit to Beijing and the pomp, circumstance and military show surrounding it, he added, “Japan has been hedging” in light of Trump’s “criticism of alliances generally and Japan particularly,” he said.

While Europe is about land power the geography of Asia puts the emphasis on naval assets, Denmark said. China has made “significant investments that would violate the INF treaty” if it were a signatory and likely would keep it from joining any new agreement, he said.

Beijing’s development of its intermediate range missiles could reach not only American bases in Japan, but also Guam. Other potential targets could include Taiwan and India. “They’re all in on intermediate-range missiles” as a deterrent and a show of military strength.

But if converting Aegis Ashore would complicate Kremlin military planning so would deployment of U.S. mobile intermediate-range missiles to Alaska and Guam muddle Beijing’s, but here again there is no existing American system ready to deploy.

He conceded mobile land-based systems like those in China and Russia are “more efficient and can move about” more freely than an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer that costs almost $2 billion and carrying a limited number of Tomahawk cruise missiles.

“U.S. allies [Japan, the Philippines, Australia] are not terribly excited” about the U.S. decision to leave the treaty or the prospect of hosting American missiles aimed at China.

Rojansky said the move does throw into question whether Moscow and Washington will be able to update its strategic arms agreement in 2021.
There has been no serious proposal from Russia on either the strategic arms or INF treaty, Rojansky said. “It’s all or nothing” from nuclear weapons, to missiles, to cyber, space and conventional weapons. Likewise, on Capitol Hill, where Congress would have to ratify any new treaties, there is a “we do not trust the Russians” sentiment on any of these issues.

The reasons given are continued interference in American elections, active military support of Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war and ongoing financial and arms support of Ukrainian separatists.

https://news.usni.org/2018/10/31/aegis-ashore-new-role-post-inf-treaty-says-former-pentagon-official
 

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CNAS' Townsend on EU, NATO and Transatlantic Relations
Defense & Aerospace Report


Published on Nov 9, 2018
Jim Townsend, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO policy during the Obama administration who is now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, discusses the European Union, NATO and transatlantic relations with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian.
 

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Official: NATO Heart of U.K. Defense Strategy Post European Union Exit
By: John Grady
November 6, 2018 6:48 PM


Two F-35B Lightning II fighter successfully landed onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 25, 2018. Lockheed Martin Photo

The U.K. will remain committed to NATO and to being a high-end defense partner even after it withdraws from the European Union in March, the British defense acquisition chief predicted on Tuesday.

“NATO is at the heart of our defense strategy,” Stuart Andrew said while at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Tuesday. Noting London already is well above the 2-percent threshold on security spending, he added, “I can’t see any of that changing,” even as the government tightens its belt in other areas to prepare for Brexit.

With the exit deadline approaching, he said Britain is stressing to its European allies their need to meet the 2-percent commitment to NATO to deter further aggression by Russia. He also said the U.K. was willing to work with members of the E.U. who are not NATO members on security matters.

“If someone hurts one partner, we are there,” Andrew said, especially to the frontline countries bordering Russia. He cited Royal Air Force deployments to the Baltic nations and Poland as examples of providing reassurance and bolstering deterrence. “We have to show … we have the capability to stop Russian aggression.”


Stuart Andrew

More than 20 percent of London’s defense budget is going into modernization – including carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth now operating off the U.S. East Coast, buying and manufacturing its full complement of 138 F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, funding the Type 26 frigate for its own use and for sale to allies like Australia and possibly Canada, and its next generation of Dreadnought-class ballistic missile submarines.

He added the prime minister and the chancellor of the exchequer, who handles the United Kingdom’s spending, put 1 billion more pounds “into key capabilities – naval, anti-submarine warfare, cyber.”

While defense industrial cooperation between Washington and London is “closer and broader” than it has even been, Andrew warned, no longer “does NATO and the West have a monopoly on technological reach.”


That challenge across all domains not only comes from Russia and China or lesser powers like Iran and North Korea, but also terrorists like al Qaeda and the Islamic State and lone wolves.

Andrew also added a note of caution to an “America First” policy in defense procurement.

“Our challenge now is to make sure trading traffic moves in both directions,” he said, pointedly reminding the audience that Great Britain willingly shared its expertise in “the jet turbine and bouncing bomb” in World War II.

Andrew a number of times in his remarks stressed the role of interoperability to meet today’s threats and new ones over the horizon.

Looking at London’s pursuit of a follow-on to the F-35B, called the Tempest, he said, “this is about where we go next.” He added it was important “to keep the skills we got” in aircraft development and production, as well as in shipbuilding and for land forces.

Remarking that the Type 26 frigate was the first warship Britain was making for export since the 1970s, the Tempest venture “is also looking at our allies across the globe [and] where we go in the future.”

Likewise in Europe, London wants “to be careful not to duplicate” efforts in defense modernization with nations in or out of NATO. The goal “is work collaboratively with our allies” and partners.

https://news.usni.org/2018/11/06/official-nato-heart-u-k-defense-strategy-post-european-union-exit
 

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Finnish PM: Russia Suspected Of Massive GPS Blackout In Finland During War Games


by Tyler Durden
Tue, 11/13/2018 - 02:45


On Sunday, Prime Minister Juha Sipila told Yleisradio Oy (Yle), Finland's national public broadcasting company, that large-scale GPS blackouts over northern Finland during Nato war exercises over the past few weeks were intentional and the culprit could be Russia.

Air Navigation Services Finland (ANS Finland) issued a warning last week for all air traffic due to massive GPS interruption in the northern region of the country. Norway also posted a similar notice about GPS disruption for air traffic during the NATO exercise.

Here is the announcement on Eurocontrol's website:



Ivalo airport in Finland’s northernmost region issued a warning of unstable GPS signals last week. The warning was posted as Notice to Airman.



Lapland in Finland and Finnmark in Norway were some of the most affected regions.



“It is possible that Russia has been the disrupting party in this. Russia is known to possess such capabilities,” Sipila told Yle.

The war exercise was mainly conducted in Norway but field training exercises extended into the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, as well as in Finland, Sweden, and Iceland. About 29 NATO members and partner countries Finland and Sweden participated in the most significant phase of the exercise, the LIVEX, which was held between October 25 and November 07.

Finland's participation in Nato's Trident Juncture has been seen as a move that pushes Helsinki, the capital of Finland, towards Washington, a move that has infuriated Russia.

"Technology-wise it’s relatively easy to disturb a radio signal, and it’s possible that Russia was behind it,” Sipila said, adding that Russia has the capabilities to do it.

”It’s a message to all parties participating in the military exercise,” he warned.

Sipila said GPS jamming poses a severe risk to the commercial aviation industry, it increases the chance of civilian air traffic accidents, and that Finland has prepared to deal with these types of disturbances.

Then on Monday afternoon, Moscow dismissed Sipila's claims, according to Reuters. Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a call he had zero information that Russia could have been responsible and said his country was regularly accused of all kinds of crimes, most of which were baseless.

While there is no confirmation on who exactly launched the GPS blackout over Finland and Norway during the war exercises, one can certainly get the picture that governments are not telling the public that an electronic warfare battle could be underway (between Russia and NATO), or if that is not the case, then maybe a false flag. No matter who caused the incident, the war drums are beating.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018...massive-gps-blackout-finland-during-war-games
 

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More Details Emerge Behind Washington's Decision To Leave INF Treaty


by Tyler Durden
Mon, 11/26/2018 - 02:00


Authored by Andrei Akulov via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The US announced its withdrawal from the INF Treaty without having an intermediate ground-based missile to deploy. It made arms control pundits wonder what triggered this decision. Even if the China threat were not exaggerated and Russia’s alleged “treaty violations” were true, there would be no explanation for National Security Adviser John Bolton’s statement that the US was leaving the landmark agreement with no land-based intermediate range weapon of its own nearing operational status.



Picking up useful bits of information here and there is the best way to find answers to hard questions. It takes time but the effort pays off.

According to the US Naval institute (USNI), the Navy has set up a program office within its Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) to address the conventional prompt global strike mission handed by the Defense Department to the sea service. According to SSP Director Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe, who spoke this month at the annual Naval Submarine League symposium, each service will field some sort of hypersonic capability to contribute to conventional prompt global strike.

“We have a program, we are funded, and we’re moving forward with that capability, which is going to be tremendous to allow our Navy to continue to have the access they need, whether it be from submarines or from surface ships,” the admiral noted.​
The sea service is to spearhead the effort by developing the hypersonic glide body that all the services will use. The platforms are yet to be determined as the Navy is intentionally keeping its options open.

The idea is to have a booster going up to the upper atmosphere or outer space and a hypersonic glide vehicle able to maneuver while descending to defy air defenses and strike moving targets. With the Avangard operational, Russia is the only country to have such a weapon today.

Unlike the US Air Force, the Navy has been doing its research in high hush-hush mode during a number of years. The first conventional global strike missile test to collect data on hypersonic boost-glide technologies was conducted by the service on October 30, 2017. Initially, it was planned to be held till the end of 2016 but had to be postponed. The glider flew about 2,000 nautical miles (3,800 km) from the Hawaii to the Marshall Islands fired from a ground-based launcher. The $160 million test was a success. The Navy could eventually deploy the conventional strike system on either Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines that have been converted to launch cruise missiles (known as SSGNs) or Virginia-class attack submarines equipped the Virginia payload module.

The DOD budget request for FY2019 indicates that it will conduct a second flight test by the end of FY2020.The funding for the program goes to the Navy. The Congressional Research Service report says, “The funding for the program is expected to increase significantly, from a request for $278 million in FY2019 to a request for $478 million in FY2022, for a total of $1.9 billion between FY2019 and FY2022. This is more than twice the amount expected over a five-year period in the FY2018 budget request.”

If attack submarines can accommodate the weapon, US Navy’s destroyers and cruisers can do it too. One can imagine the number of sea-based PGS weapons in service when mass production process starts running smoothly.

Installed on Virginia–class boats, the missile will be excluded from the verification procedures in accordance with the New START Treaty. The weapon under consideration is a sea-based one. At first glance it has no relation to the INF Treaty but not so fast. The Defense Department said the Navy is responsible for a universal weapon to be used by all services, including the Army. The Hawaii missile was launched from land.

It’s worth to note that by announcing the plans to arm attack submarines with the new weapon the US military actually admits the violation of the INF Treaty because the Romania-based Aegis Ashore uses the same VLS Mk-41 launching pad as ships and submarines. If the PGS weapon is small enough for the MK-41 launcher, or the Virginia Payload Module, it can be installed on a mobile ground platform in open violation of the INF Treaty.

The range of 2,000 nautical miles allows the PGS system to cover most of Russia’s territory, reaching as far as the Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya or the Siberian city of Omsk, about 2,700 km east from Moscow. Deployed in Japan, the land-based version of the weapon can also threaten China, provided Tokyo gave consent. On July 30, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera announced a plan to deploy the Aegis Ashore missile-defense system by 2023. The military training grounds in the Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures are prospective sites.

This is a threat for China and Russia. With the Mk-41 used, one can never tell what missile is going to be launched - an interceptor or a prompt global strike missile reaching as far as Russian Primorski Krai (Primorye), the Kamchatka Peninsula where the Pacific Fleet SSBNs are based, and Krasnoyarsk, the third-largest city in Siberia, where Russia plans to deploy its new silo-based heavy ballistic Sarmat missiles. With all only land-based deployments in place, the entire Russian territory will be covered by US PGS weapons. Add to it the naval and aircraft-based PGS component. One can only imagine how strong will be the temptation to deliver a first strike to knock out Russia’s key infrastructure and strategic nuclear weapons sites, leaving the US strategic nuclear arsenal intact! The missile might have delivered a 2,000- pound payload over a 1,500-mile range, 80 with an accuracy of less than 5 meters. This would allow it to reach its target in less than 15 minutes. The payload is enough to fulfill the mission. True, the increased 2,000 nautical miles range will require a less powerful warhead but the US is working on a low-yield nuclear weapon.

As a result, the strategic balance will be tilted in US favor to give it the advantage of first conventional strike. Moscow will not watch idly. The weapons President Putin talked about in March were a response to US land- and air-based intermediate range advantage. Russia will do it again, if it needs to catch up. With the INF Treaty no longer valid, an unfettered arms race will start and there is no guarantee the US will be the winner. It has already started.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018...-behind-washingtons-decision-leave-inf-treaty
 

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US Is "The Only Real Guarantor" Of European Security, Claims Polish PM


by Tyler Durden
Mon, 11/26/2018 - 02:45


Perhaps "Fort Trump" is making progress? Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Sunday in reaction to continued EU discussion of French and German to plans for a "European Army" that the United States is the only guarantor of European defense and security. Like the idea of "Fort Trump" first floated by Polish President Andrzej Duda in September during a White House visit, these latest statements out of Poland will be music to the US president's ears.

“We would like Europe as a whole to strengthen its military potential,” Morawiecki told a Polish public broadcaster from Brussels immediately after Europe’s leaders approved the Brexit deal negotiated with the U.K. “But at the same time today we emphasize that the only real guarantor of security in Europe, including the eastern flank of NATO, is the U.S.,” he said according to Bloomberg.


Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Image source: PAP/Marcin Bielecki

Morawiecki called for “a strong Poland in a strong European Union” and emphasized that Poland is both pro-American and pro-European. The two countries have been rapidly bolstering their military ties over the past few years in the face of what both perceive as expanding Russian influence.

Last March Warsaw and Washington signed a $4.75 billion deal to transfer Raytheon's Patriot missile defense system in a major step to modernize its forces against Russia, the single largest such procurement in Poland's history. Meanwhile completion of the separate NATO operated Lockheed Martin made ground-based Aegis ballistic missile defense system is not set to be in operation until after 2020 due to technical delays.

The Polish prime minister's statements come after early this month French President Emmanuel Macron proposed that Europe extricate itself from US foreign policy and security dependence by forming a common army that would be more than just symbolic, but could legitimately defend European interests and territory.

While calling for greater independence in European defense Macron had managed to take aim at both Russia and the United States in a Nov. 6 interview, saying “We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the US.” He proposed that European leaders create a “real European army” not only to better defend the continent against Russia, but also to extricate French and European policy from that of the United States.

“We won’t protect Europeans if we don’t decide to have a real European army,” Macron said. “We must have a Europe that can defend itself on its own without relying only on the United States,” he asserted.

A week following Macron's controversial interview German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to second the idea that Europe should work to form an army, saying before European Parliament: “The times in which we could unconditionally rely on others are over.”

But such a proposal will remain wishful thinking so long as key strategically located former Warsaw Pact countries like Poland refuse to play ball.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-25/us-only-real-guarantor-european-security-asserts-polish-pm
 

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Russia "Indisputably" Greater Threat Than ISIS And Al-Qaeda, British Army Chief Warns


by Tyler Durden
Mon, 11/26/2018 - 04:15

The wave of anti-Russia hysteria that gripped Britain following the attacks earlier this year on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who were nearly killed by a deadly nerve agent while visiting a mall in Salisbury, has faded since the international community responded with a wave of diplomat expulsions and another round of US sanctions. The UK swiftly blamed those attacks on Russia - a claim that Russia denied. The investigation ended with charges against two Russian men whom the UK accused of carrying out the attack (though the only laws they were seemingly caught breaking were the laws of physics).

But seemingly right on cue, a senior British military official is trying to revive the flagging narrative.



Recently appointed British Army chief Gen. Mark Carleton-Smith told the Daily Telegraph in his first interview since taking over as head of the army that Russia is now "indisputably" a greater threat than ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

Given the defeat of ISIS in Syria - a defeat for which Russia was responsible more than any other foreign power - and the degradation of Al Qaeda, these threats to UK security have diminished greatly. But Russia is constantly trying to undermine the West by improving its cyberwarefare capabilities.

"Russia today indisputably represents a far greater threat to our national security than Islamic extremist threats such as al-Qaeda and Isil," he said.​

"Russia has demonstrated that it is prepared to use military force to secure and expand its own national interests. The Russians seek to exploit vulnerability and weakness wherever they detect it."​
The general sat for the interview shortly after returning from the Baltics, where the largest NATO exercise in decades was wrapping up. And as NATO troops menaced Moscow from directly across its border, Carleton-Smith warned against being "complacent" about the Russian threat.

"The physical manifestation of the Islamist threat has diminished with the complete destruction of the geography of the so-called Caliphate," he said.​

As a result, Britain and its allies needed to focus their attention on Russia, particularly after the Salisbury Novichok attack earlier this year.​

"Russia has embarked on a systematic effort to explore and exploit Western vulnerabilities, particularly in some of the non-traditional areas of cyber, space, undersea warfare," he said.​

"We cannot be complacent about the threat Russia poses or leave it uncontested. The most important conventional military response to Russia is the continued capabilities and coherence of the Nato alliance."

Militarily, the UK should focus on bolstering NATO, Carleton-Smith said, adding that he wouldn't support the creation of a European Army like what French President Emmanuel Macron has proposed.

"I would not support any initiative that diluted the military effectiveness of Nato," he said. "Nato represents the centre of gravity of European security. It has been an extraordinarily successful alliance and, in my experience, we should reinforce success."

His references to Russia's cyber-capabilities, of course, relate back to the Russia election hacking scandal in the US. Despite all the furor (and indictments), there's little evidence to suggest that these "sophisticated" efforts to sway the US election (and Brexit) had any impact on the results.

With this in mind, Carleton-Smith's remarks sound like just one more attempt by a Western official to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for the rise of populist movements that threaten the political status quo.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018...at-isis-and-al-qaeda-british-army-chief-warns
 

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Ukrainian Sailors Injured, Held After Russia Seizes Three Warships
By: Jon Rosamond
November 26, 2018 2:14 PM • Updated: November 26, 2018 3:31 PM


According to the Google translation of a Ukraine Ministry of Defense timeline, “Armored artillery boats ‘Berdyansk’ and ‘Nikopol’ were attacked by the enemy. Harbor tug ‘Yana Kapu’ was also forced to stop. Ukrainian ships are seized by Russian Special Forces. There is also information about two wounded Ukrainian sailors.” Ukraine Ministry of Defense photo.

Russian maritime forces have fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels that were attempting to sail from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov.More than 20 Ukrainian sailors were also detained by Russians – several of them reportedly suffering injuries – after open hostilities erupted on Nov. 25 in the Kerch Strait, which separates Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula from mainland Russia.

Tensions between the two countries were today at boiling point as senior Ukrainian officials accused the Kremlin of initiating an “act of military aggression.” The parliament in Kiev was considering whether to impose martial law, according to media reports.


Moscow, which also scrambled fighter jets and helicopters to the area, justified its actions by claiming that the Ukrainian units had entered Russian territorial waters without permission.

Under a 2003 treaty signed by Ukraine and Russia, the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov – on the northern side of the strait, with the Black Sea being south of the strait – are shared territorial waters and vessels from both nations are entitled to navigate freely in the area.

Although Kiev is understood to have told the Russians in advance that it was sending vessels from Odessa to Mariupol, officials in Moscow insist the voyage was a “pre-planned provocation.”

Still, Russia has been acting increasingly aggressive in this region this year. Russia built a $3.7 billion bridge to connect Russia and Crimea, and Russian naval forces have been hostile to Ukrainian vessels operating in and around that choke point.

“Along with the bridge goes the entry point to the Sea of Azov. If you’re keeping up with this lately, there’s been some irresponsible activity in the Sea of Azov in the last couple months, the Ukrainians are not happy about that. The Russians have delayed shipping, held them at sea, unable to enter port, any port, unable to go to sea. This is costing the Ukraine millions of dollars a year and it’s an unfair practice,” Adm. James Foggo, the head of U.S. Naval Forces Europe, said last month. Foggo explained that NATO forces could not patrol the Sea of Azov to support Ukraine, as those waters only belong to Ukraine and Russia, but NATO and the U.S. could ensure presence in the adjacent Black Sea.

The U.S. Navy and U.S. Department of Defense did not provide comment on this week’s incident.

The incident occurred after the Ukrainian Naval Forces’ Gurza-M class (Project 58155) gunboats Berdyansk (P175) and Nikopol (P176) and the Prometey-class tug Yany Kapu (A947) left the Black Sea port of Odessa early yesterday, en route to Mariupol on the northern shores of the Sea of Azov.

The Ukrainian ships’ passage under the new Crimean Bridge was blocked by a tanker. The tug was rammed by Don, a Russian Federal Border Guard Service Sorum-class (Project 745) ocean-going tug modernized as a patrol vessel.

A video of the incident, filmed from the bridge of the Russian patrol ship, was shared widely on the internet.

According to a transcript published by the Kiev-based UNIAN news agency, a Russian officer is heard shouting: “Faster, come on! Good job! Crush it from the starboard side! Come on, come on! Stop engine, stop engine! Take hold on board! Reverse, reverse!” His instructions are littered with expletives. Another sailor exclaims after the tug is rammed: “That was great!”

Photographs also appeared online showing a Rubin-class vessel, RFCGS Izumrud (354), with a large hole beneath its bridge, although the cause of the damage unclear.

Officials in Kiev said that several other Russian military vessels – including the Grisha-class corvette RFS Suzdalets and unidentified Sobol (Project 12200) and Mangust (Project 12150) patrol craft – had also engaged in “openly aggressive acts against ships of the Ukrainian navy.”

In a statement today, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Kremlin’s “criminal regime” had “de facto expanded its military aggression against Ukraine to the sea,” and demanded that Russia return the captured vessels and personnel and pay compensation for the damage caused.

The ministry added: “Ukraine urges its allies and partners to take all necessary measures to deter the aggressor, i.e. by applying new and strengthening existing sanctions, as well as by providing Ukraine with military assistance to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty within the internationally recognized borders.”

World leaders have similarly condemned the aggressive actions by Russia and stated support for Ukraine. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council today, “this is no way for a law-abiding, civilized nation to act. Impeding Ukraine’s lawful transit through the Kerch Strait is a violation under international law. It is an arrogant act that the international community must condemn and will never accept.”

Berdyansk and Nikopol are two of Ukraine’s newest combatants. Constructed at the Kuznya na Rybalskomu shipyard in Kiev and commissioned into service in December 2016 and July 2018 respectively, they are armed with two Katran-M remote-controlled close-in weapon systems (forward and aft, each comprising a 30mm gun and two grenade launchers) and have a maximum speed of about 25 knots.

https://news.usni.org/2018/11/26/uk...in-custody-after-russia-seizes-three-warships
 

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Russia-Ukraine Black Sea Military Crisis: On The Brink Of War
South Front


Published on Nov 26, 2018
 

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‘Dangerous maneuvers’: Latest provocation has all eyes on Ukraine
RT America


Published on Nov 26, 2018
Ukraine has declared martial law following the detention of three Ukrainian vessels trespassing in Russian territorial waters off the coast of Crimea on Sunday. Russia immediately called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to rule on the incident, RT’s Yulia Shapovalova reports. Then, former US diplomat Jim Jatras joins to discuss this latest flare-up of ongoing tensions in the region and the world’s reaction.