WASHINGTON – U.S. Army paratroopers are arriving in Poland on Wednesday as part of a wave of U.S. troops heading to shore up America’s Eastern European allies in the face of Russian meddling in Ukraine. Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said an initial contingent of about 600 troops will head to four countries across Eastern Europe for military exercises over the next month.
The show of strength comes as the United States, European allies and Ukraine try to ease tensions with Russia and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. All sides struck a diplomatic agreement last week, but it remains unclear whether pro-Russian demonstrators, who took over a series of government buildings in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, will back down.
Under the current plan, U.S. troops would rotate in and out of the four Eastern European countries for additional exercises on a recurring basis. “We’re looking at trying to keep this rotational presence persistent throughout the rest of this year,” Kirby told reporters, adding that over time the exercises could expand to other countries.
The exercises are part of an effort announced last week by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel aimed at reassuring NATO allies of America’s commitment to the region’s defense. Kirby said the U.S. will likely plan other exercises and will continue to work through NATO on joint measures that could be scheduled in the future.
“It’s a very tangible representation of our commitment to our security obligations in Europe, and the message is to the people of those countries and to the alliance that we do take it seriously. And we encourage our NATO partners to likewise look for opportunities of their own to do this same kind of thing for one another,” said Kirby. “And I think if there’s a message to Moscow, it is the same exact message – that we take our obligations very, very seriously on the continent of Europe.”
Armed pro-Russia groups have occupied areas in eastern Ukraine and have refused to leave until the country’s acting government resigns. There was a burst of violence Sunday, with three people killed during a shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian troops. The U.S. has asserted that some of the troops are Russian special operations forces, and officials are pressing Russian to abide by an international accord aimed at stemming the crisis in Ukraine. source – Fox News
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecc 1:9
There is a reason why Barack Obama’s favorite president is Abraham Lincoln, and it has nothing to do with “freeing the slaves”. It’s because Obama is a great admirer of how Lincoln suspended the United States Constitution via Executive Order to carry out and wage war against it’s own citizens. Everything old is new again.
OKLAHOMA CITY - A land dispute in Nevada between rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal government began decades ago. The Bureau of Land Management says Bundy was allowing his cattle to graze illegally, which triggered a round-up of about 400 head of cattle last week.
Bundy claims his family’s cattle have grazed on the land since 1870 without interference from the government. However, the Bureau of Land Management says Bundy hadn’t paid his grazing fees since 1993. Over time, officials say those fees have amounted to more than $1 million. As authorities herded the cattle, a standoff was sparked with members of the militia.
Organizers with the Oklahoma Militia say they have members in Nevada who claim Bundy’s cattle were unlawfully herded by the bureau. The Oklahoma Militia says it is made up of nearly 50,000 volunteers.
Members say they are taking Bundy’s side and fear this practice could spread to the Sooner State. Scott Shaw said, “Evidently in America we don’t actually own the property anymore, if you ever did.”
Shaw says Oklahoma Militia members are ready to take up arms against the federal government if needed.
He said, “It’s up to the feds, the balls in their court! You can do this legally or if you want to try to do a land grab violently, you can do that. We’re going to resist you!”
Shaw says the militia has not had to defend Oklahoma from the government yet but members are becoming concerned.
Shaw said, “Just look around the country, they are doing it everywhere. If they can do it in Nevada, they can do it in Colorado, Texas. I mean, what’s to stop them from coming to Oklahoma? The only thing to stop them is ‘We the People.”
THIS IS THE VIDEO ON FREEDOM THAT GOT JUDGE NAPOLITANO FIRED FROM FOX NEWS:
However, not everyone agrees. Sen. Jim Inhofe said, “You’ve got a bunch of people there trying to take the law into their own hands and they shouldn’t be doing that. And the Bureau of Land Management is not government-owned, it’s publicly owned. There’s a big difference there. I blame both sides.”
The Bureau of Land Management released the cattle after confiscating them. source – KFOR
Rise of the Warrior Cop
Regardless of how people feel about Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management over his cattle’s grazing rights, a lot of Americans were surprised to see TV images of an armed-to-the-teeth paramilitary wing of the BLM deployed around Bundy’s ranch.
They shouldn’t have been. Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions. It’s not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them. But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies — not to mention local police forces.
“The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 anti-terrorism efforts have created a new figure on the U.S. scene: the warrior cop — armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.”
The proliferation of paramilitary federal SWAT teams inevitably brings abuses that have nothing to do with either drugs or terrorism. Many of the raids they conduct are against harmless, often innocent, Americans who typically are accused of non-violent civil or administrative violations.
Take the case of Kenneth Wright of Stockton, Calif., who was “visited” by a SWAT team from the U.S. Department of Education in June 2011. Agents battered down the door of his home at 6 a.m., dragged him outside in his boxer shorts, and handcuffed him as they put his three children (ages 3, 7, and 11) in a police car for two hours while they searched his home. The raid was allegedly intended to uncover information on Wright’s estranged wife, Michelle, who hadn’t been living with him and was suspected of college financial-aid fraud.
The year before the raid on Wright, a SWAT team from the Food and Drug Administration raided the farm of Dan Allgyer of Lancaster, Pa. His crime was shipping unpasteurized milk across state lines to a cooperative of young women with children in Washington, D.C., called Grass Fed on the Hill. Raw milk can be sold in Pennsylvania, but it is illegal to transport it across state lines. The raid forced Allgyer to close down his business.
Brian Walsh, a senior legal analyst with the Heritage Foundation, says it is inexplicable why so many federal agencies need to be battle-ready: “If these agencies occasionally have a legitimate need for force to execute a warrant, they should be required to call a real law-enforcement agency, one that has a better sense of perspective. The FBI, for example, can draw upon its vast experience to determine whether there is an actual need for a dozen SWAT agents.”
Since 9/11, the feds have issued a plethora of homeland-security grants that encourage local police departments to buy surplus military hardware and form their own SWAT units. By 2005, at least 80 percent of towns with a population between 25,000 and 50,000 people had their own SWAT team. The number of raids conducted by local police SWAT teams has gone from 3,000 a year in the 1980s to over 50,000 a year today. source – National Review
A Powerless American Military In Europe
The Obama administration has removed all operational combat tanks from Europe and key strike aircraft, limiting the options for a show of force to bolster eastern NATO allies as Russia contemplates invading Ukraine.
That makes it a top priority to show Russian President Vladimir Putin that Washington stands militarily behind NATO members such as the Baltic states, Poland and other countries once under Soviet domination.
The problem is, the U.S. shelf is a bit bare. In the past two years, the Obama administration has deactivated the only two armored combat brigade teams in Europe equipped with the Army’s main M1 battle tanks. It also disbanded a squadron of A-10 ground-attack jets that proved effective over Libya.
While Mr. Putin is flexing his muscle in the east, Washington is tilting military away from Europe and toward Asia. “Everyone is moving west when we need to be looking east,” said Luke Coffey, a former Army officer who was a defense adviser to Britain’s conservative government.
“Ten thousand American troops have moved west out of Europe,” said Mr. Coffey, an analyst at The Heritage Foundation. “Ten thousand British soldiers have moved west out of Germany, while thousands of Russian soldiers have moved west to the Ukraine.”
On Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced an increase in air policing missions over the Baltic member countries. More allied warships will be sent to the Baltic Sea and eastern Mediterranean, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said.
“There really aren’t any American military options,” said James Russell, an instructor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. “The truth of the matter — the Russian army is there and ours isn’t, and the Europeans have mostly disarmed, so you can forget about them. It isn’t much more complicated than that.” source – Washington Times
Vladimir Putin is striking at the heart of the West
Ukraine: Deep in the flat and featureless landscape of eastern Ukraine, it is all too possible that the outline of World War III is taking shape. Whipped up by the Kremlin propaganda machine and led by Russian military intelligence, armed men are erecting road blocks, storming police stations and ripping down the country’s flag.
They are demolishing not just their own country — bankrupt, ill-run and beleaguered — but also the post-war order that has kept most of Europe and us, here in Britain, safe and free for decades.
His target is our inability to work with allies in defense against common threats. The profoundly depressing fact is that the events of the past few months, as Russia has annexed the Crimea and suppressed opposition in Ukraine, have shown the West to be divided, humiliated and powerless in the face of these land grabs.
We are soon to face a bleak choice. We can chose to surrender any responsibility we have to protect Ukraine and the Baltic states — almost certainly Putin’s next target — from further Russian incursion. Or we can mount a last-ditch attempt to deter Russia from furthering its imperial ambitions.
If we do choose to resist Putin, we will risk a terrifying military escalation, which I do not think it an exaggeration to say could bring us to the brink of nuclear war.
Putin knows that. And he believes we will choose surrender. For the real story of recent events in Ukraine is not about whether that country has a free-trade deal with Brussels or gets its gas from Moscow.
It is about brute power. It is about whether Putin’s Russia — a rogue state on Europe’s doorstep — can hold its neighbors to ransom, and whether we have the will to resist him. So far the answer to the first question is yes. And to the second a bleak no.
The Russian leader believes the collapse of the Soviet Union was a ‘geopolitical catastrophe’. He believes Russia was stripped of its empire by the West’s chicanery. And quite simply, he wants it back.
Putin has presented the Ukrainian leaders with an impossible choice. Either they consent to the dismemberment of their country. Or they fight a war they cannot win. Ukraine’s ill-trained, ill-equipped and ill-led soldiers are quite unsuited to deal with the fraught challenge facing them.
Any bloodshed against a single Russian soldier will give Putin a pretext to use his military might. For her part, Russia has played a brutally clever game. She has deliberately sought to humiliate and destabilise Ukraine.
Now Putin can claim his soldiers must be allowed to intervene because the very social disorder his outriders have engineered demonstrates that the authorities cannot maintain order. Having taken Ukraine, he will turn his attention to the Baltic states. Members of the EU and NATO, their lawful societies, elections and thriving economies are an implicit rebuke to those who preside over sleaze and brutality in Russia.
Now Putin sees a chance to humiliate them — and the West. He does not need to invade, just to provoke. Using social division and agitation he will raise the pressure — whether economic or political — on one or more of the Baltic states until it becomes unbearable.
NATO and the EU — on current form — will merely appeal for dialogue and threaten sanctions. But nothing will happen. Which means the Baltics will buckle, and Putin will take back lands which he believes are rightly Russia’s.
That will be the end of NATO — and the dawn of a terrifying new world in which international rules count for nothing and the strong dominate the weak. Russia — ruthless and greedy — can play divide and rule for decades to come. source – Daily Mail UK
Evidently, all of Obama’s pink line threats against Russia to leave Ukraine alone has created a Russia that in no way fears American reprisal of any kind. Probably because they know that there is none coming. Sleep safe, America, the community organizer has got this.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Russian fighter jet made multiple, close-range passes near an American warship in the Black Sea for more than 90 minutes Saturday amid escalating tensions in the region, U.S. military officials said Monday.
In the first public account of the incident, the officials said the Russian Fencer made 12 passes, and flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, a Navy destroyer, at about 500 feet above sea level.
The U.S. warship issued several radio queries and warnings using international emergency circuits, but the Russian aircraft did not respond.
“This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with international protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction between our militaries,” said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.
The fighter appeared to be unarmed and never was in danger of coming in contact with the ship, said the officials. The passes, which occurred in the early evening there, ended without incident. A second Russian fighter jet flew at a higher altitude and was not a concern, said Warren.
A U.S. military official also said that a Russian Navy ship, a frigate, has been shadowing the U.S. warship, remaining within visual distance but not close enough to be unsafe. The official was not authorized to discuss the incident publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity. source – AP
Ukraine: Shock satellite images reveal how Russia has amassed 40,000 troops, tanks and fighter jets just 30 miles from the Ukrainian border. NATO, which released the photographs, claimed the military forces could invade within just 12 hours if given orders from Moscow. The photos have provoked a furious diplomatic row between NATO and the Kremlin, which claims they were taken last year. But Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen insisted the threat was real.
Troops had been spotted at more than 100 sites, he said, many of which appeared to be fields and not established bases. ‘Russia is stirring up ethnic tensions in eastern Ukraine and provoking unrest,’ he added. ‘And Russia is using its military might to dictate that Ukraine should become a federal, neutral state. That is a decision which only Ukraine as a sovereign state can make.’
Several images dated March 26 and taken around the Russian town of Belgorod, 25 miles from the Ukraine border, showed units of a motorised rifle regiment, Mil Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, supply and transport vehicles, according to NATO.
They were taken by a commercial satellite firm called Digital Globe and also showed units of a motorised rifle regiment, a ‘probable’ anti-tank battalion and artillery on March 27. There are even field hospitals, it was claimed. source – Daily Mail UK