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Nine countries agree to the formation of a European defense force

A start towards a multilateral security arrangement totally independent of America

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Nine European countries are set to put the finishing touches on the creation of a new European military organization. The new European military force has enjoyed significant support from Germany and France and is presently looking at becoming a reality. The military organization is to realize the participation of France, Germany, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Estonia. Two particular points are of note in that this military force presents the capability to act much more effortlessly due to much less bureaucratic processes, meaning much less politics being involved in any activation. The force can also enjoy the participation of non EU members which allows Britain to be a constituent even after Brexit.

Euractiv reports:

Nine EU nations will on Monday (25 June) formalise a plan to create a European military intervention force, a French minister said, with Britain backing the measure as a way to maintain strong defence ties with the bloc after Brexit.

The force, known as the European Intervention Initiative and championed by French President Emmanuel Macron, is intended to be able to deploy rapidly to deal with crises.

A letter of intent is due to be signed in Luxembourg on Monday by France, Germany, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Spain and Portugal, French defence minister Florence Parly told the newspaper Le Figaro.

Germany, to fund and boost cooperation following Britain’s decision to leave the bloc.

The initiative involves “joint planning work on crisis scenarios that could potentially threaten European security”, according to a source close to the minister, including natural disasters, intervention in a crisis or evacuation of nationals.

It would be separate from other EU defence cooperation, meaning there would be no obstacle to Britain taking part after it leaves the bloc.

“This is clearly an initiative that allows the association of some non-EU states,” the French minister said.

“The UK has been very keen because it wants to maintain cooperation with Europe beyond bilateral ties.”

Twenty-five EU countries signed a major defence pact in December, agreeing to cooperate on various military projects, but it is not clear whether Britain would be allowed to take part in any of them after it leaves the bloc.

The EU has had four multinational military “battlegroups” since 2007, but political disagreements have meant the troops have never been deployed.

Paris hopes that by focusing on a smaller group of countries, its new initiative will be able to act more decisively, freed from the burdens that sometimes hamper action by the 28-member EU and 29-member NATO.

Italy had originally shown interest in the proposal. The new government in Rome “is considering the possibility of joining” but has not made a final decision, Parly said.

This new defense force also provides for the ability to engage in military action without dragging the United States into it, meaning that actions can be more decisive, could potentially use equipment that is more reliable, and doesn’t mean having to abide by Washington’s agenda. The last point in and of itself means that any conflict that it finds itself engaged in don’t have to drag out for decades, after the fashion of America’s recent military debacles. It also provides a means of ensuring security without necessarily having to depend on the NATO arrangement. However, it might take some criticism from the Western side of the Atlantic as this doesn’t necessarily mean more funding for NATO, and that it isn’t requesting a rubber stamp from America, and could be perceived as a start towards a multilateral security arrangement totally independent of America.

 

 

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ColinNZStop Bush and ClintonBob SchmitzDenLilleAbeMuriel Kuri Recent comment authors
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ColinNZ
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ColinNZ

The EU makes up only a small fraction of NATO, maybe 15% max, so clearly – on paper at least – a combined EU military force could not replace the much larger current NATO military organisation in the short to medium term. That said, the only military foe likely to attack the EU (in that same short to medium term ) is probably a batsh!t crazy (and by then desperate) US-neocon hegemon, so they might as well ditch NATO asap and close the US bases currently in the EU … before the economic war takes full hold and prevents even… Read more »

Stop Bush and Clinton
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Stop Bush and Clinton

This is not going to turn out the way they’re promising. Some of the countries involved are the most loyal US slaves and total Russophobes you can think of. Merkel doesn’t breathe without getting permission to do so from Warshington D.C., and the criminals in control of Belgium are just as bad (NATO’s headquarter is in Brussels for a reason!) What is really happening here is Merkel and friends building a European “defense” force (note that even the name is the same as the I”D”F) under the control of unelected Brussels dictators, under the guise of independence from the US… Read more »

Bob Schmitz
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Bob Schmitz

Apart from a token ´mission´, it will only be used to surpress dissent.

DenLilleAbe
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DenLilleAbe

Cool! at least we might get rid of the yank occupiers. Really cool, now we can let it all just slowly disintegrate and get to business, whit the Russians and the Chinese. The Yanks are clueless. I hear they are going to do Hunger Games for real in the mid-west, you know there where they regard Somalis as ” Rich Filth” , true ? At least it is only 40 million Americans that are “povo’es” and only 20 million that are really, foking dirt poor, its nothing really , a rounding error! The UN is biased, America is just fine…… Read more »

Muriel Kuri
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Muriel Kuri

This would be a good start to a break with the US. I think the EU is finally having enough of the US arrogance and disregard for EU needs and sovereignty (which has been usurped over time until it’s practically non existent). Maybe eventually they’ll remove themselves from NATO too!

thomas malthaus
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thomas malthaus

What a monumental investment opportunity for gold and silver: the piggy bank opens wider.

Marc Landreville
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Marc Landreville

Just another excuse to parade with contingents of different countries showing their flags, salutes, march pasts, playing national anthems, inspections etc etc. In reality, Macron wants this because he wants to be the boss-man and Merkel is about to let him play general with his new toy set, and the illusion that France can run things. A unified Europe is an illusion and this attempt at a unified military is going to turn into an expensive joke. Plus, the US will still run things anyway behind the scenes.

AriusArmenian
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AriusArmenian

The EU defence force may on paper look to be free of US control but leaders in the EU are taking dollars while they are critical of the US. The EU will never free itself of US control and has tied itself to suffer the fate of the US: economic and military decline.

Gio Con
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Gio Con

As long as Poland and the Ukraine aren’t allowed to join! It might be a force for peace, as the Europeans are unlikely to initiate regime change wars on their own, and they cannot afford to contribute to NATO and their own defense force — so NATO will take the hit. Maybe they’ll even let Russia join the fold!

Walter
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Walter

Sounds like a interesting defense force. East and southeastern Europe excluded, Poland Czech ,Slovakia ,Yugoslavia, Bulgaria all Slavic states excluded. They will join up with Russia and never again be invaded. 1/2 of Europe is Russia , the Slavic alliance will be 70% of Europe.

Walter
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Walter

Excluded from this alliance are the Slavic countries of Europe, Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Yugoslavia , Bulgaria. They can all join up with Russia and occupy 70 % of Europe. No one will ever invade them again.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

Look at what the French military thinks of this idea…. https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201806231065708004-france-germany-military-pesco/

Walter
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Walter

The alliance excludes the Slavic European countries. . They can join up with Russia and they will never be invaded again.

Clay Gilliland
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And no doubt it will be an impressive army of Trannies, ferries, lesbians, and pot heads.

Eggie Offo
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Eggie Offo

What about East European countries? Which side are they on ? What about NATO ? Would they finally include Ukraine or even attempt to take back Crimea ? It would be suicidal for these countries because France and some of these EU countries tried to dislodge Libya which was very difficult for them until US came to their rescue with even the help of some anti-Ghadaffi Libyans. These countries are still fighting in Afghanistan . Can they take on Russia ? Even these countries can’t take on Syria in land warfare.

Alexandru-Vasile Salamon-Stoic
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Alexandru-Vasile Salamon-Stoic

Peace and Security !

Cheryl Brandon
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Cheryl Brandon

Tell me something, why is the Organization for Security and cooperation in Europe; OSCE preventing 2 Russians journalist from attending their conference in Ukraine???? Surely, if they have been accredited and invited, why is Nazi loving and Russian hating keen to exclude the 2 journalist from attending their conference. The only answer they were given by the Ukraine Immigration Officers, ” It came from high above”??? What sort of vague group think bullshit answer is that??? Can you imagine the reaction of UK/EU/USA, if 2 uk reporters asked, ” Why were they were denied entry into Russia| and they were… Read more »

RB
Guest

“Paris hopes that by focusing on a smaller group of countries, its new initiative will be able to act more decisively, freed from the burdens that sometimes hamper action by the 28-member EU and 29-member NATO.” This will not be good for the people, everywhere, because those governments are not good for people anywhere. You can’t convince me that the American-led Corporatocracy isn’t the American-led Corporatocracy. Don’t get me wrong. Any monster can be the lead ally of international mafia capitalism. It just happens to be the United States, and, I believe, it will be till the end. As long… Read more »

Nolibrat
Guest
Nolibrat

Good for them, now the USA can leave NATO, take back the building have them put their HQ in Belgium.
Now the EU can pay their fair share. Think of the billions off dollars we will save.

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EXPLOSIVE: Michael Cohen sentencing memo exposes serial liar with nothing to offer Mueller (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 38.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the Michael Cohen sentencing memo which paints the picture of a man who was not as close to Trump as he made it out to be…a serial liar and cheat who leveraged his thin connections to the Trump organization for money and fame.

It was Cohen himself who proudly labelled himself as Trump’s “fixer”. The sentencing memo hints at the fact that even Mueller finds no value to Cohen in relation to the ongoing Trump-Russia witch hunt investigation.

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Via Axios

Special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York have each submitted sentencing memos for President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, after Cohen pleaded guilty in two different cases related to his work for Trump and the Trump Organization.

The big picture: The Southern District of New York recommended Cohen serve a range of 51 to 63 months for four crimes — “willful tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to Congress.” Mueller, meanwhile, did not take a position on the length of Cohen’s statement, but said he has made substantial efforts to assist the investigation.

Southern District of New York

Mueller investigation

Michael J. Stern, a federal prosecutor with the Justice Department for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles noted via USA Today

In support of their request that he serve no time in prison, Cohen’s attorneys offered a series of testimonials from friends who described the private Michael Cohen as a “truly caring” man with a “huge heart” who is not only “an upstanding, honorable, salt of the earth man” but also a “selfless caretaker.”

The choirboy portrayed by Cohen’s lawyers stands in sharp opposition to Cohen’s public persona as Trump’s legal bulldog, who once threatened a reporter with: “What I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting. Do you understand me?”

Prosecutors focused their sentencing memo on Cohen as Mr. Hyde. Not only did they detail Cohen’s illegal activities, which include millions of dollars of fraud, they also recognized the public damage that stemmed from his political crimes — describing Cohen as “a man who knowingly sought to undermine core institutions of our democracy.”

Rebuffing efforts by Cohen’s attorneys to recast him as a good guy who made a few small mistakes, prosecutors cited texts, statements of witnesses, recordings, documents and other evidence that proved Cohen got ahead by employing a “pattern of deception that permeated his professional life.” The prosecutors attributed Cohen’s crimes to “personal greed,” an effort to “increase his power and influence,” and a desire to maintain his “opulent lifestyle.”

Perhaps the most damning reveal in the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo is that Cohen refused to fully cooperate. That’s despite his public relations campaign to convince us that he is a new man who will cooperate with any law enforcement authority, at any time, at any place.

As a former federal prosecutor who handled hundreds of plea deals like Cohen’s, I can say it is extremely rare for any credit to be recommended when a defendant decides not to sign a full cooperation deal. The only reason for a refusal would be to hide information. The prosecutors said as much in their sentencing memo: Cohen refused “to be debriefed on other uncharged criminal conduct, if any, in his past,” and “further declined” to discuss “other areas of investigative interest.”

 

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Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Huawei CFO Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

Canadian legal expert Christopher Black says there is no juridical case for Wanzhou’s detention. The issue of US sanctions on Iran is irrelevant and has no grounds in international law. It is simply the Americans applying their questionable national laws on a third party. Black contends that Canada has therefore no obligation whatsoever to impose those US laws regarding Iran in its territory, especially given that Ottawa and Beijing have their own separate bilateral diplomatic relations.

In any case, what the real issue is about is the Americans using legal mechanisms to intimidate and beat up commercial rivals. For months now, Washington has made it clear that it is targeting Chinese telecoms rivals as commercial competitors in a strategic sector. US claims about China using telecoms for “spying” and “infiltrating” American national security are bogus propaganda ruses to undermine these commercial rivals through foul means.

It also seems clear from US President Donald Trump’s unsubtle comments this week to Reuters, saying he would “personally intervene” in the Meng case “if it helped trade talks with China”, that the Huawei executive is being dangled like a bargaining chip. It was a tacit admission by Trump that the Americans really don’t have a legal case against her.

Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland bounced into damage limitation mode following Trump’s thuggish comments. She said that the case should not be “politicized” and that the legal proceedings should not be tampered with. How ironic is that?

The whole affair has been politicized from the very beginning. Meng’s arrest, or as Christopher Black calls it “hostage-taking”, is driven by Washington’s agenda of harassment against China for commercial reasons, under a legal pretext purportedly about Iranian sanctions.

When Trump revealed the cynical expediency of him “helping to free Wanzhou”, then the Canadians realized they were also being exposed for the flunkies that they are for American banditry. That’s why Freeland was obliged to quickly adopt the fastidious pretense of legal probity.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has claimed that he wasn’t aware of the American request for Wanzhou’s detention. Trudeau is being pseudo. For such a high-profile infringement against a senior Chinese business leader, Ottawa must have been fully briefed by the Americans. Christopher Black, the legal expert, believes that Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

What Trudeau and his government intended to get out of performing this sordid role for American thuggery is far from clear. Maybe after being verbally mauled by Trump as “weak and dishonest” at the G7 summit earlier this year, in June, Trudeau decided it was best to roll over and be a good little puppy for the Americans in their dirty deed against China.

But already it has since emerged that Canada is going to pay a very heavy price indeed for such dubious service to Washington. Beijing has warned that it will take retaliation against both Washington and Ottawa. And it is Ottawa that is more vulnerable to severe repercussions.

This week saw two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat, detained in China on spying charges.

Canadian business analysts are also warning that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.

And if Trudeau’s government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China’s demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada’s reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau’s treachery.

With comic irony, there’s a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.

During the 197os when Trudeau’s mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip media for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his autobiography that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.

Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.

Justin, her eldest son, is finding out that being a groupie for Washington’s banditry is also bringing disrepute for him and his country.

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US Commits To “Indefinite” Occupation Of Syria; Controls Region The Size Of Croatia

Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005.

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Via Zerohedge


“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation” — a Syrian resident in US-controlled Raqqa told Stars and Stripes military newspaper. This as the Washington Post noted this week that “U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”

Like the “forever war” in Afghanistan, will we be having the same discussion over the indefinite occupation of Syria stretching two decades from now? A new unusually frank assessment in Stars and Stripes bluntly lays out the basic facts concerning the White House decision to “stay the course” until the war’s close:

That decision puts U.S. troops in overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria, a vast expanse of mostly desert terrain roughly the size of Louisiana.

The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be closer to 4,000

A prior New Yorker piece described the US-occupied area east of the Euphrates as “an area about the size of Croatia.” With no Congressional vote, no public debate, and not even so much as an official presidential address to the nation, the United States is settling in for another endless occupation of sovereign foreign soil while relying on the now very familiar post-911 AUMF fig leaf of “legality”.

Like the American public and even some Pentagon officials of late have been pointing out for years regarding Afghanistan, do US forces on the ground even know what the mission is? The mission may be undefined and remain ambiguously to “counter Iran”, yet the dangers and potential for major loss in blood and treasure loom larger than ever.

According to Stars and Stripes the dangerous cross-section of powder keg conflicts and geopolitical players means “a new war” is on the horizon:

The new mission raises new questions, about the role they will play and whether their presence will risk becoming a magnet for regional conflict and insurgency.

The area is surrounded by powers hostile both to the U.S. presence and the aspirations of the Kurds, who are governing the majority-Arab area in pursuit of a leftist ideology formulated by an imprisoned Turkish Kurdish leader. Signs that the Islamic State is starting to regroup and rumblings of discontent within the Arab community point to the threat of an insurgency.

Without the presence of U.S. troops, these dangers would almost certainly ignite a new war right away, said Ilham Ahmed, a senior official with the Self-Administration of North and East Syria, as the self-styled government of the area is called.

“They have to stay. If they leave and there isn’t a solution for Syria, it will be catastrophic,” she said.

But staying also heralds risk, and already the challenges are starting to mount.
So a US-backed local politician says the US can’t leave or there will be war, while American defense officials simultaneously recognize they are occupying the very center of an impending insurgency from hell — all of which fits the textbook definition of quagmire perfectly.

The New Yorker: “The United States has built a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia.”

But in September the White House announced a realignment of its official priorities in Syria, namely to act “as a bulwark against Iran’s expanding influence.” This means the continued potential and likelihood of war with Syria, Iran, and Russia in the region is ever present, per Stripes:

Syrian government troops and Iranian proxy fighters are to the south and west. They have threatened to take the area back by force, in pursuit of President Bashar Assad’s pledge to bring all of Syria under government control.

Already signs of an Iraq-style insurgency targeting US forces in eastern Syria are beginning to emerge.

In Raqqa, the largest Syrian city at the heart of US occupation and reconstruction efforts, the Stripes report finds the following:

The anger on the streets is palpable. Some residents are openly hostile to foreign visitors, which is rare in other towns and cities freed from Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq. Even those who support the presence of the U.S. military and the SDF say they are resentful that the United States and its partners in the anti-ISIS coalition that bombed the city aren’t helping to rebuild.

And many appear not to support their new rulers.

We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation,” said one man, a tailor, who didn’t want to give his name because he feared the consequences of speaking his mind. “I don’t know why they had to use such a huge number of weapons and destroy the city. Yes, ISIS was here, but we paid the price. They have a responsibility.”

Recent reports out of the Pentagon suggests defense officials simply want to throw more money into US efforts in Syria, which are further focused on training and supplying the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (or Kurdish/YPG-dominated SDF), which threatens confrontation with Turkey as its forces continue making preparations for a planned attack on Kurdish enclaves in Syria this week.

Meanwhile, Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005:

Everyone says the streets are not safe now. Recent months have seen an uptick in assassinations and kidnappings, mostly targeting members of the security forces or people who work with the local council. But some critics of the authorities have been gunned down, too, and at night there are abductions and robberies.

As America settles in for yet another endless and “indefinite” occupation of a Middle East country, perhaps all that remains is for the president to land on an aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished” banners flying overhead?

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