Monday, April 27, 2015

US Policy Shift -- Arming Ukraine



Events seem to be moving in Ukraine.

Blogger Finian Cunningham says that the 300 US paratroopers set to train Ukrainian forces are being stationed in the Eastern Donetsk region close to the conflict area and are not in the western regions as previously announced.

There are other worrying signs that the war elements in US political circles may be taking control and moving the US Congress towards a more aggressive military stance against Russia.

General Wes Clark and a former strategy adviser to Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger named Dr. Phillip Karber have come back from Ukraine on a fact-finding mission. They have determined that the Russians are everywhere and that arming the Kiev government with offensive weapons such as TOW missiles and Abrams tanks is the only solution.

"Partial expenses for the Clark and Karber expedition were paid for by the Potomac Foundation, a nonprofit foundation in Vienna, Virginia. According to three of its Form 990’s, over the years it has received grants from the Smith Richardson Foundation, Soros/Open Society Fund, and Boeing."

Phillip Karber heads up the Potomoc Foundation. A video of him at the Center of Strategic and International Studies posted on March 10 2015 lays out (in 1hr 24m) his detailed military assessment of Russian involvement in Ukraine.

The lies are all there. Karber claims (48:00) that in a six week period alone (Oct 30 - Dec 9) Russia sent over 890 heavy weapons into Ukraine: 402 armored fighting vehicles, 138 tanks, 42 stand alone artillery pieces, 5 self-propelled artillery pieces and multiple rocket launchers. The whole video is a sustained exercise in lurid lies.

On Jan 21 Karber was reported also by the Washington Times (via blogger Snafu):

"Things are really heating up — five Russian armored task forces crossed the border in last 60 hours, a force of about 75 main battle tanks, 100 infantry fighting vehicles, 100 other armored vehicles and fifty artillery systems."

There is no evidence for this whatsoever, of course, but Karber had been saying since late last year that Russia would renew its Ukraine 'offensive' in March or April and we are meant to believe it is arriving about now.

In a confirmation of shifting US political posture The Atlantic Council -- the civilian twin of NATO -- has published a key policy statement through the Brookings Institute. It's political luminaries who have put their names to this policy include Strobe Talbott (Hilary Clinton's choice for Sec.State), John Herbst (former Ambassador to Ukraine), Admiral James Stavridis (NATO's Supreme Allied Commander 2009-2013) and General Charles Wald ( former Deputy Commander of United States European Command).

It's recommendations:

• The White House and Congress should commit serious funds to upgrade Ukraine’s defense capabilities, specifically providing $1 billion in military assistance this year, followed by an additional $1 billion each in the next two fiscal years;

• The U.S. government should alter its policy and begin providing lethal assistance to Ukraine’s military and;

• The U.S. government should approach other NATO countries about also providing military assistance to Ukraine.

The Clark-Karber Report and The Atlantic Council manifesto are probably sufficient to sway Congress to providing lethal military aid to the Kiev government with a high probability of a major NATO-Russia confrontation to follow.

The Atlantic Council publicly endorses the views of Phillip Karber.

The signs are that the US political movers and shakers have decided to shirtfront Putin.

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NOTES:

* Global Research has previously reported on the insidious public policy role of the Atlantic Council and its war-mongering constituency.

Lyndon LaRouche also provides an excellent background to these developments, including Phillip Karber's role in presenting dodgy Ukraine photographs to Sen. Jim Inhofe and the US Armed Services Committee, photos of alleged Russian convoys traveling in Ukraine that were actually taken in Georgia in 2008.

Jeffrey Lewis at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies notes that Phillip Karber has a questionable record in investigative research. He had previously asserted that China had over 3000 nuclear missiles hidden away in caves, yet serious military analysts believed the total number was in the range of 200-300. So, Karber has form for 'vivid imagination'.

* In Karber's video he also had to do some creative dancing around statements from General Viktor Muzhenko, Chief of Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, who on Jan 29 denied Pres.Poroshenko claims that there were 9,000 Russian soldiers in Ukraine:

"Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian army."  He made it clear that his soldiers were fighting against irregulars who were "members of illegal armed groups."

Karber supports Poroshenko's largest claim of 12,000 Russian Army fighters in Ukraine but says that they are playing support roles to the Ukrainian insurgents and that there is no contradiction between the two leaders' accounts.

The Head of French Military Intelligence, giving evidence before the French National Assembly in March 2015, said he saw no evidence of the presence of any Russian support services of the type essential for an invading force. No medical centers, no command and control centers, no fuel tanker staging areas, nothing. Entirely at odds with the views of Karber.

*  In recent days, the US ambassador to Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, took to social media with more shrill claims of Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine. Pyatt averred that it was "the highest concentration of Russian air defence forces in eastern Ukraine since [last] August." He posted a photograph of a Buk Missile system, which actually turns out to be taken from a commercial military exhibition held in Russia two years ago.

* Claims of a major Russian tank and artillery invasion came in August 2014 following the separatists' stunning victory over the Kiev forces at Debaltsavo. Until August 18 the West relied on Poroshenko's assurances that his forces were winning the war. On the 18th the public message changed to one of "reorganizing" central government forces, as if those forces were suddenly losing. They were. And in the days that followed a new NATO narrative emerged of a phantom Russian invasion force snatching victory from Kiev.

*  At the time these claims were being made OSCE officials denied they saw any evidence of Russian tanks entering Ukraine.

* There was little or no evidence from the Ukraine government to support the claim.

* Anders Fogh Rasmussen is a Danish politician who was the 12th Secretary General of NATO from 2009 until the Sept 2014 NATO Summit in Wales. He was responsible for the release of satellite photos released at that time by NATO allegedly showing Russian mobile artillery traveling (and parked) in Eastern Ukraine (photos that provided a convenient explanation for Kiev military defeats and compelling reasons for NATO members to provide a unified stance on Russia.)

On the day before the US-led invasion of Iraq Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen told his Parliament: "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.  This is not something we just believe.  We know."

How's that for a reliable source.  He is now demanding that NATO not shy from a war with Russia.

* Reporting journalists often had little ability to distinguish between Russian model tanks of the type used by Ukraine and Russia.

* In April 2014 NATO officials had released satellite images they claimed were of a build up of Russian tanks and armed forces on the Ukraine border then occurring. The Russians did not dispute the photos, merely pointing out that they were taken during joint military exercises with Ukraine over a year earlier.

* In early March 2015, when the Head of NATO, US Gen.Breedlove, made claims about 1,000 Russian tanks inside Ukraine, German Intelligence officials and leadership were so incensed they supported a Der Spiegel article disputing that claim as contradicted by their own intelligence evidence. This highly unusual slap in the face for a NATO official from a trusted ally was a measure of exactly how inflammatory they viewed these sorts of false claims.