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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Missile Shield - Grenada Disaster

Dear Friends,

With the expectation that President Obama may take a clear position, there is an air of uncertainty regarding the materialisation of the so-called Space Shield in Europe.
Nevertheless, our protest continues, and this has allowed that until today the Czech Government has been unable to definitively ratify the agreement with the USA. We thank everyone for the support received.

In Brussels, on the 18th of February 2009, there will be a meeting in the European Parliament among various MEPs and 20 Mayors of the Czech Republic, members of the League against the Radar, Giorgio Schultze (Europe for Peace), Jan Tamas (Czech Humanists against the bases) and delegations from various European countries.
Mayors of various Belgian cities will participate as well in the initiative in Brussels and messages of support will be handed in from many Italian Mayors expressing their solidarity with the protests in the Czech Republic.
At 2 pm, a demonstration will start in front of the Parliament and throughout the same day similar demonstrations will be carried out in numerous European cities.

The demonstration will be called .the invisibles., because the 70% of the Czech population that is against the US radar base are invisible for the media, as are the 95% of the world.s population that are against wars.

Video of the demonstration already held in Prague:

But above all, we would like to inform you about the World March for Peace and Nonviolence, the biggest march ever organised in human history.
It will start in New Zealand on the 2nd of October 2009, proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Day of Nonviolence. It will pass through a hundred countries on five continents and will end in the Argentinean Andes on the 2nd of January 2010.

Hundreds of organisations and personalities have already endorsed the March, like Michelle Bachelet, Chilean President, the Dalai Lama, the Italian football club Inter Milan, the actor Viggo Mortensen (from .the Lord of the Rings.) and many others.

Participate and join us in this March to say .no. decisively to wars and any form of violence!

International conference against Missile Defence in Seoul, South Korea, between the 16th and 18th of April 2009. Information:

Other information:

Video bulletin about the World March:

Brief presentation about the Space Shield, useful to inform institutions, friends and groups in a simple way:
Open letter to Mayors and organisations about the activity on the 18th of February:

Call of the Chilean President to participate in the World March and for a world without wars:

Video with Noam Chomsky about the Space Shield in Europe:

Video interview with Noam Chomsky about the possible role of Europe in order to avoid a nuclear catastrophe (in English):

Conference in the Czech Parliament with the MEP G. Chiesa: .The shield is dividing Europe.:

VIDEO: Interview of Russia Today with Jan Tamas - US Radar provokes wars:



Wesley L. McDonald, 84

Admiral Led Grenada Invasion

Adm. Wesley L. McDonald, then a Navy pilot, led the first U.S. bombing strike on North Vietnam in 1964. (Navy Photo)

By Patricia Sullivan

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, February 12, 2009; Page B07

Wesley L. McDonald, 84, a four-star Navy admiral who commanded the 1983 invasion of Grenada for the U.S. military and who as a pilot led the first air strike against North Vietnam in 1964 after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, died Feb. 8 at his home in Arlington.

He had normal pressure hydrocephalus, a neurological disorder.

Adm. McDonald was commander in chief of all NATO and U.S. forces in the Atlantic when he was placed in charge of Operation Urgent Fury, the planned invasion of the Caribbean island nation of Grenada.

Ostensibly, the mission was to evacuate hundreds of U.S. medical students studying there after an internal coup of the socialist government. The Reagan administration feared a Soviet-sponsored Cuban military buildup, and some of the region's other countries asked for U.S. intervention.

About 6,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines overwhelmed the 1,200 Grenadians and 780 Cubans in the waning days of October 1983. Adm. McDonald told the Senate Armed Services Committee several months later that despite inaccurate maps, problems with radio communications between different forces and the barring of press coverage during the invasion, Operation Urgent Fury was "a complete success."

In 1985, the Pentagon's inspector general was sharply critical of Adm. McDonald for failing to direct a full investigation of his subordinate, Vice Adm. Joseph Metcalf II, the task force commander of the invasion.

Metcalf took 24 captured Soviet-made rifles from Grenada, despite federal and military rules prohibiting such spoils. Lower-ranking soldiers had been disciplined for similar transgressions, but Adm. McDonald used bad judgment in allowing Metcalf to determine there was no need for an inquiry, the inspector general's report said.

Wesley Lee McDonald was born July 6, 1924, in Washington. He graduated from Washington-Lee High School in Arlington and joined the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis as a member of the Class of 1947. That class, which matriculated a year early, included President Jimmy Carter, CIA Director Stansfield Turner, Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale, who was a Medal of Honor recipient, and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman William J. Crowe.

As an ensign, Wesley McDonald served in a South Pole expedition headed by Adm. Richard E. Byrd. As a first lieutenant and naval aviator, he served aboard several aircraft carriers, including the Coral Sea, which he returned to command in 1970-71.

In 1964, he was commander of an attack squadron flying A-4 Skyhawks from the carrier Ticonderoga when the destroyer Turner Joy reported it was under attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. Then-President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered retaliatory air strikes, dubbed Operation Pierce Arrow, for which future Adm. McDonald was the flight leader.

Whether the ships were under attack in the Tonkin Gulf has become a matter of serious historical dispute. Adm. McDonald later said he didn't see anything in the water that night except American ships.

He rose through the Navy's ranks, graduated from the National Defense University in 1969 and, after commanding the Coral Sea, became a rear admiral and carrier group commander during the final stages of the Vietnam War. His other posts included deputy chief of naval personnel, deputy chief of naval operations for air warfare and commander of the 2nd Fleet. In 1982, when he was promoted to admiral, he became Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, one of two senior commanders in NATO. At the same time, he assumed command of the U.S. Atlantic Command and the Atlantic Fleet. After Adm. McDonald retired from the Navy in 1985, he volunteered for the National Aeronautic Association, which later named its Elder Statesman of Aviation Award in his honor. Three naval aviation organizations jointly created a leadership award in his name, as well.

His military awards included the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.

His first wife and high school sweetheart, Norma Joy McDonald, died in 1989.

Survivors include his wife of 16 years, Helen McDonald of Arlington; four children from his first marriage, retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. Thomas O. McDonald of San Antonio, Kathryn L. Overman of Lake Forest, Calif., Joy A. McDonald of Annandale and Toni M. McDonald of Santa Barbara, Calif.; a brother; a half brother; a half sister; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.


Kissinger, war criminal, honoured? OUTCH!

North America

Time to rethink realpolitik

Sholto Byrnes

Published 12 February 2009

Henry Kissinger, once accused of war crimes, is back and working for the Obama adminstration. Is this a sign of American desperation or another example of what Hillary Clinton calls smart power?

Archpragmatist: Henry Kissinger, pictured here in 1976, four years after Nixon.s historic first visit to China, pursued a foreign policy line that increased global stability

Henry Kissinger, in 1982, wrote: .Blessed are the people whose leaders can look destiny in the eye without flinching but also without attempting to play God.. The former US secretary of state is an unlikely . and unfashionable . source of reassurance, but his injunction is one that the west would do well to follow in the Obama era.

The US National Intelligence Council predicted a bleak future in its most recent Global Trends Review. America's dominance will disappear by 2025, it said, and the EU will become a "hobbled giant", unable despite its economic strength to exert significant global influence. With the last superpower reduced to a "first among equals" as new giants rise in the east, the "unipolar world" will be "over". The report warns of nuclear proliferation, mass migration, environmental catastrophe. "The next 20 years," it says (just to make sure we've all got the point), "are fraught with risks." Confronted with these dangers and uncertainties, however, some western leaders are still overly tempted to "play God".

At the Munich Security Conference on 7 February, Kissinger was awarded the first Ewald von Kleist prize for his "contributions to global peace and international co-operation". At the same time reports emerged that President Barack Obama had sent the good doctor to conduct secret talks on nuclear weapons reduction with Moscow in December.

.We cannot rule out arms races, territorial expansion and military rivalries.

But the world leaders gathered in Munich also heard the first major address on the new administration's foreign policy. Although Vice-President Joe Biden spoke softly - "We'll engage. We'll listen. We'll consult" - he still carried a big stick, delivering warnings to Russia and Iran, and urging US allies to be more willing "to use force when all else fails". His remarks were consistent with Secretary of State Clinton's statement at last month's Senate confirmation hearings, when she denied reports of her country's imminent relegation to equal rank status with other world powers: "Some have argued that we have reached the end of the 'American moment' in world history. I disagree."

Hillary Clinton advocated the use of "smart power", combining "hard" military and economic with "soft" cultural and diplomatic tools. That may sound eminently reasonable, but let's note how the Bill Clinton-era diplomat Suzanne Nossel concluded the essay in which she popularised the term in 2004: "Now is the time . . . to reassert an aggressive brand of liberal internationalism . . . and fortify it through the determined, smart use of power."

Such talk of aggression is dangerously misplaced. The chaotic, uncertain world of today requires something starkly different. It is time, instead, for a new realpolitik.

In one sense, realpolitik never went away. Its cardinal principle of non-interference - that no state has the right to intervene in the internal affairs of another - is one to which over half of humankind is theoretically signed up, through the 118 countries that belong to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). The developing-world titans who founded it in 1961 - Nasser, Nkrumah, Nehru, Tito and Sukarno - are long gone, and we in Britain may hear little of the NAM. But it goes far from unnoticed in the United States, not least because Cuba (under Raú Castro) holds the presidency of the organisation and Hugo Chávez emerged as the star of its last summit in 2006. It regularly votes as a bloc at the UN General Assembly, as do other caucuses of developing countries such as the Group of 77. In an interview late last year, Noam Chomsky dismissed suggestions that the NAM was a relic of the Cold War. "I think that it is a sign of the future," he said.

The more recently formed Shanghai Co-operation Organisation is another body of which we hear little. But perhaps we should pay more attention. Made up of Russia, China and four former Soviet central Asian republics, the SCO clearly states non-interference as a core principle in its charter - as does Asean, the ten-country Association of South-East Asian Nations, whose combined population is close to 600 million.

Admittedly, realpolitik has sometimes been used to symbolise the very opposite. In association with Kissinger, for instance, it has come to stand for all the excesses of US foreign policy during the period he served as national security adviser and secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford.

This is to cast the doctrine purely (and thus falsely) in terms of the cold pursuit of national interest (often masquerading under the cover of "spreading freedom") that led some to charge Kissinger with war crimes. It obscures the great successes of his realpolitik: détente with the Soviet Union, the opening of relations with China, and the shuttle diplomacy that ended the Yom Kippur War and ultimately laid the foundations for Jimmy Carter to host the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel.

It is this pragmatic aspect of Kissinger's foreign policy that should inform a new realpolitik. Yes, the human rights records of many of these states was lamentable and scruples were understandable. Yet the outcome was increased peace and stability. Was that not a greater prize than a salved conscience?

"What the realist fears is the consequences of idealism." The words belong to Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser under the first President Bush and a disciple of Kissinger. Their conservative provenance should not stop us from recognising that if only they had been engraved in brass and placed on the desk of every foreign minister in the west we might have been spared much dangerous posturing over the past decade.

It was foolish idealism that led to Nato's eastward expansion into the new democracies of the old Soviet bloc. (One assumes so, since no Nato partner rests more easily in his bed knowing that the might of Latvia and Lithuania is now at his disposal.) The realist would have pointed out that this humiliation of Russia, in the process encircling its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, was perhaps not the best way to build friendlier relations with the possessor of the world's largest natural gas reserves. Nor that announcing plans to instal interceptor missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic would be taken in particularly good part.

Russia's reactions, both in Georgia and to the missile bases, should have been expected. Dmitry Medvedev will not be the last occupier of the Kremlin to defend his country's "privileged interests" in neighbouring states: the demise of the USSR did not excise centuries of Russian domination from the history books, nor from that nation's sense of self.

Idealism of a different hue bedevils the west's relations with China. Today, Hollywood film stars in thrall to a media-savvy old monk have encouraged many to regard the patient diplomacy that led to Richard Nixon's breakthrough as pusillanimous gradualism; public pressure and face-shaming demonstrations are seen as the way to persuade Beijing to act over Tibet. (Not having the benefit of such good-looking advocates, other regions with equally worthy claims to greater autonomy are apparently of little concern.) Barack Obama's voice was raised in the idealistic campaign to boycott the Beijing Olympics last year. Reality has since bitten, and he must hope the Chinese are willing to overlook his part in that shouty chorus, now he needs them to bail out the US economy.

Go to Riyadh, Singapore or St Petersburg, and you will find populations deeply convinced of differing value systems. Idealistic liberal internationalists, however, see superficial similarities . a Norman Foster building in Shanghai, a McDonald.s in Cairo . and assume that sharing consumer culture leads to a common political culture. We are entitled to hope that that will happen, though we would be wise to follow Scowcroft.s advice about how to help the process: .You encourage democracy over time, with assistance, and aid, the traditional way. Not how the neocons do it.. We have no reason, however, to shade our hope into certainty.

We should also acknowledge that in the past 30 years Wahhabist Islam has been far more successful at exporting itself, at the expense of pre-existing, liberal political cultures in Muslim countries, and often through the precise means Scowcroft suggests: funding hospitals, schools and the like.

If anything, our era is marked by the reassertion of older, less globally unifying impulses. "We cannot rule out a 19th-century-like scenario of arms races, territorial expansion and military rivalries," concludes the NIC report, which also suggests that several African countries may become completely ungovernable.

Such forecasts bode ill for the inevitable progress of liberal universalism. Yet so does the unacknowledged reality of the present. You do not have to share Chomsky's optimism about the Non-Aligned Movement as an organisation, for instance, to appreciate the long-term significance of its support for Iranian nuclear enrichment. "The fact of the matter is that the majority of the world supports Iran," he pointed out. "But they are not part of the world, from the US point of view." It is a view that can be sustained as long as the west has overwhelming superiority in wealth and weapons. What happens when it doesn't?

Sooner or later China, Russia and that "rest of the world" we ignore, except to luxuriate on its beaches or to shed a tear for its natural disasters, will demand that we meet them on their terms, and not just ours. This will be no surprise to Kissinger-era diplomats, who knew that history's arc was uncertain and quite possibly endless, and that there are many painful questions to which there are no satisfying answers, just a series of "least worst" options.

Realpolitik may not offer the comfort of doing the "right thing". However, until we can agree on what the "right thing" is, that is a moral discomfort we must learn to bear. If the alternative requires shackling, or bribing, or threatening our fellow man to concur, there is nothing "smart" about it.

3 comments from readers

Carl Jones
12 February 2009 at 21:29

Sholto, nice article and you must be pleased with it. :)

"The realist would have pointed out that this humiliation of Russia, in the process encircling its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, was perhaps not the best way to build friendlier relations with the possessor of the world's largest natural gas reserves. Nor that announcing plans to instal interceptor missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic would be taken in particularly good part".

Of course this was a mistake, but this was NWO hard power to remove Putin and establish an elite (NWO) corporatist government, similar to what we have in Britain and the US. London has been the focal point of a hidden war faught between the UK and Russia. Putin thwarted the "Mikhail Khodorkovsky" element of the coup and then we had the "Boris Berezovsky/MI6 murder of Alexander Litvinenko". This NWO war seems to have moved onto the back burner. However, I think the reason for this, was the FOOLISH NWO backed Georgian invasion of South Ossetia, which was backed on the ground by US and Isreali forces and the Brits were also likely involved. Putin unexpectedly flew to the Beijing Olympics where he had a "casual chat" with Bush...afterwards, Bush was caught on Chinese tv trembling.LOL

The Kissinger-Snowcroft axis isn`t really a change. Isreal will remain the NWO dog in the Middle East.

What has been outlined in this article and what is happening with the designed financial crisis is almost a mirror like refection of the 1930`s. Rising challanging powers, percieved weakness (UK 1930`s) and a "New Greater Depression". So who knows what the NWO has lined up for us, but one thing is for sure, it must eclipse the sham war on terror and the present financial crisis...note, I didn`t say they would go away, or get better. Just another NWO layer of crap, to convince us and the rest of the world that they need to be led by a bunch of PSYCHOPATHS.

13 February 2009 at 05:56

In a just world, Kissinger would have been on the dock to answer war crime charges.

And there are many more who, like Kissinger, will never be punished for abusing power while they were in office. Chile's Pinochet was an exception and, for that, we owe thanks to Judge Baltasar Garzon of Spain.

No surprise that the Obama administration is giving berths -- cushy ones at that -- to people whose past records are far from exemplary. As the song goes "You ain't seen nothing yet".

Talking about cushy berths, Tony Blair,too, landed on one. Middle East envoy! Gag me with a spoon.

max caulfield
15 February 2009 at 03:57

Behind that idealistic liberal internationalism is a paranoid mind at work. Post-cold war when U.S power assumed unipolarity, those mindful of history would logically turn to averting the inevitable decline of empire, or at least preempting the next challenges and threats undermining that unipolarity.

Only the difference is, unlike during cold war when for example a Warsaw Pact division deployment was only so much arithmetic, something they could wrap their quantitative minds around, they are dealing here with vast fluid uncertainties. In the absence of credible opposition they would need "seen" enemy to be effective, for the empire to be appear a going concern.

In this regard the neocons place their bets on the nuts and bolts of empire, they are concerned---rightly too considering the neglected Pentagon under Bill Clinton---with their fighting capabilities, and not just the sexiness of remote control technology or the Hollywoodesque phallus of a cruise missile.

Now the Clintonites staffing the new administration make up largely of lawyers in terms of their world view and they are no less agressive. Their user friendly linguistics serve to mask the fact that the international law-based framework they put in place are heavily loaded in their favours and would guarantee the perpetuality of their admittedly hard fought inheritance.

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