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TODAY. NATO keen to get everybody against Russia and China

Yeah – Putin’s been bragging about being the new Peter the Great. Xi’s made himself President for life. Biden’s there for only a limited period – but then you have to have the backing and the funding of the wealthy war-mongerers to get to be U.S. President.

NATO used to be the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. But now it’s the Global everywhere war preparation organisation. To read the mainstream media, you really would think that the whole world was gearing up to fight Russia and China.

And yet….. in Europe Andorra Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Belarus Bosnia and Herzegovina Cyprus Finland (not yet) Ireland Kosovo Malta Moldova Monaco San Marino Serbia Sweden (not yet) Switzerland are not NATO members.

Meanwhile The countries of the Non-Aligned Movement represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations’ members and contain 55% of the world population.  (pale blue on map indicates observer status)

Currently every one of the 53African countries (except South Sudan and Western Sahara) is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement. 36 Asian countries are members. In the Pacific, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu are members. 20 other countries have observer status

Then there are the BRICS countries  Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

No – everybody doesn’t have to join NATO, or be aligned with NATO. And it’s possible that some of the countries that have signed up are not to keen to keep on buying costly weaponry from USA, UK, Germany . and might be having second thoughts about getting stuck in endless warfare.


June 30, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment

Biden officials privately doubt that Ukraine can win back all of its territory 

Biden officials privately doubt that Ukraine can win back all of its territory

By Natasha Bertrand, CNN, June 28, 2022   White House officials are losing confidence that Ukraine will ever be able to take back all of the land it has lost to Russia over the past four months of war, US officials told CNN, even with the heavier and more sophisticated weaponry the US and its allies plan to send.

Advisers to President Joe Biden have begun debating internally how and whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should shift his definition of a Ukrainian “victory” — adjusting for the possibility that his country has shrunk irreversibly.

US officials emphasized to CNN that this more pessimistic assessment does not mean the US plans to pressure Ukraine into making any formal territorial concessions to Russia in order to end the war. There is also hope that Ukrainian forces will be able to take back significant chunks of territory in a likely counteroffensive later this year.

A congressional aide familiar with the deliberations told CNN that a smaller Ukrainian state is not inevitable. “Whether Ukraine can take back these territories is in large part, if not entirely, a function of how much support we give them,” the aide said. He noted that Ukraine has formally asked the US for a minimum of 48 multiple launch rocket systems, but to date has only been promised eight from the Pentagon.

And not everyone in the administration is as worried — some believe Ukrainian forces could again defy expectations, as they did in the early days of the war when they repelled a Russian advance on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. National security adviser Jake Sullivan has remained highly engaged with his Ukrainian counterparts and spent hours on the phone last week discussing Ukrainian efforts to recapture territory with Ukraine’s defense chief and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, officials familiar with the call told CNN.

The growing pessimism comes as Biden is meeting with US allies in Europe, where he will try to convey strength and optimism about the trajectory of the war as he rallies leaders to stay committed to arming and supporting Ukraine amid the brutal fight.

“We have to stay together. Putin has been counting on from the beginning, that somehow NATO and the G7 would splinter, but we haven’t and we’re not going to,” Biden said Sunday while at the G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps.

The administration announced another $450 million in security assistance to Ukraine last week, including additional rocket launch systems, artillery ammunition and patrol boats. The US is also expected to announce as soon as this week that it has purchased an advanced surface-to-air missile defense system, called a NASAMS, for Ukrainian forces. Biden indicated in an op-ed earlier this month that he is committed to helping Ukraine gain the upper hand on the battlefield so that it has leverage in negotiations with Russia.

The mood has shifted over the last several weeks, though, as Ukraine has struggled to repel Russia’s advances in the Donbas and has suffered staggering troop losses, reaching as many as 100 soldiers per day. Ukrainian forces are also burning through their equipment and ammunition faster than the West can provide and train them on new, NATO-standard weapons systems.

A US military official and a source familiar with Western intelligence agreed it was unlikely that Ukraine would be able to mass the force necessary to reclaim all of the territory lost to Russia during the fighting — especially this year, as Zelensky said on Monday was his goal. A substantial counteroffensive might be possible with more weapons and training, the sources said, but Russia may also have an opportunity to replenish its force in that time, so there are no guarantees.

“Much hinges on whether Ukraine can retake territory at least to February 23 lines,” said Michael Kofman, a Russian military expert at the Center for Naval Analyses. “The prospect is there, but it’s contingent. If Ukraine can get that far, then it can likely take the rest. But if it can’t, then it may have to reconsider how best to attain victory.”

Russian forces gaining ground

Russian forces now control more than half of the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk region military administration, said Thursday. Ukrainian forces retreated from the key eastern city of Severodonetsk on Friday after weeks of bloody battle.

Russian forces last week also captured ground around Lysychansk, the last city in the eastern Luhansk region still controlled by Ukraine. Ukrainian military commanders are now grappling with the reality that they may have to withdraw from the area to defend territory further west.

In the meantime, Russian oil revenues have only been going up as oil prices have skyrocketed, even amid the harsh sanctions imposed by the West. US officials said on Monday that the US and its allies are going to try capping the price of oil so Russia does not profit from it anymore, but how and when that cap will take effect remains to be seen.

Internally, there is a sense among some in the Biden administration that Zelensky will need to start moderating expectations for what Ukrainian forces can realistically achieve. Zelensky said late last month that he would “consider it a victory for our state, as of today, to advance to the February 24 line without unnecessary losses.”

He reiterated that goal last week.

“We don’t have any other choice left but to move forward — move to liberate all of our territories,” he said in a Telegram post. “We need to kick the invaders out of the Ukrainian regions. Though the width of the frontlines is as long as over 2,5000 km, we feel that we hold the strategic initiative.”

And on Monday, he put a timeline on it: He wants the war over, and for Ukraine to win, by the end of 2022, he told G7 leaders.

Russia is suffering acute combat losses as well, losing as much as a third of its ground force in four months of war, US intelligence officials estimate. Officials have also said publicly that Russia will struggle to make any serious gains further west, using the Donbas region as a staging ground, without a full mobilization of its reserve forces.

But Russia believes it can maintain the fight, wearing down Ukrainian and western resolve as the global economic effects of the war become more severe, officials have told CNN.

The hunt for Soviet-era weaponry

As CNN has previously reported, Russia is looking in particular to exploit the gap between how much Soviet-style ammunition Ukraine and its allies have in their stockpiles, and how long it will take the west to provide Ukraine with modern, NATO-standard weapons and munitions that require time-consuming training.

A senior defense official acknowledged to CNN that the Soviet-era stocks are “dwindling,” but haven’t yet reached “rock bottom.” The official said that some eastern European countries still have more they could provide — but only if they continue to be backfilled by allies with more modern equipment.

The US and its allies, meanwhile, have been scrounging the world for the kind of Soviet-era ammunition that fits the equipment Ukraine already has, including 152 mm artillery ammunition. NATO-standard weapons fire larger, 155mm rounds. But another US defense official told CNN that effort is effectively reaching its end, with almost everything available that countries are willing to provide having already gone in.

Given the prodigious rate at which the Ukrainians have gone through their older ammunition in the bruising artillery fight in the Donbas, the official said, “Soviet-era weapons are being wiped off the earth.”

CNN’s Katie Bo Lillis, Oren Liebermann and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

June 30, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Empire To Expand NATO In Response To War Caused By NATO Expansion

Caitlin Johnstone 29 June 22,

Turkey’s President Erdoğan has officially withdrawn Ankara’s objection to the addition of Finland and Sweden to NATO membership, with the three countries signing a trilateral memorandum at a NATO summit in Madrid.

The removal of Erdoğan’s objection was reportedly obtained via significant natsec concessions from the other two nations largely geared toward facilitating Turkey’s ongoing conflict with regional Kurdish factions, and it removes the final obstacle to Finland and Sweden beginning the process of becoming NATO members. Finland’s addition will more than double the size of NATO’s direct border with Russia, a major national security concern for Moscow.

“Sweden and Finland moved rapidly to apply to NATO in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, reversing decades of security policy and opening the door to the alliance’s ninth expansion since 1949,” Axios reports.

So the western empire will be expanding NATO again in response to a war that was predominantly caused by NATO expansion. Brilliant.

At the same NATO summit, President Biden announced plans to ramp up US military presence in Europe in response to the Ukraine war.

“Speaking with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Biden said the US will increase the number of US Navy Destroyers stationed at a naval base in Rota, Spain, from four to six,” Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp reports. “The president said that this was the first of multiple announcements the US and NATO will make at the summit on increasing their forces in Europe, steps being taken in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

This news comes out as a new CNN report tells us that the Biden administration does not believe Ukraine has any chance of winning this war, yet still won’t encourage any kind of negotiated settlement to end the bloodshed……………………

This would confirm what I and many others have been saying since Russia invaded: that this proxy war is being waged not with the intention of saving Ukrainian lives by delivering a swift defeat to Moscow but with the intention of creating a costly, gruelling military quagmire to weaken Russia on the world stage.

This is further confirmed by a new Politico report that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has discouraged France’s President Macron from facilitating a negotiated peace settlement between Moscow and Kyiv, which would support an earlier Ukrainian media report that Johnson had discouraged President Zelensky from such a settlement during his visit to Kyiv in April.

These revelations emerge in the wake of western officials admitting that Ukraine is crawling with CIA personnel and special forces operatives from the US and other NATO countries.

“As usual it appears that the administration wants to have it both ways: assure the American people that it is being ‘restrained’ and that we are not ‘at war’ with the Russians, but doing everything but planting a U.S. soldier and a flag inside Ukraine,” writes Responsible Statecraft’s Kelley Beaucar Vlahos of this admission. “The Russians may not see the distinction and consider this news as further evidence that their war is more with Washington and NATO than with Ukraine.

The empire is guided by so little wisdom in its escalations against Russia that the US congress is now pushing expensive ship-launched nuclear cruise missiles on its naval forces even as the US Navy tells them it doesn’t want those weapons and has no use for them.

Like hey, just take the nukes anyway. What’s the worst that could happen?

We need to really start taking seriously the possibility that a nuclear weapon could detonate as a result of misunderstanding or malfunction amid the chaos and confusion of all these frenzied, foolish escalations and lead to an exchange which ends our entire world. This nearly happened on multiple occasions in the last cold war, and there’s no rational reason to believe we’ll get lucky again.

The only sane course of action here is de-escalation and detente, and all the major players in these escalations are pointed in the exact opposite direction.

This is so much more dangerous than most people are letting themselves consider. It’s being sustained by psychological compartmentalization, emotional avoidance, and a profound lack of wisdom.

As David S. D’Amato recently remarked, “If our species does find a way to survive into the distant future, our descendants will look at right now as the near miss; they’ll think, ‘Wow, that was close.’ How do we convince people in power to preserve that future?”

June 30, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | 1 Comment

While Biden Gives Ukrainian Army “The Most Lethal Weapon,” War Profiteer BAE Systems Stock Soars

During the 2020 U.S. election campaign, BAE Systems donated $569,202 to Democratic Party candidates, and $452,594 to Republicans, according to

Joe Biden received $102,591 compared to $94,966 for Donald Trump.

This amounts to chump change for the company: Shares in BAE Systems have reached an all-time high since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, rising by 28 percent over ten weeks to give BAE a stock market value of £24 billion and putting it among the largest 25 companies in the Financial Times Stock Exchange.

CovertAction Magazine. By Jeremy Kuzmarov, June 27, 2022 

Sending Ukraine a $300 million shipment of powerful M-777 howitzers is a lobbying triumph for BAE Systems, one of the many war industry corporations fattening on the death and destruction of the Ukraine war

n June 15, the Biden administration announced that it was providing an additional $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine in a package that includes shipments of M-777 howitzers, ammunition and coastal defense systems.

While that announcement was being made, the Ukrainian army was shelling Donetsk, the capital of the Donetsk People’s Republic, with the U.S.-supplied howitzers along with French guns, according to The Donbass Insider, killing five civilians and wounding seven firefighters.

The attacks were being carried out from Ukrainian positions in Peski, a village not far from Donetsk airport.

According to a video produced by journalist Patrick Lancaster, a U.S. naval veteran who has reported on the war in eastern Ukraine over the last eight years, there were no military targets in the areas shelled by the Ukrainian army, only civilians.

Bringing Ukraine Closer to Victory?

Consistent with a society that used military technologies to subdue the native populations, most Americans subscribe to the belief that new superweapons can deliver salvation in wars.[1]

They ignore the dictum of German theorist Karl von Clausewitz that war is “politics by other means,” meaning that victory can only be achieved by aligning with the right side—which does not appear to be the case for Ukraine.

The New York Times characterized the M-777 howitzer—which made its debut in Afghanistan in 2005—as “the most lethal weapon the West has provided [to Ukraine] so far.”

Highly portable by land, air and sea, it can fire as far as 40 kilometers away or 25 miles—further than Russia’s primary artillery system—and is capable of striking within 10 meters of a target when coupled with the M982 Excalibur precision guided munition, which Canada has sent to Ukraine.[2]…………..

The American Legion reported that the United States had already sent 108 M-777 howitzers to Ukraine before the most recent aid package was signed by President Biden.

The Pentagon claimed that the howitzers had an immediate impact upon their arrival on May 8, enabling the Ukrainians to “go on the counter-offensive in the Donbas” and “take back some towns the Russians had taken in the past.”

Colonel Roman Kachur, commander of Ukraine’s 55th Artillery Brigade, told The New York Times that “this weapon [the howitzer] brings us closer to victory. With every modern weapon, every precise weapon, we get closer to victory.”

However, The New York Times reported on June 20 that Russian forces “appeared poised to tighten the noose around thousands of Ukrainian troops near two strategically important cities in the Donbas,” mounting an “assault on Ukrainian front lines.”[3]

So a Ukrainian victory appears far off.

The Russian Interior Ministry reported that it had destroyed U.S.-made howitzers through use of attack drones.

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter wrote that Ukrainian dependence on Western artillery they were unfamiliar with resulted in a ten-fold disparity in firepower with Russia which was destroying Ukrainian defensive positions with minimal risk to its troops.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that the Ukraine War could “last for years,” meaning we are looking at another Vietnam.

Merchants of Death

The M-777 howitzer is made by the U.S. division of BAE Systems, the largest arms manufacturer in Europe, which has supplied Ukraine with 400,000 rounds of munitions, anti-tank guided missiles and armored vehicles equipped with anti-aircraft missiles.

Former CIA Director Gina Haspel, who observed waterboarding at a CIA black sitesits on the company’s Board of Directors.

In March, BAE Systems ironically bankrolled an arms fair in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where sanctioned Russian weapons makers showed off some of the weapons they were using in Ukraine, including tanks, helicopters and drones.

During the 2020 U.S. election campaign, BAE Systems donated $569,202 to Democratic Party candidates, and $452,594 to Republicans, according to

Joe Biden received $102,591 compared to $94,966 for Donald Trump.

Additional recipients of BAE’s largesse included such anti-Russia hawks as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA—$7,373)Steny Hoyer (D-MD—$10,000), Chuck Schumer (D-NY—$5,605); Liz Cheney (R-WY—$3,259 and another $5,500 in 2022); Jamie Raskin (D-MD—$4,089); Adam Schiff (D-CA—$8,036); Mitch McConnell (R-KY—$9, 289), James Inhofe (R-OK-$13,300) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC-$11,383).[4]

So far this year, BAE Systems has spent $940,000 on lobbying Congress; in 2021, it spent $3.63 million.[5]

This amounts to chump change for the company: Shares in BAE Systems have reached an all-time high since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, rising by 28 percent over ten weeks to give BAE a stock market value of £24 billion and putting it among the largest 25 companies in the Financial Times Stock Exchange.

In a blatant conflict of interest, a number of Tories in England’s Upper House of Parliament—notably Lord Glendonbrook, Viscount Eccles and Lord Sassoon, and unaffiliated peers Lord Lupton and Lord Gadhia—each own shares of at least £50,000 in BAE Systems.[6]

Samuel Perlo-Freeman, research coordinator for the campaign against the arms trade, said that BAE Systems “like other major world arms companies, are seeing their share prices soar in response to the war on Ukraine, as European countries prepare to massively rearm, doubling down on the very militarism that has created so much death and suffering in Ukraine, Yemen and elsewhere.”[7]

In May, BAE Systems’ CEO, Dr. Charles Woodburn, told investors: “We see opportunities to further enhance the medium-term outlook as our customers address the elevated threat environment.”

Which really means that, by antagonizing the Russians, great profits can be made in the Ukraine War and any compromise or diplomatic solution that might end the war should be rejected.

References: …………………………………………..

June 30, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK, USA, weapons and war | 2 Comments

NATO and a War Foretold 

we’ll make our own prediction based on NATO’s past behavior. Instead of calling for  compromises on all sides to end the bloodshed, this dangerous Alliance will instead promise an endless supply of weapons to help Ukraine “win” an unwinnable war, and will continue to seek out and seize every chance to engorge itself at the expense of human life and global security.

NATO and a War Foretold , CounterPunch, BY MEDEA BENJAMIN – NICOLAS J. S. DAVIES 29 June 2,

As NATO holds its Summit in Madrid on June 28-30, the war in Ukraine is taking center stage. During a pre-Summit June 22 talk with Politico, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg bragged about how well-prepared NATO was for this fight because, he said: “This was an invasion that was predicted, foreseen by our intelligence services.” Stoltenberg was talking about Western intelligence predictions in the months leading up to the February 24 invasion, when Russia insisted it was not going to attack. Stoltenberg, however, could well have been talking about predictions that went back not just months before the invasion, but decades.

Stoltenberg could have looked all the way back to when the U.S.S.R. was dissolving, and highlighted a 1990 State Department memo warning that creating an “anti-Soviet coalition” of NATO countries along the U.S.S.R’s border “would be perceived very negatively by the Soviets.”

Stoltenberg could have reflected on the consequences of all the broken promises by Western officials that NATO would not expand eastward. ……………………………………………..

…………………..We can’t go back and undo Russia’s catastrophic decision to invade Ukraine or NATO’s historic blunders. But Western leaders can make wiser strategic decisions going forward. Those should include a commitment to allow Ukraine to become a neutral, non-NATO state, something that President Zelenskyy himself agreed to in principle early on in the war.

And, instead of exploiting this crisis to expand even further, NATO should suspend all new or pending membership applications until the current crisis has been resolved. That is what a genuine mutual security organization would do, in sharp contrast to the opportunistic behavior of this aggressive military alliance.

But we’ll make our own prediction based on NATO’s past behavior. Instead of calling for  compromises on all sides to end the bloodshed, this dangerous Alliance will instead promise an endless supply of weapons to help Ukraine “win” an unwinnable war, and will continue to seek out and seize every chance to engorge itself at the expense of human life and global security.

While the world determines how to hold Russia accountable for the horrors it is committing in Ukraine, the members of NATO should do some honest self-reflection. They should realize that the only permanent solution to the hostility generated by this exclusive, divisive alliance is to dismantle NATO and replace it with an inclusive framework that provides security to all of Europe’s countries and people, without threatening Russia or blindly following the United States in its insatiable and anachronistic, hegemonic ambitions.

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and author of several books, including Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi ConnectionNicolas J. S. Davies is a writer for Consortium News and a researcher with CODEPINK, and the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq

June 30, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Swedish and Finnish NATO deal with Turkey triggers fears over Kurdish deportations

Opponents of President Erdoğan in Sweden and Finland worry the deal will bolster efforts by Ankara to extradite them to Turkey,


STOCKHOLM — Relief over Tuesday night’s deal with Turkey unblocking the NATO accession process for Sweden and Finland was palpable on Wednesday, but there were also fears that the two Nordic states could have conceded too much to Ankara over deportations. 

Political adversaries of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan based in Sweden were quick to label the deal as a sellout, which could strengthen Turkey’s efforts to secure extraditions of Kurdish rights activists and other opponents.

“This is a black day in Swedish political history,” said Amineh Kakabaveh, an independent Swedish lawmaker and longtime advocate for Kurdish rights. “We are negotiating with a regime which does not respect freedom of expression or the rights of minority groups,” Kakabaveh, a former fighter with Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iran, told the SVT Nyheter television channel.

Since mid-May, Turkey has threatened to veto the NATO applications from Sweden and Finland unless the two states complied with, among other things, its demands to crack down on groups Ankara regards as terrorists. 

This has caused political tension because Stockholm and Helsinki don’t agree that all the groups on Ankara’s list are terrorists. For example, all three regard the PKK as terrorists but only Turkey sees the Syria-based Kurdish groups the YPG and PYD as terrorists. 

Over the past two months, officials from the three states, as well as from NATO headquarters, have sought to secure a compromise that would allow Erdoğan to claim a diplomatic victory while not undermining Swedish or Finnish human rights laws.

The 10-point deal published late Tuesday ahead of a key NATO summit in Madrid was that compromise. 

The most sensitive element was arguably point eight, which included a commitment by Sweden and Finland “to address Türkiye’s pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly.”

Loose wording

While loosely worded, and arguably vague enough to be potentially insignificant, that clause rattled some Kurds in Sweden. ………………….

 a raft of opposition lawmakers, including from longtime NATO membership opponents the Left Party, weren’t reassured. 

Håkan Svenneling, the party’s foreign policy spokesperson, said Sweden had made “shameful concessions.”

“Selling us out to Erdoğan went quickly,” said Ulla Andersson, the Left Party’s former economic policy spokesperson.

In Finland, the reaction to the deal seemed notably more muted with the focus more squarely on the brighter prospects for NATO accession the Turkish deal entailed, rather than any eventual damage to human rights the agreement might cause.

This was in part a reflection of the broader parliamentary consensus in Finland behind applying to join NATO than had been achieved in Sweden.

In Sweden, the Left Party and the Green Party remain vocal critics of the NATO membership application, and Green Party joint-leader Märta Stenevi on Wednesday called on Sweden’s foreign minister to explain to the parliament’s foreign affairs select committee what she called “very worrying” developments regarding extraditions to Turkey.

For her part, Kakabaveh, a former member of the Left Party, said she might launch a vote of no-confidence against Foreign Minister Linde. 

It was unclear how much support such a move would command in parliament, but a similar vote targeting Justice Minister Morgan Johansson in early June almost brought down the Swedish government, three months ahead of scheduled general election. 

Kakabaveh struck a deal with Prime Minister Andersson’s governing Social Democrats as recently as last November guaranteeing more support for the Syria-based PYD and its military affiliate, the YPG.

But Tuesday’s 10-point deal with Turkey said the Swedish and Finnish governments had agreed not to provide such support leaving the Social Democrats’ deal with Kakabaveh on an unclear footing.

Kakabaveh said she hoped the Left Party and the Green Party would join her in seeking to apply pressure to the Swedish government over its concessions to Turkey. 

“This is not just about the Kurds, this is about Sweden not bowing to a regime like Erdoğan’s,” she said. 

June 30, 2022 Posted by | politics, politics international, Sweden | Leave a comment

Will Sweden throw the Kurds under a bus, in order to get Turkey to agree to Sweden joining NATO?

Sweden’s Kurds fear they may pay price for NATO bid as Turkey fumes, June 28, 2022,  By Simon Johnson,

  • Turkey says Sweden supports Kurdish militant groups
  • Sweden caught between security worries, support for minorities
  • Erdogan wants steps to assuage security concerns

STOCKHOLM, June 28 (Reuters) – Kurds in Sweden’s large diaspora are worried they will become a pawn in the negotiations over Stockholm’s ambition to join NATO if the West makes concessions to win Turkish support.

Sweden, along with Finland, applied for NATO membership in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with their bids warmly welcomed as a “historic moment” by alliance chiefs.

But they have faced opposition from Turkey, which has been angered by what it says is their support for Kurdish militants and arms controls on Ankara over a 2019 incursion into Syria.

“We don’t want the Kurds to be on the negotiating table,” Shiyar Ali, the Scandinavian representative of the mainly Kurdish regions of northern Syria, said.

Any bid to join NATO, which holds a three day summit this week, requires backing from each of its 30 members. Turkey has been a NATO ally for over 70 years.

Sweden’s 100,000-strong Kurdish diaspora and Stockholm’s support for Kurds’ rights has long been points of friction in relations with Ankara.

“Sweden has been a thorn in Turkey’s side, criticising Turkish human rights abuses, there is a strong and vibrant Kurdish diaspora in Sweden, parts of which is sympathetic to the PKK,” Paul Levin, director at the Institute for Turkish Studies at Stockholm University, said.

“All these things fly in the face of the Turkish perspective on these issues that the PKK and their affiliates are an essential national security threat to Turkey.”

The PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) has been waging an insurgency in Turkey since 1984 in which more than 40,000 people have been killed.

Sweden has long outlawed the PKK and says it only provides humanitarian aid to Syria and refugees in the region, mainly through international organisations.

At the same time as the NATO talks, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has threatened a launch a fresh incursion into northern Syria to recapture towns held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which are backed by Washington. read more

The Kurdish YPG militia are a key part of the SDF that controls large parts of north Syria and is regarded by Washington as an important ally against Islamic State. Ankara sees it as an extension of the militant PKK, branding it a terrorist group, while Western governments do not.

Aside from its anger with the two Nordic countries, Turkey has long been infuriated by other support for the YPG, notably from the United States, France and Germany.


All that has worried some Kurds, who fear they may pay the price to placate Turkey and secure Sweden’s place in NATO.

Facing a prison sentence, Osman Aytar, an ethnic Kurd, fled Turkey for Sweden in the 1990s.

“Kurds have been betrayed many times in history,” said Aytar, a 62-year-old associate professor in social work at the Malardalen University in eastern Sweden.

“Maybe Erdogan is betting that he can invade new parts of Rojava (the mainly Kurdish regions of northern Syria) and the West will be quiet just because of this NATO membership issue. If the West just shuts its eyes, he will be happy.”

Sweden’s government declined to comment on ongoing talks with Turkey. Ankara’s embassy in Stockholm also declined to comment. NATO has said the security concerns raised by Turkey are legitimate. read more

The complex web of issues has put the Sweden government – admired around the world for its promotion of human rights and support for minorities – in a tough spot.

Only this month, the government survived a no-confidence vote with the help of a former Kurdish peshmerga fighter, who has demanded continued support for Kurds, further angering Ankara. read more

A lengthy and uncertain road to NATO membership would undermine Nordic security and weaken the alliance’s hand in the Baltic. read more

But meeting Turkey’s demands – which remain unclear – would damage Sweden’s reputation and could complicate the fight against Islamic State. read more

“We are worried that the Kurds become victims of the politics,” Ahmed Karamus, the Swedish co-chair of the Kurdistan National Congress, a Kurdish umbrella group, said.

While the Swedish Kurds spoken to by Reuters are confident the government will stand up to Turkey, the negotiations are an uncomfortable reminder of that the security of the autonomous area is dependent on the goodwill of others.

“I hope and I believe that Sweden will not make concessions that we will be ashamed of later,” Aytar said.

June 30, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Sweden | Leave a comment

Oh, for a Prime Minister honest about Australia’s security! By Mike Gilligan, Jun 29, 2022,

How did it come to this? Australia’s defence policy has been baldly sacrificed to US interests via AUKUS with little public discourse.

Mostly, those that present as security experts have mumbled support as the US entangles Australia in its planning for war with China. Not a word from the serried rows of professors, publicly funded, who otherwise jostle for public exposure.

For five decades Australia’s security policy has centred on defending our territory independently. Self-reliance has been the prudent and rational posture for Australian governments with ANZUS deliberately avoiding a commitment to armed response by the US in the event of attack on Australia.

Implementing that strategy has been a big task – intellectually, financially and managerially, requiring all our defence spending to be directed to that objective. Whenever we have chosen to join the US in its global wars we did so with modest contributions drawn from forces created for our own priorities, measured to signal political support but not detract from our own objective. Now that policy has been abruptly buried with AUKUS requiring our taxes to heavily fund US strategic denial of China – building nuclear submarines of little value for our own needs to fit with US planning for military conflict with China.

How could Australia’s security policy move largely unremarked from an earnest and internationally respected self-defence policy to mounting aggressive deployments into China’s adjacent waters, at mind numbing cost? Former Prime Minister Paul Keating was an early and insightful critic of AUKUS. Just a few weeks after it was announced, Keating addressed the National Press Club, in November last year. He began by inferring that it was because mainstream media coverage of security is so weak in Australia he felt compelled to share his perspective. Keating’s reservation was reinforced by the level of questions from the floor at the end. Keating made the then striking claim that Australia was to build nuclear submarines specifically to attack China in its waters. He observed that this had been admitted effectively by Australia’s ambassador to Washington, Arthur Sinodinos. The submarines would be designed to attack China’s nuclear missile submarines which are China’s second-strike deterrent to US nuclear attack on China.

So, Australia is being set up as a key factor in the nuclear war equation of the US and China. Broadly, Keating argued that China deserves respect. It now has a bigger economy than the US by 25% and can be expected to expand that gap in coming decades. China has shown it wants to participate in global structures and be part of reform. China has a lot to offer and is not contriving to run the world. Its security concern is to push US sea and air military forces away from its borders, noting US and other forces (including Australian) exercise in the South China Sea. The more senior of the serried professors, Paul Dibb, quickly took up the pen disparagingly against Keating, observing that Keating “gave the strong impression of being a sleepwalker”. Dibb is thereby suggesting it has long been common knowledge that Australia is preparing for war against China. If so, that is news to most Australians, including those who have a more-than-cursory interest in our security affairs.

On Thursday last week, Dibb was delivered by ABC TV into the living rooms of Australians via the 7:30 Report, unannounced and without context, just prior to Leigh Sales’ interview with Prime Minister Albanese. His hectoring message was that Defence should have first priority from the Government, to ensure that it counters an “aggressive and expansionist” China. Urgency was implied as China could exploit a “window of opportunity” with the US distracted by the Ukraine. I suspect most viewers thought that this was just more of the banality we enjoy on Thursday nights from Sammy J. But it was shabby, ABC.

Dibb’s professional pedigree lies in Cold War intelligence. It has been claimed that he enjoyed unusual access to sensitive classified material for years. In this regard Dibb should now be obsolete. These days he writes for an online ASPI platform where his paragraphs settle comfortably alongside trademarks of weapons systems purveyors. The tone is invariably unsettling and receptive to greater defence spending. Yet big media conduits such as the Press Club and ABC television, which provide him a national platform at prime time, offer no declaration of interests.

Another professor, Rory Medcalf, head of the “National Security College “ at the ANU with staff of about sixty, writes and comments regularly. His recent book “Contest for the Indo-Pacific” is engaging but the substance is a worry. In discussing Australia, Medcalf shows poor comprehension of the realities of Australia’s defence policy post ANZUS: “ Australia relies acutely on … in the ultimate crisis, the expectation under the ANZUS Treaty that overwhelming (US) force would come to its aid “. In fact Australia’s policy has been quite the reverse – to have no such expectation of US force intervening on our behalf under ANZUS . Even security hobbyists know Medcalf Is at odds with decades of Australian defence policy centred on self-reliance, deriving from the ANZUS negotiation by Spender, its ratification by Congress and subsequent affirmations. This failure is not of some slippery nuance. Ignorance of a key risk factor in our security is more than disappointing at his level. Only by getting ANZUS right can we address our security risk.

In public commentary Medcalf seems as anchored ideologically as the daily media, lining up with China as a threat to be constrained. How can Australians understand security without credible public thought leaders? Recognising the deficiency is a start. Balanced analytical commentary should aim for Australians to be confident that their governments comprehend and are dealing with the risks in ANZUS. At present few realise that any Australian government joining with the US in applying military force against China on the assumption that the US will be with us “all the way”, is foolhardy.

What an achievement it would be for a serving prime minister to inform Australians honestly of our ultimate security risk under ANZUS. Prime Minister Albanese might ponder that as he sits amongst NATO leaders in Madrid, none of whom carry similar risk to him because they share a real security treaty with the US. And perhaps the Prime Minister might realise that Australia, in being treated differently, can learn from Ukraine’s experience as a qualified friend of the US.

Dr Mike Gilligan worked for 20 years in defence policy and evaluating military proposals for development, including time in the Pentagon on military balances in Asia.

June 30, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Over 30,000 say No to seismic testing in the Irish Sea

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities have congratulated Radiation Free
Lakeland on the astonishing success of their on-line petition to Save the
Whale and the Snail from Nuclear Waste Services’ plan to carry out
seismic testing in the Irish Sea. The petition on Change.Org
was started by Marianne Birkby, Cumbria resident and Co-ordinator of Lakes
Against the Nuclear Dump (LAND), one of several campaigns being waged
against civil nuclear projects by Radiation Free Lakeland. 

 Research by marine
pollution expert, Tim Deere-Jones, slammed NWS studies as ‘lacking
scientific rigour’ and identified findings from around the world that
sound blasting can make marine mammals deaf or disorientated, and in some
cases dead.

 NFLA 28th June 2022


June 30, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NATO Summit – Facing the New Reality – a view from Hungary

Hungarian Community for Peace, 29 June 22, Leaders of NATO’s thirty member states are preparing to approve a new strategy to halt change in the world and delay the twilight of Western civilization, an analyst at the Hungarian Community for Peace evaluated the NATO summit beginning in Madrid on Tuesday.

Due to the failure of its eastern expansion, NATO is forced to face the fact that the Russians are turning its own expansion strategy against it. Russian roll back replaced the American. NATO would be forced into defensiveness if America gave up its aggression.

All that is already known about the new “strategic concept” is that it marks Russia as its main enemy and considers military conflict in the territory of the bloc countries to be a real threat. Therefore, they want to deploy more than 300,000 troops to Eastern European countries, approx. eight times as many as are currently there. The other main enemy is marked in China. But NATO is not strong enough to establish a circular defense against both of them and their allies. NATO has to decide what is more important. Both for America and neither for other allies.

Why should Europe be afraid of America’s losing dominance over the world, when its prosperity, and even its mere existence, is increasingly dependent on Russian energy and Chinese trade? Why should Eastern Europe get into a war with Russia when peaceful cooperation only benefits?

Today, not only Hungary and Turkey give different answers to the questions than their big brother, but the French and Germans are also looking for other ways. However, they have not yet come to oppose America openly, as there is a common interest in maintaining a common system. But strategy here, strategy there, the common interest in maintaining the system is crossed by a multitude of national interests. Economic interests are different. Market competitiveness, social stability, development depend on who and to what extent adapts to the new conditions and fits into the nascent new world order.

It is possible to force the old and even try to restore an even older one, but if it fails, the Sun may fall even faster over the system, the days of which are numbered without it.

Russia and China may be called the number one public enemy, but the consequences cannot be ignored. The more they miss the possibility of a compromise with Russia, the more disadvantaged they will be forced to compromise with it. An example of this is Russia’s superiority in strategic power relations. With the Sarmat rocket, America will no longer have the opportunity to reach the balance of power on the old level. And if the U.S. doesn’t ask Moscow to negotiate with it, the level could sink even deeper.

The change in conditions is shown by the fact that no Arab country, nor most Latin American countries, have joined Western sanctions against Russia, and are increasingly seeking membership in international organizations based on the Russian-Chinese axis. Argentina and Iran have applied to join the Alliance of China, Russia, India, South Africa and Brazil (BRICS). The recent Beijing Declaration aims at a comprehensive reform of the United Nations and the enlargement of the Security Council to include Brazil, South Africa and India for a multipolar world order.

Russia has indicated that it intends to move the venue for international conciliation negotiations to a truly neutral territory instead of Geneva, as Switzerland has joined the Western embargoes against Russia, meaning it can no longer be considered neutral.

As NATO leaders try to postpone a compromise with the East with a new strategy and believe they can outdo their opponents by military and economic means, businessmen from all NATO nations attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June. Would they see any further than their politicians?

Edited by Hungarian Community for Peace

28 June 2022

June 30, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia to Bolster Border With Nuclear Weapons, Missiles if Sweden, Finland Join NATO

Medvedev says Moscow doesn’t fear the Nordic states but needs to be ready for any retaliatory action, WSJ, 29 June 22.

MOSCOW—Russia threatened to station ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons on its border if Sweden and Finland are allowed to join NATO, and warned that Ukrainian membership of the military alliance could trigger World War III.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said Moscow didn’t envision any threat from Sweden and Finland as potential North Atlantic Treaty Organization members because past relations with these countries had been “quite respectful and mutually well meaning,” but that Russia would still need to be ready for any retaliatory action……. (subscribers only)

June 30, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Journalist branded enemy of state by Ukraine

Journalist branded enemy of state by Ukraine 29 June 22

The journalist got into hot water after penning an expose highlighting how Ukraine’s now ousted human rights chief spread false rape claims.

The bombshell expose was published by the Ukrainskaya Pravda (Ukrainian Truth) newspaper on Monday. According to the piece, citing various official sources, a vast majority of allegations of “sexual atrocities,” purportedly committed by Russian troops amid the ongoing conflict, were false. The allegations have been spread by human rights chief Denisova, who got ousted in late May after a no-confidence vote over her failure to organize humanitarian corridors and prisoner exchanges as well as “inexplicably focusing” on spreading unverified and unsubstantiated claims.

According to the report, Ukrainian law enforcement officials tried to investigate Denisova’s claims but found no evidence to back them up. After interrogating Denisova several times, officials discovered she had received all her explosive revelations from her daughter, Alexandra Kvitko, “over tea.” The latter ran a ‘psychological hotline’ for victims of wartime violence,  established in collaboration between Denisova’s office and UNICEF.

The hotline lacked transparency, and while Kvitko reportedly told investigators it received over 1,000 calls in only a month and a half, with some 450 of them detailing the rape of minors, the hotline’s logs suggested it got only 92 calls. The exact nature of the calls remained unclear as well, since Kvitko failed to provide investigators with any details on the alleged victims, according to the report.

Multiple Ukrainian public figures condemned the expose, insisting that reporting on the activities of the disgraced human rights chief and her daughter helps Russia. Political commentator and prominent supporter of ex-president Petro Poroshenko, Taras Berezovets, for instance, bluntly accused the reporter of producing prime material for “Russian propaganda.”

The author of the Denisova investigation, Sonya Lukashova, who accused the former human rights chief of creating numerous fakes about the rape of Ukrainian children, ended up on the Mirotvorets database. Lukashova’s material has been very heavily cited by Russian propaganda,” Berezovets said in a social media post.

The Mirotvorets website was created in 2014 as a public database of “pro-Russian terrorists, separatists, mercenaries, war criminals, and murderers.” The website provides links to social media accounts and personal information, such as home addresses, phones, and emails. Over the years, numerous high-profile public figures and politicians have ended up on the Mirotvorets list over actions deemed to be “anti-Ukrainian.” Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger are among the latest additions to the database……..

June 30, 2022 Posted by | media, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Japan has approved restarts of 10 nuclear reactors, but only 4 actually in operation

 As of June 2022, 10 nuclear reactors at six power stations have been given
the go-ahead to restart in Japan but only 4 reactors are currently in
operation. Despite local governments agreeing to restart the reactors, some
have not yet become operational due to the time required to implement
safety measures and complete other construction work.

  Nippon 29th June 2022

June 30, 2022 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Britain to lift restrictions on food from Fukushima

Food from Fukushima will be freely available in the UK from Wednesday,
weeks after Boris Johnson snacked on popcorn from the Japanese prefecture
hit by a triple nuclear meltdown in March 2011. Britain restricted
Fukushima imports after the disaster, the world’s worst nuclear accident
since Chernobyl, but has gradually lifted them, even as other countries
limit or ban produce from the region. Johnson confirmed that the remaining
restrictions would end on Wednesday in a meeting the previous day with the
Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida, on the fringes of the G7 summit in
Germany. Johnson told Kishida that UK-Japan relations were going from
“strength to strength”.

 Guardian 29th June 2022

June 30, 2022 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

June 29 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “We Don’t Need Base Load Power” • Base load power often supplies the electricity in the middle of the night, but we can use power from other sources instead. The issue is not technical. It is just a matter of cost. Because of low battery costs, our electricity can be cheaper and better. […]

June 29 Energy News — geoharvey

June 30, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment