28.09.2010 | 16:47


With NATO as intermediary, facilitator and Trojan horse, the Pentagon
has established itself - with bases, troops and missiles - along
the entire length of Eastern Europe from the Baltic Sea to the

Two weeks after the United States started its third rotation of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Baltic air patrol on September
1, with the deployment of F-15C Eagle fighter jets operating out of
the Siauliai International Airport in Lithuania, neighboring Estonia
finished a three-year project to upgrade its Amari Air Base in order
to accommodate more NATO warplanes.

The opening ceremony for the enlarged base, which with expanded
runways is able to host "16 NATO fighters, 20 transport planes [and]
up to 2,000 people per day" [1], was held on September 15.

The Estonian base, like its Lithuanian counterpart, is a Soviet-era
one modernized and extended for use by NATO, which financed 35 percent
of the expansion.

Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo said of the augmented air base that
"You could say that it wasn't just the Estonian Air Force that got
a base, but our allies now also have a home, or if you prefer, a
nest in Estonia where they can land and rest." [2] The head of the
Estonian Air Force, Brigadier General Valeri Saar, said that NATO
aircraft involved in the air policing mission in place for over six
years could be stationed at the Amari Air Base in the future.

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, an American expatriate and former
Radio Free Europe employee, made even stronger claims by stating the
completion of the base will facilitate the deployment of fellow NATO
members' troops and military equipment to his nation for prospective
direct intervention: "It is obvious that a small country like
Estonia would need the help of its allies in the event of a serious
military crisis. Likewise, it is obvious that no matter how willing
someone is to provide this help, they cannot do so without the proper
infrastructure. Let's be honest: until today our ability to accept
the airborne help of our allies has been extremely limited." [3]

A "serious military crisis" only makes sense in relation to Russia.

The air policing operation that was launched in March 2004 when
Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia were absorbed into the Alliance - the
first former Soviet republics to enter the bloc - with the subsequent
rotation of U.S., British, German, French, Turkish, Spanish, Danish,
Norwegian, Dutch, Belgian, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian and Czech
warplanes has never identified against whom and what NATO was allegedly
protecting the three Baltic states' airspace.

As the stock villains - Iran and North Korea - cannot be invoked
as threats to the region, Estonia's and Lithuania's joint neighbor
Russia is the inescapable candidate.

Ilves also "underscored the fact that from 2012, when the complex
as a whole is due for completion, NATO will have one of the most
modern air force bases in the region at its disposal" [4] for the
above-mentioned purpose.

By obtaining the use of the Siauliai and Amari air bases, NATO has
secured facilities for air operations in five former Soviet states in
total. The invasion of Afghanistan earlier brought the Alliance into
air bases in Kyrgyzstan (Manas), Tajikistan (Dushanbe) and Uzbekistan
(Termez). Comparable sites between the Baltic Sea and Central Asia -
Georgia and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus - are NATO's for the
asking and are already being used for supplying the war in Afghanistan.

Airfields are not the only locations where increased NATO and U.S.

military presence is being felt in the Baltic Sea region.

On September 13 thirteen NATO member states and partners began
this year's annual Northern Coasts naval exercise in the Baltic
Sea. Over 4,000 military personnel, more than 60 ships, and planes
and helicopters from the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy,
Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Finland and Sweden are involved in the largest exercise ever staged
in Finnish waters, near the Bay of Bothnia where last year's Loyal
Arrow 2 NATO war games included "the biggest air force drill ever in
the Finnish-Swedish Bothnia Bay." [5]

A week after Northern Coasts 2010 began, U.S. Special Operations
Command Europe launched the Jackal Stone 10 multinational special
forces exercise at the 21st Tactical Airbase in Swidwin, Poland, from
which it will move to two other locations in Lithuania. 1,300 special
forces from the U.S., Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia, Romania
and Ukraine are participating, the first time that special operations
units of the seven countries have engaged in joint maneuvers.

At the opening ceremony for the exercises Polish Defense Minister
Bogdan Klich addressed the participants, stating, "Special operations
in the world today are becoming increasingly important in the conduct
of combat operations. And exercises like this check the ability of
allied and international cooperation, which is essential for the
success of the Allies." [6]

The centerpiece of the exercise is the deployment of USS Mount
Whitney, the flagship of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, which was sent to
the Georgian port of Poti on the Black Sea in a show of strength by
Washington shortly after the 2008 Georgian-Russian war. The president
of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite, inspected helicopters used in
the exercises, was given a tour of the USS Mount Whitney and said
"Lithuania's active policy has helped to [assure] that such defense
guarantees will be provided to us." [7]

The war in Afghanistan is not the only application for the skills
so acquired, although all 12 new NATO members in Eastern Europe -
Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary,
Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia - supplied
troops for NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR), for the war in Iraq and for
NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

NATO Partnership for Peace allies and candidates Armenia, Austria,
Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Macedonia,
Moldova, Montenegro, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine have provided
forces for one or more of the above missions, in several cases for
all three.

The West's post-Cold War military colonies are levied not only for
bases on their territory but for troops and military hardware to be
used in wars abroad.

When this May the Pentagon moved a Patriot missile battery and over
100 troops into Morag, Poland - 35 miles from the border with Russia's
Kaliningrad district - it was not for NATO's first ground war in
Afghanistan or against an imaginary missile threat from Iran. A
Polish newspaper account of the ongoing Jackal Stone 10 special
forces exercise - "US army to show its strength in Poland" - pulled no
punches: "NATO is in the process of developing contingency plans to
defend Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania against Russian attacks - the
first time since the end of the Cold War that NATO has specifically
identified Russia as a potential threat." [8]

Poland's fellow Visegrad Four member Slovakia hosted the NATO
Military Committee, which consists of 450 military officers from all
28 member states, on September 17-19. The conference was attended
by NATO's two top military commanders, Admiral James Stavridis
(Supreme Allied Commander Europe) and General StŠ¹phane Abrial
(Supreme Allied Commander Transformation). General David Petraeus,
commander of 150,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, participated
via video conference. The gathering focused on military operations in
Afghanistan and Kosovo and on the new Strategic Concept to be adopted
at the bloc's summit in Lisbon in November.

Slovakia joined NATO five years after its Visegrad partners the Czech
Republic, Hungary and Poland because its citizens consistently voted in
federal elections in a manner displeasing to Washington and Brussels,
evidently preferring the notion that a government ought to represent
the interests of the nation rather than those of the U.S.

and should uphold the rights of its own people over those of the
American president and NATO secretary general. NATO demands political
subservience as well as warfighting and weapons interoperability.

After a compliant government was installed and Slovak troops had been
dispatched to Iraq, the nation was brought into NATO in 2004. Its
forces, like those of 16 other new NATO member states and partners,
were transferred to Afghanistan beginning in December of 2008, much as
NATO is now redeploying troops from Kosovo to the same war theater. It
is hard to believe that many (if any) Slovaks are convinced that
sending their sons and daughters to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan in
any fashion contributes to their nation's defense and security.

Slovak troops that have been sent to the three war zones have had the
opportunity to renew acquaintances with their former fellow countrymen
from the Czech Republic. The European Union has formed a 2,500-troop
Czech-Slovak battlegroup.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas met with NATO Secretary General
Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels on September 17 and confirmed that
"Presence in NATOŅ's Afghan mission is a long-term priority of the
new Czech government."

Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra recently disclosed that he had
submitted a proposal to the Czech government for streamlining the
procedure for deploying and maintaining troops abroad to circumvent
oversight in the parliament where opposition parties can scrutinize
the deployments. Vondra wants to shift troops from NATO's mission
in Kosovo to its war in Afghanistan where there are now 530 Czechs
deployed, and Necas "would like the current system of approving
missions for one year only to be extended to two years...." [9] On
September 23 Vondra announced that 200 more Czech troops are headed
to the Afghan war front and that the nation's special forces are to
resume combat operations there.

Popular and parliamentary objections will not be allowed to interfere
with NATO obligations.

A government report of earlier this month detailed that Czech overseas
military missions cost almost three billion crowns last year, up
by half a billion from the preceding year. The 2009 expenditure for
Afghanistan was forecast to be 1.73 billion crowns but rose to 2.32
billion crowns.

It was recently reported in an article called "Czech military strategy
looks toward U.S." that former Czech defense minister and current
NATO Assistant Secretary General Jiri Sedivy (the first Czech to
be appointed to such a major NATO post) is heading up a team of 15
security and international relations experts drafting a white paper
on the transformation of the country's armed forces.

"The new strategic concept of NATO will be one of the important
works in creating" the white paper, a Defense Ministry spokesman
recently stated, in fact asserting that "NATO initiatives will take
precedence." He added that "The ambition is that three quarters
of the armed forces of the Czech Republic are consistent with NATO
standards." [10]

This past weekend a "two-day NATO Days military air show" was held
in Moravia and attended by 205,000 observers. "One of the major
attractions was a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress strategic
bomber. The aircraft, which was deployed in the Vietnam war, in the
Persian Gulf war, in the bombing of Yugoslavia and in the recent
operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, is on the territory of Central
Europe for the first time ever." [11]

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International
Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher has recently reconfirmed American
interests in basing an interceptor missile radar facility in the Czech
Republic to complement missile deployments in Romania and Poland. NATO
plans radar sites near Nepolisy in Bohemia and in Slavkov (Austerlitz)
in Moravia.

On July 27, 2009 officials from NATO and 12 participating nations -
NATO members the U.S., Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the
Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania and Slovenia and Partnership
for Peace allies Finland and Sweden - were present for the activation
of the "first-of-its-kind multinational strategic airlift unit" [12]
at the Papa Air Base in Hungary, which in the interim has been used
extensively for the war in Afghanistan.

To Hungary's west, it was reported this week that the head of the
Slovenian Armed Forces Union, Gvido Novak, sent a letter to President
Danilo Turk informing the latter that the Slovenian government was
"illegally sending troops" to participate in NATO operations in
Afghanistan, that "the commander-in-chief...was unconstitutionally
and illegally sending Slovenian soldiers to Afghanistan."

Novak's accusation came a week before the latest deployment of troops
to Afghanistan and was based on the fact "that without a state of
war being declared, the decision cannot be made without parliament,
while the government is yet to send its proposal to MPs." His letter
additionally warned that "the new Slovenian military mission to
Afghanistan will not be peacekeeping and defensive any longer, and
that it will be a war mission...." [13] Slovenes are also learning
that the popular will and parliamentary procedures are overridden by
demands imposed under NATO membership conditions.

After NATO's 78-day air war against Yugoslavia in 1999, 50,000
troops marched into Kosovo under NATO command and the U.S. build
the colossal Camp Bondsteel and its sister site Camp Monteith there,
the first foreign military bases on Yugoslav soil since World War II.

Earlier this week Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov announced
that the draft of his nation's National Security Strategy is "in total
harmony with the draft Strategic Concept of NATO" and, contradicting
a recent claim by President Georgi Parvanov, said "We should not make
wrong conclusions from the contents of the draft National Security
Strategy - such as concluding that the Bulgarian armed forces can
protect the country in a large-scale military conflict on their own,
and without NATO's collective security system."

Angelov also stated: "I personally think that Bulgaria must stick
to the US missile shield....Our commitment to active participation
in the missile defense of the US and NATO in Europe must be part of
the Strategy." [14]

After a seven-day visit to Washington beginning in late June during
which he met with Pentagon chief Robert Gates, NATO Allied Command
Transformation officials in Virginia and missile shield coordinator
Ellen Tauscher, the defense chief "confirmed Bulgaria's firm position
that it will participate in the US missile defense in Europe, and
that the shield must be a crucial project for the entire NATO."

He also disclosed "that the United States has confirmed its plans
for deploying its troops in Bulgaria and Romania in the so-called
Joint Task Force East....Under an inter-governmental agreement,
the US will be able to use together with the Bulgarian Army four
military bases on Bulgarian soil, with a total of 2,500 soldiers,
to go up to 5,000 during one-month rotation periods." [15]

Last month Angelov revealed why he does not believe that Bulgarian
troops can defend their nation without NATO support - because their
purpose is not to defend their country but to assist NATO in wars
abroad - when he "announced that Bulgaria was going to change the
functions of the Bulgarian troops in Afghanistan, and that instead
of guard units it was going to send a 700-strong combat regiment by
the end of 2012." [16]

At the beginning of this month Angelov flew to Poland to meet with
Defense Minister Bogdan Klich for discussions concentrating on "the
US missile shield in Europe." [17]

On September 19 the Bulgarian defense minister "expressed strong
support for his colleague, Economy Minister Traikov, who invited US
companies to consider investments in Bulgarian military plants."

Traikov was in the U.S. at the time where he "invited Boeing to study
opportunities for the privatization of the ailing Bulgarian military
industrial giant VMZ Sopot." Angelov applauded the offer as an effort
to "breathe life into the Bulgarian defense industry." [18]

A new member state doesn't only turn the nation's military bases
over to the Pentagon and NATO and offer them combat troops for wars
thousands of miles away, it is also compelled to cede national defense
industry assets to the U.S. and its main NATO allies as well.

Immediately afterward it was reported that a NATO team led by Frank
Boland, director of NATO's Defense Policy and Planning Department,
was arriving in Bulgaria "to review the level of implementation of
the agreements between Sofia and Brussels," in particular to examine,
adjust and approve the nation's aforementioned new National Security
Strategy. [19]

In neighboring Romania, last week it was announced that Frank Rose,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense Policy and Verification
Operations, was in the capital for a "third round of negotiations
centered on Romania's participation in the US missile defence system,"
[20] following the Supreme Defense Council approving U.S. Standard
Missile-3 deployments in the country on February 4 of this year
and official negotiations on the agreement led by Ellen Tauscher in
Bucharest on June 17. On September 16 Russian Defense Minister Anatoly
Serdyukov, fresh from a meeting with his American counterpart Robert
Gates in Washington, said of U.S. interceptor missile plans in Eastern
Europe: "They tell us their missile shield is not aimed against us,
but we tell them our calculations show it is aimed against us." [21]

The year after Romania's NATO accession, then-Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice secured an agreement with the nation for the
acquisition of four military sites: The Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base
and training bases and firing ranges in Babadag, Cincu and Smardan.

The air base had been used in 2003 for the invasion if Iraq, a year
before Romania joined NATO, and has been employed since for the wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2006 a similar pact was signed with Bulgaria for the use of the
Bezmer Air Base, Graf Ignatievo Air Base and Novo Selo army training
range. The seven military sites were the first the U.S. gained
access to in former Warsaw Pact countries. They have been used not
only for air operations but for the training of a Stryker regiment,
special forces and other combat units for "downrange" conflicts like
those in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon's Joint Task Force-East,
"the largest U.S. military contingent operating in Eastern Europe,"
[22] spends much of its time training at Romania's Mihail Kogalniceanu
Air Base and Babadag Training Area.

It was announced last year that the U.S. will spend $110 million
to upgrade a base apiece in Bulgaria and Romania as 2,000 American
troops were completing military exercises with the armed forces of
both countries that ran from June to the end of October.

With NATO as intermediary, facilitator and Trojan horse, the Pentagon
has established itself - with bases, troops and missiles - along
the entire length of Eastern Europe from the Baltic Sea to the


1) Estonian Public Broadcasting, September 15, 2010 2) Ibid 3) Office
of the President, Public Relations Department, September 15, 2010 4)
Ibid 5) Barents Observer, June 8, 2009 6) U.S. Army, September 22,
2010 7) Press Service of the President, September 21, 2010 8) Warsaw
Business Journal, September 21, 2010 9) Czech News Agency, September
17, 2010 10) Prague Post, September 8, 2010 11) Czech News Agency,
September 20, 2010 12) U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs,
July 27, 2010 13) B92, September 20, 2010 14) Sofia News Agency,
September 19, 2010 15) Sofia News Agency, July 3, 2010 16) Sofia News
Agency, August 18, 2010 17) Sofia News Agency, September 5, 2010 18)
Sofia News Agency, September 20, 2010 19) Standart News, September
21, 2010 20) Nine O'Clock News, September 17, 2010 21) Itar-Tass,
September 17, 2010 22) Stars and Stripes, October 17, 2009

From: A. Papazian