‘Undermining faith in NATO’ is now grounds for Twitter ban, because certain kinds of politics have become a religion

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Heresy against NATO has apparently joined the ever-expanding list of sins that will get one erased from Twitter, as Big Tech mounts a crusade against infidels at home and abroad on behalf of values of Our Democracy.

Twitter announced bans on 373 accounts it connected to “state-linked information operations” on Tuesday. Some of them, the company said, “amplified narratives that were aligned with the Russian government” or “focused on undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability.”

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Twitter is a US-based company, and the First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees freedom of speech as well as religion. Under that set of rules, anyone’s faith in NATO – or lack thereof – would be none of Twitter’s business. 

Then again, that set of rules isn’t exactly in effect anymore. Twitter has long abandoned its “free speech wing of the free speech party” shtick to become a cudgel for Our Democracy to beat its critics with. Or did you miss the part where they censored a sitting president of the United States over how he “might be perceived and interpreted” and meddled in the election by blocking a newspaper over a true story they falsely claimed was based on hacked materials?

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Assuming for the sake of argument that these things were all part of “fortifying” the election – as TIME magazine put it – and defending Our Democracy from the evils of the constitutional republic, that might explain the repudiation of free speech and free press.

Which leaves religion, and still doesn’t answer why Twitter is now embarking on a jihad to protect NATO from heretics. 

Last I checked, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was not a god, but a military alliance. It hardly needs anyone’s “faith” – or Big Tech protection thereof. Not only is it armed to the teeth but commands its own legions of “disinformation”hunters and propaganda shops. Why, one of Twitter’s executives is literally an officer in a psychological warfare outfit of the UK military – a member of NATO, if anyone hasn’t been paying attention. 

I will not undermine faith in the NATO alliance I will not undermine faith in the NATO alliance I will not undermine faith in the NATO alliance I will not undermine faith in the NATO alliance I will not undermine faith in the NATO alliance I will not undermine faith in the N https://t.co/94FBinTPS0

— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) February 24, 2021

Big Tech is also working hand in glove with an entire cottage industry of “disinformation researchers” such as Ben Nimmo – an alum of the Atlantic Council, a think-tank serving as a NATO cut-out – and Renee DiResta of the Stanford Internet Observatory. 

DiResta ought to be notorious because her old firm, New Knowledge, was exposed for literally running a bunch of fake accounts posing as ‘Russian bots’ during a 2017 special US Senate election in Alabama. Because that helped a Democrat, NK was allowed to quietly rebrand and DiResta failed upward to land at Stanford. These are not the “Russians” you are looking for, move along, that sort of thing.

So it’s ironic that DiResta’s new outfit has provided more information about Twitter’s newest crusade, as well as where it might be headed. Based on information they were provided by Twitter, some of the accounts in one of the “Russian networks,” the SIO says, “appear to have been linked to the operations primarily via technical indicators rather than amplification or conversation between them.”

Notice the weasel phrasing such as “appear to be linked,” or “show signs of being affiliated” in Twitter’s original blog. It’s simply amazing how the same people who demand irrefutable evidence of, say, US election irregularities suddenly need no evidence whatsoever for their own assertions.

From a @Reuters report.Cancel culture doesn't exist though pic.twitter.com/eCAdfGPkF7

— Philip Cunliffe (@thephilippics) February 24, 2021

SIO also offers a glimpse into the future of this crusade, noting that while Twitter, Facebook and Medium “chip away” at accounts “pushing Russia-aligned narratives about Syria and NATO,” such activity persists on LiveJournal and Telegram.

No doubt these two platforms – one bought by a Russian company back in 2007, the other founded by a Russian national but currently operating out of Dubai – will find themselves in the crosshairs soon enough.

“Censorship is an intoxicating power that endlessly expands until it’s smashed,” as independent journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out.

Especially since enforcing “faith” means this isn’t about differences of opinion anymore. Forget about things such as free speech, or due process, or debate that’s the cornerstone of an actual democracy. Politics of a certain kind is now religion.  

Soi-disant "champion of freedom in Russia" cheers on @Twitter for closing down accounts and hence suppressing free expression. https://t.co/z2Esugd3Ps

— George Szamuely (@GeorgeSzamuely) February 24, 2021

In a move that should surprise no one, this religious war against heretics who dare doubt NATO and other “Russian” wrongthink was hailed by such luminaries of the US establishment as former ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul. 

Lest you think he’s an outlier, the US embassy in Kiev applauded the Ukrainian government’s order to close down three opposition TV stations earlier this month. Democrat lawmakers are currently pushing for similar censorship at home. 

Just last week, the newly installed US President Joe Biden told European allies that “the transatlantic alliance is back,” pledging his renewed support for NATO. Biden has also said he would govern based on “values.” The thing to understand is that those values aren’t necessarily what the Constitution of the American Republic, now effectively replaced by what has been dubbed Our Democracy, says they are.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

NATO’s expanding role hides the reality of a US empire in decline

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NATO’s willingness to underwrite US military deployment in Europe and expand its reach to include the Pacific demonstrates that its current purpose is more about propping up America than securing peace.

The recently concluded virtual meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) defense ministers has been billed as President Joe Biden’s first opportunity to act on his promise of repairing the damage done to the military alliance by the contentious policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump. 

While a great deal of attention has been paid to the optics of unifying NATO under new, more inclusive American leadership, the harsh realities of the policy priorities pushed by Lloyd Austin, Biden’s secretary of defense, and their underlying economics, point to a weakened US looking to further exploit a European military alliance for the purposes of propping up an America in decline.

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Financial concerns remained one of the central issues confronting the alliance, as Austin continued the Trump-era pressure on member nations to meet the two percent GDP threshold for defense spending established in 2014 (currently only nine of NATO’s 28 members have met this requirement). 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg furthered Austin’s call for increased investment in what he termed NATO’s “core deterrence and defense activities,” proposing that the alliance begin jointly funding the various battalion-sized battlegroups member nations have deployed to Poland and the Baltic States, ostensibly as a deterrence against Russian military aggression.

The current arrangement, Stoltenberg noted, is that “the country that provides the capabilities also provides the funding.” 

“So, if you send some troops to the NATO battlegroup in Lithuania, as Norway does, then Norway pays for that. I think that we should change that,” he told reporters. 

According to Stoltenberg, the process of joint funding would demonstrate a mutual commitment to the kind of common defense that is enshrined in Article 5 of the NATO Charter, often cited as the heart and soul of the alliance.

But the concept of joint funding hides a more painful reality – the deployment of NATO military battlegroups into Poland and the Baltics is, in and of itself, militarily meaningless. A recent RAND analysis concluded that Russia would defeat these forces and overrun the Baltics within 60 hours after the initiation of hostilities. The amount of combat power that would need to be deployed into the Baltics to alter that outcome is currently beyond the ability of NATO to deploy and sustain.

The only nation capable of providing the kind of sustainable, trained, and equipped combat power necessary to fight a viable ground combat campaign against Russian forces in either the Baltics or Poland is the United States. As things stand, the US is unwilling and unable to foot the cost of a deployment beyond an armored brigade it maintains in Poland on a rotational basis, and a forward corps-sized headquarters recently established on Polish soil. The US has conducted reinforcement exercises, where a second armored brigade is flown into Germany, equips itself using prepositioned stocks warehoused in Germany, and is deployed via rail and road into Poland.

There are three problems with this scenario. First is the fact that two brigades do not constitute a division, let alone a corps (normally two to three divisions). Second is that the deployment of this second brigade requires lines of communication (airfields, ports, roads, and rails) that would readily be interdicted in time of war; there is little chance these troops would ever reach the battlefield. Lastly, this deployment takes time – days, if not weeks. Even if they were to make it to the frontlines, Russian troops would have already secured their objectives.

The only way to change this equation is for the US to commit more troops to the region on a full-time basis, and to beef up its reinforcement efforts along the lines of the 1980s’ REFORGER (return of forces to Germany) program. This, however, costs money that the US military is currently unwilling/unable to allocate. Under Stoltenberg’s scheme of shared costs, however, this expense would be spread among the NATO membership, and as such would become more palatable for the US.

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The US also raised the possibility of enlisting NATO in the Pacific, where America is gearing up for a possible military conflict with China. The Biden administration has recently established a special task force responsible for making recommendations regarding US military strategy and force posture, among other things, as they relate to confronting and containing China. 

While NATO has a history of extending its military reach beyond the borders of Europe – most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also North Africa and the Persian Gulf – this is the first time a major discussion will take place regarding a possible NATO military role in the Pacific. 

The possibility of the alliance’s involvement in the region seemed attractive to Stoltenberg, who called it “a unique opportunity to start a new chapter for transatlantic relations,” adding that China was a legitimate concern for NATO given that it, along with Russia, is “at the forefront of an authoritarian pushback against the rules-based international order.”

The “rules-based international order” to which Stoltenberg refers dates back to the aftermath of the Second World War and the various institutions and norms – centered around the notion of a United Nations but in fact dictated and managed by Washington – that were established at that time. 

These rules are often credited with having delivered peace and prosperity in the 75 years since the end of that conflict. Any student of history, however, would know that the world did not prosper peacefully during that time, but rather was engaged in near-constant conflict driven by the desire of the US and its allies to impose “rules-based order” on the rest of the world. NATO is an extension of this effort, with its role in Kosovo and Libya underscoring its aggressive post-Cold War persona.

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The unfortunate reality is that NATO is an institution of war, incapable of articulating non-military solutions. Given its military-centric focus, NATO defines all problems as requiring a military solution. This holds true in both Iraq and Afghanistan, where almost every expert has noted there is no military solution, and yet Stoltenberg continues to argue for NATO troops to remain until one can be found. 

The same holds true regarding NATO’s militarization of the political problems existent in eastern Europe, choosing the deployment of battlegroups over the dispatch of diplomats. The pivot toward defining Russia and China as a potential adversary is drawn less from any real threat posed by either nation, but rather from the insecurity of a United States in decline. By bringing NATO into the mix when it comes to China, the US ensures that whatever “solution” that will be agreed upon will act to sustain the military viability of an alliance that has survived long past its logical expiration date.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Russia leaving Open Skies could actually open the door to broader and better diplomatic relations with the US and Europe

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Moscow’s decision to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty should be seen by the Biden administration as a chance to rebuild and reinvigorate the institutions associated with European security, rather than a failure of diplomacy.

According to a statement released by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “due to the lack of progress in eliminating the hindrances for further functioning of the Treaty under the new circumstances,” the Russian government was declaring that it had begun “domestic procedures for the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the Treaty on Open Skies.” The Russian statement declared that the responsibility for this action rested solely with the United States, which precipitated the current crisis by withdrawing from the same treaty in November 2020, inflicting “severe damage to its functioning and undermined the role of the Open Skies Treaty as a confidence and security building measure.”

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‘Open Skies’, a concept ahead of time

The inception of the Open Skies Treaty dates back to the time of the administration of President Eisenhower, who in 1955 proposed his ‘Open Skies’ plan at a summit meeting in Geneva with representatives of France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. According to Eisenhower’s plan, the parties to the agreement would be allowed to conduct aerial surveillance of the military installations on the territories of the other parties to help with verification of compliance with any arms control agreements that might be reached between the parties.

The Soviet Union rejected Eisenhower’s initiative, likening it to “an espionage plot.” As time progressed, the intelligence value of an ‘open skies’ arrangement diminished with the advent of satellite imagery capable of meeting or exceeding the quality of any imagery that might be obtained using aircraft. However, the process of exploiting satellite imagery is very much a one-way street, allowing both the collection and analysis of imagery to be done without the knowledge of another party. While such an approach promotes the kind of secrecy intelligence services thrive in, it is susceptible to inaccurate and/or misleading interpretations derived from attempting to read too much into a single image.

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Trust-building and European security

The ‘open skies’ concept, with its collective and open approach to data collection, was attractive as a confidence-building mechanism. When President George H. W. Bush revived Eisenhower’s proposal, in May 1989, it was viewed as being a part of an interlocking web of mutually enforcing agreements, including the Treaties on Conventional Arms Control in Europe (CFE) and the Vienna Document, which together would form a European conventional arms control framework that could serve, as then-Secretary of State Baker noted, as “the most direct path to greater predictability and reduced risk of inadvertent war.”

The Open Skies Treaty was signed on March 24, 1992, but did not enter into force until January 2, 2002, once Russia and Belarus completed ratification procedures. The first treaty-mandated overflight took place in August 2002. By this time, one of the troika of arms control agreements which the Open Skies Treaty was supposed to support, the CFE treaty, was in danger of collapsing. Signed in 1990, the CFE treaty was intended to reduce the threat of war by reducing the overwhelming conventional power of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact in Europe.

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It all falls apart

The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in July 1991, when combined with the collapse of the Soviet Union in December of the same year, created an imbalance of forces favoring NATO. Efforts were made to rectify this with an “adapted” treaty text which considered the post-Cold War reality of military power in Europe. While Russia declared its compliance with the provisions of the adapted CFE treaty in 2002, NATO demands regarding Russian forces deployed in Moldova and Georgia, when combined with the fact that the three Baltic Republics (Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania) who joined NATO in 2004, and whose respective militaries were not counted under the terms of the CFE treaty, prompted Russia to suspend its participation in the CFE treaty in 2007.  

While some observers viewed the Open Skies Treaty as a relic of the Cold War, its utility was underscored in the aftermath of the 2014 crisis in Ukraine. Open Skies overflights, when combined with ground inspections carried out by inspectors from the Organization for Security in Central Europe (OSCE), were able to dispel rumors about a covert Russian military buildup along its border with Ukraine. 

The Open Skies-Vienna Document arrangements provided the very confidence building mechanism James Baker had articulated when he spoke of preventing “inadvertent war.” Given ongoing NATO buildup of military forces in the Baltics, this pairing of confidence building measures could be reinvigorated as a robust European conventional arms control verification mechanism if the adapted CFE treaty could be brought into force. Russia’s withdrawal from the Open Skies agreement, following as it does on the heels of the US’ withdrawal last year, would not only kill that agreement, but severely undermine European peace and security by increasing uncertainty at a time when transparency is at a premium.

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US cheats its way around the treaty

According to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “US participation in the [Open Skies] Treaty and the possibility of observing American territory was one of the most important conditions for its entry into force. It is with this factor that our parliament in 2002 ratified the [treaty], thus agreeing to observation flights over the whole territory of Russia.”

The US withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty undermined the very case the Russian government had made to its parliament when seeking ratification, by denying Russia access to US military installations located on US territory. While Russia believed staying in the treaty was still in its best interest, it was concerned about reports that the US was pressuring its NATO allies to provide it with copies of all images taken of Russian military facilities obtained while flying Open Skies missions.

Such a demand represented a violation of the treaty, whose text clearly states that “data collected by sensors during observation flights shall be made available to States Parties in accordance with the provisions of this Article and shall be used exclusively for the attainment of the purposes of this Treaty.” Given that the United States is no longer a party to the treaty, its receipt of data obtained by observation flights conducted within the purview of the treaty could not be construed as serving a purpose related to the treaty.

After lengthy discussions with their Open Skies Treaty partners, Russia concluded that, when it came to the European parties to the agreement, “the political orientation towards the United States proved to be more meaningful than the preservation of an important pan-European security instrument.” The Ministry spokesperson concluded that “the situation is completely unacceptable for us, as in fact all NATO members would remain able to observe the entire territory of Russia, and the territory of the leader of the alliance – USA – [blocked] from Russian observation.”

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Wake-up call for Biden

According to the treaty, Russia will officially withdraw from the treaty six months after it provides official notice of its decision to withdraw. A conference of the States Parties will be convened “no less than 30 days and no more than 60 days after they have received such notice, in order to consider the effect of the withdrawal on this Treaty.” 

While there is no doubt that Russia is serious about its intent to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, it is also clear that Russia views it as a valuable component of a broader European security framework inclusive of an adapted CFE treaty. The timing of the Russian decision appears designed to present the incoming administration of Joe Biden with a fait accompli, the only resolution to which would be for the United States to either back down on its insistence that its European allies share data in violation of the treaty or else rejoin Open Skies, making the question of data sharing moot. Russia may also use the issue of the resuscitation of Open Skies to broach the idea of moving forward on bringing an adapted CFE treaty into fruition.

The withdrawal of Russia from the Open Skies Treaty places Europe at increased risk of the kind of inadvertent war it was created to prevent. Its present worth was proven during the Ukraine crisis, and its potential underscored by the tensions that exist in the Baltic region today between NATO and Russia. Hopefully, a Biden administration will view the Russian action as a wake-up call for meaningful engagement on the larger issue of European security, and the positive role the Open Skies Treaty plays in that regard. 

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

The American Empire has fallen, though Washington may not know it yet

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Wanting to turn back the clock and restore the American Empire to what it was before Donald Trump’s presidency is a fool’s errand. It’s already a thing of the past – and the storming of the US Capitol was just the last straw.

Don’t take my word for it, though. “If the post-American era has a start date, it is almost certainly today,” argued none other than the head of the Council on Foreign Relations – the foremost think tank advocating for the Empire in Washington – after Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol by several hundred Trump supporters protesting the certification of the election for Biden.

“No one in the world is likely to see, respect, fear, or depend on us in the same way again,” lamented CFR president Richard Haas.

We are seeing images that I never imagined we would see in this country-in some other capital yes, but not here. No one in the world is likely to see, respect, fear, or depend on us in the same way again. If the post-American era has a start date, it is almost certainly today.

— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) January 6, 2021

Sure enough, as Haas was saying this the NATO secretary-general tweeted about the “shocking scenes” in Washington and demanded that Joe Biden’s election “must be respected.” British and French leaders followed suit, as did the Organization of American States. Turkey “expressed concern.” Canada and India chimed in. 

Even Venezuela got into the act, condemning “acts of violence” in Washington and “political polarization” in the US, while expressing hope that Americans “can blaze a new path toward stability and social justice.”

#COMUNICADO| Venezuela expresa su preocupación por los hechos de violencia que se están llevando a cabo en la ciudad de Washington, EEUU; condena la polarización política y aspira que el pueblo estadounidense pueda abrirse un nuevo camino hacia la estabilidad y la justicia social pic.twitter.com/krqqFVV866

— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) January 6, 2021

Keep in mind that the US has refused to recognize Venezuela’s elected president or parliament, attempting for the past two years to install an unelected ‘interim president’ instead and call it democracy. While the Trump administration has led this effort, the Democrats – now poised to have absolute power in the US – have been fully on board.

Likewise, the only time the Republican establishment and the Democrat ‘Resistance’ banded together in near-unison was to override Trump’s veto of the NDAA military funding bill, which contained a provision that would block him or any future president from withdrawing troops from overseas endless wars without prior congressional approval. The commitment to the Empire runs deep in the Washington ‘swamp’, as Trump used to call it.

“We are seeing images that I never imagined we would see in this country – in some other capital yes, but not here,” said Haas. 

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This unwitting admission of ‘American exceptionalism’ basically says it’s fine for US-backed activists to storm parliaments in “regimes” that Washington dislikes and wants to change, but when Americans rebel against their own government they believe is acting illegitimately, that’s beyond the pale.

While what happened Wednesday was not actually a “color revolution,”  the visuals were certainly similar enough for the world to take notice. It would be wrong, however, to blame the Capitol “insurrection” for the demise of the American Empire, when it was merely the last domino to fall.

Again, don’t take my word for it – here’s Ishan Tharoor, a columnist for the notoriously pro-establishment Washington Post, declaring on Thursday that for “many abroad,” the vision of the US as a shining city on a hill with global moral influence and authority “has already died a thousand deaths.” 

For many abroad, that vision of the “shining city on the hill” has already died a thousand deaths. For some, it was always an illusion to obscure the Washington-engineered coups and client military regimes that defined their national politics for decades. https://t.co/DG1SnNGmBy

— Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) January 7, 2021

For some of these people, Tharoor argued, this narrative was “always an illusion to obscure the Washington-engineered coups and client military regimes.” Indeed. 

Democrats and their neocon allies have spent the past four years blaming Trump’s ‘America First’ policy, lamenting that he was acting unilaterally, antagonizing “allies” and creating a “leadership vacuum” in the world. Those are the talking points of the incoming administration as well. 

Except they’ve clearly forgotten the events of January 2020, when Trump ordered the drone assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. There were no protests from US “allies” – or should we say vassals? Instead, they fell in line with amazing alacrity.

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Trump actually embraced the American Empire, he simply dispensed with the polite fictions it had used to dress up as something else over the years.

Ironically, it was the mobilization of the entire US political establishment to get rid of Trump – starting with ‘Russiagate’ and the impeachment circus over the phone call to Ukraine, with nationwide riots about “racial justice” and the politically weaponized coronavirus lockdowns along the way – that did the lion’s share of exploding the myths that maintained US hegemony, both at home and abroad.

Remember the ‘Deep State’ that was supposedly a Trumpian conspiracy theory? Yet its existence was confirmed in the impeachment hearings, a former CIA director openly praised it, and the eventual revelations of a FBI plot to frame General Flynn removed any vestiges of doubt. 

The mainstream media’s war on Trump, later joined by social media platforms – censorship of the legitimate and accurate Hunter Biden laptop story just before the election being just the most egregious example – also played out for the world to see. In the end, they banned Trump from every social media platform while he was still in office, even as he said he would leave peacefully. 

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Basically, the entire US establishment was so consumed by the desire to burn Trump at the proverbial stake, they chopped up the scaffolding that held up the Empire to use as firewood.

In a speech recently, Joe Biden vowed to “rebuild, reclaim America’s place in the world” as a country that will “champion liberty and democracy once more.” That’s a daunting task, on par with putting the genie back into the bottle, un-spilling milk, or putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. 

Ironically, the only thing that could repair American prestige in the world might be to patch up the American Republic, almost broken by the four years of ‘Resistance’ to Trump. But as that would entail some self-awareness and soul-searching, it remains, shall we say, highly unlikely.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Trump says U.S. to pull some troops from Germany over NATO spending feud

June 15, 2020 / 8:06 PM / Updated 2 hours agoTrump says U.S. to pull some troops from Germany over NATO spending feudJeff Mason, Arshad Mohammed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Monday he would cut the number of U.S. troops in Germany to 25,000, faulting the close U.S. ally for failing to meet NATO’s defense spending target and accusing it of taking advantage of America on trade.

The reduction of about 9,500 troops would be a remarkable rebuke to one of the closest U.S. trading partners and could erode faith in a pillar of postwar European security: that U.S. forces would defend alliance members against Russian aggression.

It was not clear whether Trump’s stated intent, which first emerged in media reports on June 5, would actually come to pass given criticism from some of the president’s fellow Republicans in Congress who have argued a cut would be a gift to Russia.

Speaking to reporters, Trump accused Germany of being “delinquent” in its payments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and vowed to stick with the plan unless Berlin changed course.

“So we’re protecting Germany and they’re delinquent. That doesn’t make sense. So I said, we’re going to bring down the count to 25,000 soldiers,” Trump said, adding that “they treat us very badly on trade” but providing no details.

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NATO in 2014 set a target that each of its 30 members should spend 2% of GDP on defense. Most, including Germany, do not.

Trump’s remarks were the first official confirmation of the planned troop cut, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and later confirmed to Reuters by a senior U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

That official said it stemmed from months of work by the U.S. military and had nothing to do with tensions between Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who thwarted his plan to host an in-person Group of Seven (G7) summit.

Asked about Trump’s statement, German Ambassador to the United States Emily Haber said U.S. troops were in Europe to defend transatlantic security and to help the United States project its power in Africa and Asia.

“This is about transatlantic security but also about American security,” she told a virtual think tank audience, saying U.S.-German security cooperation would remain strong and that her government had been informed of the decision.

FILE PHOTO – U.S. soldier are pictured during an exercise of the U.S. Army’s Global Swift Response 17 Media Day near Hohenfels, Germany, October 9, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

Last week, sources told Reuters that German officials as well a number of U.S. officials at the White House, State Department and Pentagon were surprised by the Wall Street Journal report and they offered explanations ranging from Trump’s pique over the G7 to the influence of Richard Grenell, the former U.S. ambassador to Germany and a Trump loyalist.

“There is sure to be significant bipartisan opposition to this move in Congress, so it is possible any actual moves are significantly delayed or even never implemented,” said Phil Gordon of the Council on Foreign Relations think tank,

“This move will further erode allies’ faith in NATO and U.S. defense guarantees,” Gordon added, saying it may also “weaken the deterrence of Russia or anyone else who might threaten a NATO member.”

Turkish court jails U.S. consulate worker on terrorism charges

June 11, 2020 / 11:35 AM / Updated an hour agoTurkish court jails U.S. consulate worker on terrorism chargesDaren Butler, Ali Kucukgocmen

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A Turkish court jailed a local employee of a U.S. consulate for nearly nine years on Thursday for aiding a terrorist organisation, a ruling the United States described as deeply disappointing and based on no credible evidence.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Consulate is pictured in Istanbul, Turkey, October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Metin Topuz’s trial has been a major source of tension between the two NATO allies, which are also at odds over Ankara’s purchase of Russian missile defence systems and U.S. support for Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria.

Topuz, a translator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at the consulate in Istanbul, was sentenced to eight years and nine months for aiding a network Turkey blames for a 2016 coup attempt, state-owned Anadolu agency said.

He has already been in jail for 2-1/2 years while on trial, accused initially of espionage and trying to overthrow the government. A prosecutor said in March he should be acquitted on those charges and instead face up to 15 years in prison for membership of a terrorist organisation.

Two lawyers for Topuz were not immediately available for comment.

The U.S. embassy said it was “deeply disappointed” by the conviction. U.S. officials saw no credible evidence to support the conviction and they hoped it would be swiftly overturned, it said.

“The allegations made about Mr. Topuz’s official duties misrepresent both the scope and nature of the important work undertaken by our local staff on behalf of the U.S. government and in the promotion of our bilateral relationship,” it said.

Turkey’s own embassy in Washington said the U.S. diplomatic mission should respect the court’s judgement. The U.S. embassy’s statement on the case was “not in conformity with established rules and practices governing the roles and responsibilities of foreign diplomatic missions,” it said on Twitter.

Following Topuz’s initial detention in 2017, the two countries mutually suspended visa services.

In a 78-page indictment that included telephone calls, text messages and CCTV images, Topuz was accused of links to officials who led a 2013 corruption investigation and were later found to be members of the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for the abortive 2016 coup.

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Topuz said during the trial that he contacted the individuals, who at the time held high-ranking positions in the police and judiciary, as part of his job.

Gulen has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, and has denied any involvement in the coup attempt.

The lira TRYTOM=D3 declined to more than 6.85 against the dollar after Thursday’s ruling, from around 6.8.

Russia says U.S. withdrawal from Open Skies treaty will affect all members: RIA

May 21, 2020 / 5:36 PM / Updated 4 hours agoRussia says U.S. withdrawal from Open Skies treaty will affect all members: RIA

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The U.S. withdrawal from the Open Skies treaty will affect the interests of all of its participants, who are also members of NATO, RIA state news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying on Thursday.

Russia has not violated the treaty and nothing prevents the continuation of talks on technical issues that the U.S. says are the violations by the Russian side, Grushko said.

The United States announced its intention on Thursday to withdraw from the 35-nation Open Skies treaty allowing unarmed surveillance flights over member countries, the Trump administration’s latest move to pull the country from a major global treaty.

Eminem – Chloraseptic (Remix) (feat. 2 Chainz & Phresher)

[Verse 1: 2 Chainz]
(2 Chainz!)
Yeah, yeah
Take ’em to church, I’m talkin’ the tabernacle
It’s the return of the body snatcher
Walk in the spot, make my woman smack ya (Whoo!)
In a fruit fight, I aim at your Adam’s Apple
Pull up in the candy car eatin’ a candy bar
And my girl eatin’ a candy apple
Yuh, I line their ass up, I aim at their Cruiser
All of these stones on my neck, uh
They must have looked at Medusa
Pockets Rasputia of course, I drove some rims to court
I fucked some twins before, I had a Benz before
This is the sin report
This is the murder murder, pass the burner, Em
Your money shorter than an acronym
Big body when I’m backin’ in
Ladi-dadi, got a bunch of bodies, nigga
Fakin’, nigga, human traffickin’ (woo)
I’m on the Act again, this ain’t a accident
King like Ak-ron
I run the trap again, you on the treadmill (treadmill)
Never, Neverland shit came with a Ferris wheel (goddamn)
Ferris day off, baby, AR in the same car
Most of y’all my sons, aww, look at little JR
F-12 same color Kate Moss, ugh, I’m talkin’ wrist in the pot
I’m talkin’ this and you not, I’m talkin’ bricks and you not
I’m talkin’ straight up and down, nigga, like 6 o’clock
This is the equinox, this what the people want
Somebody at the door, I heard the speaker knock, uh

[Chorus: PHresher]
I’m at your throat like Chloraseptic, ‘septic
And you got strep, I’m too complex with, ‘plex with
This shit I wrote is on some next shit, next shit
I’m at your throat, I’m feelin’ reckless, reckless, yeah

[Verse 2: PHresher]
Do me a favor, don’t do me no favors
These bitches got flavors
They all wanna smoke but ain’t doin’ no labor
But they shoppin’ at Raleys, they stingin’ like tasers
Act Hollywood like they play for the Lakers
They fly on the latest
Crocs, alligators, say hi to my haters
Pardon my neighbor, we eatin’
That chicken, lobster, potatoes
You must be sniffin’ that yayo
If you don’t think I’m that nigga
Swagger on 10 since a day old
It’s a-okay though, whippin’ up whip like it’s mayo
Every track is a K.O., fuck nigga, K.O
Go off your head like I’m Ayo
Out of this world, talkin’ NATO
It’s ‘cos of jail, don’t be an A-hole
‘Cause I got shooters that shoot when I say so, like Lord
Wanna be in my shoes, you ain’t paid no dues
Real nigga, you ain’t break no rules
High school, niggas ate your food
Might dumb it down a little, but I ain’t no fool
Niggas hate every day, B (yeah)
Shit is O.C. lately (yeah)
Gotta break ’em off with these Dre beats (yeah)
Or I might go crazy (yeah)
These niggas too goddamn lazy
Don’t ever, ever, ever try to play me
Lil’ shawty now comin’ from BK
But I’m tryna come up like JAY-Z
Nothin’ but love from my heart
I feel entitled to titles
Fuck it, man, I want the title
My mission is [?]

[Chorus: PHresher]
I’m at your throat like Chloraseptic, ‘septic
And you got strep, I’m too complex with, ‘plex with
This shit I wrote is on some next shit, next shit
I’m at your throat, I’m feelin’ reckless, reckless, yeah

[Verse 3: Eminem]
Bin Laden with a pen, body it again
I begin slaughterin’ your men, prolly shoulda been
Ali or the Svengali embodiment of sin
Like a Saudi in the Taliban plotting an event
In the lobby of the Intercontinental
With an obvious intent
And I will not even relent up on a little
Like Osama with a bomb under the bin
And down the middle of the Pentagon
And hit a kindergartener with a rental, stop!
Back and forth, back and forth
Like Jack Kevorkian’s ass to court
Rap mature, why can’t you be like Macklemore? Huh?
Why you always gotta smack a whore?
It’s likely the psychiatric ward’s a last resort
Something’s gotta give, that’s for sure
Yet you keep comin’ back for more
Not as raw as I was, "’Walk on Water’ sucks"
Bitch, suck my dick
Y’all saw the tracklist and had a fit ‘fore you heard it
So you formed your verdict
While you sat with your arms crossed
Did your little reaction videos and talked over songs (Chill!)
Nah, dog, y’all sayin’ I lost it, your fuckin’ marbles are gone
But nowadays, every flow, every cadence sounds the same
Brain’s a powder keg, I draw inspiration outta hate
Real pain in the paper, I don’t trace
But if I look strange and out of place
It’s ’cause I’m an alien, that’s why I write ’til the page is outta space, yeah
From 7 Mile in Novara to "How can I be down?"
All of us tryna pile in the car (yeah!), we shot for the stars, yeah
‘Cause we only got so much time in this world (yeah!)
So rewind it to your high school dance to the night before
If you think you’re promised tomorrow (yeah!)
Now I’m ’bout to fool again
This tune is sick, it’s luminous, the moon is lit
A freakin’ lunatic, a human computer chip
And I’m soon to stick a broom in the uterus of your Hooters chick
If I was you I wouldn’t do nothin’ stupid due to the mood I’m in
I’m losin’ it, you get chewed like a Junior Mint
Show me who to rip, it’s time for you to get screwed
Empty the lubricant and put super glue in it
How many fuckin’ rappers did I go through?
Dispel doubt but you won’t admit I smoked
And you was spellbound, hellbound in my snowsuit
But am I s’posed to sound like everything else out?
‘Cause I don’t get compared to it, only myself now
And I can see the fair-weather fans and sales down
But the only way I care is if I let myself down
But what the fuck have I awoke to?
Time to eat the vocals and shit out Pro Tools
I know you still want me to ill out, don’t you?
Hopin’ the old Slim’s gonna spill out, open fire
On your whole camp with this spit I wrote you
So chill out, no, you hoes couldn’t roast me with the shit I wrote you
Then I took a stand, went at Tan-Face
And practically cut my mothafuckin’ fan base in half and still outsold you
You just called my shit trash
Thank God, I rap better when the odds are stacked
"Revival’s wack, I don’t like the ‘Zombie’ track
Or when he’s talkin’ that garbage psychotic crap
Where’s your content at? What’s with all the conscious rap?
P!nk, Beyoncé this and Kehlani that" (yeah)
I just added to the fuel in my rocket pack
‘Til I’m ready to respond, then I’ma launch it at ’em
Idiotic from the fuckin’ embryonic sac
To the bodybag, I’ll be back
And when I am, I’ll be at your fuckin’ throat like—

[Outro: PHresher]
Like Chloraseptic