Pushing Missile Defense in Europe

 With the occupation of Iraq soon to enter its sixth year and the looming possibility of war against Iran, it’s easy for Americans not to notice the Bush administration’s attempt to expand the U.S. military presence in Europe. A new Cold War between the United States and Russia threatens. And the U.S. media is paying little attention.

Even many in the peace movement don’t know that Washington has proposed to install 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar military base in the Czech Republic. The missiles and radar taken together constitute an anti-missile system purportedly meant to defend against Iran and other “rogue” states. In fact, they represent a new expansion of U.S. global military power and an escalation of the arms race with Russia.

Opposition to the proposed U.S. installations, however, is gathering force within Poland and the Czech Republic. And even the U.S. Congress has shown a measure of skepticism. The expansion of U.S. military presence in Eastern Europe is far from a done deal.

Why Eastern Europe?

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has moved resolutely to create a unipolar world based on ever-greater military dominance. Though much weakened, Russia remains a major international “player” because of its vast size, its still-formidable nuclear arsenal, and its ability to use its gas and oil resources for political advantage. Consequently, Moscow is viewed by Washington as a major potential threat to its imperial ambitions, one that must be undermined.

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War pimp alert: US funding militia to destabilize Iran

The United States is clandestinely funding militant groups within Iran’s borders to destabilize the country, The Daily Telegraph says.

According to the daily, CIA officials are secretly funding militias among the numerous ethnic minorities clustered in Iran’s border regions in order to mount pressure on the country to give up its nuclear program.

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CIA ‘plane used for torture flights landed in Britain last week’

The row over the use of British air bases for American “torture” flights flared up again last night following evidence that a plane linked to the transport of terrorist suspects landed in Britain on Wednesday.A Gulfstream IV private jet, which has been identified by Amnesty International as a CIA-linked plane implicated in so-called “rendition,” arrived at RAF Northolt in West London just hours before the Government was forced into a humiliating U-turn on the practice.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband admitted to the Commons on Thursday that two US rendition flights landed at a British air base on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in 2002 – despite previous repeated denials from Tony Blair and Jack Straw.

Former Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett revealed poor record keeping could be to blame for the government’s late disclosure on the subject.

Ms Beckett, who is now chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, said that when she was Foreign Secretary she was told by the Americans that there was no evidence of British airspace being used for the flights.

She told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show: “It was very difficult for the Government to go back and look at what had happened on previous occasions. There was not a clear, simple trace of record keeping.

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Canada, U.S. agree to share troops in civil emergencies

David Pugliese, Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, February 22, 2008Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other’s borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal.

Neither the Canadian government nor the Canadian Forces announced the new agreement, which was signed Feb. 14 in Texas.

The U.S. military’s Northern Command, however, publicized the agreement with a statement outlining how its top officer, Gen. Gene Renuart, and Canadian Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais, head of Canada Command, signed the plan, which allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency.

The new agreement has been greeted with suspicion by the left wing in Canada and the right wing in the U.S.

The left-leaning Council of Canadians, which is campaigning against what it calls the increasing integration of the U.S. and Canadian militaries, is raising concerns about the deal.

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Russian energy ties with Iran send US a message

With European and US companies out of the competition, Russia’s Gazprom has an edge as it bids for a bigger role in developing the world’s second-largest gas reserves

AS the United States warns the world away from business with Tehran, Moscow’s tightening ties to Iran’s energy sector underline Russia’s differences with Washington over Iranian nuclear plans and Kosovo’s independence.

While the timing of Moscow’s announcement on Tuesday may have been political, the deal for Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom to take on big new Iranian oil and gas projects was a long time in the making and dovetails with Gazprom’s strategic ambitions, analysts said. Gazprom, the world’s biggest gas producer, will play a larger role in developing Iran’s giant South Pars gas field and will also drill for oil.

“The Russian government and the United States are at loggerheads over how to engage with Iran, with Russia actively favouring a more open relationship,” said Ronald Smith, chief strategist at Alfa Bank. “This makes Gazprom rather indifferent to American policy wishes.” The US accuses Iran of using uranium enrichment to develop weapons, while Tehran says it needs nuclear power. Russia has been reluctant to impose more UN sanctions on Iran.

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Bush: no compromise on phone immunity in spy bill

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush said on Thursday he would not compromise with the Democratic-led Congress on his demand that phone companies that took part in his warrantless domestic spying program be shielded from lawsuits.Bush has demanded Congress protect companies like AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications from civil lawsuits that accuse them of violating Americans’ privacy rights in the administration’s anti-terrorism program.

The Senate approved a measure that would grant the companies retroactive immunity but the House of Representatives has opposed it. The surveillance program began in 2001 after the September 11 attacks and some 40 lawsuits are pending.

House and Senate Democrats said they would try to find a compromise even as they said their Republican counterparts refused to permit staff to meet with them on Thursday.

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Moscow threatens force over Kosovo

Formal recognition of Kosovo as an independent state by the EU or NATO obligates Moscow to resort to ‘brute force,’ Russia’s envoy to NATO says.In a video link-up from Brussels Dmitry Rogozin said, “if the European Union works out a common position, or if NATO breaches its mandate in Kosovo, these organizations will be in conflict with the United Nations,” Interfax news agency reported.

“We too will have to proceed from the view that in order to be respected we must use brute force, in other words armed force.”
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